Home

Notify me when new issues are released

 
 
 

Summer 2010, Vol. 7

The Present Davidic Reign: The Integral Relationship of the Davidic Covenant And the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit


Dan Morrison (M.Div., 2010)

Editor/Media Specialist, Alliance for Assemblies of God Higher Education

Printer Friendly Version (PDF)

Introduction

Ten days after Christ’s ascension, the disciples experience the Pentecost event. Luke records the unique features associated with this particular feast. The phenomenological events of the day attract the attention of others, who question the meaning of these occurrences. The Apostle Peter stands to explain to the crowd what they see and hear.

Luke records Peter’s usage of the Old Testament text to explain the event. Peter first utilizes a text with which the crowd would have been familiar, Joel 2.1 Operating in a traditional midrashic style, Peter quotes the text of Joel, making interpretive alterations. These alterations identify the Pentecost event as the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. Such interpretation demonstrates the universal availability of the Holy Spirit for “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord” (Acts 2:21).2 Luke’s notation also observes the fulfillment of Moses’ wish in Numbers 11 where he expresses his desire for all the Lord’s people to prophesy (Num. 11:29).

Pentecostals have traditionally demonstrated a tendency to focus on Peter’s usage of Joel’s text. Even a number of scholars have fallen prey to this practice.3 Given this inclination, those who end their assessment of Pentecost with Peter’s quotation of Joel miss another aspect of the event. Luke’s account provides more information, which the reader must consider. This added dimension broadens the reader’s understanding of the Pentecost event in light of Luke revealing the fulfillment of God’s plan throughout salvation history.

Peter does not end his explanation with Joel’s text; he appeals to the Psalms to give his listeners further clarification. He goes beyond simply identifying the event, to providing information concerning its source and purpose—Jesus Christ. He explains the works of Christ to those gathered and accuses the people of His death but tells of the work of God in His resurrection. Using David’s words in Psalm 16, Peter notes the death of David and the presence of his body in the grave. These facts reveal that David must have been referring to someone besides himself when he proclaimed that God’s Holy One would not see corruption (Ps. 16:8). Noting David’s role as a prophet, Peter reminds the crowd of the Davidic promise that his seed would eternally sit on the throne. By way of the Old Testament Scriptures, Peter poignantly proclaims Christ to the crowd. In this declaration of Christ, he also presents Christ as the fulfillment of the Davidic promise.

Luke’s use of Peter’s Christocentric discourse concerning the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost reveals the integral relationship between the promise of an eternal Davidic dynasty and the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. In light of Christ’s resurrection and ascension, Luke understands Christ to fulfill the Davidic promise. This fulfillment, functioning as the inauguration of the last days, empowers the Church to function as Christ’s emissary to the world.

This work attempts to explore the present-day theological implications of this Lukan presentation of an integral relationship between the Davidic Covenant and the “last days.”

Given the multifaceted nature of both the discussion of the last days and the Davidic Covenant, this study will examine the relationship of these two themes through Lukan lenses. In order to do this, a survey of the Davidic promise will take place by way of the accounts of the promise from the historical books.4 Following this will be a study of how the historical events in Israel influenced the people’s understanding of this concept. Finally, this research will observe the work of Luke and his development of the fulfillment theme in relation to the Davidic Covenant.

The Promise of Davidic Reign

After the capture of Jerusalem from the Jebusites, David made this city the capital of Israel (2 Sam. 5:7-9). Not only did he establish this location as the political capital, but he also transported the Ark of the Covenant from Kiriath-jearim to Jerusalem, establishing it as the religious capital as well. This act centralized the religious traditions of Israel,5 prompting David to inquire of the prophet Nathan concerning the construction of a house, as opposed to a tent, in which the ark of God could dwell (2 Sam. 7:2). Despite Nathan’s initial approval, the Lord has different plans. He does not permit David to build Him a house. Instead, the Lord establishes an oath with David containing four major parts: a house, a seed, a kingdom, and a son of God.6

Instead of David building a house for the Lord, the Lord explains that He will establish a house for David. The context of this passage reveals the Lord was not talking about a physical house, as David already lived in “a house of cedar” (2 Sam. 7:1). Instead, the term , as used in this context, refers to a household or family, in this case, a dynasty (cf. Gen. 7:1; Josh. 22:14). This institution of the Davidic dynasty comes after David, as the ruler of Israel, acknowledges the Lord’s divine rule over the people and plans to provide for that rule by building a house from which it may proceed. Through this conversation between God and David, “attention shifts from the house David intends to build Yahweh to the house Yahweh is going to build for David.”7

Not only does the Lord promise to build a house for David, he gives him the promise of seed (). This particular aspect of the promise evokes memories of the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:7) and the protoevangelium (Gen. 3:15). Looking back on God’s promise of seed to David, the term possesses multiple meanings. Walter Kaiser explains that the term has a collective meaning but also refers to a single individual who “represented the whole group and was the earnest of a line of descendants yet to come.”8 As a result, Solomon serves as the “seed” building the temple, yet another person functions as the “seed” whose kingdom would be established forever.

This kingdom functions as another aspect of the Davidic promise. As the promise of the seed, this aspect of the promise precedes David and maintains its origins in the oath God made to the patriarchs and the people of Israel (Gen. 17:6; Exod. 19:6). This promise of a kingdom and ruler by no means functions as an abandonment of God ruling His people, especially with the acknowledgement of the Lord as king at Jeshurun (Deut. 33:5). Despite the people of Israel rejecting the Lord as king (1 Sam. 8:7), he remains the sovereign ruler over the people. As the chronicler reflects on the Davidic kingdom, he refers to the kingdom as belonging to the Lord (1 Chron. 28:5). In another section of writing, the chronicler reveals how readers should understand the Davidic kingdom. He presents the idea the kings of Israel serve as stewards over God’s kingdom. As a result, each ruler of Israel simply functions as “God’s vicegerent who owe[s] his office to God and who symbolically continue[s] that reign as an earnest of God’s triumphal occupation of that throne.”9 Despite the king’s function as one submitted in humble obedience to the Lord as an anointed servant, the Lord promises the seed will function in a special role—the role of son.

During this declaration, the Lord explains to David that the promised seed will not only be the son of David, but will also be the son of God. Once again, the Lord uses language reminiscent of His relationship with His people, as He refers to Israel as “my son” (Exod. 4:23). Even as the king represented Israel as a kingdom of priests, this seed, who would be king, would also represent the people as God’s son.

Within this covenant, God makes clear the continuation of His promise to the patriarchs and the people of Israel. Despite the categorizations of the Abrahamic and Mosaic promises as covenants, a cursory view of the text of 2 Samuel 7 leaves open to question the classification of the episode as the establishment of a covenant.

A Davidic Covenant?

Reading 2 Samuel 7 may raise the question of how God’s promise to David can be understood as a covenant. None of the various terms from which the word covenant is translated: , , , or appear in the text. Neither account of this event found in 2 Samuel 7 or 2 Chronicles 17 presents elements of Old Testament covenants or any other covenantal practices of the Ancient Near East. Therefore, one must substantiate this idea of covenant mentioned in relation to the Davidic promise.

The lack of the aforementioned words and elements in the text does not mean that this text does not function as a covenant. The promise explains that God would not remove His “steadfast love” (), which results from His covenant,10 from David’s seed (2 Sam. 7:15). Additionally, evidence exists—outside of the immediate accounts—where both God and David refer to the aforementioned event as the establishment of a covenant. An oracle of David reveals his acknowledgement of God making an “everlasting covenant”
() with him (2 Sam. 23:5). After the dedication of the Temple, the Lord speaks to Solomon in response to his prayer. In this account, the chronicler notes God referring to His having “covenanted with David” (2 Chron. 7:18). Interestingly, the terms lacking in the historical account of the promise appear in later discussions. Besides these references, the text of 2 Samuel 7 maintains continuity with the Abrahamic and Sinaitic covenants (cf. Gen. 15; Exod. 19). As a result, one may conclude that the promise is a covenant, as it “fulfills, confirms, and supplements the Abrahamic covenant.”11

Eternality of the Davidic Covenant

The dialog noted in the accounts of this oracle leads to the conclusion that the Davidic Covenant stands unilaterally and, therefore, unconditionally in the establishment of an eternal dynasty. From a biblical theological framework, some understand the Davidic covenant to function as part of the unfolding of God’s covenant with the people of Israel, as “the person of the king embodies the covenant expectations of Exodus 19:6 that Israel itself would become a priestly royalty.”12 This anticipation, along with its relation to the Davidic promise, requires an analysis of the covenant and its function among the people of Israel.

The eternal nature of the promise stands as its most prominent feature. The Lord explains to David that his offspring will build a house for the Lord’s name, and the Lord will establish His kingdom forever (2 Sam. 7:13).13 The Lord continues by expressing to David the eternality of his family line, his kingdom, and therefore, a Davidic dynasty (v. 16).

