Should we pray for the peace of Jerusalem?
This is about God’s covenant with David. We will start with the first term of the covenant: the Jews will live in a peaceful place where they will no longer be afflicted. This is where the phrase ‘pray for the peace of Jerusalem’ comes from. Now, many Christians misuse this verse thinking that Jerusalem’s peace will be attained during their dispensation, however, this was during the time of David and won’t happen again until Jesus returns. So when we Christians pray for Jerusalem’s peace, it means we want Jesus’ coming to be faster so He can set up His kingdom on earth.
2 Samuel 7:10 “Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime,”
Who will build God’s temple?
The second term is that David’s seed will build God’s temple.
2 Samuel 7:12-14 “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:”
“And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.“
God tells David that his son (Solomon) will set up the kingdom.
“He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.”
Again, we see the building of God’s temple by David’s seed.
Now, if we read verses 12-14 we know that this is talking about Solomon because he was the one to built God’s temple. However, if you look closely at the verses you notice that it is not just Solomon, but Jesus Christ as well. This is notable in the last part of verse 13 and the beginning of verse 14.
“I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son.“
God is referring to Jesus when mentions the terms father and son. Also, the kingdom that is being established forever isn’t Solomon’s but Jesus’. This verse is a perfect example of the importance of dispensationalism. It is necessary to divide verses and minister them in the correct places because it is possible to have one book, one chapter, or one verse of the Bible split into different people and time periods. Now, if we want to prove that the previous verses were not only about Solomon but also Jesus, we will need to look at the following verse.
Hebrews 1:5 “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?”
Paul quotes the above verse from 2 Samuel and in this verse, it is obvious that it is Jesus who is being talked about. Thus, Jesus was also mentioned in 2 Samuel.
Now, let us revisit 2 Samuel 7:14, specifically the second part. The third term of the Davidic covenant is mentioned here: David’s seed will be the Messiah that reigns forever.
“I will be his father, and he shall be my son.”
This is Jesus and we know this because we looked at Hebrews 1:5.
“If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:”
No longer Jesus but Solomon, since Jesus cannot commit iniquity. Now that we have divided those verses and matched them to their respective person we now know that this method is essential to finding the correct interpretation of a verse. It’s not coming out of thin air like anti-dispensationalists will accuse you of but rather we used other verses to confirm this interpretation (scripture with scripture).
Why does the Bible say that the Jewish kingdom will reign forever?
The fourth term is that the Jewish kingdom will reign forever.
2 Samuel 7:16 “And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.”
“And thine house and thy kingdom“
God is speaking to David about his kingdom.
“shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.”
What about replacement theology?
David’s seed in his line of kings will be established forever. This debunks the heresy of replacement theology where some claim that the Jews are finished and done with. Although God is focusing on the Gentiles now (Christians) He will, without a doubt, come back to the Jews at a future time. This coupled with the fact that God already promised them an eternal physical kingdom completely debunks that heresy.
What is the difference between Jews and Christians?
The theme in this covenant is the Kingdom because Jews rejected a Spiritual God as King and wanted a physical kingdom instead. A lot of physical kingdoms mentioned in the Old Testament are for Israel, not for us Christians. We Christians will inherit a spiritual kingdom instead because we worship a spiritual God who is to be worshiped in spirit and in truth. This differs from the Jews where their kingdom and promises are physical. Again, dispensationalism is needed in order to note these differences and not misapply physical promises to yourself and spiritual dealing to the Jews.
1 Samuel 8:4-5 “Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.”
The Israelites express the want for a physical king like the physical nations, not a spiritual King (God Himself). This is seen in the following verses.
1 Samuel 8:7,9 “And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.”
“And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee:”
God tells Samuel to listen to the people and give them a physical king.
“for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.”
Because they rejected God as their spiritual king, God gave them a physical king and kingdom from that point on.
Not only that, centuries before the Jews would demand a physical king, God had already thought to set up a physical king over them.
Deuteronomy 17:14 “When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.”
“Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose:“
God was going to choose their king.
“one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee:“
Their king has to be a Jew.
“thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.”
A Gentile is forbidden to be a king over them.
Evidence that the theme of the Davidic covenant is the Kingdom can be found by observing David’s kingly line, starting with David. Although Saul was the first king, God rejected him and wanted to start over with David. Now, all of the accounts of David’s kingly line are found in 1 and 2 Samuel as well as in 1 and 2 Kings. Altogether, there are four books of Kings with 1 and 2 Kings being the 3rd and 4th books of David’s kingly line.
