Course: The History of Redemption
The Poetic Books
We’re going to look today at the third and maybe fourth time that God speaks. We will see how it goes. Let’s pray.
Lord, we do want to pause and just thank You that we can come to You in the name of Jesus. Thank You that You know our thoughts. You hear us from afar off. And even before a word can be formed, You know about it. So we are confident that You hear us, particularly if we ask in the name of Jesus, things according to Your will. You said it would be done to glorify Your Son. And Lord, we continually pray that Your kingdom would come on earth like it is in heaven. And we pray that You would just be with us as we continue to look at the times You spoke in Scripture, as we look at maybe the third and fourth times that You spoke in the large sections of Scriptures that we would understand Your communication, what You were trying to say. And that it would effect and change our lives by Your Spirit, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Well, let’s just review the first and second times God spoke. The first was to Abraham when he needed to know God’s plan, which was built on relationship. It was about faith. God is going to provide. And the method is friendship. He speaks to Abraham as a friend and He expects a response and that he would wait. He expects God to do it in His own good time.
Secondly, He speaks to Moses and the need at that time is direction. They need to know what God expects them to do and where they are supposed to go. So He gives them the moral and the ceremonial law. It covers the moral character of man and every aspect of man’s life. And the method is through thunder and lightening and mountains quaking. He speaks with great authority. And the response He expects is direct, simple obedience. And so we saw that the law said, “Do this and live.” But God said, “Live and do this.” He is going to give the power for us to do it.
Now as we continue on, the third time God speaks is found in the Davidic covenant and the poetic books. Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon. What is unique about this is the need. The need came when? Why does God need to speak now? We know why He spoke to Abraham and we know why He spoke to Moses. But what is the need now during the poetic books, the life of David, Saul, David and Solomon? What is the great need?—because the theocracy actually is at its peak. It has reached its highest glory, all except in the book of Job, which is included. But God is ruling His people, isn’t He? There is victory. There is prosperity. What is the great need?
Well, the need is that the truth needs to come and abide in the hearts and lives of men. The need is to have the Word in your heart. God did not want just an external kingdom, because He had given all the blessings and the prosperity and fulfilled different promises He had made to them. He wanted there to be a real relationship. And so the need is to have the Word in your heart.
Now the content during this time, because they are all in poetic form, it indicates that it is the inner experiences. And that is why He chose poetry. This is particularly in five different areas of life, because when you take the poets, you might say—you take Job, and the description of Job is simply this—what is Job about? In terms of the word in the heart, in terms of an inner experience, Job is about the heart of a man in suffering. You read through the whole book and no matter what else you get from the book, as his life is being poured out and he expresses it, you see the heart of this man during times of suffering. That is why so many people will go to the book of Job when they are suffering loss. You know, many people from these fires who lost their home or whatever, you find Christian people returning to the book of Job. They will read that. Why?—because it is about the heart of man while he is suffering. And it is that inner experience that comes out.
What about Psalms? Well, Psalms covers everything in life. So it is the heart of the people of God in the various circumstances of life. That is the content. Whatever else you want to say about the Psalms, its content covers their heart, their inner experience in just every kind of circumstance of life that you can imagine. And that is why we love the Psalms. Because you can open them, you can turn there and it is just everything you could ever go through in terms of life experiences is found there. And we read them.
Now Proverbs is the heart of a man of God as he wisely faces the practical affairs of life. And it begins with the wisdom of fearing the Lord and respecting and obeying Him. So Proverbs is about the heart as well.
Ecclesiastes is the heart of a man of God as he seeks meaning, you might say, outside of God. And as he seeks meaning outside of God he finds that everything is vanity. But it deals with heart issues. And when you read through Ecclesiastes that is exactly what you are going to see, the heart of that man as it comes out where he is seeking things that are a part from God or outside of God, things that are under the sun, you might say. And he finds out that it is all vanity.
Song of Solomon is the heart of man in the marriage relationship. And when you read the Song of Solomon, if you don’t pick anything else up, you should pick up God’s intention concerning relationship between man and woman and particularly the heart of a man in the marriage relationship. That is what it should be. And most women are going, “Yeah, right. Show me that man! Where is he?” But typically you can say that but literally, you might say, it is about Solomon and this woman. It really is the heart of a man in the marriage relationship. But we can typically take that and relate it to God and Israel or Christ and the church, which we do later.
