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Davidic Covenant: The Faithful Grace of God
2 Samuel 7:8–17; 1 Chronicles 17:11–14
Samuel Lesson #164
March 5, 2019
“Father, we’re just so thankful for Your grace and Your goodness. It gives us great joy and contentment in the sense of stability because we know that no matter how we fail, or how much we fail, You always forgive us and we get a great illustration of that tonight in our study.
“We know You are a God of forgiveness and a God of restoration. Father, we pray that You will continue to comfort us and strengthen us with Your Word. Teach us that we may expand our understanding of Your plan and purposes in history so we may come to understand Your character in a more biblical way and that this will transform our own understanding of who we are and Your mission for us in this life.
“Father, we pray that You would help us to understand that which we study this evening and that it will transform our souls and our characters. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.”
Open your Bible to begin with this evening to Hosea 3. We’ll get there eventually. We are studying about the Davidic Covenant. This is the Tuesday night Bible class and we are continuing our study of 2 Samuel. We have been in 2 Samuel 7 studying the Davidic Covenant for the last several weeks.
The Davidic Covenant is a critical piece in the biblical-pattern mosaic of the Old Testament teaching about God’s plan, provision, promises, and prophecies related to the provision of the Messiah. That’s important for us to understand.
The sending of Jesus wasn’t some afterthought. It was part of God’s plan from eternity past, which we’ve studied on Sunday mornings recently in our study in Ephesians 1. God had a plan and a purpose and He’s working out that plan and purpose in human history.
The Messianic prophecies are important because we’re going to go into this very much next week at the Chafer Conference. Just one other thought about that. There have been some people who say that this is just a pastor’s conference. It’s targeted to pastors, but if you’re a person who loves the Word of God you’re going to gain great benefit from it.
It’s like the Pre-Trib Conference, which is targeted to pastors, but three times as many people come who are not pastors or those in some sort of professional ministry simply because they desire to know the Word and grow and mature in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior.
The same thing is true about the Chafer Conference. We have many more people come who are not ministers but I still get reports from people who say that it’s just a pastor’s conference. It’s for everyone but we target pastors. If you can understand what I’m teaching, you can understand anything that is going to be taught at this particular conference, even though part of it, one segment of it, is targeted at helping pastors move from the study of God’s Word to the teaching of God’s Word, you’re going to learn a lot.
This is not going to exclude anyone who is not a teacher. When you hear someone teach teachers how to teach what they ought to be teaching about the Word of God, you’re going to learn a lot about the Word of God. You’re not going to be left out. Don’t think that just because you’re not a teacher and don’t want to be a teacher or never intend to be a teacher that you shouldn’t be here. If you are thinking that, you’re wrong. That means you should be here.
We are moving through Samuel trying to understand what is being said about Messianic prophecy, which is another big part of the conference. Steven Ger is going to be talking about that. One of the things that has impressed me over the last ten years or so is that often when you hear prophecy, the speakers just talk about the individual prophecies.
I started that way last week, but I’m going to do things differently tonight. There’s a chronological progression in the Scriptures. You start off with the first Messianic prophecy, which is in Genesis 3:15. The next time you start getting some more pictures of the Messiah, most specifically I would say, would be in Genesis 22 when God provides a ram substitute for the sacrifice of Isaac.
You get other pictures of the Messiah in different things like the sacrifices. You get pictures of the Messiah in the life of Joseph and you definitely get some more specific prophecies when Jacob is giving a prophecy about Judah, that the scepter will not depart from the tribe of Judah.
These themes are later picked up by some of the prophets. This kind of study that goes chronologically through the Scripture is called a diachronic study. You’ll hear that word and it’s in contrast to synchronic, which is what’s going on all the same time. Diachronic means it’s through time.
That’s helps because you see that progress where God teaches you a little here and a little there and He adds to it as you go along. What we see is that the Old Testament teaching about the Messianic promise was proclaimed by all of the prophets.
It is sung in the praises of the psalms. It’s built into the architecture and the furniture of the temple. It’s illustrated in the typology of the sacrifices and the various offerings of the Old Testament. It was the basis for bringing life and wisdom to the nation of Israel.
It warned the people against idolatry and arrogance because there would be future judgment and discipline if they disobeyed God. It was a reminder of God’s past grace and deliverance which pointed to a confident hope and an expectation of a certain future for the nation.
It taught about cleansing and forgiveness of sin and that God would wipe the slate clean and separate our sins from Him as far as the east is from the west. It provided a protection from despair. It comforted when they were defeated. It gave them joy throughout life no matter what the circumstances and it reminded the Jews that they had a mission to call the nations to serve and to worship Yahweh.
