12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever… 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’” 17 In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David. 2 Samuel 7:12-13, 16-17 NKJV
When he was finally settled in his Jerusalem home, with his throne secure and his nation overcoming its enemies, David’s thoughts turned to the Lord. This is a sign of his true faith. Often, we only turn to God when we need something, but quickly forget about Him once He has settled everything down around us.
But not David – he was a person of true faith. David wanted to do something for the Lord, to build Him a beautiful temple in Jerusalem to replace the flimsy tent that the ark of the covenant resided in. Nathan the prophet liked the sound of this idea, as it reflected a heart of faith and thanksgiving to God.
But thoughtful as it was, God had another plan, and said no. As often happens when we hear a “no” from God, He had a different plan with eternal consequences.
The prophecy about David’s lineal descendant building a temple and establishing the eternal throne of the house of David has a two-fold fulfillment. In the short-term, the temple would be constructed by David’s son, Solomon, and he would reign in David’s stead. But longer term, the eternal temple, the Church, will be “constructed” by the Son of David, Jesus Christ. It will be a temple in the hearts of believers where the Holy Spirit will reside.
Two-fold prophecies are common in the Bible. God often chooses to do it this way.
The Holy Spirit inspires a prophet to see into the future and to write about a coming event that God wishes to reveal. Looking far down the road, God will show two separate events that will often appear as one to the prophet. The distant event will then be fulfilled as well as the similar, near-term event.
Some have used the analogy of looking at two mountains in the distance to explain this type of prophecy. The two mountains appear to be close together, or even as a single mountain. But the second one may be much further away than the first, only appearing to be close by.
There is a lake with a park on its shore that my wife and I enjoy walking at. We always admire the view of a distant hill on the lake’s opposite shore. It was not until months after our first viewing that we drove around the lake and realized that the “hill” was actually two distinct hills, separated by a broad valley.
Such may be the case with the Bible’s two-fold prophecies – one meaning may give information about a coming human king or event, while the second, longer term prophecy may reveal a truth about the coming King of Kings, Jesus Christ. Such is the case with God’s promise about the house and the throne of David, as given to the prophet Nathan. David’s son Solomon would build a beautiful temple that will not last, but Jesus will build the eternal one that will.
David remembered God’s blessings and wanted to build Him a temple. Are there blessings in your life that you want to thank Him for?
Jesus was born into the line of David to reign on an eternal throne. What can we do to acknowledge His kingship over us today?