Is the throne of David a type?
An article on the website of The Middletown Bible Church, When and Where Does Christ Sit Upon the Throne of David? discusses 15 prophecies referring to the throne of David, and the author attempts to show that none of them apply to the present reign of Christ in his church. George Zeller is the assistant pastor at the church, and the author of most of the articles at the site.
Item #11 states:
“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: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:32-33).
Notice that His sitting on the throne of David is clearly linked with His reign over the house of Jacob (Israel). Today Christ is Head over the Church which is His body. It is not until the future millennium that Christ will rule over the house of Jacob. It is then that the kingdom will be restored again to Israel.
The throne of David is linked to Christ’s reign over Israel because David was king of the twelve tribes of Israel, in Jerusalem, and Christ’s reign in his church is also over the twelve tribes of Israel, in the heavenly Jerusalem, the Gentile saints being grafted in. [Romans 11:17] The twelve tribes are depicted in Revelation 7:4-8, where 12,000 are sealed from each of twelve tribes. This is an ideal, and highly figurative description of the sealing of the church with the Spirit. [2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30]
David’s rule in the earthly Jerusalem was a type of the reign of Christ in the heavenly city. It was not a type of a future king who will reign in the earthly city, as in the types and figures of prophecy, earthly things foreshadow spiritual, eternal things, not a repetition of the earthly event. The reign of David does not foreshadow the reign of a future king in the earthly Jerusalem; rather, it foreshadows and typifies the reign of Christ during the whole age of the church.
Item #13 states:
“Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch DAVID, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ TO SIT ON HIS THRONE; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in hell, neither His flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, UNTIL I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:29-36).
This passage is used by Progressive Dispensationalists in their attempt to prove that Christ sat down on the throne of David when He sat at the right hand of God. However, the passage does not say that Christ is now seated upon the throne of David. It does say (v.30) that God raised up Christ to sit on David’s throne. It is obvious that the resurrection was a prerequisite for Christ to sit on David’s throne. How could a dead Messiah sit on David’s throne? Compare John 12:32-34 where the Jews were perplexed by the problem of how a dead Messiah could reign forever and ever.
The kingdom promised to David does not begin with Christ’s exaltation and session in heaven. It begins with Christ’s return to earth. This is made clear in Acts 2:34-35. The key word is “UNTIL.” Christ will not return to earth and will not sit upon David’s throne until His enemies are made His footstool.
It makes no sense to speak of Christ sitting on David’s throne as if it were a literal one; the expression David’s throne means the office of ruling over the twelve tribes of Israel; it is not a literal chair, to be set up in a court in the earthly Jerusalem in the future. The Israel Christ rules is the church: the heavenly Jerusalem. At Pentecost, in his address to the Jews, Peter said that Jesus had ascended to God’s throne, and had sent the Spirit as foretold in Joel 2:28.
Joel wrote, “So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.” [Joel 3:17] The Jerusalem to which this applies is the heavenly one; “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” [Hebrews 12:22]
Joel said, “a fountain shall come forth out of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim.” [Joel 3:18] No doubt, the valley of Shittim here is figurative; it was the place where Israel camped, before they entered the promised land. It was where they began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. [Numbers 25:1] If the whoredom in that event applies figuratively and spiritually to Christians attached to false doctrines, the fountain provides a remedy for it.
No literal river could flow across the Dead sea, and up-slope on the other side of the Jordan River. Alluding to Israel in the wilderness, the church is represented by the woman who is nourished in the wilderness in Revelation 12:6 and 14, and the church is called the “camp of the saints” in Revelation 20:9. The fountain in Joel’s prophecy represents the Holy Spirit, sent at Pentecost, which has remained in the church since then. It was manifested as “tongues of fire.” [Acts 2:3]
The same fountain mentioned in Joel’s prophecy is called a “fiery stream” in Daniel’s description of Christ reigning during the present age.
A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.
Jesus spoke of his word as a “fire.”
I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
Jesus came to send the fire of the gospel on the earth; it has been burning continually since. The “fiery stream” is the message of the gospel, which continues to go forth during the whole age of the church. Since the “fire” and the “fiery stream” of the Spirit began in the first century, and continue since then, God is dwelling in Zion, which is his holy mountain, the church of which Christ is the chief cornerstone.