The Life of David
David, Having Died, He Yet Speaks
My Servant David, Shepherd and King
After the death of David, the son of Jesse, his kingdom deteriorated under his son Solomon, was divided under his grandson Rehoboam, and eventually disintegrated completely. The Scriptural record abundantly testifies to this sad fact. From the end of Malachi and into the church period, and on into the time of Jacob's trouble, this broken condition is evident. But God has better times in purpose for His beloved people. The two portions in Ezekiel 34 and 37 reveal that His purpose for Israel is connected with His honoured servant David. Not that these passages refer to the resurrection of David. The "David My servant" in the passages is none other than David's greater son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The failure of the shepherds of Israel (rulers secular and spiritual) throws into sharp relief the glory and triumph of God's care for His beloved flock, the nation of Israel. 1 Samuel 16: 11; 1 Samuel 17: 20, and 34-36 portray the shepherd care, faithfulness and service of David, the shepherd, in relation to his father's flock. These features will be seen in perfection when Jesus, the son of David, looks after His Father's sheep. Compare Micah 5: 1-5 with Matthew 2: 5-6. The One who will shepherd Israel is the Mighty God become Man. There is no possibility of failure with such a Shepherd, but the Shepherd has to be smitten and die in order to secure blessing for the sheep of Israel and also for the sheep which will form the church (Zech. 13: 7; John 10: 11, 15-16). Such a Shepherd could not be held by death. God raised Him from among the dead, Jesus, the Son of God, the Great Shepherd of the sheep (Heb. 13: 20). The reference to Jesus as the Chief Shepherd in 1 Peter 5: 4 is in relation to the under-shepherds of the present dispensation. What a Shepherd!
If care and blessing for Israel is expressed in Ezekiel 34, permanent unity and blessing is the theme of Ezekiel 37. The wretched condition of the nation of Israel is an affront to the majesty and glory of God. It is a denial of His purpose for the Nation. No mortal man, political party or decision of nations will ever change its condition, but God can and will. Notice the oft repeated expression in chapters 34 and 37 "I will." That is the language of omnipotent deity. It was David, the son of Jesse, who unified the nation of Israel (2 Sam. 5: 5). It was his son and sons who destroyed the unity. Praise God that it will be his Greater Son who will permanently unify the Nation. God will gather the scattered Nation from among the Gentile nations and bring them into the land of promise. There will be secured a unity in the Nation that will never be broken. They will have one King, not a succession of kings, the King whom they crucified, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of David. God will not chastise His people any more. He will establish a covenant of peace with them, an everlasting covenant, and God will be their God and they will be His people. Glorious destiny for Israel under God's servant the King. The strength, power and integrity of David, the son of Jesse, King of Israel, will be seen in perfection in Jesus the Son of God.
Jerusalem and David. Zechariah 12-14
David in his life of danger and strife often experienced the power and enmity of evil opposition. Sometimes in his psalms he expresses how his heart failed him. He was only a mortal man with natural feelings of weakness and fear. Some of his posterity were faced with the same problem but with God's help they all, David and his posterity, were delivered from their enemies and were victorious. The last, but most severe expression of hatred and enmity, is portrayed in Zechariah 12-14. Jerusalem will be surrounded by powerful enemies and submitted to many cruel indignities. When all seems lost God will intervene in unsparing judgment and deliver His beloved but besieged city. See Revelation 19: 11-19; Luke 21: 24-27. The many references to Judah and the house of David show the intimacy that exists between Jerusalem and the royal tribe from which David came. David and Jerusalem are linked together through history and the will of God.
It was David and his army that captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites (1 Chr. 11: 4-9). God claimed it for His centre (Ps. 132: 13-18). Zion is described as the city of David (2 Chr. 5: 2) and I notice here a few of the references to Zion in the Psalms. Psalm 2: 6-Zion, the hill of God's holiness. On it He rests His anointed King, David/Christ. Psalm 9: 11-Jehovah dwells in Zion. Psalm 48: 1-2-Zion is the city of God-holiness is there-it is beautiful in elevation-joy of the whole earth-it is the city of the great King, David/Christ. Psalm 78: 68-Jehovah chose the tribe of Judah-mount Zion that He loved. He built His sanctuary there. Psalm 87: 2-Jehovah loveth the gates of Zion more than all the habitations of Jacob. Psalm 125: 1-Zion, it cannot be moved. See also Psalm 122 and Joel 3: 16-21.
Because of the unfaithfulness of Judah and the failure of the last king in Jerusalem, Zedekiah, the city was destroyed (2 Kings 25: 1-7). The glory of God had left the temple in Jerusalem. The idolatry practised there was an affront to God and His patience with a rebellious and wicked people was exhausted. Consequently the glory of God was withdrawn (Eze. 10; 12: 22-24). Partial recovery was seen in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah but that soon crumbled away and provided very little for God. Worse was to follow when the Son of David came to Jerusalem. He was rejected by the Jews and crucified. Their house was left unto them desolate. They did not know the day of their visitation.
Was God defeated in His promises to David? No! It is impossible for God to be defeated. His covenant and promise to David, His servant, and His decrees regarding Jerusalem, will all be fulfilled in His glorious Son, Jesus Christ the Nazarene. He was crucified in Jerusalem but will return to it in power and glory and establish His kingdom that will never end. Jerusalem shall receive a lustre from Jesus the Son of David that it could never have received from David himself.
