top of page

Seeing Christ in the Davidic Covenant (Lesson 8.9)

Finally, God's blessings flow to His people IN CHRIST ALONE. Grace is precious, but it doesn't exist apart from Christ. And faith is what God requires, but it means nothing if it's not in Christ. The faith that saves is not just faith in anything; nor is it a faith in God in general; but faith in Jesus. Earlier, we looked at the various promises God had given to David in 2 Samuel 7, and how they were fulfilled in Christ. Here, we're going to look at a few other ways we're pointed to Jesus in the Davidic Covenant. In particular: We also learn truths about the PERSON, the HEADSHIP, and the REIGN of Christ.

1) THE PERSON OF CHRIST: In the promises of 2 Samuel 7, most of the emphasis is on the fact that the Messiah would come forth from David. The Messiah would come into the world as one of David's offspring, and for that reason he would be called the Son of David. We did see in 2 Samuel 7:14 that the Lord also spoke of this particular son of David, saying: “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me. . .” But what exactly did this mean? If this was all that God had said, His people might have been left confused. Thankfully, the Lord made it clear elsewhere exactly what He meant.

Psalm 45 is written as a song of celebration for a royal wedding. The groom set to marry was a great king in Israel (and most likely Solomon himself). But in the midst of this Psalm, we read something we're not necessarily expecting. Addressing the groom himself, the Psalmist declares: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of joy above Your fellows.” (vv6-7). Notice that in verse 7, the Psalmist tells us that this royal king had been anointed by God, but in verse 6 the Psalmist is telling us that this royal king himself was God. How do we make sense of it? The Psalmist is looking past this particular son of David and speaking of the Greater Son of David yet to come, whose kingdom shall be forever. And he's helping us understand that the coming Messiah would be none other than God himself. The author of Hebrews quotes this passage, together with the other passage from 2 Samuel 7:14, and helps us to see both as referring to Christ (1:8-9). And so, Psalm 45:6-7 helps to unlock for us a vital truth about the Messiah's identity: He would come into the world as a man. But He would also come into the world as God himself.1

Psalm 110 is the most quoted Psalm in the New Testament (see Matthew 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42-43; Acts 2:34-35; and Hebrews 1:13). And it's this Psalm that Jesus alludes back to in order to help people understand His identity. The scribes understood well from 2 Samuel 7 that the Messiah would come into the world as the Son of David; that is, as a descendant of David. So far so good; but Jesus had a question for them. We read in Mark 12:35-37: “And Jesus began to say, as He taught in the temple, 'How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself said in the Holy Spirit, “The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet.'” David himself calls him 'Lord'; so in what sense is He his son?” Here, Jesus is referring back to Psalm 110:1; and He's challenging the notions of the scribes. What the Savior is drawing out here is that the Messiah wouldn't just be David's son—he would be his Lord. In other words, David wouldn't just bring him into the world—David would owe him his allegiance. And further, if David, in his lifetime, is quoting a conversation that had already taken place between God and the Messiah, the implication is that though the Messiah would later come from David; yet somehow that Messiah had already existed before David. So then: In Psalm 110, God the Father is speaking to God the Son. If 2 Samuel 7 sets forth the Messiah as the son of David; Psalm 110 sets him forth as the Son of God.2

The prophet Isaiah also spoke of these truths. As He prophesied about the coming Davidic King, he used the imagery of a branch to help us understand the true identity of the Messiah. In Isaiah 11:1, we read: “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him. . .” Here, Isaiah is telling us that the Messiah would come as a descendant of David: The Christ would sprout forth from Jesse, just as a branch sprouts forth from the root. But later in the same chapter, Isaiah goes on to prophesy in verse 10: “Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious.” In verse 1, Jesse was the root and the Messiah was the branch. But now in verse 10 it's the Messiah who is the root of Jesse! What do we make of this? In verse 1, Isaiah is emphasizing how it is that the Christ would come (it would be through David's line). But in verse 10, the prophet is helping us understand who it is the Christ would be. Yes, he would come forth from David (verse 1). But He also existed long before David (verse 10). In one sense He would come as the branch of David; but in another sense, David was the branch who had his life and existence in Him. In verse 1, we see Jesus' humanity; in verse 11, his divinity. As He himself tells us in Revelation 22:16: “I, Jesus, have sent Me angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Christ would come as a man; but also as God in the flesh.3