Unlike the suzerain-vassal covenants of the Old Testament, it does not appear that the Lord places conditions on this promise of the Davidic dynasty. This lack of stipulations provides assurance for the fulfillment of the promise. The Lord guarantees this aspect of the promise not only in the historical writings, but also in the Psalms, providing “an unqualified guarantee that their wrongdoing will never result in a permanent breach in the special adoptive relationship between Yahweh and the Davidic dynasty (2 Sam. 7:14-16),” even when David’s successors exhibit disobedience to God’s decrees.14

The Davidic Covenant and the Divided Kingdom

Though the language of 2 Samuel 7 does not articulate any conditional aspects of the promise, examination of 1 Kings 8 presents a conditional aspect of the covenant. Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the temple notes what some consider a condition of the Davidic promise. He proclaims that the sons of David possess the throne of Israel “if” they walk before the Lord as David did (1 Kings 8:25).15 Solomon experiences the conditional aspects of this covenant, at least in part. Taking numerous foreign wives, he turns from the Lord. The Lord responds to Solomon, pronouncing judgment upon him and explaining that his actions have repercussions. The Lord promises to rip the kingdom from him. Yet “for the sake of David,”16 the Lord pledges not to do this during Solomon’s life (1 Kings 11:12). Because of this, he also gave Solomon the assurance his son would rule one tribe—Judah.

After Solomon’s death, the unity of the kingdom begins to dissolve, as the Lord promised. Solomon’s son Rehoboam travels to Shechem in order to confirm Israel’s acceptance of his rule. During this time, Jeroboam and people of Israel come to him in order to ask that he lighten the heavy load placed upon them by Solomon. After sending the people away for a period in order to take counsel, Rehoboam speaks with the elders who served his father Solomon. They explain to him the necessity of his functioning as a servant to the people and their willingness to serve him as a result of such actions (1 Kings 12:7). Interestingly, he abandons the counsel of the elders for the counsel of the inexperienced men he had known from his youth. They encourage Rehoboam to increase the load on the people.

Upon the people’s return, Rehoboam implements the counsel of the young men and proclaims a greater load upon the people than that of his father (1 Kings 12:14). Because of this, the northern tribes of Israel stand in “rebellion against the house of David” (v. 19). In the midst of their rebellion, Israel declares Jeroboam their king. Rehoboam returns to Jerusalem and prepares Judah and Benjamin for war with the northern kingdom in order that he might conquer and rule over all the tribes. During this time, the word of the Lord comes through Shemaiah noting the schism within the kingdom as the work of the Lord. Therefore, the people obey the word of the Lord and return to their homes, leaving only one tribe (possibly two) under the rule of a Davidic king. The question of God’s covenant with David does not end with the division of the kingdom, as the seed of David continues to sit on the throne in Jerusalem. At a later point in history, the question of the Davidic kingdom comes to the forefront of Israel’s existence, as the promise of an eternal Davidic dynasty appears to have suffered a great loss during the period of the exile.

The Davidic Covenant and Exile

There comes a time in Israel’s history when no Davidite appears on the throne in either Israel or Judah. Actually, no one appears on the throne, as the people of both the northern and southern kingdoms find themselves in exile. The people of Israel (and Judah) break God’s covenant given at Sinai. As a result, they no longer experience the blessings of the covenant, but the curses. Prophetic judgments concerning the captivities of the northern and southern kingdoms take place. The prophets warn the northern kingdom that they will suffer under the hands of the Assyrians because of their wrongdoing. God uses Sargon II, the ruler of Assyria, to bring fulfillment to these words in 721 B.C., when the northern kingdom suffers defeat and their enemies deport them from their homes.17 Other prophets go to the southern kingdom in order to warn them concerning the Babylonian captivity. This occurs during the expansion of the Babylonian empire in 597 BC. Because of the revolution in the southern kingdom, Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler of Babylon, destroys the city of Jerusalem and the temple. Along with these actions, Nebuchadnezzar deports a number of individuals from the land.18

The disobedience of the people of God places them in a precarious predicament. Though the prophets continually called the people to repentance, most religious reforms took place when the kings functioned in conjunction with the prophets (2 Kings 22). When the kings did not follow the way of the Lord, the people seemed to follow suit. Gerhard von Rad proclaims the king as the responsible party to whom the Lord entrusted the Law. Included with these responsibilities was ensuring the observance of the Law by the people.19 Therefore, the king’s departure from the way of the Lord functions as an avoidance of his duties. This defection from the faith, along with the repercussions of all the people’s disobedience, effectually brings “the old Davidic order [to] an end.”20 This leaves the prophets of the Exilic Period, such as Ezekiel, only one place to direct their hopes concerning the Davidic promise—“the new David, the Messiah, his throne, and his kingdom.”21

The Davidic Covenant and the Prophets

As the seventy years of the Babylonian captivity end, the promise of God to restore His people begins to come to fruition. The prophet Ezekiel records what some call “the Death and Resurrection of the Judean Monarchy.”22 This oracle, appearing in Ezekiel 17, brings accusations against Zedekiah for his reliance upon man, instead of the Lord.23 Even with the grim picture Ezekiel paints of the last Davidite, he continues his oracle and concludes with a sign of hope. In the midst of a promise concerning exile, the Lord proclaims, “the last word had not yet been said concerning Israel’s monarchy.”24

The end of the passage (Ezek. 17:22-24) reveals that the Lord has not abandoned his promise to David and will indeed “take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar.” The Lord then promises to remove a tender twig from the top of the cedar and plant it “on a high and lofty mountain.” This planting by the Lord of the small twig gives the people hope of a “new” Davidic kingdom after the exile. The language of Ezekiel’s prophecies note the rise of a new, restored kingdom and the possibility of a new relationship with the Lord, as seen in his prophecy concerning the Lord placing a new heart and spirit within the people (36:26-27).25 Interestingly, this rise of a new kingdom was to occur, not for Israel’s glory, but for the Lord’s. The restoration of this kingdom appears to take on a universal tone, considering that all kinds of birds will dwell under this tree and in all the trees of the field knowing the Lord is God (cf. Mic. 4:1-2). As noted by prophets from other periods in Israel’s history, this restoration of Israel will be universal in nature; it therefore presents the idea of the extension of the Davidic rule from solely over Israel to all the nations of the earth.

Despite the promise of restoration offered by Ezekiel and other prophets, the Jewish people experience turmoil that seems to send their future in the opposite direction. The rise of the Persian Empire ends the Babylonian captivity, only for these exiled Jews to attempt to maintain their identity while under Persian rule. Cyrus, the ruler of Persia permits the Jews to return home in order for them to construct another temple (2 Chron. 36:23). During this postexilic period, Zerubbabel serves as the next ruling Davidite after the giving of Ezekiel’s prophecy.26 Though he returns to Zion from Babylon, he does not exhaust the details of this oracle. The lack of fulfillment concerning the recent Davidite and the Jews’ continued experience of Gentile empires repeatedly ruling over them by way of conquering the current ruling power leads to the people experiencing a great amount of disillusionment with Gentile rule.27 The story of the Old Testament ends with the subjugation of the Jewish people to the authority of the Persian Empire.28 Moving to the New Testament, Luke’s Gospel begins with a voice of hope noting the fulfillment of the Davidic promise.

The Davidic Kingdom in Luke-Acts

Luke sets himself apart from the other Gospel writers, exhibiting skill in structuring his writing to reflect the mastery of both the Hellenistic and biblical styles of Greek. He utilizes his prologue, in a traditional Hellenistic style,29 to explain the methods employed in developing his writing. According to William Kurz, the disparity in the styles exhibited in Luke’s prologue and the remainder of his introduction exemplify his concerns for both historiography and the biblical tradition.30 Such an approach would serve to prevent the dismissal of the work by educated Hellenists.31

Compiling sources from multiple eyewitnesses and other writings, Luke incorporates many themes into his work. Areas of major discussion concerning the Lukan corpus include the charismatic activity of the Spirit and the kingdom of God. Along with these two themes, another closely related topic appears in Luke-Acts, the theme of Davidic reign. Even as Luke develops the themes of charismatic empowerment and the kingdom of God throughout his work, he does the same with the topic of Davidic reign. He presents all of these ideas in his writings within the context of the idea of promise-fulfillment.
He develops his Gospel in a manner that the account given indicates the “events are the fulfillment of what was promised in the Old Testament and … they are therefore part of the ongoing dealings of God in history.”32 This concept, coupled with the presentation of divine necessity, demonstrates that the activities taking place, including the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, function as part of the plan of God.Beginning in his Gospel, Luke walks the reader through the life of Christ and develops the theme of Davidic promise alongside it, demonstrating Christ as the fulfillment of the Davidic promise, from His conception and throughout His earthly life. He then carries the theme of covenantal fulfillment through to Christ’s post-resurrection existence in heaven, as demonstrated by the kerygma of the Early Church.

Davidic Promise in the Birth Narratives

Studies in the Lukan corpus focusing on the charismatic activity of the Spirit usually concentrate on the Pentecost event and remain in the book of Acts. The beginning of Luke’s Gospel contains the birth announcements of John the Baptist and Jesus. Though this work focuses on Jesus’ kingship, Luke emphasizes the Old Testament cooperation between prophet and king as his narrative bears witness to the functions of Christ as king and John the Baptist as prophet.33 The infancy narratives contain a great amount of charismatic activity, mostly manifested in the form of prophecy. This manifestation of the Spirit bears great significance in the text, given the understanding there was a lack of prophetic witness during the intertestamental period.34 Besides the obvious note of the resurgence of the Spirit’s charismatic work, Luke also notes the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant.

Luke presents the Annunciation, Magnificat, Benedictus, and Nunc Dimittis during the early part of his work. At first glance, there does not appear to be any apparent connection between the aforementioned episodes of the infancy narratives. Upon further review, readers will find a relationship between these four segments of the narrative does indeed exist. The genesis of the Davidic covenant’s fulfillment occurs at the beginning of the work and the development of this idea of fulfillment continues through both volumes. As a result, Luke’s focus on the Davidic Kingdom becomes apparent within the first section of his work. The annunciation of Jesus’ birth brings into focus the fulfillment of Davidic promise.