The influence of David pervades the historical, poetical and prophetical books of the Old Testament and much of that influence points unerringly to his greatest Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
The Life of David (10)
David's Influence in the New Testament
(Continued from page 29)
Having looked at many references to David in the Old Testament, not by any means every reference, it is interesting to see that his influence was not exhausted in that portion of God's Word. The New Testament has rich and instructive references to David and not surprisingly mainly in connection with the Lord Jesus, his great and glorious Son.
The New Testament, as translated in our excellent Authorised Version, commences with the statement, "Book of the generation of Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of Abraham" and closes with the Lord Jesus saying "I Jesus... I am the root and offspring of David, the bright and morning star" (Matt. 1: 1; Rev. 22: 16). David's chief honour is not that he was the warrior king of Israel, or the sweet Psalmist. His honoured and dignified place as witnessed by these quotations from the New Testament stems from his association with Jesus, God's King and Son.
The genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1: 1-17 establishes indisputably the fact that He is the true Son of David. There are many interesting and solemn features connected with the genealogy, but its main interest for our study is that it shows the descent from David the king (v. 6), to Joseph the son of David (vv. 16 and 20), and thence to Jesus Christ. The King has arrived as a little Babe and the Spirit of God in accurate and legal precision shows that the Babe is none other than the promised Seed of David (Isa. 9: 6-7 and Isa. 11: 1-10). Long centuries have elapsed since God made a covenant with David, a covenant which could not possibly be fulfilled in a mortal failing man, but the One has arrived in whom God's purposes and covenant with David will eventually be fulfilled (2 Sam. 7). David is long since dead but his name is to be perpetuated in Jesus Christ, the Son of David. Note how the oft repeated term "begat" is dropped in verse 16 and is substituted with "of whom." The change is to show that Jesus was not born of human generation. He was conceived in Mary's womb by the power of the Holy Spirit of God (vv. 18-23).
Matthew 9: 27-31
Chapters 8 and 9 of the Gospel by Matthew display the powers of the kingdom exercised by Jesus the King, the Son of David. Death, disease and demons had to bow before His omnipotent power. David the king of Israel could subdue Philistines, Amonites, Moabites and rebels of his own nation but he was powerless to deal with death, disease and demons. The power of Jesus was infinitely greater than the power of David and brought blessing and comfort into the lives of afflicted people. Well might we sing "Wondrous heart and healing hand." Two blind men pleaded for mercy from the Son of David and obtained it. This was a partial fulfilment of Isaiah 35: 5 and Psalm 146: 8. The passage in Isaiah 35 anticipates the universal sway of the Messiah, the Son of David. The land of Israel particularly will redound with the fame of the power of Jehovah exhibited in the Messiah. But that time had not yet arrived. Jesus did not seek public acclaim. Well He knew the dark days that were before Him. The cross at Golgotha would show how unreliable was public acclamation. Until the appropriate time arrived for the display of the Kingdom for a thousand years the Son of David continued in His humble but powerful witness as to who He was. For references to a similar though later act of healing by the Son of David see Matthew 20: 29-34, Mark 10: 46-52 and Luke 18: 35-43. There are some differences in these accounts when compared with Matthew 9: 27-31, but they are substantially the same.
Have ye Not Read what David Did? Matthew 12: 1-8
The reference to, "At that time," at the beginning of Matthew 12 is significant. It was a time of indifference toward the ministry of Jesus. It was a time of His rejection. In the previous chapter the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum had shown callous indifference to His wonderful works of power. Consequently Jesus pronounced the dire punishment that awaited them in the future. Disappointed but not dismayed, He referred the matter to His Father and thanked Him for the ongoing blessing to others. In chapter 10: 5-6 Jesus instructed His disciples to go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, but now He issues an invitation to all. The King was rejected by His subjects so He widens the sphere of invitation for all to come to Him for relief and blessing. It is in this context that Jesus challenged the Pharisees with the statement, "Have ye not read what David did when he was hungry, and they that were with him?" David, the anointed of God and the lawful king of Israel, was in rejection because of the hatred and opposition of Saul, the deposed king of Israel. David and his men went to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest, and obtained from him the shewbread to satisfy their hunger. Strictly speaking they ought not to have eaten it as it was the food for the priests, but the kingdom was in disorder and the king in rejection. The disorderly circumstances warranted the irregular conduct. (1 Sam. 21: 1-6). The Lord used that incident involving David to counter the criticism of the Pharisees. They attempted to enforce their Sabbatical laws ignoring the fact that the Nation was in a state of disorder. The Romans were the masters of the country, proof of the Nation's unfaithfulness, and what was yet more solemn, the King was treated with indifference and rejection. It wasn't wrong for the disciples to satisfy their hunger. David had done that for his followers. It was a powerful rebuttal of the religionists and they had no answer to it. Little did David realise that when he asked for the shewbread for himself and his followers, the Messiah, about eleven centuries after, would commend his action and use it to justify the action of His disciples. Praise God that at the Judgment Seat of Christ every man and woman who is faithful to God shall have praise from God. They perhaps forgot what they did for God but God never forgets what is done for His interests (1 Chr. 4: 5; Heb. 6: 10).