All of that is a part of the study of these Messianic prophecies which we’re looking at as we go through the Davidic Covenant. We looked at the question of what the Bible teaches about covenants.
The key idea of a covenant is that it’s a legally binding agreement or promise between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action.
Theologically it talks about that God condescends. It’s not the best word, but it’s the word that is used. He lowers Himself to our level. He is the omnipotent, eternal Creator of all things but He lowers Himself to our level and enters into legal contracts with us so that we can have confidence and certainty that God is going to do exactly what He says He’s going to do and that He will be faithful to those promises.
We looked at the fact it is these Jewish covenants which God made as the promises He gave to the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob specifically in terms of the Abrahamic Covenants and later covenants that God gave are made in the Old Testament, but they all point to a future certain fulfillment.
So we lay out the dispensations, the timeline, and the ages described in the Scripture. We see that the Abrahamic Covenant is given at the beginning of the Age of Israel. It is during the time of the patriarchs. It had three elements: promise of land, promise of a seed, and promise of worldwide blessing.
Each of those elements are then divided and expanded in subsequent covenants. There’s the Land Covenant. There’s the Davidic Covenant, which we’re studying, and then the New Covenant. They are for Israel. They are with Israel and they are all fulfilled when Jesus, as the Messianic King, returns assuming the title, King of Israel, and sits on David’s throne at the beginning of the future kingdom.
It is important and critical for us to teach about what the Bible teaches about the Davidic Covenant.
Last time we showed it’s connected to the Abrahamic Covenant because each of these elements is mentioned again in some form alluded to in the Davidic Covenant. Just as God promised Abraham a specific piece of real estate in the Land, the promise in the Davidic Covenant is that the seed of David will rule over a nation in that Land.
The seed, then, is further refined. It’s not just coming from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and then Judah, but specifically the family of David, who was the son of Jesse. That’s spelled out in the Davidic Covenant and then the New Covenant expands on the promise of blessing.
Specifically, in the Davidic Covenant, the passage we’re studying is 2 Samuel 7:12–16. Psalm 89 was written after the Babylonian exile when the people returned to Israel as sort of a recommitment, a realization that as unfaithful as they had been, God forgave them and would be true to His promises.
That is so important! We’re going to see that theme again and again tonight that what undergirds these covenants is the grace of God. God gives them freely of His character and He is not putting conditions upon Israel in order to fulfill them.
These promises are unconditional and they are eternal. They speak of God’s forgiveness no matter how screwed up Israel was. You may think that the United States is pretty screwed up right now and that Western Europe is pretty screwed up right now, but we’re not nearly as malfunctional as most of Africa or India or China.
If you go back and you read 1 & 2 Kings and read all about what was going on in terms of fertility worship and the infant sacrifice, the infanticide. that was taking place in Israel, you realize that we haven’t even begun to touch the levels of depravity that you find in Israel in the Old Testament.
Yet God forgives them. God is going to restore them and God is going to be faithful to those promises. That says a lot to us because it teaches the principle that no matter how much we mess up, how much we foul up, how much we sin, if we’re still alive, God has a plan for our lives.
God is going to forgive us. God is going to restore us, and He will do it with joy. The great picture is the picture we have of the prodigal son. No matter how much the prodigal son failed, when he returned to his father, the father welcomed him.
That doesn’t mean there weren’t consequences. He suffered a lot of consequences—living with the pigs in a pigsty, but he’s welcomed with open arms. The father does not tell him that he told him so. The father throws a big party for him and there’s a huge celebration. That’s a great picture of God’s grace toward us.
In the Davidic covenant, God promises an eternal house. That means a dynasty. There’s a Davidic dynasty that will be eternal. He promises a kingdom that will be eternal and a throne that will be eternal.
In Psalm 89 we read, “My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: His seed shall endure forever.” I pointed out that eternality is a characteristic of deity. The singular Seed there looks to the Messiah, one individual, who will endure forever. There’s that strong hint of the eternality of the Messiah.
“And His throne as the sun before Me. It will be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky.”
From there, I took us through several passages related to the eternality of the covenant. Then I talked about how the covenant is interpreted. When you look at how it’s interpreted following the time it’s given to David, roughly 1000 BC, it shows up throughout the latter prophets.
The Old Testament is divided into the former prophets, those who wrote Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, and then the latter prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve.
When we look at that, we see that those latter prophets refer back and expand on, to some degree, the Davidic Covenant, showing its faithfulness and that’s what we’re looking at. Last time I went to David’s last words in 2 Samuel 23 where David said that, “Although my house—meaning his dynasty, a reference back to the Davidic Covenant—is not so with God, yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure. For this is all my salvation and my desire; Will He not make it increase?”