The angel Gabriel told Mary in Luke 1:31-32, “you will. . .bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.” The Messiah would be the Son of David, but also the Son of God. He would have David as a father, but He would also be the Son of the Most High. He would come as a man, yes; but He would also come as God himself into the world. Gabriel's words were precious, but his message wasn't anything new. This is what the Scriptures had been teaching from the beginning.

2) THE HEADSHIP OF CHRIST: Another way we're pointed to Christ in the Davidic Covenant is by getting glimpses of His covenant headship. In past lessons, we've talked about this at some length. Here, we see Christ's headship set forth in pictures from Scripture as well as in passages of Scripture.

A) Seeing Christ's headship in PICTURES from Scripture: David is often set forth as a type of Christ as the covenant head of His people. Examples abound, but here we'll just focus on two in particular:

I) DAVID and SAUL: Earlier we talked briefly about the decline of King Saul and David's ascension to the throne. We saw that Saul was a natural born leader, but he stopped listening to God. We're baffled by Saul. How did he start out so well and yet end up like he did? Another thing that may be a bit baffling to us is the severity of punishment Saul receives for not waiting for Samuel. He waits for nearly the entire seven days for Samuel to come, but at the last minute decides to offer the sacrifice when it seemed Samuel may have been delayed (1 Samuel 13:8-10). It's just afterwards that Samuel arrives; and when he does, he has this to say to Saul: “You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, for now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not endure. . .” (vv13-14).

Isn't this a bit extreme? Does the punishment really fit the crime? And more importantly, is this the way God deals with us now in the Covenant of Grace? Is Saul's sin meant to teach us that if we fail to keep the Lord's commands perfectly as Saul did, God will likewise turn away from us and revoke the blessings He's given to us? No; after all, the Lord told David explicitly in 2 Samuel 7:14-15 that He would not remove His lovingkindness from David's sons as He had removed it from Saul. But what do we make of Saul? I believe Saul's sin and punishment are set forth before us as a reenactment of Adam's sin and punishment in the garden. If we compare the two accounts, we find that the story of Saul's downfall is astonishingly similar to the fall of Adam: 1) Saul was given a single command as a test, just as Adam was (1 Samuel 10:8; 13:13-14; cf. Genesis 2:16-17). 2) At face value, that command seemed a light or trivial thing, as perhaps God's command to Adam in the garden. 3) But later we learn that the command God had given Saul carried enormous consequences—just as with Adam (Romans 5:12)--for when Saul disobeys, his whole kingdom is torn away (13:13-14). 4) Samuel comes to Saul with the same words God had spoken to Adam: “What have you done?” (13:11; cf. Genesis 3:13). And just like Adam, Saul's response is to blame others for his sin (13:11; cf. Genesis 3:12).4

Saul's sin is being set before us as a reenactment of the sin of the first Adam. But just as Saul is a type of the first Adam, so too David is set before us as a type of the second Adam. David was a man after God's heart; but he was also a type of Christ: David was from the town of Bethlehem, the same place where Christ would be born. He was anointed by Samuel, the last of the Judges, for his kingly task; in a similar way to how Jesus was baptized by John, the last of the Prophets, at the beginning of His ministry. He was chosen by God to reign over all Israel, and yet his own brothers hated him without cause; as it was with Christ. For David too, the path to the crown would be laced with sufferings. But the Lord had chosen David to reign, and in due time He would crush all his enemies under his feet. So then, just like Adam in the garden, Saul transgressed the command of the Lord. But when Israel's first king disobeyed, the Lord raised up a second king for His people; this time it would be different. This king would follow the Lord fully where the first had turned away and rebelled. For, “After [the Lord] had removed [Saul], He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man. . .who will do all My will.” (Acts 13:22).5

