The Throne of His father David
John Scarsbrook, Killamarsh, England
There is no doubt that all authority, whether in relation to heaven or earth, has been vested in the Lord Jesus; He it is who must, and will reign until all enemies are beneath His feet. He will yet be revealed as King of kings and Lord of lords and before Him every knee shall bow. Such a position will not be attained by force of arms nor by popular vote, but by virtue of His own Person and the value of the work of Calvary, ‘The highest place that heaven affords is His by sovereign right’, T. Kelly.
Of all the thrones and dominions which are His, there is one which occupies a unique place in the purposes of God; it is essentially an earthly throne, the throne of His father David. This seat of authority will be His as the true Man after God’s own heart and, in this capacity, He will administer justice with equity over a restored, regathered people in a redeemed earth wherein dwells righteousness.
As soon as the death of David was announced, we read that Solomon, the appointed heir, ‘sat upon the throne of David his father’, 1 Kgs. 2. 12. Thus commenced an unbroken dynasty of father to son ruling at first over all Israel; then, when the kingdom divided, over the house of Judah. Rulers over the ten tribes had no such continuity; the longest hereditary reign is seen in the four generations promised to Jehu as a result of his ruthless extermination of the house of Ahab. The significance of the throne of David, however, was not lost sight of, and it became the subject of prophetic ministry in the days of Isaiah, and later, Jeremiah. The far-reaching and familiar promise given through Isaiah never fails to thrill the heart of the believer: the child born; the Son given; authority guaranteed; the five-fold name intrinsically His, giving assurance of His qualifications to rule ‘upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it and establish it . . . even for ever’, Isa. 9. 6-7.
The line of descent from Solomon continued for over 400 years with kings good, bad and indifferent. The adversary, realizing the importance of this unbroken line, did his best to disrupt and destroy; reducing the progeny of Ahaziah to just one, Joash, a babe in arms in the days of the wicked Athaliah. The last king of any moral worth was Josiah who sought to introduce reforms and re-establish the temple worship. However, on his death at Megiddo, challenging Pharaoh’s army, the people chose his son Jehoahaz to succeed him. His term of office lasted only three months before he was taken captive to Egypt and Jehoiakim, another of Josiah’s sons, was placed on the throne by Pharaoh. Opposed to all things good, it was this king who cut up and burned the writings of Jeremiah. He reigned for eleven years becoming a puppet king under the rising authority of Babylon. Following his death, his son Jehoiachin, also known as Jeconiah and Coniah, reigned for three months and ten days before succumbing to the siege mounted against Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. The final king, Zedekiah, another of Josiah’s sons also reigned for eleven years under the hand of Nebuchadnezzar until the final destruction of Jerusalem and the descent into captivity.
The reign of Jehoiachin was brief and ineffective, yet it was of this man that a significant word was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah. In view of the evil which characterized his life and addressing him as Coniah, thus diminishing the meaning of his name, he was pronounced, ‘a despised broken idol, a vessel wherein is no pleasure’, Jer. 22. 28. In a solemn pronouncement, and calling on the earth to bear witness, the prophet proclaimed, ‘Thus saith the Lord, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Jerusalem’, Jer. 22. 29-30. We do know that Jehoiachin lived for some years in Babylon, even being restored to favour by Evil-merodach the king. In fact, he did have children, 1 Chr. 3. 17, but none to sit upon the throne of David; the ruling dynasty had come to an end, hence Jeremiah’s declaration of childlessness.
But a sovereign God was overruling. The divine counsels could not be thwarted; how then could the Lord Jesus lay claim to the throne of His father David? Both 1 Chronicles chapter 3 and Matthew chapter 1 confirm that an unbroken line continued to a man called Jacob, who ‘begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ’, Matt. 1. 16. It was essential that this male line of descent was established to give a legal right to the throne since Joseph became the guardian of the Lord Jesus, and was addressed by the angel of the Lord as ‘Joseph, thou son of David’. However, the promise to David was, ‘Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations’, Ps. 89. 4. The apostle Paul confirms that the Lord Jesus Christ was born ‘of the seed of David according to the flesh’, Rom. 1. 3. Yet this could not be through Joseph who had no part in the conception of the Lord Jesus, and, indeed, in view of Jeremiah’s prophecy, no natural son of Joseph could claim the throne promised to David’s seed.
Yet, unbeknown to the world at large, a line direct from David through another son, Nathan, was being preserved and this is the genealogy given in Luke chapter 3. This also appears, at first glance, to be that of Joseph. However, since the descent from David differs from that of Matthew, and scripture contains no contradictions, we must look for another explanation! The construction of Luke chapter 3 verse 23 does not state that Joseph was begotten of Heli. In fact, clearly, his father was called Jacob, Matt. 1. 16. Convention allowed that a son-in-law be deemed a son, e.g., 1 Sam. 24. 16, and with the telling little phrase in parenthesis added by the Spirit of God, ‘as was supposed’, we are surely right in accepting that this genealogy is that of Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus in direct line of descent from David. Thus, the One, conceived of the Holy Spirit, the seed of the woman yet virgin born, is without doubt the One ‘whose right it is’ to occupy the throne of His father David at the appointed time and reign in fulfilment of scripture. We concur with the sweet psalmist of Israel, ‘Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable’, Ps. 145. 3.