Premillennialism and the Throne of David
(by Bob Pulliam)
After understanding how the premillennialist uses the promise to Abraham for doctrinal purpose, we must then see how he uses promises concerning king David of the Old Testament. These are used for the same end: to make fulfilled prophecies seem as if they still need to be fulfilled. If Jesus never really received what was promised, then it must still be given. The claim is that Jesus never received the throne of David as was promised (II Sam 7:12 - 16). This lesson will concentrate of that promise of Jesus sitting on David’s throne...
Jesus Is a Descendant of David...
I can’t see a Bible believer denying it. Matthew recorded (Mt 1) a genealogy that reaches back to David (Luke 3 also). The angel that appeared to Mary told her that her child would be given the throne of "His father David". (Lk 1:32f) Isaiah prophesied that this coming Savior would be of "the root of Jesse", which was David’s father. So let’s begin by getting some side issues out of the way. These are points that are not in question:
...that Jesus is a descendant of David
...that Jesus was promised the throne of David.
...that God fulfills His promises.
These are not at issue. The question before us is: "Will Jesus return to earth, in the future, and sin on the literal throne of David in Jerusalem?" In considering this question, we must note several clear affirmations of scripture that make the premillennial claim invalid.
Cannot Do So from Judah on Earth (must be from heaven)...
Let’s begin with an Old Testament prophecy about the coming Messiah, Jesus:
"Then speak to him, saying, ’Thus says the Lord of hosts, saying: "Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, And He shall build the temple of the Lord; Yes, He shall build the temple of the Lord. He shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.’" (Zechariah 6:12 & 13)
Here we learn that Jesus would be a priest AND rule on his throne. The counsel of peace would be between both offices. So if He is a priest now, he also must be a king now! We know that He is a priest now, for the book of Hebrews clearly declares this (Heb 8:1). But His priesthood demands a heavenly office (Heb 8:1-4), for priests must be from the tribe of Levi (according to the Law of Moses), but Jesus was of the Tribe of Judah (Heb 7:13f). We learn that His present priesthood places Him in heaven, in the presence of God for us. (Heb 9:23f) If you will compare Hebrews 10:12f with I Corinthians 15:25, you will see that not only is Jesus presently our High Priest, He also is our reigning king.
Now another Old Testament prophecy is very important here. Read it carefully:
"Is this man Coniah a despised, broken idol; A vessel in which is no pleasure? Why are they cast out, he and his descendants, And cast into a land which they do not know? O earth, earth, earth, Hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord: ‘Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.’" (Jer 22:28-30)
Now we know that Coniah did have children (I Chron 3:17). Matthew 1:12 names one of these as an ancestor of Christ (Shealtiel). Coniah was written "childless" so far as the throne and rule was concerned "in Judah". Jesus, being a descendant of Coniah, cannot reign from Judah. Jerusalem is in Judah. Jesus can never reign in Jerusalem and prosper... Now that is a powerful prophecy.
Is Jesus Now on the Throne of David
or the Throne of God...
We know that Jesus must reign until all enemies are conquered. (I Cor 15:25 & 26) There can be no doubt that Jesus is now sitting and ruling on a throne! But this leaves us with the question, "On whose throne is Jesus really sitting?" Some would have us believe that Jesus is now on the Throne of God, but at His coming will sit on the throne of David (Making a distinction between the two thrones). But note that:
-(I Kgs 1:46f) Solomon had his own throne (Solomon's throne).
-(I Kgs 1:48) Yet Solomon was sitting on David's throne.
-(I Kgs 2:12) Solomon sat on David's throne.
-(I Chr 29:23) Solomon sat on Jehovah's throne.
-Solomon's throne = David's throne = Jehovah's throne.
The Significance of the word "throne" - "In the Old Testament the basic meaning of kisse' is 'seat' or 'chair.'... The more frequent sense of kisse' is 'throne' or 'seat of honor,' ...The word kisse' was also used to represent 'kingship' and the succession to the throne" (Nelson, pp428f). The problem people have here is that they automatically think of a piece of furniture when they see or hear the word "throne". Does God sit on a piece of furniture?... (Ps 47:8) Are God and Jesus sitting on the same piece of furniture?... (Rev 3:21) And better yet, in this same passage we learn that when we overcome, we all will be sitting with Jesus and the Father on His throne. A piece of furniture?...
"Throne" refers to the "right to rule", and Jehovah is the only one who can give it. It is always the same throne, no matter who is sitting on it.
Jesus Is Now on David's Throne...
What we have seen to this point should be convincing enough to force us to the conclusion that Jesus is now on the throne of David! If, however, you still have doubts, let us give consideration to the apostle Peter's words in Acts 2:29 - 36...
Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: "The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’" Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:29-39)
What is this "promise of the Holy Spirit" referred to here? The only logical answer must be found in the context. What promise was made in the preceding verses? "God had sworn with an oath" that "He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne". Jesus received the fulfillment of this promise. Jesus was sitting on David’s throne as promised, and was now "both Lord and Christ". Jesus sitting on the throne of David is not for future fulfillment. Jesus is on the throne of David now!
Will Jesus return to earth, in the future, and sit on the literal throne of David in Jerusalem? Jesus cannot return to earth and reign on earth. Prophecy forbids it. But Jesus is now on David's throne in heaven, for David's throne was in actuality Jehovah's throne! Jesus is now on the throne of David, ruling in heaven. This is why Paul wrote that God "seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and..." (Eph 1:20ff).