The Annunciation

Only two Gospel writers recount the foretelling of Jesus’ birth—Matthew and Luke. Luke’s writing, particularly his infancy narrative, depends heavily upon Davidic literature.35 An example of this appears in his account of the interaction between the angel Gabriel and Mary, where Luke depicts Jesus “as the fulfillment of national promise in terms of the regal Davidic Messiah.”36 The language Gabriel uses points back to the Old Testament promise to David as found in the 2 Samuel 7.37 The messianic expectations of Second Temple Judaism and the restoration of the Davidic dynasty of which Ezekiel speaks come to some form of fulfillment in Mary’s ears. Comparison of the texts reveals significant parallels between Gabriel’s declaration and God’s original words to David.

Luke 1:32-33

2 Samuel 738

He will be great… (v. 32)

And I will make for you a great name (v. 9)

…and will be called the son of the Most High (v. 32).

I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son (v. 14).

And the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David… (v. 32).

… I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom … and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever (vv. 12-13).

…and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end (v. 33).

… and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever …and your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me (vv. 13, 16).

In response to Gabriel’s statement, Mary interjects with a question concerning how these things will come about. He explains, the “power of the Most High” will overshadow her (Luke 1:35). At the end of his response, he again refers to Jesus as “the Son of God” (v. 35). Though Luke does not use the exact phraseology noted in 2 Samuel 7, readers familiar with the Davidic covenant would recognize the allusion to 2 Samuel 7:14. The first time Luke mentions Jesus, it is in direct relationship to the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. He continues to focus on the concepts of the Davidic Messiah and his kingdom, by way of the prophecies he later presents in the birth narratives.

The Magnificat

The Magnificat serves as the first of three canticles in Luke’s infancy narrative,39 and the second declaration in Luke-Acts concerning the emergence of the long awaited Davidic Messiah. The hymn gathers its structure from the hymnody of the Second Temple Period, in that both the structure and content come from a variety of Old Testament songs of praise.40 Even with its relationship to the psalms, the passage contains no immediate reference to David. Surprisingly, her song of praise immediately follows Elizabeth’s greeting, which ends with an indirect reference to the Davidic promise. As Elizabeth concludes her greeting, she extols Mary, referring to the fulfillment of what the Lord had spoken by the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:45; cf. Luke 1:32-33). This scene maintains a strong resemblance to the account recorded in Judges 5, where Deborah extols Jael for allowing herself to be used by God to bring salvation to Israel.

Just as God brought deliverance to His people through Jael, Mary gives praise to God for using her to bring deliverance to His people again, by way of Jesus Christ. Various scholars have noted the parallelism between the Magnificat and Hannah’s praise in 1 Samuel 2.41 Though different in tone, the aforementioned text serves as a likely source for this portion of the Magnificat. Both the Lukan writing and the Septuagint make use of the word . In Hannah’s situation, the word may refer to her humiliation, due to her barrenness. Despite this possibility, the people of Israel would have understood it to refer to the oppression suffered by the people of Israel.42 As a result, Mary’s praise would also function as a result from the expectation that God would come again and intervene on behalf of His people in order to redeem them from the oppression they suffered at the hands of the Gentiles. Many adhering to Second Temple Judaism would have held to some form of restorative messianism, which would dictate one who was both the Son of David and the Son of God would fulfill this role in Israel’s history.43

Despite the lack of Davidic references, this hymn refers to the word of the Lord to Abraham (Luke 1:55). Even with the mention of Abraham, the language used in verse 55 contains strong similarities to the end of David’s words of reflection on the Davidic Covenant, as found in 2 Samuel 22:51 (LXX).44  Besides this, the Magnificat also contains parallels to Psalm 89, which functions as a scriptural commentary on the unilateral, everlasting nature of the Davidic covenant. The connections made here support the understanding that the promises to Abraham, the fathers, and to David all function as part of the single plan of God in salvation history, fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.45

The Benedictus

The Benedictus (Luke 1:68-79) is the second hymn in Luke’s Gospel declaring the coming of the Davidic Messiah. This prophecy occurs when Zechariah is filled with the Holy Spirit, a time at which he regains his hearing and speech.46 Despite its placement after the story of John’s birth, the text indicates that the material found in verses 68-79 is the content of the praise exhibited in verse 64. Marshall explains that the praise Zechariah gives actually functions as “an appendix to the story, but its final position makes it carry the theological weight of the narrative.”47 The literary division of Zechariah’s prophecy serves as a pointer concerning the New Testament fulfillment of Old Testament expectation. The first portion of the prophecy recounts the faithfulness of God to the present day, while the second looks forward to the culmination of covenantal expectation with God’s visitation to His people.48

Zechariah opens the hymn praising God for visiting and redeeming His people. Though the visitation and redemption have not taken place, Zechariah looks forward to what he knows, by the Spirit, is a process already in motion. The hymn “builds on Davidic imagery, correlating God’s gracious visitation with his raising up [a savior].”49 This concept of visitation generally has one of two meanings. In some instances, such as the one found in Exodus 32:35, the visitation of the Lord is judgment upon the people. At other times, this visitation is one of grace (Gen. 21:1). The content of Zechariah’s prophecy appears to present the term with a dual meaning. On one hand, the Lord is visiting His people in grace in order to bring them redemption. On the other hand, He is visiting the enemies of Israel in judgment. Despite the judgments one may pass on Zechariah’s statements, the hymn demonstrates awareness of this coming salvation for the Jews and serves as the fulfillment of the Old Testament promise spoken by the prophets (1:70).

Despite the nationalistic tones presented in the Benedictus, Luke begins to redefine the salvation of which Zechariah speaks. Luke’s writing develops in such a fashion that there is a shift from the political understanding of salvation to one of deliverance for the purposes of “holiness and righteousness” (1:75) for all people. He does not look forward to a geopolitical restoration of Israel, as seen during the Davidic and Solomonic reigns. Instead, Luke looks forward to a time of God calling for a remnant from the Gentiles (Acts 15:17). This understanding of universal salvation becomes obvious in the third and final canticle of the infancy narrative—the Nunc Dimittis.

Nunc Dimittis

The Nunc Dimittis is the last of the canticles appearing in the infancy narrative. It appears in the context of Jesus’ presentation in the temple. Like the Magnificat, it makes no direct references to David. Despite the lack of Davidic reference, Luke presents elements of the Davidic promise in the hymns text. He also presents more explicit evidence of the Davidic promise in the text surrounding the hymn, placing the contents of the hymn within an explicit Davidic messianic context.

Luke introduces Simeon as a “righteous and devout” man “waiting for the consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25). His use of this phrase reflects his understanding of the Old Testament Scriptures. The prophet Isaiah continually presented the idea of Israel’s consolation.50 The Isaianic passages discussing this concept speak of the eschatological restoration of God’s people.51 Many Jews understood this restoration to occur as a result of the advent of the Messiah. Luke incorporates this concept of messianic arrival into his writing by noting the Spirit’s revelation to Simeon that he would not die before seeing “the Lord’s Christ” (1:26). This phrase appears various times in the Old Testament, most often referring to a king.52 This phrase also appears in the Psalms of Solomon 18:8, where it directly refers to a messianic ruler.53 This understanding of a king being the Lord’s Christ presents Simeon’s expectation of the promised Davidic reign, as the consolation of Israel functioned as the work of the Messiah (Isa. 61:2). Luke’s construction of this account, establishes Simeon looking forward to the coming of “the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:26)54 and the fulfillment of that hope (v. 28), leading to his hymn of praise.

Simeon opens his praise by acknowledging the fulfillment of the Lord’s word that he would see the Messiah before he died (Luke 2:30). He continues by acknowledging Jesus as the means by with salvation would come. This statement appears to allude to Isaiah 40:5. At this point in Luke’s writing, “the missions to the restored kingdom of Israel and the nations are interrelated.”55 This becomes apparent when Simeon identifies the salvation as “a light for revelation to the Gentiles” (Luke 2:32a). This statement alludes to Isaiah 49:6. Though the phrase appears in other Isaianic passages, this statement brings to fruition the understanding that the Christ would be the one to fulfill Israel’s role as a light to the nations, even as He fulfills Israel’s role as God’s son.56 Simeon also notes this salvation is for the glory of [God’s] people Israel” (Luke 2:32). The literary parallelism found in verse 32 equates Israel and the Gentiles, even as the “light” and “glory” of the passage are related to one another (cf. Isa. 60:1-2). Support for this idea appears at the end of the Benedictus as Zechariah speaks of a “light to those who sit in darkness” (Luke 1:79), as both Jews and Gentiles find themselves in darkness. This notation of the need of salvation for all people sets the stage for the universal aspects of the Davidic Kingdom as presented in the Lukan corpus.

Observing the Benedictus, one quickly sees parallels between Simeon’s praise to God and Zechariah’s prophecy. Simeon notes the “salvation” his eyes have seen—the horn of salvation Zechariah mentions in his song. He also notes Christ as “a light for revelation to the Gentiles” (Luke 2:32). Despite the nationalistic overtones of Zechariah’s prophecy, Luke draws a connection between the two songs, presenting Christ as the promised Davidic Messiah—the one through whom the restoration of Israel would take place and the one through whom the nations would receive salvation.

Davidic Promise in the Life and Ministry of Jesus

Numerous scholars have written about the Davidic motif in the context of the Lukan corpus. A number of these individuals focus on the concept in Luke’s infancy narrative, while others work with the idea within the boundaries of Christ’s post-resurrection life. Comparatively, the life of Christ, between His infancy and resurrection, receives very little attention. This lack of attention does not reflect a failure by Luke to develop the theme within this portion of his account. On the contrary, he traces the theme of Davidic fulfillment throughout his entire work, including the life and earthly ministry of Christ.
Instead of explicitly noting Old Testament quotations related to David, and God’s promise to him, Luke continues the methodology presented in the infancy narrative. He utilizes a great number of allusions in presenting the Davidic covenant throughout Jesus’ life. Though various themes appear throughout Luke’s Gospel, tracing individual themes throughout Luke’s work compartmentalizes closely related concepts appearing within the same pericope. For this reason, attention will be given to key pericopes related to Jesus’ life that associate His life with the promise of the Davidic Covenant.

The Baptism of Jesus

Luke focuses on two main thoughts in his account of Jesus’ baptism—the Father’s declaration of Jesus as His son and Jesus’ anointing with the Spirit. The Old Testament expectation of both the Lord’s servant (Isa. 42:1) and the “shoot from the stump of Jesse” (11:1) is that the Spirit of the Lord would “rest upon him” (v. 2). Though all four Gospel writers connect John the Baptist with Jesus’ baptism, Luke removes John from the scene of Jesus’ baptism. He separates John’s comments to the Pharisees and the baptism account by Herod the tetrarch’s imprisonment of John. This in no way functions as a denial of John’s role in Jesus’ baptism. Rather it demonstrates Luke’s emphasis on the person of Christ, rather than John.

During Jesus’ baptism and prayer, the Holy Spirit descends on Him in bodily form. The idea of the Spirit resting upon Jesus seems to evoke an idea of a continual resting of Spirit upon him, much like the Spirit being with David from the day of his anointing forward (Luke 3:22, cf. 1 Sam. 16:13). Coupled with this idea of anointing, Luke presents divine sonship as an aspect of the Davidic Covenant in Jesus’ life.

For Luke, the relationship between God and the ultimate Davidite is an important aspect of the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. In the Lord’s oath to David, he says of David’s seed, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son (2 Sam. 7:14). Accompanying the descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus, a voice from heaven proclaimed, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22b). These words not only fulfill the words of Gabriel at the Annunciation, they also allude to the words of one of the royal psalms—Psalm 2. This psalm recalls the promise of Abraham that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through his seed. It also served as a reminder that God would use the Davidic rule as the tool through which He would accomplish this task.57 In order to emphasize the importance of Jesus’ role as the Son of God and His right to the throne of David, Luke interrupts the progression of his narrative in order to provide his reader with information concerning not only His role as the Son of God, but also His role as the son of David.

Jesus’ Genealogy

Immediately following the pronouncement of Jesus’ divine sonship, Luke provides Jesus’ genealogy. The structure of the genealogy provides an account of Joseph’s ancestry. Given Luke’s previous reference to the virgin birth, a reference to a genealogy through Joseph seems impossible. Scholars have attempted to reconcile the presence of Joseph’s name in the lineage with the account of the virgin birth. Instead of the various theories historically presented, it seems appropriate to attempt to understand how Luke can legitimately construct such a genealogy.

Bock explains that one’s legal status during the first century depended on the patriarchal lineage of the individual. As a result, Luke appeals to Joseph’s genealogy (Luke 3:23). Given Luke’s understanding that Joseph was not Jesus’ biological father, he adds the qualifying clause “as was supposed” to the presentation of Jesus as the son of Joseph. This statement enlightens his readers concerning the disparity between Jesus’ actual lineage and Luke’s note of Jesus’ legal rights as the son of Joseph, particularly his right to the Davidic throne.

As the son of Joseph, Jesus is a legal descendant of David (3:31). Luke takes further steps in his genealogical account and does not stop with Abraham, as Matthew does (cf. Matt. 1:1). Instead, he traces Jesus’ history all the way back to Adam, revealing Jesus’ relationship to humanity in universal terms, not simply in relation to the Jewish people. He then proceeds to note humanity’s origin in God (Luke 3:38). It would appear that this notation of the people’s understanding of Jesus’ relationship to Joseph and his ending the genealogy with “son of God” reveals not only Jesus’ legal lineage, but also His origins as the son of God. Moving back into the action of the narrative, Luke presents the next major event in the life of Jesus, His temptation in the wilderness.

The Temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness

Referring back to the Jordan, Luke develops a literary connection between Jesus’ baptism and temptation. Following this declaration at Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit leads him into the wilderness where he will be tempted by the devil (Luke 4:1). During this engagement, Satan tempts Jesus multiple times, even opening some temptations with the phrase “If you are the Son of God …” (Luke 4:3, 9). Given this phrase, some people may note this episode as a challenge to God’s divine sonship. The structure of these statements in the original language does not lend itself to this idea. In fact, the construct lends itself to the idea of Satan acknowledging Jesus’ role as the Son of God.58 Rather, the temptations, assuming agreement with the idea of Jesus being the Son of God, are to entice Jesus to abandon His submission to the will of the Father and exercise the power He has as the Son of God in order to meet His own needs.

This account marvelously contrasts Jesus’ experience in the wilderness with the wilderness experience of the Hebrews during the exodus. Each response Jesus gives to the devil is a quotation from Scripture, namely the book of Deuteronomy. Each of these passages lies within the context of the commands of God to Israel and their response to him. Sadly, in the case of Israel, they failed.

When the devil tempts Jesus to command the stone to be turned to bread, Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy 8:3 saying, “Man shall not live by bread alone.” This statement lies in the context of both verses 2 and 3. Here Moses commands the people to remember the provision of God in supplying them with food as he “led [them] … forty years in the wilderness” (Deut. 8:2). Given the Lord’s provision, he desires for them to understand that “man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deut. 8:3). Exodus 16:14-20 reveals the failure of Israel to understand this truth. For when the Lord provides Israel with food to eat, Moses tells them they must consume all of the food they gather in that day (Exod. 19:19). Despite these instructions, some leave their food over as if to save some for the next day and “it [breeds] worms and [stinks]” (Exod. 16:20).

Luke records the temptation to worship the devil as the second temptation. Satan offers Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, along with the power associated with them, if He will simply worship him. Responding to the temptation Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:13 saying, “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” Once again, the Old Testament reveals Israel’s failure in worshiping only the Lord. While Moses was on Mt. Sinai, the people told Aaron to make gods for them. They even gave up their gold for the creation of the “god” (Exod. 32:3). Because of their idolatry, the Lord wished to “destroy [them] from off the face of the earth” (Deut. 6:15, cf. Exod. 32:10).  

The last temptation Luke presents is that Jesus cast himself down from the temple. As the Son of God, the protection of God was something to which Jesus had access. The devil even quotes Psalm 91 to Jesus in order to validate his temptation. Jesus’ response comes from Deuteronomy 6:16 saying, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” Observing the entirety of verse 16, the reader finds that Israel failed once again in their wilderness experience as they tested the Lord at Massah.

During the wilderness experience, the Israelites travel at the Lord’s command. While camped at Rephidim, the people do not have water to drink and they present their arguments to Moses. He responds saying, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?” (Exod. 17:2). Moses then seeks the Lord on behalf of the grumbling people. The Lord once again provides for the needs of the people by miraculously producing water from a rock. Given the quarrelling of the people and their testing of the Lord, Moses calls the place Massah (meaning “testing”) and Meribah (meaning “quarrelling”). Unlike the Israelites, Jesus chooses not to test the Lord.

As the Son of God, Jesus overcomes His wilderness temptations and chooses to submit to the will of the Father in His actions (cf. John 5:19). Where Israel fails in the wilderness, Jesus succeeds. He trusts God to meet His needs. He already knows the kingdoms of the world function as His inheritance.59 He trusts the Father to protect Him and does not ask Him to prove His faithfulness. After Jesus overcomes the temptations presented in the wilderness, He does exercise His authority as the Son of God, but for the benefit of others and within the context of His calling.

Jesus’ Inaugural Address at Nazareth

Thus far, Luke establishes Jesus as the Son of God, the son of David, and one anointed with the Spirit. The canticles of the infancy narrative note Jesus as one who brings salvation. Jesus’ baptism yields the declaration of His being the Son of God. The anointing at the Jordan reveals the Spirit resting upon him. Yet Luke fails to note how this salvation will come, the function Jesus has as the Son of God, or the purpose of His anointing. He uses the teaching of Jesus in Nazareth to answer the questions raised by his previous writing, “How will Jesus bring about this promised salvation?” This first account of Jesus teaching answers that question.

After His return to Nazareth, Jesus goes to the synagogue and receives the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. The contents of the passage He reads serve as an explanation of how He will fulfill His mission as the Son of God. After reading the text of Isaiah 61, Jesus proclaims himself as the fulfillment of the passage. Observations of the original passage may provide Luke’s readers with insight concerning Jesus’ role as the Davidic Messiah.

The opening of the passage Jesus uses demonstrates He is set apart for a specific work. He proclaims from Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me …” (Luke 4:18). Within an Old Testament context, only kings and high priests were usually anointed for service.60 Given the lack of Luke’s emphasis on Jesus’ priestly function, it seems likely this anointing, which relates to Jesus’ anointing with the Spirit at the Jordan (3:22), pertains to His royal function as the Son of God.61 Jesus’ proclamation, as noted by Luke, has four distinct functions. Each one contributes in some way to the salvation expected through the work of the Davidic Messiah.

