Posted in types/anti-types

Types, Anti-Types, and the Offspring (Seed) of David: Jesus Christ the last Adam

The Roles of the Different Types

I have taken a long time to get here, I know, but I have finally arrived at a point in my discussion where I can begin to offer a general compare and contrast between David and Jesus.

In my last post (read here), which I called a precursor to the offspring (seed) of David I laid out an explanation of sorts for the protoevangelium (the first peek at the gospel of God) as disclosed in Genesis 3:15. This verse offers a promised conflict and conclusion between the war that was first waged in the garden long ago.

Types and Anti-Types…

If you read my endnotes you will already have a general idea what “type” and “anti-type” means. However, not everyone reads them. So, I will give a quick explanation of them and their use in Scripture. A type is perhaps easiest to understand in the sense of a shadow or a reflection. This ought to sound familiar to us if we are aware of what it means to be created in God’s image. To be an image bearer means to reflect or to shadow the image being represented. Therefore, a biblical type is an example of something else—imperfectly so. Types reflect or shadow the image they represent to a certain degree without perfection. They can be objects, persons or things. What they reflect or shadow or the image they represent is called the “anti-type.”

Anti-type does not mean what you may think it does. As soon as we see the prefix “anti” in English we tend to assume something negative since the term can mean “oppose” or “against.”[i] That is understandable given words like anticoagulant (against-clotting), antiacademic (opposed to academics), antibug (against bugs), antiauthority (opposed to authority), etc.

That being said we derive our understanding of “anti” from the Greek which means “instead of, for, in behalf of.”[ii] In this way then the “anti-type” is seen as the actual replacement of the type which was portrayed earlier in revelation.

In Light of Adam and the Serpent…

Our earthly father Adam was a type of what was to come (see Rom 5.14), in that he represented his offspring after him. Adam the rebel brought forth rebels—in his image—because of the curse of sin and death he ushered in. From his seed he produced sinners. At first glance all seems lost, but in Genesis 3:15 God promises they are not.

The serpent in the garden narrative was also a type of what was to come; or rather, the type that was, but was not seen. Thus, the serpent (type) imaged Satan (anti-type), the “Father of lies” and “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8.44-45). The hostility it showed to the woman (Eve—the mother of all living) in deceiving her to eat the forbidden fruit in order to kill her would continue through the two representative types (offspring of the woman and serpent; Gen 3.15), until the end.

The final conflict would be fought between the two anti-types of whom the offspring of the serpent and the woman represented. Christ Jesus is the anti-type of the seed of the woman, of whom godly men and women, products of grace, essentially mirrored. Whereas, Satan is the anti-type of the seed of the serpent, of whom ungodly men and women, born of Adam’s corruption, essentially mirrored.

In Light of David and Jesus…

Of David it was said by the Lord God, “I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my own heart, who will do all my will” (Acts 13.22; cf. 1Sam 13.14; 15.28; 16.13). It was David the Psalmist[iii], the shepherd[iv], the warrior king[v], the prophet[vi] and priest[vii] that we find a type of Christ to come. To have a heart for God, to desire to do all that God commanded, this is what God singled out as pleasing to Him.

Perhaps it is unknown or believers do not give it much thought, but what is true of David here as a type of Christ in that he loved God and wanted to be obedient—i.e., a man after God’s own heart—is actually true of all believers.

Of the line of Judah, we find a comparison between the good and bad kings (leaders of the people). If a king was good, doing right in the eyes of the Lord he was compared to walking in the steps of David (e.g., Jehoshaphat—2Chr 17.3-6; Hezekiah—2Kgs 18.3-5; Josiah—2Kgs 23.25). If he was a bad king, the opposite was said of him (e.g. 1Kgs 15.3).

God promised through Moses that if a person “will seek the Lord your God…you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut 4.29; Also see: Isa 55.6-7). Bear in mind these are pleas from the Lord for the people who are covenanted to Him to abandon their whoredom. To stop chasing after false gods in rebellion against Him, refusing to obey what He has spoken. Some attempt to apply such passages to only Israel, and while we must admit contextually it most certainly applied to them first, it was not limited to them. The whole earth is the Lord’s, and His call has gone out to the ends of it seeking a people who will acknowledge and obey Him. This too we find in Solomon’s prayer of dedication, which includes the foreigner as well (cf. 1Kgs 8.41).

The point being, that God’s people demonstrate a heart for God, and a love for His Word. God promises the repentant that He will, “give…shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding” (Jer 3.15). David was surely such a man, who though like the rest of Adam’s race was tormented by sin knew that God’s grace sufficiently covered all iniquity. This David desired to teach others:

“Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise” (Psa 51.14-15).

And while some may deny that these words are David’s, the heartfelt sentiments are surely his:

“I will speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame, for I find my delight in your commandments which I love” (Psa 119.46-47).

What David desired as an image bearer of God (the true meaning of having a heart after God’s own) was to obey His voice, which is better than sacrifice (1Sam 15.22; Eccl 5.1).  The folly of Cain, a son of Adam, is that his heart desired the exact opposite; which is what set him apart from his brother Abel.

And yet, in Christ Jesus we are told of a blood more precious than Abel’s sacrifice of devotion (Heb 12.24). Peter explains that “Christ also suffered…leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1Pet 2.21). He loved God the Father and His Word so much that He too declared the truth before sinners and kings, and sent out His disciples to continue the work.

How Does Jesus compare with David?

David as King was chosen to lead God’s people in God’s ways. The responsibility of leadership is to lead in truth, down the correct path, in order to teach people to live righteously. Now Jesus made the claim, audacious to some, that He is “the way, the truth, and the Life” (John 14.6). He swore that if anyone wanted to see life, to walk in the right steps, to know the truth correctly then they must come through Him. He alone is access to God.

