The Davidic Covenant, part I

Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the promise of God to the royal line of David.

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We are studying Eschatology and at the moment we are looking particularly at the unfolding of the covenantal program of the word of God. And my basic contention has been that there is one great eternal covenant of redemption which is unfolded in a series of historical covenants. And we are looking at the historical covenants in which the details of the eternal covenant of redemption are set forth and unfolded.

We have been saying by way of introduction that the basic biblical promises are those of the Abrahamic Covenant. Now, what we mean by that, of course, is that these are the basic, historical, biblical promises. The story of the Bible is the record of the path along which Israel moves toward their fulfillment. It’s not surprising that from the beginning of the 12th chapter of the Book of Genesis on through the Bible, the theme of the Abrahamic Covenant is predominant in the unfolding of God’s program. You remember that God promised Abram a seed, he promised him a land, and he promised him a royal line. He said that kings should come out of him.

We have also considered a number of the other covenants. We have considered the Adamic Covenant or the Edenic Covenant, the covenant of works made in the Garden of Eden. We have considered the Mosaic Covenant. We have considered the Noahic Covenant. And we have also considered the Palestinian Covenant. We made the point in our last study, that the Palestinian Covenant is really a renewal of the Mosaic Covenant. And that this Palestinian Covenant is a conditional covenant that regulates Israel’s possession, not the title, of the promises, particularly the promise of the land.

The Abrahamic Covenant, on the other hand, is an unconditional covenant and, consequently, the promises are not dependent in any way upon man. God has determined that he will fulfill this covenant. He has introduced the Mosaic and introduced the Palestinian Covenant to regulate the possession of those promises, but the title to them belongs to the recipients, and they will be fulfilled. Now, of course the time of fulfillment is set forth in the word generally, but the specific time is in the hands of God.

We are turning to the study of the Davidic Covenant, the covenant that God made with David which also is an unconditional covenant and an extremely important covenant for premillennialism. If you will remember back a number of weeks ago, we studied premillennialism, postmillennialism, and amillennialism, and sought to show that premillennialism is the teaching of the Scriptures. It is of the greatest importance for premillennialism that we understand the Davidic Covenant. It is the foundational covenant for the belief that there shall be an earthly kingdom of God.

Occasionally, if you come into contact with people who do not believe that there is going to be a kingdom of God upon the earth, you may hear them say something like this, “The only basis for the idea that there is going to be an earthly and literal kingdom is Revelation chapter 20, verses 4 through 6. And since Revelation is a very symbolical book composed of a great number of visions and other types of material given in symbol, you cannot expect us to take a passage such as that literally. And, consequently, the idea of a kingdom is not really a Biblical idea.” That one passage is the only passage that appears to support it, and only if we pour into it all of the content of the Old Testament and its so-called Messianic promises.

I think that we’re going to see, as we look at various passages, that that is an utter travesty of what the Bible teaches. For while the length of the kingdom is given in the Book of Revelation, the fact of the kingdom is prophesized in passage after passage after passage of the Scriptures. So it is not true to say that the only Scriptural basis for the theory of a kingdom of God upon the earth is found in Revelation chapter 20. It is the only passage which tells us the specific length of that kingdom, but there are countless passages that affirm the fact of a kingdom of God upon the earth.

Well, let’s turn to take a look at the Davidic Covenant in history and psalm, then we want to take a look at the Davidic Covenant and Prophecy, and finally conclude with a reference briefly to the Davidic Covenant in the gospels in Luke chapter 1, verse 26 through verse 33. We want to look at the Davidic Covenant in history and psalm. The Abrahamic Covenant now is the root from which the other covenants grow. The Palestinian Covenant centers attention upon the land. The Davidic Covenant centers attention upon the kingdom.

Now, I want you to turn with me back to Genesis chapter 17 in verse 6 so that we will remember the text in which in the Abrahamic Covenant specific reference is made to the fact that God would give Abraham a royal line. Genesis chapter 17 in verse 6. Now, it is said in Genesis 17:6: “And I will make thee exceedingly fruitful and I will make nations of thee and kings, (Notice that word. In fact, you should underline it in your Bible.) Kings shall come out of thee.”