But do you see the content and that the poetic books are about inner experiences that had to do with the heart? And that is why God chose poetry in this section of Scripture, because He wanted to communicate something. Well, what did God want to communicate? Well, He wanted to communicate His heart and so He chose poetry and these men wrote these inner experiences of the heart. So that is the content.
For example with Job—the heart of a man of God in suffering—the purpose of the book is first to show who God is. Secondly, to show the kind of trust He wants His children to have, to show His favor to His children and His absolute control over Satan, and to answer men’s questions about why a righteous man may suffer. And so God begins to develop out of the heart of Job a revelation of who God is. And when he finally sees God, Job does not have anything to say. He just repents in dust and ashes. And He shows through the book of Job the kind of heart trust that God expects. It is quite amazing, isn’t it? You think, “does God really expect me to trust Him if I had to go through something like Job went through?” And God’s answer is, “You are absolutely right. That is exactly what I expect.”
If my house is burned down in the fire and I lost everything, does God expect me to have this kind of heart trust towards Him where nothing comes out of my mouth that is wrong, because my heart is right with God? Absolutely! That is what He is expecting.
But then He also shows His favor later. He shows He has absolute control over Satan. And He restores to Job his fortune doubly. And Job finally sees that sometimes a person, even a Christian person, a good person can suffer. The purpose of suffering has to do with our heart and our trusting relationship with Him. Are we going to glorify God in the good times and the bad times? Will we received goodness at the hand of the Lord, but then not receive evil with the same kind of trusting heart? Does our relationship with God have to be based on our own issues and our own ground? Or is it based on the fact of who God is and we trust Him implicitly and absolutely. And Job teaches us that.
But it comes through poetry out of His heart. And Satan’s charge was that Job’s heart was not right but that he served God for protection and for profit. And Satan is always accusing God’s people that way. Well, they are serving God for this reason and that reason. But God trusted Job and only the gold that is worth putting in the fire. That is God’s own testimony of in Job 1:8. There is none like him in the earth. God says, “I am entirely impressed with this man. And I am willing to put him in the fire because I know what he is made of.”
In a sense, it is like the New Testament says, “Happy are you, or blessed are you when you go through these trials because God has counted you worthy to be put to the test.” (cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:4-5). You have enough of a relationship with God that your heart can be tested. And God is going to bring you through it because only the gold is worth putting in the fire so that you can get all the impurities out of it, all the alloys out of it. So it can be a single metallic content.
So if you are going through trials, praise God that He counts you worthy to go through them. Because He is not going to put anything on you more than He knows that you can handle. So Job’s testimony in 23:10 is this: “He knows the way that I take. When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” He began to understand what was going on.
And the bottom line is what kind of trust and heart do we have? Simple trust in God is the one thing needful because God’s ways are past finding out. If you have to understand what God is doing in your life before you can trust Him, you are not going to go very far. You are going to keep hitting a wall. You are just going to stop because “God’s ways are past finding out” (cf. Romans 11:33). You cannot understand everything God is doing. But what you can do is still trust Him, still believe Him. And so that is what is going on in the book of Job.
Now look at Psalms as you take this section. Psalms is the heart of the man of God before his God. We have got quite a few authors to the Psalms. You have got David and seventy-three of the psalms are ascribed to him personally. You have got Asaph the Levite who was the head of the choral worship under David. He put him in that position. You have got Solomon, who was the son of David. You have got Ethan, who was a wise man in the time of Solomon. You have got Heman, who also was at that time. You have got Moses, who for sure wrote Psalm 90. And then you have got anonymous writers and even some of those were probably written by David. So we have got different writers, writing about the experiences of life, the heart of a man before his God.
But David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, was a man after God’s own heart, and the Psalms give expression to the deep feelings. From the pit of despair, you go all the way to the delights and heights of an abundant life. So you are going to get the highs and the lows in the Psalms, as well as everything in the middle.
