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by Robert Dean
Series:Holiday Specials
Duration:55 mins 39 secs

The Seated Divine King Who Awaits His Kingdom

What is so important about a Messiah? Why is it such an important doctrine/teaching in the Scripture? And further, if there is a predicted Messiah from the Old Testament how in the world were people supposed to recognize Him? How would they know that someone who claimed to be a Messiah—there was also the prediction that there would be many who would make this claim—be recognized with certainty so that people would not just follow after anyone who claimed to be a messiah?

The word Meshiach which is used only about a dozen times in the Old Testament in reference to this future ruler of Israel. It really represents a much broader teaching. The word Meshiach is not used in many other places, there are other terms that are used to describe this individual—the Son of Man, the son of David, the seed of the woman, the Branch out of the stump of Jesse, the servant of the Lord. All of these are different phrases the Old Testament uses to describe this one individual who would be a descendant of King David who would rule on the throne of Israel in Jerusalem, and He would bring in a kingdom that would be characterized by perfect justice and perfect righteousness, and He would rule upon the throne of David forever and ever.

One thing that we need to remember as we look at the Old Testament is that the Old Testament was divided into three sections. That division we know and that organization that is still the organization of the Hebrew Bible today was pretty much set by the time period of about 2-300 BC. The Lord in His references to the Old Testament spoke of each of these divisions. They would be spoken of as the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings. Since the Psalms formed most of the Writings that section was often referred to simply as the Psalms. Since the Torah was written by Moses that would be referred to by Moses. So sometimes the Old Testament would be described as Moses and the Prophets, or sometimes Moses and the Psalms, and this would cover the three basic divisions in the Old Testament.

From the earliest part of the Old Testament, the Torah, there were clear messianic predictions. Genesis 3:15, the seed of the woman; Genesis 49:10, the scepter would not depart from the tribe of Judah. In the later sections of the Prophets, as well as in the Torah, there were allusions back to those comments made in Genesis. So it was clear that the in the later Prophets and in the psalms there was this clear understanding that those passages referred to the Messiah.

One of the key ideas emphasized is the idea of the seed. From Genesis 3:15 God promised that the seed of the woman would defeat the seed of the serpent and that there would be a mutual attack one upon the other. The seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent and the serpent would bite or crush the heel of the seed of the woman, indicating that in the process of the seed of woman fatally destroying the serpent He also would lose His life. This is what occurred on the cross when in defeating Satan Jesus Christ was killed. But that death was predicted, was planned by God the Father who had determined that that was necessary in order to pay for the sins of the world.

It is further developed in the promise to Abraham—the seed of Abraham that would go through Isaac and Jacob would be the seed of the woman leading eventually to the Messiah. Then again in the Davidic covenant which is so foundational to understanding the Messiah, that the Messiah would be in the royal line of David. In 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Psalm 89; 1 Chronicles 17:11-14 we see that God promised three things to David: an eternal house, an eternal kingdom and an eternal throne. Just a human descendant would not be able to fulfill that promise because no human being is eternal. So there is an implication here that the one who would come through David as a physical descendant (which means He would be fully human) would also have to be fully divine and eternal. In the second part of 2 Samuel 7 with promise is that God would establish the kingdom forever there is the use of these terms: olam which means forever and ever, different terms that are used indicating that this would go on without end.

The Davidic covenant becomes the background for understanding the two critical psalms: Psalm 2 and Psalm 110. Psalm 2 focuses on the reign of the Messiah, and we can divide it into four sections of three verses. In the first section we see that the kings of the earth and the people of the earth join in a rebellion against God and His Messiah, the anointed one. Later we learn that this phrase "kings of the earth" gets picked up in the book of Revelation to describe all of the nations that are in rebellion against God. So we see the description of this world-wide rebellion against God and His anointed. In the second section, vv. 4-6, we see that God is speaking and He mocks the rulers of the earth. He announces that He is going to install His own King upon a throne in Zion. In the third division, vv. 7-9, we shift the speaker. In verse 7 the speaker now in this anointed one. He speaks of the decree of God, the decree that He, the anointed one, is begotten of God. And He declares that God has given Him the nations, the ends of the earth for His inheritance, for His possession. Then in the last section, vv. 10-12, we see that the Messiah is speaking and issuing a challenge to the people of the earth to listen to Him, to be instructed and to serve the Lord with fear lest His wrath be kindled. Then there is a closing promise: "Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him."