Is this Man the Son of David? Matthew 12: 23-32
From the Old Testament Scriptures the godly Israelite had his hope centred in the coming of the Son of David. Ezekiel 34 and 37 promised Him as Shepherd and King. Isaiah 11 looked forward to a reign of blessing and justice, and specifically Isaiah 35: 5 stated that the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. When a crowd of people saw with great amazement the Lord Jesus healing a blind and dumb man possessed with a demon they exclaimed, "Is this man the Son of David?" The evidence before their eyes answered their question. Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the promised Son of David. But how blind were the proud Pharisees. Because of their blindness they committed a terrible sin. They attributed to Satan the power that Jesus exercised in healing the stricken man. The kingdom power was in expression before their eyes but they had no faith to perceive this. Envy and animosity are blinding features. Satan's power had been curtailed and his captive delivered from his grasp by the Lord Jesus. The Pharisees were powerless to help the poor man but they were ready to slander the One who had healed him. Mark 3: 30 shows how evil was their allegation. They claimed that Jesus had an unclean spirit. How awful! The Holy Son of God, anointed and sealed with the Holy Spirit, having an unclean spirit? Unthinkable! The humble Son of David could forgive, as the son of Jesse had often done, but to speak injuriously against the Holy Spirit was a sin of unpardonable gravity. It was blasphemy of the worst possible kind (See Hebrews 10: 29-insulting the Spirit of grace). The totally unjust charge was another feature in the accumulating guilt of the Jewish leaders. That guilt finally brought upon the Nation God's just government and wrath after Jesus was crucified. Israel's moral condition was illustrated in the condition of the demon possessed man. Satan's power had produced blindness (unable to perceive their Messiah) and dumbness (unable to respond to God in praise and thanksgiving) Is this man the Son of David? The answer is a resounding "Yes."
A Gentile Woman and her Daughter Blessed by the Son of David. Matthew 15: 21-28
How stern and distant the Lord Jesus appeared to be when a Gentile woman appealed to Him as "Lord, Son of David." She appealed to the Lord to heal her demon possessed daughter. Jesus never answered her. He acted as if He had not heard her plea for help. That was strange behaviour by the most accessible of men, the Man Christ Jesus. Was He hard and unfeeling? No! He was most kind and compassionate and ever ready to help those in need. Why was He silent? The cause was her mode of address to Him. She and her daughter as Gentiles had no claim upon the Son of David. Her persistent cries for help upset the disciples and they requested that Jesus dismiss her from them. Jesus, according to the prophecy concerning Him, (Matt. 2: 6), replied to His disciples that His mission was to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Persisting, the woman came to Him and bowing to Him cried simply, "Lord, help me." Surely the Lord would respond to that simple but earnest prayer? But He didn't, and indicated to the woman that she had no claim on the blessing that belonged to the children of Israel. "Quite so," she replied, "but dogs get crumbs from their masters tables," which meant, "I know I have no claim to the blessing that belongs to Israel but I and my daughter are needy creatures. I make a claim on Thy mercy" (See Matt. 12: 21 and Rom. 15: 9). Such an appeal could not be refused and the woman's great faith was rewarded with the healing of her daughter. Jesus the Son of God revealed Himself as a true Son of David.
David the son of Jesse had many Gentiles in his army. There was Zelek the Ammonite, Uriah the Hittite, Jithmah the Moabite and Ahimelech the Hittite (1 Chr. 11: 39, 41, 46; 1 Sam. 26: 6). There were also six hundred Gittites (from Gath in Philistia) led by Ittai the Gittite (2 Sam. 15: 18-22). David reminded Ittai that he was a foreigner and advised him to return to Absalom. Ittai point blank refused and expressed his loyalty and allegiance to David. Eventually, David rewarded Ittai for his faithfulness and made him a commander over a third of his army (2 Sam. 18: 2).
There is a certain analogy between the stories in Matthew 15 and 2 Samuel. David was rejected by many in Israel and Jesus was rejected by many in Israel. Ittai was a foreigner and the woman and her daughter were Gentiles. David didn't encourage Ittai and Jesus didn't encourage the woman. Ittai was persistent and the woman was persistent. Ittai's loyalty was rewarded and the woman's faith was rewarded.
The blessing of the Gentile woman and her daughter ante-dated the time when Jew and Gentile, without any national distinction, would be blessed in one body in Christ (Eph. 2: 15-19. See also John 10: 16).
The Life of David (10)
David's Influence in the New Testament
The Entry into Jerusalem of Jesus, the Son of David, the King of Israel.
Matthew 21: 1-17; Mark 11: 1-11; Luke 19: 28-44
It has been calculated that the period from the time when Nehemiah requested from king Artaxerxes the freedom to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the destroyed city and its walls, until the entry of Jesus, the Son of David, into Jerusalem, covers 69 weeks1 of Daniel's prophetic vision (Neh. 2: 1-8; Dan. 9: 25). "Messiah the Prince" of Daniel 9 is the Son of David, Jesus of Nazareth in Matthew 21. The prophecy of Zechariah 9: 9-17 was partially fulfilled in the lowly way that He entered into the city. (Note the difference in Revelation 19 when He comes riding upon a white horse). It was not fulfilled in its entirety because Zechariah's prophecy foretells the blessing of Israel and the Gentile nations and the judgment of the opposers of God. Note in Zechariah 9: 9 that salvation is mentioned. That is omitted in the quotation in Matthew 21. The time for Israel's salvation had not yet come.
