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Insight #81 — 2 Samuel 7: Double OR Extended Fulfillment?

A couple of Insight readers have asked about Nathan’s prophecy to David found in 2 Samuel 7:4-17. Doesn’t that have a double fulfillment, first in Solomon and later in Jesus? Excellent question.

Numerous Old Testament texts point to Solomon as the fulfillment. The clearest may be 1 Chronicles 28:6, where God says to David: “Solomon your son, he shall build my house and my courts: for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father.” Thus Solomon definitely fulfills the part about building the house as well as the part about the Father and son relationship.

Another vital element of the prophecy is that God would “establish the throne of his kingdom for ever” (2 Samuel 7:13). This promise is repeated various times in the Old Testament. Psalm 89 is most outstanding. There God promises that if any descendents of David disobey Him, they will be punished, but “once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before me” (verses 29-37).

Clearly this part of the prophecy has its final fulfillment in Jesus. But is this “double fulfillment”? When God promised that David’s kingdom, through Solomon, would be established forever, that included the full line of David from Solomon to Jesus. This is why Matthew begins: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David.” The New Testament is filled with statements about Jesus fulfilling this part of the prophecy. See, for example, Acts 2:29,30. But this is not “double fulfillment.” Rather it is a prophecy that covers a great deal of history–all the way from David to the Messiah. David himself exclaimed to God: “you have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come” (2 Samuel 7:19). This is not a “double fulfillment.” Rather it is an “extended fulfillment,” a fulfillment that covers centuries.