Millennial Series: Part 17: The Kingdom Promises to David -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 110:438 (Apr 1953)
Article: Millennial Series: Part 17: The Kingdom Promises to David
Author: John F. Walvoord


Millennial Series:
Part 17: The Kingdom Promises to David

John F. Walvoord

Next in importance to the Abrahamic covenant in the Old Testament doctrine of premillennialism stands the Davidic covenant—the promises of God to David that his seed, throne, and kingdom would endure forever. This covenant has been obscured and ignored by most amillenarians and again and again statements are made that premillennialism rests solely upon the interpretation of Revelation 20. Louis Berkhof in his discussion of “the premillennial theory” states, “The only Scriptural basis for this theory is Rev 20:1–6, after an Old Testament content has been poured into it.”1 In other words it is expressly denied that the Old Testament or the New provides any teaching at all on an earthly millennial kingdom. One of the reasons for such an unwarranted conclusion is the neglect of the Biblical covenants of the Old Testament of which the Davidic is prominent. The principle of spiritualization of all prophecies, which would teach premillennialism, is carried through with precision by the amillenarians with the result that by a process of changing the meaning of the promises they are robbed of their content. A study of amillenarian interpretation of the Davidic covenant well illustrates this method. Accepting as literal those prophecies which do not affect the premillennial argument and spiritualizing all others, they are able with straight face to declare that the Old Testament does not teach a millennial kingdom on earth. On the contrary, premillenarians believe these promises

were intended to be interpreted literally as most certainly David understood them and as the Jews living in the time of Christ anticipated. A study of this covenant will afford another strong confirmation of premillennial doctrine.2

Analysis of the Promise to David

David had the godly ambition to build a temple to Jehovah. The incongruity of allowing the ark of God to remain in a temporary tentlike tabernacle while he himself lived in the luxury of a house of cedar seemed to call for the erection of a suitable permanent building to be the center of worship. To Nathan, the prophet, was revealed that God intended David to build something more enduring than any material edifice. David’s “house” was to be his posterity and through them his throne and his kingdom were to continue forever. The main features of the covenant are included in the following passage: “When thy days are fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy see...

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