David, though his desire and motivations were sincere, they were divided. What Paul speaks of in Romans 7 of a divided nature is true for every genuine believer: past, present, and future. Bear in mind, it is not natural to want to seek God and serve Him. What is natural is to walk in the steps of Cain, the offspring of the serpent. There is a reason why the Holy Spirit says that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1John 5.19). Thus, the need for grace in every age.

Where David failed Jesus of Nazareth, his offspring, did not. Of the seed of David, it is said that His enemies shall be a footstool for his feet (Psa 110.1). In order to be a footstool, something must be above you, therefore David’s offspring is above His enemies. Which also means, he possesses or exercises dominion over them (Gen 22.17; Gen 1.26-28; Psa 2.8; Matt 28.18). In a word He crushes the heads of His enemies under His feet (Gen 3.15).

When God compared David to Saul, He said that David was the better man (1Sam 15.28). Contextually, this statement by God was in reference to obedience, something Saul failed (refused) to do. Jesus made a similar claim in Matthew 5 when he said, “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5.20). What sort of righteous standard was Jesus speaking of? Perfect obedience.

“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly father is perfect” (Matt 5.48).

This was not a new standard but an old one. To be perfect like God means to be holy like God (Lev 20.26). This is our charge from the very beginning. Adam was created for obedience. True obedience is an act of faith where you take God at His Word and act faithfully regarding it. Without this faith, you cannot please God. What is the measure of this faithfulness, this holy perfection you may ask? Obedience to the Torah (Law; instruction) of our Creator, which is the foundation from which Jesus makes the claims in Matthew 5 that I have already cited above (see Matt 5:17-19).

The Seriousness of Christ

How serious was Jesus about obeying God the Father? For starters, He treated it as a chief and necessary desire (by comparing it to food):

“My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work” (John 4.34). When the old serpent Satan tried to tempt him from this standard in a weakened state the Lord replied, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matt 4.4; cf. Deut 8.1-3). In other words, it is impossible to live apart from the Word of God. In His word we find truth, life and the way that we should go.

John 5…

To draw this discussion to a close I turn the reader’s attention to one last portion of Scripture, the 5th chapter of John’s Gospel.

Jesus’ desire was to be perfect as His heavenly Father is. He explained several times during His ministry that He came to speak and act on the Father’s behalf (see John 6.39; 8.28; 10.30-33; 12.49). These things that He did and said bothered many, for they found in them clear claims of deity: “Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5.18).

Now it’s possible you’ve heard it said that Jesus never identified himself as God. The statement is inaccurate. It is true Jesus did not say, “I am God!” to the gathered crowds. However, this does not mean He never identified himself as such.

Why were the Jews angry with Him? Well, for starters He refused to follow their traditions. He worked on the Sabbath, healing and doing good. If that wasn’t bad enough, He called God His Father.

The Scriptures teach that God created six days and rested on the seventh. The seventh day He made holy. That is to say, He set it apart as a day of rest (refreshment, enjoyment and worship). God didn’t need to rest, but He set one day aside during the week for His creatures so that they might rest. The Sabbath was a gift given to mankind. It is true that God commanded no work on the Sabbath, and when He called out Israel from Egypt, He instituted punishments for violating it but that was to train the people in the way they ought to go. Since sinners do not appreciate, respect, or listen to things they ought to do, unless they are disciplined to do so.

Jesus is working on the Sabbath, and the Jews are like “What do you think you are doing? Do you not know what is written? Don’t know you know what today is? Who do you think you are, to do whatever you wish?”

Jesus’ response is that what He is doing is exactly what the Father is doing. “My father is working until now, and I am working” (John 5.17). This infuriates His audience. And so, Jesus continues,

“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise” (John 5.19).

**Let’s do a little observational reading here and breakdown the Lord’s words above.

“I can do nothing on my own.” In other words, I am not acting solo here. I’m not acting on my own authority independently, but on the authority of another dependently.

“The Son [of God] …does…only what he sees the Father doing.” In other words, it is not my will being enacted, but the will of the Father. I am mirroring God. I am doing God’s will. I am witnessing what He would have me do, and I do it.

“For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” Which means what precisely? That the Son is perfect like His Heavenly Father is perfect. That the Son images the Father without fault. There is no error in Him. What God does, Jesus does. What Jesus does, God does. What the Father wills, the Son wills. What the Son wills, the Father wills.

Jesus tells the Jews that they marvel because of what He is now doing and saying. He heals a lame man on the Sabbath (John 5.11, 14), and says He does exactly what He sees the Father doing, and if that is not enough: “greater works than these will [the Father] show [the Son], so that you may marvel” (John 5.20; italics added).

The Father raises the dead, so too the Son for the life that God the Father has, the Son has as well (John 5.21, 24-26, 28). The Father is the Judge, and yet has deferred judgment to the Son (John 5.22, 27, 29-30). Why? So, “that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father” (John 5.23). Who shares equal honor with God? Who retains the right to enjoy honor supposed to be given to the Father? The Son—Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.

Why Jesus is the Anti-Type

This is why Jesus is rightly called the anti-type, the seed of the woman, the seed of Abraham, the seed of David. He is the perfect image of God, being God manifested in flesh. He demonstrated dominion over all aspects of creation (in heaven and earth) through various signs, but the greatest of which is His victory over death and sin and the Devil who bred them.

The place of the crucifixion has a fitting name, it is called Golgotha. Which, means “the place of the skull” (Matt 27.33; Mark 15.22; John 19.17). The protoevangelium states that the promised seed of the woman would crush the serpents head. Obviously, the language is figurative but has a real-life application.

