The Messianic King
Matthew 22:41–46; Psalm 110:1
Matthew Lesson #139
October 9, 2016
“Father, we’re thankful that we can come together today to focus upon Your Word. We’re reminded that Jesus prayed to You before He went to the Cross, ‘Father, sanctify them in truth: Thy Word is truth.’
We have before us Your eternal Word that has been in Your mind throughout all of eternity and expresses Your viewpoint on every issue in life.
Father, it is our decision, our responsibility to learn Your Word and to apply it. As Paul says, we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, that we are to replace the human viewpoint values and ideas and opinions that so often shape our thinking with the eternal truths of Your Word.
We are to be aligned with Your thinking and first have our thought life changed, which results in the change of our values, our behavior, our actions.
Father, we pray that as we study today that we would gain a greater appreciation for Who our Lord Jesus Christ is and what Your plan is for Him: both in terms of His first coming and in terms of His return.
We pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”
Open Your Bibles with me to Psalm 110. This is one of the most significant Psalms in all of the Scriptures. It’s the most widely quoted Psalm and most widely quoted passage from the Old Testament in the New Testament. It is important for us to study this because we have been studying in the Gospel of Matthew.
We studied last week about this final interchange between Jesus and the Pharisees. They have ganged up on Him, along with the Sadducees, to try to trip Him up and trap Him so that He would be discredited in the eyes of the people, and perhaps He would indict Himself with some sort of legal problem in the eyes of the Romans.
They have been shut down because of His extremely sophisticated and simple use of argumentation and use of the Scriptures. Again for all of us, that should remind us that it is the Word of God that has power.
Just as Jesus turned back the temptations of Satan when He was tested in the wilderness, we too can follow that example using God’s Word, but it presupposes that we know the Word of God.
As David said, “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.”
Jesus is very sophisticated in His answers to the Pharisees. As they have finished questioning Him, they can’t come up with anything else, Jesus then began to ask them a question in order to put them on the spot in terms of their understanding of who He is.
Just briefly, I want to set the context for Matthew 22:41 before we go into Psalm 110.
So Jesus asked them. “What do you think about the Christ?” CHRISTOS is the Greek word for the Hebrew word Mashiach for Messiah. So He’s saying, “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose Son is He?”
The Pharisees replied that He is the Son of David. This was true, but it was only partially true.
Then Jesus, trying to get them to think a little more deeply about the Scripture, Matthew 22:43–45, “Well then how does David by means of the Spirit”—through inspiration—“call Him Lord, saying …”
Then He quotes from Psalm 110:1, “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord, sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool.’ ” Then He says, “If David then calls Him Lord, how is He his Son?”
I went through this last week, pointing out that when David writes this, He refers to two people; the first is the Lord, who is God the Father, Yahweh, and talking to someone else called “My Lord.”
We’ll get into this as we look at the Psalm, but the point is that Second Person is viewed as someone who is superior to David.
David is a Middle Eastern monarch, and there is no human being that is greater than he. So who is this Second Person? How do we identify Him?
That’s why Jesus asked them, if David then calls Him “Lord”—this Second Person—He says, “How is He his Son?” How can this person be David’s Son or be only David’s Son?
The result is, “No one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on, did anyone dare question Him anymore.”
Let’s look at Psalm 110. This is such an important Psalm for a lot of different reasons, and we need to understand it.
At the very beginning of the Psalm, as you look at your text in the English, I just want to point out some things by way of introduction.
Just before the first verse, you read the phrase “A Psalm of David.” That superscription is not something that is added by the English translators or the editors of the Bible. In the Hebrew text that is actually verse 1.
A lot of times when you look at a commentary or something that’s dealing with the Hebrew text, they’ll have a verse, and then they’ll put up another number in parentheses. Because the number system in the Hebrew text is different from the English text many times: the English text doesn’t count that as the first verse, whereas, the Hebrew text counts it as the first verse.
So that is clearly inspired text. That is part of the Word of God telling us who is the author of this text.
Now this text, Psalm 110, is a psalm that is understood to be a Messianic Psalm, even by many scholars today who don’t think that there are any Messianic Psalms. Let me explain that just a minute.
