Christ On David's Throne

by David Padfield

Premillennialists claim that one day our Lord will return to this earth for the purpose of establishing His kingdom. They further claim that He will sit and rule "on the throne of David" in Jerusalem for 1,000 years. The truth of the matter is that at this very moment, Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords, and He is now reigning from heaven "on the throne of David." If we can prove that Christ is now "on the throne of David," the entire theory of premillennialism falls to pieces.

God's Promise To David

King David of Israel, was a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22). Before his death, God made several promises to him. "When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, 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 his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever." (2 Sa. 7:12-16).

This promise to David can be summarized by four main points: 1) David's seed would be set upon the throne, 2) it would happen after David's death, 3) God would establish this throne, and 4) this one would build God's house. These promises were fulfilled by Jesus Christ, the son of David, when He ascended into heaven to sit at God's right hand.

When Peter preached the first gospel sermon in the name of our risen Lord, he told how God fulfilled His promises to David. "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." (Acts 2:29-35).

The promises to David were fulfilled: 1) Christ was of the seed of David, 2) His coronation in heaven took place after the death of David, 3) Christ was raised up "to sit on his throne," and 4) God's house, the church, has been built. Paul wrote to Timothy to remind him "how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15).

What Was Established?

When God spoke to David, He said, "your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever." (2 Sam. 7:16). God promised to establish three things: David's house, David's kingdom, and David's throne. When you find out when one of these items was established you will find out when all of them were established.

David's house (royal family) was established in the first century. Matthew begins his gospel by proclaiming Christ to be "the Son of David, the Son of Abraham" (Matt. 1:1). Many centuries before God had promised, through the prophet Amos, to "raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages" (Amos 9:11). The NKJV adds a textual note to this verse, which says, "Lit. booth, A figure of a deposed dynasty." Amos had gone from his home at Tekoa to Bethel to prophesy against the kingdom of Israel, which had become very corrupt, and to warn the people of their coming doom (Amos 1:1; 7:7-17). The rule of David's house had ended for Israel when they left the theocracy; it ended for Judah with the carrying away of Coniah into Babylon (Jer. 22:24-30). They were sifted and scattered among the nations, and these verses refer to their return from captivity.

The "tabernacle" of David was the "royal family" of David. Please observe C.F. Keil's comments on the word "tabernacle" in this context: "Sukkah, a hut, indicates, by way of contrast to bayith, the house or palace which David built for himself upon Zion (2 Sam. v.11), a degenerate condition of the royal house of David. This is placed beyond all doubt by the predicate nopheleth, fallen down. As the stately palace supplies a figurative representation of the greatness and might of the kingdom, so does the fallen hut, which is full of rents and near destruction, symbolize the utter ruin of the kingdom. If the family of David no longer dwells in palace, but in a miserable fallen hut, its regal sway must have come to an end." (Commentary On The Old Testament, pp. 329, 330).

When the apostles and elders met in Jerusalem to discuss the state of the Gentiles, James quoted the prophecy of Amos and pointed out that it had to be fulfilled before the Gentiles could seek after God (Acts 15:13-19). What had to happen before the Gentiles could seek after God? The tabernacle of David had to be rebuilt. If Christ is not on David's throne, if the tabernacle has not been rebuilt, then the Gentiles cannot seek after God!

David's kingdom was "established" by Christ in the first century. Paul told the Colossians how God "has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love" (Col. 1:13). He told Hebrew Christians that "since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear" (Heb. 12:28).

David's throne was "established" when God raised "up the Christ to sit on his throne" and exalted Him "to the right hand of God" (Acts 2:29-36). Christ told the church at Laodicea, "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne" (Rev. 3:21).

What Will David's Throne Do For Him?

If Jesus Christ is not now on David's throne, then one of three things will happen when he does ascend to that throne: 1) He will increase in power and authority, 2) He will decrease in power and authority, or 3) David's throne will add nothing to Him.

If you teach that being seated on David's throne will increase His authority, you have to explain passages like Matthew 28:18 where Jesus claimed, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." Paul spoke of how Christ had been raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of God, "far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." (Eph. 1:20-23).

