Image of the True Son of David

The Son of David, The Son of God

The Qur’an does not speak much of Solomon. It sees him as a Prophet of God who possessed great power (Surah 2:102), to whom great understanding and wisdom had been given so that he could judge righteously (Surah 21:79), for whom the wind did obeisance and a molten brass flowed (Surah 34:12), and who prayed that a kingdom which should be his eternally, should be given to him (Surah 38:35). The only lengthy passage devoted to Solomon sees him as a great ruler who had been taught the speech of birds so that he could even hold a conversation with a hoopoe, who had a host of jinns (ordinary spirits, most of whom were demons, but some believers) doing service to him. It also has a somewhat disjointed account of his meeting with the Queen of Sheba. No biography of Solomon, such as we find in the Bible, can possibly be derived from these passages and we are left with a somewhat incoherent account of his life and leadership.

In witnessing to Muslims we need not compare this deficient record with the very well ordered account of his life in the Bible. We could go into some detail to show how his forty-year rule over Israel developed but we would be doing no more than to fill in the gaps. There is one supreme role that he played that we are interested in, and that we would want to commend to Muslims, and that is his foreshadowing of the eternal kingdom of the greater Son of David to come, namely Jesus Christ.

The Old Testament contains one particular passage that the religious leaders and, indeed, the whole nation of Israel in coming generations, believed to be a prophecy of a great Messianic figure to come who would reign over the house of David for ever. David, the greatest of the prophet-kings of Israel, determined one day to build a majestic temple for the God of Israel, a house for his ark to dwell in, so that the nation would honour him as their sole Lord and Deliverer. God told his servant Nathan in return to remind David that he had never asked for a temple built of cedar to dwell in (1 Chronicles 17:5), but, he declared, he would build a house in return for him. This is what he specifically promised:

When your days are fulfilled to go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son; I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom for ever and his throne shall be established for ever. 1 Chronicles 17:11-14

For forty years after David’s death Solomon ruled over the house of Israel in peace. Israel, for this brief period, became the strongest nation in the region. Even her enemies were at peace with her. It was a time of unparalleled prosperity and the nation’s security seemed assured. God’s covenant with Israel finally seemed established. Yet, before his death, Solomon took many foreign wives and allowed the nation to become corrupted with pagan practices. On his death Israel split into two rival groups, Israel and Judah, under Jeroboam and Rehoboam respectively, who warred with each other incessantly. A succession of evil kings led the Israelites into paganism, Baal-worship and degradation until they were taken into exile in Assyria. Judah endured a mixture of righteous and evil kings but eventually, she too became corrupted and was taken into exile in Babylon. The temple of Solomon was destroyed and the land lay desolate. The nation knew that Solomon, although bearing many of the marks of the promised Son to come, could not have been the true Son of David who was promised. The nation looked to an eternal ruler still to come whom they named the Messiah, the ultimate Son of David.

When Jesus began his ministry nearly a thousand years later, the nation was eagerly looking for this greater Son of David who would rule over the house of David for ever. Could Jesus be him? (John 7:26) When he entered Jerusalem for the last time before his crucifixion, Jesus engaged in a comprehensive debate with the Jews one day during which they pestered him with many questions. When they were finally exhausted, he asked them just one question in return. The narrative reads:

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, "What do you think of the Christ? Whose son is he?" They said to him, "The son of David." He said to them, "How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying "The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put your enemies under your feet." If David thus calls him Lord, how is he his son?" Matthew 22:41-45

The Jews may have missed the point, but you can make it very effectively with Muslims. God had promised "I will be his Father, and he shall be my Son." Solomon was only a type of the greater Son of David to come who would also be the Son of God. This is why David called him his Lord. Here, a thousand years before he was born, you have proof that the coming Messiah would be the Son of God and that his Father would give him a kingdom and throne to last for ever. This passage strengthens the similar passage we quoted in the last chapter, namely Psalm 89:19-28, where David himself sees the coming of the same Messiah whom he foreshadowed, who would cry to God "You are my Father" and to whom a throne would be given which would last "as the days of the heavens." How could the Messiah be both the Son of David and his Lord, Jesus asked? The answer is given in these words from Jesus himself:

I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star. Revelation 22:16

Here is much material for your witness to Muslims. Being descended from David, Jesus was his offspring, but being his Lord from all eternity, he was also his root. This explains the role of Solomon as a type of the Son of God. He ruled over a kingdom that was undisturbed in its peace and prosperity for forty years. In this he foreshadowed the eternal rule of the Son of God to come. Solomon was a type of the Son of God.