In the garden, Satan (the serpent) murdered the first man by deceiving his wife getting him to doubt God’s Word. The second (or last) Adam first entered the wilderness where the enemy had encamped. He fought the first battle and was victorious, and for the next three and a half years He continued winning ground. He did this because He was a man after God’s own heart, and He is better than all other men because He was in all things obedient to the Word of God. He proved this in the garden where He prayed:

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22.42).

“What was Jesus attempting to accomplish at that moment?” you may wonder.

“Now is the judgment of this world…” Jesus says, “now will the ruler of this world be cast out…because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 12.31; 16.11).

The writing on the wall appeared, so to speak, when Jesus in His last breath exclaimed, “It is finished!” (John 19.30). What was finished? The crushing of the serpent’s head. The victory promised in the beginning was accomplished over 2,000 years ago. But you say, “What about all this evil? That cannot be! How can Christ have defeated Satan, the seed of the woman triumphing over the seed of the serpent, if there is still all this wickedness?”

You ever smashed a snake’s head? Perhaps, you’ve gone the other route and cut it off. Either way you know that even though a death blow has been delivered the serpent still squirms, still opens its mouth as it is in its death throes. Satan, for all his movement in this world is in his death throes. He’s been defeated. He’s lost the war. Since he is the father of lies, it makes sense that he deceives himself into believing it’s not over yet. The problem we face is whether or not we are going to take him at his word, or believe what God has already spoken:

“But thanks be to God who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ…lead[ing] us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere…For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1Cor 15.57; 2Cor 2.14; 1John 5.4).[viii]


ENDNOTES:

[i] “Anti,” s.v. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition.

[ii] Warren C. Trenchard, Complete Vocabulary Guide to the Greek New Testament, Rev. Ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 14. Also see: Friedrich Bushel, “anti,” in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 10 vols., ed. Gerhard Kittle and trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), 1:372.

[iii] 2Sam 23:1. Not to mention the many psalms attributed to him in the book of Psalms. E.g. Psa 19.

[iv] 1Sam 16.19; 17.15. “He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds” (Psa 78.70).

[v] 1Sam 18.5-7; 2Sam 8.10; 19.9. “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle” (Psa 144.1).

[vi] Acts 2:25-31.

[vii] 1Chron 21.19-28. This does not mean that David took on the priestly role in a formal setting. There was a separation between ecclesiastical offices and civil. The Levitical priesthood occupied the former and the line of Judah the other. However, David take on a priestly role in intervening for the people, building and altar unto the Lord and offering sacrifices there. Whether or not those how accomplished the proceedings were Levitical priests at the time is not my point, it is the role of intercessor that David makes on behalf of the people and on behalf of his own sin that I am referring to. In the same sense then, Solomon’s dedication prayer for the temple, while done as king was performed in the role of intercession on behalf of God’s people domestic and foreign in a priestly manner.

[viii] I understand and am fully aware of the different contexts in which these texts are used, but the points in them are sound in illustrating the truth as it stands in the finished work of Christ Jesus.

Posted in Jesus Christ

Offspring (Seed) of David: Part III, Luke’s Genealogy

Both Matthew and Luke present to their readers a genealogical record of Jesus’ lineage. In the last post on this subject (Offspring (Seed) of David: Part II, Matthew’s Genealogy) we focused on Matthew’s emphasis in tying Jesus to Abraham and David. This time around we are going to look into Luke’s emphasis and see what we might learn from it.

Why does Luke point from Jesus to Adam?

“Okay, why does Luke’s genealogy differ in that it points to Adam, rather than Abraham or David?” you ask. Great question.

I think that one reason is related to Luke’s audience. Jesus is not just the savior of the Jews, but to the Gentiles as well. There are many passages in the Old Testament (Tanakh) that reveal God’s willingness and provision for those people who are not physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (e.g. Isa 65). The whole earth is God’s, so it makes sense that He would include the means to deliver others from their sin. As it is written:

“He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1John 2.2).

Therefore, one would expect to find this gospel hope in the beginning…

Quick look at Luke’s Genealogy…

Luke’s genealogical record follows immediately after the acts of John the Baptist at the Jordan River. He is baptizing the people, calling for repentance and a turning towards the rule of God. Thus, he preached the gospel of God, pointing his audience to God’s Anointed (Luke 3.16-17). While at the same time denying the charge of the people that he (John the Baptist) was the Messiah (Luke 3.15).

The Baptist also highlights a truth contained in the whole canon of Scripture which is for various reasons overlooked. Earthly status and outward behavior do not save a person from God’s judgment; rather salvation is an act of God’s grace (Luke 3.8-9). Demonstrated in the hearts of believer’s via faith; a gift of the Lord (Luke 3.10-14).

After these things, Luke finds it appropriate to record the family line of Jesus through Joseph, his supposed father (Luke 3.23). Again, the thrust of this “family tree” is in tracing Jesus’ roots all the way back to the beginning. If salvation (deliverance from sin and separation from God) is that which truly belongs to the Lord, then it makes sense that this would have been appropriated by God from the beginning…not the end. Therefore, Luke ends Jesus’ genealogical heritage as follows: “Jesus…the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God” (Luke 3.38).

Commonalities shared between Jesus and Adam

Son of God…

There are a couple of points that we need to hit on here. The first being that both Adam and Jesus are unique in that they alone are identified as the “son of God.” This is tied to the biblical understanding of supernatural creation. Both Adam and Jesus were formed by unnatural means. God formed Adam from the dust of the earth, and God formed Jesus in the womb of Mary. The Holy Spirit is seen hovering over both instances as this is a work of God and not anything else (cf. Gen 1.2; Matt 1.18, 20; Luke 1.27-28). The emphasis on Adam, the first man, and the emphasis on Jesus, the last man is that they are unique in terms of their entrance into the world (1Cor 15.45-49; cf. Rom 5.14).