II) DAVID AND GOLIATH: Often, the story of David and Goliath is taught in such a way that we are encouraged to be like David and step out in faith. We're exhorted to be bold like David and take a stand for God; to look around at the Goliath's in our society, in the church, or in our personal lives and charge the battle field without fear. But it's only as we understand David as a type of Christ that we begin to see what this passage is really about. This account is in 1 Samuel 17. This is important because Saul's disobedience was still fresh; it was just two chapters earlier where Samuel had said his final goodbye to king Saul. We watched Saul fall from God. Like Adam before him, he transgressed the command of the Lord. So now, here comes Goliath, and it seems as though he's coming against God's people with a sword of justice. Their covenant representative has sinned; and it seems that this must be the day of reckoning. God's people were helpless and hopeless before their enemy. Their fallen king couldn't help them; and they couldn't help themselves. Goliath totally owned them.

But just when it seemed there was no hope, something happened. A father sent his son to his own kinsmen, to seek their welfare. Saul's kingdom was formally torn away from him in 1 Samuel 15; but God sent Samuel to anoint David as the new king over His people in 1 Samuel 16. Saul and his men were totally paralyzed before Goliath; so David single-handedly ran to the battle line; this was a battle he would fight alone. David fought against Goliath and conquered. And after David cut off his head, we read in 17:52, “The men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted and pursued the Philistines. . .” It was David alone who defeated Goliath; but when he did it meant victory for all God's people. And this is what Christ has done for us: We were ruined in Adam; but we conquer now because of Jesus.6

B) Seeing Christ's headship in PASSAGES of Scripture: We see this principle of covenant headship not only through types and pictures but also explicitly in particular passages in the Davidic Covenant:

I) SOLOMON'S FAILURE: Earlier we refuted certain Scriptures that seemed to imply the Davidic Covenant was conditional on Solomon's obedience or the obedience of his sons. We showed that in these passages, the Lord was speaking about His Church as a whole. But in some of these passages, Scripture is also setting forth the principle of covenant headship. The Lord tells Solomon in 1 Kings 6:12-13, “if you will walk in My statutes and execute My ordinances and keep all My commandments by walking in them, then I will carry out My word with you which I spoke to David your father. I will dwell among the sons of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.” Here, the entire well-being of God's people seems to be contingent on the obedience of one man. What do we make of it? It's the same principle of covenant headship: “the consequences aren't just for Solomon. Because of this one man's disobedience, the nation will be torn in two. While Solomon kept the covenant, the people were blessed. When Solomon rebels, disaster falls on his whole people.” Why? Because Solomon wasn't just any person; as the king, he was the covenant representative of God's people. And so when Solomon failed, we're pointed back once again to Adam's failure in the garden. Solomon's headship over Israel is meant to echo back to Adam's headship over all humanity; Solomon's disobedience is another reenactment of the disobedience of Adam. When he sinned, disaster came upon them all.7

II) DAVID'S REWARD: If Solomon echoes back to Adam, then David echoes forward to Christ. There's a passage in 1 Kings 15 that describes the failures of one of the kings of Judah (Abijam). And yet, right after outlining all the ways he went wrong, Scripture tells us in verses 4-5: “But for David's sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, to raise up his son after him and to establish Jerusalem, because David did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.” If Solomon gave us a glimpse of a covenant representative in his disobedience, David gives us a glimpse of one who through his obedience merits the favor of God on behalf of the people. We're reminded even in this verse that David wasn't perfect. The point isn't that it was actually David's obedience that secured God's blessing for His people. The point is that David is meant to echo us forward to Christ. David's obedience was flawed. But it's meant to point us forward to the perfect, spotless, obedience of the Greater David yet to come. It's the same truth we've seen all along. Back in Genesis 7:1, we saw that Noah's household was saved from the flood because of Noah's righteousness. Then later, in Genesis 22:18 we saw that all the nations of the earth would be blessed because Abraham obeyed the voice of the Lord. All these passages convey the same truth. Noah, Abraham, and David all point us forward to the obedience of Christ. Their obedience was simply meant to echo forward to His.8