In Psalm 37:4 he says, “Delight yourself in the Lord.” Now that is real fulfillment and that is acceptable worship when you get to the point that you are delighting in the Lord. “And as the deer panteth”—because David panted due to the lack of relationship. He said, “A day in Thy courts is better than a thousand” (Psalm 84:10). So he wants this relationship with God and he wants to find himself delighting in the Lord.
And then you take Proverbs and you can see how a man of God can wisely face the practical affairs of life. There are detailed instructions here about how you should think and how you should live. And the purpose is stated in the first couple of verses.
Now you are going to find poetry. You are going to find great parables there and sharp questions and little stories, but the primary teaching method is contrast. And the topics that he covers in Proverbs: he covers wisdom, he covers sin, he covers the tongue, wealth, pride, idleness, love, pleasure, success temperance, morals, youth, and he contrasts God with man. He contrasts time and eternity, truth and falsehood, wealth and poverty, purity and impurity, justice and injustice, pleasure and misery.
Then some of the evil people found in the book are: the prating fool, the tale-bearer, the whisperer, the back-biter, the false boaster, and the speculator. And we see social relationships there. The master and the servant is covered, the rich and the poor, the husband and the wife, and parents and children. So, I mean, pretty much every practical affair of life is found in the book of Proverbs. And we see the contrast there.
So it details how God’s people should think and live. Now, note what God gave Solomon in 1Kings 4:29. He said, “Wisdom and understanding, exceeding much, and largeness of heart.” And so the purpose of the book is to receive God’s instruction and to receive it with meekness. To fear the Lord or respect the Lord, that is the beginning of wisdom. To be meek, humble yourself under the Word of God, and receive the Word of God with meekness—because that is what can really change you, that is what can really save you, and then to put it into practice. So the fear of Adonai (that is, lordship) is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Lordship is a matter of the heart and who rules the heart.
So, all the matters of life, really, according to Proverbs, are heart matters. And don’t think that they are not. Everything that you are doing, from a practical standpoint, is still a heart matter. And that is what Proverbs really begins to show us. And that is why He chose this kind of poetry to bring it out because it is just like Job and Psalms. Proverbs is a heart matter.
And in Ecclesiastes you see that he is seeking meaning, but it is that vanity that is outside of God, it shows the futility of pursuing materialistic things or setting earthly goals. If you are doing that, you are setting earthly goals. If they are an end in themselves you are headed towards vanity. But it points to God as the true source of all that is good. So every pursuit of man is a futile attempt if it is excluding God. And only God’s work endures. So He can impart true value to man’s life and to man’s service. So it shows the vanity of achieving happiness by pursuing worldly values.
And without God, life is just meaningless. And He concludes this and this is the ultimate meaning that he gets from it. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God. Respect God. Meekly humble yourself under Him and keep His commandments.” In other words, if you really had wisdom you would humble yourself under God’s Word and you would do what it says. “For this is man’s all” or “this is the whole duty of man.” This is all man is supposed to do. “For God will bring every work under judgment, including every secret thing whether good or evil.” (cf. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
Isn’t that interesting? Even in the conclusion he has to mention the secret thing. Why?—because that is a matter of the heart, whether you are truly obeying God or not.
And so everything is 28 times “under the sun.” It is interesting in that in Exodus 12:37 the word “Rameses” means child of the sun. And Israel was called out of Egypt into the Promised Land. Really, you are too big for this world because only the things that are above the sun can satisfy your heart. And that is why you need to set your affection on things above. Since you have been saved and God has come into your life and regenerated you, you are just too big for this world. And there is nothing down here that can totally satisfy you. The only thing that can is if you set your affection on things above. But if you think that something down here is going to satisfy you, you have just made a huge mistake because you are going to find out sooner or later that it did not. And that is why, you know, that is why we keep hearing, “Set your affection on things above.” “Focus on the Lord.” You know, that is so huge because it is true.
And Solomon sees that in Ecclesiastes. Who will rule under the sun for God? Everything has value if the heart is right with God. That is the key, you see. And sometimes we forget that in Ecclesiastes. We focus on the vanity, but we forget that also what he is saying is everything has value if your heart is right with God. If you are cleaning and your heart is right with God that is valuable. If you are serving, if you are playing, if you are working, if you are resting and your heart is right with God, then you are living and having your being in God and there is value there.
