Is Jesus Currently Reigning from David’s Throne?

Stained glass panel in the transept of St. John's Anglican Church, Ashfield, New South Wales (NSW).

Is Jesus Currently Reigning from David’s Throne?

Is Jesus Christ currently reigning on King David’s throne in heaven? No, although Jesus Christ has been anointed to David’s throne (de jure – by right according to the law), he has not yet physically assumed David’s throne (de facto – in fact, whether with a legal right or not).

Amillennialist and Progressive Dispensationalists believe that Christ is currently sitting on David’s throne in heaven. Although their argumentation is persuasive and rooted in elements of truth, they tend to overlook the delay between the anointing and the assumption.

Delay Between Anointing and Assumption

There was a significant delay between King David’s anointing and his assumption of the throne. David was anointed king in private as a youth in Bethlehem; Christ was similarly anointed following his baptism by John:

1 Samuel 16:13: So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. (NIV)

Acts 10:37-38: You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. (NIV)

However, David did not immediately assume the throne but faced years of testing and turmoil. After King Saul’s death, David was anointed king of Judah; similarly, Christ was anointed following his death and resurrection:

2 Samuel 2:4: Then the men of Judah came to Hebron and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah… (NIV)

Acts 13:32-34: …What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.” The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words: “I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.” (NIV)

After David was anointed king of Judah, it would be another seven and one-half years before David was finally anointed king of all Israel – it took time for all of Israel to recognize their rightful king. Metaphorically, Jesus Christ is king of those who are loyal and obedient to his Word but has yet to assert his Lordship over the entire kingdom:

2 Samuel 5:1-2: All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the LORD said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’” (NIV)

2 Samuel 5:3: When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a compact with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel. (NIV)

If David’s story foreshadows Christ’s, and I believe it does, then we should see no problem with a delay between the initial anointing Jesus Christ, his baptism by John, and his final assumption to David’s throne, the Second Advent.

The Parable of the Ten Minas

The Parable of the Ten Minas illustrates the delay between Christ’s anointing and his assuming the throne. This parable was delivered immediately prior to Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem and, along with verse 11, addresses the misconception that Christ was going to assume David’s throne during his earthly ministry:

Luke 19:11-12: While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return.” (NIV)

Does this parable indicate that the nobleman became king and then ruled from the distant country? No, there is no mention of messengers, representatives, or soldiers coming to enforce the nobleman’s rule. The servants were free to go about their business without additional instructions. It was not until the nobleman returned as king that he began to enforce his rule.

Similarly, Christ has gone away to a distant land, heaven; there he will be appointed king; when God hands him the two sided scroll, he will then assert his authority upon his return, the Second Advent. Although Jesus Christ possesses all power and authority in heaven and earth, he has not yet begun to exercise that authority.

Physical Reign over Israel

Old testament prophecy indicates that Jesus Christ will assume a physical reign over Israel from Jerusalem. Israel is currently without a king, without sacrifices, without priests, and without idols. They await a physical restoration. At that time, they will reside in the lands given to Jacob and Jesus Christ, the root of Jesse, will reside as their king:

Hosea 3:4: This shows that Israel will go a long time without a king or prince, and without sacrifices, sacred pillars, priests, or even idols! But afterward the people will return and devote themselves to the LORD their God and to David's descendant, their king. In the last days, they will tremble in awe of the LORD and of his goodness. (NIV)

Ezekiel 37:24-25: My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. (NIV)

Jeremiah 23:5-6: “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness. (NIV)

Jesus Christ will specifically rule from Jerusalem:

Psalm 110:2: The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies. Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. (NIV)

Isaiah 2:3: … For the LORD's teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. (NIV)

Physical Reign over All Nations

Jesus Christ will assume a physical reign over all nations of this world. There is a difference between possessing the authority to rule and exercising that authority. The current situation on earth does not reflect the characteristics that prophecy attributes to Christ’s reign:

Micah 4:3: The LORD will mediate between peoples and will settle disputes between strong nations far away. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore. (NIV)

Isaiah 2:3-4: People from many nations will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob's God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths." For the LORD's teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more. (NIV)

Has this earthly reign already begun? No, Satan is now the god of this world:

2 Corinthians 4:4: Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. (NIV)

This earthly reign will begin when Jesus Christ returns in his glory:

Matthew 25:31-32: But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. (NIV)

Daniel 7:13-14: In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (NIV)

The Father Controls the Timing

The Father controls the timing of when Christ will physically assume David’s throne. Those who believe that Jesus Christ currently resides in heaven on David’s throne fail to recognize that our timing does not match God’s timing. Since John the Baptist starting preaching the “kingdom of God,” humans have mistakenly believed that the physical kingdom was imminent:

Luke 19:11: While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. (NIV)

Acts 1:6: So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (NIV)

2 Thessalonians 2:1-2: Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. (NIV)

The claim that Jesus Christ currently reigns in heaven on David’s throne seems to be a continuation of mistaken belief. Although all the prerequisites might have been fulfilled and the conditions may be right, God the Father retains the authority to set dates and times:

Matthew 24:36: No-one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Acts 1:7: He replied, "The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know.”

Jesus Christ is currently in heaven serving as the high priest in the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 5:10). During this time period, Christ is awaits the Father to place his enemies under his feet:

Psalm 110:1-2: The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet. The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies.” (NIV)

Hebrews 10:12-13: But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. (NIV)

Once the appointed time arrives, God the Father will hand Jesus Christ the Son the two sided scroll with the seven seals (Revelation 5:1). At that time, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David (Revelation 5:5) will assume his role of conquering king, physically reclaim the planet earth, and rule the nations with an iron rod:

Romans 15:12: And again, Isaiah says, "The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him." (NIV)

Revelation 19:14-15: The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron sceptre." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. (NIV)

Jesus Christ is fully justified in assuming the throne of King David – he is the only begotten Son of God the Father; his is genetically of King David’s lineage; he, as a human, successfully thwarted Satan’s temptation; he lived a perfectly obedient life during his earthly ministry; he suffered the indignities and physical suffering in payment for mankind’s disobedience; he paid the price for human in through spiritual death on the cross, separated from God; he ultimately sacrificed his life for the redemption of mankind; and he demonstrated victory over death through his resurrection and ascension. However, despite having been anointed  to David’s throne, de jure; Jesus Christ has not yet physically assumed that throne, de facto.

When the Father hands his Son the scroll with the seven seals and the Lamb breaks that first seal then Jesus Christ will initiate those steps necessary to assume David’s throne. Until that day, David’s kingdom will not be fully realized.

With all glory, honor, and praise to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit...
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