We saw above there are certain Scriptures that seem to imply that the well-being of Israel completely hinged upon the obedience of David's son. In a sense, that's true. But the question is: Which son is really intended? Because Solomon did fail. But the Greater Son of David would triumph. So, “the role of Jesus Christ as the ultimate seed of David speaks. . .decisively to this question of conditionality in the covenant. It may be affirmed as emphatically true that David's covenant hinged conditionally on the responsible fulfillment of covenant obligations by Jesus Christ, the seed of David. He satisfied in himself all the obligations of the covenant. . .In Christ, the conditional and the certain aspects of the covenant meet in perfect harmony. In him the Davidic covenant finds assured fulfillment.”9

3) THE REIGN OF CHRIST: A third way that we see Christ in the Davidic Covenant is by noticing how Scripture speaks about the different stages of his kingship. Through both the prophecies David penned and in the pattern of his own life and reign, we come to learn much about the reign of Jesus.

A) Learning about Christ's reign from the PROPHECIES of David's psalms: We trust in Jesus today by looking back in history to what He did and believing. But David actually looked forward to Christ with the eyes of faith and trusted in the One who was yet to come. And as he looked ahead and saw Jesus, he also wrote about him. David wrote a good deal about Christ's HUMILIATION: In Psalm 8:4-6, he looks forward to the incarnation when he sees that the Messiah would, for a time, humble himself to a place lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:6-9). And prophesying again of the incarnation, David foresees the Christ declaring, “Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me” (Psalm 40:7; cf. Hebrews 10:5-9). David also prophesies much of the sufferings that Christ would endure. He foretells that the Messiah would be betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9; John 13:18); that the Gentiles would gather together against him (Psalm 2:1-3; Acts 4:25-28); that He would be mocked by his enemies for trusting the Lord (Psalm 22:6-8; Matthew 27:39-43); and that His hands and feet would be pierced (Psalm 22:16-17; Matthew 27:35). He foresees that they would divide his garments and cast lots for his clothing (Psalm 22:18; Luke 23:34); that gall and vinegar would be given Him to drink (Psalm 69:21; Matthew 27:48); and that God himself must forsake him (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46). David also prophesies of the death and burial of Christ. He would be made to taste “the dust of death” (Ps.22:15); for a time He would experience Sheol (Ps.16:10; Acts 2:31; 13:35).

But David also looks forward to Jesus' EXALTATION: The Messiah would be given over to Sheol for a time, but He wouldn't be left there. Speaking of Christ's resurrection, David declares in Psalm 16:10: “For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay” (Acts 2:24-32). And foreseeing the Christ's ascension, David prophesies in Psalm 68:18: “You have ascended on high, You have led captive Your captives; You have received gifts among men. . .” (cf. Ephesians 4:8-10). David also looks forward to the eternal reign of Christ; and to the time after His resurrection and ascension, when He would take His seat at the right hand of the throne of God, until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet (Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:23). So then, we find David prophesying much about the stages of Christ's kingship; both in His humiliation and His exaltation.10

B) Learning about Christ's reign from the PATTERN of David's life: We also see the same truths of Christ's humiliation and exaltation woven into David's own life and kingly reign. He was anointed as God's rightful king even from his youth; but though anointed, the first part of his life was a ministry of suffering. His own kinsmen hated him, and the rulers of God's people hunted him, to such an extent that he had to flee and live in the wilderness (1 Samuel 22-26). Though anointed as God's king, he was persecuted to such an degree he was even driven into exile from the land of Israel; cut off from the land of promise (1 Samuel 27-31). The prophet Isaiah later uses this same language to describe the sufferings of Christ, that “He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due” (53:8). In all this David's life is a pattern of Christ's humiliation.