Dominion Authority…

Due to their created status they were given specific authority in how they functioned and ruled in this world. Both Adam and Jesus were given dominion over the earth and over its creatures (cf. Gen 1.26-28; Matt 28.18; Luke 4.32, 36; 5.24; 9.1; 10.19; John 5.27; 10.18). This was due to their status as God’s image bearers. An image is a shadow or a reflection (a mirror) of that, which it images. Both Adam and Jesus were given instruction to exercise dominion in a godly fashion; reflecting God’s thoughts and therefore actions into daily activity.

Being fruitful…

As such they also served as representatives for their offspring. In the beginning God commanded Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Why? Besides children being a blessing from God, offspring serve another purpose. What is it? To follow in the steps of their father. Adam and Jesus were to follow in the steps of their heavenly Father as His image bearers. In the same way, their offspring after them was to follow in the steps of their father.

(NOTE: I am using the term “father” here as a functional word, which I shall explain in a few moments; so, please bear with me.)

Scripture speaks of offspring in the following manner:

“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate” (Psa 127.4-5).

An arrow is a weapon. A child is to be trained up in the ways of the Heavenly Father by their earthly father, so that when they grow old, they will not depart far from His ways (cf. Prov 22.6; Deut 6.7; 11.19). The offspring mirror their fathers.

Now you may question my use of “father” in applying it to Jesus. Understandable since we normally do not speak of Him in this light, but God in His Word does:

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forever more.” (Isa 9.6-7).

If we are able to bear it, Adam was given authority to rule because he was designated a king (vice-regent) over creation, and his offspring were to walk in his steps after him. Similarly, Jesus was given authority as the Son of God to rule because he was designated a king over creation, and his offspring are to walk in his steps after him.

Differences Between Adam and Jesus

Son of God…Dominion Authority…Being Fruitful

Rather than treat his categories separately, I am going to tie them all together into one cogent thought. A son is supposed to be like his father. A son is supposed to rule, to govern, to exercise dominion like his father. A son is supposed to be fruitful to carry on his name, his heritage.

Adam rebelled against God in the garden. He disregarded God’s instruction and refuse to mimic his heavenly Father’s ways. Therefore, the free exercise of his dominion is unjust, unrighteous, and the ways of peace he, nor his offspring after him have not known.

Jesus on the other hand was obedient in the garden: “not my will be done, but thine.” He regarded God’s instruction and refused to depart from His Word or His Ways (Matt 4.4; John 5.19; 12.49). Therefore, the free exercise of his dominion was just, righteous, and the ways of peace he made known, freely giving it to his offspring (Luke 23.41; John 14.27. 1Pet 1.19).

One Final Observation…

There is one final commonality that Jesus and Adam shared when their first entered creation, and with it comes one marked difference. In the beginning when God created Adam, He made the first man upright, which is to say without sin. Now for some of you this may be a bit confusing, especially if you assume that “sin” is always just an action rather than a state of being.

Notice the difference between these biblical statements:

“See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes” (Eccl 7.29).

The phrase “God made man upright” speaks of status. It was the original state of “uprightness” that our forefather Adam found himself made in, in the beginning. Before the fall we would write the following sentence: Man is upright. However, after his rebellion we are told that he was placed in a different state.

“For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous” (Rom 5.19; italics added).

Here we see the similar phrase, but in the negative state: “…the many were made sinners.” This speaks of status, not action with “made” being the operable word. Why were “the many made sinners?” Because of Adam’s rebellion. The offspring became like their father (i.e., their representative head). Pay attention to the second half of the verse though, for it is equally important. Those found in the man Jesus Christ (i.e., his offspring) will inherit a different state of being. They will be made “righteous,” or upright.

Back to Luke’s Genealogy

Luke’s emphasis differs from that of Matthew’s primarily in the lineage that he traces ancestry from. For Matthew the focus while predominantly on Abraham and David, did settle on Jesus’ earthly father Joseph, whose own dad was Jacob (Matt 1.16). Luke goes the other route, he begins with Mary’s lineage by identifying her father Heli as the father-in-law of Joseph her betrothed: “Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli” (Luke 3.23).

Why is this important? It really goes back to the conception of Jesus. As has already been noted Jesus, like Adam, is of supernatural birth. It was the action of God that brought both of these individuals about.

Importance of the Virgin Birth…

Some argue the importance of the virgin birth in different ways. Theologically, it is of primary importance, because of the doctrine of sin. All natural-born children of Adam are born in the state of sin; we are sinners. The only way to remedy this is for one to come untouched by sin. A lamb in the Tanakh (O.T.) had to be a year old and without spot or blemish. God was very serious about this regulation; anything less was viewed very harshly by Him (see Mal 1.6-2.3).

John the Baptist identifies Jesus as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1.29, 36). Not possible if Jesus is a direct descendant of Adam (i.e., natural birth). Thus, we are told that “the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together [as husband and wife] she was found with child from the Holy Spirit” (Matt 1.18). Of course, that sounds very strange to our ears. Children are the product of sexual union between opposite genders (male and female).

The first time Mary heard it she was a bit puzzled as well. She said, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1.34). In other words, “how can I have a baby if I haven’t been with a man?” “The angel answered here, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God” (Luke 1.35; italics added).

You catch that? The status—state of being—of Mary’s child will be holy (i.e., upright).

Upright Status…

Jesus is not from the seed of Adam, but rather from the seed of the woman (Gen 3.15). Adam was made upright, but in rebellion became a sinner. The result was that all of his offspring became sinners and followed in the paths of their father (i.e., sin). However, with the virgin birth we have a distinction provided between Adam and Jesus. Like Adam, Jesus was likewise made upright (i.e., holy) and therefore without sin. Therefore, it is rightly said that Jesus is the son of man and the son of God.

More will be said on this in the future, but for today I would like to wrap up with the following food for thought.