What we see in the explanations today among vast hosts of contemporary scholars is that they will look at a lot of the Psalms like Psalm 2, 22, and 110 as having a primary reference to some historical event at the time the psalm was written.
It is only typologically: it is only used secondarily as a picture of the Messiah. For them there is no psalm that is purely written as a prophecy.
Even among those who would say that most of these Messianic Psalms are typology, most of them would say that Psalm 110 would be the only directly Messianic Psalm, because it’s very difficult to identify this to any historical situation in the life of David.
I’m putting a couple quotes up here on the screen for you, so you see where we are.
One of the foremost Old Testament commentarians writing today is a scholar by the name of Tremper Longman who says, “No psalm is Messianic in the narrow sense.”
I think it is very tragic today that we have lost a sense of true Messianic prophecy in the Old Testament. I believe, as Dr. Michael Rydelnik has titled his book (The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic?), that the Hebrew Bible is Messianic from Genesis through 2 Chronicles in the Old Testament (2 Chronicles in the Hebrew is the last book).
It’s all Messianic: it is all focusing on helping the Jewish people and everyone who reads the Old Testament to identify who the Messiah would be when He came. It’s not just typology; there is typology there, but it’s not that.
Herbert Bateman IV is a well-known Bible teacher. He’s a graduate of Dallas seminary with his masters and doctorate. He wrote an article in Dallas Seminary’s Theological Journal on Psalm 110 in which he says, “David did not speak the psalm to the Messiah, the divine Lord.”
In his view, David is writing about Solomon and that the passage is secondarily applied in the New Testament to Jesus. That would be in contrast to Dr. Tom Constable who taught for many years at Dallas Seminary.
I think he’s still teaching—he’s partially retired—but he said, “This is a prophetic Messianic psalm that describes a descendent of David who would not only be his son but his Lord.” In his view, as in the view of most traditional Bible scholars, David is looking at the Messiah.
He’s not talking about something that happens in his life. He is specifically portraying who the Messiah is. It is a prophecy related to helping us understand God’s plan and purpose for this Messianic King.
We have to understand that this is a Messianic psalm and Messianic prediction. It is a fascinating psalm. As several have pointed out, the language is profound, and it’s a little difficult in the Hebrew.
There are some real challenges in not only translating but also interpreting the text, and I’m going to try to not to get too bogged down in some of those issues. But it’s important to understand them because they affect your understanding of this psalm and why things are kind of a mess today among some scholars.
So the questions that we should address:
- Is this psalm Messianic?
- Is there such a thing as Messianic Psalms?
- Do we have genuine predictive Messianic Psalms?
We should go to this passage, 2 Samuel 23:1 for support. This is at the end of David’s life. These are his last words, and he is speaking about what he has written.
In this passage as we read it—the upper part of the slide gives us the New King James translation—“Now these are the last words of David.” And he says, “Thus declares David, the son of Jesse; thus declares the man raised up”—and then we have this translation—“on high.”
That’s what you’ll find in your King James; also probably the American Standard and most others—or something like it. But the Hebrew word there is the one that is spelled out, ‘al.
You can’t really tell the difference: your eyes probably will never be good enough to see that Hebrew pointing at the bottom. But it’s a long “ā” instead of the short “ă,” ăl; it is that vowel point underneath the consonant that looks like a “T.”
It is actually translated as if it were just a straight line by other manuscripts—not the Masoretic Text.
For those of you who have a little more knowledge on Scripture, this is an important point to understand: that the Hebrew Old Testament was written at a time when Hebrew did not have any vowels in the written language: they just wrote consonants.
This is very important: that vowel points—the idea of putting in the vowels in the written language—took place under a group of scribes called the Masoretes. Their final edition of the Hebrew text is called the Masoretic Text, the official Hebrew text of the Old Testament.
The problem is their insertion of these vowel points, because if you change the vowel from a short “ă” to a long “ā,” you actually change the meaning of that preposition.
You have much older Hebrew editions: for example, we have the Qumran texts that were discovered there that date from about 1 to 200 BC. The Masoretic Text dates from AD 900.
