Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Son of David in the Book of Revelation

Christ’s Davidic position is emphasized several times in the book of Revelation. At the end of this vision, he says of himself, I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright, the morning star (22:16). Earlier in the book, he is identified to John as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, who had overcome to open the book and the seven seals thereof (5:5). These are titles quite applicable to one who had inherited the throne of David; they would seem somewhat unfitting for one who had not.

It appears, furthermore, that Christ held this Davidic position in more than name alone. The letter to the church of Philadelphia opens with these words: These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth and none shall shut, and that shutteth and none openeth (Rev. 3:7). Keys in scripture are symbols of authority. Just as Jesus had given Peter the keys of the kingdom, the authority to bind and loose, so he had himself received a certain authority to open and shut. (Matt. 16:19).

What is significant, of course, is that this authority is clearly identified as the key of David. Whatever power was signified by this key, whatever authority it indicated, it was in some sense the same authority that had been possessed and exercised by David himself. Therefore, we see that even as John was recording the words of this prophecy, Christ had already received and was already exercising authority, not only from his Father God, but also from his father David. It is difficult to see how scripture could attribute such power to Christ yet still teach that he was not yet ruling on David's throne.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


My mistake. The proclamation which I attributed to Simeon in the previous post was actually uttered by Zacharias (Luke 1:69). It would not, then, be accurate to apply it, as I did, to the birth of Christ--He had not yet been born. It would apply rather to his conception.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Savior from David's House

There are a number of conditions of the promised Davidic kingdom that began to be fulfilled even as Christ was born. First, it is evident that in the birth of Christ, Israel’s Davidic Savior had arrived. When Simeon saw the Christ child in the temple he said, Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; for he hath visited and wrought redemption for his people, And hath raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (Luke 1:69). Simeon realized that he could finally die in peace, for he had seen the day long promised.

Furthermore, after the ascension of Christ, Paul recounted in the synagogue in Antioch how God had raised up David to be Israel’s king; to whom he also bare witness and said, I have found David the son of Jesse a man after my own heart, who shall do all my will. Paul then added: of this man’s seed hath God according to promise brought unto Israel a savior, Jesus (Acts 13:22-23). God’s promise to Israel had been fulfilled. The long awaited Davidic Savior had arrived.

Not only had Israel’s Savior arisen out of the house of David, but in that Savior that house was also itself being rebuilt. At the Jerusalem Council, James explained in this way God’s obvious decision to begin calling Gentiles into the faith: After these things I will return, And I will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen; And I will build again the ruins thereof, And I will set it up: That the residue of men may seek after the Lord, And all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called (Acts 15:16-17). The fact that the Gentiles were putting their trust in Christ was proof, to James at least, that David’s house was being restored.

So it appears that, as the New Testament was still being written, the promises of a Davidic Savior and the restoration of the David's house were already being fulfilled. Do these passages prove beyond doubt that Christ is now reigning on the throne of David? Not by themselves, no. They are, however, important introductory indications that whatever God had promised concerning David and the kingdom of his Descendant, that program had clearly begun to unfold.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Reign of Christ and the Throne of David

The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end (Luke 1:33).

This is the promise the angel Gabriel gave to Mary when he announced that she would give birth to the long awaited Messiah. The fulfillment of this promise has been the subject of much controversy. Has God yet given Jesus the throne of his father David? Or is Christ still waiting to receive it in the future? What does it even mean that Christ was to sit upon the throne of David? It is to these questions I would now like to turn.

The identification of Christ as the son of David is very clear in scripture; the multitude of references to this effect makes it a fact beyond denial. I recognize, however, that this alone is not sufficient proof that he is presently sitting on the throne of David. I feel, in fact, that of all the points I’ve been making in this series, it is this last one in which I find myself relying most upon inference and less upon the straightforward declarations of scripture.

However, I must say that I find the scriptural indications of this prophecy's fulfillment to be very strong, perhaps even good and necessary. Over all, as I look at the scope of scriptures that address the issue, I find it them very supportive of the notion that when Christ ascended into heaven and sat down on his Father’s throne, he was at the same time, taking his place upon the throne of his Father David.