Friday, March 14, 2008

The Promises to Israel

I am so sorry that I have been silent for many weeks now. I had final exams for some of my classes and then I started a bunch of new ones and I have been kept very busy nonetheless. In addition to the consequences, this means that the majority of my blogs will now be concerned with that which I put most of my time in and that is seminary and the theological realm of things. First, I wanted to share a really good discussion I had with one of my best friends. It was a unique discussion because it coincided perfectly with my personal studies of messianic prophecy and the Old Testament promises. Here it is:


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Would you agree that the Covenant to Israel of land ownership and a dynasty of David was conditional? And if you agree, than this "forever" stuff is conditional right?

IChron28
4 "Yet the LORD, the God of Israel, chose me from my whole family to be king over Israel forever. He chose Judah as leader, and from the house of Judah he chose my family, and from my father's sons he was pleased to make me king over all Israel. 5 Of all my sons—and the LORD has given me many—he has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel. 6 He said to me: 'Solomon your son is the one who will build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father. 7 I will establish his kingdom forever if he is unswerving in carrying out my commands and laws, as is being done at this time.'
8 "So now I charge you in the sight of all Israel and of the assembly of the LORD, and in the hearing of our God: Be careful to follow all the commands of the LORD your God, that you may possess this good land and pass it on as an inheritance to your descendants forever.

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No, I do not agree fully with your statement. I believe the Davidic covenant is clear in 2 Samuel 7

" 'The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me [b] ; your throne will be established forever.' "

We both know that this is refering to Solomon, yet as the same time it envisions someone greater than Solomon, for YHWH HIMSELF will establish a house for David. I believe wherever we have a promise from God that contains a FOREVER, it must always be referring to the Messiah, for he is the only one that is everlasting. All of the forever promises will be fulfilled in Messiah. Yet there is a conditional aspect to the Davidic covenant also as Chronicles shows. This conditional aspect is for the present peoples to experience the reality of the promises. This seems foreign to us because we have not seen the kingdom of God in its totality, but we have been given a down deposit of it and that is the Holy spirit within us; he is the assurance of our hope of salvation and consummation of the kingdom and we experience this by grace through faith in the Messiah. However, the down deposit for these Old Testament saints is based on their obedience--follow the Lord and reap the benefits of a land filled with the presence of the Lord--disobey and God will chastize you by removing you from the land, BUT if you REPENT then the Lord will rescue you back into his gracious mercy and you will see again the blessings of the down deposit of the ultimate promise of the Messiah.

So you may ask, why is Chronciles presentation different than Samuel: First, we can notice that Chronicles limits his outlook to Solomon, while 2 Samuel 7 encompasses both Solomon and the Messiah. Secondly, This is actually simply answered if we look at the theology of the two books:
Samuel/Kings- Theologic message tells us that a cumulative effect of generations of sins leads to ====> Exile
Chronicles-Theologic message tells us that God immediately rewarded obedience and punished sin (II Chronicles 12:5; 15:2; 20:20)
In summary, I had to partially disagree with you because yes what you said is partially true, "that the Covenant to Israel of land ownership and a dynasty of David was conditional," and this is why Israel did not see another king after Zedekiah until the Messiah and even now they do not fully realize that he is King, but one day they will. But the true answer is that the Davidic covenant is both conditional and unconditional, same as the Abrahamic covenant, this is how in 2 Samuel 7 that the Lord could declare HE will be the one to build a house for David. So my disagreement was primarily with your second statement, "than this "forever" stuff is conditional right." To say this overlooks the Messiah's fulfillment of the forever statements. Jesus reigns forever as the Descendent of David and Son of God, and his kingdom rule will be forevermore. And yes, I believe that the land also will be a possession forever under the reign of Messiah on earth. I can say forever, because I remember that the New Jerusalem will come down out of the heavens and be our habitation in the presence and rule of the Lord forever.

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