Bible Question:

If Jesus is king of kings and heir to all things, why is Jesus king of Israel and the most high God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Hosea 3:5 says that King David will be king forever. Since Hosea 3:5 says Israel will seek the Lord their God, why would they seek David in the last days? Ezekiel 37:24 says David will be king over Israel and be their shepherd, but I thought Jesus was the king of kings? Who is the King of Israel? Jesus or David? If Jesus is heir to all things, why would God raise up David to be King according to Jeremiah 30:9?

Bible Answer:

The Jews are looking forward to the Messiah. He has been promised throughout the Old Testament in many different passages of Scripture. The Messiah is a man who will reign as king over the entire world for one thousand years. Jews and Christians believe the Messiah will defeat the nations of the world at Armegeddon and set up a worldwide kingdom.

Christians believe the Messiah has already come. He was and is Jesus Christ. They believe that He will return some day, establish a worldwide kingdom and rule the world. But some understand Hosea 3:5 and two other passages (Jeremiah 30:9; Ezekiel 37:24) reveal that King David is the Messiah who will sit on the throne of this future kingdom. After the millennial kingdom ends, the Messiah will continue to reign in the new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21-22). The Messiah will rule forever, for all eternity.

Therefore, they say that the future Messiah will be the resurrected King David and not Jesus Christ. The question this article answers is, “Will King David or Jesus rule the world?” The answer to the question will be given by answering two questions, “Will Jesus Rule the World?” and “Will King David Rule the World?”

Will King David or Jesus rule the world forever?

Will Jesus Rule the World?

Genesis 49:10 is the first prophesy in Scripture that refers to the Messiah ruling as a king. The patriarch Jacob gave this prophecy when he was blessing his son Judah.

The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes,
And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
Genesis 49:10 (NASB)

The Hebrew word that is translated as Shiloh literally means “he whose it is, or that which belongs to him.”[1] This would be a better translation of the verse. This helps us understand that the scepter and ruler’s staff belong to “he whose it is;” that is, to the one to whom it belongs. This means that Genesis 49:10 refers to a future king.

Numbers 24:17 is another prophecy about the future Messiah.

I see him, but not now;
I behold him, but not near;
A star shall come forth from Jacob,
A scepter shall rise from Israel,
And shall crush through the forehead of Moab,
And tear down all the sons of Sheth.
Numbers 24:17 (NASB)

Here the Messiah is referred to as a “star” who will have a scepter. It is clear in the verse that the scepter will rise and rule Israel and crush Israel’s enemies. A scepter is a special staff held by a sovereign king. That is, the star refers to a king. The star is a prophecy about the future Messiah.

The most significant passage about the Messiah is 2 Samuel 7:16-17.

“Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” In accordance with all these words and all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David. 2 Samuel 7:16-17 (NASB)

This prophecy was given to King David by the prophet Nathan. God promised King David that a descendant of his would some day sit on his throne forever. So only a descendant would qualify as the Messiah – not David himself. Then God told King David that His kingdom and his throne would endure forever. Now forever is forever. Human beings do not live forever. This gives us the first important clue that the Messiah will be an eternal person. He cannot be a mortal human.

In Isaiah 9:6-7 we are given more about this eternal king. The descendant of King David will be an eternal person. Since this prophecy was given after King David, it cannot refer to King David because the prophecy says that a child will be given to us. When it says that this individual will be “on the throne of David and over his kingdom” it is clear that this is a fulfillment of the prophecy in 2 Samuel 7:16-17.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:6-7 (NASB)

We are also told that this king will be our Mighty God. That is, the Messiah will be God himself and He will sit on the throne of David. Not only do Christians understand this to refer to the Messiah, but historic Jewish interpretation of this passage understands it to refer to the Messiah.[2] This is a powerful passage about the Messiah.

Micah 5:2 is another passage about the Messiah. Jewish interpretation says this passage refers to events that will occur before the Messiah would appear on the earth.[3] A careful study of the passage reveals that a child would be born in Bethlehem Ephrathah and rule over Israel. Once again, this means the Messiah would be an eternal being.

But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2 (NASB)

We are also told that He is from the days of old and “from the days of eternity.” The Messiah will be an eternal being. Now this means that even a resurrected King David cannot qualify since he did not exist from eternity past. The next remarkable fact is that when the magi visited Jerusalem in search of the King of the Jews, King Herod asked the chief priests and scribes where the Messiah was to be born. In their answer to the king, they quoted this passage Micah 5:2 (Matthew 2:1-6). So ancient Jewish interpretation identified this passage as referring to the Messiah; but after Jesus Christ’s ministry, death and resurrection, subsequent Jewish interpretation changed and now claims it refers to events before the appearance of the Messiah. Yet, even then they are still correct, because Micah 5:2 refers to the birth of the Messiah. Jesus Christ did not publicly begin to minister until He was about 30 years of age. (Luke 3:23).

The first New Testament passage that identifies the Messiah is Matthew 1. Matthew 1:1, 16 directly tell us that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.

The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah . . . Matthew 1:1 (NASB)

Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah. Matthew 1:16 (NASB)

Clearly, Matthew refers to Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah.

Another very important passage is Luke 1:26-38. This passage is about the conception of Jesus Christ. Here we are told the angel Gabriel approached Mary. During their discussion, Gabriel announced that Jesus is the promised Messiah, when he said that He would sit on the throne of His father David. Obviously, King David is dead. This is a reference to a descendant of King David.

“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Luke 1:31-33 (NASB)

Also, we are told in this passage that the name of Mary’s son was to be Jesus and that He would sit on the throne of David and rule over the house of Jacob or Israel. He would have an eternal kingdom. This connects back to 2 Samuel 7:16-17.

In John 1:41, we discover that Andrew told his brother Peter that he had found the Messiah. If we read the preceding verses, John 1:35-41, we discover he referred to Jesus Christ.

He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). John 1:41 (NASB)

Another strong passage about Jesus ruling as king will occur at His second coming. It is found in 1 Corinthians 15:23-24.

But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 1 Corinthians 15:23-24 (NASB)

In Acts 1:6, just before Jesus returned to heaven, the apostles asked Him when He was going to restore the kingdom. Notice that Jesus did not say that they misunderstood that He was not then setting up a kingdom. Instead, He simply said that the Father would determine when His kingdom would occur.

So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority . . . Acts 1:6 (NASB)

That is, Jesus would setup His kingdom later. Finally, Revelation 19:11-19 tells us that Jesus will be King of kings and Lord of lords at the second coming of Christ. That is, He is the future Messiah who will rule the world.

And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 19:16 (NASB)

In summary, both the Old and New Testament passages reveal that the Messiah is Jesus Christ.

Other passages about the Messiah are Jeremiah 23:5-6; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; Daniel 2:35, 45; 7:13-14; Matthew 1:16, 17, 23; 25:34; 26:64; Luke 1:31-33 and Revelation 17:14.

Will King David Rule the World?

Next, we must ask how should we understand Jeremiah 30:9; Ezekiel 34:23-24; 37:24 and Hosea 3:5 which seem to teach that King David is the future Messiah? What is the meaning of each of these passages?

David Their King, Whom I Will Raise Up — Jeremiah 30:9

First, Jeremiah 30:8-9 refers to the beginning of the future millennial kingdom that is described in many Old Testament passages and specifically in Revelation 20:4-6.

“‘It shall come about on that day,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘that I will break his yoke from off their neck and will tear off their bonds; and strangers will no longer make them their slaves. But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.'” Jeremiah 30:9 (NASB)

Probably the most important part of this passage is the phrase which says, “David their king, whom I will raise up for them.” Some think this means that King David will be resurrected and be able to sit on the throne of the 1,000 year kingdom. But that cannot be true since we have already discovered from Isaiah 9:6-7 and Micah 5:2 that the Messiah will be an eternal being or God Himself. King David was never God. So, this passage cannot refer to a resurrected King David. It refers to the future Messiah. This point is supported by the historic Hebrew scholars Keil and Delitzsch,

. . . and David the king who will be raised up to them, i.e., the Messiah, the righteous sprout that Jahveh will raise up to David . . .[4]

F. B. Huey agrees when he writes,

Verse 9 refers to the ideal messianic king, not a resurrected David (cf. Amos 9:11). The Targum identifies this idealized king as “Messiah, the son of David.[5]

Charles E. Feinberg, the late president of Talbot Theological Seminary, also agrees when he says,

The Targum, though interpretative, is correct in identifying this ideal King as “Messiah, the son of David.”[6]

The point of these scholars is that the phrase “raise up” does not mean resurrection. It is also important to know that the meaning of the Hebrew word, qum is also translated as “stand up, “rise,” “take” and “establish” in the Old Testament. When this Hebrew word is used in the sense of “rise” or “rise up,” it is never used to refer to a resurrection of a person from the dead. But it is translated as “married” (1 Kings 16:31; 1 Chronicles 2:19, 21; Nehemiah 6:18), “bring” (1 Kings 17:11), “take” (1 Kings 19:4), “captured” (2 Kings 15:29) and “buy” (Nehemiah 10:31) in other places, for example. The literal sense of the word is “to stand” and not resurrection. If it did mean resurrection, then Scripture would be in conflict.

