"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.VI No.V Pg.2
December 1943

"Are Prophetic Speculations Merely Non-Essential?"

Peter, Paul, and James, with all the force and emphasis that inspired language can give, declare that prophecies concerning David's throne have been fulfilled in Christ. On this point the teaching of the apostles is very definite.

Peter declared on Pentecost that the prophecy of David that God would set One on his (David's) throne (Ps. 132:11) was fulfilled when Christ was raised from the dead and exalted at God's right hand (Acts 2:29-33).

Paul declared in his address in Antioch of Pisidia that God's promise through Isaac to "give you the sure blessings of David" (Isa. 55:3) was fulfilled in Christ. Hear him: "And we bring you good tidings of the promise made unto our fathers, that God hath fulfilled the same unto our children, in that he raised up Jesus; as also it is written in the second Psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And as concerning that he raised him from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he hath spoken on this wise, I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David. Because he saith also in another psalm, Thou wilt not give thy Holy One to see corruption. For David after he had in his own generation served the counsel of God, fell asleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: but he whom God raised up saw no corruption. Be it known unto you therefore, brethren, that through this man is proclaimed unto you the remission of sins." (Acts 13:32-38)

The fulfillment of these prophecies, according to both Paul and Peter, was complete in the resurrection and exaltation of Christ. Peter's "therefore" in Acts 2:33 makes the exaltation of Christ and his sitting on David's throne identical. And Paul's "therefore" in Acts 13:37 likewise marks the fulfillment of the prophecies he had cited regarding "the sure blessings of David."

James with equal clarity and finality declared in his speech before the conference at Jerusalem that the prophecies concerning the "tabernacle of David" had been fulfilled. Hear him: "Brethren, hearken unto me: Simon hath rehearsed how first God visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After these things I will return, and I will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: that the residue of men may seek after the Lord, and the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who maketh these things known from of old." (Acts 15:14-18).

Peter connected the fulfillment of David's prophecy that God would set One of his (David's) throne with the resurrection and exaltation of Christ. Paul connected the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy on the "sure blessings of David" with the resurrection of Christ and remission of sins, and declared that "God hath fulfilled the same." James connects the prophecies concerning the setting up of the tabernacle of David with the establishment of the church and the admission of the Gentiles into it, and based his decision regarding the Gentiles at Antioch upon this fact.

What is the difference between the throne of David, the sure blessings of David, and the tabernacle of David? Will anybody venture to say that these three things are different things and not one and the same thing? According to Paul, Peter, and James, all of these Davidic promises have been fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ, the establishment of his church, or kingdom, and in the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles as well as the Jews.

(1) According to the argument of James in Acts 15: 1417, God would "build again the tabernacle of David" and "set it up," that the residue of men may seek after the Lord, and the Gentiles, upon whom his name was called. If the tabernacle of David has not been built, or set up, the residue of men cannot seek after the Lord and the Gentiles cannot have the name of Christ called upon them nor receive salvation through his name. This is one consequence.

(2) If the tabernacle of David is not to be set up until the second coming of the Lord, since the residue of men cannot seek after the Lord, nor the Gentiles receive the gospel, until it is set up, it follows that the residue of men may seek after the Lord, and that salvation will be offered to the Gentiles, after the second coming of Christ. In what essential respect does this differ from the plain old Russellite doctrine of a second chance to be saved? Why should Gentiles be concerned about salvation at all now? And why should the gospel be preached to them?

James understood that the Gentiles had a right to the blessings of salvation and used this prophecy to prove it. Therefore, James understood that this prophecy had been fulfilled and that the tabernacle of David had been set up. To deny it is to deny the Gentiles, including our fathers and mothers who died in the faith, the blessings of the gospel. These speculative theories are not, therefore, merely nonessential. They strike at the fundamentals of the gospel. They are vital. Followed to their logical and legitimate end, they rob the Gentile world today of Christ. Will our speculative brethren accept this consequence? They will not. But it is there just the same, and they will have to do one of three things: Accept the logical end of their theory and quit preaching the gospel to the Gentiles; or abandon their speculative and foolish teaching concerning the future reign of Christ on David's throne in Palestine; or, doing neither of these, just remain inconsistent. Let us hope they will eventually abandon their false teaching, lay aside their homespun theories, and content themselves, like Paul and the rest of us, "not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified."