“...I will raise up your descendant after you..."
In Second Samuel there is a wonderful prophecy full of intrigue and sublimity. The far reaching implications are subtle, but not so much so that the fulfillment was not obvious when it occurred nine centuries later. The prophecy is about David's throne, or rule. I think most understand that when the Bible speaks of “David's throne” that it refers to his rule, not to the chair he sat in. God would establish the dynasty of David forever. Today, twenty-nine centuries later, a descendant of David still rules. Consider this great text of Scripture, both the prophecy as well as the fulfillment, and ponder the wisdom and majesty of God.
David's Plan to Build God's House
Israel's immediate enemies who sought to destroy her had been defeated and the nation was beginning to prosper. David, filled with gratitude unto God, decided he would build a house, or temple, for God. He spoke to Nathan the prophet about his desire and the prophet thought it sounded like a good idea. From a human perspective, it seemed to be the perfect plan. (2 Samuel 7:1-3).
But then, later that same night, the Lord revealed to Nathan His thoughts concerning this. It was not the Lord's desire nor intention that David build Him a house. The Lord changed the plan. He revealed that such a house would be built, but not by David. Rather, a descendant of David would build His house. God reminded both Nathan and David that He had not spoken to anyone about building a house, or temple. "Wherever I have gone with all the sons of Israel, did I speak a word with one of the tribes of Israel, which I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, "Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?'"' (2 Samuel 7:7).
The inspired chronicler also revealed at least one other reason why God did not allow David to build His house. "But God said to me, "You shall not build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood.' (1 Chronicles 28:3).
God's Plan for His House
God promised David that his descendant would build a house of God, and then adds more information. A read of the text quickly brings two descendants of David to mind to knowledgeable students of the Word. First, there is David's immediate son, Solomon, as well a future descendant, Jesus. Though Solomon is directly referred to here, some of this prophecy goes much further and applies to Christ and the spiritual house He would one day build. Solomon, son of David, built a physical house in Jerusalem, the temple on Mount Zion. Jesus, Son of David, built a spiritual house, the church of God. Solomon reigned on the throne of David his father over physical Israel, Jesus reigns on the throne of David, His ancestor, over spiritual Israel. One kingdom came to an end; the other is eternal (2 Samuel 7:11-16).
David responded with praise and humility (2 Samuel 7:18-29). Whatever disappointment he may have felt in being forbidden to build the temple was overwhelmed by the joy of the thought that his dynasty would still exist forevermore.
God's Promise to David
The following is the text of the message that God gave to Nathan the prophet to pass on to David (2 Samuel 7:8-16):
8 "Now therefore, thus you shall say to My servant David, "Thus says the LORD of hosts, "I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people Israel.
9 "I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like the names of the great men who are on the earth.
10 "I will also appoint a place for My people Israel and will plant them, that they may live in their own place and not be disturbed again, nor will the wicked afflict them any more as formerly,
11 even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. The LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you.
12 "When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.
13 "He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
14 "I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men,
15 but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.
16 "Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever."'"
A Brief Analysis of the Promise
V. 12, 13-A house would be built, but after David's death, by His descendant. Additionally, the throne of David would be established forever.
Both Solomon and Jesus built a house. Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem, and Jesus built the church. In the New Testament, the church of Christ Jesus is referred to as a holy temple with foundation and built of faithful disciples into a dwelling of God: “...having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:20-22; cf. 1 Peter 2:5).
V. 14-Solomon did commit sin, and he was chastised for it, but his kingdom and rule survived. Jesus committed no sin, but He did bear the chastisement for our sins as He redeemed us.
V. 16- Finally, the house, throne and kingdom would endure before the Lord forever. Solomon's descendants ceased to rule in Jerusalem with their falling away from God and the subsequent defeat by Babylon. Jerusalem was destroyed along with the house that Solomon had built for the Lord.
But the house established by Jesus is eternal. Even when this world ceases to exist, the kingdom will be delivered up to the Father in heaven (1 Corinthians 15:24). Jesus is the Son of David and has received His eternal throne. He has ruled from it in the hearts of His disciples ever since His resurrection and ascension "Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. And so, because he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants upon his throne, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. "This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.” (Acts 2:29-33).
By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 20.9; September 2013