Will David Reign Again?
Scripture is quite clear that Jesus Christ, the son of David, will reign on the throne of David in the Millennial Kingdom, but will David also reign?
There is no doubt in the minds of Bible-believing Christians that Jesus Christ will reign in a literal sense on the throne of David in the Millennial Kingdom. There are many Scriptures which support this fact, and we quote just one. When the angel told Mary of the birth of Christ, he said:
Thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end (Luke 1:31-33).
Jeremiah and Ezekiel lived at a time when the throne of David was about to cease. In fact Ezekiel prophesied:
Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it (David’s throne): and it shall be no more, UNTIL he come whose right it is; and I will give it him (Ezekiel 21:26-27).
It is clear from this Scripture, that there would be a gap in the functioning of the throne of David from the time of Zedekiah until the son of David, Jesus Christ, came to reign. Jeremiah saw that even when the throne of David was vacant following the three Babylonian invasions of Jerusalem, the line of David would continue. He wrote:
For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want (lack) a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel (Jeremiah 33:17).
We know from the genealogies in Matthew chapter 1 and Luke chapter 3 that Jesus Christ’s lineage is traced to David, through Joseph his legal guardian, and through Mary His biological mother. The fact that Jesus was conceived of the Holy Ghost indicates He was also the Son of God.
John the Baptist came to announce that the son of David had arrived to sit upon the throne of David. He preached, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand (near)”. Jesus and His disciples preached the same message, but when the nation rejected His miraculous claims He told the Pharisees that the kingdom “cometh not with observation (literally, near view)”. It had been deferred, until His return as the lightning in the heavens (Luke 17:20-24).
This deferment of the kingdom was indicated just before Christ ascended from the Mount of Olives. The disciples asked, “Wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). Jesus’ answer was a clear deferment of His literal kingdom when He would sit upon the throne of David.
God’s program during the deferment is described by James:
God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name (the Church)… After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles (in the Millennium), upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things (Acts 15:14-17).
Obviously the throne which was cast down by Nebuchadnezzar was again to be restored, but only after Jesus Christ comes again. The deferment of the kingdom will have run its course when Jesus Christ comes in the heavens in power and great glory – as the lightning shines from one end of heaven to the other. At that time He will reign on the throne of David, and of His kingdom there shall be no end. But what about David?
David is presently in heaven in a resurrection body. He was among those Old Testament saints who rose with Christ when “He (Christ) ascended up on high” (Ephesians 4:8).
Some have argued from Acts 2:34 that David is not in heaven. They quote:
For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool.
The expression, “is not ascended”, is in the past present tense. That is, David had not ascended into heaven when he spoke the following words. He was here on earth when he spoke of the Lord Jesus being exalted to the Father’s right hand, and therefore David could not have been speaking of himself – the subject was Jesus Christ.
When David died his soul when to the paradise section of “sheol” and was taken to heaven when paradise was taken to heaven. Jesus led all the Old Testament saints who had been waiting in paradise into heaven (Matthew 27:50-53; Ephesians 4:8; 2 Corinthians 12:4). But what will David’s role be in the Millennium? Will people in resurrection bodies appear on earth during the 1,000-year reign of Christ?
The answer to these questions is very simple, Yes. Jesus appeared on earth after His resurrection, ate meals, was visibly seen and was physically touched. He had a real flesh-and-bone body.
Furthermore, Jesus told His twelve disciples:
Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Luke 22:28-30).
If the twelve disciples, in resurrection bodies, will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel during the Millennial Kingdom, why couldn’t David also rule as Israel’s prince.
The martyrs from the Tribulation period will be raised as part of the First Resurrection, and Scripture records of this choice band of saints:
They lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years (Revelation 20:4).
If they occupy positions of leadership, then why not David?
In the Jewish parables of Matthew chapter 25, the faithful servant is to be rewarded, and the Lord will say:
Thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things (Matthew 25:21).
What, then, will David be doing while all these faithful Jews are administer- ing God’s affairs on earth? Ezekiel says:
And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it (Ezekiel 34:23-24).
And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever (Ezekiel 37:24-25).
Jeremiah is very clear:
They shall serve the LORD their God (Christ), and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them (Jeremiah 30:9).
David’s role as the Prince of Israel is most interesting, for a little later in Ezekiel’s prophecy he gives considerable detail as to the responsibilities of the Prince. This would indicate that it would be quite wrong to assume that the references to David reigning were really references to Christ. Christ will reign from His Temple, and His presence will be manifested by the glory of God shining so brightly that the kings of the earth will come to behold it.
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising (Isaiah 60:1-3).
The whole theme of Ezekiel’s prophecy is the glory of God, as he de- scribes its departure in the first eleven chapters and its return to the Millennial Temple in chapter 43. The intervening chapters are about bringing Israel to repentance so that the glory can return.
When Israel desired a king in order to be like the other nations, God said:
They have rejected me, that I should not reign over them (1 Samuel 8:7).
Later, Samuel reminded the nation that they had said to him:
Nay; but a king shall reign over us: when the LORD your God was your king (1 Samuel 12:12).
When God reigned as Israel’s king prior to the anointing of David, His presence was manifested in the Tabernacle as the glory of God in the pillar of cloud and fire, and the evidence of the presence of Jesus Christ reigning in the Millennial Kingdom will be His glory.
All the kings of the earth will come to behold the glory and to worship the Lord. An examination of the activities of the Prince who will be raised up over the nation of Israel at that time (as described in Ezekiel 45 and 46), will indicate that he cannot be Christ for he offers sacrifices and worships the Lord. If David is to be a Prince among them forever, then he will be there in resurrected form to visibly lead his people in worship.
We should remember that the LORD was always Israel’s king, even when David sat on the throne. Psalm 89:18 states, “The Holy One of Israel is our king”, and it can be established that Jesus Christ is the “Holy One of God” (Luke 4:34). In Psalm 89:20 God declares that He anointed David His servant as king, yet Christ always was the king of Israel. There is no discrepancy. Christ is the king of Israel, and David also. God did not abdicate the throne of Israel while David and his seed reigned, and in the Millennium Christ and David will rule.
Even the “lost ten tribes” will return in the latter days and David will rule over them.
Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days (Hosea 3:5).
We need to remember that during the Millennium every nation will have its own king, and Jesus Christ will be King of kings; so why shouldn’t Israel have David as king?
The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him (Psalm 72:10-11).
Of Christ, we read:
I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth (Psalm 89:27).
Christ will reign on David’s throne over the kings of the earth, and David will be Israel’s prince for ever. It is because Christ reigns on David’s throne that the nation of Israel will be exalted over the nations (Isaiah 60:12)