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 Vol. 2, No. 11                                        Page 7                                                November, 2000

Messianic Propheciesthree crosses

The Prophecy
From Nathan

By D. Gene West

Text: 2 Samuel 7:12-16. (12) "When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. (13) He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. (14) I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. (l5) But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. (16) And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever."


  1. We will now move from the early days of the prophet Samuel to the days in which he was dealing with the great King of Israel -- David.

  2. David, after he had come to Jerusalem, and made it his capital, sought also to make that city the religious capital of the nation.

    1. In those days the Tabernacle was located at Gibeon, and the Ark of the Covenant was located in the little town of Kiriath-jearim which was about nine miles, or so, west of the city of Jerusalem.

    2. David ordered the Ark to be brought to Jerusalem and placed in a special tent that he had prepared for it.

    3. This was done, and great celebration accompanied the installation of the Ark on Mount Zion.

  3. With the aid of King Hiram of Tyre, David built for himself a beautiful palace in the city of Jerusalem, but it bothered him considerably that while he lived in opulence, the Ark of God was housed in a tent.

    1. By and by, David sought permission from his prophet-friend Nathan to build a Temple for God, and Nathan thought that this was a grand idea.

    2. God, however, instructed his prophet that David was not to build the Temple because he was a warrior King and his hands were stained with blood, and that the building of the Temple would be done by David's son.

    3. David spent his last years gathering the materials for this project so that it could take place as soon after his death as possible, but not one stone of the Temple was laid during his lifetime.

  4. The very foundation of all the Bible has to say regarding David and the Messiah is found in the prophecy that was spoken by Nathan to David, and this oracle marks the beginning of a new direction in Messianic expectation.

  5. Nathan's prophecy has the following parts:

    1. The question by God, "Will you (David) build a house for me?"

    2. Then God pointed our several important truths to David among which are:

      1. There was no precedent for such a permanent dwelling place for God.

      2. God did not ask David to build him a dwelling place.

      3. The implication of these statements is that there was no urgency in the mind of God about building such a Temple.  (As a matter of fact, some Scholars, like Burton Coffman teach that God never did want a physical Temple, and always intended that his Temple should be a spiritual one -- the church.)  (See: vv. 5-7.)

  6. Next in the text which we are studying, God reminded David of all that he had done for him.  He had:

    1. Made him the ruler over Israel.

    2. Enabled him to win victory over his many enemies.

    3. Made him a famous man in the world.

    4. And given Israel a tranquillity they had never known before.  (See: vv. 8-11.)

    5. But God said that he would not allow David to build a Temple for him.

  7. While David himself was not permitted to build a house for God, God promised that he would build a house for David.

    1. David's house is the line of descendants which God would give to him.

    2. Twenty kings were destined to follow David on the throne in Jerusalem during the Old Testament period of time.

    3. These Davidic kings foreshadowed the rise of a descendant of David, Jesus Christ, who would sit on David's throne and rule forever and ever.

  8. In the verses of this oracle, God points out five things that he will do for the seed of David, and through the seed of David.  (The word seed in this passage refers to the whole line of David's descendants including our Lord Jesus Christ.)

  1. Let Us Look First at What Would Occur With the Seed of David.

    1. David's seed would succeed him on the throne in Jerusalem.

      1. From history we remember that Saul's son Ishbosheth tried to succeed Saul, which resulted in a brief civil war.

      2. But the natural child of David, the offspring from his body would succeed to the throne.

      3. This kingdom over which the descendants of David would rule was Israel, and this kingdom was the kingdom of God!  (See: 2 Samuel 723-27;1 Chronicles 17:14.)

    2. David's seed would build a house for Jehovah's name.

      1. While there is no specific reference here to Solomon as the builder of the Temple, David in his final address to the nation of Israel, applied Nathan's prophecy to Solomon.

        1. 1 Chronicles 28:6-7, (6) "Now He said to me, 'It is your son Solomon who shall build My house and My courts; for I have chosen him to be My son, and I will be his Father. (7) Moreover I will establish his kingdom forever, if he is steadfast to observe My commandments and My judgments, as it is this day.'"

      2. When Solomon dedicated the Temple he reflected upon what is father had told him.

        1. 1 Kings 8:18-20, (18) "But the Lord said to my father David, 'Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for My name, you did well that it was in your heart. (19) Nevertheless you shall not build the house, but your son, who shall come from your loins, he shall build the house for My name.' (20) So the Lord has fulfilled His word which He spoke; and I have filled the position of my father David, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised; and I have built a house for the name of the Lord God of Israel."

    1. From these passages we can see that it was clear both to David and to Solomon that Jehovah had commissioned Solomon to build the Temple in this prophecy spoken by Nathan.

