The Throne of David
2 Samuel 7:12-16
"The LORD has sworn to David, A truth from which He will not turn back; 'Of the
fruit of your body I will set upon your throne." (Psalm 132:11). The Psalm from
which this statement is taken is of a group of Psalms that were used in worship
at the temple of God at Jerusalem. They were each called "A Song of Ascent" and
this one asks for the Lord to bless the sanctuary, or temple, sometimes referred
to as "Zion" after the mount upon which it was built in Jerusalem.
But this Psalm is also prophetic in nature, referring to a promise the Lord had made to David through the prophet Nathan years before. The promise had involved the establishment of a permanent king who would sit down on the throne of David forever. This King would be a descendant of David.
Where do we look for the fulfillment of this promise? Has it been fulfilled as yet, or is it something to be fulfilled in the future. Many look for a future fulfillment in which Jesus will come back to literal Zion and rule from Jerusalem on David's throne.
Nathan's Prophecy Concerning David's Throne
[From the LORD through His prophet Nathan to King David] "When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who shall come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 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, but My lovingkindness will not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed before you. And your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever." (2 Samuel 7:12-16). This prophecy at first presents the Bible student with an interesting question; "Is this prophecy about David's descendant Solomon or about his later descendant Jesus?" The answer must be: "BOTH"!
Building the Lord's house (vs. 13). In one sense, it is Solomon who built the Lord's house when he built the temple at Jerusalem. But Jesus also built a house for God; made of living stones; a spiritual temple; the church of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:16,17; Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:4,5).
The establishment of the descendant's kingdom (vs. 12). The Lord did establish Solomon's kingdom. Under Solomon, the Kingdom of Israel prospered, reaching its zenith. But the physical kingdom of Israel was not established "forever" as it does not exist today. However, it did give birth to God's spiritual kingdom. Jesus established this kingdom (Mark 9:1; John 18:36; Colossians 1:13) and it is indeed eternal and "cannot be shaken" (Hebrews 12:22-29).
Iniquity and correction (vs. 14). Solomon did fall away for a time. The Lord did correct him and he came back to God. Some of the most thought-provoking writings of the wise man Solomon are made about his mistakes and what he learned from them. However, Jesus had no sin Himself (Hebrews 4:15). But he did suffer correction "with the rods of men and strokes of the sons of men" for our sins. He bore our sins on the cross, paving the way for our redemption (Isaiah 53; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
In either case, whether Solomon or Jesus, we find that Nathan's prophecy has
indeed been fulfilled. This is not a prophecy about a kingdom yet to be
established in our future when Jesus comes again. King Jesus is already reigning
over His kingdom (Revelation 1:5,9).
How The Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled
"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 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, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear." (Acts 2:29-33). According to the Holy Spirit, communicating through Peter and the apostles, the promise to "seat one of (David's) descendants upon his throne" was fulfilled by the resurrection and exaltation of the Lord Jesus to the right hand of God. "Therefore, let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ-this Jesus whom you crucified" (vs. 36).
The Hebrew writer refers to Nathan's prophecy as being fulfilled as well; "For to which of the angels did He say, 'Thou art My Son, Today I have begotten Thee'? and again, 'I will be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me'?" and "But of the Son He says, 'Thy throne, o God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom." (Hebrews 1:5,8).
Putting It All Together
"Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom." (Matthew 16:28). Jesus said this in the first century. Jesus said that those living in the first century would "see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom." We have already cited in this article many verses speaking of the kingdom of Jesus as already being in existence in the first century following His death, burial and resurrection. Jesus Himself had explained that the kingdom which He would establish in the first century was spiritual in nature, and we find that men and women who subjected themselves to His rule were made partakers in His spiritual kingdom.
We have seen that Jesus has sat down on David's spiritual throne, ruling over spiritual Zion, a kingdom which cannot be shaken.
But wait. The Hebrew writer in one of the passages already cited (Hebrews 12:22-29) talks of the final destruction of the physical heaven and earth (vss. 26,27). What will happen to this eternal kingdom of which we believers are a part when the final hour has passed? How will it continue to stand when the very cosmos is removed from existence?
The answer is that Jesus is coming again. When He comes, the citizens of His kingdom shall rise, bodies changed to that which is spiritual, immortal and incorruptible. Then Jesus will gather His kingdom together and take us home. You see, He is not coming again to establish His kingdom, but to deliver it up to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:23-26).
By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 3.7; July 1996