That word there for “make it increase” is the top word on the slide. It’s tzamach which means to grow, to spout, or to branch. He’s basically saying, will God not make it increase, will God not make it fruitful, will God not make it branch out?
Then the noun form, tzemach means the branch.
That becomes a title for Messiah and we saw that this is used of the Branch of the Lord in Isaiah 4:2, which I spoke of briefly last time. I referred to it as the Branch of David in Jeremiah 23:5–6. In Zechariah 3:8 we have reference to My Servant the Branch and then in Zechariah 6:12 the man whose name is Branch. We will get to all of those.
I started off looking at Isaiah 4:2 last time and concluded with talking about the fact that the context of Isaiah 4:2 is the context where at the end of Isaiah 3 it speaks of the rebelliousness and the sinfulness of Israel. That here in Isaiah 4:2 there’s a promise that in that day, the future time when the kingdom is established, the Branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious.
The context indicates that this is a time of forgiveness for Israel and only God can forgive. There’s a hint here that not only is the Branch speaking of the human origin of the Messiah, but also He must be God because only God can forgive. That all comes out of the context where we concluded last time.
That sets us up so that as I was studying and thinking in preparation for tonight and discovering and finding more and more materials to work through in this particular topic, I realized that what I need to do is instead of just looking at the Branch promises is look at certain key Davidic Covenant-based prophecies as they’re played out through time.
For those of you who are chronologically challenged, I made a chart. We start on the left with the 9th and 8th centuries BC. This is the 800s to the 700s. There’s only two possible books that some scholars, many conservatives, will place earlier. That’s Joel and Obadiah.
The question mark there is that there are even some conservatives who will put them somewhat later in the 6th century, but for now we’re going to go with an early date. Neither of them contain Davidic-based Covenant prophecies.
The key 8th century prophets, this is in the 700s, are Hosea, Micah, Amos, Jonah, and Isaiah. They overlap. Some of them knew each other. Micah is definitely familiar with what Isaiah writes. There are various similarities between things that are said by Micah and things that are said by Isaiah.
Jonah is sort of distinct and off on his own. There’s some indication or at least a tradition that Jonah after the repentance of Nineveh stayed in Nineveh. I don’t know how accurate that is. There was a tomb of Jonah that has been venerated for I don’t know how many centuries. It may have just been something that was developed later like many of these tombs are.
There’s a tomb of David in Jerusalem that is not the tomb of David, but it goes back to a pre-first century time, a time in the interim period between the Old and New Testament. I don’t know if that’s really the tomb of Jonah. At least there’s a tradition that he stayed in Nineveh. I’m not sure. The Bible doesn’t tell us what actually happened to Jonah.
Hosea, Micah, Amos, and Isaiah, those four prophets, all expand a little bit on the Davidic Covenant and tell us a little bit more about how this will be fulfilled. We see that there is a continued trajectory through the Old Testament, a continued belief in the literal, historical covenant that God made with David.
Then we get into the 7th century. Now remember in terms of the 800s and the 700s, it’s in 722 BC that the Assyrian Empire defeats and destroys the Northern Kingdom of Israel and wipes it out. The Jews living in the Northern Kingdom are deported and are resettled throughout the Assyrian Empire.
In the 7th century, the century of the 600s, there’s a warning that this is going to happen to Israel as well. The prophets of this time were Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Nahum, and Jeremiah. Jeremiah is right at the end. He sort of overlaps because he dies during the exile. Part of his ministry is before 605 BC, which was the first invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, but he dies after the destruction of Jerusalem.
That why he writes the book of Lamentations. That is his expression of grief over the destruction of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple. He says, “This I recall to mind and therefore have hope. The Lord’s mercies are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness.”
As he reflects on the Word he has hope and focuses on the future. We see Jeremiah also expanding on the Branch illustration of the Davidic Covenant.
Then you get into the 6th century itself. 586 BC is when the Southern Kingdom is destroyed. So then you have the two exilic prophets. These are the prophets during the exile. Ezekiel is in the exile. He is in Babylon. So is Daniel. They’re in the exile. So we’ll look at a couple of passages in Ezekiel and then after the Jews returned to the land in 538 BC when you have the rebuilding of the Temple.
There were some problems with that and so both Haggai and Zechariah are directed toward challenging and motivating the Jews to finish, to complete the rebuilding of the Temple. Then a hundred years later there are more spiritual problems, and that is the purpose and the mission of Malachi.
All of these have Messianic prophecies, but we’re just focusing on the ones that are grounded in the Davidic Covenant and expanding that.