Now, that lets us know that the Davidic Covenant which unfolds the nature of the kingdom and the king is a covenant related to the Abrahamic Covenant. It, in a sense, is an expansion of it. It’s an exposition of it. Now, when we come to the New Covenant, we will see that that covenant unfolds and expands the idea of a seed which is also one of the features of the Abrahamic Covenant. So the Abrahamic Covenant is the broad covenant which considers the seed, the kingdom, the land, and these other covenants expound in greater detail aspects of those Abrahamic promises. They’re all related, and all of them together unfold in history the Eternal Covenant of Redemption.

We’re going to look at three accounts of the Davidic Covenant. The first one is 2 Samuel chapter 7, verse 1 through verse 17, and we will just use that as our Scripture reading, 2 Samuel chapter 7, verses 1 through 17. Now, in case you may have forgotten, you are in a theology course. And one of the important things in theology is to recognize the fact that there are usually normative passages that are the key texts for certain doctrines. Almost all of the doctrines of the Bible have normative passages, key passages that unfold in greater detail than any other passage the significant features of the particular doctrine. For example, the normative passage for the Abrahamic Covenant is Genesis chapter 12, of course. The normative passage for the Noahic Covenant is Genesis chapter 9. There are many other references to these covenants, but those passages are the normative passages. When we come to the Doctrine of Justification by faith, the normative passage is Romans chapter 3, verse 21 through verse 26. That’s the normative passage. There are many other passages that unfold important details with reference to justification by faith, but that’s the normative passage. If we think, for example, of the Doctrine of the Rapture, the normative passage, though not the only passage where it is referred to, the normative passage is 1Thessalonians chapter 4, verse 13 through verse 18.

Now, let’s turn to 2 Samuel chapter 7, and we want to read beginning with verse 1. Remember the context. David has reached a point in his kingship in which he has been brought to rest from all his enemies. And reflecting upon the things that God has done for him and expressing the gratitude that he has because of the things that God has done in choosing him and bringing him to the kingdom, bringing him success and victory over the enemies of God, he expresses an aspiration which God, of course, rejects but answers with this great covenant, a great covenant which to the end of David’s days was the covenant that stirred his heart and gave him hope with reference to the future.

In 2 Samuel chapter 23 when David is about to die, he expresses his great longing for the kingdom that God had promised him. So this was a momentous event in the life of King David. We read in verse 1:

“And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies; That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains. And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the Lord is with thee. And it came to pass that night, that the word of the Lord came unto Nathan, saying, Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the Lord, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. And in all the places in which I have walked with all the children of Israel spoke I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar? Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel: And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men who are in the earth. Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as formerly, And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house. (Now here come the stipulations of the covenant.) And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thine own body, and I will establish his kingdom. (Now, it is evident he speaks of Solomon here. And remember in the Bible since David is king and Solomon is king and since our Lord is king, all the kings of Israel are typical of the great king who is to come.) He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. (Now, here he promises that he will chastise Israelitish kings when they are disobedient but he will not take away his mercy. He will fulfill his covenant to the line.) And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.”

These three accounts that we’re going to take a look at are accounts which each one looks at the Davidic Covenant. In this account, we have the broadest of all the accounts. And when I think of this account, I like to think of a floodlight. Just as a floodlight throws light on everything round about, but does not focus upon any one particular thing, especially, so this prophecy is the floodlight of Davidic prophecy. It looks over the entire history of the development of the kingdom from the time of David and Solomon on down to the time of its fulfillment in our Lord Jesus Christ.

I want you to notice specifically the things that are promised. First of all, there is a seed promised, verse 12: “I will set up thy seed after thee.” In other words, David is to have successors, not only are they to be successors, but they are actually to come from him, so that they can be said to be sons of David. Now, you of course know that our Lord Jesus was a son of David and is referred to frequently by the people in the land in which he lived as the son of David. So the promise then is that the line of David will always be the royal line, that the right to rule in the kingdom of God upon the earth is limited to the seed of David. That was hinted at, back in the 49th chapter of the Book of Genesis in one of the great prophecies of that book, in Genesis chapter 49 in verse 10 in Jacob’s prophetic blessing. We read in the 10th verse: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, so Judah is the royal tribe. Judah the tribe of David is the tribe from which the kings of Israel shall come and the king who rules in the kingdom of God upon the earth shall be of the tribe of Judah. Of course you know our Lord Jesus was of the tribe of Judah.

The second thing that is promised is a throne. We read in verse 13: “He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever.” And again in verse 16, right at he end of the verse. “Thy throne shall be established for ever.” A permanent throne shall be established through Solomon.