The first of these functions was to bring the good news to the poor. The content of the good news seems to be based on the audience to whom it is delivered. In the context of Luke, some scholars argue that the poor are those who are economically poor.62 This understanding seems to fit with a theme Luke carries throughout his work. On the other hand, the idea of the poor seems to refer more directly in this context to those who were faithful to wait on the Lord despite their troubles.63 If this line of thinking is correct, Luke reveals Jesus as the one who brings comfort to God’s people, noting the inaugural fulfillment of Simeon’s expectation (Luke 2:25).

Jesus also notes His commission to “proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind” (Luke 4:18b-c). Once again, readers must question the identity of these captives. Are they physically captive or is this a metaphorical use of the term? Based on an Old Testament context, the statement possesses a double meaning. The term captive was understood to refer to those exiled.64 Since Jesus does not come in order to institute an earthly kingdom (at least not in this context), it would appear the statement maintains spiritual tones. This connects with the Old Testament concept of exile resulting from the sin of the people.65 As a result, Luke’s account reveals Jesus brings salvation to those bound by sin. Discussing the “recovering of sight to the blind,” one must ask the same questions. Luke records Jesus healing the physically blind, yet the consistency of metaphorical language leads to the conclusion that Jesus is speaking in spiritual terms. Referring to Isaiah 61, the phrase reads, “and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isa. 61:1). This reading presents a parallel to the proclamation of liberty to the captives and supports a spiritual understanding of the work proclaimed.

The text goes on to note Jesus’ mission “to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” Interestingly, this statement does not appear in the Isaiah 61 text. It finds its source in Isaiah 58:6. Given the message of Isaiah 61, one may question the placement of this passage in the midst of Luke’s account. It moves the understanding of Jesus and His mission beyond simply functioning in a prophetic role into His mission in a messianic sense. The liberation of the oppressed moves beyond the proclamation of liberty, which only a prophet can do, to the deliverance of the people, which only the Messiah can do. 66 This passage from Isaiah maintains the same theme of Jubilee,67 as found in Isaiah 61, leading to Jesus’ last statement concerning the proclamation of the year of the Lord’s favor.

The Mount of Transfiguration

Luke continues his story presenting a divine declaration of Jesus’ sonship, this time at His Transfiguration. Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up on the mountain to pray. During this time of prayer, He speaks with Moses and Elijah concerning His death. After this, Peter proposes to Jesus the idea that He and the other disciples construct three tents: one each for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. At that time, a cloud comes over the disciples. A voice then comes from the cloud proclaiming, “This is my Son, my Chosen one; listen to him” (Luke 9:35).

This phraseology is reminiscent of Luke 3:22, when God declares Jesus His Son in the baptismal account. At the same time, there are a few differences. The divine declaration of Jesus’ sonship at His baptism was made directly to Jesus. The proclamation at the Transfiguration targeted Peter, James, and John (Luke 9:35).

Though the passage, like Luke 3:22, alludes to Psalm 2:7, it more closely relates to Isaiah 42:1, based on Luke’s vocabulary within this context. The voice from the cloud notes Jesus as “my Chosen One” (). This coincides with Isaiah’s reference to the Lord’s servant as “my chosen”
(). This declaration presents Jesus not only in a royal messianic sense (Ps. 2:7), but also as the Isaianic Servant of the Lord who would both suffer (Isa. 42:3) and “bring forth justice to the nations” (Isa. 42:3).

The Isaiah passages present Jesus as both the messianic deliverer and the suffering servant. However, the context of the Lukan passage reveals an emphasis on Jesus as the one who suffers. After Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ, Jesus foretells of His death noting that He “must suffer many things and be rejected” (Luke 9:22). Jesus notes in this statement the necessity of both His death and resurrection. Though Peter declares Jesus to be the Christ, the voice from the cloud instructs the disciples to listen to Jesus, as His teachings present the disciples with difficult truths, which they must accept. After the Lord’s instructions, “[t]here is no Moses, no Elijah, no voice, no glory, only Jesus,”68 whose sole presence eradicates Peter’s idea of three tabernacles, and encourages him to embrace the teachings regarding the necessity of Christ’s death in Jerusalem.

The Crucifixion

While Jesus is praying on the Mount of Olives, the officers of the temple, along with the chief priests and elders, come to arrest Him (Luke 22:25). The next day, Jesus stands before the chief priests and scribes. The council questions Him regarding His identity. Jesus eventually, by lack of denial, acknowledges He is the Son of God.69 Given His response, the council takes Him before Roman officials to be judged. Going before two different officials, neither Pilate nor Herod find Jesus guilty of any wrongdoing (Luke 23:14-15).

Despite the lack of evidence by which to find Jesus guilty, the people demand His crucifixion (Luke 23:23). As a result, Pilate grants their request. If Luke ever in his writing refers to the opportune time at which the devil waits to once again tempt Jesus (Luke 4:13), the crucifixion is that time.70 Though Luke does not note the devil as physically present, he notes the presence of mockers, both Jews and Roman soldiers, who call on Jesus, given His declaration as the Son of God, to use His power to save His life. Knowing the necessity of His death for the salvation of others, Christ dies. Despite the temptation to use His power to vindicate himself, Jesus understands that the Spirit will vindicate Him when He rises from the dead on the third day.

The Resurrection

The resurrection serves as the climax of Jesus’ messianic mission.71 After His death, a few of Jesus’ disciples bury His body in the tomb of a man named Joseph, from the town of Arimathea. At this moment, the apostles seem to have disappeared from the story. After a period of three days, Jesus rises from the dead as He promised. Upon hearing the news, the disciples doubt the message the women bring to them concerning the fulfillment of Scripture. Though Jesus told them He must suffer, the death of the Messiah remains unimaginable for those looking for the restoration of Israel.72 As they are together, Jesus appears to them and proves to them that he is alive.

After presenting His disciples with various proofs of His resurrection, He explains that what had taken place fulfills that which He had previously spoken to them. Not only were the events the fulfillment of what He had spoken, they also fulfilled the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms73—the whole of the Hebrew Scriptures. Jesus’ reference to the Scriptures of His day presents continuity between the recent events and the Jewish Scriptures, particularly in relation to “the past reality of divine salvation in Israel’s history and the present reality of the events that had just transpired in the Holy City.” Although the events of Jesus’ life do not all find fulfillment in one particular verse, they find their fulfillment in a multiplicity of passages.74

During this time, Jesus directs the disciples toward their mission. He explains that the Scriptures not only tell of His death and resurrection, but of the proclamation, which must occur in all nations. This statement reveals a characteristic of the coming Davidic reign, which is to be revealed. Given Jesus’ impending departure and the dynamic echo of the Nazareth discourse, one can decidedly conclude the disciples receive the same mission Jesus did. Even as Jesus was called as the servant of the Lord “to proclaim good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18), the disciples receive their commission to proclaim “repentance and forgiveness of sins … to all nations” (Luke 24:47). Even as Jesus was empowered by the Spirit to fulfill His mission, He commands the disciples to wait for such an empowerment before they attempt to fulfill the mission of God. Luke presents the universal nature of proclamation as an aspect of the Davidic reign in the post-Resurrection life of Jesus.

Davidic Promise in the Post-Resurrection Life of Christ

Luke begins his second volume recapitulating the end of the first. Prior to Jesus’ departure, Luke notes Jesus teaching His disciples concerning the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). Though the details of this teaching are not provided in Acts, it seems possible that it is in some way related to the mission of the Church and the inclusion of all nations, as found in Luke 24. The disciples finally ask Jesus when the restoration of Israel will take place. Their hope concerning a physical kingdom comes from their understanding of the prophets, who continuously link the kingdom of God and the outpouring of the Spirit with the restoration of Israel. Not grasping the full scope of Jesus’ teaching, the disciples continue to look for an earthly kingdom. Their question shows they have fallen prey to the nationalist political messianism of their culture.

Even in his first volume, Luke records Jesus challenging the idea of political messianism. Addressing the Sadducees, Jesus appeals to a Davidic psalm to explain the one who fulfills the Davidic promise would be more that the son of David, for David calls him “Lord” (Ps. 110:1). The general use of this reference functions as an address of an inferior to a superior.75 Not only does David refer to this individual as Lord, but God calls him to take the ultimate place of authority, telling him, “Sit at my right hand.”76 This account therefore shows Luke’s understanding of the Davidic reign extending far beyond the reaches of a national kingdom with the Lord as monarch.

Though Jesus challenges the idea of a political approach to the messianic kingdom, His followers continue to find “interest in the hope of an earthly and national kingdom.”77 Their question should remind Luke’s readers of when the apostles’ were previously “captivated by the thought that in such a restored order they themselves would have positions of power.”78 Even after the death and resurrection of Christ, the disciples find themselves embracing the ideas of the Messiah destroying the enemies of Israel and their receiving positions of power in the newly established kingdom.

Jesus, seeing this focus on an earthly kingdom, modifies the framework of His statements and issues a paradigmatic shift in which He points them, not to an earthly kingdom, but to their universal mission. Regarding their question, Jesus explains it is not for them to know, but proceeds to tell them they will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be his witnesses “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). When reading Jesus’ response, it appears He simply changes the subject and avoids answering the disciples. A thorough reading of Acts reveals that within His statement lies the answer to their question. Luke uses the narrative of Acts in order to present three witnesses from the apostolic band who aid both Jews and Gentiles in developing an understanding of the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant and the nature of the Kingdom, particularly the universal access of all who come to the Lord. Luke begins this explanation by presenting the Apostle Peter, as he shares his message on the Day of Pentecost.

