Jesus…born of the seed of David, declared to be the Son of God
We find in the first few verses of Romans, Paul’s introduction of himself; as well as a description of the gospel he is ‘separated’ to – “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1: 1-4)
Paul stated that he was ‘separated’ to the gospel of God. The Greek word used here for separated is ‘aphorizo’, meaning to mark off by bounds or to separate. Paul is referring to how he has been set apart for the work of the Gospel. As a Jewish Pharisee, Paul had been personally dedicated to keeping the law; however, after meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul became dedicated and set apart for the good news of Jesus Christ.
In describing the ‘gospel of God,’ Paul says that it was (1) promised before by God through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, and (2) concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. In describing Jesus Christ, Paul says that (1) He was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and (2) Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
Jesus born of the seed of David
The genealogies of Jesus Christ are found in Matthew 1: 1-17; and in Luke 3: 23-38. The Jewish people had believed for years that the Messiah would be born a descendant of David. The ‘Davidic’ Covenant is found in 2 Samuel 7: 8-17. In these verses, God told David – “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.” (2 Sam. 7: 12-16) The kingdom of Christ is founded on the Davidic Covenant. This covenant promised David posterity in the Davidic house, a throne, and a kingdom that would ultimately last forever. David’s son Solomon was not promised a perpetual seed, but that he would build a house (temple) for God, which he did; and that his authority would endure forever. There was chastisement on the kings that followed David. The kingdom was divided under Rehoboam, and Israel was taken into captivity. Ultimately, Israel had nine dynasties; and Judah had one. Jesus was born of Mary, who was not in Solomon’s line; but from Nathan, another son of David. Joseph was descended through Solomon, and through him the throne legally passed to Jesus. As alluded to in the Davidic Covenant, the throne but not the seed came through Solomon (Scofield 436). Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus is presented through Joseph, Jesus’ legal father; whereas, Luke’s genealogy of Jesus is through Mary (Scofield 1403).
A messianic passage in Isaiah tells us that Jesus would come from the stem of Jesse, who was David’s father – “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11: 1-2) The prophet Jeremiah prophesied – “’Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgement and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.’” (Jeremiah 23: 5-6)
Jesus declared to be the Son of God through His resurrection
No other religion claims that its founder has risen from the dead. W. J. Sparrow-Simpson stated – “If it be asked how the resurrection of Christ is a proof of His being the Son of God, it may be answered, first, because he rose by His own power. He had power to lay down His life, and He had power to take it again, John x.18. This is not inconsistent with the fact taught in so many other passages, that He was raised by the power of the Father, because what the Father does the Son does likewise; creation, and all other external works are ascribed indifferently to the Father, Son, and Spirit. But in the second place, as Christ had openly declared Himself to be the Son of God, His rising from the dead was the seal of God to the truth of that declaration. Had he continued under the power of death, God would thereby have disallowed His claim to be His Son; but as He raised Him from the dead, He publicly acknowledged Him; saying, ‘Thou art My Son, this day have I declared Thee such.’ (McDowell 247-248)
Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost addresses the resurrection – “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know – Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of joy in Your presence.’ Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2: 22-36)
McDowell, Josh. Evidence for Christianity. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2006
Scofield, C. I. The Scofield Study Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.