So, Ecclesiastes is about the heart. That is why God chose poetry and put it in this section. I hope you see it. I mean, this whole big section of Scripture is all about the heart.
And in Song of Solomon it is the heart of a man of God, in a relationship with a woman, especially speaking of the marriage relationship. Now, there are a couple of different interpretations of the book. Some take the naturalistic interpretation, a human love story with no spiritual application at all. Others take the allegorical approach to the book, and that is, it is purely figurative and it is not based on any historical fact. You know, there really wasn’t even any real love relationship. Like that whole thing was made up for a purpose, you know to teach some point beyond that.
Then there is the typical teaching of the book and that is that it is a teaching by example. It is based on real historical facts. There was a real man and a real woman and they had a real relationship. But they view these historical facts as figurative representations of either God and Israel or Christ and the Church. Some people take it to be like the spirit and soul of man with God as well.
So the thing about it is, if you take the naturalistic or more literal interpretation of it as a man and a woman, you still can make certain applications of it. I know that is where I would stand. I would stand more on the naturalistic interpretation that this was a real historical relationship between a man and a woman, but you can make application of it to God and Israel if you see that relationship. You can make application of it to Christ and the church, you know.
So there is a difference between meaning and application. And it does not apply in every instance either, does it? If you take it literally, it does not mean that every little thing has to have an application.
So the purpose of the book, literally, was to honor pure human love in marriage; and figuratively, to show the Lord’s love for Israel and Christ’s love for the church. So it presents true devotion, intimate personal experience and relationship. “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. Hurry, my beloved.” Some see an application of that in “Even so, Come, Lord Jesus.” As we finish out the Bible in the book of Revelation, there is that same cry. Hurry, my beloved. Come quickly! Because we love the Lord and we want Him to return. So we feel a sense of desire to be with Him, to know Him, to worship Him, to adore God as all in all.
Paul put it this way: “To live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21). And so you can see both a literal but maybe a typical application here in the Song of Solomon.
So, let’s compare Solomon’s writings. Song of Solomon was written when? It was written when he was very young. That is interesting. Song of Solomon was one of the first things he wrote. He was young and in love. I think that is just interesting.
Proverbs was written when he was middle aged, probably right at the peak of his intellectual powers, at the peak of his administration, when everything was being glorified throughout the kingdom.
And it is interesting that Ecclesiastes was one of the last things he wrote, written when he was old. Maybe a bit disappointed, a bit disillusioned to some extent with the carnality of much of his life. So it is interesting when he wrote these: young, middle aged, and old.
So did God and does God use natural things in life even when He is communicating Scripture? Sure He does. He always has.
Now, what is the method? Well, it is in the form of a testimony. It seems that this is not God speaking, rather man. However, God is actually speaking, but He is speaking what?—in the experiences of a man who has in his heart what God wants to communicate. In other words, they are like the living epistles. God is taking real men, real experiences of life and He is speaking through that man’s heart and communicating what God wants to communicate because He found a man that is expressing God’s heart. And these books are just as much God speaking as God was speaking at Sinai. They are still inspired by the Holy Spirit, although it wasn’t—at Sinai God speaking directly. But now God is speaking through people and through their experiences of life. And it is really neat. That’s the method God chose, because it is poetry and it is life experience. And that is why God chose that method. Do you see how they coordinate together?
Do you see the need? That this has to be taken from a literal kingdom, you might say, and put into the heart. You know. Do you see the content of the books? How it is all about the heart. And then do you see the method? God takes real people who have what He wants to communicate in their heart and He brings it out. It all relates.
So, what is the response that God expects from this section of Scripture? What does He want? Well, He wants us to take these words and say them back to Him. We can make these our very own words. That is why He gave us these experiences. Don’t you like to do that when you read through the Psalms in particular? You just take the Psalms and it is like you can pray them back to God or you can praise them back to God. And it is that way even in Job or even in Song of Solomon.
Well, the Davidic covenant fits with the poetic books, which is interesting because the need is a heart after God’s own heart and David was a man after God’s own heart. The content is inner experiences of all the areas of life. The method is living epistles because God is speaking through the experiences of a man who has in his heart what God wants to communicate. And the response is “Thy word have a hid” where? In my heart” (Psalm 119:11). And that is the response God expects from these poetic books. He really does want us to hide these poetic books in a special, particular way in our hearts.
