The Session and the Messiah
Ephesians 2:6; Psalm 110:1, 4
Ephesians Lesson #055
January 5, 2020
Dr. Robert L. Dean, Jr.
“Father, we are so very grateful, so very thankful that You have given Your Son to us, that He has died on the Cross for our sins—paid the penalty—so that sin is no longer the issue; the issue is faith in Him That in Him we have new life, as we are studying in our passage in Ephesians 2:5–6, we have been given new life in Him, we have been raised together with Him and that we are seated with Him in the heavenlies.
“Father, there is so much here for us to think about, to reflect upon, to understand that impacts the distinctiveness of our identity as Church Age believers. We must understand what these phrases mean, the impact on our thinking and on our lives: how it transforms our understanding of the uniqueness of the Church Age and the unique spiritual life that has been given to us.
“Because we are in Christ together, Jew and Gentile, united uniquely in One Person forever, a unique work. We have been raised and seated together with Christ and just what that means, and how it pulls together so much.
“Help us to think our way through the passages of Scripture as we study that our understanding of our identity, our mission and our ministry today may be totally transformed by Your Word.
“We pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”
When I return from a few Sundays off, I often think that you’ll never let me go again. I was all prepared for this morning before I left, but while I was gone, I had time to study and seven pages of notes expanded to 20. It’s dangerous to have time off when you can just reflect on the Word and have time to study and think about several things.
Open your Bibles with me to Psalm 110. Yes, we are still studying in Ephesians, but we have to understand the significance of this phrase that we are “seated together with Him in the heavenlies.”
What this Psalm will describe for us was alluded to in the first hymn that we sang, from Psalm 106, “Praise Him! Praise Him!” In the third stanza there is a focus on something in the future, and that future act is the crowning of Christ as King.
He is not crowned as King yet. His role as King is related to His taking the Kingdom.
There’s a lot of confusion today about the Kingdom of God. In the 19th century liberals co-opted this term and applied it in a post-millennial way. Y’all know what Post-millennialism is. “Post” means after, “millennium” refers to the thousand-year reign of Christ. In Amillennialism, which means no literal Millennium, they do not have a literal 1,000 years. They just thought that 1,000 years was sort of a symbolic term for time of perfection.
Out of Amillennialism grew another view, “Post-millennialism,” which again does not take that 1,000-year term literally. It takes it as referring to this perfect time and that, indeed, Jesus doesn’t return to establish His Kingdom. But that the Church establishes the Kingdom, and then Christ will return after the end of the Kingdom, and He will bring judgment with Him at that time. We will see that that does not fit at all with Scripture.
Neither Post-millennialism nor Amillennialism fit at all with Scripture. Both of them are a corruption of what Scripture teaches because they are grounded in a non-literal interpretation of Scripture. When somebody tells you that a thousand years doesn’t mean a thousand literal years, you know that they have escaped literal interpretation, and they’re now making up their own theology.
It is an important reality that Christ rules when He returns. Revelation 19 describes that Second Coming of Christ at the end of the Tribulation, and that He comes to establish His Kingdom. It is not simply a divine Kingdom, it is a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and types.
It speaks of a Jewish geo-physical kingdom, a literal kingdom, where the greater Son of David, the Messiah, will sit on David’s throne—that is, He rules over a Jewish kingdom from Jerusalem and also from there the whole world. That is the focus of Jesus’ future ministry as King.
There are three titles as this hymn alludes to. When it says “Crown him, crown Him,” and it says, “Prophet, Priest, and King.” Those are the three distinctive roles of the Messiah predicted in the Old Testament.
At His First Coming, Jesus functioned as a prophet: challenging, convicting, rebuking His people, the Jewish people, for their rejection of Moses and the Mosaic Law and its teaching. For that they rejected Him as Messiah, they arrested Him, crucified Him, and the Kingdom was postponed.
During this intervening age, Jesus is not functioning as prophet anymore. He is still Prophet, but is not functioning as prophet. Neither is He functioning as king. He is functioning as a priest.
That is so important because the psalm we are looking at this morning focuses us on this key phrase that Paul uses in Ephesians 2:6 that we are seated together with Him. What does it mean that we are seated together with Him? We have to understand the role and responsibilities of the Messiah Priest-King as seated at the right hand of God the Father.
These themes are reflected in hymns we sing, among other things. We are beginning to look at the significance of His Session—not for rulership. He’s not seated on the Father’s throne; He is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will not be seated on His throne until He comes at the Second Coming.