We’re going to start in Hosea, so turn with me to Hosea 3 and we will look at verses 4 and 5. You can tell when you look at your Bible that Hosea is a really long chapter. It’s about seven verses. We read, “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.”
This calls for a certain amount of explanation of what’s going on and some background. Every now and then I hear from someone in the congregation who is reading through their Bible and they go, “What in the world is going on here?” This is the same question they ask when they’re reading Isaiah and when they’re reading Jeremiah and Ezekiel.
We have to get a little background here because it seems so bizarre. In Hosea 1:2 we see the Lord’s commission to Hosea. “When the Lord began to speak by Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea: ‘Go take yourself a wife of harlotry—Go take for a wife a prostitute—and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the Lord.”
The imagery here is that God compares the unfaithfulness of sexual immorality to the unfaithfulness to His covenant. That’s the point of comparison here. The other issue is that it sounds when you read this in the English that God is telling Hosea to go marry a prostitute.
There’s a debate about this. Is she already a temple prostitute for idolatry or not? I don’t have time to go through all the arguments, but I believe that at the beginning, in order to fit the analogy with Israel, that she is faithful to Hosea. There are a lot of arguments for that. I believe she is faithful. She has not yet given herself over to idolatry. She marries him. The children are all born before she goes into her unfaithfulness and breaks the marriage covenant.
What we see here in the message of Hosea is this focus on God’s grace and forgiveness. That’s what it’s all about. No matter how much this wife has failed Hosea, no matter how much she has broken his covenant, no matter how immoral and lewd that she has become, no matter how many men she has been with and the horrors of the temple prostitution and all the fertility rituals and all that was involved, Hosea is going to be directed to go and take her back and restore her.
She is a picture of our sinfulness. It’s primarily a picture of Israel’s unfaithfulness to the Mosaic Covenant. Israel is seeking after other gods in complete violation of all of the mandates of the Mosaic Law to seek God wholly, completely, and totally, and to avoid all appearance of idolatry and unfaithfulness.
She not only gets involved in idolatry, but she gets involved with one of the most horrific forms of idolatry that existed in the ancient world. The most extreme forms which are not mentioned here in Hosea was that they would worship the gods of fertility by taking their children and immolating them and burning them alive in the arms of Moloch or Chemosh or these fertility gods, in acts of dedication to the god, to motivate them to make them more prosperous and fertile.
That’s the whole idea of fertility in an agricultural society. The theme of Hosea throughout is that no matter how bad, how wicked, or how evil that Gomer became, God was going to forgive her. Hosea is the picture of God who is going to welcome her back. There’s going to be a period of cleansing and purification and then she will be completely restored and welcomed back by Hosea.
That is the same picture we get of how God welcomes us back to Him. The book begins by Hosea being told to marry Gomer. She is probably a virgin, a young maiden. Then after having three children she abandons Hosea and the children. She goes off to become a ritual or temple prostitute. Then Hosea is told to buy her back.
At this point she has no value. If you look at Hosea 3 we read, “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans.’ So I brought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and half homers of barley.”
One and half homers of barley was equal to fifteen shekels, so even I can do the basic math. Fifteen shekels plus fifteen shekels equals thirty shekels. Thirty shekels is the price of a slave. Thirty pieces of silver is what Judas betrayed Jesus for. It’s the price of a slave. It’s the lowest amount. It just shows this person has very little value. She has value to none of her lovers anymore because of all the temple prostitution, yet she is bought by Hosea and she is going to be loved and valued by Hosea.
This is all clearly stated in Hosea 3:1. This is something that is to teach about God’s love and His faithfulness to Israel because of His promise in the covenant.
In Hosea 3:3 it says, “And I said to her, ‘You shall stay with me many days; you shall not play the prostitute, nor shall you have a man—so, too, will I be for you.’ ”
This is a time of purification in preparation for the restoration. This depicts the fact that God’s justice has to be satisfied. There has to be a purification for sin. He’s not just forgiving her willy-nilly. There is a time of purification before the time of justification.
God, in His justice, does not overlook our sin. There is a provision and a payment for our sins. That is what Christ died for on the Cross. So God’s justice does not overlook Israel’s apostasy and idolatry. There are still consequences.
That’s what is stated in Hosea 3:4, “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim.” What’s going on here? We read that the children of Israel are going to go through a time, described as many days, where they are without a ruler, no king or prince, which indicates there’s no kingdom. They’re out of the Land. There will be no sacrifice or sacred pillar.
No sacrifice means there’s no Temple. Sacred pillar was a standing stone that often erected as a place of sacrifice which represented the God and the Temple. So there’s no worship and no idolatry at all. This is a prophecy which depicts the general trend among Israelites from the time of the beginning of God’s discipline in 722 BC in the north and then in 586 BC [in Judah]. This is when the DIASPORA begins.