Outwardly it appeared to be a triumphant entry. A great crowd rapturously welcomed the prophet from Nazareth. The enthusiasm reached a very high pitch. Clothes and tree branches were strewn in the path of the Son of David. Expectancy was rife among the people. "Blessed be the coming kingdom of our father David" (Mark 11: 10). The time of release had come. The Roman yoke would be broken and Israel would be free. The glowing prophecies of their prophets were about to be fulfilled. Hosanna (Save now) was the cry to Jesus. Alas, the time had not yet arrived. Daniel's prophecy indicated that Messiah would be cut off (a sacrificial expression) and have nothing. This was fulfilled when Jesus was rejected by the leaders of the Nation and crucified. Thus Jesus' reign over Israel and that Nation's blessing were put in abeyance. David, the son of Jesse, knew the joy and dignity of being anointed king of Israel. He also knew the bitterness of rejection by the people he was anointed to govern before he exercised the power of an undisputed monarch. His greater Son knew that in a fuller way than David ever did. But eventually, like David, his greater Son will subdue all His enemies and be undisputed ruler of the whole earth.
1 69 weeks of years-69x7=483 years
While Jesus is described as meek in Matthew 21 there are features of power exhibited by Him. Creatorial power is seen in Him sitting on an unbroken colt (Mark 11: 2, 7). Kingly power is expressed in ridding the Temple precincts of evil practices, and just judgment on a fruitless Nation is figuratively seen in the cursing of the fig tree. Note too how Jesus quoted David's Psalm 8: 2. "Yes; have ye never read," was a rebuke to the chief priests and scribes. Of all the people they should have known what David wrote. Empty religion often neglects the sources of its faith but Jesus appreciated what the children said. It was in stark contrast to the silence of the leaders except in objections. Children's appreciation of Jesus, the Son of David, should never be despised.
If Therefore David Call Him (the Christ) Lord, How is He his Son?
Matthew 22: 41-46; Mark 12: 35-37; Luke 20: 41-44
The Pharisees were unable to answer the hard question that the Lord Jesus put to them. They agreed that the Christ (the Anointed) was of David's seed. They also agreed that Psalm 110 is a Messianic Psalm and that in verse 1 David had referred to the Lord as his Lord. How then was the Christ David's son and at the same time his Lord? The two statements appeared to be contradictory. It was an enigma to them. They could not answer the question and Jesus did not enlighten them. The answer was standing before them but they did not have faith to perceive it. Perhaps they would agree that Jesus was the Son of David. That was easily established. He was the son of Joseph who was a son of David (Matt. 1: 20; Luke 3: 23). They could not understand and would not believe that Jesus was the Lord referred to in Psalm 110: 1. The truth of the matter lay in the incarnation of the Son of God who was the Anointed of God (Acts 10: 38; Matt. 3: 16). The Anointed was standing before them, come of David's seed according to flesh (Rom. 1: 3; John 7: 42). Jesus was David's Lord, an affirmation of the Deity of Jesus. He was also a Son of David, an indication of His true humanity. Note that Jesus never suggested that He was not of David's seed. He knew that He was. The question that He submitted to the Pharisees was a test and they failed the test. The time was future when Jesus would be seated at God's right hand in glory. This incident in Matthew 22 reveals David's influence. His psalm was used by the Lord Jesus to silence the proud Pharisees. The Lord Jesus credits David with speaking by the Holy Spirit's power and inspiration (Mark 12: 36). He was among the many writers in the Old Testament who were inspired by the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1: 11; 2 Peter 1: 21).
David was one of the five persons who spoke of Jesus as "My Lord." The others were Elizabeth, Mary of Magdala, Thomas the apostle and Paul the apostle to the Gentiles (Luke 1: 43; John 20: 13; John 20: 28; Phil. 3: 8). Praise God that we who are believers in Jesus can say along with Paul, "To us there is... one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him" (1 Cor. 8: 6).
Bethlehem (House of Bread), the City of David.
Luke 2: 4, 11
Two places in the Bible are called David's city: Jerusalem and Bethlehem. David captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites and the stronghold of Zion was called David's city (1 Chr. 11: 4-9). When David died he was buried in his city (1 Kings 2: 10). There are numerous references in the books of Kings and Chronicles to Jerusalem the city of David, but it is upon a small town called Bethlehem that our attention is focused.
Bethlehem in Judah was a favoured town. It was honoured by being known as David's city. It was marked out for specific honour in the prophecy of Micah 5: 2: "And thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall He come forth unto Me who is to be Ruler in Israel: whose goings forth are from of old, from the days of eternity." The Ruler of Israel (not David or any other merely human king), the Eternal God become flesh (come of David's seed), was to be born there. Great cities are mentioned in the Bible: Ur of the Chaldees, Nineveh, Babylon, Jerusalem, Rome, and many others, but they were all passed by. The little town of Bethlehem was chosen for the coming into the world of God's beloved Son.
Bethlehem was important in the life of David, the son of Jesse. His great-grandfather Boaz, his grandfather Obed, his father Jesse and he were all born there (Ruth 2: 4, 11; Ruth 4: 17; 1 Sam. 16: 1; 20: 6). It was there that Samuel the prophet and judge of Israel anointed him to be king in the place of the unfaithful and rejected king Saul (1 Sam. 16: 1-13). That was high honour for David. It was in his own town that David looked after his father's sheep and did his duties faithfully (1 Sam. 17: 15, 34-35). This remarkable blend of royal dignity and lowly service in David was later seen in divine perfection in the Son of God. The incident involving David's three mighty men enacted at Bethlehem expressed the devotion they had towards him. When David expressed a desire to have a drink of water from the well in Bethlehem, his men broke through the ranks of the enemies, the Philistines, and brought the water to their leader and king. David, greatly touched by their courage and devotion, would not drink the precious water, but poured it out to Jehovah as a drink offering. A dangerous mission successfully accomplished was finalised by an offering to Jehovah (1 Chr. 11: 15-19).
