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“When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom . . . And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:12–16).

THIS TEXT IS ONE OF A HANDFUL OF OLD TESTAMENT TEXTS THAT ARE ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL FOR AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. Much that is said in the New Testament about Jesus Christ would be incomprehensible without an understanding of what it was that God was promising to David in 2 Samuel 7:12–16.

Offspring. On the first Pentecost after Jesus’ death, Simon Peter, a pious Jew, affirmed that he and others were eyewitnesses of the fact that Jesus had been resurrected. And Jesus’ resurrection, he argued, fulfilled what the Scriptures had foretold about the much-anticipated Messiah. To make his point, he quoted Psalm 16:10, where David had said, “For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption” (Acts 2:25–28).

Now follow very carefully what Peter said next: “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses . . . Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:29–36).

Kingdom. God said to David, “Your throne shall be established forever.” Just as “offspring” meant more than David’s son Solomon, there would be more to David’s “throne” than the government of Israel. The kingdom of which God spoke to David would not be geographical but spiritual (John 18:36) — and this is the very kingdom over which Jesus Christ, the Messiah, now reigns. So if we’ve obeyed the gospel, we may gladly say that God “has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13,14).

“The kingdom of God does not exist because of your effort or mine. It exists because God reigns. Our part is to enter this kingdom and bring our life under his sovereign will” (T. Z. Koo).

Gary Henry — +

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