EARLY CHURCH HISTORY 101 (Lesson 18)
The apostle Peter is keeping his audience enthralled by quoting yet another OT personality, King David, with a compelling prophetic illustration of a thousand years past.
Ch 1: LESSON 1 LESSON 2 LESSON 3 LESSON 4 LESSON 5 LESSON 6 LESSON 7
Ch 2: LESSON 8 LESSON 9 LESSON 10 LESSON 11 LESSON 12 LESSON 13 LESSON 14
Ch 2: LESSON 15 LESSON 16 LESSON 17
25 “For David says of Him, ‘I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS IN MY PRESENCE; FOR HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, SO THAT I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. 26 THEREFORE MY HEART WAS GLAD AND MY TONGUE EXULTED; MOREOVER MY FLESH ALSO WILL LIVE IN HOPE; 27 BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY. 28 YOU HAVE MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE; YOU WILL MAKE ME FULL OF GLADNESS WITH YOUR PRESENCE.’” 
David lived from 1040 to 970 BC. There had never been any actual proof of his existence and many high hats deemed him a mere literary construct. This changed dramatically in 1993 with the discovery in northern Israel of the Tel Dan Inscription. We now have archaeological proof of the Lord’s noted ancestor.
Though we know he was not a perfect man and was sometimes guilty of egregious sin, he was also well acquainted with godly sorrow and extreme repentance. As “a man after His own heart,” whom “the Lord has sought out for Himself” (1Samuel 13:14), David was chosen not by man, as was Saul, Israel’s first king, but by God Himself.
In the above passage (the all caps denote OT in the NT), Peter sets the stage by quoting Psalm 16:8-11, written by David. The Psalm itself gives greater clarity than the Acts reading in that the author claims “I have set the LORD continually before me” (Psalm 16:8). David chose to be close to God and for that he was confident of his life and eternal future. He then draws deep and prophesies the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: “Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay” (Psalm 16:10).
THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES
Closer proximity to the Lord means a greater understanding of His heart. David saw and heard things in the Spirit that few did. His understanding of the Messiah went far beyond the limited perception of David’s times. This lack was arguably worse in the Lord’s time and the decades preceding His arrival. Though the last Hebrew prophet—Malachi—left the scene in the early 400s BC and there was thus no prophetic word by which to gauge the times preceding the Lord, a few had nonetheless received an inkling of what was up, as seeing “through a glass, darkly” (1Corinthians 13:12).
How was this knowledge gained? It certainly wasn’t through mental perception but by an exhaustive study of the Scriptures, and primarily of course, the prophetic content. There was much to choose from.
The Essenes, out by the Dead Sea, proponents of the Zadok priesthood, had initially separated themselves unto the desert in roughly 200 BC after discovering proofs that the existing temple priests were illegitimate. We have their collected works, the illustrious Dead Sea Scrolls, the first few of which were discovered in the late 1940s, that testify of the Messianic track they were on. The members of this Hebrew sect, and undoubtedly other obscure and unknown individuals, understood the times far better than the major denominations—the Pharisees and Sadducees. The “unlearned and ignorant” Galileans were on the cutting edge in this regard.
THE SON OF DAVID
29 “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, 31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY. 32 This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.”
In continuing to drive home his point, Peter, like David, exceeds the common perception of the Messiah. He is attempting here to shed full light to whoever can hear it that the King of kings is far more than a mere military leader or future national figurehead. He quotes Psalm 132:11:
The LORD has sworn to David a truth from which He will not turn back: “Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne.”
Many Bible expositors miss his point entirely as did the Jewish religious leaders of that time. Any mention of David’s son sitting on his thrown is often attributed to Solomon. But this man never fulfilled the many requirements of the position. The prophets referred to an everlasting kingdom led by a King who would rise from the dead.
Why did the learned men of the times not discern this otherwise clear prophetic content? How did they miss it? Why could they not see that the Messiah is God?
—They never witnessed nor believed in the Lord’s resurrection.
© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Please note that the use of all caps in the NASB denotes Old Testament passages occurring in the New Testament.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Posted on May 7, 2020, in Teaching and tagged Apostle Peter, Biblical Prophecy, Essenes, King David, Lord Jesus, Messiah, Psalms, Resurrection, The Prophetic Word, The Signs Of The Times. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
I finally had some uninterrupted time to read this. I knew I would need to be able to concentrate, and I didn’t want to miss anything!
It is always exciting to me when archeologists find proof like the Tel Dan Inscription. There are SO many tangible proofs of what the Bible teaches, and more will appear in God’s timing.
Sometimes, other believers will ask me how I can support Mr. Trump in the upcoming election. He was often an ungodly man, immoral, obviously not a believer. I always refer back to David, who was often an ungodly man, immoral, his behavior casting doubt on a relationship with God. And yet. God can use anyone, anywhere, at any time, to further His own program. Do I approve of Donald Trump, the man? Probably not. But America needs a strong leader now, and he is a strong leader. Still standing after four years of constant, relentless efforts to destroy him.
Well, you didn’t intend this to be a political post :). And of course, that is not the most important feature of it. But to me, the parallels are fascinating.
Thanks for the comment Linda. It is always problematic when the Lord has work to accomplish, but has chosen to work with and through people. There is obviously no shortage of those who consider themselves ultra-qualified.
Regarding the person in question, one might consider the alternative as a reason to support him. It’s been a very long time since Presidents had much to do with actually running the country in the way it was first put forth. Also, it is impossible to get elected President without being selected before being elected, by extremely powerful cabals intent on using the office for personal gain. There is nothing to be done about that now in these times. As someone recently said, the President is on top driving a double-decker bus but his foot doesn’t reach the gas pedal. One thing that can happen is a change of heart after election. This would be a miracle, of course, whoever the President may be.
The difference between David and his predecessor Saul is that Saul was a tall distinguished man, taller and more handsome than everybody else. He was the perfect choice for sinful, rebellious people who rejected their actual King. Though a good guy and spiritually anointed in the beginning, he eventually went bad, in that he fell for all the adulation and broke under the pressure of attempting to stand in God’s place.
David on the other hand was not even considered a viable candidate among his own family or by his own father. Nobody really wanted him or considered him the least bit qualified. This is what made him most qualified, not because he was a perfect guy by any means, but that there was a greater chance the Lord could use him. He ended up having his very good moments and was often greatly used of God regardless of his failures. We have his many writings to this day. He actually saw the Messiah, in the Spirit, somewhat like Moses did.
So it is perfectly understandable for the apostle Peter to recognize David for his contribution. He was a direct ancestor of the Lord, and it is only the Lord Jesus who is ultimately referred to as “The Son of David” regarding the prophecy from a thousand years before.
We must recognize that even with a pure commitment to the Lord Jesus, with the infilling of His Holy Spirit, and with a good longtime track record, we are still imperfect human beings. The Lord manages somehow to use us anyway. Humility is a key. Those who get humble and stay humble allow for being used of the Lord for His work and glory.
Blessings to you.
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