Of David it was that he was “a man after God’s own heart” (1Sam 13.14; Acts 13.22). However, in Jesus of Nazareth, we have one revealed as “the man after God’s own heart.” Unlike David or Abraham or even Adam—though Jesus is the true offspring of each—Jesus never strayed from the Father’s will. Of him it was said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matt 3.17). And because He so perfectly imaged God we are told to “…listen to Him” (Mark 9.7).

To Him, we are told to bow the knee (Php 2.9-10). To Him, we are told to confess “Lord and Savior” (Luke 2.11; cf. Isa 45.21; Hos 13.4). To Him we are told to image, and in His image we—who confess Him and believe—are being conformed (comp. 1 John 2.6; Rom 8.29).

Next time this subject is visited we shall see in what ways David, as God’s man, shadowed Christ Jesus to come…


Image by <a href="http://Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay“>Gordon Johnson

Posted in Jesus Christ

Offspring (Seed) of David: Part II, Matthew’s Genealogy

Jesus was (is) called the son of David on numerous occasions, and not once did he rebuke or correct the statement, but enjoyed the application to himself. As he made his “way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest’” (Luke 19.37-38).

At that moment, as the people were praising Jesus identifying him as David’s son “some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples’” (Luke 19.39). He refused. Rather he responded, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out” (Luke 19.40). As I explained last time (Offspring (Seed) of David: Part 1), Jesus’ authority is derived from his sonship as He is the rightful heir of a great kingdom.

From this point we could choose to go in one of two directions. I will choose the earthly route before I double back to the heavenly one. Although, it should be said you cannot divide the earthly aspects of Jesus lineage from His heavenly one. But for the sake of explanation we shall try.

It was foretold by Nathan the prophet that David would have a member of his house (his seed) that would sit on the throne of an eternal kingdom (cf. 2Sam 7.12-14). Nathan is not the only prophet that spoke of this future son of David, there were others. (NOTE: This is not an exhaustive list).

  • Isaiah proclaimed, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his root shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord” (Isa 11.1-3a).
  • Jeremiah likewise said, “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness…And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the Lord of hosts that I will break his yoke from off your neck, and I will burst your bonds, and foreigners shall no more make a servant of him. But they shall serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them’” (Jer 30.5-6).
  • Amos foretold, “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old” (Amos 9.11).
  • Hosea declared, “Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days” (Hos 3.5).
  • Ezekiel explained, “I [the Lord God] will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep. And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord; I have spoken” (Ezek 34.22-24).

Each one of these passages point to the one rightly identified as the son of David. In a future post, we shall investigate some of the meaning behind these prophetic texts, and how we see their fulfillment in the New Testament canon of Scripture. For now, though we turn to the breaking of a 400-year period of silence between the time of Malachi and John the Baptist. We shall begin to look at the beginning of the Gospel According to Matthew, and Luke.

The Genealogical Significance: Part I

Both Matthew and Luke’s gospel’s have genealogies in them that trace the line of Jesus back in history to his forebearers (cf. Matt 1.1-17; Luke 3.23-38). Though these are the passages that put many professing believers to sleep, they are of paramount importance to the student of Scripture. Both gospels are written by two different authors to two different audiences. Matthew is writing primarily to Jews, whereas, Luke is writing primarily to Gentiles. Both gospels highlight Jesus’ claim to kingship through the Davidic line (cf. Luke 3.31-32). Matthew’s differs in that his focus is on Abraham and David (Matt 1.1). Luke’s on the other hand goes all the way back to Adam (Luke 3.38).

Why do these two gospel writers focus on different individuals? What is the significance?

Quick look at Matthew’s Genealogy…

Matthew starts his genealogical record with the following declaration: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matt 1.1).  Matthew’s highlighting Abraham and David point the reader to Jesus as the true offspring (i.e., seed) of these men. Why is this important? Because of what God promised to/through them.

To father Abraham, God said:

“I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice” (Gen 22.17-18; emphasis added).

To David, I have already noted what God has spoken about his offspring above. So instead, lets listen to David’s own testimony regarding what God has promised (cf. 2Sam 7.12-14):

“Great salvation [God] brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his offspring forever” (2Sam 22.51; emphasis added; cf. Psa 18.50).

God promised to both Abraham and David that they would have an heir (offspring; seed) that would be the heir to the promise, through whom the promise of God would flow. In Abraham’s case, his seed would be a blessing to all nations (people) of the earth. Likewise, David was promised that his heir (offspring; seed) would receive an everlasting kingdom. In both prophetic passages (Gen 22.17-18; 2Sam 7.12-14) the heir apparent would receive a kingdom.

This truth is clearer to the reader of 2Sam 7 passage, but perhaps not so much in Gen 22:17-18. The key to the reader of the Genesis 22 passage is found in the phrase “…possess the gate of his enemies….” To own the gate of one’s enemies means that even your enemies are subservient to you, as gate can be symbolic of the leadership of the people in question (e.g. Deut 21.9; 22.15; 25.7; Josh 20.4; Ruth 4.11). Only one with authority that supersedes the elders at the gate, could hope to own them.

Matthew in giving the genealogy of Jesus, ties these prophetic passages to the Lord. Jesus attributes passages like these (cf. Gen 22 & 2Sam 7), along with the many that I quoted earlier in this article to himself when being interrogated by Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor at that time, in terms of his kingship and kingdom.[i]

Pontius Pilate: “Are you the King of the Jews?” (John 18.33).

Jesus of Nazareth: “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” (John 18.34).

Pontius Pilate: “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” (John 18.35).

Jesus of Nazareth: “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world” (John 18.36).

Pontius Pilate: “So you are a king?” (John 18.37a)

Jesus of Nazareth: “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice” (John 18.37b; emphasis added).

