THE THRONE OF DAVID.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder:....Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end: upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth even forever."-- Isa. 9:6,7.
This prophesy seems to be a continuation of that in Isa. 7:14--"A virgin shall conceive and bear a son." And thus we read, Matt. 1:21-23; also, in Luke 1:27-35. "Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: [R453 : page 3] and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end." "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the highest shall overshadow thee, therefore, also, that holy (sinless--undefiled-- pure) thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." Peter asserts that David knew "That God swore to him, with an oath, that of the fruit of his loins he would cause one to sit upon his throne." (Acts 2:30.-- Diaglott.)
Two leading questions are propounded to us on this subject, which we will answer in their natural order:
(1) If Messiah was to be of the fruit of David's loins--of the seed of David --the heir of David's throne--was it not needful that he should have a human father of the Davidic line?
We answer, No! The propounding of this question shows a misunderstanding of the laws of generation which any physiologist or the most illiterate physician should be able to explain. Inheritance and royalty to-day, as always, is reckoned through a mother as well as through a father. Thus it was with Jesus; his mother was a daughter of David--of the seed and loins of David --hence her offspring was not only her son, but through her the son of David.
A good illustration of this principle of inherited royalty through a mother, is furnished in the heir apparent to the throne of Great Britain--the Prince of Wales. He is heir of all that inheritance not through his father, but through his mother, the present queen.
In Jewish genealogies it was customary to reckon lineage through either parent. According to their custom, and indeed, among all civilized people to-day, at marriage the wife becomes a sharer in the interests of the husband; she leaves her father's house and name to share that of her husband. Mary was thus a sharer with Joseph when Jesus was born (though not when he was conceived--Matt. 1:18) hence, the genealogy of Joseph is given in Matt. 1:1-16 --the son of Solomon the son of David.
Another custom of that day was to reckon the genealogy through the wife's ancestry and treat her husband as in her stead the son of her father. (To-day we would call such--a son-in-law.) The seed of Abraham and David is thus traced, through Mary's ancestry, in Luke 3:23; and here Joseph is called the son of Heli, Mary's father, who was the son of Nathan the son of David.
(2) The second question propounded is: If Jesus is to "sit on David's throne," Does it not prove that in his Millennial reign he will be a fleshly being --a glorified man?
We answer, No! "Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more" thus. (2 Cor. 5:16.)
The inquirer should candidly ask himself, What is meant by the "throne of David"? Does it mean the seat or bench upon which David sat, and which ages since has crumbled into dust? Assuredly not. While the royal seat is often called a throne, yet in reality it only represents the sovereign power and dignity of office, which is really the throne. Thus, we say that Queen Victoria is on the throne of England, referring to her office of power and rulership as the head of the government.
Thus, Christ Jesus shall become, not only the recognized ruler and governor of Israel (over which David's throne extended), but more--over all the nations and families of earth. Hence, we read of "the increase of his government" over that of David; and his government, unlike David's, shall not be disturbed by rebellions, etc., but it shall be at peace and in control of all. In all the increased government he shall have lasting peace, and his government not come to an end forever, (to the age) i.e., until he shall put down all opposition and subdue all things to his will. Then, in the end of the Millennial age, he shall deliver up the kingdom (control) to God, even the Father--presenting to him the justified and perfectly restored of the human race, who thereafter shall be directly amenable to the Father. (See 1 Cor. 15:24,25.)
The dominion or rulership of earth was first bestowed on Adam. Jehovah crowned him with glory and honor and set him over the works of his hands, saying: "HAVE DOMINION over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth" (Gen. 1:28 and Psa. 8:5,6). The father of lies seduced Adam into disobedience and death, and robbed mankind of the DOMINION, and he thus became "the prince (ruler) of this world," making the once rightful monarchs of earth his slaves and emissaries--led captive at his will.
