I remember more than a decade ago how I could invest tons of time in personal correspondence, and enjoyed doing so. But as I look at my writing and speaking and debating schedule, I am left with the clear conclusion that those days are long past. And yet the correspondence keeps coming. So about the only way to “redeem the time” (Eph. 5:16) is to try to answer some of the questions sent my way here on the blog so that more than just one person can benefit thereby. So, a correspondent put forward the following form of argumentation:
1) All of Scripture points to Christ
2) Jesus was a Davidic King
3) Davidic kingdoms have certain characteristics, and we must know these characteristics or they are merely frivolous details.
4) Specifically, a Davidic Kingdom has a Prime Minister (Isaiah 22), a Queen Mother (1 Kings 2:19), and a “court of judges” (Deut. 17:8-13).
5) Christ’s kingdom is a Davidic kingdom.
6) The Davidic nature of the kingdom should be seen in the church, and these evidences are seen only in Rome, with a Prime Minister (Matt. 16:19/Isaiah 22:22), the Queen Mother (Rev. 12), and the cournt of interpreters (Matt 18:18/Deut. 17:8-13). “No one else makes these claims, and no one else can.”
I have replied to the use of Isaiah 22:22 in debates starting as early as December, 1990 (vs. Matatics), and in The Roman Catholic Controversy (p. 249). I do not recall if the oft-misused reference to Bathsheba from 1 Kings came up in any of the Marian debates we have done or not. I have some recollection of it at one point. In any case, this is a common form of argument. It is similar in many respects to the kind of extended argumentation used in reference to the Papacy as well, so demonstrating that these dogmatic teachings of Rome do not have logical or biblical basis will be useful to all who seek to present the truths of the gospel to Roman Catholics.
1) There is much truth in the fact that in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and that the summary testimony of Scripture is to Him. However, it does not follow that passages such as the following have to be interpreted Christologically: “At the Parbar on the west [there were] four at the highway and two at the Parbar” (1 Chr. 26:18). Nor does it make this a “frivolous detail” unless it is somehow made Christological. Establishing historical contexts, etc., is part and parcel of the biblical record.
2) Jesus is a Davidic king, in that He is a king from the line of David, to be sure. But that does not mean that His kingdom is modeled after David: David’s imperfect, sinful, often failing kingdom was a poor shadow of a much greater kingdom to be found in Christ. There is no basis for assuming that every aspect of David’s kingdom has to find a direct corresponding aspect in Christ’s; there is much reason to believe Christ’s will be far greater, far fuller, than David’s.
3) The “Davidic Kingdom,” at least as envisioned in this argument, cannot be limited to David’s time, as the argument not only draws from Mosaic elements (the judges from Deuteronomy), but it likewise draws the majority of its materials from post-Davidic incidents: David is dead when Solomon has a throne brought for Bathsheba (1 Kings 2:10-11), and the Shebna/Eliakim incident was long after the days of David as well. Hence, we have a rather free selection of any number of possible “characteristics” that we could demand to find in Christ’s Church. The argument assumes the points enumerated must be paralleled in the Church or they are “frivolous.” There are many problems with such an idea. Who gets to pick these elements? Why is the Shebna/Eliakim office, which is not Davidic or even Solomonic, a key characteristic? Why isn’t the divided kingdom a characteristic? Solomon’s many wives and concubines? Any number of other such incidents in the history of Israel and Judah? The argument would force us to find parallels for dozens and dozens of events/actions in the history of the kings of Israel and Judah that would have no meaningful connection at all to Christ’s Church. Such is simply not a worthwhile form of argumentation, nor does it render the historical account of God’s working with Israel and Judah “frivolous.” [more tomorrow]