“For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” John 5:22-30
We look now to the Judgment of Jesus Christ as the Son of David.
Jesus Christ – Son of David
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” Matthew 1:1
We are introduced to Jesus Christ being the Son of David in the first verse of the New Testament. Matthew began writing his Gospel account with the genealogy (family lineage) of Jesus by calling Him Son of David and Son of Abraham. That would have had special significance to a Jewish audience. Abraham was the great patriarch of Israel and David was the great king. Jesus was a direct descendant of both.
Matthew recorded six times that people referred to Jesus as the Son of David, demonstrating that the title was an important one to the Jewish people.
“When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” Matthew 9:27
“And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” Matthew 12:23
“And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” Matthew 15:22
“And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” Matthew 20:30
“Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!” Matthew 21:9
“But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ they were indignant.” Matthew 21:15
Even though the spiritual leaders of Israel were indignant at what the people were saying about Jesus, they knew that the title of Son of David belonged to Messiah.
“While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, ‘What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?’ They said to Him, ‘The Son of David.’ He said to them, ‘How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’ If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?’ And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.” Matthew 22:41-46
Son of David in History
God spoke to the prophet Nathan and told him that the throne of King David would “be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:16). God told Nathan to tell David that He would set up his “seed” after him, “who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom” (2 Samuel 7:12).
Important question: did that happen?
As we look at the kings that came from the lineage of David, do we see any that established a throne forever? The short answer is no. The last king in the Davidic lineage was Zedekiah and he died in disgrace after losing the kingdom to Babylon.
The united Kingdom of Israel divided into two kingdoms (Northern and Southern) after King Solomon, David’s son, died. The Northern Kingdom was known as Israel and the Southern Kingdom was known as Judah. The kings of the Northern Kingdom were not from David’s lineage.
King Jeroboam was the first Northern king. He served King Solomon for a time, but rebelled against Solomon. Why would Jeroboam do that? Because of a prophecy –
“Now it happened at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the way; and he had clothed himself with a new garment, and the two were alone in the field. Then Ahijah took hold of the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces. And he said to Jeroboam, ‘Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to you (but he shall have one tribe for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel), because they have forsaken Me, and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the people of Ammon, and have not walked in My ways to do what is right in My eyes and keep My statutes and My judgments, as did his father David. However I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, because I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of My servant David, whom I chose because he kept My commandments and My statutes. But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand and give it to you—ten tribes. And to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there. So I will take you, and you shall reign over all your heart desires, and you shall be king over Israel. Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you. And I will afflict the descendants of David because of this, but not forever.’ Solomon therefore sought to kill Jeroboam. But Jeroboam arose and fled to Egypt, to Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.” 1 Kings 11:29-40
After Solomon died, Jeroboam led ten tribes of Israel to revolt against the house of David. Jeroboam became the first king of the Northern Kingdom, known as Israel. The capitals of the Northern Kingdom included Shechem, Penuel, Tirza, and Samaria. None of the 19 kings who ruled Israel after Jeroboam’s rebellion were related to King David.
Solomon’s son Rehoboam became king after his father died, but was left with a very small kingdom after Jeroboam’s rebellion. Rehoboam became the first king of the Southern Kingdom, known as Judah. The capitals of the Southern Kingdom were Hebron and Jerusalem. All of the 19 kings who ruled Judah after Jeroboam’s rebellion were related to King David.
The words of the people who followed Jeroboam is most interesting in light of the question about the Davidic lineage –
“Now when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying: What share have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel! Now, see to your own house, O David!’ So Israel departed to their tents. But Rehoboam reigned over the children of Israel who dwelt in the cities of Judah.” 1 Kings 12:16-17
Their words were certainly prophetic: “What share have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse.”
The Northern Kingdom ended a little more than 200 years after Jeroboam’s rebellion when the Assyrian Kingdom removed King Hoshea.
“In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel away to Assyria, and placed them in Halah and by the Habor, the River of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.” 2 Kings 17:6
What happened to the Northern Kingdom after Assyria conquered Israel?
“Then the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they took possession of Samaria and dwelt in its cities.” 2 Kings 17:24
What about Judah, the Southern Kingdom? Since the kings were of the seed (lineage) of David, did God establish a forever kingdom with them? No. The Kingdom of Judah was conquered by the king of Babylon about 136 years after the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The Davidic lineage ended with Zedekiah about 586 BC.
But what about King Herod the Great? We’ve all heard the story of how wise men from the East came to Jerusalem looking for the baby Jesus.
“When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.” Matthew 2:3-4
Was Herod from the lineage of David? No. Herod’s father, Antipater, was an Edomite who converted to Judaism. No relation to King David.
The Jewish people living in Israel at the time of Jesus knew their history and they knew that Nathan’s prophecy about the throne of David being “established forever” was still future. They were looking for the Son of David who would fulfill the prophecy. The fact that so many of them believed Jesus was the Son of David demonstrates the power of what Jesus was doing in their midst.
Son of David in Judgment
What did the Jewish people believe the Son of David would do? They believed he would rule and reign Israel, which included judgment.
The idea of a judging king began during the time of the “Judges” in Israel. Here’s the back story –
Samuel made his sons judges over Israel, but they were not good men like their father. They took bribes and perverted justice (1 Samuel 8:3). The elders approached Samuel and told him they didn’t want his sons to judge them. They wanted a “king to judge us like all the nations” (1 Samuel 8:5).
Samuel was against it, but God said –
“Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.” 1 Samuel 8:7-9
Samuel told the people what a terrible thing it would be for them to have a king, but they didn’t listen to him. They still wanted a king to “judge us and go out before us and fight our battles” (1 Samuel 8:19-20).
The idea of a “judging king” was deeply embedded in the history of Israel’s choice of the type of leader they wanted.
Saul, the first king of Israel, was an example of the kind of king Samuel warned the people. David, the second king of Israel, was an example of the kind of king that pleased God. He ruled and judged righteously –
“So David reigned over all Israel; and David administered judgment and justice to all his people.” 2 Samuel 8:15
Judging the people was part of sitting on the throne –
“Where the tribes go up, The tribes of the Lord, To the Testimony of Israel, To give thanks to the name of the Lord. For thrones are set there for judgment, The thrones of the house of David.” Psalm 122:4-5
God told King Solomon to ask what he wanted and it would be given him –
“And Solomon said to God: ‘You have shown great mercy to David my father, and have made me king in his place. Now, O Lord God, let Your promise to David my father be established, for You have made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude. Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of Yours?’ Then God said to Solomon: ‘Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life—but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king— wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.” 2 Chronicles 1:8-12
Here we see God stating that one of King Solomon’s primary duties as king of Israel was to “judge My people over whom I have you king.” The Jewish people understood that judging them was one of the things Solomon would do as their king. They understood that the Son of David would rule and judge Israel in the same way as past kings in the Davidic line.
In the next part of our special series, God’s Judgment: How It Works, we will look at how Jesus Christ will judge the world, the nations, Israel and His Church.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.