Author: Ron Graham
Although David's name is written only ten times in all the book of Isaiah, his memory was highly honoured in Isaiah's time. King David had established the throne in Jerusalem almost three centuries earlier. He was the patriarch and hero of Jerusalem’s royal family.
This lesson observes the third and fourth of seven attributes "of David" mentioned in Isaiah, and what they signify for us.
The kingship of Christ is combined with his high priesthood. Just as the throne of David had foreshadowed Christ’s kingship, the "tabernacle of David" symbolised Christ’s priesthood (Hebrews 9:1-15).
The word "tabernacle" means a temporary or portable dwelling such as a tent. The house of worship in David's time was still a tabernacle. David wished to build a more substantial house for God, but God would not let him. It was David’s son who built the great temple to replace the tabernacle (1Chronicles 17:1-12). In Isaiah’s time this great temple dominated Jerusalem. Even in Isaiah’s prophecies and heavenly visions "the house of the Lord" was a temple (Isaiah 2:2-3, 6:1-4). Isaiah sorrowfully foretells the destruction of this temple (Isaiah 64:8-12).
Likewise, centuries later in the time of Christ, Jerusalem boasted a brand new temple. The disciples of Jesus admired it, yet Jesus told them to see those beautiful buildings as something destined for complete destruction (Matthew 24:1-3).
By building a glorious temple, man is liable to patronise God rather than being humble before him. Through Isaiah the Lord points this out most clearly (Isaiah 66:1-2).
As a symbol of Christ's priesthood, the "tabernacle of David" is more fitting than any of the temples. For Christ "humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (Philippians 2:5-8). By this he "offered one sacrifice for sins for all time" (Hebrews 10:9-12).
The Hebrew writer, after describing the tabernacle, says, "Christ did not enter a holy place made by human hands, a copy of the true one, rather he entered heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us" (Hebrews 9:24).
Isaiah 22:9, 29:1
It was David himself who called Jerusalem or Zion "the city of David" after he had taken the city from the Jebusites (2Samuel 5:4-12). There he made his home, there he set his throne, and to there he transported the ark of the covenant and set up the tabernacle. There he built a great capital for his kingdom. In Isaiah's time Jerusalem was still the capital of Judah and the seat of the royal house of David.
A century after Isaiah’s time Jerusalem was destroyed. On its ashes and rubble a new city was painfully rebuilt. Forty years after the time of Christ the city was destroyed again. Yet today it stands as a great and special city upon the earth.
The earthly city of David is merely a symbol of the heavenly Jerusalem, the true and eternal city of God where all true followers of Christ will dwell forever (Galatians 4:26, Hebrews 12:22, Revelation 3:12, Revelation 21:2).
Jesus was referring to this heavenly city when he said, "In My Father’s house are many mansions... I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:1-6). He has gone ahead of us to the new Jerusalem, "the city which has foundations of which God is the builder and architect" (Hebrews 11:10,16).