Summary: From Jesus our Messiah the Heavenly Kingdom will come. He is the divine conquering King, the eternal Priest, and the future Judge of the Earth. He will have dominion over all.
The Gospel in a Psalm…Psalm 110 -Pastor Bob Leroe, Cliftondale Congregational Church, Saugus, Massachusetts (31 May 2015)
There is a wealth of teaching in this prophetic, Messianic Psalm of David, which is quoted more than any other psalm in the New Testament. In seven verses we are given a confession of faith—the Gospel in a psalm.
We start with a major doctrine, the Trinity: “The Lord says to my Lord,” verse one. Here we see God talking to God; a conversation between the Father and the Son, revealed by the Holy Spirit. God the Father is speaking, not to David, but to David’s Lord, the coming Messiah. The “my” in this verse is David, and the second “Lord” is God-the-Son. Psalm 110 is by David but not about David.
This is affirmed in Matthew 22, where Jesus challenges the religious leaders by asking them a question: “Whose son is the Messiah?” When they answer that the Messiah is the son of David, Jesus reminds them of Psalm 110. If the Messiah is merely the human offspring of David, why does David speak of him as “Lord”? How can David’s son also be his Lord? The religious leaders are unable to answer, but the answer is: The Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, the Spirit is Lord. Could any king be greater than David? Yes--the King of kings. Jesus is both the Son of David and Son of God. He is both David’s descendant and David’s Lord.
The Messiah is told, “Sit at My right hand”--verse 1--the place of royal honor, power, equality, and dominion; next to the eternal throne, a place where no angels sat. The Messiah shares in ruling the eternal Kingdom. This Son is our Lord and Master--to be honored, obeyed, and worshiped.
The rebels--those who oppose God's rule, and who now stand in power--will fall; they will be the Lord’s “footstool.” Keep in mind the Middle Eastern custom that to put one’s foot over someone is a gesture of utter contempt and dishonor. A shoe thrown at someone conveys great humiliation and shame. This is why when Sadaam Hussein’s statue was toppled, people slapped it with the bottoms of their shoes. We live amid enemies of the Truth, but we overcome by the triumph of our King.
To “extend the scepter”--verse 2--means to exercise strength. A scepter was a kingly symbol of power and authority. It was an ornamental staff, usually decorated with the insignia of the monarch. King David ruled; he was not a “constitutional monarch” with limited power. And Jesus, our Messianic King, will rule with unlimited royal authority.
A king's scepter was also a symbol of favor. When Queen Esther approached her husband, King Xerxes, he extended his scepter to her as a gesture of acceptance; otherwise she would have been in grave danger. Our King extends to us His scepter.
A scepter is also a weapon, a rod that smites the enemy. Isaiah 30:31 says, “The voice of the LORD will shatter Assyria; with his rod He will strike them down.” Our God is supremely powerful, mighty to prevail. May His dominion be more clearly seen! Our Lord has authority, grants us favor, and will defeat all who oppose Him.
The psalm goes on to describe the victory of the Messiah--verses 2-3 & 5-6--which will occur at Christ’s second coming. There will be a final battle, where evil will be fully and finally defeated. “Kings” (5) are mighty, the most formidable adversaries, but they will be crushed! Those who dare oppose God will meet their doom.
Soldiers arise “from the womb of the dawn”--verse 3--an especially poetic phrase. They come willingly as volunteers, eager to enlist in the Army of God. God’s army arises from the miracle of the new birth; followers of Christ are born like dew out of the dawn. They are fresh as the morning dew, ready to engage the foe.
We are the Lord’s army! We’ve been equipped with the “Armor of God,” and we offer ourselves freely as volunteers in His service, to “fight the good fight of faith” (Ephesians 6).
Jesus is described in verse 4 as a priest after “the order of Melchizedek.” As a priest, He intercedes for us, and offers Himself as a sacrifice for sin.
Melchizedek is an obscure figure from Genesis 14, a mystery-man. We don’t know much about him. His name means, “My King is Righteousness”. He did not inherit the office of priesthood. His office was exceptional--none preceded or succeeded him. Scholars believe that Melchizedek’s city-state Salem became the city of Jerusalem. After the “Battle of the Kings,” he reminded Abraham that this was the Lord’s victory. He blessed Abraham and offered him bread and wine. Abraham in turn gave Melchizedek a tithe of the spoils of the battle. Melchizedek’s actions point toward the provision of another priest-king in the Upper Room. Jesus, like Melchizedek, is a Priest for all nations, not just Israel.