The greatest thing that ever happened in Bethlehem was one of the most astounding events in the history of time. The prophecy of Micah 5: 2 was fulfilled when Emmanuel (God with us) was born there. It is impossible for the human mind to understand the wonder of the incarnation of the Son of God. The believing and reverent soul accepts the plain but profound statements of Holy Scripture. Reasoning gives way to worship. The Word became flesh (John 1: 14). The fulness of the time was come and God sent forth His Son (Gal. 4: 4).
Throughout the world numerous places have plaques fixed to houses or walls announcing to any who are interested that great persons, famous or infamous, were born there. See Psalm 87: 4-6. Those who have visited the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem will remember that in the grotto where it is claimed Jesus was born there is a silver star on the marble floor. On the star is the inscription "HIC DE VIRGINE MARIA JESUS CHRISTUS NATUS EST" (Here of the Virgin Mary Jesus Christ was born). However interesting that may be, the intelligent believer in the Lord Jesus bows in worship because the incarnation of the Son of God commenced a series of events which culminated in His atoning death on Golgotha's hill in Jerusalem. David's city, celebrated in song and prose, will always be remembered as the place where Jesus, the Son of David, was born.
The birth of Jesus did not go unnoticed (Luke 2: 1-20). Just as David had done many centuries before, shepherds were caring for their flocks. Suddenly all was bright with glory and an angel of the Lord announced to the frightened shepherds a most wonderful message. A Saviour had been born to Israel in David's city. He is Christ the Lord. The sign for them to see was a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. The sign of Isaiah 7: 14 was now fulfilled-Emmanuel had arrived. After the angelic message was delivered a multitude of heavenly beings made heaven ring with praises and glory to God. The shepherds immediately made their way to the city of David to see what had been made known to them from the Lord (Jehovah). They found the Lord of Glory as a little babe. He was lying in a manger: strange place for the Creator of the universe. His parents, Joseph and Mary, affectionately caring for the infant Jesus, were also seen by the shepherds. The shepherds were uniquely blessed to have seen such a sight. Their witness of what they saw created wonderment that has never ceased. The shepherds glorified and praised God. That too has never ceased.
About two years after this great event wise men from the east, presumably Gentiles, were guided by a divine arrangement to a house where Jesus was with His mother. The crowds of people that were in Bethlehem for registration in the census had gone (Luke 2: 1-3). Now there was accommodation available for Jesus and His mother. The wise men came with their gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. Perhaps they represented the riches of their countries. The figurative meanings of the gifts is certainly significant-gold representing the Deity of Jesus; frankincense, the sweet odour to God of His perfect pathway; myrrh, the sufferings of the cross. Whatever meanings we attach to these gifts, one thing is evident: they were worthy gifts from Gentiles to the One who was born King of the Jews. The evil king Herod and the proud religionists made no effort to seek out the King that was born, to worship Him. Herod did want to know where He was but in order to kill Him. The religionists were indifferent. They knew their Scriptures but they had no heart for their Messiah.
The ways of God are past finding out (Rom. 11: 33). A Roman emperor gives a decree for a census to be held in his empire (Luke 2: 1-2). Joseph, a son of David, takes his pregnant wife Mary to the city of David to be registered (Matt. 1: 20; Luke 2: 3-5). Mary gives birth to a baby boy (Luke 2: 6-7). Micah 5: 2 is fulfilled and Isaiah 7: 14 also.
The Life of David (11)
David's Son in the Gospel by Luke
If Isaiah 9: 6-7 in the Old Testament describes the greatness and glory of the One who will sit on David's throne, Luke 1: 26-35 and 67-80 in the New Testament provide the same instruction in different features.
He Shall be Great (v. 32)
If the angel had said, "He is great," he would have been correct. Jesus is the great God (Titus 2: 20). The angel's declaration was about a babe to be born in David's house. The Son of David was to be great. In His manhood He was to manifest a greatness that superseded all the great men of the Old Testament. David was incapable of curing his sick son, or raising him to life when he died (2 Sam. 12: 15-23). Jesus, his great Son, raised a young man to life and those who saw the miracle glorified God and said, "A great Prophet has been raised up amongst us" (Luke 7: 11-17). When the woman whom Jesus met at Sychar's well asked Him, "Art Thou greater than our father Jacob," the answer is "Yes, He is" (John 4: 6-30). Jacob provided natural water to allay bodily thirst. Jesus supplied living water to satisfy spiritual thirst. When the Pharisees asked Jesus if He was greater than Abraham, the answer is "Yes, He is." He existed before Abraham was born (John 8: 53-59). The day will dawn when Jesus will implement the promises made to Abraham. Abraham built altars and made sacrifices. Jesus is the ante-type of an altar and a sacrifice. Matthew 12: 6 presents Jesus as greater than the Temple (vv. 22-29), greater than Satan (v. 41), greater than Jonah, and in verse 42 greater than Solomon. Great Prophet, Priest and King and great enough to subdue the forces of evil. Jesus is truly great. The great salvation that Jesus secured (Heb. 2: 3) was great for three reasons:
- Because of the Person who accomplished it.