DIASPORA is a Greek word that comes into English as dispersion. The Jews were dispersed from their Land based on the promises of God in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28, that if they were unfaithful, God would remove them from the Land.
There’s a partial return to the Land starting in 538 BC. There were only about 45,000 that initially returned under Zerubbabel. There were subsequent returns under Ezra the priest and under Nehemiah. Even at the time of our Lord, there’s only a small percentage of Jews in the world that are living in the Land that was given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
We don’t know how many there were. There might have been as many as a couple of million. The reason I say that is that there’s such a slaughter that occurs in the first Jewish Revolt which begins from AD 66 to 70. There’s another huge slaughter, almost 800,000 to 900,000 killed in the Bar Kokhba Revolt that occurs in AD 135. That would indicate that there must have been close to 2 million or so who were living in the Land.
The majority of Jews from that time to the present have not been religious. We think of many that we see, such as the Ashkenazi Jews and the Eastern European Orthodox Jews, but there were many other Jews who were scattered throughout the Middle East.
They are referred to sometimes as the Mizrahim. And there are the Sephardic Jews and they lived in areas that were dominated after AD 600 by Islam. They were scattered as far as India and into China and many other places. Much like today you have secular Jews who will go to temple. They will go to synagogue. They will observe some of the holidays but as far as day-to-day life is concerned, they’re agnostic.
Whenever I take folks to Israel, it always surprises them as to how agnostic most Jews are and how ignorant they are of the Scripture. Even the more observant Jews you know here are pretty ignorant of the Scriptures as well.
The general trend has been toward an areligious nation. The last part of Hosea 3:4 characterizes the time period of the DIASPORA. Then in Hosea 3:5 we read, “Afterward—after this time period of many days when there’s no ruler or king or prince or all of these things—the children of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.”
The latter days refers to the time of the Millennial Kingdom. This is yet future. This is following the return and establishment of the Davidic kingdom which is when Jesus as the Messianic King returns to the earth.
This is predicted also in Deuteronomy 30. The key word we see here is this word “shall return”. The Hebrew word is shuv and even today you will hear about Jews who are coming back to Judaism and they’re doing a shuvah. They’re repenting. They’re turning back.
Sometimes shuv is translated as repent, but it means simply to turn back to God. It goes back to what Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 30:1–3, “Now it shall come to pass—see in chapters 28 and 29 you have the blessings and the curses—Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you.”
So where are they? They’re scattered into all the nations. They’re scattered throughout Europe, throughout South America, Australia. They’re in India. They’re in Asia, all the Asian countries. Russia. They’re all over the world. At that time, a future time, they will recall this to mind and remember what the Lord has said.
The next thing that happens after recalling to mind what the Lord has said that you are to return to the Lord. “They turned back to Him.” That’s that same word shuv. “You return to the Lord Your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you.”
The first thing is they recalled to mind. Then they act on it and they turn back to God and they obey His voice. Then in Deuteronomy 30:3, “That the Lord your God will bring you back—see, there’s that word shuv again—He will return you or restore you from captivity.”
That’s not what’s going on today. Two or three years ago I heard a rabbi speak at a church here in Houston. It was fascinating. He’s an orthodox rabbi. He was going through Deuteronomy 29, went to chapter 30, skipped verses 1 and 2 and went to verse 3.
He’s a rabbi. You know there’s a jewelry company here in Houston called Zadok Jewelers. He’s the owner’s brother and has a ministry in Israel. He’s a rabbi there.
It was kind of fascinating how he went through this whole thing and skipped the whole issue of turning back to God saying that what we’re seeing today is the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 30:3. That’s called pick-and-choose-your verses. That’s not going verse-by-verse. You skip a few that you don’t agree with and then go to another one.
We learn several things about the Davidic Covenant from this passage. First of all we learn that the fulfillment of the Davidic promise of a king does not take place until after Israel returns to the Land in repentance, in turning back to God. So the Davidic king comes after Israel turns back to God.
The second thing that we learn as we look at this is that the Messiah is going to be a descendant of David. In this passage he’s called, David, your king. Now, the question we have to resolve, and I haven’t resolved this is: Is it talking about Jesus or a descendant of David? Is this just a reference to David the king because he’s a descendant of David?
Or is this talking about the fact that this is literal, resurrected David who will rule? Two of the passages that references this are in Ezekiel 34:23–24 and Ezekiel 27:24–25 which refer to David the prince, when you get into the kingdom. I believe in those passages it’s talking about literal David.