Pentecost: Inauguration of the Last Days and New Phase of Davidic Reign

Pentecost finds its origins in the Old Testament. Instituted as part of the Sinaitic Covenant (Exod. 23:16), the Feast of Harvest functions as a holy day and serves as “the second of the annual harvest festivals” for the Hebrew people. The Scriptures explain the Lord’s mandate concerning the pilgrimage of all the males to the location of His choosing for the occasion, as well as the requirement of an offering, according to the ability of the people to give (Deut. 16:16-17). This feast signifies the end of the grain harvest (Exod. 23:16). Maintaining the primary function of a harvest festival, God calls the Israelites to recognize their dependence on Him for their prosperity.79 During the Pentecost event immediately following Jesus’ ascension, the disciples learn of their dependency on the person and work of the Holy Spirit in order to fulfill the mandate Christ gives them.

Luke tells his readers that the disciples experience the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The crowd raises questions concerning the nature of the phenomena to which the Apostle Peter explains by appealing to the text of Joel 2. The historical background of this text gives some understanding to the relationship between the Davidic reign to the outpouring of the Spirit.

During the time of the prophet Joel, the judgment of the Lord comes upon the land in the form of a locust plague. This event leaves the people in an agricultural and economic situation like never before. The Spirit of God uses Joel to call the people to repentance and explains that if they do not, they are in danger of greater judgment. He also tells them that if they do, the Lord will “[have] pity on his people” and bring restoration to the land (Joel 2:18). Joel goes on to explain that if they repent, “it will come about after this [restoration]” that God will pour out His Spirit (Joel 2:28, NASB). Peter then takes this promise of the Old Testament and interprets it in light of what happens at Pentecost, providing the people with an explanation of Christ’s role in Israel’s restoration.

He first appeals to Psalm 16:8-11, explaining it points to the resurrection of Jesus. Peter purports that since David died, he must have been prophetically speaking about his offspring who would be on the throne (Acts 2:29-30; cf. 2 Sam. 7:12). Since Jesus is the only one who did not “see corruption,” David’s psalm must have been about Him. The verses prior to this in the original psalm utilize “imagery from Israel’s allocation of the land.”80 This imagery lying within the context of a psalm discussing the care of God for His people reveals the sovereignty of God in Israel’s destiny (v. 5).

Moving beyond the concepts of death and resurrection, Peter discusses Christ’s Ascension. He proclaims Christ was “exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit,” functions as the source of the Pentecost event (Acts 2:33). Peter notes David did not ascend to heaven. He then appeals to Psalm 110 to note once again, David prophetically referred to one who was not merely his descendant, but one greater than himself—Jesus Christ (cf. Luke 20:41-44). Given the necessity of the presence of a king on the throne in order to have a kingdom, Peter notes Christ as that king on the throne in the ultimate seat of power, the right hand of God. The entire psalm notes accomplishments “well beyond the achievements of any merely human heir of David and thus looks forward to the Messiah.”81

This idea of restoration does not fulfill the expectations of most Jews during that era. This One, whom Peter notes as the ultimate Davidite, does not overthrow Roman rule. Conversely, He brings about a restoration that includes the Gentiles. This change in understanding concerning the “restored Israel” requires many, including the apostles, to change their understanding of the Kingdom. Peter ends his discourse noting the promise is not only for Jews, but “all who are far off, everyone whom … God calls to himself” (Acts 2:39, emphasis mine). Standing upon a scriptural foundation in his Pentecost discourse, Luke reveals that Peter did not quite grasp the depth of the statements he made at Pentecost. As a result, Peter experiences the truth of the Pentecost message in his own life. Here, Luke reveals the unfolding plan of God through the present phase of the Davidic reign referred to as the “last days.”

Salvation beyond the Jewish Sphere

Acts 10 becomes the turning point for which the Church begins to accept the inclusion of the Gentiles.82 The Lord speaks to a Gentile named Cornelius and tells him to send for Peter. He obeys the voice of God and sends his servants to find the apostle. As they travel, the Lord speaks to Peter in preparation for him to go with these men. Using an object lesson to aid Peter in overcoming his ethnic and religious biases, the Lord convinces him to go to the house of this Gentile. As he begins to share the gospel, Peter explains he finally understands the message he gave at Pentecost. He understands the “everyone” he proclaimed at Pentecost were those “in every nation anyone who fears [God]” (Acts 2:21; 10:35).

Following this, he provides his listeners with a synopsis of Jesus’ fulfillment of His messianic mission and how this took place through the power of the Holy Spirit. While Peter continues his message, the Holy Spirit falls on all the Gentiles present and they begin to speak in other tongues. The Jewish believers exhibit amazement because of the Gentiles’ reception of the Spirit (Acts 10:45). Even as Jesus and the disciples receive the anointing of the Spirit in order to fulfill their mission, the Gentiles also receive the empowerment of the Spirit and are therefore called to the join the Jewish disciples in their mission—the proclamation of repentance and forgiveness (Luke 24:47). Upon their reception of the Spirit, these Gentile disciples receive water baptism and are identified with the Christian Church. Sadly the story does not end there.

Peter’s return to Jerusalem leads to an encounter with various Jewish brethren lacking the understanding of God’s call to the Gentiles. He receives criticism for participating in fellowship with “uncircumcised men” (Acts 11:3). In response, Peter recounts his experience and relies on the continuity of the Gentile experience with theirs at Pentecost. Understanding their experience to stand in continuity with their Scriptures, they understood the Gentile experience must also stand in continuity with the Scriptures. As a result, they thank God for granting salvation to the Gentiles (Acts 11:18). In this case, the Jewish believers come to see the Gentiles in the plan of God and His desire to bless them, instead of destroy them. Luke’s second witness, Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, makes this same declaration at Pisidian Antioch.

Pisidian Declaration

During Paul and Barnabas’ first missionary journey, they arrive in Antioch of Pisidia. When given the opportunity to speak in the synagogue, Paul addresses the people. Providing a discourse through the history of the people of Israel, he appeals to the Scriptures in order to urge his fellow Jews to accept the lordship of Jesus. Appealing to the Davidic Covenant, Paul not only successfully promotes salvation through Jesus, but he also urges others “to affirm the mission to the Gentiles.”83

During a Sabbath, Paul receives the opportunity to address the people in the synagogue. He begins discussing God’s interactions with Israel. Brining this portion of his message to a close, he links the stories of David and Jesus, noting Jesus as the promised seed of David (Acts 13:23). Such a statement not only alludes to, but also declares fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. He continues by appealing to the earlier covenants “promised to the fathers” (13:32) and quotes from both the Writings and the Prophets in order to note Jesus’ fulfillment of the royal-messianic expectations in relation to the Davidic kingdom (Acts 13:33-35). Contrasting David and Jesus, just as Peter did at Pentecost, he notes David “saw corruption,” but Jesus “did not see corruption” (Acts 13:36-37). Therefore, Jesus brings fulfillment to the Davidic covenant.84

Upon hearing this message, Jews and converts to Judaism received this word and followed Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:43). The size of the next week’s congregation reveals the message of their teaching spread throughout the city. Some of the Jews become upset because of the size of the crowds. Both Paul and Barnabas declare to the people that since the Jews take the word of God and “thrust it aside” (Acts 13:46), they would be taking the message to the Gentiles, as the Lord commanded. Appealing again to the writings of Isaiah, Paul and Barnabas note the job of God’s people to function as a light to the Gentiles and take the message of the gospel to all people (Acts 13:47; cf. Isa. 49:6). The Gentiles present begin to rejoice at hearing this, but a persecution begins, driving Paul and Barnabas from the area. This persecution ultimately leads to the spread of the gospel in other areas among the Gentiles. The expansion of the Church leads to the question of how they should bring resolution to the questions of the practice of traditional Jewish customs and the customs of Gentiles who come to Christ. Luke, therefore, uses James as his third witness to testify to the nature of God’s call of the Gentiles into the Kingdom.

The Jerusalem Council

James serves as the last of Luke’s three witnesses testifying the inclusion of the Gentiles has always been a part of the plan of God. With the expansion of the Church and the acceptance of Gentiles, some began teaching circumcision as a requirement of salvation (Acts 15:1). Such teaching caused great debate among the Jewish believers. The nature of the debate focused on the idea that Gentiles should live according to Jewish law. In order to resolve this issue, the church holds a council in Jerusalem.

Luke presents all three of his witnesses in this one account. Peter begins recounting the events of his past when he was at the house of Cornelius and notes the Lord “made no distinction between [Jews] and [Gentiles], having cleansed [Gentile] hearts by faith” (Acts 15:9). Given the identical status of both Jews and Gentiles, based on faith in Jesus Christ, Peter argues against placing the impossible burden of the law of Moses on Gentile believers. Immediately following, Paul, along with Barnabas, provides the council with an account of the work of God among the Gentiles. Once they finish, James addresses the council of Apostles and elders.

Given the details of the first two witnesses in previous portions of Acts, it seems interesting that they appeal to experience in order to note their support of the Gentiles. James, the witness from whom readers have yet to hear, further develops their argument by placing it within the context of Scripture. He, like Peter and Paul, appeals to the Davidic covenant in order to establish a case for Gentile inclusion and a restriction on requiring them to adhere to Jewish practice. The passage he uses is Amos 9:11-12.