Now, it is of — I think of great interest to notice in this prophecy that Solomon was promised or that the permanent throne was promised through Solomon. Solomon was not promised a perpetual seed, but an enduring throne and a kingdom, “He shall build an house for my name and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever,” speaking about Solomon in verse 13. So in the case of Solomon, we have this prophecy made that his seed would not be the enduring seed. Evidently, some change is going to take place in the succession in such a way that Solomon’s literal seed will not be sitting upon the throne, but the seed of some other member of the Davidic line will be sitting upon the throne. But the throne, the throne will come from Solomon. So he is promised an enduring throne.

Now, that introduces a very interesting question. How is it possible then for the one who rules upon the throne to have his throne from Solomon, but yet not be Solomon’s seed? Now, we shall see when the Lord Jesus comes that he inherits the right to the throne from Joseph who is a descendent of David through Solomon, but he himself is a descendent of Mary through Nathan, another of the sons of Solomon. And so that in the case of the Lord Jesus, he is the son of David by Nathan but he received the throne from Joseph, a descendent of David through Solomon who had the right to the throne. Thus the throne, not the seed, came through Solomon. Now, that is of great importance and in a moment we’ll try to outline some other significance related to it.

The third thing that was promised to David, a kingdom, verse 12 again: “I will establish his kingdom,” the clause that concludes verse 12. And then again in verse 16: “and thine house and thy kingdom shall be established.” This term “kingdom” implies not only a reign but a realm. That is, there will not only be rule, the exercise of authority, but there will also be a realm, a place in which that authority is exercised. And this realm is a worldwide authority. The principle of discipline is in effect with members of the line from Solomon, as we read in verse 14: “I will be his father, he shall be my son. If he commit inequity, I will chasten him with a rod of men and with the stripes of the children of men, but thine mercy shall not depart away from him as I took it from Saul whom I put away before thee.”

So we notice here then and interesting condition or an interesting fact that regulates the possession of these promises and the exercise of them, just as the Palestinian Covenant regulates the possession of the land. The kings, if they are disobedient, will be chastised by God. But the promise is not violated by their disobedience. The mercy of the gift of the promises is theirs, but if they are disobedient, then, of course, they lose not title to the promises but the exercise of their title, the possession, the benefits, the enjoyment of that which is really theirs. Well, that’s the reference in the 2 Samuel.

We want to now turn to the second one, 1 Chronicles chapter 17 and we will read verse 11, verse 12, verse 13, and verse 14. This prophecy of the Davidic Covenant and kingdom I personally like to liken to a spotlight because here, instead of having the floodlight look at the Davidic line and its ultimate centering in our Lord Jesus, in this particular account the attention is directed to our Lord, Solomon fades from the picture. Solomon, as far as I can tell, is not referred to at all in the account in 1 Chronicles. That is all left out. This becomes practically a predictive prophecy of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Notice, that in this 1 Chronicles account, there is no reference to the sin of the king, no reference to the need to chastise him, but simply the Messianic promises of a king, a seed, and a kingdom. Verse 11, 1 Chronicles chapter 17, page 479, in case you’re still looking:

“And it shall come to pass, when thy days be ended that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, who shall be of thy sons; (notice he says I will raise up thy seed after thee who shall be of thy sons.) and I will establish his kingdom. (Did I tell you the wrong, some of you are still looking. That’s page 479 in the new Scofield Bible, it’s on the right-hand side of the page, the right-hand column, and it is in black, not red. Verse 12,) “He shall build me an house, and I will establish his throne for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee: But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.” Here the Holy Spirit, through Nathan the prophet, like a spotlight focuses attention upon the seed, the Lord Jesus Christ. That former prophecy was typical; this one may be totally predictive. But the same essential promises are made. There is a kingdom; there is a throne; there is a seed.”

Let’s turn now to Psalm 89 for our 3rd passage, Psalm 89. This beautiful psalm, Psalm 89, is both a confirmation and an exposition of the Davidic Covenant, but this exposition is in lyrical form. The situation, I think, is of interest for understanding Psalm 89. [The] reborn king of Judah has apostatized, has practically become the vassal of another king. And evidently, there were people in the land who, because of the affairs of the nation, began to wonder if those great promises that had been made to David were really going to be fulfilled, because it is evident that since the Davidic kings have now become disobedient and apostate that they’re totally out of the will of God. So what about those great Davidic promises that had been made to David? Are they still valid?