      1. Without specifying who, Nathan simply said, that the seed of David would build the House of the Lord.

      2. Toward the end of the Old Testament age, the prophet Zechariah would pick up on this theme and announce that it was the Messiah who would be the Temple builder.  (See: Zechariah 6:12.)

      3. Ezekiel devoted a large section of his book to the description of the Temple of the Messiah.  (Ezekiel 40-48)

    1. Both the Temple of Solomon, and the Temple that was built after the remnant of the Jews returned from exile were built by the descendants of David.

      1. But, like all the physical features of the Old Testament, these two Temples were but types, or shadows, or previews of that glorious Temple which is constructed of living stones about which we read in 1 Peter 2:5.

    1. In the Garden of Eden God had a perfect fellowship with perfect human beings, but sin entered the picture, and the relationship between God and mankind was broken.

      1. The story of the Bible deals with God's working to restore that original fellowship.

      2. The first step in the restoration of that fellowship came in Noah's patriarchal blessing in which he said that Yahweh would dwell in the tents of Shem.  (Genesis 9:27)

      3. Later on God chose to dwell in a Tabernacle in the midst of Israel.  (Exodus 40:34-38)

      1. In the days of Solomon Jehovah condescended to make the Temple at Jerusalem his earthly throne-room.

  2. How Did Solomon Regard His Great Temple?

    1. He saw it as the everlasting abode of Jehovah.  Notice the following: 1 Kings 8:13, "I have surely built You an exalted house, and a place for You to dwell in forever."

      1. He may have understood that what he built on earth was but a poor replica of God's eternal abiding place.

      2. The Old Testament Temple pre-pictured the coming of the spiritual Temple in which God would dwell forever.

    2. Since a temple is a place in which Jehovah manifests his presence in the midst of his people, and since Jesus was a perfect manifestation of God, he is said to have tabernacled (dwelt) among men.  Notice: John 1:14, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."

    3. Jesus even spoke of himself as a Temple, in John 2:19, when he said, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up."

    4. But the New Testament goes another step further.

      1. The One who was himself the Temple of God became the great architect and builder of a glorious Temple of living stones.  Notice: 1 Peter 2:4-5, (4) "Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, (5) you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

      2. The church of Christ is the Temple of God.  Notice the following in addition to the passage just quoted from 1 Peter 2:4-5:

        1. Corinthians 6:19, "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?"

        2. 1 Timothy 3:15, ". . . but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."

      3. Furthermore, our God makes his abiding place in the life of every obedient believer.  Notice: John 14:23, "Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.'"

      4. But the consummation is yet to come, and once sin has been removed and the father of lies who was a murderer from the beginning, that old Serpent -- Satan will be cast into a lake of fire where he will spend eternity, the original fellowship of Eden will be fully restored, and God will tabernacle with redeemed men.  (See: Revelation 21:3-22)

  3. The House, The Throne, and the Kingdom of David Would be Established Forever, and the Seed of David Would be Recognized as God's Son.

    1. In verses thirteen and sixteen there is a three time repetition of the word forever. 

      1. Dr. Smith, who is a Hebrew scholar says that this is important, and he makes his point in the following words: "The Hebrew term 'ad 'olam in certain contexts has the meaning of long duration as opposed to the idea of everlasting."  "Psalm 89, however, makes it clear that here 'ad 'olam means literally forever: 'I will establish his seed forever, and his throne like the days of heaven . . . His seed forever shall continue, and his throne like the sun before me . . . Like the moon it shall be established forever, and as a faithful witness in heaven. (Ps 89:29, 36, 37).'" (James Edward Smith, What the Bible Teaches About the Promised Messiah, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, 1993, p. 85.)

      2. David is thought of as continuing to live through his descendants, because his house and kingdom are said to Continue forever before you. (Ibid.)

    2. The throne and seed of David continue into eternity, and no earthly kingdom, nor the posterity of any single man is of eternal duration like the sun and the moon.

      1. The offspring of David could only last forever by its running out in a person who lives forever.

      2. As a consequence of the above statement we  must point out that Nathan's promise refers to the descendants of David, beginning with Solomon and reaching complete fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

    3. When Gabriel, the angel who visited Mary and told her that she would be the mother of the Messiah, he made a very significant statement in Luke 1:32-33.  He said, (32) "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. (33) And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."

      1. So, Gabriel was only restating the crucial aspects of the prophecy of Nathan in our text.

    4. Next Nathan stated (v.14) that the seed of David would be recognized as the Son of God.

      1. In Exodus 4:22-23, the entire nation of Israel was declared to be the son of God, but now this national sonship is narrowed to the seed of David.