I mean, life should have poetry—poetry and music and art and all these things—because that is who God is. And when we hide these things in our hearts, then the expression of it can be brought forth as the Holy Spirit directs our life.
So Abraham’s covenant emphasized the land and the seed. The Davidic covenant confirms the seed promise. The land promise was confirmed more where?—in the Palestinian covenant, right? So during this time of poetry, this time of David’s life, and Saul’s life, and Solomon’s life, God is establishing the kingdom. He gives, in 2 Samuel 7, the covenant to David. So we want to think about what is the relationship here. Because the covenant to David was focusing on the seed promise, not so much the land, but the actual seed. 2 Samuel 7:12 says, “I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels. And I will establish his kingdom.” So what is God going to set up?—David’s seed. He said, “David, I am going to set up your seed.” Psalm 89 says,
I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn unto David, my Servant, Thy seed will I establish forever and build up thy throne to all generations. My covenant I will not violate, nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness, I will not lie to David. His descendants shall endure forever and his throne as the sun before Me. (Psalm 89:3-4; 34-36)
It sounds pretty sure—the great covenant psalm, Psalm 89.
And in Jeremiah 33, God said:
As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea can be measured, so will I multiply the seed of David. If I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth then I will cast away the seed of Jacob and David My servant. (cf. Jeremiah 33:22; 25-26)
So in other words, God is saying, “If I am not in charge of heaven and I am not in charge of earth, and the stars don’t keep going in their course and the earth quits rotating, then okay, I will do away with My promise to the seed of David.” So God is confirming David’s kingdom, David’s throne, and David’s house. And so the Davidic covenant is different than the Abrahamic covenant because Abraham, you might say, the emphasis is on both land and seed. And the Palestinian covenant in Deuteronomy and Ezekiel tends to emphasize the land. But the Davidic covenant emphasizes the seed.
So, what does the kingdom, the throne, and the house mean? Because He says in 2 Samuel 7:16, “And thine house, and thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee. Thy throne shall be established forever.” So, God is establishing three things: David’s house, David’s kingdom, David’s throne.
But what does He mean by the kingdom? I personally believe that when He says “I am going to establish David’s kingdom,” He is talking about the political rule of Israel. That David will politically rule Israel. That is his kingdom.
Secondly is his throne. That means that the royal throne rights belong to David and to his seed. The dignity and sovereign power belong to David and to David’s seed.
And the house, that means that his physical descendants, people from his family, have the right to rule. And it will never be transferred to another family. God promised it to one family. Remember, God chose one man Abraham and he dealt with Abraham. And then He came to David and He said, “Now it is your family. And I promise it won’t pass from your family. You have the throne rights from the family.”
So, it is the kingdom. It is the throne and the house of David that God is promising.
So what are the provisions of 2 Samuel 7:12-16? We don’t really have time to read it, but you probably should, you know, read verses 12 through 16. I have brought out phrases and portions of it. God promises “to thy seed after thee.” What does that mean? It means that David is going to have to have a child who succeeds him and establishes his kingdom. He says, “The promise is to your seed after you.” And that is what happened. It is his seed. It has to be David’s kid that establishes the kingdom.
Now some people will say, “Well, Solomon was his kid and Solomon did it.” Others say, “No, there is a greater than Solomon that came, Jesus Christ. He is the one that does it.” Secondly, He says in these verses, “He shall build a house for My name.” That is, the kid. David’s kid is going to build a house for God’s name. Did Solomon build a house for God’s name? Yeah, he did. But did the greater than Solomon, is He in the process of building a house for God’s name? Right now! You are part of it. You are a living, building stone within that house.
Thirdly, “I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” So in other words, it is an everlasting kingdom. It is not going anywhere. It is going to be here forever.