You’re talking about a 1,000 to 1,100-year difference and the original text, like at Qumran, have no vowel points. The contention is—by Dr. Rydelnik and several others—that by AD 900, the Masoretes have been dealing with 900 years of Christian assertions about certain Old Testament passages as being Messianic.
These are talking about Jesus, so by simply changing the vowels without changing the consonants, it would change the meaning of the word.
For example, if you had the word “stop” in English, and you took the vowel out, it would be “stp.” If somebody came along and said, “Well, that should read as “step” instead of “stop,” then you completely change the meaning of the word from “stop” to “step.”
This is what the Masoretes did in a number of places—is by changing the vowels that are associated with that word from one idea to another: it changed the meaning of the text.
In many cases it was designed to destroy the Messianic implications of the prophecy, so that the Masoretic Text is an interpretation in many places to present a non-Messianic Old Testament.
When you look at what I have written in the purple—the Hebrew preposition “ăl”—if that is understood as “āl,” then that is reflected in the Septuagint. (That’s the LXX, Roman numeral for 70. The tradition was that 70 rabbis translated the Hebrew Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, in 70 days from Hebrew into Greek.)
This is around 200 years before Jesus, so they’re certainly not influenced by any kind of anti-Christian claims. When they translated it, they translated it as if it was “āl” instead of “ăl,” and they use the Septuagint preposition EPI which means “concerning”—that’s one of its meanings.
Then the text would read, “Thus says the man raised up concerning the anointed, the Messiah of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel.” It changes the meaning from “Thus declares the man raised up on high” to “Thus says the man raised up concerning the Messiah.”
This tells us that David understood, when He wrote many of the psalms, that he wasn’t writing about his personal experiences that were just a shadow image of the Messiah. He was writing specifically about the Messiah: he understood that he was writing Messianic prophecy. That’s very important to understand: it’s not just typology.
I think it’s also important for us to understand the context of Psalm 110. As the psalms were written, they were inspired by God. The authors of the psalms included David, who wrote probably 70 or 80 of the psalms, maybe more, that just weren’t attributed to him.
Moses wrote at least one psalm; other psalms were written by the sons of Korah or Asaph or others. David wrote most of these psalms, but they were not organized until sometime later.
I believe that even the organization of the psalms was inspired by God. There is a reason and a purpose to why the psalms are organized the way they are. If we look at the context of the surrounding psalms, it’s very interesting.
If you’re at Psalm 110, just turn back a couple of pages and you will see that there is a division. The psalms were divided into five books, and each book has its own separate and distinctive theme.
Book 5 covers Psalm 107 to 150. If you look at these three psalms that preceded Psalm 110, they have as a major theme a plea for God to deliver the nation.
The three psalms that come after Psalm 110—Psalm 111, 112, and 113—have as their focal point a praise for deliverance. Psalm 110 fits in the middle of that as a transition—as the hinge—that describes who the Messianic Deliverer was.
We have pleas for deliverance, then Psalm 110 tells us about the Messianic Deliverer, and then three psalms that are praise for having been delivered.
As we look at this psalm, it’s helpful to understand its structure. I’ve looked at a number of different ways that this psalm has been outlined. I think this is the best one because it focuses on the hinge verse of the psalm, which is the fourth verse.
We look at the first three verses as the first idea all related to the Messianic King: that the Messiah is a divine king. These three verses emphasize His royalty and His Messianic royal role.
- We could say that “Yhwh will exalt the Messianic King to His right hand where He will await the defeat of His enemies, and the establishment of His kingdom.” That’s the first three verses.
- Then we have the hinge verse which is Psalm 110:4 where “Yhwh vows to make the Messianic King a priest after the order of Melchizedek.”
Here the Messianic King is identified as also being an eternal priest. That is unusual in Israel because the priestly tribe is the tribe of Levi and the tribe of the kings is the tribe of Judah.
They separated the role of the king and the priest, but in the Messianic King those roles of priesthood and kingship will be united. So this is the centerpiece—the focal point—of the psalm.
- The third division, we see that Yhwh will give the Messianic King a mighty and glorious victory over His enemies—this is yet future—followed by a time of refreshment and exultation to a position of honor and dominion.
