Davidic Covenant

by Paul George

Scripture

2 Samuel 7:1-17; 1 Chronicles 17:11-14; 2 Chronicles 6:16

The Davidic Covenant refers to God’s promises to David through Nathan the prophet. This is an unconditional covenant made between God and David where God promises David and Israel that the Messiah would come from the lineage of David and the tribe of Judah and would establish a kingdom that would endure forever (2 Samuel 7:10-13). It is unconditional because God does not place any conditions of obedience upon its fulfillment. The surety of the promises made rests solely on God’s faithfulness and do not depend at all on David or Israel’s obedience.

In this covenant, God reaffirms the promise of the land that He made in the first two covenants with Israel, The Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants. This promise is seen in 2 Samuel 7:10, “I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may live in their own place and not be disturbed again, nor will the wicked afflict them anymore, as formerly.” In this covenant, God promises that David’s descendent will succeed him as king of Israel and that God will establish his kingdom, and he will build a house, for God’s name and God will establish his throne.

God told David through Nathan, “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:16). This is very important because they show that the Messiah will come from the lineage of David and that He will establish a kingdom from which He will reign. The “house” refers to a dynasty; “kingdom,” refers to a realm of political power and to a people who are governed by a king; “throne,” refers to the authority of the king’s rule; and “forever,” refers to the eternal and unconditional nature of this promise to David and Israel.

God’s promise to David in 2 Samuel 7 is matched in importance only by the promise made to Abraham in Genesis 12 and later to all Israel and Judah in Jeremiah 31:31-34.

The nature and character of the covenant is a vital link in the purpose and mission of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God gave David this covenant promise at a time when David was concerned over the Ark of the Covenant dwelling in a tent and David wanted to build a temple at Jerusalem. The Lord came to Nathan at night and told him to go to David and tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord, Are you the one who should build Me a house to dwell in? For I have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the sons of Israel from Egypt, even to this day; but I have been moving about in a tent, even in a tabernacle. Wherever I have gone with all the sons of Israel, did I speak a word with one of the tribes of Israel, which I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?’ Now therefore, thus you shall say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be ruler over My people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like the names of the great men who are on the earth. I will also appoint a place for My people Israel and will plant them, that they may live in their own place and not be disturbed again, nor will the wicked afflict them any more as formerly, even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies The Lord also declares to you that the Lord will make a house for you. When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever’” (2 Samuel 7:5-16).

Five points concerning the throne:

1) David’s throne was set up and established with Solomon, David’s son.

2) David’s throne was established forever in Solomon (v13), nowhere does it say that when Christ comes, God will establish it in Him forever. It says it was to be established forever in Solomon.

3) If Solomon, or the children of Israel disobey, their disobedience would not cancel this covenant. Verses 14-15 plainly say that if they commit iniquity, God will chasten them with the rod of men, but will not break this covenant. The throne shall go on forever.

4) In case of disobedience, God will not take the throne away as He took it from Saul. How did He take it from Saul? Saul’s dynasty ended. No son of Saul ever sat on the throne. However, Solomon’s dynasty would not end. The punishment for disobedience would be chastening at the hands of men.

5) Since God firmly established this throne with David and with Solomon, if David’s throne ceased from existence, even for the length of one generation, could we say it had been established forever as God here promised? God made an unconditional covenant with David, guaranteeing there would never be a single generation from that time forward when there would not be a descendant of David, sitting on David’s throne, ruling over children of Israel.

According to Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew’s Gospel, (the genealogy of Jesus is posted on this site) from the deportation to Jesus, no descendant of David occupied the throne of David. There was no descendant of David’s on the throne because Israel was under the yoke of the Gentiles.

The history of the Bible records a line of kings, all descendants of David in continuous dynasty, down to King Zedekiah. But in the year 585 B.C. this last recorded king ever to sit on this throne was captured by the armies of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, his eyes were put out, he was taken to Babylon, and there died in a dungeon, all his sons were slain. There is no record of any king of the line of David ruling over Judah from that day to this. However, the line of Jehoiakin to Jesus survived the Babylonian Captivity and returned to Judah and Jerusalem, so Jesus was a descendant of David.

What about this present generation? Where is there a descendant of David today who is to occupy the throne of David and rule over the sons of Jacob and the world?

In a parable recorded in Luke 19:11-27, Jesus compares Himself to a nobleman who has gone to a distant country to receive a kingdom and then return. The distant country represents heaven, after receiving the right to the Kingdom will return. Jesus Christ, a descendant of David will not sit upon the throne of David until His second coming to earth.

Israel was not prepared to receive the Messiah when He came to earth the first time. Will we be prepared when He comes to earth the second time and establishes His Kingdom?

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