WILL DAVID REIGN ON THE MILLENNIAL THRONE?
We know that Christ will reign in the millennium from such scriptures as Ps. 2:8-9, “Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance. And the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel”. But how are we to understand such scriptures as Jer. 30:9, “But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king whom I will raise up unto them”? Does Jer. 30:9 refer to David or does it refer to Christ, the Son of David? Let us search the Scriptures for the answer to that question.
Dr. E. W. Bullinger wrote in the Appendix 88 of the Companion Bible, number 8, paragraph 3 the following: “This (the gate of the outward sanctuary) will then be closed for all purposes of general ingress and egress; and is reserved strictly for the use of ‘the Prince’ (the risen David?) who, as Messiah’s vice regent (cp. Ezek. 37:24-25) will alone be permitted to make use of it”. The suggestion here is that while Christ will rule, David will be His “vice regent”. What is a vice regent?
We read in II Kings 12:2, “And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him.” The priest, Jehoiada could not sit on the throne of David, as he was not of the tribe of Judah. But he instructed Jehoash. That made Jehoiada a vice regent. Also, we read in Appendix 50 in the Companion Bible of Ahaziah who ruled while his father was sick. As long as he was alive, the father was King. But his son Ahaziah was his vice regent. That is to say, Ahaziah took instructions, when possible, from his father. We learn from this that to have a vice regent on the throne of Israel is not without precedence. That, of course, does not prove that David will be Christ’s vice regent, it only shows that there is a precedence.
Let us first establish as Scriptural truth that Christ will rule in the millennium, and then we will examine those scriptures which concern David’s role during the millennial reign.
We read in Is. 9:6-7, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end; upon the throne of David and upon His kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice…”.
Is. 33:22, “For Jehovah is our Judge, Jehovah is our Lawgiver, Jehovah is our King; He will save us”. Jesus Christ is Jehovah. For the Scriptural evidence of that please see the paper on this web-site, Jesus Christ Is Both Jehovah And The Manifestation of Jehovah. So, Jesus Christ is the King of Israel.
Is. 40:10, “Behold Adonai Jehovah (one of the titles of Jehovah, Who is Christ) will come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him…..”.
There are many other scriptures which prove that Christ will rule during the millennium. But let us look now at the scriptures which speak of David during the millennium.
Jer. 30:9, “But they shall serve Jehovah their Elohim, and David their king whom I will raise up unto them”. This verse clearly states that David will be king and that Israel will serve him as well as Christ.
Ezek. 34:24, “And I Jehovah (Christ) will be their Elohim, and My servant David a prince among them…”. In my opinion the fact that Christ is speaking, rules out the possibility that His “servant David” refers to Christ, David’s Son. That is to say, Christ is Jehovah, He does not refer to Himself as “My servant” in the same verse.
That is not to say that Christ was not a Servant. We read in Matthew 12:18, “Behold My Servant, Whom I have chosen; My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased…”. But Christ is never referred to as “Servant” after His resurrection. Christ “made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil 2:7-8). Christ, while on earth, took on a bodily form of flesh and blood. But He was no longer a Servant after the resurrection.
Is. 53:11 is another verse which speaks of Christ as Servant, but it is Christ as the Lamb of God (see verse 7) Who took on our sins, not the risen Christ. “He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied; by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities”.
Zech. 3:8 also speaks of Christ, the Servant, “…for behold, I will bring forth My Servant the Branch”. Mark’s Gospel presents Christ as the Servant. Note that Mark’s Gospel has no record of a genealogy because servants don’t have a written genealogy. (Please see the paper on this web-site The Kingdom of Heaven for the Scriptural evidence that Mark presents Christ as the Servant). What is important in our present study, is the fact that Christ was Servant only while in the fashion of a man. The risen Christ is never referred to as “Servant”. David, on the other hand, is very often referred to as “My servant, see Jer. 33:26, Ps. 144:10, Ps.78:70 and Ps. 89:3 to name just a few.
Ezek. 34:23 speaks, not of David as king, but as shepherd. “And I (Adonai Jehovah -see verse 11) will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them even My servant David; he shall feed them and he shall be their shepherd”. But we read in Jer. 23:4, “And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them….”. Jeremiah tells us that Israel will, for the millennium, have shepherds, plural, while in Ezek. 34 we read that they will have “one shepherd”. In my opinion, the shepherds of whom Jeremiah writes are, so to speak, vice shepherds, while the “one shepherd” of Ezekiel is David. A comparison of Ezek. 34:23 with Jer. 23:4 makes it abundantly clear that there will be one shepherd with many shepherds under him, i.e. “vice shepherds”. If that is true of shepherds, it can certainly be true of a king. I do not believe that the “one shepherd” is Christ, because Adonai Jehovah is speaking. Also, the risen Christ, again is never referred to as “My Servant”.
Ezek. 37:24, “And My servant David shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd….”. Again, the risen Christ is never referred to as a servant.
Hosea 3:5, “And afterward shall the children of Israel return and seek Jehovah (Christ) their Elohim, and David their king; and shall fear Jehovah and His goodness in the latter days”. In my opinion, this verse is speaking of David and Jehovah, not one in the same Person.
Micah 5:4, “And he shall stand and feed in the strength of Jehovah, in the majesty of the name of Jehovah his Elohim; and they shall abide; for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth”. The note in the Companion Bible explains that “feed” refers here to tend as a shepherd. Note that the person of whom this verse speaks shall stand in the strength of Jehovah. Let us keep in mind that Christ is Jehovah, therefore, it makes no sense to say that Jehovah will stand in the strength of Jehovah. If on the other hand, we see David in this role, we can easily understand how David can stand in the strength of Jehovah, i.e. Christ.
We have seen that there has been, in the past, vice regents on the throne of Israel. And we have seen that in the millennium, there will be one shepherd over many “vice shepherds”. Therefore, the idea of David as Christ’s vice regent is not without precedence.
We have seen that there are a number of scriptures that tell us that David will indeed be king over Israel during the millennium. We have seen also that the most obvious reading of many of those verses refer to David, not Christ, the Son of David. Where the most obvious reading of a verse does not contradict other scriptures, I believe that it is the most obvious reading that the Holy Spirit intends us to understand.
The risen Christ is never referred to as a Servant. That fact alone points us to the conclusion that David will serve as Christ’s vice regent on the millennial throne.
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