During the time of Amos, sin overcomes the societies of the surrounding nations, including Israel and Judah. The people, particularly Israel and Judah, fail to abide by the Law in virtually all facets of life.85 Through the series of judgments pronounced against Israel, Judah, and the surrounding nations, it becomes apparent that Amos views the Lord as the ruler of not only Israel and Judah, but of all nations, as represented by the surrounding nations.86 Despite the anger of the Lord, Amos closes with a glimpse of hope, noting, “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old …” (Amos 9:11).

James utilizes this passage to summarize that with which the prophets agree and note the purpose for this rebuilding: “… that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by [the Lord’s] name” (Acts 15:17, cf. Amos 9:12). Within an Old Testament context, readers understand this promise to guarantee the restoration of the Davidic monarchy and the nation. Noting James’ reference to the text through Christocentric lenses, he changes Amos’ “in that day” to “after this.” Such an approach reveals his understanding of the restoration to have occurred by Christ’s exaltation.87 As a result, the people of the day should understand “the promised extension of the sovereignty of the house of David over the Gentiles” to occur though the mission of the Church to them.88

This understanding of the restoration and expansion of the Davidic kingdom leads the council to “not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God” (Acts 15:19). This decision relieves the Gentiles of responsibility to the Law of Moses. At the same time, this brought into question how Jewish Christians adhering to the Law of Moses could interact with Gentile believers who did not. As a result, the council sends a letter to the Gentiles asking that they abstain from four specific things: items polluted by idols, sexual immorality, strangled animals, and blood. This brings about the reality of the expectation that Gentiles seek the Lord, not in place of Israel, but alongside her, because of the rebuilding of the tent of David.

Conclusions

Studying the topic of the Davidic kingdom from a biblical theological framework, one quickly finds links between the concepts of the kingdom of David and the kingdom of God. Luke’s writing presents strong parallels between the inaugural eschatological fulfillment of both kingdoms. In some respect, one may question where the division lies between the two kingdoms. Some people may see them as the same. Ultimately, this same line of thinking holds true for the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant and the last days. Given Luke’s presentation of the restoration of Israel in the work of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit occurring after said restoration, Peter’s use of the phrase “last days” as the descriptor for the era inaugurated at Pentecost notes his understanding of the last days as a phase of the Davidic kingdom.89 This conclusion comes from the fact that the “last days” results from the enthronement of the king, without which none of the events could take place. Luke makes apparent his development of both the Davidic royal motif and the fulfillment of God’s promise to pour out His Spirit, inaugurating the last days. What seems less clear is how the two relate to one another.

Peter’s speech at Pentecost makes apparent that Jesus Christ’s exaltation to the right hand of God results in the events of the day (Acts 2:33). Given the Lukan understanding of Christ fulfilling the Davidic Covenant, he presents Jesus, as king, actively participating in the establishment of the last days. Jesus, who while on earth operated as the Anointed One, now functions as the exalted royal Messiah who anoints the members of His kingdom to continue the work He began. As a result, Luke presents the integral relationship between Spirit and Kingdom, noting the expansion of those who participate in this newly reinstituted kingdom do so through the work of the Holy Spirit. His description of the kingdom of God in the last days powerfully parallels the Old Testament descriptions of the coming kingdom of David.

The Book of Deuteronomy notes the declaration of God as king over the people at Jeshurun (Deut. 33:5). Their rejection of the Lord’s kingship, demonstrated by their request for a king, leads to the establishment of a physical monarchy (1 Sam. 8). God grants the petition of humanity by giving them a human king, but ultimately assumes His rightful place as king of Israel in both the heavenly and earthly realms by way of the incarnation of Christ. The kingdom never belonged to David’s, but always functioned as “the kingdom of the Lord in the hand of the sons of David” (2 Chron. 13:8). This acknowledgement of the oneness of the kingdom of God and the kingdom of David demonstrates that Christ, who is both the Son of God and the son of David, reigns over Israel as the son of David and simultaneously, as the Son of God, empowers His people for the continuation of His mission.

Given that there has been no theological inference that the Church is no longer in the last days, Luke’s progression of thought leads those who follow Christ to the present-day reality of the Davidic covenant affecting their lives and practice. Such awareness should urge those under the Davidic reign to take on the characteristics of the Church in Acts when they come to the realization of the nature of the Kingdom. Such practice should lead to an openness in mission to all people and the acceptance of the necessity of charismatic empowerment of the Spirit for said mission.

This article was originally submitted to Dr. Doug Oss in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an AGTS course, “Theological Studies Seminar.”

Works Consulted

Allen, Leslie C. Word Biblical Commentary: Ezekiel 1-19. Dallas, TX: Word Books, 2002.

Arlandson, James. Women, Class, and Society in Early Christianity: Models from Luke-Acts. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1997.

Baer, D. A. and R. P. Gordon, “” in New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis. Edited by Willem VanGemeren. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997.

Beale, G. K., and D. A. Carlson. Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007.

Blevins, James L. “Passion Narrative.” Review & Expositor 64, no. 4 (September 1, 1967): 513-522.

Bock, Darrell. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Acts. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2007.

———. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Luke 1:1-9:50. Vol. 1.Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994.

———. Proclamation from Prophecy and Pattern: Lucan Old Testament Christology. Sheffield, England: Journal for the Study of the New Testament, 1987.

Bruce, F. F. The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Book of Acts. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988.

Byrne, Brendan. “Jesus as Messiah in the Gospel of Luke: Discerning a Pattern of Correction.” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 65, no. 1 (January 2003): 80-95.

Clifford, Richard J. “Psalm 89: A lament over the Davidic Ruler’s Continued Failure.” Harvard Theological Review 73, no. 1-2 (January 1, 1980): 35-47.

DeSilva, Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods, and Ministry Formation. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004.

Dumbrell, William. The Search for Order: Biblical Eschatology in Focus. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1994.

Elwell,Walter A., and Barry J. Beitzel. Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988.

Evans, Craig and James Sanders, eds. Early Christian Interpretation of the Scriptures of Israel: Investigations and Proposals. Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997.

Evans, Craig, and W. Richard Stegner, eds. The Gospels and the Scriptures of Israel. Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 1994.

Green, Joel B. The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Gospel of Luke. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997.

Greidanus, Sidney. Preaching Christ from the Old Testament: A Contemporary Hermeneutical Method. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999.

House, Paul. Old Testament Theology. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998.

Kaiser, Walter C. Hard Sayings of the Bible. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996.

———. The Promise-Plan of God: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008.

———. Mission in the Old Testament: Israel as a Light to the Nations. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2000.

Kurz, William. Reading Luke-Acts: Dynamics of Biblical Narrative. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1993.

Litwak, Kenneth. Echoes of Scripture in Luke-Acts: Tell the History of God’s People Intertextually. New York: T & T Clark International, 2005.

Longman, Tremper, and David Garland, eds. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008.

Marshall, I. Howard. New Testament Theology: Many Witness, One Gospel. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004.

———. The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text, The New International Greek Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978.

Menzies, Robert P. “Luke’s Understanding of Baptism in the Holy Spirit: A Pentecostal Dialogues with the Reformed Tradition.” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 16, no. 2 (April 2008): 86-101.

Middlemass, Jill. The Templeless Age: An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the “Exile.” Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 2007.

Nolland, John. Word Biblical Commentary: Luke 1:1-9:20. Dallas: Word, 2002.

Oss, Douglas. “A Pentecostal/Charismatic View.” In Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? Edited by Stanley Gundry, 237-308. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996.

Soards, Marion. The Speeches in Acts: Their Content, Context, and Concerns. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1994.

Strauss, Mark. The Davidic Messiah in Luke-Acts: The Promise and Its Fulfillment in Lukan Christology. Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995.

Stronstad, Roger. The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1984.

Tannehill, Robert. Abingdon New Testament Commentaries: Luke, Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1996.

———. The Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts: A Literary Interpretation. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1986.

Tomasino, Anthony. Judaism Before Jesus: The Ideas and Events that Shaped the New Testament World. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003.

VanGemeren, Willem. The Progress of Redemption: The Story of Salvation from Creation to the New Jerusalem. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1988.

von Rad, Gerhard. Old Testament Theology. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press, 1963.

Waltke, Bruce. An Old Testament Theology: A Canonical and Thematic Approach. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006.

Watts, John D. W. Word Biblical Commentary: Isaiah 34-66, rev. ed. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2005.

Williamson, Paul. Sealed with an Oath: Covenant in God’s Unfolding Purpose. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2007.

End Notes

1. Given the variation between references in the Hebrew and the English versions of the Old Testament, all passage references are from English translations of the Scripture.

2. All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version, unless otherwise noted.

3. Roger Strondstad does this in his work The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke and Robert Menzies does this in his work “Luke’s Understanding of Baptism in the Holy Spirit: A Pentecostal Dialogues with the Reformed Tradition.”  Roger Stronstad, The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1984) and Robert Menzies, “Luke’s Understanding of Baptism in the Holy Spirit: A Pentecostal Dialogues with the Reformed Tradition.”  Journal of Pentecostal Theology 16, no. 2 (April 2008): 86-101.

4. “Historical books” functions as a designation based on the arrangement of the English Bible. Second Samuel, the primary focus of the Davidic Covenant for this work, is included in the Prophets in the Hebrew Bible.

