Psalm 110

Psalm 110
The Vindication of Christ: David’s Lord, the Melchisedec Priest
Psalm 110. This Psalm of David is one of the most important chapters in scripture. Aside from the ten commandments, of all Old Testament passages, Psalm 110 and Psalm 118 are the two most commonly quoted passages in the New Testament. This Psalm really gives us the cornerstone of Christianity; i.e. the place of Christ now as reject by earth and glorified in heaven, awaiting the kingdom. In Psalm 109 we have the sufferings of Christ as rejected and despised. Not once did the Lord Jesus defend Himself, but was as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb. In Psalm 109 we have Christ committing Himself to God who judges righteously (1 Peter 2:23). Psalm 110 is the beautiful answer to that prayer! It is what Jehovah said unto “my Adonai” (David’s Lord; i.e. Christ personally). This Psalm parallels Isaiah 6 beautifully, where in Isaiah Christ is shown to be Jehovah personally, high and lifted up, His train filling the temple, and the seraphim chanting “Holy, holy, holy”. Here in Psalm 110, we have Jehovah as God the Father, speaking to His Son, answering the prayer of Psalm 109. Psalm 110 takes up the glorification of Christ, from the moment of His ascension until the moment when He returns in power and glory to this earth, and is victorious over all His enemies. These thoughts thrilled the heart of David nearly 3000 years ago, and they thrill the hearts of every saint of God since, down through the ages of time! This Psalm gives us the testimony of the Jewish remnant concerning the glory of Christ. The Psalm is nicely broken in to three divisions. In v.1 it is David speaking to others about his Lord, in vv.2-4 it is David speaking to His Lord, and in vv.5-7 it is David speaking to Jehovah about his Lord.1
Psalm of David.
1 “Jehovah said unto my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put thine enemies as footstool of thy feet.” [quoted Matthew 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42,43; Acts 2:34-35; Hebrews 1:13]
v.1 What Jehovah Said to David’s Lord. In this beautiful introduction, which summarizes the Psalm, we have what was revealed to David by the Holy Spirit about what Jehovah said to his Lord (Adonai). This is the most quoted Old Testament passage in the New Testament! David (the psalmist), speaking by inspiration (“in Spirit”), called the Messiah by the title of “my Lord”. Repeated in all three synoptic gospels is the incident where, after being questioned by the Pharisees, Jesus demanded of them; “saying, What think ye concerning the Christ? whose son is he? They say to him, David’s. He says to them, How then does David in Spirit call him Lord” and then He quoted Psalm 110:1. Everyone knows that a human son is not greater than his human father. For David, the father, to refer to the Messiah his son as “Lord”, meant that Christ had to be Divine as well as human! The answer to our Lord’s question to the Pharisees is this; the Messiah is not only David’s son (human), but God’s Son as well (Divine); read Romans 1:1-4. Woven throughout even Old Testament scriptures is this truth of the Personal identity of Christ; that He is not only the promised king of Israel, but God Himself (Micah 5:2). The scene in v.1 is that of the return of an ascended Christ into heaven (and it is quoted in Acts 2:34-35 by Peter in this connection). The Father (Jehovah) instructs the ascended Christ, who had accomplished the work of the cross, to sit on His right hand, “waiting from henceforth until his enemies be set for the footstool of his feet” (Heb. 10:13). What a welcome Christ received at the majesty on high! What a contrast to His reception on earth! Hebrews 1 quotes this verse to show the unparalleled place that Christ has in heaven presently. God has never said to any angel, “Sit thou at my right hand”. But there is also a promise of a future vindication. It is a place reserved exclusively for God’s Son. Here we see the perfection of Christ as a man. Even in glorification He is dependent; told to sit in the place of highest honor, and wait “until” the time comes. “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32). Christ is seated at God’s right hand today, sitting with His Father in His Father’s throne, but when the right moment comes Christ will sit upon His own throne (Rev. 3:21), as in v.3, “the day of thy power”. The judgments of Daniel’s seventieth week are the process by which Jehovah will make Christ’s enemies His footstool; but the actual vanquishing of the enemies (vv.5-7) will be by Christ Himself as the King of kings and Lord of lords!
2 Jehovah shall send the sceptre of thy might out of Zion: rule in the midst of thine enemies.
3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in holy splendour: from the womb of the morning shall come to thee the dew of thy youth.
