Bible Basics (5th edition): A study manual revealing the joy and peace of true Christianity

Free copy of Bible Basics


3.5 The Promise to David

David, like Abraham and many other recipients of God’s promises, did not have an easy life. He grew up as the youngest son in a large family which, in the Israel of 1000 B.C., meant looking after the sheep and running errands for his older brothers (1 Sam. 15-17). During this time he learnt a level of faith in God which few men have since approached.

The day came when Israel were faced with the ultimate challenge from their aggressive neighbours, the Philistines; they were challenged to let one of their men fight the giant Goliath, the Philistine champion, on the understanding that whoever won that fight would rule over the losers. With God’s help David defeated Goliath by using a sling, which earned him even greater popularity than their king (Saul). “Jealousy is cruel as the grave” (Song 8:6), words which were proved true by Saul’s persecution of David chasing him around the wilderness of southern Israel.

Eventually David became king, and to show his appreciation of God’s love toward him during the wilderness of his life, he decided to build God a temple. The reply from God was that David’s son, Solomon, would build the temple and that God wanted to build David a house (2 Sam. 7:4-13). Then followed a detailed promise which repeats much of what was told Abraham, and which also filled in some other details.

“And when your days are fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will set up your descendant after you, which shall proceed out of your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom forever. 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 you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you: your throne shall be established forever” (v.12-16).

From our previous studies we would expect the “descendant” to be Jesus. His description as the Son of God (2 Sam. 7:14) confirms this, as do many other references in other parts of the Bible.

§         “I am the...offspring of David”, Jesus said (Rev. 22:16).

§         “(Jesus), made of the family [AV “seed”] of David according to the flesh” (Rom. 1:3).

§         “Of this man’s descendants (David’s) has God, according to His promise, raised unto Israel a saviour, Jesus” (Acts 13:23).

§         The angel told the virgin Mary concerning her son, Jesus: “The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father (ancestor) David...and of his Kingdom there shall be no end” (Lk. 1:32,33). This is applying the promise of David’s descendant, in 2 Sam. 7:13, to Jesus.

With the descendant firmly identified as Jesus, a number of details now become significant.

1. The descendant

“Your descendant...which shall proceed out of your body...I will be his father, and he shall be my son.” “...of the fruit of your body will I set upon your throne” (2 Sam. 7:12,14; Ps. 132:10,11). Jesus, the descendant, was to be a literal, bodily descendant of David, and yet have God as his Father. This could only be achieved by the virgin birth as described in the New Testament; Jesus’ mother was Mary, a descendant of David (Lk. 1:32), but he had no human father. God acted miraculously upon Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit in order to make her conceive Jesus, and so the Angel commented: “Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God” (Lk. 1:35). The “virgin birth” was the only way in which this promise to David could be properly fulfilled.

2. The house

“He shall build an house for my name” (2 Sam. 7:13) shows that Jesus will build a temple for God. God’s “house” is where He is willing to live, and Is. 66:1,2 tells us that He will come to live in the hearts of men who are humble to His word. Jesus is therefore building a spiritual temple for God to dwell in, made up of the true believers. Descriptions of Jesus as the foundation stone of God’s temple (1 Pet. 2:4-8) and of Christians as the temple stones (1 Pet. 2:5) now slot into place.

3. The throne

“I will stablish the throne of his (Christ’s) kingdom for ever... your (David’s) house and your kingdom... your throne shall be established for ever” (2 Sam. 7:13,16 cf. Is. 9:6,7). Christ’s kingdom will therefore be based on David’s kingdom of Israel; this means that the coming kingdom of God will be a re-establishment of the kingdom of Israel - see Study 5.3 for more on this. To fulfil this promise, Christ must reign on David’s “throne”, or place of rulership. This was literally in Jerusalem. This is another proof that the kingdom must be established here on earth in order to fulfil these promises.

4. The kingdom

“Your house and your kingdom shall be established for ever before you” (2 Sam. 7:16) suggests that David would witness the establishment of Christ’s eternal kingdom. This was therefore an indirect promise that he would be resurrected at Christ’s return so that he could see with his own eyes the kingdom being set up world-wide, with Jesus reigning from Jerusalem.

These things which were promised to David are absolutely vital to understand. David joyfully spoke of these things as “an everlasting covenant... this is all my salvation and all my desire” (2 Sam. 23:5). These things relate to our salvation too; rejoicing in them should likewise be all our desire. As with the promises to Abraham, if we are in Christ, all that is true of the promised descendant of David is in some way true of us if we are in Christ (Is. 55:3 cf. Acts 13:34). So again the point is made that these doctrines are so important. It is a tragedy that parts of Christendom have adopted doctrines which flatly contradict these marvellous truths.

§         If Jesus physically “pre-existed”, i.e. he existed as a person before he was born, then this makes nonsense of these promises that Jesus would be David’s descendant.

§         If the kingdom of God will be in heaven, then Jesus cannot re-establish David’s kingdom of Israel, nor can he reign from David’s “throne” or place of rulership. These things were literally on the earth, and so their re-establishment must be in the same place.

Fulfilment In Solomon?

David’s son, Solomon, fulfilled some part of the promises to David. He built a temple for God (1 Kings 5-8), and he had a very prosperous kingdom. Nations from all around sent representatives to pay respect to Solomon (1 Kings 10), and there was great spiritual blessing from the use of the temple. Solomon’s reign therefore pointed forward to the much greater fulfilment of the promises to David which will be seen in the kingdom of Christ.

Some have claimed that the promises to David were completely fulfilled in Solomon, but this is disallowed by the following.