Now, let’s move on to the spiritual dealing of the Davidic covenant.
Spiritual Dealings in the Davidic Covenant
Although you see many physical aspects in this covenant (law of Moses, works for salvation, king and kingdom), God also put some spiritual dealings in this particular covenant, those of which Paul would later use to argue in favor of Christian doctrine.
Jews believe in physical salvation by the works of the law, and they think salvation by faith without works of the law is not valid. This is untrue when we look at David’s walk. Because he failed in his physical works, he should have lost his salvation according to Jewish law. However, David managed to receive mercy and imputed righteousness from God. We see this in the following verses.
2 Samuel 12:9,13 “Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.”
“Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.“
David committed adultery and murder. He should have been stoned to death as the law commanded.
“And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.”
David avoided God’s judgment and was instead granted mercy by God. Not only did he receive God’s mercy, but he also received imputed righteousness according to Psalms 32.
Psalms 32:2 “Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.”
David includes himself here, he received imputed righteousness. Here, he was not saved by the works of the law.
Psalm 51:1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
David committed two severe sins and he begged for mercy from God. His physical works of the law for salvation failed him.
Psalms 51:14 “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.”
God’s mercy was the source of his salvation.
Knowing about God’s spiritual dealing with David, Paul was able to reference this to argue for Christian doctrines and our spiritual dealings with God; that our salvation is justified by God’s grace through faith.
Romans 4:6 “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”
“Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,”
From this, Paul can argue that salvation is not by works but by receiving imputed righteousness.
“Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”
Paul quotes this from the book of Psalms 51 to show that David, without works, received imputed righteousness from God. This, however, was an exceptional case as far as general Jewish law is concerned. Recall that everyone who was under the law was expected to keep it for their salvation. David is the exception to this rule.
How did God impute righteousness without works to David?
To make sense of this we have to know another rule of dispensationalism: there can be exceptions even when God lays down ground rules. We can see it in other instances in the Bible, not just David’s case. Also, the fact that exceptions to the rules exist proves said rules even more. For example, a car can park in a particular space only Thursdays and Fridays. The exception proves the rule more in that the car should not park there on any other given day. The same happens with God’s dispensational rules and a clear example of this is David.
You may ask yourself why God would give these exceptions. God knows everyone’s exact situation, and thus, He is very understanding towards us and can make exceptions. Another example of this is found in Matthew with the Canaanite woman wishing for Jesus to heal her daughter. Now, Jesus had a rule that He would only cater to the Jews, not Gentiles but He made an exception because of her faith in His power.
Isaiah 55:3 “ Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David .”
This exception that God had toward David is known as the sure mercies of David as stated above. Notice that ‘everlasting’ was mentioned here which made those mercies of David exceptional and not based on how good one’s works were.
2 Samuel 7:14 “I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.”
“I will be his father”
God is talking to David’s seed.
“But my mercy shall not depart away from him”
God’s mercy toward David’s line is going to last. Because of this mercy, God will, as mentioned in verse 14, only chasten them instead of destroying them.
But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.”
This verse should show us that exceptions to God’s rule exist. God should have taken away His mercies from David like He did with Saul but that wasn’t the case. This is an important difference to note between Old Testament Jews and New Testament Christians. God could take away His mercies from the Jews if their physical works failed, hence losing their salvation. With us Christians, however, it is not so. The rule of the time was that mercy could depart from Old Testament Jews, however, David was the exception to this rule. Again, the exception to the rule proves the rule to a greater extent, as previously mentioned.
The salvation plan during the Davidic covenant was faith and works. Christians today do not have the same salvation plan as this covenant because there are no works involved for us. This is why dispensationalism is crucial to avoiding wrongly applying verses to ourselves that are meant for other people at different time periods for different reasons.
Why was David afraid of losing his salvation?
Now, we have used Psalms 51 to prove that David received the imputed righteousness of God. However, if you continue reading, you will see that David was fearful of losing his salvation based on his imperfect works. Many false religions make a mention of this verse to prove that Christians can lose their salvation based on their works. This is false, given that this was a condition imposed on those living during the Davidic covenant. We are way beyond this covenant and are in a covenant of our own, rendering this verse not applicable to us the Church.
Psalm 51:11 “Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.”
Returning to Psalms 51, we revisit David’s fear of losing his salvation. Verses 1-14 recognize that David was an exception to being saved through his works. Nonetheless, in verses 11-12, he recognizes that the rules during his time were based on a faith and works system.