Jeremiah 30:9 does not refer to the resurrection of King David. Verse 9 is referring to the greater descendant of King David who will sit on the throne of the kingdom and reign forever (2 Samuel 7:12-16). That is, it refers to the future Messiah, Jesus Christ. Jesus was a descendant of King David (Matthew 1:6-16; Luke 3:23-31). “David” is a symbolic term used to remind everyone of God’s promise to David (2 Samuel 7:12-16). The Messiah is a direct descendant of King David. This is in a agreement with the first section of this article.

My Servant David Will Be Prince — Ezekiel 34:23-24

Another important passage is Ezekiel 34:23-24 since it seems to say that King David would rule over God’s people in the future.

Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the LORD have spoken. Ezekiel 34:23-24 (NASB)

Once again, “David” figuratively refers to the Messiah. The term “prince” is sometimes used synonymously of a king. For example, in Ezekiel 37:24-27 “My Servant David” or “David My Servant” is referred to as both the king and a prince..

My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons’ sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. And the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever. Ezekiel 37:24-27 (NASB)

Regarding Ezekiel 34:23-24, Charles L. Feinberg adds that . . .

The reference to God’s servant David is to be understood as David’s greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.[7]

Then he adds Jewish scholarship also understands this verse as referring to the future Messiah and not to a resurrected King David. Then he quotes Krimchi.

Krimchi, the great Jewish commentator, stated, “David is the Messiah who shall arise from his seed in the time of salvation.”[8]

Therefore, David is viewed as the future Messiah who will reign as king in the millennial kingdom. My servant David refers to “David’s greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The LORD Their God and David Their King — Hosea 3:5

The above discussion now helps us understand Hosea 3:5. The verse says,

Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days. Hosea 3:5 (NASB)

Once again, “David” refers to David’s greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. It refers to the Messiah during the millennial kingdom. Amos 9:11 prophesies that the kingdom of David would occur at some time in the future.

In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David,
And wall up its breaches;
I will also raise up its ruins
And rebuild it as in the days of old;
Amos 9:11 (NASB)

The point of Hosea 3:5 is that when the Messiah sits on the throne, the “booth of David” will be raised. David Hubbard states,

Hosea connected Yahweh’s future victory to the renascence of davidic rule.[9]

Amos 9:11 refers to the future battle of Armageddon. It is the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who will defeat the nations of the world at that battle. So, we are told that this will occur in the last days.

Conclusion

In summary, Jesus Christ is the Messiah who will rule over the millennial kingdom described in Revelation 20:4. The Messiah is our eternal God. He will defeat the nations of the world at the battle of Armageddon and then establish His eternal kingdom. Jeremiah 30:9; Ezekiel 34:23-24; 37:24 and Hosea 3:5 simply refer to the Messiah, David’s greater descendant. He will rule on the future throne of the millennial kingdom. King David will not be resurrected and rule during the millennial kingdom.

 

References:

1. Francis Brown, Samuel Rolles Driver, and Charles Augustus Briggs, Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977), 1010.
2. The Jewish Study Bible. Jewish Publication Society. Oxford University Press. 2001. p. 802.
3. Ibid., p. 1213.
4. Keil and Delitzsch. Pentateuch. Commentary on the Old Testament. Hendrickson Publishers. 2006. vol.8, p. 263.
5. F. B. Huey. Jeremiah. The New American Commentary. B&H Publishing Corp. 1993. p. 262.
6. Charles Lee Feinberg. Jeremiah. Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Regency Reference Library. 1984., vol. 6. p. 561.
7. Charles Lee Feinberg. The Prophecy of Ezekiel. Moody Press., 1969. p. 198.
8. Ibid.
9. David Allan Hubbard. Hosea. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. 1989. vol. 22a, p. 95.

Suggested Links:

Messiah – Prince of Peace
https://www.neverthirsty.org/bible-qa/qa-archives/question/why-do-most-jews-not-believe-christ-is-the-promised-messiah/
Are there historical facts that reveal Christ is the Messiah?
Joseph’s Genealogy
Mary’s Genealogy
How can Jesus, being a descendant of Jechonias, fulfill the role of the Messiah?