Prophecies about Christ in the Psalms mainly reveal two aspects. There are Psalms that deal with the sufferings of Jesus, the events themselves or a description of their feelings. And besides, there are Psalms that describe Jesus as King, as the Son of God who rules on behalf of God. An example of the latter can be seen in Psalm 110. Since this Psalm (especially verses 1 and 4) of all passages in the Old Testament is most cited in the New.
The advantage of so many quotations in the NT is that we can take a number of things as fixed because the explanation of Jesus or the apostles is based on that. First of all, the fact that the author of Psalm 110 is David, as indeed verse 1 mentions. We can therefore immediately forget all theological discussions about the question by whom he is written. Jesus even mentions it emphatically: "David himself ". Furthermore, it is also clear that the scribes in Jesus' day agreed that the subject of this Psalm is the Messiah (the Christ). And both the one and the other is important because Jesus asks them a question about it. "How can one claim that the Messiah is a son of David? For David himself says in the book of the Psalms: "The Lord spoke to My Lord: Take a seat on my right hand until I have made a bank for your feet from your enemies." So David calls him Lord, how can he be his son?"(Luke 20: 41-44). In itself, there was nothing strange about the claim that the Messiah would be a son (descendant) of David. There are plenty of other texts that make that clear, including the promises of God to David himself. Yet Jesus was right to ask this question.
In this Psalm 110 David, inspired by the Spirit, makes it clear that the Messiah would not just be another king from the line of David, who would only do better than his predecessors, but that he would occupy a much higher place. Unfortunately, many doubt the idea that God's Spirit can inspire people to write down reliable predictions. But it is the Lord Jesus himself who says this about these verses: "David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said," The Lord spoke to my Lord " (Mark 12:36). David shows respect for the future Messiah. He speaks of Him as "my Lord". In our translations there is twice the word Lord, but in the Hebrew of the Psalm is the first God's covenant name (YAHWEH), which is represented here as 'lord', while the second 'Lord' is a word used for someone who rules over you or with whom a slave addresses his master. In the Greek of the New Testament, we see twice the same word because the Jews, out of respect for God, did not want to pronounce his name. The problem for the scribes was that in the biblical way of thinking the one who comes later is always less than the one who produced it. In a similar picture, the writer tells the Hebrews that the priesthood of Levi is less than that of Melchizedek, for Levi is descended from Abraham, and is thus less than Abraham, while Abraham himself in Melchizedek acknowledged his multiple (Hebrews 7). And "there is no doubt that the lesser is always blessed by the greater" (Hebrews 7: 7).
The Psalm speaks about this Melchizedek in verse 4, which we will look at later. The question of Jesus is here: How can David call one of his descendants his lord? The answer may be simpler for us than for them, especially because it did not come to the scribes to give an answer. As the son of Mary, Jesus is clearly a descendant of David, but at the same time God is his Father, and thus He is Son of God, begotten by God himself. That is why David proves his honor.
Seated at God's right hand
Psalm 110 sometimes seems a bit confusing because you first have to determine who the speaker is and who addressed them. The NBV has succeeded in this. God speaks in verse 1. In the rest of the Psalm, it is the Psalmist who speaks, through verse 4 is a quotation from God. In verses 2 and 3 the Psalmist speaks to the Messiah, and in verse 5 to 7 the Psalmist speaks to God, about the Messiah ("the Lord on your right hand").
However, what God says in verse 1 to the Messiah is: "Take a seat on my right hand". Maybe we read over here, but descriptions of God's throne always mention servants around his stand. Here, however, it is said to someone that he may sit in God's presence, even at his right hand, a clear picture of the honor bestowed upon the Messiah. The New Testament frequently refers to this in order to reinforce a message:
- Jesus is more exalted than the angels: "To whom of the angels did he say: 'Take a seat on my right hand, until I have made a bank for your feet from your enemies'? Are they not all ministering spirits? "(Hebrews 1:13).