If He will decrease in power and authority when seated on David's throne, it would be a dishonor to Him. In this case, David's throne could only serve to weaken His power and authority.

The only other conclusion would be that David's throne would add nothing to Him -- in either power or authority. What a consequence!

Whose Throne Is It?

Premillennialists often claim that Christ is now on the "throne of God" but not on the "throne of David." However, a study of the Old Testament reveals that these are one in the same.

During the time of Samuel, the people of Israel desired to no longer be ruled by a judge but by a king. The sin of the people was not just that they wanted to be "like all the nations" around them, as I sometimes hear brethren preach in ignorance. Their sin was that they had rejected Jehovah as their king. "And the Lord said to Samuel, 'Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.'" (1 Sam. 8:7).

God had long ago promised that kings would rule Israel. Just before his death, Jacob promised his son Judah that kings would come from him. "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people" (Gen. 49:10). Moses had even instructed the people on the duties and behavior of kings before the people entered the promised land (Deut. 17:14-20).

The point is that when God allowed Israel to have a king over them, that king was ruling Israel in place of God. This explains many of the passages related to the throne of David. At the coronation of Solomon, David said, "he shall come and sit on my throne, and he shall be king in my place. For I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah" (1 Kings 1:35). David also said, "And of all my sons (for the Lord has given me many sons) He has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel" (1 Chron. 28:5).

We also read of how "Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him" (1 Chron. 29:23). Solomon himself said, "Now therefore, as the Lord lives, who has established me and set me on the throne of David my father, and who has made me a house, as He promised, Adonijah shall be put to death today!" (1 Kings 2:24). Solomon also said, "So the Lord has fulfilled His word which He spoke; and I have filled the position of my father David, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised; and I have built a house for the name of the Lord God of Israel." (1 Kings 8:20).

When we put these passages together, we see how Solomon sat on "the throne of David," "the throne of the Lord," "the throne of Israel, " and "the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel" all at the same time.

Christ On His Throne

The prophet Zechariah prophesied about the reign of Christ, and said, "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." (Zech. 6:13).

Christ was to do three things on His throne: 1) He would sit on His throne, 2) He would be a priest on His throne, and 3) He would rule on His throne. If we put this into the form of a syllogism, we would say: 1) He would rule on His throne while priest, 2) according to Hebrews 8:1, He is a priest on His throne now, and 3) therefore, He is ruling on His throne now.

Notice another syllogism: 1) He is a priest on His throne (Zech. 6:13), 2) He is a priest in heaven (Heb. 4:14), and 3) therefore, His throne is in heaven!

One last syllogism for your consideration: 1) He could not be a priest if He were on earth (Heb. 8:4), 2) however, He is a priest on His throne (Zech. 6:13), 3) therefore, His throne cannot be on earth!

Christ And Coniah

Jeremiah had condemned king Coniah as a "despised, broken idol" (Jer. 22:24-30). Coniah (also called Jeconiah) was to be cast out of the land and brought into captivity. We are further informed that he was 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. 22:30). Notice this carefully: Coniah would never have a descendent of his sitting on the throne of David and ruling in Judah.

We need to notice the genealogy of this man. Jehoiakim begot Coniah (1 Chron. 3:16; Jer. 22:24). Coniah (Jeconiah) begot Shealtiel (1 Chron. 3:17; Matt. 1:12). Christ is a descendant of Shealtiel (Matt. 1:12).

Therefore, since Christ is a descendant of Coniah, He cannot sit on the throne of David and rule in Judah! Yet, this is the very heart of modern premillennialism! The truth is that Christ is on the throne of David -- but not in the land of Judah. He is on the throne of David in heaven where He must reign "till He has put all enemies under His feet" (1 Cor. 15:25).

Conclusion

When Our Lord returns it will not be for the purpose of establishing a kingdom -- He is at this very moment the King of kings and Lord of Lords (Rev. 17:14). He rules as sovereign King in His kingdom right now. When He returns He will deliver "the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power" (1 Cor. 15:24).

kingdom of Christ; David's throne in Jerusalem