But if the book of 1 Samuel is marked by David's afflictions and sufferings, the book of 2 Samuel is marked by David's kingly reign. If 1 Samuel is the account of David in his humiliation, 2 Samuel is the account of David in his exaltation. Under David, the tribes of Israel are united; and he rules over them with righteousness, and shepherds them “according to the integrity of his heart” (Psalm 78:72). In days past, David had lived as a suffering servant; but now he reigned as the exalted king. But even though David was now sitting on the throne, that didn't mean everything was perfect just yet. There were still battles to be fought with enemies on the outside (cf. 2 Samuel 8,10). And sadly, there were also uprisings, revolts, and rebellions that arose against David from enemies on the inside (2 Samuel 15-18, 20). In all these things we're pointed to Christ's present exaltation. For Jesus has been raised from the dead, He has ascended to the right hand of God, and that is where He now reigns as King over His people; and indeed, over all things. But though Jesus reigns and God has “put all things in subjection under His feet” (Psalm 8:6; 1 Corinthians 15:27); still, as the author of Hebrews notes, we now “do not yet see all things subjected to him” (2:8). There are still enemies who fight against Him from outside the church; and there are still enemies that arise against Him from inside the church.11

We do not presently see all things subjected to Christ. But the day is coming when Jesus will return. He is coming again. And when the trumpet sounds, and He returns to judge the earth, men will bow the knee to Jesus whether they want to or not. For “every knee will bow” to Him (Philippians 2:10); if not voluntarily, then it seems, by force. On that day we will finally see all things subjected to Him; for “the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10). Well, if David's reign is a foretaste of the beginning of Christ's exaltation, then Solomon's reign is the climax. At the very end of David's reign, there is an uprising. Solomon had been appointed to rule after his father, but David's son Adonijah was making a run to declare himself the new king. But while Adonijah was holding a coronation feast for himself, all of a sudden there was the sound of a trumpet (1 Kings 1:39). Solomon had taken his seat on the throne of the kingdom (1:46). And all the traitors who had revolted against his reign were about to be brought to stand before him, face to face. Indeed, the first act of business for Solomon is to deal with all the traitors and enemies in the kingdom. Adonijah is executed for his treason; and Joab, who had not only followed in the rebellion, but had shed innocent blood all his life, is executed shortly afterwards. Not long after that, Solomon also deals with Shimei, who had done much harm to David during his lifetime. Outwardly, these men were part of the community; but inwardly they were rebels. David let them live for a time under his rule, but they are brought to judgment under Solomon. So, Solomon completes the picture: David had reigned, but through trials and hardship; Solomon's reign ushered in unprecedented peace (1 Kings 4:20). During David's rule, there were still enemies without and within, but they are dealt with at the ascension of Solomon. David's kingdom extended over God's people, but Solomon reigned as King of kings, imposing His authority over all. So, if David's reign is the beginning of Christ's exaltation, the reign of Solomon is the culmination.12


1 Calvin writes on Psalm 45:6-7: “The Jews, indeed, explain this passage as if the discourse were addressed to God, but such an interpretation is frivolous and impertinent. Others of them read the word Elohim in the genitive case, and translate it of God, thus: The throne of thy God. But for this there is no foundation, and it only betrays their presumption in not hesitating to wrest the Scriptures so shamefully, that they may not be constrained to acknowledge the divinity of the Messiah. . .Although [Solomon] is called God, because God has imprinted some mark of his glory in the person of kings, yet this title cannot well be applied to a mortal man; for we nowhere read in Scripture that man or angel has been distinguished by this title without some qualification. . .From this we may naturally infer, that this Psalm relates. . .to a higher than any earthly kingdom. . .[for indeed, it] is obvious, from the usual tenor of Scripture, that the posterity of David typically represented Christ to the ancient people of God. . .But, above all, no clearer testimony could be adduced of the application of this Psalm to Christ, than what is here said of the eternal duration of the kingdom. . .Accordingly, although the prophet commenced his discourse concerning the son of David, there can be no doubt, that, guided by the Holy Spirit to a higher strain, he comprehended the kingdom of the true and everlasting Messiah.” Plumer likewise notes: “This verse and the next are quoted. . .in Hebrews 1:8-9, for the purpose of establishing the divinity of Jesus Christ. We may rely with infallible certainty upon the interpretation there given. . .The true and proper divinity of Christ is plainly and beyond all question here asserted. The clause refers to him who is by John called the true God and by Isaiah the mighty God. It cannot without violence be applied to Solomon.” And the Reformation Heritage Study Bible says: “One of the most explicit statements in the Bible declaring the deity of Christ, the human Son of David and divine Son of God (Hebrews 1:8-9). . .The Son is God (v6); yet distinct from God the Father, who is the covenant Lord of the Mediator. . .The expressions of this Psalm can hardly refer to anyone else but the incarnate Lord Jesus, both God and the human Son of David, as the New Testament confirms. Neither Solomon nor any king in Israel's monarchy could be rightly addressed as 'God' without further qualification (verse 6), nor receive the eternal praise of the people (verse 17). Even in the Old Testament, believers looked for a coming king who would be God and man (Isaiah 9:6).”