- Because of the far reaching effects for untold millions of people. The church, Israel and the nations, the cleansed earth are all beneficiaries of the great salvation.
- In it was manifested the greater love that Jesus spoke about in John 15: 13.
After the work of salvation was accomplished and Jesus was placed in the tomb, the victory of resurrection saw the great Shepherd of the sheep rise out from amongst the dead. "Death could not hold its prey." In ascending to God's right hand Jesus was glorified and is described in Hebrews 4: 14 as the great High Priest. Israel had High Priests but never a great High Priest like Jesus, the Son of God. When Jesus comes to establish His kingdom and to sit on David's throne, He will come in great glory and in great power (Matt. 24: 30; Mark 13: 36). During the Kingdom He shall be great unto the ends of the earth and will be the Peace (Micah 5: 4-5). How solemn to consider that on the day of final judgment this great and glorious Person shall sit upon a great white throne (not David's) and dispense righteous and unerring judgment. Praise God that because we have received blessing through the great salvation we shall never stand before the great white throne. In closing this section we might well use the language of the Old Testament in relation to Isaac and apply it to our Saviour and Lord. "And the man became great, and he became continually greater, until he was very great" (Gen. 26: 13).
The Son of the Highest (v. 32)
David's Son is none other than the Son of the Highest. This Name indicates the great dignity and power of the One who in relationship with God, and in nature Himself God, will fill the throne of David. Melchisedec is described as the priest of the Most High God, and also as King of righteousness and King of Salem (Gen. 14: 18; Heb. 7: 2). Abram, the Friend of God, is referred to as Abram of the Most High God who made him independent of a king's offer of wealth (Gen. 14: 18-24). In Daniel 3: 26 Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego are addressed by King Nebuchadnezzar as "servants of the Most High God." God, the Most High, had a remarkable priest; a friend in whom He could confide; and servants who were faithful to Him. But a Son, and such a Son, is nearer to the heart of the Most High God than ever priest, friend or servants could be. David unfortunately had sons who were unworthy of him and many who filled his throne were a disgrace to his name, but the Son of the Most High will fill David's throne with superlative worth for the glory of God. There will be an accurate representation of God in His righteousness and power. This will involve the overcoming of Satanic power and influence. A picture of this victory is seen in the healing of Legion, the man possessed with many demons. In Mark 5: 1-26 and Luke 8: 26-39 demons recognize Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of the Most High God. The possessed man had been in torment and every effort to curb his violence and misery had proved ineffective. But Jesus, in Divine power, ordered the unclean spirits to leave him. They obeyed a command they could not disobey. The result for the man was marvellous. He obtained peace and clarity of mind and suitably clothed he became a testimony to the amazing power of God. He became a mouthpiece to proclaim the greatness of Jesus. There is much Satanic influence abroad in the nations today. The ruler and god of this world, Satan, has permeated every strata of society. His corrupting influence is obvious everywhere. Politics, philosophies, religion and all well-meaning organisations are impotent in the face of Satan's power. Every failed effort to curb evil seems to give it more energy and power. Will there ever be a solution to the power of evil? The answer is "Yes." When the Son of the Most High sits on the throne of David illimitable, omnipotent power will overwhelm the forces of evil and Satan himself, and the world will be liberated from its bondage. When that takes place, and it will, there will be glory to God and a testimony rendered to the greatness of Jesus (Rom. 8: 18-23).
The Son of God
No pen is adequate to describe the greatness of the Son of God. His greatness is set forth in the Holy Scriptures in an abundance of testimonies. Every feature of true Deity and true Manhood is expressed in Him. The angel's announcement to Mary the virgin expresses in precise language how great He is. He is not conceived in Mary's womb by human generation. He is conceived by the power of the Highest and the Holy Spirit. In this mysterious and profound transaction the unique glory of the Son is carefully guarded. When born He is to be holy. Not a vestige of Adam's fall is connected with the birth of the Son of God into this world. He was intrinsically holy. He was born holy and lived a holy life without a stain of evil. As the Holy One made sin He accomplished the work of redemption that sinners might be made holy. How well He did His great work! As the reference to the Son of God is in the passage where David's throne is mentioned it may be appropriate to refer to passages where the Son of God is mentioned in relation to the coming Kingdom.
Nathanael's testimony to Jesus in John 1: 49 is a beautiful recognition of this greatness. No doubt inspired by the Spirit of God Nathanael exclaimed, "Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God, Thou art the King of Israel." What a Son for God! What a King for Israel!
There are four glimpses of the coming Kingdom in the New Testament. All point to the unique greatness of the Son of God (Matt. 17: 1-8, Mark 9: 2-8, Luke 9: 29-36 and 2 Peter 2: 16-18). In each of these pictures of the future Kingdom, the Father's voice draws attention to His beloved Son. There will be great and illustrious persons taking part in the administration of the Kingdom, but towering above them all will be God's glorious Son. David was well nigh heart-broken by the selfish rebellion of his son Absalom and his eventual death but God will be satisfied completely with the reign of His well-beloved Son. "The pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in His hand" (Isa. 53: 10).
