RPM, Volume 18, Number 21, May 15 to May 21, 2016

Old Testament Biblical Theology

By Dr. O. Palmer Robertson


There are two heart themes in this covenant:
" Rule by the Messianic son-king.
" Permanent localization of God's throne.

This Kingdom comes on the basis of God establishing His covenant with David and his descendants forever. The very idea of a coming kingdom indicates a consummation. What are there so few references to "covenant" in the New Testament? Because the New Testament has the fulfillment of the kingdom.

1. The Covenant Established (II Samuel 7:1-16).

The King was settled in his house. He had rest. But the ark of the Lord was still abiding in a tent. He had done this to identify with His people. Verse 11 has a promise of future rest. David was already enjoying rest. But there is also a future rest promised.

a. The historical occasion.

* David had begun his reign in Hebron and had not been recognized by the northern tribes. After the death of Ish-boseth, David was recognized as king over all Israel.

* David took Jerusalem in II Samuel 5. The city lay on the boarder of Benjamin and Judah. This had a tremendous unifying effect upon the tribes of Israel (much like the location of Washington D.C. unifying the American states).

" It was a permanent location.

* David had the ark of the Covenant brought to Jerusalem (II Samuel 6). From this time, the throne of God and the throne of David would be in the same place. David wants his kingdom to be the kingdom of God.


* Perhaps the use of the new cart and the death of Uzzah is a reflection upon the regulative principle of worship.

* David has a period of rest from his enemies. The kingdom comes when rest comes.

b. The Essence of the Covenant.

God has been in a tent (7:6). Up to this point, the people of God have been a nomadic people living in tents. We are described in the same terms. This earth is not our permanent abode and we still look for a future rest.

c. A dynasty and a dwelling place.

There is a play on words between the House of David and the House of the Lord.
God's house = The Temple.
David's house = His dynasty.
David had wanted to build a house for the Lord. But instead, the Lord says that He will build a house for David while his son builds a house for the Lord.
David's rule is bound to God's rule and God's rule is bound to David's rule.

d. David's son and God's Son.

II Samuel 7:14. This is a prophecy which is fulfilled in the New Covenant (Romans 1:3). In this is also a promise of chastening.

Son of David.
Chastened when he commits iniquity.
Lovingkindness will not depart from him.
House & kingdom to endure forever.

Jesus Christ
Son of David.
He was bruised for our transgressions.
Lovingkindness will not depart from Him.
House & kingdom to endure forever.

2. Distinctive Emphasis.

a. The King is established as covenant mediator.

Priests had already served as mediators. Prophets had also served as mediators. But now, this right is given to the descendants of David - the kings. II Samuel 5:3 - David cut a covenant with the elders of Israel. II Kings 23 - Josiah has the covenant document brought to him and he reinstitutes the covenant. Jeremiah 34 - Zedekiah cuts a covenant with the Lord.

The idea of mediator arises from the principle of sonship. Someone who is a son is authorized to speak in the name of the father.

" Equal to the father.
" Rules in place of the Father.
" Identified with the people.

Hebrews 1:5 quotes II Samuel 7:14 to point to Jesus.

b. Pivotal promises.

(1) There is an emphasis on the permanence of this covenant.

(a) A Son forever: Focus on the PERSON.

(b) Jerusalem forever: Focus on the PLACE. This history of the Davidic monarchy constantly underscores these two points.

(2) The Sonship: Because of Solomon's sin, the kingdom will be torn from him, but because of God's covenant, there will be a remnant (I Kings 11:13; I Kings 11:32-36).

(3) Jerusalem.

By Thy favor do good to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem. (Psalm 51:18).

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
"May they prosper who love you.
"May peace be within your walls,
"And prosperity within your palaces." (Psalm 122:6-7).

If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
May my right hand forget her skill.
May my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,
If I do not remember you,
If I do not exalt Jerusalem
Above my chief joy. (Psalm 137:5-6).

What is so important about Jerusalem? The city points to the coming Messiah, the redemption which He shall bring, and the permanence of the future heavenly kingdom.

(4) Northern versus Southern Kingdoms.

There is quite a contrast between the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom. The Northern Kingdom saw dynasty after dynasty come to the throne. Even in Egypt, the longest dynasty (18th) lasted only about 200 years. But the Davidic dynasty was twice this long.

Significance: This points to the stability and permanence despite all calamities.

c. Conditional versus unconditional.

(1) There are factors of conditionality in this covenant. If a particular king walks in the will of the Lord, then he will be blessed. If he rejects there Lord, there will be chastening and devastation.

(2) And yet, there is the promise of a continuing of the covenant in a continuing seed. Thus, the kingdom ends in 586 B.C. when the nation is destroyed and taken into captivity. But a remnant are permitted to return.

d. Ultimate realization of the promise.

David's reign ultimately ended and Jerusalem was destroyed. And yet, the promise is that there would be an eternal throne. The shadowy type anticipates the final reality.

I Chronicles 29:22-23. Don't miss what verse 23 says. Solomon sat upon the throne of Yahweh! The throne of David is the throne of the Lord! Thus, for Christ to sit upon the throne of the Lord is to sit upon David's throne. Is Jesus on the Lord's throne? Acts 2:30,33-34. Peter makes it very clear that Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise to David:

(1) He is the Son of David.

(2) He is seated upon the throne of David and at the right hand of God.

Peter makes no indication that a prophetic timeclock has stopped. To the contrary, he evidently believes that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. David's throne is the shadow. Christ's throne is the reality. The question is whether you want to go back to the shadow or to be satisfied with the reality.

That which was a shadow had to come to an end, just as the sacrificed lamb and the Levitical priesthood both gave way before the ultimate fulfillment.

The Dispensationalist errs in that he wants to return to the shadow. He needs to realize to embrace the fulfillment (Galatians 4:25-28). Are you going to cling to the present Jerusalem who is in slavery, or are you looking to the Jerusalem which is free - the heavenly Jerusalem?

Who is this NEW JERUSALEM? Revelation 21:2,9-10 says that it is the bride, the wife of the Lamb. Who is the bride of Christ today? It is the CHURCH! Where is the continuing dwelling-place? It is in Christ! He is the new realm where we live. Who is the continuing seed? It is Christ! We have our being in Him. We are His seed after a new birth.

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