“I reap where I did not sow”

June 2, 2012

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In the 8th of his 15 arguments against the idea that Christ reigns upon the throne of David now, in this article, George Zeller asserts that “literal interpretation is to be preferred.” He wrote:

“And DAVID My servant shall be King over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in My judgments, and observe My statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob My servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and My servant David shall be their PRINCE for ever” (Ezekiel 37:24-25).

The resurrected David, who is called both KING and PRINCE, will be directly involved in the millennial government, serving under Christ: “Directly under Christ, having authority over all Israel, will be the resurrected David, who is given both titles of king and prince. He will be king because he will rule over Israel, but he will be a prince in that he will be under the authority of Christ” (Arnold Fruchtenbaum, The Footprints of the Messiah, page 282). See Jeremiah 30:9; Ezekiel 34:23-24 and Hosea 3:5.

These passages are often explained in a non-literal way as referring not to David himself, but to David’s greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, though the literal interpretation is to be preferred. But regardless of this, during this present church age we are never told that David is reigning as King or as Prince. David the future king/prince is only mentioned in a millennial, earthly, Jewish context.

In Ezekiel’s words, “And David My servant shall be King over them; and they all shall have one shepherd,” there are two metaphors, one being David, who stands as a figure of Christ, who reigns over the Israel of God in the heavenly Jerusalem, and that of a shepherd. To assert that the “shepherd” is metaphorical, but not “David,” would be arbitrary, and inconsistent.

There is a problem applying prophecies that speak of eternal, spiritual things to the temporal lives of men on earth. When Ezekiel said that Israel will walk in God’s ways, and observe his statutes, and that David will be their king, he is speaking of the New Covenant, which applies to the church. As Zeller noted, in Ezekiel’s prophecies, David may refer to Christ, who is to reign upon the throne of David forever. The next verses demonstrates that this is the true meaning, for the believer.

Ezekiel 37:26-27
Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Paul uses similar language in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians. It seems likely he had Ezekiel 37:26-27 in view.

2 Corinthians 6:16
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Jesus said many deceivers would come in his name. The Scripture says that Jesus has been given all power in heaven and earth, [Matthew 28:18] and so a Christ who does not have all power, and who is not Lord over all things, is another, inferior Christ.

In regards to literal interpretation, consider the parable of the talents, which Jesus gave his disciples, and which Matthew includes in the Olivet Discourse, in Matthew 25:14-30.

Jesus said to the man who received one talent, which he hid in the earth, “Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.”

What if prophecy is put in the place of talents? The man who buried his talent is similar to the literalist, and Jesus might say to him, “Thou oughtest therefore to have put my word to the interpreters.” There are many commentaries available, which they could consult. But they reject all the spiritual interpretations of saints who went before, distilled over centuries, which applied prophecy to the church in the present age. The various dispensational interpretations have contributed to countless divisions, sects, controversies, and strife. The literal approach rejects the idea that Christ is right now reigning over his church on the throne of David; his reign was put off into the future.