Fourthly, “My mercy shall not depart away from him as I took it from Saul, whom I put away.” So that is unique, isn’t it? Because Saul was disobedient and when Saul was disobedient God said, “You know what? You are not king anymore. Bye-bye.” But when Solomon was disobedient what did God say? He said, “Oh, I ought to treat you like Saul but I am not going to. Why?—because of your father David. And because I promised him that I would treat you different.” And so mercy, though Solomon’s sin justified this kind of judgment, God’s mercy prevailed because it is called the sure mercies of David. And so He treated Solomon and his sin differently than He treated Saul. Saul got kicked out of office. Solomon didn’t. He got to stay there till he died. So there is a different relationship. Why? Because it is based on a relationship God had with David. And that is why they call it the Davidic covenant because it was not about Solomon and it was not about Saul. It was about David, who was a man after God’s own heart.
And so David’s house, David’s throne, David’s kingdom shall be established forever. And it is confirmed by promise again and again, in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Amos and Zechariah. And I wish we had time to look them all up and read them. It is quite unique how often God made promise to David.
Now, is the Davidic covenant conditional or unconditional? Well, although disobedience has caused it to be a tabernacle fallen down—that is how it is referred to. Or a house desolate—it will be rebuilt and restored by the seed. That will take place. And we will see that. You know, we see it in Acts chapter 15, where James stands up to speak at the first church council, that the house desolate will be rebuilt when the Lord returns.
Then it is called an eternal covenant in 2 Samuel 7:23 and Isaiah 55 and Ezekiel 37. They all call it eternal because it is unconditional in that it rests upon the faithfulness of God’s oath. Psalm 132:11. It is a great Scripture where God promises that it is an eternal covenant to David.
So if it is eternal it has to be, in some sense, unconditional from God’s point of view. Because God says, “I am going to keep My part of the bargain no matter what man does.” And so it rests upon the faithfulness of God and not upon the ability of man. But there will come a day when man will obey. And that is what God promises. And that is kind of more what we get into in the new covenant, is that God ensures that it will happen. Man cannot make it happen; but God can make it happen.
And so note that the covenant was reaffirmed after repeated acts of disobedience on the part of the nation. It is not God waiting for a future obedience as in 2 Chronicles 6:16 where He says, “You shall, if only your sons take heed to walk as you have walked before Me.” In other words, right now it is not happening. Why? Because yours sons are not walking like they are supposed to. But you shall. When?—when your sons start walking like they are supposed to. Well, when are David’s sons going to start walking like they are supposed to? Well it is not going to happen because God has promised that there is a partial hardening going on for a time. Not a whole hardening, but a partial hardening. But there will come a time again when God has a right to work with these people. And that is the most generic form of election that there is, is that God is God and He has a right to do whatever He wants to do. And if He wants to come back and work with them again, He is righteous to do it.
Personally, I think Romans 9-11 is the climax of the book of Romans because Romans is all about the righteousness of God. And in everything that we are reading in Romans, the theme is righteousness. The righteous, the just, the ones that have been made justified or righteous, they are the ones that live by faith. Well, when you get to Romans 9-11, what you are seeing is this issue of the Gentiles and Israel. And God ends in chapter 11 by saying, “God has concluded everybody’s in disobedience, both Gentiles and Jews, so He can show mercy on whoever He wants to.” And then he begins to explain, “Oh the depth; Oh the wisdom.” He is like, “Oh man, look what God did!” Now God can show mercy on whoever He wants to and nobody can say a thing about it. And then he says, “I beseech you by that mercy, since God has shown it to you, present your body—not just your mind, not just your soul, not just your spirit, present your body, your physical body that you live in here on earth, make a presentation of it to God. That is just reasonable. And it is your spiritual service of worship” (cf. Romans 12:1) He bases that all on the sure mercies of David and what God has done.
So, there is going to come a time in the future when David’s son will walk. And I think it is probably a near future.
And then note this last: that the prophecies were given after Solomon by Jeremiah in Jeremiah 33. So if Solomon was a total fulfillment of all of this, then why give prophecies about it after he died? That does not make a lot of sense does it? So he was not the fulfillment. There is a fulfillment yet to come besides Solomon because of the prophecies given after his death.
So I think it is an unconditional covenant though many see it as simply a conditional covenant. I think there are conditions within it for the enjoyment of it. But they will happen because God swore it. He promised it to David and I believe it will still happen.