      2. In a very special way, the Davidic kings were sons of God.

      3. David interpreted the oracle of Nathan to refer to his son Solomon.  (1 Chronicles 28:6)

      4. If one will read Psalm 89:26-27, he will see that it amplifies the text with which we deal.

    5. The Old Testament idea of "the son of God" unfolds in five particular stages.

      1. The sons of God, referred to in Genesis 6:1 are the descendants of Seth.

      2. The nation of Israel was designated as God's son among the other nations of the world, in Exodus 4:22-23.

      3. The seed of David, which would include David as well, is collectively spoken of as God's son in 2 Samuel 7:14.

      4. Then Jesus is spoken of as the Son of God, which he was in a very unique sense, in such passages as Matthew 17:5.

      5. Christians are spoken of as sons of God in such passages as Galatians 3:26-27 and in Romans 8:17.

        1. In the Romans passage the word sons is teknon and means offspring, or children.

        2. In the Galatians passage the word sons is the word for a male heir.

    6. Royal sonship, in those days, even as it does now, involved government, authority, and ruling.

      1. Thus in the New Testament we are told in John 3:35 that, "The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand."

      2. This prophecy by Nathan receives its final fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

  4. The Seed of David Would be Chastised for Redemptive Purposes.

    1. The sins of David's descendants did not frustrate the promise of God that David's kingdom would be of eternal duration.

      1. Since this is true the oracle of Nathan had to extend beyond Zedekiah, the last Old Testament king to sit upon David's throne.

      2. Chastisements for sin fell upon the royal posterity of David as a demonstration of God's fatherly love.

        1. God used evil men and nations during the Old Testament history to bring about this much-needed chastisement.

        2. Even as the foreign people afflict the people of God, they are unwittingly carrying out God's program to bring his Son into the world.

    2. It is not just coincidence that God, according to the Hebrew writer, also chastises us. (Hebrews 12:4-11)

    3. In the very first Messianic prophecy in the Bible, that of Genesis 3:15, it is stated that the Seed of Woman would suffer at the hands of the devil in his heroic struggle to crush the head of the Serpent.

      1. That theme of suffering is picked up by the prophet Nathan showing that the royal Son of God will suffer chastisement for sin.

        1. Not his own sin, but for the sin of others.

        2. He also learned obedience by suffering. (Hebrews 5:8-9)

      2. Later Isaiah will further develop this theme of suffering by presenting Jesus as the Servant who suffered, or was chastised, for the sins of the world.  (Isaiah 53:5)

    4. We can summarize by pointing out that, taken as a whole, the prophecy of Nathan was a tremendous development in Old Testament prophecy of the Messiah.

      1. God promised Abraham and Jacob that kings would come from their descendants.  (Genesis 17:6-16; 35:11)

      2. In his final blessing Jacob indicated that the leadership of the tribes would belong to Judah until Shiloh came to command his people.  (Genesis 49:10)

      3. Balaam saw the rise of a royal person who would crush the enemies of God's people.  (Numbers 24:17)

      4. Hannah foresaw a universal judgment conducted by God's Anointed -- the Messiah.  (1 Samuel 2:10)

      5. And in the present prophecy, Nathan indicated that this great sovereign would be of the seed of David, and that he would rule forever.  (2 Samuel 7:12-17)

    5. This passage falls into the category of the seed prophecies.

      1. Genesis 3:15 predicted victory for the seed of woman through a single great champion who would crush the head of the Serpent.

      2. In the second seed promise God announced that through the descendants of Abraham "all nations of the earth would be blessed."  (See: Genesis 22:18.)

      3. And in the third of the seed promises God promises the eternal rule of the great Descendant of David.

    6. It should be pointed out that Paul quoted this prophecy in Acts 13:22-23 in his synagogue sermon in Antioch of Pisidia, when he said, (22) "And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.' (23) From this man's seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior - Jesus - after John had first preached, before His coming, the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel."

      1. We could refer to many other passages of the New Testament that teach that Jesus was the son of David.

      2. The genealogies of Matthew 1 and Luke 3, as well as the statement made to Mary by the angel Gabriel in Luke 1.

      3. Peter taught this same truth in Acts 2:22-36.

      4. The writer of Hebrews referred to the quote in 1:5.


  1. Words cannot express the depth of the gratitude I feel for these great prophecies which cause our faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God to grow deeper and deeper.

  2. How wonderful it is to be able to take the Bible and study such profound things.

  3. How sad it is for people to reduce Christianity, and our Christian heritage, to such things as dimming lights, holding hands, clapping hands, and raising hands in worship.  If they understood what the prophets said concerning our Lord, they would always enter into his presence with awe and reverence.

Copyright 2000 Louis Rushmore. All Rights Reserved.
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