There is going to be a future victory over His enemies—a huge battle, huge war—that will then be followed by a time of unprecedented peace and glory. The Messianic King is elevated at that time to a position of honor and power as He rules over the earth.
What we’ll see is that is a perfect depiction of what is portrayed—in Daniel, Revelation, and a number of the other prophetic books—that there is this huge battle called “The Day of the Lord” that occurs at the end of the Tribulation period.
This is when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to the earth and destroys the enemies of God at the battle of Armageddon. Then there is a judgment and punishment for the Antichrist, the false prophet, and for the unsaved.
At that time, coming out of the Tribulation, those who survive and are unsaved are sent to punishment. This is followed by the establishment of a 1,000-year rule of the Messiah on the earth called the “Millennial Kingdom” or the “Messianic Kingdom.”
That is when the Lord Jesus Christ rules, and there’s going to be no war. This will be a time when all the nations—the Gentiles—come and worship God at the holy mountain in Jerusalem at the temple, according to Isaiah 2 and other passages.
That third division is very important, and it’s helpful for us to get this little bit of a fore view, because as we’re going through Matthew, what we’re going to see in Matthew 23 is this full-bore condemnation by the Lord Jesus Christ of the Pharisees, and that it is extremely strong. There He announces the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.
That causes the disciples to ask this question, well, “when are these things going to be?” Jesus answers those questions in Matthew 24–25—that’s known as the “Olivet Discourse.” When we get there in a couple of weeks, we’re going to get back into a study of prophecy and the layout of the Tribulation period and what is going to come about in the future.
This is very important. There are some challenging passages to work through as well, so see this as a preview of some coming attractions in terms of prophecy, although that won’t happen till we finish Matthew 23.
As we start the first part of this Psalm, it’s introduced by the phrase that this is “a Psalm of David.” This is used over 55 times in the psalms and indicates Davidic authorship. The phrase itself is used over 80 times in the Hebrew of the psalms, but only in terms of the titles; the ascription of authorship is used over 55 times.
Allen Ross, one of my Hebrew professors at Dallas Seminary, specializes in the psalms. For those of you who have the Bible Knowledge Commentary: he was a faculty member at Dallas at the time. He wrote the commentary on Psalms, and has produced over the last few years an enormous three-volume commentary on the Psalms.
In his comments on Psalm 110, he notes that among most scholars today—this would be not only most liberals, but also surprisingly a number of evangelicals—who would say, according to him, “Not many would be willing to say that David actually wrote it.”
See, there’s this thing in scholarship that the Bible can’t really be the Word of God. It’s the word about man, and if it doesn’t fit our understanding of history or our preconceived notions, then it can’t really be true.
This is a real challenge, but, of course, Jesus, who is omniscient in His deity, said that David by means of the Spirit wrote Psalm 110, clearly He affirms Davidic authorship.
This is a very important to understand because as a pastor, part of my job is to warn the congregation about false teaching and about the way that the trends of the day are attacking the Bible. This is why the focal point of our Chafer Conference in March is going to be on the importance of the inerrancy and infallibility of the Scriptures.
We see that Jesus made it very clear that David authored this. Many of the more conservatives who don’t believe this is a Messianic psalm, do affirm that it is a psalm of David, but they just think that there was a historical context where it referred to Solomon: this or that situation, or something else.
It’s part of my responsibility to also warn the congregation about how these trends take place. They have tremendous implications, so you need to be aware of that.
As we look at Psalm 110:1, we read, “The LORD said to My Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool.’ ”
We see in the way I have copied the verse and put in all uppercase letters for “LORD,” that there is a difference between the first LORD and the second Lord.
If you have an English Bible, when you’re reading through the Old Testament, and you see that word “LORD” in all uppercase, that tells you that it is translating the Hebrew word YHWH, which is the proper name for God. YHWH is sometimes referred to as the “sacred tetragrammaton.”
You’ve probably heard that term somewhere along the way. The Latin word “tetragrammaton” means “tetra” is “four,” “grammaton” is “letters”, so it means “four letters”, Y H W H. There are no vowels in the original. We know how it’s pronounced because that first syllable “Yah” is often found in various Hebrew words and Hebrew names.