In other passages it’s talking about Messiah, the King. He’s the King over all the earth and He’s ruling over all the earth and He is on the throne. David the prince is ruling as His under governor, as you might put it, ruling over Israel. Here it just refers to him as David the king, indicating that He is the fulfillment of that Davidic promise.
A third thing we see is that He is a great king and He rules over all those who fear Him and fear the Lord. We go back to the verse here where they, meaning all the people, shall fear the Lord. He is a ruler over them, a great king.
The fourth thing we see is that this whole passage is addressed to Israel, the children of Israel. That is specifically the Northern Kingdom, so this indicates that the Northern Kingdom will be reunited with the Southern Kingdom, and they both be under the authority of David, the king.
After the split in approximately 930 BC between the Southern and Northern Kingdoms, the king in the north was not a descendant of David. This passage indicates a reunification of Israel under one king in the house of David. The last thing to observe in Hosea 3:5 we read, “They will seek Yahweh their God and David their king.”
It seems like there is a very, very close connection here between Yahweh and David, the king. It doesn’t spell it out. Elsewhere we see that the Messiah, of course, is Yahweh but that’s not spelled out here. It’s just hinted at in terms of the language. So that’s Hosea.
As I pointed out earlier Hosea is in the 7th century. One of his colleagues writing at the same time is Amos. Turn in your Bibles to Amos 9. Amos is not one of those prophets who is out there to win friends and make people happy. He’s not a motivational speaker like some of the pastors we know around here. He’s not there with a big, happy smile making everyone feel good. He is there to lower the boom on Israel.
In fact, if you read through Amos, what you see is a tremendous amount of announcements of judgments, that’s going to come on Israel. It’s not until you get to the last chapter, which begins with the destruction of Israel and then when you get down to verse 11, that’s when you finally get some hope. That’s when you see the promises related to restoration.
Part of the significance of Amos 9:11–12 is that this is quoted in the New Testament. We have to connect the dots here as we go through these passages because it shows that in the New Testament in the way it quotes Amos 9:11–12 that the New Testament treats the New Covenant just as literally as Amos does.
This shows that there is this expectation that in the end times there will be a restoration of Israel and the restoration of the dynasty of the House of David. We need to work our way through this a little bit. This is not quite as simple as you might think. There’s a lot going on here in these two verses.
Just a little context first. Amos’ prophetic ministry is approximately 750 BC. Now how do we know that? We know that because we know a guy named Dr. Steve Austin and he is a believer and he is a geologist. He’s spoken here a couple of times.
One of the things that is his specialty is analyzing the geological columns for evidence of seismic activity in Israel. He has done a lot of this. He can identify all the seismic activity that’s alluded to in the Scripture. He even thinks he’s found evidence of the famine that is mentioned in Jerusalem that occurs in the 40s.
The other day I facetiously texted him asking if that just meant that he found an absence of seeds in the layer. I don’t know how you find evidence of a famine. Anyway, he has identified the earthquake that occurred at the time of the Crucifixion. He has identified several other earthquakes.
He’s written a very technical paper on the earthquake at the time of Amos and he has dated it to approximately 750 BC due to a number of other correlating actions and observations by other nations about this earthquake. From that we can identify that time frame.
At the beginning of the Book of Amos he is writing a couple of years before this earthquake. So that would mean somewhere around 748 to 750 BC, so we can date it fairly accurate. But before we get into more of that information, we need to get a background because there’s this mention in verse 12 of “possessing the remnant of Edom”. What in the world is going on there?
This goes back to what I talked about earlier. In earlier Messianic prophecies, Genesis 3:15, Genesis 22, Genesis 49, and then later on we get Numbers 22–24 in the three Balaam oracles, we see that these oracles pick up on language that comes from earlier prophecies. It’s bringing these things together so they’re connected. They shouldn’t be just understood in isolation from each other.
The background for understanding part of these two verses is found in Numbers 24. Let’s turn back to Numbers, the fourth book in the Torah, the fourth book of the five in the Pentateuch. Numbers 24 tells about one of these bizarre incidents where the King of Moab hires out a prophet to curse Israel.
God prohibits the prophet from cursing Israel. There are three incidents where Balaam, the prophet, wants to bless and wants to curse Israel and different things happen. We won’t go into all of those things. I’ve done that before in earlier series on the Messiah at Christmas.
We’re going to get into Balaam’s third prophecy here that begins in Numbers 24:5 but we’ll go to Numbers 24:7. This is talking about his future king, “He shall pour water from his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters. …”
Now that word seed is singular. We will get back to talking about the seed, because that’s how Paul goes back to Genesis and refers to the Seed where when it’s singular it relates to the Messiah. I’ll give you a little foreshadowing. When you get to the word seed, you need to know that a lot of times it can involve a group, like the word crowd. Crowd is a singular noun but it refers to many people. So you can have a singular noun that refers to many descendants like the word deer can refer to many deer, or the word seed can refer to one.