2 On Psalm 110:1, the Reformation Heritage Study Bible says: “David. . .acknowledged that his descendant, Christ, would be sovereign over him.” And again on Matthew 22:44-45: “Therefore, 'the Son of David' (v42), though human, must be far more than a man. The question, 'Whose son is he?' requires the answer, 'The Son of God.' Jesus was proving from the Scriptures His unique status as the God-man. . .” The ESV Study Bible notes: “Their reply, 'The son of David,' reflected the common understanding that the Messiah would be a royal descendant of David. Jesus then quotes from Psalm 110:1. . .The Pharisees would have recognized this psalm of David as a divinely inspired messianic prophecy. In the psalm, David said that the coming Messiah (IE, David's 'son') will not be just a special human descended from David; he will be David's Lord.” Plumer says: “This language of David clearly implies that his Lord, as to his divine nature, was already in existence, as the eternal Son of God.” And Ryle notes, “[Psalm 110] could only be explained by conceding the pre-existence and divinity of the Messiah.” (on Matthew 22:44). Ferguson notes on Mark 12:35-37: “The Scribes were correct to say that the Messiah (Christ) would be the son of David, born into his family line. . .They were also correct in thinking that Psalm 110 described the Messiah. But could they answer the question which arose from those twin convictions? How could the great King David speak of his 'son' as his 'Lord'? . . . David's son could only be his Lord if he existed before him and after him. Jesus did not tell the teachers of the law the answer. . .But Jesus knew the answer: David's Lord was the eternal Son of God. . .” (Let's Study Mark, p204).

3 Motyer puts it this way: “There shall come a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots. That is to say, out of the line of David there will come this perfect King on whom the Spirit of God will rest in fullness. The branch springs out of the stock of Jesse in verse 1, but in verse 10 he is called the root of Jesse. Whereas by the way of family tree he springs out of Jesse's line, in reality Jesse exists for the purpose of the branch. The branch comes before the tree. He is the root from which Jesse comes—the root and offspring of David, the bright morning star.” (The Perfection of the Covenant, Article 4).

4 A similar passage to this is Joshua 7, where Scripture sets forth Achan's sin a a reenactment of the sin of Adam. There, the spoil of just one city was forbidden (6:17), as in Genesis the fruit of just one tree was forbidden. In 7:21, when Achan owns up to his sin, he uses the same three Hebrew verbs that were used to describe Adam and Eve's sin in Genesis 3:6 (saw; coveted; took). Further, it was Achan alone who sinned, but his sin is then imputed to all Israel (7:11; Romans 5:12); and as a result, all Israel is judicially punished with God's curse (7:12). So, there's precedent in Scripture for seeing Saul's sin as a type of Adam's.