Ephesians 2:6, we have been “raised up together” with Him, “and He—that is, God the Father—made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. “
This is just a short phrase, yet Paul is assuming that his readers had been well taught. Who taught them? He did. He spent at least a couple of years in Ephesus teaching and this would’ve been something that he communicated to them.
The audience that sat under Paul was not like modern audiences that get some sort of frivolous, shallow, trivial “sermonette for Christianettes” on Sunday morning. But he taught the Scriptures in-depth over a period of time, so that they truly understood the Scriptures.
So he could just put a phrase out there, and they understood what I am taking the time to teach over a period of six or seven hours. He had done that homework. All He has to do is use this phrase for all these things to came to the forefront of their mind, and they were grasping it.
This whole idea is that Christ on His Ascension to Heaven, sits at the right hand of God the Father. This reality is alluded to and referenced numerous times in the New Testament at least 16 times, and the more I read the more I pick up another allusion or reference.
Here are the passages; many of them directly quote from Psalm 110:1.
Acts 2:33–34; Acts 5:31; Acts 7:55–56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Ephesians 2:6; Ephesians 4:8–11.
Paul builds on this whole teaching of Ascension as He goes through this Epistle. There are aspects of this that I’m not going to not talk about as much now as I will when we get to Ephesians 4:8–11, Colossians 3:1, and especially Hebrews.
I don’t think we can grasp a lot of what the writer of Hebrews is saying if we don’t grasp the Old Testament passages that are quoted again and again in Hebrews. Psalm 110:1 and Psalm 110:4 are mentioned and quoted several times in Hebrews. Hebrews 1:3, 13; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22.
Revelation 3:21 later alludes to this in one of the letters to the seven churches, then in Revelation 12:5.
Revelation 3:21, “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne—but He’s not on His throne yet, because the next phrase says, “… as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
This is very important! He is not seated today on His throne. He is not seated on the throne of David. It is not about rulership. The throne of David relates to that third ministry of Christ when He is King. That is not happening today.
What is happening today is His high priestly ministry from the right hand of the Father as revealed in Psalm 110:1 and Psalm 110:4. That’s crucial for understanding our identity today; we must understand this. We are not here to bring in the Kingdom. We are here to function in our identification with Christ in His high priestly ministry. All of this is about the priesthood of Christ and the priesthood of every single believer.
We’ve seen that there were actually two Ascensions.
1. The first ascension
In John 20:17–18, after the resurrection when Mary Magdalene came to the tomb, she wanted to grab hold of Jesus. He said, “Don’t cling to Me. I haven’t ascended to the Father.”
Between early morning and later in the day when He appears to His disciples, He had ascended to the Father and came back. This is just a quick Ascension to wrap up some things related to His salvation work on the Cross, and this is not talked about much in the Scripture at all.
He tells His disciples at that time that they can touch Him, to behold His hands and His feet, handle Him and see, for a spirit is not of flesh and bones as you see He has, and so at that time they did that.
That’s different from THE Ascension that we refer to.
2. Key verses:
Mark 16:19–20, Luke 24:50–51. Acts 1:9–10 gives us another detailed look, along with Luke 24:50–51, of what happened at the Ascension.
While they watched, He was taken up; He was received into Heaven. The Father brings Him back, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. Acts 1:9–10, “And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel.”
Those two men tell them in Acts 1:11 that He’s going to come back in the same way. That’s talking about the Second Coming—not the Rapture—but the Second Coming.
We’re focusing on the Ascension and the Session understanding what the Bible speaks specifically about this Session. It doesn’t take Him long, just nano seconds eventually, to get to the throne of God, and He sits at the right hand.
We’ve looked at the background of the Ascension.
Also asking and answering the question, what happened to God’s plan for Israel, when the Lord Jesus Christ was rejected and crucified?
It’s postponed; it doesn’t continue on the same trajectory. The offer was rejected by the Israelites, the Kingdom was postponed, and the disciples still don’t get it. They still don’t recognize when it’s going to happen, as exhibited in their almost final question to the Lord, Acts 1:6, is it “… at this time that You will restore the Kingdom to Israel?” They understood that the Kingdom is a Jewish Kingdom.
It’s not a spiritual kingdom of the Church on the Earth, which is what Amillennialism teaches because they reject the distinction between Israel and the Church. It’s not a kingdom on the Earth that is brought in by the Church as is taught by Post-millennialists.
If you are homeschooling your children, you need to be very careful because a lot of otherwise excellent homeschool material is written by Post-mill Reconstructionists. They have done some good work in other areas, but you always have to be careful because this is an underlying hook that has distracted. I know a number of Christians who’ve gotten drawn into Post-millennialist reconstructionism as a result of not being adequately warned about that as part of the text.
Acts 1:6, they are looking forward to a Kingdom, but they don’t realize that something is coming in between. The purpose of this Inter-Advent Age, the Ascension and Session of Christ is significant for what this new thing—this mystery, the previously unrevealed Church Age—is accomplishing. As such we are believers in Christ, and we need to understand that.
I pointed out a couple weeks ago that one of the many reasons for the Ascension, is Jesus said He had to go to the Father to send the Helper, the Holy Spirit. It is that arrival of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost that sets apart every Church Age believer as distinct from any believer previously in history or following us.
Because the Holy Spirit will be taken out of the world at the Rapture. Tribulation saints are not going to have the same ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Tribulation period as we have today. This is distinctive for Church Age believers.
We have to understand the Old Testament background. This pulls together a number of different things, but I want to isolate it to four passages. It’ll take us a couple weeks to go through these passages, but I want to give you a quick overview so you see how they fit together.
1. Psalm 110, the most quoted psalm in the New Testament is crucial for understanding many aspects of what Christ is doing today and what He will do in the future.
Psalm 110 shows two things:
- That Christ sits at the right hand of the Father until God finishes preparing His enemies for the final defeat.
- That Christ is a Priest according to the order of Melchizedek, which is directly related to His Session.
Psalm 110 is debated about whether or not it’s messianic, but I remember in the spring of 1979, I was scheduled to take a course on Christology, the study of Christ; Pneumatology, the study of the Holy Spirit; and Ecclesiology, the theology of the Church. That was our Systematic Theology course for that semester.
They just hired a new professor who had taught there before a little bit; I had read some articles by him, and he was pretty solid. He established something in that semester that I’ve always followed, the pattern of how you do systematic theology.
You don’t start with your theological system and read it into the Scripture, which is what nearly all systematic theologies do. You start with a look at the Critical Text. In Christology he started us off with going through messianic prophecies.
He looked at Psalm 110, then he took us to Psalm 2, then he took us to Daniel 7. He didn’t tie it all together the way I’m doing it with this. But he went through these passages, then Philippians 2:5–11 with the KENOSIS and other words, and showed what these passages taught. And that then you come to your conclusions and organize it into systematic theology.
I’m not going to mention his name because within 10 years he had gone to the dark side, but his methodology at that point was very solid. It was when he, like many other professors, went to a secular school and got a second doctorate that his whole theology and approach got rather clouded and muddied.
He did a good job, and I’ll never forget that. I sat there on the front row. I sat in the corner seat in front of the lectern, and some guy named Tommy Ice sat on my left hand. We had a great time in that course.
Psalm 110 shows that Christ sits at the right hand of God until—that’s an important word—until He finishes doing what He’s doing today. Then we get Christ as the military general coming to defeat the enemies of God.
2. Psalm 68:18 depicts the fact that when Christ ascended, He gave gifts to the Church; the distribution of spiritual gifts to the Church. Without the Ascension you don’t have the giving of the Holy Spirit, and you don’t have the giving of spiritual gifts. That is all related to His role as Priest in this Church Age seated at the right hand of the Father.
3. After waiting at the right hand of the Father, the Son of Man eventually—the time will come when—He will step up before the Father, who is described as the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7:13–14. It is at that point that the Father gives Him the title deed to the Earth, described in Revelation 5. It is at that point that the Father gives Him the title deed to the earth and authorization to go to defeat His enemies.
He is seated, and He is waiting. We are seated with Him, so we too are to wait. It’s all related to that priesthood ministry for the Church Age.
That’s Daniel 7:13–14 which we will get to probably next week. Some of these we can hit in a little more summary fashion.
4. Psalm 2 shows the Messiah’s victory over His enemies, and that relates to the last part of Psalm 110:5–7 that I’ll briefly talk about today but I’ll connect the dots to Psalm 2 next time or when we get to that particular point.
That’s the overview. We were looking at four passages pulling them together to reach an understanding of what’s happening with the Session of Christ, what is going on, why is He waiting, what is He waiting for, and what is our role since we’re identified with Him in that waiting period? What is the issue? Why is this so important?