The way you know it in a couple of passages in the patriarchs is that it is referred to subsequently by singular pronouns so that tells you that it’s talking about one seed, not descendants. There are other times when the word seed is referred to by plural pronouns.
So the seed here in verse 7 is referring to one, “His king shall be higher than Agag.” That’s how it’s translated in your Bibles. Now remember in the Hebrew text there are no vowels so all you have in the original Hebrew, going back to Moses, are two “g”s. Later the scribes developed a system of annotating the words with various symbols for vowels in order to preserve pronunciation.
We have these vowel points today. You had a group of scribes in the early middle ages from one family called the Masoretes, so the text that we have today is called the Masoretic Text. The vowel points that are in the Masoretic Text are the vowel points that were put there by the Masoretes. They exercised a certain amount of interpretive latitude in inserting these vowel points.
You can take a word and you can change the vowel. Let’s take a couple of consonants such as “stp” and you insert an “o” and it becomes “stop” or you can insert an “e” and it becomes “step”. Just by changing the vowel you change the meaning of the word.
This has been demonstrated very technically by Michael Rydelnik. I’m sure that next week with Steve Ger we’re going to get a reference to this same material showing that the Masoretes inserted the “a” making it Agag, which would speak of a historical fulfillment.
Agag was the king of the Amalekites who Saul was supposed to kill. Saul disobeyed and didn’t kill him and because of that, God took the throne from Saul. He took his dynasty away from him and transferred it to David. So when it says his king shall be higher than Agag, by putting it that way, it lost the Messianic significance of this prophecy.
If you put an “o” vowel it means that his king will be higher than Gog, then Gog is mentioned in Ezekiel as the enemy of the Messiah at the end times. He is the enemy of God in the Gog and Magog rebellion, which occurs with Satan’s release from chains in the abyss at the end of the Tribulation period.
What we have here is that if it actually should be punctuated as Gog, then this is a prophecy that his king will be higher than Gog and his kingdom shall be exalted.
Then there’s another statement. In verse 8 God brings him, that is the Messiah, out of Egypt. Where do you have that? You have that also in the New Testament as a quote from the Old Testament. It says that God brings the Messiah out of Egypt. This ultimately has the allusion back to Numbers 24:8. God brings the Messiah out of Egypt.
“He has strength like a wild ox; He shall consume the nations, his enemies; He shall break their bones and pierce them with his arrows. He bows down, he lies down as a lion;” From where does that lion imagery derive? Genesis 49. The lion of Judah.
“As a lion, who shall rouse him?” Then you have a reference to the Abrahamic Covenant. “Blessed is he who blesses you, and cursed is he who curses you.”
You see that to understand this prophecy, you really have to understand these allusions to previous prophecies and the connections that it fits into future Messianic prophecies.
Then in Numbers 24:17, which is in the fourth prophecy of Balaam, he makes this statement, “I see Him,—talking about this future king—but not now;—in other words He’s far off in the future—I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel.” This is another reference to the Messiah.
It’s a reference to Him as a star. This is often thought to be the prophetic background for the star, indicating the birth of the Messiah. The scepter is indicating that this is the One who will come and who will rule. And He will “batter the brow of Moab, and destroy all the sons of tumult.”
Now Moab overlaps with Edom. That’s why I went back here, because we see that what is stated isn’t fulfilled historically in David. It is in the future when Israel will subjugate Moab and Edom. This is in the end times. This Balaam prophecy forms the background and it’s validated to some degree in the targumim. These are the Jewish commentaries that predate Jesus.
In Midrash Rabba in Devarim 120 it says that the Star and the Scepter refer to the Messiah. The point there is that these ancient Jewish commentaries viewed these as Messianic prophecy, but when you get into the era of Christianity, then you have these developments among the rabbis to take the Messianic aspect out of these prophecies and to try to interpret them as having historic fulfillment before Jesus. That destroys the Messianic aspect. The Messianic view of these prophecies is the view that was held in the early church by early church fathers such as Justin Martyr and Athanasius.
When we get to Amos, his ministry begins around 750 BC to 752 BC, something like that. He’s 250 years after David, which means he’s 650 years after Moses. This is approximately 30 years before the destruction of the Northern Kingdom.
Uzziah of Judah is reigning at that time in the south, and Jeroboam II (who is also the ruler at the time of Jonah) is on the throne in the Northern Kingdom. He reigned from 786 BC to 746 BC. You’ll often hear the social justice types who go back and interpret the Old Testament look at various things disparaging Amos. They say he’s a farmer. He is described as someone who is a breeder of sheep. They think he’s a rather lower-level agricultural worker.