Thus, if we look to what was recorded earlier with the disciples and the people and the children crying out to Him; as “Hosanna to the son of David” (Matt 21.15; cf. Mark 11.9-10; Luke 19.37-38; John 12.13) we find the reason why Jesus refused to rebuke them, claiming that if such as these were silent the very stones would cry out (Luke 19.40).

**This looks as good as a place as any to hit the brakes. In this post we have looked at Matthew’s genealogical record that points Jesus of Nazareth to Abraham and David, as the rightful heir (inheritor) of God’s promise to/through them. We have focused primarily on the earthly aspects of the Lord’s lineage. Next time we shall look at Luke’s genealogical record of Jesus, the son of David (Luke 3.31), the son of Abraham (Luke 3.34), the son of Adam (Luke 3.38) joining together the earthly and heavenly lineage hinted at earlier in this article.

To be continued…

[i] This does not mean that Jesus quotes them to Pilate, but rather the truths that they reveal—the son of David, the son of Abraham is the rightful king of an eternal kingdom—are foundational to what he acknowledges before Pilate.

Posted in Jesus Christ

Offspring (Seed) of David: Part 1

Over the last few weeks, we have been looking at the lives of Saul and David, kings of Israel. but now I would like to turn our attention to the life of Jesus.

Quick Note to the Reader:

Originally, I had thought to cover this in one post. However, as I began writing I noticed that attempting to limit the content I wanted to share would not do. In a short time, I had more material than I could ever hope to cover adequately in one article. Rather than tediously draw the reader in only to make them stare at a screen for a lengthy period of time, I have decided to cut my main body of writing into shorter sections (pleasant news to my wife to be sure!).

So, if you find that I have seemingly stopped at a point that you think I could have said more please be patient. My desire is to draw each section into a smoothly flowing narrative. How far this will go on, I can’t be sure, but I am hoping that this subject will be thoroughly handled to the best of my ability.

To be frank, I am somewhat baffled by professing Christians that do not spend much time in the writings of the older canon of Scripture (O.T., Tanakh). How can you understand the “red letter” portions of your Bible, if you are not grounded in the foundation from which those writings grew from? Well, perhaps I can aide you somewhat in learning of the rich treasure trove that you have at your disposal. If you would only mine through it like silver and gold and precious gems, you would find that the depths of wealth God has given you is fathomless.

Back to the issue…

So, as I was saying earlier, I want to turn our attention to David and Jesus. In particular, I want to see how the two (David and Jesus) comport with one another. We also want to ask the question: On what grounds do we find the Son of David (Jesus) accomplishing what his earthly ancestor (king David) could not?

There is no question that David was a holy man of God. Not holy in and of himself, but holy in the sense of what God had graciously done for him. David had a heart after the Lord’s own heart, because David’s heart had been circumcised by God (cf. Deut 30.6). The Spirit quickened David in such a way that God’s will—both in knowing and in fulfilling—were desirous to him (Psa 63.1). He loved God, he loved God’s Word, and as a result he loved his neighbor. All of these are definite expressions of fulfillment of God’s law; a matter of the heart.

Now the question that might be raised to challenge what has been said thus far is: “How could he truly love God and desire to be in step with God’s will (heart/mind) if he sinned in the manner that he did? In other words, there are instances in the life of David that seem to indicate that his motives and intentions were the exact opposite of a man who loved God’s heart.

Salvation Belongs to the Lord…

The short answer is found in the fact that “Salvation belongs to the Lord” (Psa 3.8; Jon 2.9; Isa 43.11), not to the activities of the person. Examples of God’s saving grace abound in the early pages of Scripture, not just the later ones. We see that Noah found the favor of the Lord God (Gen 6.8) in a generation that was violently wicked towards God’s will (Gen 6.5). Abraham (then known as Abram) was living in the land of Ur, across the great river (Euphrates), as a pagan when God called him out (Josh 24.2; Gen 12.1). Moses was a pride filled murderer when he stumbled upon a burning bush on the side of a mountain (Exod 2.11, 3.1-4).

Each time grace was found, but not because these individuals were looking for it (cf. Psa 53.2-4). Noah did not find God’ favor under a rock, no more than Abram found it across the river, nor Moses in a bush. Their own desire and intention did not lead them to God, but because God desired to reveal Himself to them, they received His grace (i.e., favor; see Isa 65.1-2).

Each one of these men demonstrated that they too had a heart for the Lord, but we can see moments of failure on their part because they were sinners. Just like the rest of humanity. Salvation is all of grace because salvation is all of God in that He does what we cannot do for ourselves.

In fact, the greatest evidence of this truth is found in the beginning, in the garden. Adam and Eve did not run to God for mercy. They did not seek His forgiveness for the atrocious crime they committed, but made every effort to hide from the face of the Lord (Gen 3.7-8). His calling them out, His confronting them in their sin and delving out punishment was tempered in the fact that He showed them kindness when they did not seek it (Gen 3.9, 11, 14-19). By covering them with animal skins, the Lord God demonstrated what is necessary in order for people to be saved (Gen 3.21). The giver of life gave a life so that they might live. And while it is true, they were cast from the garden, driven from the tree of life, the sacrifice on their behalf was an arrow pointing straight towards the source of salvation their Creator.

The Reason for David’s sin…

David, like all of us was born in Adam. He was Adam’s physical heir, just as he was Abraham’s physical heir, just as he was Judah’s physical heir, the son of Jesse. As my grandpa would say, David like the rest of humanity was “cut from the same cloth.” Thus, we should not be surprised to see his life—like the rest of humanity—littered with sin (i.e., lawlessness, unrighteousness, unholiness). Therefore, his desire to serve the Lord with all his heart and to fulfill God’s will in all that he did as a living vessel is not a natural desire, but a spiritual one.