Psalm 89 answers this. It was written by Ethan sometime after the giving of the Davidic Covenant. And in this Psalm, we’re going to see that there is a kind of searchlight thrown upon the Davidic promises, and particularly upon our Lord. And certain aspects of our Lord and his ministry are unfolded here which are not unfolded in the covenants as they are given in 2 Samuel 7 and 1 Chronicles chapter 17. The key words of this Psalm are “loving-kindness” and “faithfulness.”

Now, the word “loving-kindness” is translated mercy. It’s the Hebrew word checed. Now, you’ll find present-day Hebrew scholars refer to this word as a word that means loyal love. In fact, you can probably tell a seminary student from other individuals, you can tell him if he uses the term loyal love, he probably has been to theological seminary. It’s a kind of jargonistic word used in theological seminaries for the Hebrew word checed, which means faithful love of God, loyal love. Now, you listen and you will pick out seminary students when you hear them saying that, you’ll say ah, he’s a seminary student. He’s using the jargon they use over on Swiss Avenue. So that’s one word. The other word is the word faithfulness, emuwnah, that word is also found here. Let me read a few of the passages in which we find it, verse 1:

“I will sing of the mercies of the Lord (That is of the loving-kindnesses of the loyal love of the Lord.) with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness unto all generations.” Verse 2: “For I have said, loyal love shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.” Verse 5: “And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.” Verse 8: “or to thy faithfulness round about thee?” Verse 24: “But my faithfulness” (and again) my mercy, (my loving-kindness, my loyal love) shall be with him.” Verse 28: “My loyal love will I keep for him for evermore.” Verse 33: “Nevertheless, my loving kindness (that is my loyal love) will I not utterly take from him nor allow my faithfulness to fail. And in Verse 49 near the end of the Psalm: “Lord, where are thy former loyal loves, which thou didst swear unto David in thy truth?” (or in thy faithfulness.)

Now, I didn’t read every passage. There was one that I omitted. It’s not too important. If you read through, you’ll discover that this word “loyal love” and the other word “faithfulness” are characteristic of this Psalm. Now, the reason for this, of course, is that this Psalm is designed to show Israel that those Davidic promises are still in force. They were validly given by God. And further he said that there was no disobedience on the part of the kings or on the part of Israel that would prevent him from ultimately fulfilling his promises. He will fulfill them.

Now, why will he fulfill them? Why he will fulfill them and he knows that he will fulfill them because he knows that he will induce faith in the heart of Israel and its king in a latter day. That’s how he knows that. If he were dependent upon the so-called free will of man, and if it were true that men truly had a free will, then God himself could not know what was going to come to pass in the future. If he could know, then they would not have free will, because it would be a necessity that at a point in time someone should turn. But since we know that free will is not a biblical doctrine at all since the fall, we know that God is going to give faith at a point in time at his own omniscient good pleasure and at that point he will bring to pass his promises. That’s how he can know. He knows his promises will be fulfilled because he has foreordained them to be fulfilled at a certain time in a certain way. That’s why he knows. That, of course, is why you and I don’t know the precise time, too.

Now, we are going to look just specifically at the key points of this 89th Psalm. And I think I have put it in the outline in connection with this Psalm: the person chosen, the promises that are made, and the permanence that is sworn. Now, I want you to notice specifically, first of all, how the searchlight of the Holy Spirit is thrown on the person who is going to fulfill the promises.

Now, the Lord responds to the psalmist, and he speaks of the typical king. Verse 19: “Then thou did speak in vision to thy holy one,” You see, up to this time the psalmist has been singing about the mercies and the faithfulness of the Lord, but he is wondering whether God is going to fulfill his promises. And so now the answer comes.

“Then thou didst speak in vision to thy holy one, and sadist, I have laid help upon one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people. I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him: With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not exact from him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him. And I will beat down his foes before him, and plague those who hate him. But my faithfulness and my covenant shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted.”

So you can see in these verses 19 through 23, I read the 24th by error. The Lord responds. He speaks of the typical king who is going to fulfill these promises and calls him David, David his servant, because the Lord Jesus is the greater son of David. Now, having said that he turns from the promises themselves and reminds Ethan of the promises, verse 24:

“But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.”