For example, the word “hallelujah” means “Praise Yah,” “Praise God.” Zechariah, Zephaniah, Hezekiah: these are all names that included the first syllable of the name of YHWH. So we know how that first syllable is pronounced, and we can infer from that how the second syllable is pronounced.
This is God’s proper name. It’s known by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but its significance isn’t known until God calls Moses in Exodus 3:14–15:
“And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ ” Moses has asked God in the burning bush, “Who should I say has sent me?” “And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you.” ’ ”
There’s a Hebrew verb, hayah, which means “to be,” “to exist,” and this proper name for God is a form of that verb. It’s describing God as the eternal or the self-existent God: He is not dependent on anyone else.
He is the Eternal God: He is the One who rescues Israel from slavery in Egypt, and He is the One who enters into covenant with them. YHWH is always associated with the God who has entered into covenant with Israel.
This is the basis for the word that we run across in hymns, and here and there, the word “Jehovah.” Jehovah has as its consonants, JHVH instead of YHWH; that’s because a lot of scholarship was done by the Germans.
You get this shift that takes place as you go from one language to another: where in German, you have the written letter “J,” but they pronounce it like a “Y;” and you have the written letter “W,” and they pronounce it like a “V.”
That’s where you get this shift that occurs between “J” and “V”—Jehovah—and “Y” and “W.” It’s just as it moves from German to English or from Hebrew to English, they would write the “Y” as a “J” and the “W” as a “V.”
In Hebrew, the first letter is a Yod; it’s a “Y.” You can hear it in my pronunciation of the letter: it’s “Yod,” pronounced “Yud.” That’s the first letter. The third letter is a vav; it’s pronounced like it’s a “V” by Hebrews, but Americans try to always pronounce it like a “W.”
This is how that is written, but according to Jewish reverence for God, they would not pronounce the proper name of God. Today they sometimes will use the word Hashem when they see that name “Yahweh” in the text.
What happened when the Masoretes put vowel points in—because for much of the time what the Israelites have done is to read Adonai, the word for “Lord” which we find in the second “Lord” here in this passage—they would read Adonai out of respect for the name of God.
So instead of reading Yahweh, they would read Adonai; if the text says “Yahweh said to my Lord,” they would read it, “Adonai said to my Lord.”
The Masoretes would put the vowels from Adonai under the consonants for Yahweh. It’s really a combination word: in the word “Jehovah,” you have the consonants for Yahweh and the vowels for Adonai. It’s a made-up word: God’s name is not “Jehovah”.
The first time that the word “Jehovah” appeared was in late medieval times—1520 is the earliest we know of. An Italian monk by the name of Galatino was the first to use this combination made-up word “Jehovah.”
It was introduced 10 years later by William Tyndale, who translated it as “Jehovah” in his 1530 edition of the Pentateuch. It was interesting that instead of spelling it JEHOVAH, he spelled it with an “I” instead of “J.” See that’s the funniness of going back and forth between different languages.
“J” and “I” were written almost the same up until the last 100 years or so—just a little factoid. That’s why when you go to Washington DC, and you go through A Street, B Street, etc., there’s no J Street, because it would look the same as “I,” so it would confuse people. You would have an I Street, but “I” was written so similarly to “J” that they didn’t want to confuse people. So there’s no J Street in Washington DC.
This is the personal name of God, and it indicates the covenant God with Israel.
This first line here says “Yahweh says something” and it’s translated “said” here. It’s a word for “said” in the Greek in the translation, but actually the Hebrew word that is used here is a significant word. It is the word neum, which means “an utterance” or “an oracle.”
When God is speaking, it indicates divine revelation, as in Psalm 36:1. It announces a divine decree—an oracle or a revelation—that is coming specifically from God.
It should be translated, “An oracle of YHWH to my Lord,” or it could be translated “the prophetic word of Yahweh to my Lord.” You have two people mentioned here—that First Person is Yahweh—and He’s speaking to somebody else who is described by David as “my Lord.”
This also gets a little technical, but it’s very important. The word “my Lord” that we have here in the Hebrew is this word Adoni, and it ends with an “I.” That ending of an “I” tells you it’s a first person suffix. It’s saying “my.”