When we look at Psalm 110, we have to realize that this is the most quoted psalm in the New Testament. That is critical! That means that again and again across the spectrum of biblical writers, there is a reference back to Psalm 110 as important. Either Psalm 110:1 or Psalm 110:4 is mentioned seven times in Hebrews:
Hebrews 1:3, 13; Hebrews 5:6, 10; Hebrews 6:20; Hebrews 7:17, 21, 28; Hebrews 12:2, and Hebrews 10:3. That is one we will get to this morning.
Psalm 110:1 is directly quoted four times in Matthew 22:44, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42 and 43. That’s an important passage. All three of those are in the context of this bogus interrogation of Jesus by the Sadducees. They came up with this fake situation in order to try to trap Jesus, and they say that there’s a woman and she’s married, and her husband dies.
Now their eventual question is, who’s married to her in the resurrection? They don’t believe in the resurrection. That’s why it’s bogus. They’re just making this up to try to trap Jesus.
They say she married, and that husband dies; she marries again and that husband dies, and this happened seven times. (She had seven husbands that all died, and that ought to be something that should go before the DA because that’s rather suspicious that all of her husbands are dying!) After they have created this bogus scenario, they asked Jesus, “Well, whose wife is she going to be in the resurrection?” They don’t believe in the resurrection.
Jesus goes to Psalm 110, “As David says in Psalm 110 …” What’s important about all of these verses is they identify clearly from the lips of Jesus that David wrote the psalm! Which a lot of modern, intelligent, bright scholars of the day say, “Well, David really didn’t write this.” Conservatives! Some good men in other areas, but here they just completely blow it. In all the Gospels you have that.
In Acts 2:34–35, and alluded to in a number of other passages: Matthew 26:64, Ephesians 1:20, Colossians 3:1, Hebrews 1:3; 8:1; 10:12 and 12:2.
Who wrote Psalm 110? This is important.
It starts off “A Psalm of David” in the English, which is an excellent translation. You know what the definition of a scholar is? Somebody who puts forth ideas that are almost impossible to believe, but they do it in academic arrogance. That is a scholar. It’s interesting how that term has changed its meaning since I was a student in seminary.
When I went to Dallas [Theological] Seminary, we thought of men like Lewis Sperry Chafer, John Walvoord, Charles Ryrie, Stan Toussaint and Dwight Pentecost as scholars. They were scholars of the text; they knew the Bible. When you read them, they did a good job biblically.
Scholarship changed its definition due to the influence of a number of men who, for a period of the 20th century, were sent off to study theology and Greek and Hebrew in European universities, and when they came back, they suddenly changed the definition of scholarship.
I know a man who’s in another doctrinal church in this city, who teaches in the language department at the Dallas Seminary campus here, who told the pastor there—a man you all would know, but I’m not going to name his name; he didn’t like it any more than I do—that none of those men I just mentioned were scholars. A scholar is someone who knows what everybody has said about the passage.
I don’t care what everybody has said about the passage. I care what the passage says, that’s biblical scholarship. This is one of the things that has destroyed modern seminary education, and one of the reasons why we have to have new seminaries like Chafer Theological Seminary in order to really get back to the Bible.
I know of people who have had excellent articles rejected from the Dallas Seminary Journal because it didn’t fit this modern view of scholarship. They didn’t deal with what everybody else said about the text, they just said what the text said.
Psalm 110, why do we say that David wrote it?
1. It is clearly stated in the superscript of Psalm 110:1.
In the Hebrew the word “David” is prefixed by a preposition, the letter lamed in Hebrew, which is pronounced just “luh.” It means to or it means from, and it is called the “lamed auctoris” or “the lamed of authorship.” It is used almost exclusively in the psalms to indicate the author of the psalm.
So you really have to go a long way in a convoluted path to say this isn’t saying David wrote it; this is saying it’s about David, which is what they do. But that just completely ignores how this is used throughout the psalms.
2. No less an authority than Jesus Christ said that David wrote it.
Most of the guys at Dallas Seminary who screw up this psalm do believe in Davidic authorship, but there are many other conservative evangelicals who reject Davidic authorship.
Matthew 22:43, this is the context I was talking about a minute ago when Jesus is asked this question by the Sadducees, “He said to them, ‘How then does David by the Spirit call Him “Lord,” saying:’ ”
Now that seems pretty clear, but just so nobody misses Jesus’ affirmation to Davidic authorship, in Matthew 22:45 He says again, “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” It’s really clear. Matthew 12:35–37 says the same thing, as does Luke 20:4–44.