But the great Jehovah had foreseen all this, and was not taken unawares. Although he has permitted the usurpation of earth's dominion for 6000 years, his design is to "set at liberty the captives," breaking the chains of sin and death in which "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together," DESTROYING (in a legal manner) the great captor--death--and him that has the power of death, that is, the Devil. (1 John 3:8; Heb. 2:14.) To this end a Saviour--a Mighty Deliverer --was provided who, in the days of his FLESH, gave his flesh--his human nature--a ransom for the condemned human race, that thus the captives might legally be set free (from sin's wages-- death). Having thus redeemed (bought back) the inheritance (earth) and the inheritor (mankind), this mighty Saviour is about to put those whom he bought with his own precious blood into possession of their lost dominion--this will be the salvation of the world. The deliverance only tarries until the appointed limit of evil has been reached, which was necessary to discipline the world and develop a peculiar people for his name, to be the Bride, the Lamb's wife, and, by union with him, joint-heirs of His inheritance.
When thus exalted, Will they be visible to men? We reply, that, to be a ruler, does not imply being seen. The Queen is Empress of India--she rules it through the agents of her government. Millions of her subjects respect and recognize her authority that have never seen her. Could it not be thus with Christ's kingdom? They who will receive Christ's representatives will be receiving him, even as those who received him received the Father who sent him. (Matt. 10:40.)
The word see has a fuller meaning than eyesight. It is to know--to recognize; thus Jesus told the disciples of the Father, "whom no man hath seen nor can see," (1 Tim. 6:16) saying: "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father," and "from henceforth ye know him and have seen him." (John 14:7,9.) The disciples could come to a knowledge--recognition--of the Father by a recognition of his attributes in Jesus. So the world will all come to see or recognize Christ and his government as exemplified through the earthly agents of the kingdom. Thus it is that even the blind can see--recognize; thus we now endure as seeing (recognizing) him who is invisible to our natural eyes.
We have heretofore shown that Jesus is not a glorified man now. If we want to see a glorified man and a sample of what all men may become in the restitution, we must look back to Eden and see Adam before the fall, crowned with glory and honor, and only "a little lower than the angels" (Psa. 8:5); or, look back about 1800 years, and we see another perfect,--sinless,--glorious man: "We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." (Heb. 2:9.)
He was a glorious man when on earth, having left a higher glory thus to redeem us. But, though put to death in the flesh--a glorious man,--he was raised to life by the Father--a quickening spirit--a spiritual and not a human or fleshly being. [See "FOOD," page 56.] Now he is a new creature, and instead of having the glory of a man, (which is a little lower than the angels) as before, he now is a sharer in the glory of the Divine nature, "Being made so much BETTER than angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." (Compare Heb. 1:4and Phil. 2:7-9.)
Earth's king for the Millennial Age will be a spiritual ruler, invisible to the natural eye of men--visible only to the eye of their understanding as they shall become able to recognize him.
The present prince of the world-- Satan--is a spiritual being; hence his kingdom is invisible, except as it operates through earthly governments and individuals as its agents. So, also, is the new empire, the kingdom of God.
The differences between the two empires we need scarcely mention. One presents temptations, and leads into sin, misery, degradation and death; the other will deliver, enlighten, elevate and restore men to happiness, life and glorious manhood's first estate and dominion.
David's throne or dominion over Israel was a type of Christ's subjugation of the world and his dominion over it. We have seen that the dominion of earth was given to Adam, who was robbed of it by the present usurper-- Satan. While it was yet in Satan's control, God separated one small nation from others. Of Israel he made many types. Their Levites typified the justified; their priests typified the little flock or royal priesthood; and Israel itself is often used to represent the world of mankind.
God established his kingdom in the hand of David, first over Judah (type of all fleshly Israel), and secondly over Israel as a whole (type of the whole world); for thus shall it be in the establishment of the real kingdom of God which David's shadowed forth. It will be over Judah first (over Israel according to the flesh), and afterward the whole world shall receive and own him Lord of all.