But our focus is not truly on David. He is offered as a type or pattern or shadow of what was to come (on this theme we shall return in a later post).

Now there are many instances in the Bible of such people. Individuals that give us glimpses of what the true image bearer of God is to look like. They offer us a contrast. Just like white placed on a black background helps us see more clearly the beauty of the white image placed over top of it; so too, is the promised Son of David to come. When properly contrasted with the second king of Israel. To David’s heir we now begin to turn…

Through the prophet Nathan, God promised David:

“When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son” (2Sam 7.12-14a; emphasis added).

Jesus, the Son of David…

Who is the Son of David? During his ministry Jesus asked this question of those positioned in Israel as teachers of the Word of God. Experts in all things God-breathed, if you will.

Jesus inquired of those gathered about him:

“What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” (Matt 22.42).

In response to their answer— “the son of David” (v. 42b)—Jesus offers up a follow-up question:

“How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’? If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?”  (Matt 22.43-45; italics added).

That ended the conversation, and no one dared challenge him openly until the night of his trial (Matt 22.46; cf. 26.62-63).

What brought about the confrontation…er um…conversation? The people were identifying Jesus as the son of David, the promised king, the prophet of God as he entered into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt. They were shouting praises of honor and glory to him and to God above (Matt 21.1-11; cf. Mark 11.1-10; Luke 19.36-40; John 12.12-15).

Jesus heads into the temple (Matt 21.12), turns over the money tables because the people have turned His Father’s “house of prayers…[into] a den of robbers” (Matt 21.13; Jer 7.11), and he begins healing “the blind and the lame [that] came to him in the temple” (Matt 21.14; Jer 31.8). As a result, “the children [were] crying out in the temple, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Matt 21.15; Jer 31.9; 33.15). This infuriated the religious leadership and they challenged him: “Do you hear what these are saying?” (Matt 21.16). The very next day, when Jesus enters the temple and starts teaching those same people say to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” (Matt 21.24).

Though many other things are said by Jesus to shut the mouths of his opponents, the answer to where this authority of his is derived is found in his sonship to David. This identifies Him as Lord. Not just any Lord (or king) mind you, but one who is to be seated at the right hand of God (Psa 110; cf. Psa 2).

To be continued…

Posted in Musings

David the Better Man

Today we are going to continue looking into Israel’s history of kings, in particular David and the emphasis that the biblical text put upon him as a standard bearer of sorts. We have already seen in previous posts the differences between Saul (1st king of Israel) and David (2nd king of Israel). As I have already noted I believe that there is a strong case one can make that supports the thesis that Saul was the people’s choice and David was the Lord’s choice as king. When we are diligent and take the time, we find that there are notable differences in character between Saul and David. Which is just another way of saying the distinction between the two men is a matter of the heart; identifying one as a believer and the other as a non-believer.

What do we find looking at Saul?

Saul’s primary concern, appears to be his own self-image; which, continually comes to the forefront in his life’s story in the book of 1Samuel. He worries that the people are not going to follow him, he worries that the people are going to think higher of another, and so he takes great effort on his part to make sure that this does not happen.

  • The armies are about to leave, and so rather than waiting on the priestly prophet of God (Samuel) he steps in and offers sacrifices on his own, which is a clear violation of civil versus ecclesiastical categories (see 1Sam 13.8-14).
  • He enjoys many victories over his enemies, and rather than praise God for those victories acknowledging that it is God who fights and gives the victory, Saul built himself a monument for the people to adore (see 1Sam 15. 12). This is an example of exalting the image of the man instead of exalting the image of God. Saul wants to be the first thing that the people of Israel look to (cf. 1Sam 15.8-9).
  • God appointed him to fight for the people of Israel (1Sam 9.16; 10.1), but resisting to put his own life in the gap for the Lord’s people—acting sacrificially—he offers to pay another to do the deed, and put their life at risk (1Sam 17.25)
  • He desired the people of Israel to fear his word and his judgment rather than God’s as seen in the rash vow he made to his army (1Sam 14.24; 28-33). So full of himself was he that he deemed it righteous to take the life of his own son Jonathan for dare having a bite of honeycomb (1Sam 14.27-30, 45), even though God condemned child sacrifice calling it an abomination (cf. Lev 18.21; 20.3-5). One of many abominations for which the Canaanites were to be expelled from the land (Lev 18.25, 28; 20.22). This is also seen in the slaughtering of 80 of God’s priests, for not bending to his will rather than God’s (1Sam 22).
  • He hated God’s man and wanted to kill him. If this is not apparent in the slaughtering of God’s priests in 1Sam 22, then the time he spent in the later years of his kingship hunting an innocent man—David—ought to make this clear. (This attitude may be seen starting in 1Sam 18.8-9 and then throughout the remainder of his life).
  • His life ends on a sour note that truly defines the totality of his life. He seeks counsel from a witch in Endor (1Sam 28.7), and then when he is defeated in battle, he throws himself on his servants sword out of fear of what will become of him being killed by an uncircumcised Philistine (1Sam 31.4; i.e. an unbeliever), but fear of what God will do with him afterward is not apparent (cf. Matt 10.28).

Now of David it is said that he is “a better man” (1Sam 15.28) than Saul, because unlike Saul, he was “a man after [the Lord’s] own heart” (1Sam 13.14; cf. Acts 13.22).

What do those statements of David mean? Why was he a better man? Why was his heart desirous of the Lord’s own? Was David wiser and more knowledgeable than Saul? If so, then how?

As you can imagine those questions require more than a study of 1Samuel. Some of the differences between Saul and David are highlighted in this historic text, but others are drawn from the rest of Scripture (see: Biblical Doctrines: Purpose of Proof-Texting and Properly Weighing all of Scripture). That is, they are theological conclusions one draws from the larger biblical narrative. Even if we only possessed the writings that David possibly had access to at the time, we would still be able to pull form those resources the underpinnings for why David was wiser and more knowledgeable than Saul, or why he desired the Lord’s heart as if it were his own.