- God raised him while people rejected him: "After you had murdered (Jesus) ... God (Him) gave a place on his right hand" (Acts 5:30).
- The contrast to the priests under the Law: "In addition, every priest is in his service daily ... but this is ... forever seated at the right hand of God" (Hebrews 10: 11-13, NIV).
- As a plea for his people: "Christ Jesus ... who is risen and is at the right hand of God, pleads for us" (Romans 8:34).
Priest to the order of Melchizedek
Before we go any further, first something about the connection that the New Testament writers make with the priesthood. Psalm 110 speaks of a king. But then we read in verse 4: "The Lord has sworn, and does not return to his oath: You are a priest forever, just as Melchizedek was." Under the old covenant, the king was different from the priest. even to several sons of Jacob: the priest descended from Levi while the king of Judah descended, but in the case of Melchizedek we see something else. "Melchizedek, the king of Salem, brought bread and wine. He was a priest of God, the Supreme Being. "(Genesis 14:18) Melchizedek was both king and priest at the same time, but under the old covenant, these were the two functions for which the scribes were anointed for their task, so Jesus bears the title" anointed one ": the Hebrew "Messiah" and in Greek "Christ." Melchizedek deliberately tells us little about it, because he is an image of Christ, in the combined function of a king and (high) priest. "At Melchizedek, there was no question of a priestly class, therefore, he is only referred to as a priest and not as a high priest.
Reigning from Sion ...
Psalm 110 then shows how the Messiah will rule on behalf of God: "Out of Zion the Lord will give you the scepter of power, you will rule over your enemies" (Psalm 110: 2). This describes the Kingdom when the Lord will no longer sit next to God, but is sent forth to set up the Kingdom on earth. The scepter is a symbol of power. The place of the word 'Zion' in the sentence, however, differs considerably in different translations. The Petrus Canisius translation reproduces this sentence as follows: "Yahweh will grant You a mighty scepter: Come out of Zion as Ruler among your enemies!" With which it fits in better with other verses that describe how Jesus will rule from Jerusalem (Zion).
Apparently, there are two kinds of subjects: the people who are ready, and the enemies who are being crushed. This King is not accepted by everyone, which we can also draw from the rest of Scripture. The final verses make clear how Jesus makes short work of those who do not accept his righteous kingship.
... who are Christ's when he comes
The verse that gives the most problems is verse 3, partly because the manuscripts differ from each other here. Where the NIV talks about the people who are "ready", a word is used that is almost always translated with "voluntary offering". Apparently, it is a people who have sacrificed themselves to their Lord as a sacrifice, as Paul will later write: "to offer yourself as a living ... sacrifice in his service" (Romans 12: 1). The people are therefore ready to serve.
"On the day you go to war" literally means: on the day of your power. The NBG'51 translation gives this verse as: "Your people are all willing in the day of your lordship; The dew of your young men rises from the lap of dawn in your holy feast. " There are sufficient reasons to see 'the lap of the dawn' here as the resurrection at his coming. The dawn describes the new day, and the womb indicates the new life that will give birth to this new day. The people of Jesus will then stand there in 'holy feast' (in the parables of Jesus that indicates the wedding garment).
Finally, 'the dew of your young men'. Dew is related to the dawn, the new day, and can indicate the new life. As Isaiah writes: "Your dead will revive, the corpses will arise. Awake, you in the dust, and jubilation! Your dew is a dew that gives life, the earth brings her ghosts back to life "(Isaiah 26:19).
So in this Psalm 110, we find a prophecy about this mighty Messiah, the king, and priest, the son of David who will also be the Son of God. And who will rule on behalf of God from Zion, with a harsh judgment over his enemies, but with new life for those who are already making a voluntary offering.
Thanks for reading.
Christ in the Psalms - Psalm 2
Christ in the Psalms - Psalm 22
Christ in the Psalms - Psalm 41
Christ in the Psalms - Psalm 69