Home > Bible Study, J. C. Ryle, King David, S. Lewis Johnson, typology > Typology: David the True King, but Not Yet Reigning

Typology: David the True King, but Not Yet Reigning


Through all my sources of reading and listening, I sometimes forget where I first heard a particular idea: was it something in a Spurgeon sermon I read? Or was it something I heard from S. Lewis Johnson?  Yet a general trend has emerged, that new information builds on what I already know, and then is reinforced when I hear the same idea again from other sources, to aid in remembering, understanding and expressing the concept.

As one example: the typological understanding of David in 1 Samuel, as the king anointed but not yet on the throne, as illustrative of our Lord Jesus who has accomplished the work of redemption, yet like David is not yet reigning on His throne.  Not long ago I first came across this in my reading from J.C. Ryle:

The Lord Jesus during the present dispensation is like David between the time of His anointing and Saul’s death. He has the promise of the kingdom, but He has not yet received the crown and throne (1 Sam. 22:1, 2).

He is followed by a few, and those often neither great nor wise, but they are a faithful people. He is persecuted by His enemies, and oft times driven into the wilderness, and yet His party is never quite destroyed. But He has none of the visible signs of the kingdom at present: no earthly glory, majesty, greatness, obedience. The vast majority of mankind see no beauty in Him: they will not have this man to reign over them. His people are not honored for their Master’s sake: they walk the earth like princes in disguise. His kingdom is not yet come: His will is not yet done on earth excepting by a little flock. It is not the day of His power. The Lord Jesus is biding His time.

This week I listened to S. Lewis Johnson’s “Lessons from the Life of David” series, covering this same chapter, 1 Samuel 22, that J.C. Ryle references.  Here, SLJ  expands on this very issue, with a point-by-point comparison between the life of David at this time (1 Samuel 22) and our Lord Jesus during this present Church age:

1.  Saul, the rejected king, is on the throne.  Satan, the rejected king as a result of his original sin, is still on the throne and very active.

The true king has been anointed and accomplished His work, but He is not yet on the throne.

2.  David, the typical true king, has been divinely called and has been victorious over Goliath.  And so the Lord Jesus has been divinely called by the angel and then has been victorious in his incarnation and in his saving work on Calvary’s Cross, and just as David took Goliath’s head and brought it to Jerusalem, so the Lord Jesus in the words of one of the great expositors, “Has the Giant’s head in his hand and he has carried it to the right hand of the throne of God in token of his ultimate victory.

3.  David, the true king, is persecuted by Saul, the rejected king.  Our Lord Jesus came into our society, was persecuted.  He came to his own, his own received him not.

4.  David, the true king, gathered followers to himself.  He gathered, as our author said, “Those who were in distress, those who were in debt, those who were discontented.”  And so, likewise, in the present day, the Lord Jesus is gathering followers. … So in Saul’s day, David was gathering out followers who formed the people of God.

5.  David’s followers owe their life to him just as the followers of the Lord, Jesus Christ, owe their spiritual life to him.  He is the good shepherd, who lays down his life for the sheep.  He is the one who gives unto them eternal life and they shall never perish.

6.  David’s follower’s descriptions reflect us.  Those in distress came to him.  “Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden,” Jesus said, “Those who are in distress, those who are in debt, and oh, how much we owe and those who are discontented, embittered of soul,” the Hebrew text says it.  The unsaved, incidentally, are always discontented.  If you look back on your life, if you have a day when you came to know the Lord Jesus as your savior, you’ll know as you look at your life, that your life in the past could be characterized, among other things, as discontented.

7.  David’s followers were trained by association with a rejected king.  David’s followers, as you know if you read the Bible, became what Scripture called his mighty men, his mighty men by association with David, his mighty men, they were those who were poor, they were in debt, they were discontented, they were oppressed, but by association with him, his mighty men.  True believing Christians, by association with our Lord, Jesus Christ, become his mighty men.  They’re called “The Sons of the Kingdom.”  And that’s something that God gives to those who associate with him.  Sons of the Kingdom, redeemed by him and, ultimately, even if we fail miserably in this life, ultimately, we shall rule and reign with him, as the Book of Revelation says, upon the earth.

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