§         Abundant New Testament evidence shows that the “descendant” was Christ, not Solomon.

§         David seems to have connected the promises God made to him with those to Abraham (1 Chron. 17:27 = Gen. 22:17,18).

§         The kingdom of the “descendant” was to be everlasting - which Solomon’s was not.

§         David recognised that the promises were concerning eternal life, which precluded any reference to his immediate family: “Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant” (2 Sam. 23:5).

§         The descendant of David is the Messiah, the Saviour from sin (Is. 9:6,7; 22:22; Jer. 33:5,6,15; Jn. 7:42). But Solomon later turned away from God (1 Kings 11:1-13; Neh. 13:26) due to his marriage with those outside the hope of Israel.

Bible Basics: Contents

Part 1: "The things concerning the Kingdom of God" Study 1: God 1.1  The Existence Of God || 1.2  The Personality Of God || Belief In Practice 1: Knowing God || 1.3  God's Name And Character || Belief In Practice 2: Grace (John Parkes) || Belief In Practice 3: The All Seeing God || Belief In Practice 4: God Is Omnipotent || Belief In Practice 5: Responding To The One God || 1.4     The Angels || Belief In Practice 6: God As Creator || Digression 1: God Manifestation || Digression 2:  Why The Trinity Was Accepted || Study 1: Questions Study 2: The Spirit Of God 2.1  Definition || 2.2  Inspiration || 2.3  Gifts Of The Holy Spirit || 2.4  The Withdrawal Of The Gifts || 2.5  The Bible The Only Authority || Digression 3: Is The Holy Spirit A Person? || Digression 4: The Principle Of Personification || Belief In Practice 7: The Implications Of Inspiration || Study 2: Questions Study 3: The Promises Of God 3.1  Introduction || 3.2  The Promise In Eden || 3.3  The Promise To Noah || 3.4  The Promise To Abraham || 3.5  The Promise To David || Belief In Practice 8: Covenant Relationship With God || Study 3: Questions Study 4: God And Death 4.1  The Nature Of Man || 4.2  The Soul || 4.3  The Spirit || 4.4  Death Is Unconsciousness || 4.5  The Resurrection || 4.6  The Judgment || Belief In Practice 9: Judgment Now || 4.7  The Place Of Reward: Heaven Or Earth?|| 4.8  Responsibility To God || 4.9  Hell || Digression 5: Purgatory || Digression 6: Ghosts And Reincarnation || Digression 7: The 'Rapture' || Belief In Practice 10: The Motivational Power Of Understanding Death || Study 4: Questions Study 5: The Kingdom Of God 5.1  Defining The Kingdom || 5.2  The Kingdom Is Not Now Established || 5.3  The Kingdom Of God In The Past || 5.4  The Kingdom Of God In The Future || 5.5  The Millennium || Digression 8: The Kingdom Of God Now (Graham Bacon) || Belief In Practice 11: What The Kingdom Of God Means Today || Study 5: QuestionsStudy 6: God And Evil 6.1  God And Evil || 6.2  The Devil And Satan || 6.3  Demons || Digression 9: The Implications And Origin Of The Belief In A Personal Satan || Digression 10: Witchcraft || Digression 11: What Happened In Eden? || Digression 12: Lucifer || Belief In Practice 12: Battle For The Mind || Study 6: Questions

Part 2: "The things concerning...the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 8:12) Study 7: The Origin Of Jesus. 7.1  Old Testament Prophecies Of Jesus || 7.2  The Virgin Birth || 7.3  Christ's Place In God's Plan || 7.4  "In the beginning was the word" || Digression 13: Jesus The Son Of God (Michael Gates) || Digression 14: Did Jesus Create The Earth? || Belief In Practice 13: Jesus Didn’t Pre-exist: And So What? || Study 7: Questions Study 8: The Nature Of Jesus 8.1  Introduction || 8.2  Differences Between God And Jesus || 8.3  The Nature Of Jesus || 8.4  The Humanity Of Jesus || 8.5  The Relationship Of God With Jesus || Belief In Practice 14: The Real Christ || Digression 15: How The Real Christ Was Lost || Digression 16: The Divine Side Of Jesus || Study 8: Questions Study 9: The Work Of Jesus 9.1  The Victory Of Jesus || 9.2  The Blood Of Jesus || 9.3  Jesus As Our Representative || 9.4  Jesus And The Law Of Moses || 9.5  The Sabbath || Digression 17 The Crucifix || Digression 18: Was Jesus Born On Dec. 25th? || Belief In Practice 15: The Meaning Of Christ’s Resurrection For Us || Belief In Practice 16: Christ Died For Me- So What Should I Do? || Belief In Practice 17: The Real Cross || Belief In Practice 18: The Inspiration Of The Cross || Study 9: Questions || Study 10: Baptism Into Jesus 10.1  The Vital Importance Of Baptism || 10.2  How Should We Be Baptized? || 10.3  The Meaning Of Baptism || 10.4  Baptism And Salvation || Digression 19: Re-baptism || Digression 20 The Thief On The Cross || Belief In Practice 19: The Certainty Of Salvation || Study 10: Questions Study 11: Life In Christ 11.1  Introduction || 11.2  Holiness || 11.2.1  The Use Of Force || 11.2.2  Politics || 11.2.3  Worldly Pleasures || 11.3  Practical Christian Life || 11.3.1  Bible Study || 11.3.2  Prayer || 11.3.3  Preaching || 11.3.4  Ecclesial Life || 11.3.5  The Breaking Of Bread || 11.4  Marriage || 11.5  Fellowship || Study 11: Questions ||