Summary: The exposition of Psalm 110 focusing on the Priesthood of the Apocalypse the 144 Thousand
“The Priesthood of the Apocalypse”
Psalm 110 is regarded as “The Crown Jewel” of the book of Psalms. This short but powerful revelation by King David the Sweet Psalmist of Israel and Powerful Messianic Prophet provides the believer with marvelous insight concerning David’s Lord, the Messiah, the King of kings, our Great High Priest the Lord Jesus Christ.
While it is one of the most quoted passages of Scripture in the New Testament, the important fact here is the One Who quoted its truth as He dealt with the Pharisees concerning His identity as the Messiah, David’s Lord and the Son of Jehovah God.
The Lord Jesus referred to this Psalm a number of times during His earthly ministry (Matthew 22:44, 26:64; Mark 12:64, 14:62; 16:19; Luke 20:42, 22:69). It is also utilized over a dozen other times in the New Testament demonstrating its vital importance in the overall scheme of God’s unfolding revelation.
The focus in this brief look at Psalm 110 is prophetic, for the majority of the subject matter covered in this Psalm has yet to take place in the course of history. This Messianic Jewel of the Psalms, revealing past and present truth concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, also provides the believer with vital truth in understanding the end times and “The Priesthood of the Apocalypse” as indicated in the Revelation of Jesus Christ in concert with this Psalm.
The coronation of the King of kings, the Lord Jesus Christ is indicated in the opening verse of Psalm 110:
“The LORD said unto my Lord, sit Thou at My right hand until I make Thy enemies Thy footstool.”
This clearly underlines Jehovah God’s certain intent to give the Lord Jesus Christ eventual physical dominion over the entire earth (Psalm 2:6-9). This first verse also pinpoints the timing of the Psalm as the Lord Jesus Christ has just ascended to heaven (Acts 1:9-11) and is invited by His Father to sit at His right hand.
He sat down at the Father’s right hand and was exalted (Acts 2:33) and subsequently sent “the promise of the Father”, the Holy Spirit, to His people (Acts 2:1-4) which He promised (Luke 24:49; John 14:16, 17, 26, 15:26, 16:7, 13, 14; Acts 1:4).
The second verse begins the progressive unfolding of end times events which God the Father will bring to pass as He brings Christ’s enemies into submission:
“The LORD shall send the rod [tribe] of Thy strength out of Zion, rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies.” (Psalm 110:2)
The phrase “rod of Thy strength” some apply to the Church or the Holy Spirit for He was and is now the Person Who empowers and strengthens believers thereby glorifying and exalting the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Holy Instrument by which Jesus now rules as Lord.
The Church and the Holy Spirit both came “out of Zion”, which is the city of Jerusalem, and appear to “fit” the requirements of the passage. However, bringing the Lord Jesus Christ’s enemies into submission is not His primary purpose for the Church.
The Church’s primary purpose is to be a “witness” unto Christ as indicated by the Lord in all five of His commissions: (Matthew 28: 18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 15:16; Acts 1:8) which He gave His disciples and now apply to His Body the Church.
Although it is through the Holy Spirit that God’s work and will are now accomplished by the Church, the focus of this Psalm is in the future day when Jehovah God brings into submission the enemies of His Son, not the present-day witnessing of the Church of Jesus Christ.
God will ultimately bring the enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ into submission during His day, the eschatological Day of the Lord. This future end times event is clearly defined in Scripture as it is the most prophesied time in the Word of God.
The Hebrew word “matteh” translated “rod” in Psalm 110:2 is found in the Old Testament (251) times with (182) of those occurrences translated “tribe”, (52) occurrences translated “rod” and (15) times it is translated “staff”.
The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament supplies the following information concerning this word: “Although the term properly means “staff” or “rod,” it is usually rendered (some 180 times) “tribe”. The reference is usually to one of the twelve tribes by name. At first, apparently, each tribal ruler led his group with a staff. This suggests that the ruler’s staff may have originally been a symbol of the tribe (cf. Numbers 17:2-10 [H 17-25] and eventually betokened leadership and authority (cf. Ps 110:2; Jeremiah 48:17).” p.574 Vol.1
Also, the Hebrew word “shebet” a synonym of “matteh” is the word translated “rod” or “scepter” in all of the other Old Testament Messianic passages which speak of the Messiah’s rod/scepter (Genesis 49:10; Numbers 24:17; Psalm 2:9, 45:6; Isaiah 11:4).