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In Acts xiii. 23, this great truth is confirmed by the Apostle Paul, when he addressed the Jews in the Synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia, for there he says: “Of this man's seed (David's) hath God, according to his promise, raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus.” Although Jesus was thus publicly spoken of as the seed of David, and though subsequently a good deal of opposition was excited against him as the Messiah, yet it does not appear
any doubt was entertained respecting his descent from David ; and even the opposition to him as the true Messiah was not general, for according to ver. 43, “ When the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas : who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.”
The testimony of a man like the Apostle Paul, who was himself a Pharisee, and well versed in all the laws and customs of the Jews, is certainly very valuable, and ought to carry some weight. He not only preached Christ publicly to be the Son of David, but declared it also in his writings, which were widely circulated among Jews and Gentiles, and form part of the writings of the New Testament.
In Rom. i. 1-4, he writes thus: “ Paul, a
servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an Apostle, separated unto the gospel of God (which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures), concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made 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.”
And in 2 Tim. ii. 8, he says: Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel." In all these cases the Apostle Paul, in order to describe Christ as the Son of David, uses the strongest language that can be employed to express his true lineage. And because David was of the tribe of Juda, he also speaks of it as the tribe to which Jesus belonged, with the same clearness and decision, when he says, Heb. vii. 14, “ For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.”
In Rev. xxii. 16, the Apostle John testifies of the same fact in the words of Jesus himself, when he saw him in a vision, and received from him the revelation contained in that book. His words are as follows: “I Jesus have sent my angel to testify these things in the churches. I am the root and THE OFFSPRING of David, and the bright and morning star.” Hence it appears
that what Jesus claimed before his death, he also claimed after his resurrection, to be both the Lord of David and the Son of David. And this is in perfect harmony with the Old Testament, where according to Isa. xi. 1, the Messiah is to be a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and according to ver. 10, he is also the root of Jesse, that is to say, according to his human nature he was to be the offspring or son of Jesse, and according to his divine nature he is his root, or the Lord and Creator of Jesse. Thus the Messiah is both David's Son and David's Lord.
After the foregoing proofs, there can no longer remain
doubt that the New Testament contains many passages in which Jesus is called or represented as the Son of David. We now point out
2. Passages in the New Testament which clearly show his lineal descent to have been from David.
In order to prove this lineal descent from David, it is necessary to show that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a real descendant of David, because here, it is supposed, lies the difficulty, and that there is no evidence to prove Mary to have descended from David. This is particularly
the case with those Jews who open the New Testament, and hastily glance over the first chapter. When they read in the first verse that Jesus is called “the Son of David, the son of Abraham,” and in tracing the genealogy which immediately follows, find that it does not descend to Mary but to Joseph, the husband of Mary, who was only the father of Jesus by marriage, they reject the whole as an unsatisfactory account, and make up their minds that Jesus cannot be proved to be the Son of David. However, although from this genealogy the lineal descent of Christ from David cannot and is not to be proved, yet it has an important bearing upon the question in a legal sense. This will be shown presently, but let us first examine the evidence in the New Testament respecting the lineage of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
1. In the first chapter of the gospel according to St. Luke, an account is given of an angel appearing unto a Jewish virgin, espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and announced to her the astounding fact that by the almighty power of God's Holy Spirit, she should supernaturally conceive and bear a son, and call his name Jesus, and that that son should be the promised Messiah. Although the ex
pression in the 27th verse,“ of the house of David,” may properly belong to the virgin, and would clearly prove her to be of the family of David, yet as this may be disputed, we pass it over and proceed to Luke i. 32, 33, where the angel makes some particular remarks with reference to this son, that should be born of her. He there says,
“He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David : and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Here David is called the father of Jesus. For unto the Son of Mary, God promised to give the throne of his father David. Now as Mary was a virgin, and the child should be conceived through the miraculous power of the Holy Ghost, and without a human father, it is clear that the circumstance of Joseph having espoused or bethrothed her, and becoming her husband after she had conceived supernaturally, could not now have any influence upon what the angel then said, and consequently that David could only be called the father of Jesus because the Virgin Mary was a lineal descendant of David. The passage, understood in this sense, becomes perfectly clear and intelligible, but not when it is