The question is raised in the first two verses which describe the circumstances, and then we have the voice of the kings of the earth in verse 3. "Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD [Yahweh] and against His Anointed, saying, 'Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!'" Their stand is against Yahweh and against the Meshiach [anointed]. This is the arrogance of the people of the earth. They don't want to have anything to do with God, they don't want to listen to God, and they don't want God telling them how to live their lives and what to do. They just want to break the bonds of God.

In verses 4-6 we see God's response. We see the description of Him in vv. 4, 5, and then God speaks in verse 6. "He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, 'But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.'" The term "His wrath" [anger] often refers to the end time judgment before the establishment of the Messianic kingdom. Versed 6 tells us that the anointed one is also called God's King, that He has set to rule in Mount Zion from Israel.

Then the voice shifts, the speaker is no longer God the Father. In verse 7 the speaker is the anointed King, the Messianic ruler. "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.'" This is the voice of Messiah saying, I am going to declare to the world what God decreed in eternity past. The phrase "I have begotten you" is not a term for physical birth. This is a term that describes the eternal relationship between God the Father as the Father and God the Son as the Son. "You are My Son" is a term that also indicates full deity. "Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the {very} ends of the earth as Your possession." So it depicts a time when the Son has been declared to be the Son, and He is given the opportunity to make a request of the Father to give Him the nations for His inheritance and the ends of the earth for His possession. This request will be made, we know, and when the request is made then the Messiah King will come and rule over the nations of the earth.

That rule is depicted in verse 9 as a rule of iron: "You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware." So that is the warning that goes to the peoples of the earth and to the nations of the earth. Then there is the exhortation and the challenge that comes in verse 10: "Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth."

The last three verses is a challenge to people today. "Therefore [because this will happen in the future] don't be one of those who is smashed and broken by the Messiah, rather:  "Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth.  Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish {in} the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled." Then a closing benediction: "How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!"

What we have learned from this psalm briefly is that the Messiah-King is the anointed one of God. He is seen as full deity and that He and Yahweh are seen as the enemies and opponents of the nations of the earth and the kings of the earth who speak out words of arrogance against them. But God sets up His own king who will rule from Mount Zion, and He is the one who will defeat the rebellious kings of the earth and the rebellious peoples of the earth. Following that He will be established as the ruler over all of the nations of the earth which will be given to Him as His inheritance.

Psalm 110 is probably the most important or significant messianic psalm in the psalter. This first thing we notice in the psalm is that we have a statement relating to authorship: "A psalm of David." In the Hebrew text this is part of verse 1. We find this and sometimes a little more information in numerous psalms. There is debate by liberal theologians who claim that David really didn't write this psalm, it was something that was just added later. This is typical of liberal scholarship. They doubt the text even when the text plainly sates something. The reason they want to do away with Davidic authorship is that if the psalm is written by David then it possibly refers to the Messiah. It doesn't necessarily because there are some who believe in Davidic authorship and still don't think that this is talking about the Messiah. The thrust of liberal scholarship is to deny the supernatural, to deny real legitimate prophecy from the Old Testament, or that Jesus is anything more than just a man, and certainly they deny that He fulfilled any prophecy. So the agenda of liberal theology is to demythologise or de-supernaturalise the prophecies of Scripture. It is very clear from the text that it is a psalm of David. It is a phrase that is used of almost every Davidic psalm to express Davidic authorship, and so to doubt that David wrote it is to cast doubt on all of the other psalms written by David. We know from listening to modern liberals that they want to question the existence of David. However some recent artefacts discovered in Israel indicate that there was indeed a recognition from non-biblical sources of the existence of the house of David.

Furthermore for Christians, based on Matthew 22:41 and related passages in the synoptic Gospels, Jesus clearly stated that David wrote this psalm. So we don't have any doubt that this is a psalm written by David that is not about David but is about the Messiah. This fits with the statement that is made by David in 2 Samuel 23:1 NASB "Now these are the last words of David. David the son of Jesse declares, The man who was raised on high…" The question is that last phrase "on high." In the Massoretic Text in some cases it seems that by the time of the eighth and ninth century AD the vowels were changed to change the meaning of the words in order to avoid a clear messianic interpretation that would obviously be fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth. The phrase "on high" is the Hebrew word al, which means "on high." But the LXX uses the word peri [peri], "concerning," and this is also confirmed in some parallel passages in other ancient Hebrew texts. The word "concerning" would change the meaning of what is in the next line: "Thus says the man raised up…" That would be an illusion to himself—David talking about himself as someone raised up by God, a writer of Scripture. "… concerning the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel." In other words, if we take the LXX reading of what David is saying, he is the man raised up by God to wrote in the psalms about the Messiah. Otherwise if we leave it as it is written now in the Massoretic Text it is almost meaningless.   