Three of the Gospels state it the same way: they affirm that Jesus said David wrote the psalm.
That’s important because if David is the author, then David is talking about somebody else. But if David isn’t the author, then you can say that David is talking about himself. Which is one of the things you all know, as I told you many times, that there is this debate today over whether any of the psalms are messianic.
What I mean by that and what the language means by that we will see in this next quote from an evangelical scholar, Tremper Longman III. In his work he denies that this is messianic, that any psalms are messianic. That may surprise some of you. Surprises the Holy Spirit, I’m sure, except He’s omniscient, so He saw it coming.
Some people believe that a few psalms are messianic in the narrow sense. Here he is going to give us a definition. I thought this was a great definition of what we mean when we say messianic psalm:
“That is, some psalms are prophetic and have no direct message of significance for the Old Testament period.”
That is a good definition. A messianic psalm is not talking about some near fulfillment in the biblical timeframe in the Old Testament, but is specifically looking through the corridors of time and giving us information about the future Messiah.
We reject the notion of dual fulfillment. Dual fulfillment came into the interpretive framework for evangelicals in the 20th century as a way to get around some of these problems and to avoid sticking with what the text says.
He says in this definition messianic psalms are prophetic. They have a direct message of significance for the future, but “no direct message of significance for the Old Testament period. They only predict the coming Messiah.” That’s what makes it a messianic psalm. He further says then, his opinion, “no psalm is messianic in this narrow set.”
What a surprise to the Holy Spirit! But that dominates scholarship today.
At the recent Pre-Tribulation Study Group that met in Dallas about a month ago, the theme this year was messianic psalms.
We had Michael Rydelnik, who is the head of the Jewish studies department at Moody Bible Institute and has a book out called “Messianic Hope,” which deals with all these problems in a very technical way. Very, very good. Great scholarship.
He and another professor of mine from Dallas Seminary, Ed Bloom, edited a collection of articles written by a number of scholars dealing with messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, called “An Encyclopedia of Messianic Prophecies.” It just starts with Genesis and goes all the way through the Old Testament and it is outstanding.
This is the problem today and Dr. Rydelnik started seminary a couple years after me.
I was dense when I went to seminary. I had no idea that I had professors who didn’t believe in messianic prophecies in the narrow sense.
When I started reading all this material that Michael was coming up with, I realized it. Because he said that when he started seminary—two years after I did—and Tommy Ice says the same thing, we just didn’t know this stuff was going on, and here we were sitting there. That’s how it’s presented.
They say, “Oh yeah! That passage talks about the Messiah.” But what they really mean is New Testament writers saw that there was a similarity between that passage and Jesus, so they co-opted it as something that applied to Jesus. They reject the narrow view.
I was an Old Testament major. Many of my Old Testament profs did not believe in a narrow messianic sense. Rydelnik says that in the early 1990s they believed that there was one messianic prophecy in the Old Testament, Psalm 110. That surprised Andy Woods who went through in 90s. He said when he was there they said there were three passages. Other times there were zero passages.
I had a number of these professors, who I found out didn’t believe that there were any messianic prophecies in a literal sense. A good guy, Gene Merrill, who is usually right on target on all these controversial issues and was one of the most conservative in the Old Testament department at that time, accepted Davidic authorship, said that this wasn’t messianic in the narrow sense.
It’s very difficult, very confusing for people in the pew to realize that this kind of confusion exists at the academic and seminary level.
For example, another scholar—a quite bright individual, he has a lot of accomplishments, quite intelligible—but when I read these guys, I often think about Romans 1 that professing to be wise, they became fools. They have great academic accomplishments, but they don’t get it.
He says, “Thus it seems reasonable that Psalm 110 refers to Solomon’s second coronation in 971 BC when David abdicated his throne to his son Solomon. David did not speak the psalm to the Messiah, the divine Lord.”
He got his PhD in Old Testament studies from Dallas Seminary, and he’s taught at almost every top evangelical seminary in the last several years, plus, written a number of books. Quite accomplished, but wrong.
An older scholar, 19th century, some of you’ve heard of the Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament. He was a Jewish believer in Jesus as Messiah, and he rejected almost every other messianic psalm as messianic except for Psalm 110. About which he said, “David looks forth into the future of His seed and has the Messiah definitely before His mind. The Messiah stands objectively before the mind of David.”
It’s not just Psalm 110, it’s a lot of other psalms as well. We’ve looked at that in the past and we will look at it in the future.
Let’s look at the text itself; this is so important. Psalm 110:1, “The LORD said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool.’ ”
This is very important because you have two individuals here that are mentioned and described as the Lord. The first one is all uppercase letters. When the English translation uses all uppercase letters for either LORD or God, it is translating the Hebrew four-letter name for God, YHWH. It refers to God’s personal name that is associated with His covenant with Israel. This passage is talking about God the Father.
He speaks to another individual, which is identified as “David’s Lord,” and here a different word is used, not YHWH, but Adonai, which can refer to master or lord, and is another term that refers to a divine person who is a full deity.
It’s interesting, for a Jew reading the text, since they don’t like to use the name of God, instead of pronouncing YHWH, they will either say “Hashem,” which means “the name,” or they will say “Adonai.” When we look at this particular passage, it distinguishes between these two persons, YHWH and the one identified as Adonai.
We see three things in this passage:
1. The future Messiah King: it refers to Him as being fully divine; He is undiminished deity. Psalm 110:1a, “The Lord said to my Lord …”
2. The future Messiah-King: at the right hand of God the Father. Psalm 110:1b. He is to sit at His right hand, and we have to understand what that means.
3. The future Messiah-King: sitting—not a position of action; it’s a passive position, and He sits to await a future victory. Psalm 110:1c
That future victory will be described in Psalm 110:5–7 at the end of this psalm.
1. The future Messiah-King is fully divine, undiminished deity. Psalm 110:1a, “The LORD said to my Lord.” Who are these two Persons?
On the screen for you, “YHWH says to Adoni.”
Interestingly and I don’t want to bore you with a lot of Hebrew, but the last vowel point here, the dot in what looks like an apostrophe to you, transliterated is this “i” with the little house top over it. That suffix means “my.” The scholars who deny messianic implication come up with several references to this making the proclamation that this phrase or term, is never used of deity.
They need to go back and do a little homework because in Joshua 5:14 and Judges 6:13 Adoni is used of the Lord God as the Angel of the Lord, and in both of those passages there are verses immediately following that identify the Angel of the Lord as YHWH.
It is very clear that their argumentation is false, and that the word used here for my Lord is not a term referencing either David himself or the author himself or some other human, but is a word that is used to address deity.
This statement, “YHWH says to someone who is in authority over David.” David is the highest authority in Israel, so the only authority that can be over David is a divine authority. So this clearly indicates at least two Persons in the Godhead: God the Father and the Messiah King. They’re both viewed as being full deity.
The word that is used for speaking isn’t the normal word that is used for someone saying something or telling somebody else, it is the Hebrew ne’um, which indicates a prophetic announcement. A prophetic announcement is saying something that specifically relates to God’s revelation and His plan and purposes in history, so this is a profound statement. By using ne’um, everybody would sit up and take notice that this is a distinctive statement: that He is to sit at His right hand.
2. The future Messiah-King is at the right hand of the Father. Psalm 110:1b
This second phrase talks about Christ sitting; the Messiah is to sit. This sitting at the right hand of the Father is a position of honor and a position of respect. This has to be understood as well because there are some that have overstated the significance of this.
Sitting at the right hand does not indicate deity per se, and it does not indicate that perfect authority of God. Why do I say that? It’s not the same authority as the One sitting on the throne. Why do I say that? Because in 1 Kings, Solomon had Bathsheba sit at his right hand.
He’s not saying she has the same authority he has, but it is a position of respect, a position of honor, and a position that has a degree of authority associated with it. Sitting at the right hand is an honorific position, a position of authority, but He is not executing the same authority as the One on the throne.
3. The future Messiah-King is sitting to await a future victory. Psalm 110:1c
He is not seated on His own throne. He’s not crowned King yet. What you hear is a lot of contemporary Christian choruses addressing Jesus as King.
You have to think through these things. There are traditional hymns, like “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” and “Crown Him with Many Crowns” that put you as the singer in a future position at the end of the Tribulation. When you are singing, “Crown Him with Many Crowns” you’re not calling for that at this time. You have to understand the poetic significance; the use of time shift in these kinds of things.
In many other choruses and some hymns Jesus is addressed as if He is King now. He is not King now; there’s not a Kingdom now. The Kingdom doesn’t come until Jesus returns and establishes the Kingdom. You have to distinguish those things.
