The Old Testament Presents... Reflections of Christ
by Paul R. Van Gorder
This book tells the story of one person, David. It could appropriately be called ''the acts of King David.'' One thousand years after David, the Lord Jesus Christ was born of his seed and lineage. He was David's son and David's Lord. Consequently, we can expect Second Samuel to be full of teaching concerning Christ.
The time covered by the book is limited to about 38 years of Israel's history. It tells of David's early training as a shepherd, as a servant to the king, and as a warrior in hiding. This sets a fitting backdrop for David's later life, where he is seen in three aspects:
As Saul is pictured in 1Samuel as the people's choice, so, 2Samuel pictures David as God's choice.
  1. David's Eulogy for Saul and Jonathan (2Sam 1)
  2. David's Reign at Hebron (2-4)
  3. David's Reign over all Israel at Jerusalem (5-10)
  4. David's Great Sin and Its Punishment (11-21)
  5. David's Song of Deliverance and Last Words (22,23)
  6. David's Numbering of Israel (24)
Limiting our consideration of 2Samuel to a single brief chapter [of Paul Van Gorder's book] is most difficult. So that we may condense some of the great truths found in this book, we will think of it historically, prophetically, and typically.
Chapter 5 of 2Samuel reports that David moved up against Jerusalem, captured it, and made it the capital of his kingdom. We learn later that this city also became the center of the worship of Jehovah. This is actually the third time Jerusalem is mentioned in the Bible. The first occurs in Genesis 14, where Abraham, returning from the rescue of Lot, was met by Melchizedek, priest-king of Salem, and [Abraham] gave a tithe to God. (Psalm 76, a psalm of Asaph, also refers to Jerusalem with the term ''Salem''.)
The second mention of the city is found in Judges 1:8, which records how Judah drove the Jebusites from the city and burned it, even though the Jebusites remained in control of the citadel.
The third, here in chapter 5 of 2Samuel, tells how it became the capital of the Davidic kingdom. The history of Jerusalem, the most important spot on the face of the globe, begins here. Another writer has said, ''If Palestine is the theater of the world's dreams, then Jerusalem is the stage.'' The psalmist wrote of Jerusalem, ''Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King'' (Psalm 48:2). From the days of David until this present time, Jerusalem has been the center of the world's attention. In some ways, it has been the ''storm center.''
You will find it most helpful to trace the history of Jerusalem, beginning with 1055 B.C. and proceeding until the New Testament days. Much of this history can be learned by reading the following passages of Scripture:
The greatest event in the history of the world, the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, took place in Jerusalem.

If you thumb the pages of the history of Jerusalem after our Lord's birth, you will find that the sands of Israel, and especially the environs of that city, have been drenched with the blood of rampaging armies. The city has been beseiged approximately 20 times since A.D. 70. Why? Not because of its maritime value, for it is not on the sea. Not because of its population, for other cities have exceeded it by millions. But somehow it is a strategic center. It has a purpose in the economy of God, and Satan wants to control it.
As we examine carefully the prophetic Word, we find that many great events are yet destined to take place there. God will one day gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle. Jehovah Himself will fight against them (Zechariah 14:2,3). The Lord Jesus Christ will return to the Mount of Olives, which is located just to the east of Jerusalem (Zech 14:4). Jerusalem will become the capital of the millennial kingdom [of Christ] (Zech 8:20-23). And the law and the word of the Lord will go forth from that city (Isaiah 2:1-3).
Jerusalem has repeatedly been caught between opposing armies; it has often been ''the iron between the triphammer and the anvil.'' But a day is coming when Jerusalem will become a ''quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down'' (Isaiah 33:20).
A main prophetic teaching of 2Samuel is found in the Davidic covenant, spelled out in chapter 7, verses 14 though 16. This is one of the mountainpeaks of Scripture! The covenant with David was confirmed by God's own oath, for Jehovah said, ''I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn unto David, My servant: Thy seed will I establish forever, and build up thy throne to all generations'' (Psalm 89:3,4). God further stated, ''Once have I sworn by My holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me'' (Psa 89:35,36).
Note the five terms of the Davidic covenant:
  1. a Davidic house-- a posterity.
  2. a throne-- a royal authority.
  3. a kingdom-- a sphere of rule.
  4. a perpetuity-- forever.
  5. a promise-- disobedience followed by chastisement, but no abrogation [of the promise].
These promises are carried over into the New Testament. Acts 15:14-17 gives us the divine program for the church age, and the Davidic covenant will be fulfilled when this age is complete.
As much as any book of the Old Testament, 2Samuel demonstrates the grace of God. David himself received God's grace time and time again. This is shown markedly in his awful sin, his restoration, and his assurance of God's forgiveness.
David's care of Mephibosheth is a picture of the sinner received, forgiven, and exalted to a place of fellowship and protection. Consider these reflections of God's redeeming grace in Christ:
  1. Mephibosheth was lame (2Sam 4:4),
    having fallen at the hands of another. [Rom 5:12]
  2. He was sought by David,
    even though he belonged to the family of the king's enemies (9:1-3). [Rom 5:6,8-10]
  3. He was found in the house of Machir (9:5).
    ''Machir'' means ''sold.'' [Rom 7:14]
  4. He was in the land of Lodebar, which means ''no pasture'' (9:5). [1Pet 2:25]
  5. He feared the king (9:6). [Mat 10:28; Heb 9:27]
  6. He took the place of humility before David (9:6).
    This reminds us of the publican [Luke 18:13] and the prodigal [Luke 15:19].
  7. David gave him the highest place (2Sam 9:10). How full is God's measure of grace! [Eph 1:3]
  8. He lived in the city of Jerusalem, which means ''peace'' (9:13). [Rom 5:1,2; Php 4:7]
  9. He carried the marks of his fall to his grave,
    but grace kept them out of sight (9:13). [1Joh 3:1-3]
All of this speaks volumes about the work of our Lord, in making possible the salvation of sinners, and about our acceptance before Him.

A tremendous Messianic note is sounded in 2Samuel 19:10, ''Now, therefore, why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back?'' The Davidic covenant will find its fulfillment in David's greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will one day return. [Rev 22:16,20]

Return to table of contents for ''The Old Testament Presents... Reflections of Christ,''
written by Paul R. Van Gorder, Copyright 1982 by RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI.
Used by permission [within The Book from].
Further distribution is not allowed without permission from RBC.

For another brief look at this book of the Bible,
see the related chapter in Christ in All the Scriptures, by A.M. Hodgkin.

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