Jerusalem And David's Throne

by Joseph Hunting

The Glory of Jerusalem

Jerusalem's history extends over 4,000 years. The name means City of Peace, yet no other city has been fought over with so much blood-shed for such lengthy periods. And, paradoxically, no other city has captured the affection of millions over thousands of years as has Jerusalem.

Jerusalem was mentioned in Scripture as Salem when Melchizedek, who fulfilled the offices of both king and priest in the city, brought bread and wine and blessed Abraham after his return from battle.

Inscriptions discovered at Tel el Armarna dating back to the fourteenth century B.C.E. refer to Jerusalem as Urusalim. Later, when King David captured the city from the Jebusites it became known as Zion.

Jerusalem is located high in the Judean hills and is a city which, although it has occupied such a prominent place in history, yet is isolated from the coast where the commerce of ancient times brought fame and prosperity to Tyre, Sidon and Joppa. Even more strange is the fact that there is no river of any importance within hundreds of miles which would link it with the coast. Instead, Jerusalem is built over three rocky limestone ridges: Mt. Moriah, Mt. Ophel and Mt. Zion. Until recently the only water supply came from springs in the Kidron and Hinnom valleys.

Each of these prominences has sacred associations with the past. It was on Mt. Moriah that Abraham was to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. And it was on the same spot that God provided him with a thorn-crowned ram to be Isaac's sacrificial substitute.

It was also on this very place a thousand years later that the first instance of Divine judgment upon Jerusalem was stayed. David had angered the Lord by numbering the fighting men of Israel, and for punishment, the people were stricken with a terrible pestilence. "And when the Angel of the Lord stretched forth his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord repented Him of the evil, and said to the Angel that destroyed the people, It is enough; stay now your hand. And the Angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite ... and David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord was entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel." (2 Samuel 24:16,25).

Whilst tradition from Crusader times has associated a ridge on the western extremity of Jerusalem as Mt. Zion, later scholarship points to a ridge south of Mt. Moriah as the Holy Hill of Zion. Aerial photographs reveal that the Ophel Ridge is an extension of the prominences known as Mt. Moriah and Mt. Zion and that it extends south to the point where the Kidron and Hinnom valleys meet.

During the reigns of David and Solomon the city grew in grandeur. It has been estimated that Solomon's Temple was the costliest building ever constructed and the method of its construction was equally amazing in that the massive stones used, some of them weighing from fifteen to twenty tons, were so perfectly prepared in the quarries before they were brought to the Temple site that "there was neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool or iron heard in the house while it was in the building" (1 Kings 6:7).

The lavish splendour of Jerusalem during Solomon's reign was revealed to the Queen of Sheba. "And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in my own land of your acts and your wisdom. Howbeit, I believed not the words until I came, and my eyes had seen it: and behold, the half was not told me: your wisdom and your prosperity exceed the fame which I heard" (1 Kings 10:6,7).

Indeed, "the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred three score and six talents of gold, beside that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffic of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and the governors of the country.

"Moreover, the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold. And all the king's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver; it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon ... and the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones ..." (1 Kings 10:14,15,21,25).

Jerusalem 's Glory Destroyed

In spite of the fact that "King Solomon exceeded all the kings for riches and for wisdom," it was during his reign that the seeds of the city's destruction were sown. It seems incredible that this man, so Divinely endowed with wisdom, honour and riches should be directly responsible for the rift which ultimately tore the kingdom apart. Even more incredible is the fact that this man who loved and served the Lord so much in his early life, and was so highly exalted by God, could stoop to depths of depravity with his abominations and idol worship.

Again the Bible highlights the depths of sin to which he sank. "And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives. And the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the Lord God of Israel …" (1 Kings 11:6-9).

The Kingdom Torn Asunder

The spiritual declension that set in during the reign of Solomon grew even worse under his son, Rehoboam, when a disaster occurred from which Israel has never recovered — God's judgment. "Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of you, and you have not kept My covenant and statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely rend the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant ... howbeit, I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to your son for David My servant's sake, and Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen" (1 Kings 11:11,13).

