Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, raised from the dead according to my gospel
-2 Timothy 2:8
This verse has long puzzled me. Let me explain. Second Timothy is Paul's last epistle. It closes out the Word of God (not the last prophecy, but the final revelation). In Paul's seven post-Acts epistles, "seed of David" is only used this one time. A similar phrase, "Son of David" is never used post-Acts. So the question arises: why, at the end of his ministry in the current age, does he use this earthly reference to the Lord?
"Son of David" is used 17 times in the New Testament. 15 times of the Lord, one time each for Joseph and Nathan. It is used exclusively in the Gospel accounts (Matthew 10; Mark 3; Luke 4). It is exclusive to Israel. The Greek canon starts with the phrase in the Kingdom Gospel of Matthew. It is in Matthew in which the Lord restricts the preaching of the Kingdom to Israel alone (Matt 10:5-7) and states that he was sent to no one, but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt 5:24). We have looked at these thoughts in previous studies.
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham
We've noted in other studies the use of "Son of David" by the Canaanite woman (Gentile) in Matthew 15:22, and how the Lord ignores her request. We noted that this is because the promises connected to the kingdom (healing being the one she was seeking for her daughter) were not promised to Gentiles. But when she pleads with him as "Lord" only (not as "Son of David") and takes her place beneath the "children" (Israel), the Lord answers her plea (Matthew 15:23-28).
The name "David" appears some 56 times in the New Testament, but only once post-Acts. The name "Abraham" appears around 70 times, yet not once in Paul's seven post-Acts epistles. These names are connected to the promises of the land and the kingdom to the descendants of these men. The lack of references post-Acts makes sense as the land and the Kingdom promises are not in sight. That plan was put on hold. Israel was temporarily set aside. The hope of Paul's post-Acts epistles is the "far above the heavens." Unsearchable riches from the risen and ascended Lord who sits at the right hand of the Father in the far above the heavens (Ephesians).
So, why this one reference to David in 2 Timothy 2?
I believe the answer can be found in the context of the passage surrounding its use. While our hope is in the "far above the heavens," our daily lives are lived here below. In the context of suffering here, our Apostle asks us to "remember" the Lord in his patience and endurance while in the flesh.
Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect [chosen ones], that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
This is a faithful saying:
For if we died with Him,
We shall also live with Him.
If we endure,
We shall also reign with Him.
If we deny Him,
He also will deny us.
If we are faithless,
He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself.
Let's pause and pull out the word "obtain" from our passage. This is not a section dealing with the free gift of life through his name by grace alone. We have as our scope the attaining of that which is beyond the gift. A gift is never "attained." Just one example:
If by any means I may attain unto the out-resurrection, out from among the dead.
To qualify for the crowns, rewards, or the prize of the high calling, we are called on to suffer for the Lord. In our look at those who are "the enemies of the cross of Christ" in Philippians 3, we noted these are believers. They are not our enemies. They are not the enemies of Christ. They are the enemies of the "cross of Christ," that is, the sacrificial life of suffering when one seeks to do God's will.
We've noted in several studies how the great faith chapter from the Acts Age in Hebrews 11 speaks of those who, by faith, sought a "better resurrection" and "a city whose builder and maker is God."
That they might obtain a better resurrection.-Hebrews11:35
In 2 Timothy, Paul is instructing Timothy to pass on the truths of this age to faithful men. Defending the scripture and the revelation given to the Apostle Paul alone will come with rejection and suffering. Ony truly "faithful men" will suffer in the flesh while having an eye on the blessings in heavenly places.
You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
-2 Timothy 2:1-3
The word translated "endure hardness" (Greek: kakopathéō) is also translated "suffer trouble" and "endure afflictions" elsewhere. This is the call on our lives in this world. This section of 2 Timothy is all about living in the world while not being part of the world. We have no hope here.
Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
-2 Timothy 2:14-15
We must "rightly divide the Word of Truth" as we walk this earth. When we do so, we will be rejected of men, both in the world and in professing Christendom.
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor.
-2 Timothy 2:20
All of God's own have the free gift of life through his name by grace alone, but not all will be found honorable. As we seek to lead an honorable life, we look to the Son of David in the flesh who endured hardship and shunned all temptations of the world system. It is in this context that Paul introduces this lonely phrase. Let us find strength in his strength to endure suffering and walk uprightly.
Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
-2 Timothy 2:21-26
Other words of note: