Friday, June 2, 2017

The Throne of David Prophecy

From the Errancy Discussion list, 1-19-98:

At 09:55 PM 1/18/98 EST, ITS786 wrote:

>Dear Farrell Till, 

>Assalam Alaikum,

>A Christian wrote to me saying that his Faith is true because many prophecies

>have come true; I know that there is an answer to these; can you send them to

>me.  Thank you; Jazakullah.

>Prophecy: "Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.

>He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and

>upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever."

>(Isaiah 9:7) 

>Fulfillment: "A record of the geneology of Jesus Christ the son of David, the

>son of Abraham." (Mathew 1:1, 6)


As we continue to look at the prophecy fulfillment claims of Stevan's
Christian friend, we should keep in mind that his/her method of
argumentation is merely to cite an OT passage and then a NT passage as
"proof" that the OT prophecy was fulfilled.  In neither case, does the
Christian offer any kind of textual or corroborating evidence to support his
position.  For example, the prophecy fulfillment claim above doesn't even
attempt to show that Isaiah meant that the kingdom of David would be
established forever only in a spiritual or figurative sense, and neither
does he present any kind of evidence to show that Matthew's genealogy of
Jesus was accurate in the listings that showed Jesus to be a descendant of
David.  I will discuss these two points separately to show that they both
pose serious problems to Christian claims that the kingdom of David would be
established forever.  

Did Isaiah have Jesus (a person who wouldn't even be born for seven more
centuries) in mind in the passage cited above?  Well, let's notice first of
all that this text doesn't even stipulate that this person would be a
descendant of David.  It merely says that whoever this was would establish
the throne of David forever, so it would be possible for someone who was not
a descendant of David to establish his throne.  However, since other OT
prophecies did predict that a descendant of David would establish his throne
forever, we will grant to Stevan's Christian friend that descent from David
would have been a requirement to fulfill this prophecy.  The prophecy claim
is still in serious trouble because of the following problems.

1.  The context of the statement clearly shows that it was intended to have
an immediate application or fulfillment rather than one that wouldn't happen
until centuries later.  The verse just before the one cited as a prophecy
shows that it had reference to the time in which Isaiah lived: "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, Counsellor, Mighty
God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government
and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his
kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
FROM HENCEFORTH EVEN FOREVER" (9:6-7). Notice the tense of the verbs in
verse six.  Isaiah said, "(U)nto us, a child IS born, unto us a son IS
given," so this was not something that was going to happen seven centuries
later but something that had already happened to "US."  The promise or
prophecy in this verse is like the one two chapters earlier (7:14) that
Christians have twisted and distorted into a prophecy of the virgin birth of
Jesus, but just as Isaiah had said in chapter 7 that the birth of a child to
a maiden (not virgin) who was at that time with child would be a "sign" that
the military alliance of Syria and Israel would not succeed against Judah,
so in chapter 9, he was making another prophetic statement to "US," the
people living at that time.

That Isaiah so intended the prophecy in 9:7 to have immediate application is
clearly indicated by the phase that ends verse 7 (which I have typed in
uppercase letters above).  In other words, this child who was born to "us"
at that time would establish the throne and kingdom of David FROM HENCEFORTH
EVEN FOREVER.  Anyone who knows both Jewish history and the meaning of the
word "henceforth" should be able to see that rather than this being an
amazing example of prophecy fulfillment, it is a clear case of prophecy
failure.  "Henceforth" means "from this time forth" or "from now on."  So
Isaiah was saying that a child IS born unto US and that he would establish
the kingdom and throne of David "from this time forth" or "from now on."
Obviously, this didn't happen, because after king Zedekiah was taken to
Babylon (2 Kings 25), no other king has sat upon David's throne, and
certainly David's throne and kingdom were not established "from HENCEFORTH
even forever."  Even if one is going to claim that Jesus sits on the throne
of David (something impossible to prove), he/she would have to explain the
six-century gap from Zedekiah to Jesus when no one sat on David's throne,
when Isaiah had clearly said that the kingdom of David would be established
HENCEFORTH even forever.

Biblicists will, of course, contend that the promise to establish David's
throne forever was intended only in a figurative sense, but it is easy to
show that OT writers clearly intended their readers to understand that the
establishment of the literal throne of David was supposed to happen.  That
can be shown by looking at Psalm 132:11-12: "Yahweh has sworn in truth to
David: He will not turn from it: 'I will set upon your throne the fruit of
your body.  If your SONS (plural) will keep My covenant and My testimony
which I shall teach them, THEIR SONS also shall sit upon your throne
forevermore."  So the promise wasn't that A SON (only one) would sit on
David's throne but that his sons and their sons (plural) would sit on the
throne forever.  Clearly, OT writers ethnocentrically believed that Yahweh
would establish the literal kingdom of David forever in that descendants of
David would always literally reign in Jerusalem.

I could examine many OT passages to show that this was the clear intent of
the Davidic prophecies, but to keep the posting reasonably short, I will
look at just one other.

>Jeremiah 33:14  The days are surely coming, says Yahweh, when I will

fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.

>15  In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to

spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.

>16  In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety.

And this is the name by which it will be called: "Yahweh is our righteousness."

>17  For thus says Yahweh: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne

of the house of Israel,

>18  and the levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to

offer burnt offerings, to make grain offerings, and to make sacrifices for
all time.


Notice that Jeremiah said that when the time came that he was speaking about
"Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety," so he was clearly
speaking about something that would happen to secure the safety of Judah and
Jerusalem.  Whenever this happened, Jeremiah claimed (v:17) that "David
shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel."  So
once again, we have a prophet promising that David's throne would be
established forever.  If biblicists contend (as they will) that all of this
is to be understood figuratively and that it is only in a figurative sense
that Judah and Jerusalem have lived in safety since Jesus was resurrected to
sit on David throne, then they will have to explain the very last verse in
my quotation from Jeremiah (above).  Jeremiah said not only that David would
never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel but that "the
levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt
offerings, to make grain offerings, and to make sacrifices FOR ALL TIME."
Jeremiah was clearly predicting the establishment of BOTH the kingdom of
David and the OT levitical system forever, so biblicists can find no support
for their "figurative" interpretation of the Davidic prophecies in this
passage from Jeremiah.  To the contrary, it shows that their figurative
interpretation is merely a dodge to try to get around a clear prophecy failure.

2.  The second point that Christians must prove is that Jesus was a
descendant of David.  Stevan's Christian friend obviously thinks that he has
accomplished that just by quoting from Matthew's genealogy, where it was
claimed that Jesus was the "son of David."  What Christians must prove is
that Matthew was accurate in making that statement.  I understand that by
the first century A. D., the lines of descent were so obscured that it
wasn't possible to determine what tribe individual Jews had descended from,
so what evidence do Christians have to show that Jesus really was a
descendant of David? We demand more than Matthew's mere word.  What evidence
did Matthew have that enabled him to know this?   I won't even raise the
issue of the Christian claim that Matthew's genealogy is only a genealogy of
Joseph and not a genealogy of Jesus, who wasn't fathered by Joseph.  I'll
wait to see what Christians on the list may have to say about this point
before I say any more about it.  I suspect that inerrantists who were on the
list when the conflict between Matthew's and Luke's genealogies was
discussed will choose to remain mum on this subject.

There is much more that I could write about the failure of the Davidic
prophecies, but I will wait to see if Stevan's Christian friend even
attempts to reply to what I have already said.

Farrell Till

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