So where is Christ seated now? He is seated at the right hand of the Father’s throne, isn’t He? Is that the Davidic throne? Do you think Jesus Christ sitting at the right hand of the Father’s throne is the Davidic throne? That is what the amillennialists believe. That is what covenant theology believes. That is what a lot of reformed theology believes. That right now that is the Davidic throne. That is not the Davidic throne. The Davidic throne is for earth. Where Christ is sitting is in heaven. He is not sitting on David’s throne. He is sitting at the right hand of the Father’s throne.
Now when Christ returns from the right hand of the Father’s throne, He will then effect a literal earthly kingdom. Matthew 25 and Luke 1 speak of it. As a matter of fact, in the first church council in Acts 15:14-17, you know it well, what is meant by the tabernacle of David? It contrasts the nation of Israel with the Gentile nations from which God is now taking out a people for His name. He says, “After this”—after what? It is after God takes out a people from among the Gentiles for His name. “After this, I will return and I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen.” Well, who is returning to do that? “The seed of David, not seeds as to many, but seed as to one, Christ,” as Galatians 3:16 says. Jesus Christ returns after the Gentiles have been made complete in terms of a people being called out. That is what we call ourselves, the ekklesia, the called out ones assembled. We are called out to be part of the church. When that is complete then Christ returns and rebuilds the tabernacle of David, which is the national Israel.
So, I do not think He is sitting on David’s throne right now like the people who spiritualize the Scripture. He is sitting at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
Now obviously, Christ is not now on the throne of David bringing blessing to Israel. That is not what is happening. But He is waiting for Operation Footstool to be complete. Psalm 110:1, it says, “The Lord says to my lord.” That is Jehovah says to Adonai. They are talking to each other. The eternal existent, self-existent God, Jehovah, is talking to Adonai, the Lord of all things, who is risen from the dead and has the right to be Lord of all things, Jesus Christ, true God and true Lord of all, the dead and the living. He says, “Sit at my right hand until….” He says, “Why don’t you take a rest. I mean, the cross was pretty heavy.” Now He is risen. He is ascended. “Sit down at My right hand until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet” (cf. Psalm 110:1).
And note how Jesus used this in Psalm 110 when He was talking to the guys in Matthew 22:43. When they said, “We are going to ask You a question.” He said, “Okay, here is the deal. Let Me ask you a question.” He says, “In Psalm 110, David’s Lord is called a son. How can he call his son lord?” And they went, “That is a good question.” How does a guy call his son, lord? And they said, “We do not know. That is really puzzling.” And He said, “Okay, fine. Then I am not going to answer your question either.” And it says from that day forward they did not ask Him any more questions. That was the last thing they asked Him. Why?—because it dealt with lordship, for one. And they did not understand the fulfillment of prophecy.
So, Christ is not sitting right now on David’s throne, as the amillennialists say. That is not what is happening. He is at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
Now, what is the summary of Acts 15, the first church council? When you read it, here is what James says. He says, “Listen to me, God visits the Gentiles to take out the ekklesia, a people for His name.” Then secondly, James says, “After this [and the prophets agree with this, after this] the times of the Gentiles, when that is over, Christ will return. The Messiah will return.” That is the second thing James says. The third thing is, “Upon Christ’s return He will rebuild the tabernacle of David, as in the days of old” (cf. Acts 15:14-16). That is a direct quote from Amos 9:11. So James knew the Old Testament pretty well. He just quoted it right out of Amos 9:11. He says, “He is going to do it just like in the days of old.”
Then lastly, James said, “Those who remain [that is, the residue of men, whoever is left at that time] will seek the Lord.” He is talking about all the Gentiles who are left shall come to a knowledge of the Lord after the kingdom has come.
So God is doing a special thing now, calling out the church. But then He is going to come back. The Lord is going to return. He is going to rebuild the tabernacle of David. And once the tabernacle of David is rebuilt by Jesus Christ, then the residue of Gentiles that were not part of the church, those guys are going to have a knowledge of the Lord too. But it is going to come through what Jesus Christ actually does on earth.
And those are the four basic things that James stands up and explains in Acts 15, which was the very first church council. So it is pretty heavy.
