Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.
And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?
But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
~ 2Sa 12:21-23
Did King David ascend into heaven when he died? What did David mean that he would “go to” his dead son but his dead son cannot return to him? This is one of the most commonly twisted Scriptures in the Bible! Let us read and understand instead of interjecting men’s teachings into the Bible!
According to biblegateway.com, “heaven” appears in the KJV 691 times. And, yet, not one of those verses say, “When you get to Heaven”, “When we meet in Heaven” or “Your reward is to live in Heaven”! In fact, did you know that the Bible says no one has gone to Heaven except Jesus?
And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
~ Jn 3:13
King David was an ancestor of Jesus. His was the kingly line within Judah. It was promised that an heir would come from him that would be the “Branch” or the Messiah (Jer 23:5; et al). Was King David a righteous man? Would he inherit the reward of the saved? Obviously! After his death, Ezekiel wrote that King David would be king over Israel (Eze 37:24)! So, did David “go to Heaven”? Hear the words of Peter, who says David is still buried and in his tomb:
For David speaketh concerning [Jesus], I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
~ Ac 2:25-29
Jesus was the only One Who was prevented from seeing “corruption” because He was resurrected 3 days and 3 nights later! Jesus’ body was not allowed to be overtaken by worms. He was wrapped up in linen and spices to prevent it from decay (Ac 2:31). David, however, was still dead and buried! Jesus ascended into Heaven, and He will return in a similar manner (Ac 1:9-11). David did not ascend into Heaven!
For David is not ascended into the heavens…
~ Ac 2:34a
These are the words from the Bible! David is still in the grave!
What was the OT belief as far as the dead go?
If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.
Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.
~ Job 14:14-15
Job believed in a resurrection! He believed God would call him out of the grave back to life again!
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice…
~ Jn 5:25a
Jesus said Himself that He will call us out of the grave. The belief hasn’t changed!
So, if the OT belief (and the NT belief) was in the resurrection, then what did David mean when he said “I shall go to him”? The child was dead. Where do dead people go? The grave! David knows one day he will “meet” him in that he will also die and go to the grave! There is nothing mystical about this!
The good news, that is the Gospel, says that King David’s son will one day be raised up again as flesh and blood. He will be able to live out a normal life in a very different world. He, and all of the other children who have died throughout time, will be raised up, taught God’s way under the rulership of Jesus Christ and His saints, and David’s son will be able to choose God’s way of life. He doesn’t need a loophole, a “Get Into Heaven Free” card, or anything of the like because Jesus is “the way”, and God’s plan ensures that circumstances will allow that “all should come to repentance” (2Pe 3:9) when Jesus finally rules on this earth.