That statement by the way shows us that he is speaking of more than David, the ancient king: “I will make him my first born higher than the kings of the earth.” In other words, the king is going to be sovereign over all the kings of the earth. He alludes, of course, to the fact that the Lord Jesus at his second advent shall establish a kingdom in which he shall rule and reign over the whole of the earth: “My mercy will I keep for him for ever more, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.”

Now, here’s the same catalog of blessings that we find in 2 Samuel. David is promised a seed. He is promised a throne. He is promised a kingdom. Look at verse 29A: “His seed also shall I make to endure for ever,” Look at verse 29B: “His throne as the days of heaven.” Verse 25: “I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers” a reference to the fact that he has authority over the earth or kingdom.

Now, let’s look at the permanence, because this is the important thing. He is trying to show Ethan, and through Ethan, Israel, that the apostasy of Rehoboam does not cancel the promises of God. Verse 30, now here are the same two aspects that we find in 2 Samuel. He’s going to talk about the contingency of disobedience, and then he’s going to talk about the certainty of fulfillment. First of all: “If his children forsake my law, and walk not in mine ordinances, If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.” In other words, I will chastise Israel, and I will chastise the kings if they are disobedient.

But now having said that, notice how verse 33 begins: “Nevertheless even though they may disobey me, (even though they may be disobedient, even though it is necessary for me to exercise discipline, even though I must chastise them, nevertheless) my loving kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor allow my faithfulness to fail. My covenant, will I not break, nor will I alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever like the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven.”

Now, in the light of this, I ask you this question: In the light of this great promise that God has made to David in 2 Samuel chapter 7, the floodlight that he has thrown over the whole of the Davidic line in the light of the reiteration of those promises in 1 Chronicles chapter 17 and the spotlight that he has thrown upon the king, who is the king the Lord Jesus, and the searchlight in which he has unfolded the conditions again and has argued that they depend upon his own faithfulness, I ask you how is it possible for us to believe, how is it possible for us to think that the Bible should teach, that there is not going to be a kingdom of God upon the earth in which David will have a seed and a throne and a kingdom?

Now, that is precisely what our amillennial friends would like to say. They would like to say to us that when the Lord Jesus Christ came, the Davidic promises were fulfilled in him, and that he is seated in heaven upon the Davidic throne at the present time.

And that he is the seed. We grant of course he is the seed, in the sense that he’s the kernel of the seed . That is the throne, and the kingdom that he has is not a kingdom in which the whole of the earth as we know are — is in his hands, but rather we should think of a spiritual kingdom and not an earthly kingdom at all: I will set his hand also in the sea and the right hand in the rivers, that is not to be fulfilled in literal fashion.

Do you not see that God has gone out of his way, as much out of his way, as much out of his way as he possibly can, to affirm that this depends on his loyal love? I’m over on Swiss Avenue. And upon his faithfulness, and it’s so striking the way that he concludes verse 37 that I cannot help but cite the Hebrew text here because where you read in the Authorized Version and as a faithful witness in heaven, the Hebrew text says at this point the witness in the sky is faithful. The witness in the sky is faithful. If you have a New American Standard Bible you’ll find that that’s what you have in your text. It shall be established forever like the moon (he’s talking about the throne) and the witness in the sky is faithful. Now, what is that but God going out of his way to say to stubborn, disobedient, rebelling man, I keep my word?

Many years ago I read a story which Harold Sinjin, a Bible teacher in the last generation, told about an experience that he had when he was in the United States of America. He said many years ago, he chanced to be in the city of New Orleans in the United States and he chatted one night with an old-time resident of the city. His family had lived there for generations, so he was told. And he told Mr. Sinjin a simple incident. He said, you know in the old times we used to have outbreaks of the most virulent outbreaks of fever. A relative of his, his father, he thought it may have been his grandfather, Mr. Sinjin said, was walking outside the city when he saw a little boy about seven years of age lying on the grass beside the main road evidently in a raging fever. The good man went over to him and he bent over the child and he said, “What are you doing here?”

And the little boy replied, “I’m waiting for God.”

“Waiting for God?,” the other man said, “What do you mean?”

Well, the little boy said simply, “Father died on Monday, my brother died on Tuesday, and my mother died last night, and I’m the only one left. And mother said before she went that I must wait for God and that he would come and care for me.”

“Oh,” said the man, “you’re mother said that?”

“Yes,” the child replied, “and mother never told a lie.”