5 Speaking of David as a type of Christ, Roberts says: “Now David was a type of Christ. . .in his condition and state. . .1) Both of them were born of obscure and mean parents in Bethlehem. . . 2) Both of them were advanced from a low and despicable state to their royal dignity. . . David. . .from the shepherd's staff to the scepter. . .So Christ. . .from the manger to the throne. . . 3) Both of them met with grievous opposition when once it was known that they were ordained and appointed of God for the kingdom. David was so persecuted by King Saul, that he fled to heathen nations. . .Christ as soon as it was noised that he was born King of the Jews, was cruelly persecuted by King Herod, so that he fled to the heathen country Egypt; 4) Both of them having obtained the kingdom, were deeply afflicted by variety of adversaries. . . 5) Both of them at last were exalted to a high and glorious state. David after all his afflictions retained his kingdom in peace and honor. . .So Christ after all his conflicts and sufferings, having conquered his enemies on every side. . .entered into his heavenly glory. . . 6) Both of them had their kingdom enlarged even over strangers. David became head of the heathens about him, so that strangers unknown served him. . .Christ also became head not only of Jews but of Gentiles also, having all power over them. . . 7) Both of them had an everlasting kingdom established upon them. David in some respects only. . .Christ absolutely.” (pp1074-75). Ball notes: “David himself was a type, and did bear the person of Christ, and many things spoken of David, were more properly fulfilled in Christ the person typified, than in David; as, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? They parted my garments among them, and for my coat they cast lots. They pierced my hands and my feet. . .'” (pp145-46). And Edwards says: “David, as he was the ancestor of Christ, so he was the greatest personal type of Christ of all under the Old Testament. . .Hence Christ is often called David in the prophecies of Scripture; as [in] Ezekiel 34:23-24.” (History of Redemption). Calvin elaborates: “We know that it was a common thing with the Jews, that whenever the Prophets promised to them the seed of David, to direct their attention to Christ. This was then a mode of teaching familiarly known to the Jews. The Prophets, indeed, sometimes mentioned David himself, and not his son ('I will raise up David', etc, Ezekiel 34:23). Now David was dead, and his body was reduced to dust and ashes; but under the person of David, the Prophets exhibited Christ.” (On Jeremiah 33:15).

6 Another passage from David's life that sets forth pictures of covenant headship is 2 Samuel 24. Here, David does what is wrong by taking a census of the people of Israel. It was David who sinned, but because of his sin, the Lord sent a plague upon Israel that ended up claiming the lives of 70,000. So, just like Adam, it was David alone who sinned, but it was the people of Israel who died as a direct result of his sin. So David's sin is set forth as a reenactment of Adam's. But as David is a picture of the 1st Adam, he's also a picture of the 2nd; for as David alone brought about the plague, it was David alone who stopped it.

7 Quote is from Jonty Rhodes, Covenants Made Simple. We see this principle of headship failure and its results acted out, not just with Solomon but scattered throughout the books of Kings and Chronicles. Speaking of 2 Kings 21:10-12, Rhodes goes on to note: “Manasseh brings covenant curses down on his people in two ways. First, he does so as their representative. It is because he sins that God will judge. As their covenant king, his record gives God grounds to punish his whole people. In a sense, they bear the guilt of his crimes. But equally, Manasseh 'made Judah also to sin with his idols.' Here, the problem is not Manasseh's lack of righteousness, but his corrupting effect on his people. Through his influence, they too indulge in grimy, sinful lives. This might sound familiar. It is an echo of Adam in the garden. When Adam sinned, remember, he did so as covenant king of all humankind. Through being united to him, we become corrupt too.” In 1 Kings 14:6-11, God also tells Jeroboam that He will cut off every male from his house on account of the evil he had done. Jeroboam alone did evil—but his sons are punished on account of his sin. It's the same thing with Baasha in 1 Kings 16:1-4 and then Ahab in 21:20-22.

8 We saw the same truth back in Psalm 89:30-33 in the introduction to The Nature of the Covenant of Grace. Here in this passage, David is being set forth as a type of Christ in His covenant headship for His people; and these verses in Psalm 89:30-33 are telling us that even if God's people go astray, the Lord will never cut off His lovingkindness from them because of Him. We also see this truth in Psalm 132. Gill says on verse 1: “respect in all this may be had. . .to the Messiah, who is the antitype of David. . .and so is a petition that God would remember the covenant of grace made with him; the promise of his coming into the world; his offering and sacrifice, as typified by the legal ones; and also remember them and their offerings for his sake . . .Likewise 'all his afflictions' and sufferings he was to endure. . .both in soul and body; and so as to accept of them in the room and stead of his people, as a satisfaction to his justice.” And on verse 10, he says: “For thy servant David's sake: Not for any virtues, or excellencies or merits, of David, literally understood. . .but for the sake of the antitypical David, the Messiah, the son of David according to the flesh, and the servant of the Lord as Mediator; for whose sake, and in whose name, prayers and supplications are made and presented. . .And the request is, that God would not turn such away from him, and cause them to depart from his throne of grace, ashamed and disappointed; but hear and answer their petitions, for his Son's sake.”