Now, we do not have to limit ourselves to this because we have the completed canon of Scripture. However, I do think it is incumbent upon us to know that the spiritual ideas that are spelled out (perhaps more) clearly in other sections of the Bible due to the nature of progressive revelation are actually first conceived in the earlier portions. I will limit myself to one example, so as not to deter from the argument presented in this article.

David as a better man; a man after God’s heart…

Why is David called a better man? Why is David identified as a man after God’s own heart? Well, we could point to some historical instances that highlight this fact to us. I would imagine that when people think of David there are perhaps two events in his life that set him in our minds. What are they? The one we have spoken about—the killing of Goliath. The other we have not—the adulterous affair with Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite.

When we look at David in 1Sam 17 courageously waging war on the giant and slaying him in battle, the idea of David being a better man might be readily received; especially, if one compares it with the cowardice of Saul (as I have previously done). However, when the events that surround his torrid affair with Bathsheba come to light, it is normal for people to struggle with and question the statement about David being a man after God’s own heart (see 2Sam 11).

**Unless of course you are a militant atheist that rips off a diatribe like Richard Dawkins in the God Delusion. In that case you probably see the God of the Bible (probably O.T.) as a wicked, hateful being who full of wrath at poor little innocent humanity.

What David did with Bathsheba was horrible. Uriah was one of his best soldiers, one of the mighty men of David (1Chro 11.11, 41), who broke bread with his king and fought to protect his liege with his very life. And David stole his wife in a fit of uncontrolled lust. He knocks her up and when he could not get Uriah drunk enough to give up his duty as a soldier in the Lord’s army (2Sam 11.12-13), he secretly orders for the man to be abandoned in the heat of battle on the front lines (2Sam 14-15). Not only is David responsible for the murder of Uriah, but also all those men who were with him caught in the crossfire when Joab pulled back (2Sam 11.16).

How in the world? Understanding the Nature of the Man

“How can that be a man after God’s heart!” you exclaim. “Look at how evil he is at this period in his life! Surely this cannot be a man after God’s own heart!” you cry out in disbelief.  I would agree that at this moment in David’s life he is doing everything but exuding the Name of God in his life. God’s heart of holiness and righteousness and goodness and love is nowhere to be seen in this episode. But sinners’ sin.

David, like the rest of humanity is a sinner. The Bible does not say that he is sinless. If you took the time you would find that this is not the only sin David commits in his life. He has episodes of pride, of doubt which means faithlessness, disobedient to the Word of God on quite a number of occasions some of which we might highlight as examples of a man who does not seem to desire God’s heart at all (e.g. marries multiple women, refuses to discipline his children, leads the nation into sin).

Differences that Make the Distinction…

What marks David as a man after God’s own heart is found in his response to the Lord. He desires to honor God, to magnify His Name above all others. We see this in 1Sam 17, but also in his excited worship before the nation when the ark is being brought into the city of Jerusalem (2Sam 6.12-15). We see it in his love for his enemy, his own father-in-law who sought to take his life and hunted him like a dog for years, but David sought to make peace with him (1Sam 24.8-13; 26.18-24). We see it in his response to the unbeliever who bragged in killing the Lord’s anointed (2Sam 1.1-16). We see it in his desire to build God a temple, as a focal point of worship (2Sam 7.1-2). We see it in his adoption of Saul’s grandson, a cripple who is given seat at the kings table for the remainder of his days and all the land which his family line previously owned (2Sam 9.3-7).

Most important of all, we see it in David’s response to the Word of God. He not only sought it to lead his life (see Psa 19), but also was humbled by it when confronted with his own sin.

When David sinned, he did not make excuses. He did not point the finger at others, for he readily confessed:

“Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight…” (Psa 51.4).

He cried out in his guilt and anguish:

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love, according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!… Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have broken rejoice. Hid your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities” (Psa 51.1-2, 7-10; italics added).

You see, David knew something that Saul did not. He knew it not only through what he had been taught, but also by what he had experienced at the hand of God.

David knew that God is…

“justified in [His] words and blameless in [His] judgment” (Psa 51.4b).

David also knew that God…

“delight[s] in truth in the inward being, and…” He is the one that “teach[es]…wisdom in the secret heart” (Psa 51.6). Because this is what God creates (gives to) in His people “a clean heart…and a steadfast spirit…” (Psa 51.10).

How did David know this? Time to Wrap it up

Because, he knew the Word that God had spoken through Moses. He understood that circumcision, which was a physical sign of the covenant between Abraham’s offspring and the Holy One, Creator of Heavens and earth, was also a spiritual sign. For the cutting off of the flesh was symbolic of what was truly required: “a circumcision of the heart” (Deut 10.16; Jer 4.4). What this means from human experience is that our hearts are to be cut-off from the world and totally devoted to the Lord. Him alone are we commanded to love with all our heart. However, while this is true and necessary, for no one who is uncircumcised in their heart can enter God’s presence (cf. Ezek 44.9), the person who does the heart surgery is none other than the Lord above:

“And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live” (Deut 30.6).

We are not heart surgeons, but we do bear evidence of having had a heart surgery preformed upon us by our Creator, when we act towards him with “a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart” (Psa 51.17). David knew this to be true and he wrote about it. He knew he was not responsible for this change in his inner being (Psa 51.5; cf. Gen 8.21; Job 15.14-16), but he also knew he was responsible for looking to the One who was. This is how God could say that David was a man after His own heart…He gave it to him. The evidence that it was accurate assessment on God’s part is not found in David’s faults as a sinner, but in His response to the Word of God as God’s child.