Now, David recognized that the way to get rid of one’s sin was through animal sacrifice. However, the sins that David committed were adultery and murder, those of which could not be forgiven by animal sacrifice but by being stoned to death. Nevertheless, he recognized he needed to build an altar for burnt offerings and peace offerings for the forgiveness of his sins..
2 Samuel 24:18-25 “And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, Go up, rear an altar unto the Lord in the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the Lord commanded. And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground. And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the Lord, that the plague may be stayed from the people. And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood. All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The Lord thy God accept thee. And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.”
“And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the Lord, that the plague may be stayed from the people.“
This plague was caused by David’s pride and we know this because of the first five verses of 2 Samuel 24. Because of this plague, David needed to build an altar for the forgiveness of his sins.
“And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood. All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The Lord thy God accept thee. And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.”
Although David could have carried on with his life knowing God had forgiven his sins without an animal sacrifice, he decided to offer one anyway because he recognized that that was to be expected when one committed sin during his time.
“And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.”
When David built the altar in order to sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins, God removed the plague from the people.
What are the exceptions of wicked people who received God’s grace in the Old Testament?
Although we can see that God’s dealings with the people were predominantly physical and by law in the Old Testament, there were a few exceptions. For instance, Lot who committed incest was considered a just man that vexed his soul with the wicked every day according to 2 Peter. This was another example of an exceptional case of salvation not by works. Another example of this is Samson, who committed fornication. The Bible, however, paints him as the hero of faith in Hebrews 11.
It is important to avoid the doctrines of hyper-dispensationalism and covenant theology which, respectively, over-divide verses to the point of wrong doctrine and do not believe in diving verses to the correct people in the proper time period, etc.
A lot of hyper-dispensationalists think that God’s grace is only applicable to us Christians in the New Testament, but we clearly see that God’s grace was also obvious in some of the cases in the Old Testament towards a few people. God does not only make exceptions to the rules He makes, He also can transition from one rule to another and back. For instance, take signs and wonders and healings. These did not just disappear overnight but were fading away by the time the Apostles came into the picture. This is because God was transitioning into a covenant that did not require those things with the Gentiles.
What is an example of double application in the Bible?
Another important foundation of dispensationalism that can help you is recognizing that because God is past, present, and future, He can be talking to different people in different time periods in different contexts when He quotes a verse. This means that different parts of one verse don’t necessarily apply to one group of people but can be for different groups during different time periods, etc.
Isaiah 61:1-3 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek;”
This is referring to Jesus Christ because He did this in His first coming.
“he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,”
Jesus did all of these things in His first coming.
“and the day of vengeance of our God;”
Notice the split here when it mentions ‘vengeance of our God’. This has yet to happen because it will happen in the future during His second coming. According to Revelation 19, He will come to take vengeance on the world and kill many becasue they sinned against Him.
“to comfort all that mourn To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”
None of this has happened yet with the nation of Israel. This future proves that the same verse was split into two time periods meant for two different people (Jesus during His first coming and Jesus and the Jews during His second coming). Thus, the coming of Jesus has two different meanings.
What does the day of the Lord mean?
Another example of one phrase having multiple meanings is the day of the Lord. The problem with most Christians today concerning the day of the Lord is that they think it only applies to either the Christian rapture, the coming of Jesus, or the Tribulation. It is actually all three of those things and more. The day of the Lord can also mean the Judgment seat of Christ, the rapture during the tribulation, and the millennium among other things.
The day of the Lord as the Christian rapture:
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.“
The Judgement seat of Christ is the day of the Lord:
2 Thessalonians 2:2-3 “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;”
Notice the phrase ‘that day’. Paul mentions ‘that day’ as being the Judgment seat of Christ, as we will see in the following verse.
2 Timothy 4:8: “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
Up until now, we have seen two meanings of the day of the Lord. Let’s look at a couple of others.
The day of the Lord concerning the fall of Babylon before Christ:
Isaiah 13:9,17-19 “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it. Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eyes shall not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.“
From history, we know that this already occurred. The book of Daniel prophesied that the Medes and the Persians were going to conquer Babylon, and it did happen.
Now, this is not the only meaning of the day of the Lord we see in this passage, it also refers to the tribulation time period.
Isaiah 13:20-22“It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.”
This obviously hasn’t happened yet because there are still people living there. This won’t be until the tribulation occurs and we know this because of Revelation 18.
Revelation 18:2 “And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.”
We have seen four meanings of the day of the Lord up until now but these aren’t the only meanings. More meanings include the burning of heaven and earth (1000 years after the tribulation) and the tribulation rapture among others.