Summary: The birth of the Christ points forward to the day when Messiah shall reign from the Throne of David.

“Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.” [1]

Isaiah foresaw a day when the Messiah would be seated on the throne of David. That glorious throne would represent an eternal Kingdom that would never fall. Study of the “Throne of David” does not lead us to a series of disconnected events, but rather the history of the Faith is a continuum, interweaving past and future in such a way that the present is also effected. Therefore, understand what Isaiah meant when he spoke of the “Throne of David” and understanding what is yet future benefits us now.

The Kingdom of David will be established on earth and Isaiah was quite definite in stating that when it has come it will increase. The reign of Messiah will at some point in history extend over all the earth. That day is not now. The focal point of Messiah’s reign will be the Throne of David. That focus is the subject of our considerations during the message for this Sunday immediately preceding the celebration of Messiah’s birth.

THE THRONE OF DAVID IN HISTORY — David was the greatest of all Israel’s Kings. Without question, the Jewish people to this day look back with longing to his reign. Though liberal theologians have denigrated the biblical account of a Hebrew King named David reigning in Jerusalem, the Bible assumes the historicity of David’s wise rule. Though revisionist historians have attempted to reconstruct the biblical account of David’s reign, the Word of God stands firm in its insistence upon the Davidic kingdom. Moreover, the history of salvation seamlessly weaves the life of David and especially the import of his lineage throughout the divine account.

Isaiah clearly associates the “throne of David” and the Kingdom of Messiah. Therefore, we are justified in asking what is meant by his reference to “the throne of David?” Otto Schmitz states of the throne that “In the Old Testament the throne is the privilege of the king [GENESIS 41:40]… The throne of Solomon is [referred to as] the throne of his father David [1 Kings 1:13, 35, 46; 2:12, 24, 33, 45; though cf. also 1 KINGS 1:37]. But the reference here is not so much to the actual throne constructed by Solomon with unparalleled magnificence [1 KINGS 10:18–20; 2 CHRONICLES 9:17–19; cf. also 1 KINGS 7:7] as to the throne as a symbol of government [2 SAMUEL 3:10; cf. also ISAIAH 14:13] which transcends the present occupant of the throne. Thus, there are many references to the throne of David in the sense of the eternal duration of his dynasty promised in 2 SAMUEL 7:12 ff. [1 CHRONICLES 17:11 ff.; cf. 1 MACCABEES 2:57; cf. also 2 SAMUEL 7:16; JEREMIAH 13:13; 17:25; 22:30; 36:30; PSALM 89:4, 29, 36; 132:11–12]… It is in similar terms that the throne of David is called the throne of the Messiah in ISAIAH 9:6. This throne is distinguished not merely by power but also by justice [ISAIAH 16:5; PSALM 122:5].” [2, 3]

Looking back to the reign of David, the second King of the United Kingdom of Israel, will prove to be of but limited value for the purpose of the message this day. However, the continuation of David’s rule through his descendants is what is in view whenever the Bible refers to “the throne of David.” As an example of this particular usage, consider the message that the angel Gabriel brought to a young Jewish virgin.

Mary, the mother of Jesus our Lord, appears to have lived in anticipation of the establishment of David’s throne in Jerusalem. When the angel whom God sent, Gabriel, announced the birth of the Christ to her, you will recall that he included this particular promise. “[The child whom Mary was to bear] will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” [LUKE 1:32, 33]. The son that would be born was destined to reign on David’s throne—He is appointed to reign.

John the Baptist, the forerunner of Messiah’s First Advent, preached a message that generated great anticipation in Judea. Levi relates John’s message in these words, “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” [MATTHEW 3:1, 2]. Thus, John had preached that the Kingdom was drawing near; nevertheless, he never witnessed initiation of that kingdom. Rather than witnessing the establishment of the Kingdom, John was imprisoned and his life was threatened!

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