So we stick with the Davidic authorship. David himself claims that he wrote about the Messiah. There are numerous psalms that are clearly messianic and written about the coming Messiah.

Another thing we should note is the organisation of the psalms. The psalms were organised after the period of the exile when there was no Davidic descendant on the throne of Judah. So in that period they recognised that the focal point of the psalms was always on this future ruler. There is an organisation of the psalms to focus our attention on the future restoration of the Davidic dynasty to fulfil the Davidic covenant. Psalm 110 is in the fifth section of the book of the Psalms which runs from Psalm 107 through 150. The structure of the first seven psalms of this section covers a plea for deliverance. Following Psalm 110, Psalms 111-113 express a praise for deliverance. Psalm 110 fits between three psalms that express a plea for deliverance and three psalms that express praise for deliverance. So Psalm 110 is a transition between the plea for deliverance and the praise for deliverance, and the focus of Psalm 110 is on the coming messianic King who will be the deliverer.

There are basically three divisions in this psalm. In the first three verses we see that God authorises the Messiah as the King who will rule after a period of sitting. He is told to "Sit at My right hand" on verse 1. The Lord authorises Messiah to be the King who will rule after this period of sitting. In verse 4 which is the focal point, He will rule as a priest king who is a priest not in the order of Levi but after the order of Melchizedek. And then the final three verses answer the prayer of the people and they show that He is the one who will rule over the nations and judge the nations, and He is the one who will bring in the times of refreshing or the Millennial kingdom.

Psalm 110:1 NASB "The LORD says to my Lord: 'Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.'" The big question is going to be to identify these two "Lords" at the beginning of the verse. First of all, we have to understand that it doesn't say "The Lord said to my Lord." The word there in the Hebrew, na'um, is a noun, not a verb, and it refers to an oracle or an utterance of divine revelation. So we would prefer to translate this "The oracle of the Lord [Yahweh] to my Lord." It is the oracle or the revelation of Yahweh to my Lord.

Now we have to define who "my Lord" is. The word used here for "my Lord" is Adoni. However, the normal word that is used for God is pronounced the same way but instead of ending with an i it ends with an ay and is always used of God. But we know from several passages that Adonay—Joshua 5:14; Judges 6:13—refers to the angel of the Lord. However, here is where we have to remember the point made about the vowels from the Massoretes. The "a" is missing, it is a vowel point. The aleph, daleth, nun and yodh would be the consonants. They are the same in both forms. So by adding an ay ending and not having the ay ending on "my Lord" could indicate a predilection on the part of the Massoretes to try to avoid a divine indicator on the "my Lord."

Another thing we should understand here is that Adonay as it is used of the angel of the Lord also has clear messianic implications if that is the original reading. Because in Joshua 5:14 and Judges 6:13 it refers to the angel of the Lord who is the pre-incarnate Messiah. And it is the angel of the Lord according to Zechariah chapter one who is clearly another personage but is clearly seen as divine in passages as Judges 6 where Gideon worships the angel of the Lord. So in various passages the angel of the Lord is seen as being fully God and in other passages like Zechariah chapter one we have a conversation between Yahweh and the angel of the Lord. Those passages indicate a plurality in the Godhead in the Old Testament but they also indicate that this angel of the Lord is the "my Lord" of Psalm 110:1, and Psalm 110:1 is speaking of my Lord as the Davidic King Messiah. It also indicates a human element in the "my Lord" which is possible, for often the phrase Adonay as "my lord" is a phrase that is used to refer to a human superior.

In Psalm 110:1 "to my Lord" is someone who is superior to David. David writes the psalm as the King of Israel, there is no one superior to him, other than God. This is how Jesus interpreted this and how it is interpreted in Acts, that Psalm 110 is a clear indicator of plurality in the Godhead and that the "my Lord" is a reference to the Messiah who is told by Yahweh or God the Father to sit at His right hand until a particular point in time—until there is a victory where the enemies of God are made a footstool. I tis interesting that the Hebrew word that is translated "enemies" here is a word that is used consistently in the Psalms for the enemies of God—not necessarily the only word for "enemies" in Hebrew but it is the word consistently used of the enemies of God. So the picture here is of the Messianic King being elevated to a position of honor and exaltation, and He is to sit in a position of passivity to wait until a particular point of time when Yahweh would make His enemies a footstool; a picture of having them vanquished and defeated.           