Other passages describe him as a shepherd, a fig picker, and a cattleman. The word that is used when it describes him as a breeder of sheep is the same word that is used elsewhere to describe Mesha, the king of Moab. He was not some low-level, poverty-stricken, migrant agricultural worker, but that’s how liberals treat these passages.
They want to find something so they can elevate the lower-level migrant worker. However, Amos is described by the same word as the word that is used to describe the king of Moab. This would indicate that he is a very wealthy farmer. He is someone who is very skilled and not just some migrant worker.
So Amos comes along and has a very negative message towards Israel. At the end, though, there’s hope. In Amos 9:11 he says, “On that day I will raise up the tabernacle—or the fallen booth—of David. The word is Succoth, which is the word for booth, a temporary dwelling place. “I’ll raise up the tabernacle of David.” Notice that when the Davidic dynasty is in decline, it’s spoken of as basically a fallen-down shelter, a falling-down wikiup of branches.
When David is in the ascendancy it’s spoken of as a house and a dynasty. This is now when the Davidic dynasty is under divine discipline and divine judgment. God promises, “I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down …” It is predicting a future time when the house of David will be in a state of collapse. But then there’s the promise, “I will repair its damages, I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old.”
In English that little pronoun “its” is neuter. You have no idea to what that refers. However, in the Hebrew it’s very clear. The first “its” is a feminine plural, so it’s not referring to the tabernacle of David. You have to look at each one of these to understand that to which the pronoun refers.
The broken places are described as broken walls. It has a third person feminine suffix, so this feminine plural “and repair its damages” refer to the broken places. The feminine plural refers to the two kingdoms which had been divided since the days of Rehoboam. They’ve been broken down and God is going to restore these back to one kingdom.
Then it states “I will raise up its ruins.” This has a masculine singular suffix and this refers to David and not to the Succoth or the booths or as it is translated in the NKJV “the tabernacle,” because the Hebrew word for booths is feminine. David is masculine so when it says raising up his ruin is talking about the House of David and build it as the days of old. This third “its” has a singular feminine suffix and this refers to the rebuilding of the falling Succoth or dynasty of David.
In these three statements there’s a clear indication of the reunification of the nation, the restoration of David, and the rebuilding of the House of David. This alludes to the fact that in Hosea 3:5 you have, “Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king.” That is an expression of this restoration that occurs after they turn back to God.
When we look at Amos 9:12, the result of this is that they conquer. The word for “possess” here is the same word that is used back in Numbers 24 in the Balaam oracle, so that is a connection we find here. “They will possess—conquer and subjugate—the remnant of Edom.” Now that’s interesting because usually the word Edom describes the believers in Israel, but here it is describing Gentile believers who are going to come under blessing and will come under the umbrella of the Messianic Kingdom. Not only the remnant of Edom, but even all the Gentiles who are called by God’s name.
This is going to be picked up in Acts 15 when you have the council in Jerusalem and there’s this big debate about what they’re going to do about all these goy who want to be part of Christianity. Up to this point they thought this was going to be a Jewish thing.
Then in Acts 10 you have the vision telling Peter to take the gospel to Cornelius. Cornelius and his household are saved and you have the official conjoining of Jew and Gentile.
Now as the disciples and apostles get together in Jerusalem to work through how this is going to happen, James in Acts 15:14–15 says, “Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. And with this the words of the prophets agree.”
They’re going back here and pointing out there’s a precedent in the Prophets that Gentiles are going to be included in the Kingdom in the future. Then James quotes from Amos chapters 9, 11, and 12. The point that he’s making is simply that God has not excluded the Gentiles from the Kingdom. He’s included them as this indicates so we need to include them in the church. He’s not equating the church to the Kingdom. He is saying that in the future Kingdom there will be Gentiles present. That’s the point of his analogy.
So we see again this Davidic promise, this covenant, as it works its way through the prophets. Next time we’re going to get in to some of the other prophecies in Isaiah.
“Father, thank You for this opportunity to look at these things and to be reminded of Your Word. We can see how all the parts fit together and how everything complements one another and how You are so faithful to us. We thank You for Your great forgiveness and Your great love for us that no matter how much we fail, our salvation is not dependent upon us. It’s dependent on You.
“You demonstrate this through Your faithfulness to Your covenants with Israel. In the same way You’re faithful to Your promise in saving us. Your forgiveness is always there. You’re always welcoming us back no matter how egregious our sins, no matter how long we’re away, You welcome us back and You forgive us and cleanse us. We’re so thankful for Your grace. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”