The Second Coming: Christ in His Glory

There is still more to this than first meets the eye. Solomon was not only a type of the Christ, the greater Son of David, the Son of God to come. He also prefigures the second coming of Jesus, and that in a very clearly defined context. The first verse of the New Testament reveals this context:

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Matthew 1:1

We have already seen how Isaac, the son of the great patriarch Abraham, prefigured the first coming of Jesus. His unique birth, his sacrifice, and his father’s belief that he would be raised from the ashes, foreshadowed the life of Jesus to come, in his first coming to earth. Solomon represents the second coming of Jesus, especially in his role as the undisputed king of Israel in an undisturbed period of Israel’s history, indeed its highest point. Son of the great patriarch David, he prefigures the glorious reign of Jesus to come when he will rule unchallenged over the house of God for ever. You can use the following comparisons to make the point to Muslims:

1. Solomon’s reign was one of undisturbed peace

At no other time did Israel enjoy such peace and prosperity as it did in the days of Solomon. This verse emphasises this precious period in the nation’s history:

And Judah and Israel dwelt in safety, from Dan even to Beersheba, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, all the days of Solomon. 1 Kings 4:25

The eternal reign of Jesus will also be one of lasting peace. "Death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4).

2. Even Israel’s enemies were at peace with her

When Hiram, the king of Tyre, heard that Solomon reigned over the nation of Israel in place of his father David, he sent his servants to him in peace, for he had loved David. Solomon reminded him that God had promised his father David that his son would build a house for his name, so he requested Hiram to command that the choicest cedars of Lebanon should be cut down for the temple he was about to build (1 Kings 5:1-6). Hiram responded gladly and gave him all the cedar and cypress timber that he required. "And there was peace between Hiram and Solomon; and the two of them made a treaty" (1 Kings 5:12).

The forty-year reign in complete peace and the building of the house of God by David’s son represents the eternal reign of peace that Jesus will bring when he, the Son of God, rules over the house of God for ever. These verses express this theme perfectly:

He shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. Zechariah 9:10

Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end. Isaiah 9:7

3. Solomon’s temple represents the eternal kingdom

Before his throne Solomon made a molten sea. It was round and stood on twelve oxen, three facing each direction (east, west, north and south). Its thickness was a handbreadth, yet it held two thousand baths (1 Kings 7:23-26). John, in his vision of the eternal kingdom, saw a similar picture:

And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with the harps of God in their hands. Revelation 15:2

4. Solomon drew the worshippers toward Jerusalem

When his temple was completed Solomon prayed to God that wherever his people might be, even caught in their sins and carried away captive by their enemies to a foreign land, they might turn towards the temple and be remembered by God:

If they repent with all their mind and with all their heart in the land of their enemies, who carried them captive, and pray to you toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, the city which you have chosen, and the house which I have built for your name; then hear in heaven, your dwelling place, their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause, and forgive your people who have sinned against you. 1 Kings 8:48-50

Jesus expressed much the same longing and concern when he cried out over the same temple mount in Jerusalem, "How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate" (Matthew 23:37-38).

5. The glory of Solomon’s rule

Solomon eventually excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. "And the whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom which God had put into his mind. Every one of them brought his present, articles of silver and gold, garments, myrrh, spices, horses and mules, so much year by year" (1 Kings 10:23-25).

Speaking of himself, Jesus said, "The queen of the south came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here" (Matthew 12:42). When he returns at his second coming he will introduce a kingdom with unparalleled splendour. "The kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it ... they shall bring into it the glory and honour of the nations" (Revelation 21:24,26). The walls of the kingdom will be built of jasper while the city will be pure gold, clear as glass. Its foundations will be adorned with every jewel: jasper, sapphire, agate, emerald, onyx, carnelian, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth and amethyst (Revelation 21:19-20).

Solomon’s temple and kingdom were a type of the glory of Jesus to come when, at his second coming, he will introduce his eternal kingdom in all its glory and splendour, over which he will reign for ever and ever. You have much rich material here for witness to Muslims. Yet another great prophet of God, named in the Qur’an, can be called as a witness to the glory of the Christian Gospel.

Sharing the Gospel with Muslims [Table of Contents]
Materials by John Gilchrist
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