by Jerry Shugart

Appendix 1: The New Covenant and the Davidic Kingdom

Progressive Dispensationalist Darrell L. Bock writes that "In the Old Testament the fulfillment of the new covenant is tied to the inauguration of the kingdom (Jer. 31-33; Ezek. 36-37)" [emphasis added] (Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church, ed. Blaising & Bock [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992], 43).

According to Bock the fulfillment of the new covenant is tied to the inauguration of the kingdom. And here is what he says about the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant:

" 'Being seated on David's throne is linked to being seated at God's right hand.' In other words, Jesus' resurrection-ascension to God's right hand is put forward by Peter as a fulfillment of the Davidic covenant, just as the allusion to Joel fulfills the new covenant" [emphasis added] (Ibid., 49).

God's Promises in Regard to the Davidic Covenant

Let us closely examine at the promises made to David concerning the Davidic Covenant:

"The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom" (2 Sam.7:11-12; NIV).

In the following verse David's son Solomon says that he has succeeded David and is sitting on the throne of Israel:

"The LORD has kept the promise he made: I have succeeded David my father and now I sit on the throne of Israel, just as the LORD promised, and I have built the temple for the Name of the LORD, the God of Israel" (1 Ki.8:20).

From the very beginning the throne of David was earthly in nature, as witnessed by the following words:

"Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly" (1 Ki. 2:12).

Solomon did not sit upon a heavenly throne but instead one which was on the earth. Since that throne was an "earthly" throne from the beginning we can know that it will always remain an earthly throne since the Lord established that throne "forever":

"He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever" (2 Sam.7:13; NIV).

With this verse in view it is inconceivable that at some point the earthly throne would be changed to a heavenly throne. If that happened then it could not be said that that the earthly throne was established "forever."

Besides that, the Lord said that He would not "alter" the promises which He made to David:

"I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant...Nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. 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" (Ps.89:3,33-35).

The teaching of the Progressive Dispensationalists depends on the idea that God did indeed alter the Lord's promises He made to David. According to them David's earthly throne has now been changed into a heavenly throne. Therefore, if they are right, then that means that the Lord lied to David.

The Son's Throne and the Father's Throne

Now let us look again at what Darrell Bock said here about the Lord Jesus now being seated on David's throne:

" 'Being seated on David's throne is linked to being seated at God's right hand.' In other words, Jesus' resurrection-ascension to God's right hand is put forward by Peter as a fulfillment of the Davidic covenant, just as the allusion to Joel fulfills the new covenant" [emphasis added] (Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church, 49).

it is extremely difficult to believe that the Lord Jesus is now sitting on the throne of David since He Himself says that He is sitting at the Father's throne and not in His own throne:

"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne" (Rev.3:21).

If the Father's throne is the throne of David then why would the Lord Jesus make a distinction between His throne and the Father's throne? The very fact that He makes a distinction demonstrates that His throne and the Father's throne is not the same throne.

Besides that, when the Lord Jesus refers to His throne He speaks of the overcomers sitting with Him in that throne. We know that that the overcomers will be reigning with Him on the earth:

"And hast made us unto our God a kingdom of priests: and we shall reign on the earth" (Rev.5:10).

Therefore, the throne which the Lord Jesus refers to as "My throne" is in regard to an earthly throne, where the overcomers will reign with Him on the earth.

The Bible will be searched in vain where the heavenly throne is ever referred to as the throne of David. Why should that be since Gabriel told Mary that God will give the Lord Jesus the throne of David?:

"He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob's descendants forever; his kingdom will never end" (Lk.1:32-33; NIV).

Since the throne of David belongs to the Lord Jesus then why would He refer to the heavenly throne as the Father's throne and not His own? Besides the fact that the Lord Jesus Himself refers to the heavenly throne as the Father's throne the author of Hebrews refers to the heavenly throne as the "throne of God":

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb.12:2).

Now let us look at what is said here about Solomon, who sat upon the throne of David:

"Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee to set thee on his throne, to be king for the LORD thy God: because thy God loved Israel, to establish them for ever, therefore made he thee king over them, to do judgment and justice" (2 Chron. 9:8).

First we see that Solomon is said to be " king for the LORD," or king as a replacement for the LORD. Matthew Poole said the following about the verse:

"King for the Lord, i.e. in the Lord's name and stead, both in general, because all kings have and hold their kingdoms from God, and act as his viceregents and deputies; and in a special manner, because he sat in God's own throne and ruled over God's peculiar people, and did in a singular and eminent manner maintain the honour and worship of God in his land, and in the eyes of all the world besides" (Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible; Commentary at 2 Chronicles 9:8).

The LORD God was not sitting on the throne of David and reigning from that throne because Solomon was reigning in His stead. And that will also be the case when the Lord Jesus is given the throne of David to rule over Israel:

"He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob's descendants forever; his kingdom will never end" (Lk.1:32-33; NIV).

Here the Lord Jesus will rule over Israel in the place of the Father. Therefore, the following verse cannot be referring to the throne of David because both the Father and the Son are seen sitting in the heavenly throne, so both must be reigning:

"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne" (Rev.3:21).

John F. Walvoord understands this to be true, as witnessed by his comments here:

"The position described as being seated at the right hand of the Father is obviously one of highest possible honor and involves possession of the throne without dispossession of the Father. The implication is that all glory, authority, and power is shared by the Father with the Son. The throne is definitely a heavenly throne, not the Davidic throne, and not an earthly throne. It is over all the universe and its creatures" [emphasis added] (John F. Walvoord, The Present Work of Christ, Part II, "The Present Universal Lordship of Christ").

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