Because they have bad theology, bad choruses and bad hymns, people pick up bad ideas, and that’s why we have to take time to clearly go through what the Scripture says.
In the statement that He is to “sit until:” the preposition “until” indicates that a certain amount of time will go by before the next thing happens. He is to sit until God—that’s the “I”—God the Father “…makes Your enemies—the Messiah’s enemies and the Father’s enemies are the same—until He makes them a footstool.”
The idea of a footstool is that when a victor conquers a person or people, they’re pictured as putting their foot on them. It shows that they have been subdued and have been destroyed. So He is to sit until the time comes where His enemies will be subdued.
He’s the One who will subdue the enemies; that’s the last part of the psalm, but He sits until that happens. He’s not engaged in defeating those enemies now. He is waiting until the right time comes.
Hebrews 10:12–13 states this just as well; without quoting from the Psalm, it alludes to it.
Hebrews 10:12, “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting until His enemies are made His footstool.”
He’s waiting, and that’s just the first part of this.
The future victory is described a little bit in Psalm 110:2–3. “The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter—a scepter is a sign of rulership—will stretch forth your strong scepter. YHWH, God the Father, is the One who will establish His Kingdom. That’s what it means by “stretching forth your strong scepter from Zion.”
We know that Jesus returns and will establish His Kingdom in Zion, and it is from there that He defeats the enemies of God. There He’s going to “rule in the midst of Your enemies.” He is going to establish a rule of iron as we’ll see in Psalm 2.
Psalm 110:3. We have a problem; I’m just going to summarize it because I don’t want to get into all the details. “Your people shall be volunteers in the day of Your power—it’s the idea that they will be dressed in holy splendor—In the beauties of holiness …” That should be understood in the sense of holy splendor; they’re set apart.
God’s people will be coming with Him; the Church will be coming with Him as His soldiers. “Your people—doesn’t say Israel. Just says—Your people shall be volunteers in the day of Your power in holy splendor.”
In the English translation, “… from the womb of the morning, You have the dew of Your youth.” That is a meaningless translation. What does that even mean in English? Nobody knows; it’s very confusing.
The NET translates it “the dew of your youth belongs to you.” What does that mean? It is meaningless.
You have to get into a lot of details of the text, and I’m just going to skip to the end. It means “from the womb of the dawn I have begotten you.” That comes from the Septuagint translation. In the Masoretic Text, which we use as the basis for translating the Old Testament, the Masoretes would change the meaning of a few words by changing the vowels.
Remember, originally, these words aren’t written with vowels. That goes back also to understanding “the LORD said to my Lord.” The only reason you get into some these confusions is because of the way the vowels are put into that word.
This comes from the Septuagint; a number of scholars point this out. In fact, one little bit liberal Scandinavian scholar, Sigmund Mowinckel, translates this, “… from the womb of the dawn I have begotten you …” based on the repointing of the Hebrew text. Get rid of the vowels; just read it without the vowels, and you get this other meaning.
The Masoretes attempted to remove the messianic implication. “From the womb of the dawn I have begotten you.” What does that remind you of? Psalm 2, so we’ll talk about that connection when we come back to talk about Psalm 2.
Hebrews 10:12–13, He’s waiting: waiting for something, waiting for those enemies to be made His footstool.
The second part of the psalm just emphasizes the priesthood. In this current waiting period, He is a priest.
Psalm 110:4, “The Lord has sworn and will not relent—He doesn’t go back on this. He’s addressing My Lord, the future Messiah King—‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’ ”
Who is Melchizedek? Melchizedek was the ruler of Salem which later became Jerusalem. In Genesis 16 you have the defeat of the kings of the East that come in and conquer Sodom and Gomorrah and all the other cities in the plains, take all of the plunder and head north. Abraham gets his men together, and they go after them, defeat them, recapture all the plunder, and from the plunder, they give 10% to the king.
That’s always used to substantiate tithing. Trouble is tithing, in their view, is to be 10% of what you have. Abraham isn’t giving 10% of what he has. He is giving 10% of what other people had. He’s giving 10% of the plunder to Melchizedek. You can’t use that for teaching tithing. You have to be honest with the text.
Melchizedek was the priest-king. He’s not Jewish. I think it may be right: the Jewish tradition is that Melchizedek was another name for Shem, the son of Noah. He would still be alive at this time, and now he is ruling there; that’s a possibility. Melchizedek is just a name that means King of Righteousness.
