Psalm 110. A Psalm of David. Lesson 4.

Key Notes: Jesus is God. Jesus is the Priest and King over the nations. Reconciling His roles as Priest and Judge.

This is the fourth Messianic Psalm in this study. In the first, (Psa. 23), Christ is Shepherd. In the second, (Psa.2) Christ is the ruler of the rebellious nations. The third, (Psa.45), describes Him at His Marriage celebration. This Psalm speaks of Jesus as God, as Warrior, Priest and King.

The code for a rhythm of Hebrew poetry is spelled out in Lesson 1:
        =  synonymous ideas
     (=) synonymous ideas with verbal repetition
        >> focusing, intensification of thought
       -> a consequential idea, an outcome
       {  } complementing ideas

110:1   "The LORD (Jahweh) says to My Lord (Adonai), ->Sit at My right hand -> until I make Your enemies Your foot-stool."

110:2  " The LORD sends out from Zion Your mighty scepter. >>  Rule in the midst of Your foes."

110:3   "Your people will offer themselves willingly -> on the day You lead your forces on the holy mountains. {From the womb of the morning}, ->like dew, Your youth will come to You."

110:4   "The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, >>You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek."

110:5   "The Lord is at Your right hand; -> He will shatter kings on the day of his wrath."

110:6   "He will execute judgment among the nations, >> filling them with corpses; = he will shatter heads over the wide earth."

110:7   "He will drink from the stream by the path; -> therefore He will lift up his head.'

Comments:

110:1  From David {the oracle of JHWH} to my Adonai. David is using two names for God : JHWH or Jahweh and Adonai. JHWH tells David's Lord (Adonai) to sit at His right hand until his enemies are defeated. Jesus Christ sits at God's right hand. We know that Messiah is Son of David from Isa. 9:6–7. But if He is David's son, how can He also be David's Lord (Adonai)?

 This verse is cited in NT several times, for example,

•Christ asked the Pharisees how Messiah could be David's Son and also His Lord. Matt.22:44.
•Peter and the Apostles told the Jewish leaders that God had exalted Him whom Israel rejected to His right hand. Acts 5:30
•Paul says that Christ reigns at God’s right hand as Savior and Intercessor for us. Rom.8:34
•Being seated is the token of a finished task, the Atonement. Heb.1:2, 10:31
•He waits final surrender of his enemies. Heb.10:13

110:2 The power to rule over the nations originates in Zion.

110:3 "Your people will offer themselves willingly in the day of Your power in the beauty of holiness. From the womb of the morning You have the dew of Your youth." There are subordinate phrases in the sentence:
"...in the day of Your power Your people will be willing" and "...in the beauty of holiness". "The beauty of holiness" suggests that "the day of your power" is a spiritual contest, rather than a physical battle fought by his people. There may be two kind of battles, a spiritual one, and then a physical war.

"...from the womb of the morning" means before dawn when the dew comes.
 "...you have the dew of your youth" could mean the people will be fresh and eager; or Christ will be at the height of His powers. It could well mean both.
How Christ will come to rule over the nations remains a puzzle, as it has been for two thousand years.

110:4 A new topic is introduced. David's Lord is also a priest of a unique order, the order of Melchizedek, and superior to the Levitical priests as we see from Heb.5:6.

•Melchizedek was priest of the Most High God, king of Salem (peace) and king of righteousness during the life of Abraham. Gen.14:18
•Nothing is known of Melchizedek’s lineage. Like Melchizedek, Jesus is not of the tribe of Levi, and without genealogy (He has a Father, but no grandfather) or length of life, so that He continues a priest forever. Heb.7:5
•Christ is ordained by God's oath, in contrast to the Levitical priests. Heb.6:17–21
•Melchizedek blessed Abraham and is therefore superior to him and to Levitical priests who came after him. Hebrews tells us that Jesus’ priesthood is also superior to the priesthood of Levi. Heb.7:4–9
•He is holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Heb.7:26
•He offered himself once for all. Heb.9:26

110:5–6 Adonai is at God's right hand; he will execute judgment on the nations physically. There will be many dead rulers.
110:7 "He will drink from the stream by the path" is enigmatic. It could refer to a warrior drinking to refresh himself during the battle.

Psalm 110 is a pivotal prophetic psalm for three reasons.
     It speaks of Jesus’ deity quite plainly. It is a testimony to the Incarnation. It is also a valuable text supporting the Trinity in the OT.
     It shows that he has two roles to play at once, priest and king. No priest was ever a king in all of Israel’s history. Jehoiada the priest came close as regent over the seven-year-old king Joash. (IIK.11–12). Uzziah tried to be priest as well as king and was punished. (IIChron.26:16–21). Zechariah gives us our other prophecy of a priest being king. (Zech.6:9–13). That also is a clearly Messianic reference.

The reason why it would be difficult to fulfill both roles at once is that the task of the king is to execute judgment, and the task of the priest is to extend forgiveness and restitution. It is hard to issue condemnation on one hand for obvious sin, and to issue pardon with the other. Jesus is uniquely qualified to give salvation and execute judgment. The way God’s plan is worked out through Christ is the subject of the first chapters of Romans, especially Rom.3:21–26.