So, the eschatology of the Davidic covenant is this: Israel must be preserved as a nation for His word to be fulfilled literally. Has Israel been preserved as a nation literally? Yes, they are still a literal nation. It has to happen. Matter of fact, it is quite amazing that they have.
Secondly, Israel has to be brought back into their homeland of inheritance with those definite geographical boundaries. Have they been brought back into their homeland? Yes. The fight is over what?—the geographical boundaries. That is what is going on right now. They are there but the geographical boundaries have not been established. It is just a continual issue. It is a fight to the death every day over there; but that has happened, literally, thus far.
Thirdly, David’s literal, physical Son must return to rule and reign over His promised kingdom. That will be Jesus Christ, the real son of David, from the seed of David, hence He came through Mary and Nathan so that He would have the throne rights that Matthew makes so clear belong to Him as a literal Son of David. Why did he go to such trouble, Matthew, to explain that? And why did they go to such trouble to keep the records and to make sure that Christ was from this line? So it could be literal. So He could have the throne rights to sit there. If it was just spiritual, they would not need to do that.
Fourthly, a literal kingdom must be established over which He returns and He will reign upon David’s throne. The Messiah will.
And then fifthly, this kingdom must become an eternal kingdom and there must be no end to the Messiah’s reign.
Well, the first two things have happened literally in the process. And so Psalm 132:11 says,
The Lord has sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I sit upon thy throne.
So, I believe it really is the climax of the righteousness of God. He is proving in history, real history, that He is Lord and He is righteous and He can do what He wants. And He has decided to show mercy on everybody because everybody has been disobedient. The Gentiles have been disobedient. Israel has been disobedient. So God can graft back in the natural branches.
But when He grafts us in, we are called the wild branches in Romans 11, right? And when He grafts us in, what does He say about us? What is His description of us, the church? He grafts us in as wild branches; the word is contrary to nature. In other words, we are not normal. We are definitely supernatural. We are heavenly. We are unique. We are the contrary to nature grafted in, the wild branches taken in.
Well, if He can do that, the point is how much easier will it be for Him, to later take again the natural branches and just bring them right back in. If God can do the contrary thing, the wild thing—that is you—then how easy it will be for Him to do the other thing.
So yeah, I see, in the Davidic covenant, I see myself that God is going to come back. That Jesus is going to return literally, and actually set up a thousand year reign and rule on earth. Because everything to this point, you know, it is being fulfilled literally, so why shouldn’t the ones that are remaining continue to be fulfilled literally. So, I just can’t go the route of the amillennialists. I just can’t do it. Not because I don’t want to do it. In a lot of ways it would be easier to do that, but Scripture won’t let me do it. But a lot of it has to do with your view of the Bible, you know.
And there are basically three views of the Bible. And I will kind of close with that. We have already gone over them once. But the first one is this, is that some people view the Old and the New Testament as just one thing. You know, we have talked about that.
Others view the Old as one thing, and the New as a completely different thing. But then there is that group which is different from both. And they see the Old Testament and the New Testament as one thing but with qualitative differences. And so those are usually the three views. This one is just it is all one, Old and New. It doesn’t make any difference. This one is they are totally split. The Old is the Old; the New is the New. Okay, this is more, you might say, the extreme covenant position. And this is more the extreme dispensational position.
But there is a view that takes both of them and combines them together and says, I see that there is this big thing going on but there are some qualitative differences. And they take both the covenant view and the dispensational view and put them together and center it on the cross, which is the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. And that is my view. Which I think is a biblical view. Because I see the covenants and I see the dispensations. But I am not going to polarize to either one of them. The thing that is central is the cross. And I see qualitative differences between the two. But the unity and the oneness is in the cross.
Well, thank You, Lord. Thank You for writing through Job and Psalms and Proverbs and Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. And the message that we get here from You, about Your heart, and how You want to rule every little area of our life from our hearts. So Lord, from beginning to end we sense that it really is about our hearts. So Lord, keep our hearts and help us to keep our hearts with all diligence, because it is the most important thing that we will ever do on this earth, is to make sure our heart is right with You. So have mercy on us, Lord. Pour out Your Spirit upon us. Show us Your great love and help us keep our hearts, in Jesus’ name, amen.