2 Samuel 7:12 “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.
2 Samuel 7:13 “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
2 Samuel 7:14 “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me…
This is the promise that God made to David through the prophet Nathan. Note that the “descendant” would be the son of David and he would also be the son of God. How could he be both?
That’s similar to a question Jesus asked the Pharisees:
Matthew 22:41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question:
Matthew 22:42 “What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?” They *said to Him, “The son of David.”
Matthew 22:43 He *said to them, “Then how does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying,
Matthew 22:44 ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD,
“SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,
UNTIL I PUT YOUR ENEMIES BENEATH YOUR FEET”‘?
Matthew 22:45 “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?”
Matthew 22:46 No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question.
With the benefit of hindsight and 27 books of the New Testament, we can solve the riddle that the Pharisees could not. That is, Jesus was the son of David according to the flesh and the Lord (or son of God) according to the spirit by virtue of his resurrection from the dead.
Paul himself gives the answer to the riddle here in the opening of his letter to the Romans [emphasis added]:
Romans 1:1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
Romans 1:2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures,
Romans 1:3 concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh,
Romans 1:4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord,
The resurrection gave the messianic title “son of God” (taken from 2 Samuel 7:14 and Psalm 2) a dimension of meaning no one had anticipated, but that God had planned all along.
Thus Jesus could have two “fathers” – one according to the flesh and the other according to the spirit. That is, in the human sense, David was his father. But in the spiritual sense, God was his father. It is a glorious riddle how the messiah could be both the son of David and the son of God…a riddle to which God has graciously provided the answer for all humanity and for all time.
The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB, New Testament quotations of Old Testament verses are rendered in all capital letters.)