9 Quote is from Robertson, Christ of the Covenants, pp248-49. Francis Roberts likewise says: “By Jesus Christ especially, the conditioned duties of this covenant had their fullest and exactest accomplishment. David and his seed, even the most religious and righteous of them had their failings and miscarriages, as their histories abundantly declare. But Jesus Christ the Primary Seed of David, fully kept God's covenant and all His charge, walked most religiously and righteously in his Spiritual Kingdom over the House of Jacob; as the Prophets under the Old Testament promised, and the Apostles with other holy penman of the New Testament declare to be performed by him.” (p1061). This truth is drawn out more fully in Jeremiah 33:17, 20-21.

10 These references were taken from Francis Roberts, Mystery and Marrow of the Covenant, pp1083-84.

11 Calvin comments on Hebrews 2:8: “after having laid down this truth, that Christ has universal dominion over all creatures, he adds, as an objection, 'But all things do not as yet obey the authority of Christ.' To meet this objection he teaches us that yet now is seen completed in Christ what he immediately adds respecting glory and honor, as if he had said, 'Though universal subjection does not as yet appear to us, let us be satisfied that he has passed through death, and has been exalted to the highest state of honor; for that which is as yet wanting, will in its time be completed'. . .It is asked again, 'Why does he say that we see not all things made subject to Christ?' The solution of this question you will find in that passage already quoted from Paul [in 1 Corinthians 15:28]. . .As Christ carries on war continually with various enemies, it is doubtless evident that he has no quiet possession of his kingdom. . .his enemies are not to be subdued till the last day, in order that we may be tried and proved by fresh exercises.” And Calvin writes in 1 Corinthians 15:28: “For the present, as the Devil resists God, as wicked men confound and disturb the order which he has established, and as endless occasions of offense present themselves to our view, it does not distinctly appear that God is all in all; but when Christ will have executed the judgment which has been committed to him by the Father, and will have cast down Satan and all the wicked, the glory of God will be conspicuous in their destruction.”

12 Roberts comments: “Solomon the immediate seed of David was also a notable type of Jesus Christ, who was greater than Solomon. . .In his Acts, Solomon was a singular type of Jesus Christ. For: 1) Both of them were builders of the house and temple of God. Solomon built the material dead temple. . .But Jesus Christ builds the mystical, spiritual, and living temple, the house and Church of God; of people both from among Jews and Gentiles. . . 2) Both of them ruled righteously. As Solomon in punishing offenders after David's death [1 Kings 2]. . .But Christ is the Lord our righteousness. . . 3) Both of them enriched their subjects abundantly. Solomon enriched his subjects with outward temporal wealth. . .But Jesus Christ enriches his subjects both with outward and inward, temporal, spiritual and eternal wealth.” (pp1077-78). Edwards distinguishes between David and Solomon, saying: “David, a man of war, a man who had shed much blood, and whose life was full of troubles and conflicts, was a more suitable representation of Christ in his state of humiliation, wherein he was conflicting with his enemies. But Solomon, a man of peace, was a representation more especially of Christ exalted, triumphing and reigning in his kingdom of peace.” (History of Redemption). Clowney says: “David's charge to Solomon takes account of the difference in their reigns. David bears not only the agony of battle, but also the reproach of those who betrayed and disobeyed him. Solomon brings in the kingdom in which peace is founded on stern justice. David foreshadows the long-suffering restraint of Christ's humiliation. Solomon typifies Christ as the Judge, who ushers in the Kingdom by judging justly.” (The Unfolding Mystery, p173).


bottom of page