He is the priest-king in Salem, and Abraham gives him a tenth of the plunder. As priest king, that becomes a pattern for another kind of priesthood other than the Levitical priesthood.
Jesus wasn’t a Levite. He was from the tribe of Judah; therefore, He can’t be a Levitical priest. But He is a Melchizedekian Priest; He is a Royal High Priest. All believers who are in Him have a priesthood related to their position in Christ. Because He is our Royal High Priest, we are priests in Christ—that is our role and responsibility.
In this verse we see two things:
- That God promises a future royal high priest who is the Messiah
- That He is an everlasting—eternal—Royal High Priest.
We will see that the future Messiah King will then defeat the enemies of YHWH, in Psalm 2 and Daniel 7.
Psalm 110:5–7, “The Lord is at Your right hand—so the Lord here is the Messianic King, Adonai, the Messianic King who is sitting—at Your right hand.” Once He can stand up and go, “He will execute kings in the day of His wrath.”
This is sweet and mild Jesus. This is the Jesus that the liberals love that never has a harsh word about anyone, right? Let’s understand who Jesus is going to be. He is going to come back, and He will execute the kings of the nations who are the enemies of God, and He will destroy them all.
“He shall judge among the nations, He shall fill the places with dead bodies—He will cover Israel with dead bodies as He destroys their enemies—He shall execute the heads of many countries. He shall drink of the brook by the wayside—this indicates refreshment at the end of the battle—therefore He shall lift up the head.”
Later we will compare this to Psalm 2.
This is described in Isaiah 63:1–3. When Jesus returns, He will go to a place near Petra called Bozrah, which is where the righteous Jews have fled for protection from God during the last half of the Tribulation. Then He will go to Jerusalem to destroy the armies of the Antichrist and free those who have been imprisoned in Jerusalem that are believers.
Isaiah 63:1–3, “Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah—dyed red from the blood of His enemies—This One who is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength? ‘I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.’ ”
“Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress?” This takes us to Revelation 17, 18, passages that talk about God treading out the winepress of His wrath.
“I have trodden the winepress alone—this is the Messiah speaking; this is Jesus—I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My robes.”
This is Jesus coming to destroy the enemies of God, Psalm 2, which we will look at next time.
How does this all relate to being seated with Him?
1. During this intervening period we are seated with Him. We, too, are awaiting the giving of the Kingdom. We don’t have a militant mission; we are not to bring in the Kingdom. We are instead to be involved in a priestly ministry.
Since we are not in the Kingdom or bringing in the Kingdom, this destroys the whole amillennial and post-millennial views, and brings us back to the biblical view of the Church.
2. Like Him, our role is related to our royal priesthood in Him. We are to carry out our priestly role: growing in our spiritual life. We are to grow and mature so that we can serve Christ in our priestly ministry. We are to carry out the great commission, we are to give people the gospel, we are to teach them
Notice it doesn’t say preaching, it says teaching—giving instruction on the spiritual life, instruction on God’s plan and purposes for Church Age believers. We are to be involved in prayer: prayer for one another, but prayer also for those who are outside the church, prayer for those to turn to Christ as they hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We are to carry out all the different “one another” ministries in the Church:
- We’re to love one another
- We’re to serve one another
- We’re to edify one another
- We’re to encourage one another
All of these things are part of our ministry today. This is what it means to be seated together in Christ. We have a role and responsibility in terms of our priestly ministry today, so we have to first of all become prepared through a study of the Word and spiritual growth; then we have to carry out all of those different ministries.
Next time we will go to Psalm 68; we won’t spend a lot of time there. Then we will look at Psalm 2 and Daniel 7, put all of that together to see the significance of our identification with Christ in His Session.
“Father, we thank You for this opportunity to study these things, to just stand in amazement as we read Psalm 110 and its significance for understanding who Jesus is, His role, His purpose, His destiny as a Ruler, and how He will take control when He is finally commissioned by You to take the Kingdoms of man and to judge them.
“Father, we thank You that we have the sure and certain word in Scripture about our salvation: that Christ has died for us, that we are saved by believing in Him. John 3:18 says the basis for condemnation is a failure to believe in Him. We pray for any listening today, anyone here, that if they’ve never trusted Christ the Savior, this is your opportunity to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.
“Father, we pray that You would strengthen us, that You would expand our understanding of who we are in Christ as a result of the studies, and that we may have a greater appreciation for our mission as individual-believer priests today in this life.
“We pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”