The promise to David

The promise to David is the third of the great promises made by God upon which all further revelations are based. This promise is essential if one it to understand the Bible and especially if one is to appreciate what the Bible teaches about Jesus Christ.

Background to David’s life

David was a divinely nominated King of Israel and described in the scriptures as “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). Although he was not perfect he had an amazing faith in God and desired to see God glorified above all else.

David, by conquest had extended the Kingdom of Israel to it’s greatest extent and God had given King David “rest from his enemies” and had made his house to prosper. In light of this David wanted to build a temple for the worship of God.

In response to this God told him, through the prophet Nathan that He would not allow him to build the temple but his son, Solomon would. However God promised David that He would actually build David a house and this promise, along with it’s details forms another foundation promise of the gospel. The most significant part of this promise is that the seed of David would sit upon his throne, as king, ruling over an everlasting Kingdom. This is in fact the further unfolding of a previous pormise God gave to Abraham:

“In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:” Genesis 15-18

The promised seed (descendant) therefore is connected with the land of Israel.

Why is this important?

If you study what the Bible says about Jesus, you will note that there are lots of references to King David and the promises made to him. Jesus is to fulfill these promises and therefore to understand them is to appreciate what Gods purpose through Jesus Christs is. Consider the following:

“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, Counsellor, 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 judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6-7

“And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:” Acts 13:22-23

“I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” Revelation 22:16

What was promised to David?

The promise to David is recorded in 2 Samuel 7. It’s different aspects have been defined below:

  • Israel, God’s chosen people, would eventually settle and would be safe (this is yet to be fulfilled!) – 2 Samuel 7:10
  • The promised seed (see promises to Abraham and the promise in Eden) would be a decendant of David – 2 Samuel 7:12
  • This seed (or decendant) would build a house for God – 2 Samuel 7:13
  • God, as well as David would be the seed’s Father – he would be the “Son of God” – 2 Samuel 7:14
  • God’s mercy would remain with David’s seed – 2 Samuel 7:14-15
  • David’s throne an Kingdom is to be established FOREVER – 2 Samuel 7:13-16
  • The throne and the seed would be done “before” David (e.g. in front of him) – 2 Samuel 7:26

What does this mean?

This covenant has not yet been fulfilled. Jesus was the seed (decendant) of David who was to come. Here are two references in the gospels to prove this:

“He (Jesus) shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end”. Luke 1:32-33

“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham”. Matthew 1:1

So Christ then was the descendant (or seed) of David but also he was the son of God as was promised to David:

“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God”. Luke 1:35

The promise stated that David would see his descendant (Christ) sitting on his throne, the throne of David in Jerusalem and that his Kingdom would continue forever. This is to happen in the future when Jesus Christ returns to the earth to establish that kingdom.

“And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again… And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David“. Acts 13:32-34

David himself realized that this covenant would be fulfilled through one greater than himself and he spake of this in one of his Psalms which the apostle Paul later picks up on:

“My covenant will I not break, nor 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 for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven”. Psalm 89:34-37

“THE LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.” Psalm 132:11

“THE LORD (God) said unto my Lord (Davids seed), Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool”. Psalm 110:1

“Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ”. Acts 2:29-36

Clearly then, the Bible teaches that David must be resurrected, that Jesus Christ must come back to the earth to sit upon Davids and set up a Kingdom which will last forever. This will be a re-establishment of the Kingdom of God (over which David ruled). God told the last king, King Zedekiah, this:

“Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown… I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it (The Kingdom of Israel): and it shall be no more, until he (Jesus Christ) come  whose right it is; and I will give it him”. Ezekiel 21:26-27

So this Kingdom then is to be re-established in the future. The one who is to come of whom God will give the Kingdom is Jesus Christ, the descendant of David and son of God.

“Behold, the days come, saith THE LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness. For thus saith THE LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel”. Jeremiah 33:14-17

In Hebrews 11 we have a list of faithful followers of God. David is mentioned in verse 32. We also read in that chapter the following:

“And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40

So then these promises are in the future and we can be associated with them by belief in them, being baptized and following a faithful life.  Peter tells us that by having a knowledge of these things that there have been:

“…given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust”. 2 Peter 1:4

Author: M. Davies, Nottingham, March 2009

Other related articles:

The True Significance of the “throne of David”