It is the Son who shall subject all things to God's will in the Kingdom. The Kingdom over which the Son of God shall reign shall never deteriorate or be diminished. No enemy is powerful enough to overthrow it. No internal dissension shall undermine His authority. Psalm 2, which presents the Son/King, portrays Him ruling with a rod (sceptre) of iron. Evil shall be effectively curbed which will make way for righteousness to be paramount. Empires and dynasties come and go for various reasons. The Son shall hand over His Kingdom to His God and Father, that God-Father, Son and Holy Spirit-may be all in all. God cannot be anything less than all. The triumph of His counsel and purpose is that He will be all in all created beings for all eternity (1 Cor. 15: 24-28).
In Hebrews 1: 8 the Son is addressed as God. His throne is to last for ever-no breakdown for one thousand years (Rev. 20: 1-6). His upright sceptre will assure that righteousness reigns. Wonderful assurance for faith! One said aptly many years ago: "He died to remove what He hated in order to maintain what He loved."
The dayspring or sunrising is the harbinger of a new day. It was a new day in Israel's history when David, the son of Jesse, the warrior king, ruled undisputed over Israel and the adjoining nations. Unfortunately, that victorious time was eventually forfeited because of the unfaithfulness of the nation of Israel. Through the long years of Gentile domination over Israel, broken briefly by the revival depicted in Ezra and Nehemiah, the Nation longed for deliverance from its enemies. Their prophets foretold that light would come which would dispel the darkness and despair of their bondage (See Isa. 9: 1-7; 60: 1-3, 15-22). Zecharias thought that these prophecies and many more were about to be fulfilled in the One born in David's house. John, his son, was to be the prophet of the Highest to introduce the Messiah to Israel (Acts 13: 24-25). When Jesus was presented to Israel, the Nation through its leaders refused to acknowledge Him. They rejected Him and crucified Him. There was no doubt about that. Matthew 4: 14-16, a quotation of Isaiah 9: 1-2, was a partial fulfilment of the prophecy. As Israel's day turned into darkness it must wait until a coming day for the complete and literal fulfilment of the ancient prophecies and promises. That the light of another world had dawned in the coming of Jesus was borne out in His own words in the Gospel by John (John 1: 1-4, 9; John 3: 19; John 8: 12; John 9: 5; John 12: 35, 46). How sad that except for a few, the light was refused. The darkness didn't apprehend the light and men loved darkness rather than light (John 1: 5; John 3: 19-20). They still love darkness in modern times. However, after the death and resurrection of Jesus, divine light in all its brilliance became available for all who believe in Jesus and His wonderful redemptive work. That light streams from the face of the exalted and glorious Son of God (2 Cor. 4: 4-6). Peter describes the light as marvellous and so it is (1 Peter 2: 9). John in his epistle said "the darkness is passing and the true light already shines." Paul, Peter and John are united in informing us that for the believer in Jesus darkness has been dispelled and divine light is shining, not to expose, but to bring into sharp focus the great things that love and light have secured for the children of light.
The Horn of Deliverance
Horns in Holy Scripture symbolise power. Two passages will suffice to prove this. In Revelation 17: 12-13 there are ten horns which are crowned with royal diadems. They depict ten powers that give their power and authority to the beast which is the revived Roman power. Zacharias in his great prophetic utterance by the Holy Spirit blessed the Lord God of Israel for raising up a horn of deliverance or salvation in the house of David His servant. No doubt Psalm 132: 17-18 was in his mind as he uttered these words. There the Psalmist said, "There (in Zion) will I cause the horn of David to bud forth... His enemies will I clothe with shame." Zacharias was expectant that that prophecy and many more like it were about to be fulfilled in the babe that was to be born in David's house. Sadly that was not to be. Jesus in His public life of service for God manifested His power in a great variety of ways. Satan's power was broken in the lives of many. The dead were raised, demons were cast out and many forms of illness were healed. The versatility of the power of Jesus brought blessing into the lives of many. Matthew 4: 23-25 presents the gospel of the King, the Son of David, and gives an epitome of the great service of Jesus. Did Israel embrace its opportunity to have deliverance through the horn that God had raised up? No. The envy of Israel's leaders, and the blindness of the unrepentant Nation refused to acknowledge the rightful claims of the Messiah and eventually crucified Him. Israel's deliverance, so vividly described in the prophetic Scriptures, was put in abeyance and awaits the great day when its omnipotent Deliverer will come from Zion. He will deal with their ungodliness and set them free from their enemies (Rom. 11: 26-28. See also Zeph. 3: 14-20 and Isa. 11 and 12).
Many centuries have passed since Jesus was rejected and crucified by Israel and Rome. In this period the delivering power of Jesus has been experienced by millions of people in almost every nation in the world. Eternal salvation is theirs because of their deliverance from the power or authority of darkness (Heb. 5: 9). The Father accomplished this great work of deliverance because Jesus broke the power of Satan when He died and rose triumphantly from the dead (Col. 1: 12-14). Paul testified in 2 Cor. 1: 9-10 that day by day deliverance was experienced by him and his companions as they served God. Many can testify to the same deliverance. "The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of trial" said Peter (2 Peter 2: 9). Jesus is an all-the-way-home-Saviour. Praise God, He has delivered us from the coming wrath that will sweep over the world after the church is caught up to glory (1 Thess. 1: 10; 1 Thess. 5: 9).
The Great One-the Son of the Highest-the Son of God-the Dayspring-the Horn of Deliverance, such are the glories of the One who will sit on David's throne. The Lord Jesus, because of who He is, will bear all these glories with the perfect distinction that belongs to each of them. He will bring glory to God and to Israel and the nations. How infinitely great He is!