The ten northern tribes appointed Jeroboam, Solomon's servant, to be their king, and he commenced his reign with an act of outright defiance to God. " ... the king took counsel and made two calves of gold and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold your gods, O Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt" (1 Kings 12:28).

Inevitably civil war and strife continued between the two kingdoms until the ten northern tribes, known as Israel, were taken into captivity two hundred and fifty years later. It is interesting to observe that the ten northern tribes were never regathered as such — only in recent times have the descendants of both kingdoms returned to their ancient homeland according to Ezekiel's prophecy: "I will take the children of Israel from among the nations whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: and I will make them ONE NATION in the land upon the mountains of Israel ..." (37:21,22).

Furthermore, as the result of the Six Day War, many of them are now being settled in the very country, Judea and Samaria, known today as the West Bank, from which their forefathers were taken into captivity 2,700 years ago!

The Davidic Covenant

In spite of Solomon's sin and the judgments which fell upon Jerusalem like hammer blows, God was faithful to His promise to David. This took the form of an unconditional covenant in which God swore that the Davidic throne in Jerusalem would endure for ever. "Also the Lord tells you that He will make you a house. And when your days are fulfilled, then you shall sleep with your fathers, and I will set up your seed after you, which shall proceed out of your bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.

"He shall build an house for My name, and I will establish 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: but My mercy will not depart away from him as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before you. And your house, and your kingdom shall be established for ever before Me. Your throne shall be established for ever" (2 Samuel 7:11-16).

"Till there was no Remedy"

Rebellion and idolatry marked the five centuries that elapsed between the glory that was Jerusalem's during Solomon's reign and the city's ultimate destruction in 586 B.C.

During this time of spiritual declension God sent His messengers to rebuke His people "until there was no remedy". It is hard to realize fully the magnitude of the destruction that befell Jerusalem when we remember God's promise to David and the city's glorious beginnings. The expression "till there was no remedy" sheds light on the limits to which God was prepared to go on behalf of His people. The unfathomable grace and loving kindness of God were finally exhausted.

"And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by messengers, rising up over and over again and sending; because He had compassion on His people, and on His dwelling-place. But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and misused His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy" (2 Chronicles 36:15,16).

The Crown Removed

Apart from its magnificence and fabulous wealth, no other city besides Jerusalem before or since has known the personal presence of Almighty God manifested in the Shekinah Glory that filled the Temple. Yet, when the Glory of God departed, the Divine judgments were catastrophic and brought swift and utter desolation to Jerusalem. The great armies of Nebuchadnezzar finally destroyed the Temple and left the city a smouldering heap of ruins.

The fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple terminated the Davidic dynasty, but not the far-reaching terms of the Davidic covenant. God removed the diadem and took off the crown from David's descendants, and more than 2,500 years have elapsed since his seed has reigned in Jerusalem. Yet the same prophecy which foretold the removal of the crown and diadem also predicted the coming of the one who shall receive the crown, "whose right it is". Thus says the Lord God: Remove the diadem, and take off the crown ... I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: and it shall be no more until he comes whose right it is, and I will give it to him" (Ezekiel 31:26,27).

For Whom is David's Throne?

Who is this descendant of David who has the right to mount his throne in Jerusalem and receive the diadem and crown? Why has there been no monarch of David's throne for 2,500 years? Surely the One of whom Isaiah speaks supplies the answer: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth and for ever ..." (9:6,7).

It is important to note that this Child who will be born of Israel carries the titles MIGHTY GOD, EVERLASTING FATHER, PRINCE OF PEACE, and that He shall reign upon the throne of David.

Of all Israel's illustrious sons there has been only one who has been promised the throne of David. Indeed, it is none other than the angel Gabriel who has identified this highly exalted one: "You shall call his name Yeshua (meaning Saviour). 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).