Psalm 110:2 NASB "The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, {saying,} 'Rule in the midst of Your enemies.'" What this is saying is that Yahweh will stretch for the sceptre, indicating that it is God the Father who will extend the rule and the power of the Messiah King out from Zion. So just as Psalm 2 said that the anointed King is established on Zion Psalm110 says that it is from Zion that His authority, His rule will be extended. Then He is given the mandate to rule over His enemies. This reminds us of Psalm 2:9 where the Messiah is ordered: "You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware."

Psalm 110:3 NASB "Your people will volunteer freely…" God the Father says, "Your people will be volunteers," emphasising that they come of their own free will. "… in the day of Your power; In holy array…" clothed with holiness, indicating that they have new garments, have been purified. "… from the womb of the dawn, Your youth are to You {as} the dew" – "the dew" is not there. So that last part would read, "from the womb of the morning, your youth." But that doesn't mean anything. Once again due to Massoretic vowel pointing the meaning of the text has been obscured, wiped out. The phrase "your youth" is in the Hebrew yalduteyka. However, the Septuagint, as well as a number of other ancient Hebrew MSS read" "from the womb of the dawn I have begotten you," and this is the Hebrew word yelidtika. Notice, the consonants in both of those Hebrew words are the same—yltdk. By changing the vowels you change the complete meaning of the word. By adding the Massorete vowels it becomes "your youth" which means nothing in the context. But if the vowel points are changed to match the word as it is used in Psalm 2:7 then you have the same word that you have in Psalm 2:7, the word "I have begotten you."

The womb is the place of birth. Where does the morning come from? It comes from heaven. God is the one who creates the heaven. The womb of the morning means from heaven, the source of this personage is heaven. So it would read then, "from the womb of the morning I have begotten you." In other words, "from eternity past or from heaven I have begotten you." This is parallel to Psalm 2 but if we re-point it, stick in different vowels, then that obscures the connection to Psalm 2:7 and dilutes the messianic implications of the text.

What we see as we look at this text in the first part of Psalm 110 is that it clearly reminds us of Psalm 2 as well as Daniel chapter seven. In Daniel 7:13, 14 we have NASB "I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and {men of every} language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed." The picture is that there is a time when the Son of Man doesn't have the right to take the kingdom, He comes to the Ancient of Days, God the Father, and requests the kingdom and God the Father gives it to Him. That is exactly what Psalm 2 said. "Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the {very} ends of the earth as Your possession." That fits with Psalm 110:1-3; Psalm 2 and Daniel 7.

We see in the fourth verse simply a declaration that the priesthood of this Davidic, messianic, divine King will also include a priestly element.  Psalm 110:4 NASB "The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, 'You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.'" Melchizedek was the Gentile priest-king of Salem at the time of Abraham. Under the Mosaic Law at the time of David the only priests who were allowed to function as priests were in the tribe of Levi. David and the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah which was not a priestly tribe under the Mosaic Law and so there would need to be a new or a different priestly order for the Messiah, and that is the order of Melchizedek. So in Psalm 110 we have the fact that the anointed is the ruler who is seated at the right hand of the Father and He is given the kingdom, and He is also given a priesthood after the order of Melchizedek.

Psalm 110:5 NASB "The Lord is at Your right hand …" Who is this? Is this God the Father or the Messiah King? Well according to verse 1 who is sitting at whose right hand? It is the Messiah King sitting at the right hand of God the Father. So the phrase "the Lord" here, which is Adonay (always used of God), is the one sitting at "your" right hand, therefore the "your" must be God the Father to be consistent within the psalm. "… He [Messiah] will shatter kings in the day of His wrath." We see that same language in Psalm 2:9.

Psalm 110:6, 7 NASB "He will judge among the nations, He will fill {them} with corpses, He will shatter the chief men over a broad country. He will drink from the brook by the wayside; Therefore He will lift up {His} head." When it is all over with He rests, it is a time of refreshing. This is another phrase that is used to refer to the Messianic Kingdom; it is a time of refreshing, Peter says in Acts chapter three. He will lift up His own head, His own authority as the ruler over the kingdom.

Psalm 2:10 NASB "Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth." This is what is coming. The King Messiah is seated at the right hand of God the Father right now awaiting the time when He can request of the Father the right of the kingship. He is waiting at the side of God the Father for the time when he can return and destroy the enemies of God and establish His kingdom. So what should our response be? We are to be wise; we are to be instructed from these prophecies; we are to serve the Lord with fear. [11] "Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling." We are to submit to His authority—not like the peoples who rage in Psalm 2:1, 2. [12] "Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry…" When He comes He will come with wrath. "…and you perish {in} the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!"

So we have an option. We can respond to the offer of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ now, or we can look forward to a time of experiencing the judgment of God and eternal condemnation.

We have a clear gospel in the Old Testament.