The Life of David (12)
The Gospel According to David
"God's glad tidings," said Paul, is "concerning His Son (come of David's seed according to flesh, marked out Son of God in power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by resurrection of the dead)" (Rom. 1: 1-4). Wonderful honour for David to find himself mentioned in such august company: God, His Son and the Holy Spirit. These are glad tidings indeed that present the operations of the Trinity for the blessing of mankind. Paul, in 2 Timothy 2: 8, refers to his glad tidings. They too were concerning Jesus Christ, God's Son (Eph. 3: 8). He exhorted Timothy to remember Jesus Christ of the seed of David who was raised from the dead. Paul was reminding his young brother in Christ, and his fellow-servant, that the power of God that raised Christ from the dead was available for all who were suffering for the truth of the glad tidings. It is important to remember that it was to a son of David that an angel of the Lord disclosed the wonderful news that the babe that was to be born to the virgin Mary was none other than Jesus, Jehovah the Saviour, who would save Israel from their sins. David is very much connected with the glad tidings.
David, being a prophet, was inspired to write about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus (Ps. 16: 8-11). Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, used David's words when he preached to thousands of Jews on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, David's city. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus constitutes the body and soul of the gospel message. The spotless and sinless life of Jesus was necessary for the presenting Himself as an offering to God. His abandonment and death on the cross at Golgotha was necessary to deal with sin and sins, the root and fruit. The resurrection was God's vindication of all that Jesus had accomplished for Him and others. Paul preached this bondage-breaking message (Acts 13: 23-39). Note how he testified that Jesus was of David's seed. The death and resurrection of Jesus were central in Paul's preaching to the Corinthians and to the Athenians (1 Cor. 15: 1-4; Acts 17: 31-32). Peter, in his preaching in the home of Cornelius, presented the same fundamental features of the glad tidings (Acts 10: 36-43). Any preaching that omits or ignores these features is not the glad tidings of God (See Gal. 1: 6-9).
What is the result of believing in God's glad tidings? Let David tell us. "Blessed (happy) they whose lawlessnesses have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered: blessed (happy) the man to whom the Lord shall not at all reckon sin" (Psalm 32: 1-2 quoted by Paul in Romans 4: 6-8). For those who believe in Jesus regarding the truth of His death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins happiness is the positive result. Happiness is an elusive thing in modern society. It is like a will-o'-the-wisp and sought for in fame, wealth, materialism, sport, the arts, and sad to say in disgusting and depraved pursuits. Whatever pleasure and happiness is found in these things is temporary (Heb. 11: 25; Rom. 1: 32). The forgiveness of sins through believing in the Person and work of Jesus brings lasting peace and happiness to the believer. There is no other provision for the forgiveness of sins. The Ethiopian eunuch went on his way rejoicing when he received forgiveness through the work of Jesus (Acts 8: 27-39). He immediately showed his gratitude for his blessing by being baptised to the Name of Jesus. The Philippian jailer received the testimony concerning Jesus. He was saved and rejoiced with all his house (Acts 16: 25-34). True and lasting happiness is found when there is repentance toward God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
David's glad tidings bring a warning to the careless and disobedient. Israel refused salvation in the Person of Jesus, the Messiah, and also the testimony of His servant Stephen (Acts 7: 51-60). Consequently, God's just government operated towards them. In Romans 11: 7-10 Paul quotes from Psalm 69: 22-23 and shows how David invokes God's judgment on those who persecute His Servant and reject His offers of blessing. See verses 19-21 which refer to the sorrows and persecution of Jesus. Those who refuse God's offer of salvation through Jesus suffer the inevitable consequences of their folly. In 3: 7-12 and Hebrews 4: 7 Paul uses David's words in Psalm 95: 7-11 to remind the Hebrew believers in Jesus that Israel refused to enter into the promised land because they hardened their heart against God and His promise. They were afraid of the powerful inhabitants of Canaan entrenched in their walled cities. Those who left Egypt and refused to enter Canaan perished in the wilderness journey of forty years. All perished except Joshua and Caleb because they wholly followed the Lord. A new generation arose that entered into the land under Joshua's leadership. The Hebrew believers to whom Paul wrote were in danger of turning away from their faith in Christ and being led back to Judaism. The spiritual approach to God was in danger of being superseded by the old ceremonial and material approach. Paul gives them David's warning. "But harden not your heart. There will be serious consequences." The Lord Jesus in the parable of the sower warns His hearers about the danger of a hard heart. It is resistant to the seed of the Word and is open to the power of Satan and circumstances (Matt. 13: 19-20. See also Acts 19: 9 and Rom. 2: 5).
The last appeal to the unconverted in the New Testament is in Revelation 22: 16-17, where Jesus, the root and offspring of David, says, "And let him that is athirst come; he that will, let him take the water of life freely." Many people are thirsting after the putrid and stagnant waters of this temporary life. Oh that there might be a revival of interest in the living water that only Jesus can give (John 4: 13-14). Israel forsook God, the fountain of living waters and hewed for themselves broken cisterns that could not contain water (Jer. 2: 12-13). These ancient evils abound today but, praise God, the invitation to come and drink the living water is still available.
David's glad tidings can be summed up in the following features:
God the source;
Jesus Christ the substance;
Happiness the result of acceptance;
Judgement the consequence of refusal;
An abundant supply of living water available for all who will come to Jesus.