4 “Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek.” [quoted Hebrews 5:6; 7:17,21]
vv.2-4 The Melchisedek Priest Upon His Throne. The 2000 years of the Church period is completely passed over, consistent with the hiddenness of the mystery. The prophecy of this Psalm moves forward from the ascension and glorification of Christ in heaven to the moment of His glorification on earth. David is now addressing his Lord directly. The “sceptre of thy might” is a symbol of the royal power of Christ as the Son of David, the rightful Messiah. His power will go forth from Zion out through the whole earth, and Christ is told; “rule in the midst of thine enemies”. The enemies here would be those Christ defeats after He appears and takes possession of Zion.2 This will take place in the very scene of Christ’s rejection. What an answer to the cry of Psalm 109! Rejected, betrayed, scorned, despised… Christ will in that day be exalted in the midst of His enemies. The people of Israel will be given a new heart, such that they will be “willing” in the day of Christ’s power (see Song. 6:12). He will be clothed with “holy splendor”. Solomon in all his glory pales in comparison! Then we have a mention of a new generation that will be born; “from the womb of the morning shall come to thee the dew of thy youth”. This is similar to “a people that shall be born” in Psa. 22:31; a generation of young people who love and serve their Messiah. All that Christ as a man was denied by His humiliation and death will be given to Him in the freshness of youth!3 In v.4 we have the oath that Jehovah swore, “and will not repent”, concerning the glorified Christ; “Thou art priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek”. This is quoted three times in the book of Hebrews, which unfolds the Melchisedec order of priesthood. In Hebrews 5 it says of Christ “having been perfected, became to all them that obey him, author of eternal salvation; addressed by God as high priest according to the order of Melchisedec” (Heb. 5:9-10). The word “addressed” could be translated “saluted”, and it means the highest formal salute!4 When Christ ascended to heaven, Jehovah greeted Him not only as His Son and the Heir of all things, but He saluted Christ as high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Christ is a high priest after the order of Melchisedec, but He is not functioning today in that character of priesthood. The Melchisedec or royal priesthood of Christ will be functioning in the Millennium, where Christ will be the Royal Priest, leading the united Millennial earth in the worship of the Most High God, and functioning as the link through which God’s resources flow out in universal blessing (Gen. 14:18-20). Read more…
5 The Lord at thy right hand will smite through kings in the day of his anger.
6 He shall judge among the nations; he shall fill all places with dead bodies; he shall smite through the head over a great country.
7 He shall drink of the brook in the way; therefore shall he lift up the head.
vv.5-7 A Victorious Warrior-Judge. If vv.1-4 are what Jehovah has said or done concerning Christ, vv.5-7 are what Christ Himself will do when He appears! David is addressing Jehovah Himself, concerning his Lord, similar to what Joseph said to his brethren; “And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt” (Gen. 45:13). The Lord (the same as David’s Lord, but now viewed as Universal Lord) at Jehovah’s right hind, will “will smite through kings in the day of his anger”. This is the wrath of the Lamb, when He takes to Himself His great power and reigns, “and thy wrath is come” (Rev. 11:17-18). The kings here would be the great leaders of the confederacies of men. None will stand a chance against this victorious Conqueror! The judgments will extend through all nations, and “he shall fill all places with dead bodies” (c.p. Rev. 19:17-18; Ezek. 39:11-16). We have the destruction of a great power in v.6, which is perhaps Gog in particular; “he shall smite through the head over a great country”.5 In the path of His conquest, Christ will be refreshed by streams from above (v.7), that He might not grow weary and always “lift up the head” (Judges 15:19)! This brook is an everlasting resource, which parallels the pathway of the Messiah at His first coming and at His second coming. Perhaps it would be the refreshment that His Father provided for our Lord along the way; a joy set before Him, and these very visions of future vindication! That same brook will sustain Him until He has His full glory!
  1. Ministry by Michael Hapanowicz, Psalm 110, Dorothy 2019
  2. It is not His coming from heaven to destroy Antichrist. What is in view is His having already taken possession of Zion, and the rod of His strength goes out thence. This answers to the whole position of this book, where we have seen the Jews restored, but the dominion of Israel or of Christ in Zion not yet made good. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
  3. I take it, the new-born Israelites, the Remnant in this character of holiness, and freshness, shall be to Him, “Instead of thy fathers thou shalt have children.” The glory of the Jewish people, new born, would hang upon, rather than the old descend (though that were, in one sense, of honour as the only true One) upon Him. … this is, I apprehend, the progeny given Him in Israel instead of fathers in that day. – Darby, J.N. The Psalms.
  4. It is “saluted.” Calling there means just as you would salute a king, “Long live the king!” – Darby, J.N. Notes and Jottings, p.21
  5. I suppose in verse 6 it is “the head over a great country” — the head of power in the earth, not Antichrist, nor even the beast. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.