5. William Dumbrell, The Search for Order: Biblical Eschatology in Focus (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1994), 67.

6. Walter C. Kaiser, The Promise-Plan of God: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008), 118-119.

7. Paul Williamson, Sealed with an Oath: Covenant in God’s Unfolding Purpose, New (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Pres, 2007), 127.

8. Kaiser, The Promise-Plan of God, 119.

9. Ibid., 229.

10. D. A. Baer and R. P. Gordon, “” in New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, ed. Willem VanGemeren (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997), 2:211.

11. Bruce Waltke, An Old Testament Theology: A Canonical and Thematic Approach (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006), 692.

12. Dumbrell, 72.

13. Kaiser, The Promise-Plan of God, 122. Analysis of the text reveals the everlasting/eternal nature of this covenant. The term ~low[ appears in the text of the chapter six times (2 Samuel 7:13, 16, 24, 25, 26, 29).

14. Richard J. Clifford, “Psalm 89: A Lament Over the Davidic Ruler’s Continued Failure,” Harvard Theological Review 73, no. 1(January-April 1980): 46; Williamson, Sealed with an Oath: Covenant in God’s Unfolding Purpose (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2007),128.

15. Walter C. Kaiser, Hard Sayings of the Bible (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 129.

16. Even after the Lord pronounces judgments on the future of Israel’s monarchy, due to Solomon’s sin, the Scriptures repeatedly refer to the Lord’s promise to David. On three different occasions, the passages notes the leniency of the Lord in His judgments “for the sake of David” (1 Kings 11:12, 13, 34).

17. DeSilva, Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods, and Ministry Formation (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 38.

18. Ibid., 39.

19. Gerhard von Rad, Old Testament Theology (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Westminster Press, 1963), 339.

20. Kaiser, The Promise-Plan of God, 204.

21. Ibid.

22. Leslie C. Allen, Word Biblical Commentary: Ezekiel 1-19 (Dallas, TX: Word, 2002), 249.

23. Kaiser, The Promise-Plan of God, 207.

24. Allen, Ezekiel, 260.

25. Jill Middlemass, The Templeless Age: An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the “Exile” (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2007), 66.

26. Kaiser, The Promise-Plan of God, 207.

27. DeSilva, 43.

28. Anthony Tomasino, Judaism Before Jesus: The Ideas and Events that Shaped the New Testament World (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 14.

29. William Kurz, Reading Luke-Acts: Dynamics of Biblical Narrative (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 1993), 11.

30. Ibid., 11-12.

31. Ibid., 12.

32. I. Howard Marshall, New Testament Theology: Many Witness, One Gospel (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 132.

33. Craig Evans and W. Richard Stegner, eds., The Gospels and the Scriptures of Israel (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 1994), 123.

34. Stronstad, 27-28.

35. Evans and Stegner, 123.

36. Darrell Bock, Proclamation from Prophecy and Pattern: Lucan Old Testament Christology (Sheffield, England: Journal for the Study of the New Testament, 1987), 262.

37. G. K. Beale and D. A. Carlson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2007), 260.

38. Mark Strauss, The Davidic Messiah in Luke-Acts: The Promise and Its Fulfillment in Lukan Christology (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995), 88-89.

39. ESV Study Bible, 1945.

40. Beale and Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, 261.

41. Kenneth Litwak, Echoes of Scripture in Luke-Acts: Tell the History of God’s People Intertextually (New York, New York: T & T Clark International, 2005), 76.

42. Joel B. Green, The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Gospel of Luke (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), 103.

43. DeSilva, 54.

44. Mark Strauss, 96.

45. Ibid., 97.

46. The background of this story takes place in Luke 1 when Zechariah is struck mute after a demonstration of his unbelief concerning the promise of his son (1:18-23). Internal evidences of the text reveal that in this case, being mute was not only a case of an inability to speak, but also an inability to hear. After the birth of John, the people “made signs” to Zechariah in order to communicate with him. This would not be necessary if he were able to hear.

47. Marshall, 90.

48. Williamson, 183.

49. Green, 116.

50. Isaianic passages speaking of Israel’s consolation include Isaiah 40:1; 49:13; and 51:3.

51. John Nolland, Word Biblical Commentary: Luke 1:1-9:20, vol. 35A (Dallas: Word, 2002), 118.

52. Nolland, 119.

53. Ibid.

54. Luke’s use of the phrase parallels the language of 1 Samuel 24:6 where Samuel records David’s reference to Saul as . This statement reveals David referring to the king and his role as the anointed of God, chosen to rule the people of Israel. This concept also appears in Psalm 2, a royal Psalm. In the seventh verse, the psalmist notes that the Gentiles rage against the Lord and against his anointed (). Once again, Israel’s monarch is noted as “the Lord’s anointed” or “the Lord’s Christ.”

55. Dumbrell, 232.

56. Walter Kaiser, Mission in the Old Testament: Israel as a Light to the Nations (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2000), 61.

57. Tremper Longman and David Garland, eds., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms, vol. 5(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008), 89.

58. Darrell Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Luke 1:1-9:50, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994), 372.

59. As Luke’s Gospel progresses, he records Jesus telling “The Parable of the Wicked Tenants” (Luke 20:9-18). Luke explains that the scribes and the chief priests understand this to be a story about them. As a result, they desire to “lay hands on him” (Luke 20:19), which they ultimately do. As in the parable, they kill the “beloved son” (Luke 20:13, alluding to Jesus’ identity in Luke 3:22), the heir to all the Father owns.

60. John D. W. Watts, Word Biblical Commentary: Isaiah 34-66, vol. 25, rev. ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2005), 872–873. Given Luke’s emphasis on Christ as king and Son of God, rather than His role as priest, it seems reasonable to conclude Luke is maintaining his theme of kingship with this passage.

61. Robert Tannehill, Abingdon New Testament Commentaries: Luke (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996), 91. Tannehill disagrees with this statement and presents the idea that the anointing’s “immediate function is not royal, but prophetic.” Because the original proclamation clearly relates to the prophet, it seems possible that Luke used it in reference to prophetic anointing as well. Admittedly, in the life of Jesus, these functions are not independent of one another. Seeing that Jesus moves beyond the concept of proclamation into functioning in the eschatological role foretold by the prophets, it seems in this particular case Luke is indeed emphasizing Jesus’ royal function.

62. James Arlandson, Women, Class, and Society in Early Christianity: Models from Luke-Acts (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1997), 3.

63. Watts, 872–873.

64. Bock, Luke 1:1-9:50, 409.

65. Ibid., 404.

66. Bock, Proclamation from Prophecy and Pattern, 109.

67. Green, 212.

68. Tannehill, Luke, 162.

69. I. Howard Marshall, The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Test, The New International Greek Testametn Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978), 812.

70. James Blevins, “The Passion Narrative,” Review and Expositor 64 (Fall 1967): 517-518.

71. Willem VanGemeren, The Progress of Redemption: The Story of Salvation from Creation to the New Jerusalem (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988), 358.

72. Brendan Byrne, “Jesus as Messiah in the Gospel of Luke: Discerning a Pattern of Correction,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 65 (January 2003): 93.

73. Tannehill, Luke, 360. Tannehill argues, “The unusual reference to the psalms reflects the importance of psalm texts in the Lukan interpretation of Jesus’ death and exaltation.” Sidney Greidanus, Preaching Christ from the Old Testament: A Contemporary Hermeneutical Method (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), 56. Instead of making an attempt to present Jesus’ words as a note of Luke’s use of the Psalms in his narrative, Greidanus notes that the passage refers to the three main sections of the Old Testament. This approach presents the Psalms as identifying the Writings, as the Psalms are the first book of that portion of Scripture.

74. Robert Tannehill, The Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts: A Literary Interpretation, (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1986), 1:285.

75. Tannehill, Luke, 297.

76. Ibid., 298.

77. F. F. Bruce, The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Book of Acts (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988), 70.

78. Ibid., 35.

79. Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988), 787.

80. ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 955.

81. Ibid., 1084.

82. Darrell Bock, Acts, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007), 324-325. Though the disciples move beyond the borders of ethnic Jews in chapter 8, Luke presents a difference in significance between the disciples carrying the gospel to Samaritans and them carrying the message to Gentiles. The tone of chapter 8 presents an acceptance by the Jerusalem Church of the Samaritan acceptance of the Gospel. As a result, the lack of a small church council presents the idea that the Samaritan mission does not “seem to have the same epochal character as Peter’s encounter with Cornelius in Acts 10.

83. Marion Soards, The Speeches in Acts: Their Content, Context, and Concerns (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1994), 79.

84. Strauss, 154-155. Strauss explains that analysis of Paul’s speech and a familiarity with the text of 2 Samuel 7 reveal that Paul’s speech, as recorded by Luke, maintains the same structure as the Davidic Covenant. Such parallelism among the texts and Paul’s speech noting the fulfillment of the covenant seem to exhibit some literary weight in Luke’s development of the concept of Jesus as the fulfillment of the promise.

85. Paul House, Old Testament Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998),357-358.

86. Kaiser, The Promise-Plan of God, 163.

87. Bruce, The Book of Acts, 294.

88. Ibid.

89. Douglas Oss, “A Pentecostal/Charismatic View,” in Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?, ed. by Stanley Gundry (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 267-271. I am appreciative to the author for his encouragement. This particular work encouraged me to look at the relationship between the Davidic Covenant and the “last days.”

 

 

 

Updated: Friday, June 16, 2006 10:22 AM