This article on the incarnation of Jesus Christ, specifically focuses on Jesus Christ as descended of king David.

Source: Clarion, 1999. 3 pages.

Christ's Royal Incarnation

When confessing the doctrine of the conception and birth of our Lord Jesus Christ we have to say with the apostle Paul, “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion: He was manifested in the flesh...” (1 Timothy 3:16). We cannot comprehend with our human minds how it is possible that Christ remains who He was (God) and becomes what He was not (man). Nevertheless, the church upheld this doctrine in her creeds and confessions throughout the centuries. For although the incarnation is incomprehensible it is essential for salvation.

Christ’s Incarnation and Our Creeds🔗

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, “who” as the Nicene Creed puts it, “for us men and our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man.” Article 29 of the Athanasian Creed says it even stronger,

It is necessary, however, to everlasting salvation that he should also believe in the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

According to both the Belgic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism, it is essential that we recognize that Jesus in his conception and birth was in the line of royalty as the true seed of David. Article 18 of the Belgic Confession states,

He is the fruit of the loins of David (Acts 2:30);
born of the seed of David according to the flesh (Romans 1:3);
a fruit of the womb of the virgin Mary (Luke 1:42);
born of woman (Galatians 4:4);
a branch of David (Jeremiah 33:5);
a shoot from the stump of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1)...

Lord’s Day 14 speaks of Christ being born into the world as the “true seed of David.”

The Belgic Confession and Heidelberg Catechism confirm what is recorded in Scripture regarding Christ’s royal incarnation. In this regard we take note of the following:

  • The faithful in Israel lived in the expectation of the coming of the Messiah as the one who would be born as the true seed of David. They knew how the prophets had predicted his royal birth: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given … Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon 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 forevermore” (Isaiah 9:6, 7).

  • Zechariah praised God for keeping his promise to David: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed his people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David...” (Luke 1:68-69).

  • The angel Gabriel informed Mary of the royal incarnation when he said, “He shall be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of his father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:32, 33).

  • The Lord prepared the birth of Christ so that it would take place in the city of David: “And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David...” (Luke 2:4).

  • The angel who announced the Saviour’s birth to the shepherds in the fields of Ephratha said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

Joseph Abdicates the Throne of David🔗

Through Joseph, Jesus has the legal right to claim the throne of David. The angel, who appeared to Joseph in a dream, addressed him as “Joseph, son of David” (Matthew 1:20). He is the legitimate heir to David’s throne. Joseph, however, abdicates the throne of David to his son. As the last one in the royal line of David, he steps aside because the true son of David has come, the crown prince.

The pages of history give us several examples of kings who abdicated the throne to a son or daughter. In such a ceremony the abdicating ruler and his successor would stand side by side on the balcony of the palace. The farewell address was read and the new ruler was presented to the people. The abdicator steps forward and he shouts, “Long live the King. May the King live forever!” He then steps back and disappears from the scene. Once Joseph has fulfilled his task in announcing the name of Jesus he leaves the scene. For the spotlight will be on Jesus Christ who, as the true seed of David, will redeem his people from their sins.

Jesus Christ is born of royal lineage. He is the true seed of David. What separates him from all David’s sons, is that He is born without sin. His rule will not be over one physical nation but his dominion will be from sea to sea (Psalm 72:8).

Born in the City of David’s Birth🔗

The fact that Jesus is born as the true seed of David highlights two things: God is acting in faithfulness to the promises made to David concerning the coming of the Messiah, and, secondly, He is making a whole new beginning with mankind. This is why the Lord God causes his Son to be born in Bethlehem.

The Lord will make a new start in the same city where David was born and anointed to be king over Israel. The great Son of David is born in Bethlehem, but as soon as He begins his earthly ministry He has his face turned toward Jerusalem since in the royal city He will raise the horn of salvation and He will bring peace. Jesus will bring restoration not to the lineage of David but to the people of David through his sacrifice.

The royal incarnation was only the beginning of what Jesus would do as the true seed of David. With royal power and dignity, He will save his people from their sins and heal the rift that exists between the Lord and his people. The title on his cross highlights how He as the true seed of David has the power to save his people from their sins. Pilate unwittingly acknowledges this when he wrote the title, “Jesus of Nazareth the king of the Jews” (John 19:19). On the cross Christ defeats the powers of hell and on the third day rises as our victorious King. As the true seed of David He is given all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:19).

The Results of the Royal Incarnation🔗

As the true seed of David, Jesus fulfils what He started in his incarnation. He reigns as our King having been crowned with honour and glory at the right hand of his heavenly Father. The main item on his program today is to claim citizens for his kingdom. Jesus Christ our Lord, transfers us from the kingdom of darkness and allows us to bathe in the light of his eternal kingdom. Unless Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit He could not make the new beginning as our King. Unless we are born anew we cannot enter the kingdom of Christ.

We believe in Jesus Christ conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary and in the line of royalty. Since He was born in the line of royalty we know that we are on our way to the day when the King will say to all those who are his,

Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.Matthew 25:34

The king born in Bethlehem is presently preparing a place for his people in the New Jerusalem.

This is the significance of the doctrine of Christ’s royal incarnation for today. To worship him as our King we don’t have to go to Bethlehem. He is to be worshipped where his kingdom is being established and the increase of his government is manifest – in the church. Come let us adore our King in the local gathering of his subjects and so await the glorious day of his return.

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