Pentecost: Based Upon Christ’s Work Part 9 of 13
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
Sepulchers were commonly located outside the walls of cities and beyond the limits of villages. The custom of burying in towns was not commonly practiced. This was true of other ancient societies as well as the Hebrews, and is still followed in eastern countries, except in the case of kings and very distinguished men, whose ashes are permitted to remain within the walls of a city. Scripture contains some examples of prominent men who were laid to rest inside city walls:
• 1 Samuel 28:3 (NKJV) “Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had lamented for him and buried him in Ramah, in his own city…”
• 2 Kings 21:18 (KJV) “And Manasseh slept with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza…”
• 2 Chron 16:14 (NKJV) “They buried him ASA in his own tomb, which he had made for himself in the City of David…”
• 2 Kings 14:20 (NKJV) “Then they brought him on horses, and he was buried at Jerusalem with his fathers in the City of David.” The sepulchers of the Hebrew kings were on Mount Zion (2 Chronicles 21:20, 24:25, 28:27, 32:33, 24:16, 2 Kings 14:20).
• 1 Kings 2:10 (KJV) “So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.” David was buried in the city of David, with his fathers, on mount Zion, where he built a city called by his name—“Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David)” (2 Sam 5:7; NKJV).
It is not known today what the tombs of the kings looked like. It is almost certain, though, that they would have been built in a grand manner. The tombs were commonly carved out of solid rock, or adapted from natural caves; and large sepulchers cut out of the solid rock are known to have existed. The following account of the tomb called "the sepulcher of the kings" is condensed from an article by Maundrell: "The approach is through an entrance cut out of a solid rock, which admits you into an open court about forty paces square, cut down into the rock. On the south side is a portico nine paces long and four broad, hewn likewise out of the solid rock. At the end of the portico is the descent to the sepulchers. The descent is into a room about seven or eight yards square, cut out of the natural rock. From this room, there are passages into six more, all of the same fabric with the first. In every one of these rooms, except the first, were coffins placed in niches in the sides of the chamber," etc. (Maundrell's Travels, p. 76.). If the tombs of the kings were of this form, it is clear that they required a great deal of labor and expense. It was probably the practice then as it is now to erect expensive and impressive monuments to the memory of the great and powerful.
It is clear from the writings of Josephus (Antiq., b. vii., c. xv., 3.), that the sepulcher of David was well known and honoured—"He (David) was buried by his son Solomon in Jerusalem with great magnificence, and with all the other funeral pomps with which kings used to be buried. Moreover, he had immense wealth buried with him: for a thousand and three hundred years afterward, Hyrcanus, the high priest, when he was besieged by Antiochus, and was desirous of giving him money to raise the siege, opened one room of David's sepulchre, and took out three thousand talents. Herod, many years afterward, opened another room, and took away a great deal of money," etc. The tomb of a monarch like David would be well known and honored by the Jews. Peter might, then, confidently appeal to their own belief and knowledge, that David had not been raised from the dead. That no Jew believed it is apparent from their care of his sepulcher, and by the honor with which they regarded his grave; instead, they believed his body had decayed and returned to the earth. The Psalm, therefore, could not apply to him.
Apparently, Peter was standing in the temple area. He could point his finger to the sepulcher of David at the top of Mount Zion. He is saying, “It is obvious that David wasn’t speaking about himself because his bones are right up there on the top of the hill. His grave is there; his body did undergo corruption. He is not speaking of himself but of Someone whom you and I know, Someone who did not see corruption but was raised from the dead.”
30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
Therefore being a prophet,
It is clear from scripture that David was a prophet and was inspired by the Spirit of God—“The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue” (2 Sam 23:2; NKJV). This clearly shows that all the excellent wisdom, beautiful language, and striking prophetic imagery, which the Psalms of David contain, were due, not to his superior natural talents or acquired knowledge, but to the influences and dictates of God's Spirit.
David was dead and buried, and it was clear that he could not have referred to himself when he made this remarkable declaration in the sixteenth Psalm. It followed that he must have made reference to someone else. He spoke as a prophet of God about a future event. Many of the prophecies relating to the Messiah are found in the Psalms of David (See Psalms 22:1; Matthew 27:46; Luke 24:44; Psalms 22:18, compare to Matthew 27:35; Psalms 69:21, compare to Matthew 27:34, 48; Psalms 69:26, compare to Acts 1:20.).
and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him,
It is said, “The LORD swore an oath to David, a pledge never to be broken: “Your own offspring I will set upon your throne” (Ps. 132.11; NABWRNT). When our Lord Jesus was born the angel Gabriel had a message for His mother, Mary: “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David” (Lk. 1.32; NKJV). God had promised to David that Christ would sit on his throne (See 2 Sam 7:11-16; Psa 89:3, 4, 35, 37.). The places where it speaks of God having sworn to David are found in the following verses (In addition to Ps. 132.11.):
• “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah” (Psalms 89:3-4; KJV).
• “Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me” (Psalms 89:35-36; KJV).
The promise to which reference is made in all these places is in 2 Samuel 7:11-16. “As since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house. And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.”
All Israel knew that the Messiah was to be the Son of David; but only according to the flesh, he would be so by his human nature; on the other hand, according to the spirit, and by his divine nature, he would be David’s Lord, not his son. And since God had sworn to David that the Messiah, promised to his fathers, would be his son and successor, the fruit of his loins, and heir to his throne, he kept it in view when he wrote his psalms.
that of the fruit of his loins,
David knew that the Messiah would be THE FRUIT OF HIS LOINS; that God had sworn to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne. Therefore, Christ being the fruit of his loins, and consequently in his loins when he wrote that psalm (similar to how Levi is said to be in Abraham’s loins when he paid tithes to Melchizedek), if what he said is not applicable to himself (and Peter has shown that it is not), we must conclude it points to that Son of his that was then in his loins, in whom his family and kingdom were to have their perfection and perpetuity; and therefore, when he says that his soul should not be left in Hades, nor his flesh see corruption, without a shred of doubt he must be understood to speak of the resurrection of Christ (v. 31). And we are witnesses that Christ died, and that he rose again, according to the scriptures.
according to the flesh,
ACCORDING TO THE FLESH means so far as the human nature of the Messiah was concerned, he would be descended from David. Expressions like these are very remarkable. If the Messiah was only a man, they would be meaningless. They are never used in connection with a mere man; and they imply that the speaker or writer thought the Messiah had a nature which was not according to the flesh. It is clear from what he wrote to the Roman Church that the Apostle Paul recognized the human and divine natures of Christ: “Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1.3, 4; NKJV). He is of the seed (the sperm) of David, according to the flesh. This is the humanity of Jesus. He is virgin–born because He is declared the Son of God with power.