That’s the “my” part of “Lord” versus Adonay, which is the word “Lord,” which is the word you would ascribe to when you’re reading the text that describes God as the Lord. This is Adonay, so you see there’s a very minor difference between the two.
Some come along and say, “Well, this really can’t refer to a divine person because it is Adonay: “ay” is always used of God. However, there are exceptions: these exceptions are important.
In Joshua 5:14 and in Judges 6:13, Adoni—the first usage, “my Lord”—is used in reference to the Angel of the Lord. This is very important to understand. It helps us to understand the deity of this individual and the deity of the Messiah. It’s crucial.
In Joshua 5:14 we have a situation where the Angel of Yahweh appears to Joshua as the commander of the Lord’s armies giving him direction to fight his battles against the Canaanites.
He appears to Joshua and says, “No, but as commander of the army of Yahweh, I have now come,” so this is seen as a different person from Yahweh.
This is the commander of Yahweh’s army and Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshipped. Only God gets worshipped: angels are never worshipped. Whenever somebody tried to bow down to an angel in the Scripture, the angel would always say, “Get up, get up! I’m not God, don’t worship me.”
The fact that Joshua falls down and worships Him indicates that he recognizes that the Angel of Yahweh is fully God. He says, “What does my LORD”—there’s that same form of the word that we have in in Psalm 110:1—“what does my LORD say to His servant?”
What this tells us is the Angel of the LORD is divine, and the Angel of the LORD is called Adoni, just as David addresses Him as Adoni in Psalm 110:1.
Judges 6:13 does the same thing. The Angel of Yahweh appears to Gideon and Gideon says to the angel of the LORD, “ ‘O my LORD’ ”—Adoni—the same word again.
In these two passages you have the form of the word that David uses, “The LORD said to my Lord—Adoni.” Adoni in these passages refers to the Angel of the Lord.
This implies that the Adoni that David is addressing is fully divine, so that the Messianic King is not just a descendent of David as his physical descendent, but He’s also a divine king, a divine Messiah.
We know that the Angel of the Lord is divine because in Judges 6:22, when Gideon saw that it was the Angel of the Lord that appeared to him, he says to the Angel of the Lord, “Alas, O Lord GOD!”—Adoni, Yahweh.
“GOD” is translated as uppercase to show that that’s Yahweh. And he says, “For now, I have seen the angel of the LORD face-to-face”—indicating that the angel of the LORD is fully God.
Zechariah 1:12, “The angel of the LORD” speaks to this other personage in the context and as the LORD of hosts: Yahweh Sabaoth, the Lord of the armies.
Again, he addresses Him and says, “… how long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these 70 years?”
Zechariah 1:12 sees the Angel of the LORD also as divine, but as a Second Personage in the deity.
In Psalm 110:1, we see that it starts that the oracle of Yahweh—that would be God the Father—is speaking to someone who is viewed as superior to David. He is David’s Lord, David’s superior, but He’s also a descendent of David.
As an ancient near-Eastern monarch, there’s nobody in the whole world that is superior to David. So this can only mean somebody who’s not human, someone who is divine.
What this decree consists of is a command to “sit at My right hand.” Now what does that mean? Again, this is very important. It is a position of honor, a position of respect, but it is not something that necessarily indicates that the person sitting at the right hand of the monarch shares in all of power.
Some people will say that sitting at the right hand means that that person at the right hand shares the essence of God. It doesn’t mean that.
1 Kings 2:19, the very last line of the text, Bathsheba is told to sit at Solomon’s right hand. It’s a position of authority, it’s a position of respect and honor, but it is does not mean that she has the same authority and power. She’s not the same as Solomon.
This tells us that Yahweh tells “My Lord,” the Second Personage, to come to Heaven to “sit at My right hand.” It is not on the Father’s throne, but next to the Father’s throne.
It’s not the Davidic throne either. Amillennials will say this is the Davidic throne, the throne of David. That fits their scenario that we’re living in a spiritual kingdom right now, and we’re not.
