David’s greater son – A Jewish perspective on the dual nature of the Messiah

Part 1: Ruler of the Kingdom of Israel

The faith of ancient Israel started with one man – Abraham – and his family. That family then grew to a tribe, and ultimately to a people. As that people found a homeland in Canaan, they began to organize themselves as a nation. The nation needed a governing leader: a king.

The people demanded their own king in their own way, without submitting to the will of God. This brought about a kingdom which had a wrong base of power and authority – and, the wrong king. That first human-based monarchy, under King Saul, was doomed to failure. Yet the idea of a kingdom and a king for the nation of Israel was the original plan of scriptures from before the creation of the world (see Matthew 25:34).

David’s Kingdom Government

This kingdom started with God’s choice, King David. There was tension and war for many years between the “politically” based kingdom of Saul and the “spiritually” based kingdom of David. Ultimately David’s kingdom gained the upper hand, and the first stage of God’s pre-destined monarchy became established. God promised David that his kingdom and his throne would last forever (II Samuel 7:13-17; Psalm 89:3-4, 19-20).

The concept of an eternal and divinely sanctioned empire centered in Jerusalem became a central axis of faith in ancient Israel.  It is the foundation of what we refer to today as “the kingdom of God.” This ideal kingdom was to be led by an ideal king. He would embody the perfect values of this perfect society.  This divinely “anointed” king was referred to as the Messiah or Mashiach (meaning anointed one in Hebrew). This Messiah was pictured as David’s ‘greater’ son.

The starting point of the New Covenant is that Yeshua is the Son of David, and His kingdom a continuance of David’s kingdom (Matthew 1:1). This connection between David and Yeshua is essential. The Messianic kingdom was promised to David and his seed. If Yeshua is not connected to David, then He cannot be the Messiah. Jewish people tend to have difficulty seeing David’s kingdom continuing forward into Yeshua, while Christians have difficulty seeing Yeshua’s kingdom connected back historically to David.

Isaiah’s Kingdom Vision

Although David was a righteous and inspired man of God, he was not perfect and could not fulfill all the requirements for the perfect Messiah. There was some hope that his son Solomon would rise to that ideal perfection of the Messiah, but he eventually fell into even more sin than his father.

While the hope for the messianic king and kingdom was preserved within the nation of Israel, the kingdom and its kings were plagued with continual problems. Some of the prophets of Israel (such as Elijah) began to confront the people with their sin, while other prophets (such as Isaiah) saw a new and improved kingdom on a higher spiritual level. Isaiah 2 portrays a world of international peace and spiritual revival with its capital at Jerusalem.

Isaiah saw not only a spiritual improvement of David’s kingdom, but also a special king who would lead that kingdom. This king would be called Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14; 8:8), Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). This special “Son” would not do away with David’s kingdom, but rather extend and improve it.  “Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice” (Isaiah 9:7).

Isaiah saw this messianic king as David’s son, yet more than David’s son.

There shall come forth a rod from the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots” (Isaiah 11:1).  Isaiah reveals that he is a physical descendant of David.

The spirit of the Lord will rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2).

Isaiah reveals that he will have a supernatural anointing, as yet unknown to any man at that time.

So God first gave a basic kingdom government to David. Then through Isaiah, God prophesied additional, spiritual dimensions for that kingdom and its king; David’s greater son.

This article originally appeared on Tikkun International, May 5, 2019, and reposted with permission.