And then Mr. Sinjin went on to make the point which I think should be obvious to us that the little boy’s trust was in his mother’s character and in his mother’s word. He said mother said that someone — that God would come and take care of me and mother does not lie.

It’s very striking that the Bible relates all of our assurance for our salvation to the character of God and to his word. Over and over again the Bible says this is the record that God has given to us eternal life in the Lord Jesus who offered a sacrifice for our sins upon the cross at Calvary, and I’m faithful to those promises that are related to the suffering of the Savior. Our salvation rests upon the word of God and the character of God. Those are our two great supports. And it’s very striking to me that this Davidic Covenant and the Abrahamic Covenant, all of these unconditional covenants, each one of them is also related to the word of God and to the character of God. And here after giving all his promises which are his word, and God does not tell a lie, he even goes out of his way to say, “And the witness in the sky is faithful.” He doesn’t tell a lie. So I don’t know how you feel about the Davidic promises, but I believe they’re going to be fulfilled because they depend upon God’s word and also upon his character.

Well, now let’s turn to the Davidic Covenant and Prophecy. The great kingdom promises of the Old Testament confirm with the greatest lavishness the Davidic Covenant. We mention only a few of them. And, first of all, Isaiah chapter 9, verse 6 and verse 7. Isaiah 9 verse 6 and verse 7. Some years later now Isaiah is given prophecies. Israel has passed through stages of disobedience. And right now they have a king who is disobedient to God, King Ahaz.

You might think that the promises are cancelled because of the disobedience of king after king. But that is not true. We read in Isaiah chapter 9 verse 6 and verse 7: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder. And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with justice and righteousness from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord hosts will perform this.” You see that? The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

You know from the reading of the prophecy of Isaiah that this prophecy is found in the great Book of Emmanuel, the title that has been given for chapters 7 through 12, great prophecies that have to do with Emmanuel, prophecies of his birth, prophecies of how he shall be born, how he shall come to Davidic rule, prophecies of the kingdom itself, prophecies of how the whole of the earth shall be brought into this kingdom and he shall rule and reign over all the earth with all of the earth both Israel and the nations praising Jehovah of hosts for the things that he has accomplished.

In this particular context in Isaiah chapter 9, the Assyrian love and the Satanic coalition that are arrayed against the city of Jerusalem are destroyed and destroyed, now he speaks of course of the last days before the Second Advent, destroyed mind you by a child. That’s what he says. He describes the great Assyrian love. He describes the Satanic coalition that in the last days will array themselves against Jerusalem and he says, the secret of victory lies in a child. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.

That reminds me of the way John the apostle describes the last conflict in the 17th chapter of the Book of Revelation. He describes the great wild beast which no man can really describe, the wild beast that conquers the other kings and finally faces an opponent who destroys him. And the other opponent, John says, is the lamb. Think — a lamb destroys the great wild beast. That’s the kind of picture that we have here. The government is to rest upon the shoulder of a child. And evidently, this child is so strong that when the burden of world government rests upon him, it does not destroy him at all. It is safe and secure because it rests upon someone who is able to handle it.

Someone has said that the presidency of the United States is the loneliest place, the loneliest office in the world. That may well be true. Well, let’s just assume for the moment that it is the loneliest office in the world. And it is true that the buck stops there. I am sure that the men who have sat in that presidency have had strange feelings when they realize that decisions that they make determine the destiny not only of little people like you and me, but the destinies of nations. But there is one person who shall sit in a lonelier office, our Lord Jesus, for he shall sit in the throne room of everlasting and universal dominion, and it will not be too much for him. Because he shall rule and reign out of an omniscience and an omnipotence that enables him to perform all that his heart desires, and he desires only that which is best.

There is a sense in which our Lord Jesus is alone, and therefore is suitable for the loneliest office in the world. P. Carnegie Simpson has written a great paragraph on the uniqueness of the Lord Jesus, and I’m going to take the liberty of reading it to you. He says, “This aloneness of Jesus appears in two ways or rather has two degrees. First, his whole manner portrays that his moral experience and that of other men were not parallel. He who so searchingly told others of the evil within their hearts made no confession for himself. He who gave the despairing sinner every other token of brotherhood never spoke as if he himself had been in the same case. He who was so morally sensitive that he has become the supreme conscience of mankind yet challenged men to convict him of sin. All this reveals a singularness by which he is not only separate from sinners but is also distinct from the saints. The saints among men all tell us how they reached sanctity if at all, only from below, having toiled with tears and prayers up the bitter path of repentance to a newness of life. The Psalms tell us all about that, and the confessions of Augustine and the De Imitateone of Thomas. The whole company of holy and humble men of heart tell us that, but Jesus never tells us that, and this is not all. There is a second thing about his strange moral aloneness of Jesus, something not negative but positive. Not only did Jesus never betray a sense of any moral imperfection or moral need, but further he regarded himself as the sufficer of all others’ needs. Others are lost sheep. He not only is not lost but is the shepherd. Others are sick. He not only is in health, but he is the physician. Others lives are forfeit, his is not only his own but is the ransom. Others, all others are sinners. He not only is not a sinner but is a Savior. And so when our Lord Jesus sits on the throne of everlasting dominion he should be sufficient for the office.”

Now, turn over to chapter 11 of this prophecy. I’ll just read this particular one, chapter 11, verses 1 through 10. And, again, I want you to notice that everything is related to the Davidic King: “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,” – Who is Jesse? Come on. [Male: the father of David.] The father of David. “There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, (you can put David there if you like. Jesse, the Davidic line.) and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;” (All that our presidents don’t have, and not only of the recently departed but of the whole line for a long time. It’s great to have one that you think is honest.) “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. (Perhaps the wicked won.) And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his waste. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the nursing child shall play on the whole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. Thou shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. In that day there shall be a root of Jesse,”

Now, that’s a striking thing. Above we read there shall come forth a rod, a shoot out of the stem of Jesse, but here there shall be a root of Jesse. Why, don’t you see in the first verse we have reference to the humanity of our Lord whereas in this verse since Jesse comes from him, we have reference to his deity? This person is a divine human king. “In that day there shall be a root of Jesse who shall stand for an ensign of the peoples; to him shall the nations seek: and his rest shall be glorious.”

Now, I’m going to let you read Zechariah chapter 2, verses 20 through 24. And I want to turn over to Luke chapter 1 for the Davidic Covenant in the gospels, Luke chapter 1, verse 26 through verse 33. Luke chapter 1, verse 26 through verse 33:

“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. (And she of course was the house of David too, a descendent of David through Nathan.) And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou who art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered in her mind what manner of greeting this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord thy 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.”

What a striking confirmation of the fact that our Lord Jesus is of the seed of David. He will sit upon the throne. He will have an everlasting dominion.

Now, I want to just conclude by reminding you of two or three facts. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the seed of David. His claim to Davidic sonship and right to the throne is incontrovertible. Don’t you know that if our Lord Jesus had not been the Davidic king who had the legal right to the throne, that all of those Pharisees and Saduccees and the other enemies that he had, would have been able, first of all and finally and completely, to deny his right to Davidic rule which he claimed and his Messiahship by simply saying to him, you are not the son of David with right to rule? That would have settled the whole question.

But you see, they knew that he was the legal heir to the throne of David. That’s why they never could say anything against his claims legally. If they could have said that, that’s all they would have to say. He could have made his one of his great speeches, “I am the Messiah.” They could have, some men are raised in hand, say, Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You’re not — you’re not the heir to the throne. Samuel Johnson is over there. He had incontrovertible right to the throne.

Now, when Titus the Roman came in 70 AD, he destroyed the records of the genealogies in Israel. There is no one today who could lay any claim to being the Davidic ruler. There are no records by which anyone could establish his right to the throne, yet the promises stand. The only two places in which we have the genealogy of the Davidic ruler are chapters 1 of Matthew and 3 of Luke. Those are the only records that we have from ancient times that establish right to the Davidic throne. And they are found right in our New Testament.

The only man with an incontrovertible right to the throne of David with an unquestioned and unquestionable genealogy is the Lord Jesus Christ, and the records are found right here in the word of God. He is the Davidic ruler. And further, since he had no successors, he is still the only Davidic ruler. He is the seed, and he awaits the time when the father shall speak and he shall come and take up the reigns of the kingdom of David and rule and reign forever, for one thousand years and then on into eternity in the Godhead, as the legitimate heir of the Davidic promises. Our time is up.

[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for Thy word. We praise Thee for the assurance that we have of Thy faithfulness to thy promises. And we pray that we may be encouraged because we too have promises and we thank Thee that the witness in the sky is faithful.

For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Posted in: Covenants