In Revelation 3:21: Jesus is speaking, He’s talking to the church. He says, “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
What this means is that Jesus is looking at His throne as something different from the throne He has when He’s sitting at the right hand of the Father. When He sits at the right hand of the Father, that’s the Father’s throne. It’s not Jesus’ throne. Jesus’ throne doesn’t take place until He returns at the Second Coming.
This is important because this new aberration that’s developed within dispensationalism called “Progressive Dispensationalism,” takes the view that Jesus is now sitting in a spiritual throne of David in Heaven, and we are in some form of the Kingdom.
That’s not what the text says. The text says that Jesus is sitting on the Father’s throne. He “sat down with My Father on His throne”: not on His own throne, not on the throne of David. This tells us that the Kingdom is completely and totally future.
The next line in the verse says, “Until I make Your enemies Your footstool.” How do we know when this time of sitting occurs?
This is referred to historically in theology as “The Session of Christ”—“session” is an old word meaning “to be seated”—that Jesus is seated until His enemies are made His footstool. There will be this final battle that will defeat the enemies of God.
We see this described in verses like Psalm 92:9, “For behold, Your enemies, O LORD, for behold Your enemies shall perish”—looking to a time when God will totally defeat His enemies—“Your enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.”
This also is an allusion to the same thing that’s talked about in Psalm 2:2, “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against Yahweh and against His anointed”—against His Messiah.
We see this future battle, and the rest of the psalm depicts how the Messiah will return and destroy these enemies of God.
The text says that that’s the turning point: “when the enemies are made a footstool.” What does that mean? That pictures enemies being vanquished and under the foot of the person who’s conquered them.
Joshua 10:24 depicts this: … when these kings are brought to Joshua, “that Joshua called for all the men of Israel and the captains of the men of war and said, ‘Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings.’ And they drew near and put their feet on their necks.” The enemies were made a footstool for their feet.
Psalm 47:3 uses the same imagery that “God will subdue the peoples under us, and the nations under our feet.”
This depicts what is described in Daniel 7:13–14: Daniel sees in this vision that God the Father is on the throne in Heaven: the Ancient of Days. He says, “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man”—this is not God the Father, the Ancient of Days, but the Messiah—“coming with clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him …”—that is the Son of Man—“was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.”
Here’s the scenario: Jesus ascends to Heaven. He’s seated at the right hand of God the Father to wait, to wait, to wait until a certain time comes. At that time He comes to the Father, as depicted in Daniel 7.
All this time He’s asking for the Kingdom, asking for the Kingdom, asking for the Kingdom, and then the Father says, “Your enemies are ready to be defeated. Now is the time,” and He gives Him the Kingdom.
This is pictured in Revelation 5 when the scroll is given to the Lamb who comes to the throne of the Father. That’s when He begins to open the seals. The first seal judgments are the initiating part of the first half of the Tribulation, and then it develops from there, as Revelation depicts, the Tribulation being a time when God the Son is purging the earth to defeat His enemies at Armageddon, and then to return to the earth.
The point for us to take is that as we look out on the chaos of the world, no matter how crazy it gets, no matter how insane the headlines become, and no matter how uncertain life is—it’s been uncertain many times in history for Christians—we know that Jesus is coming back.
He’s going to establish His Kingdom, and it’s going to be forever and ever. We don’t need to sweat the small stuff. Whatever happens today, we’ll focus our attention on Jesus who will return. And we live today in light of eternity.
“Father, we thank You for the opportunity to study through this important psalm and come to understand how it fits within our understanding of who Jesus is, where He is today, what He is doing today, what He is preparing to do in the future when He returns to establish His Kingdom.
Father, we pray for anyone that is listening, that they recognize first and foremost that this is significant only for those who have trusted in Jesus as Savior. The Scripture says there is no other name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.
We are saved by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, by trusting in Him and Him alone, because He died as Your Lamb, who took away the sins of the world.
By trusting in Him—not by changing our lives, not by going through some sort of emotional or cathartic experience, not by joining the church, but by simply trusting in You—we have eternal life.
For the rest of us, we should be reminded of who Jesus is, Who we believed in and come to a greater understanding of our Lord and Savior and what His destiny is: for we will rule and reign with Him when He comes in His Kingdom.
We pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”