PSALM 110 is one of the most important passages in the entire revelation of God. It is quoted more often in the New Testament than any other passage. It rests upon the historical facts of Genesis 14 as a basis. It is therefore not surprising that Satan should attempt to discredit these two chapters.
The first thing to be noted in this wonderful psalm is that it is Jehovah's oracle to David's Lord. The speaker is none other than the one who in the New Testament is known as God the Father. But who is meant by the expression, "my Lord"? David, who occupied the highest position in the kingdom of Israel recognized this one as his superior--his Lord. That this one is not an ordinary being is evident from the fact that the Eternal God invites David's Lord to sit at His right hand. According to oriental custom, a king who sat upon a throne would never invite anyone to sit with him at his right hand unless he were another king or a person of royalty. Since God used this language with which all in David's time were familiar, He intended to convey the idea that David's Lord was equal to God, who makes the revelation. We can therefore say that the Eternal Father speaks to another who is His equal and acknowledges Him as such. Two persons of the Holy Trinity therefore appear in this passage. These facts are in keeping with Israel's great confession "Hear, 0 Israel, Jehovah [the Eternal] our Gods is Jehovah [the Eternal] a unity" (literal translation). All the writers of the Old Testament were Trinitarians. The Jews held the same position until the second century of the present era. Rather than accept Jesus as their Messiah, they rejected the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
GOD the Father speaks to David's Lord, telling Him, "Sit thou at my right hand." Obviously David's Lord is not at the time of this invitation at God's right hand. Since the throne of God is here in view, we know that this is a scene in heaven, and we observe the Almighty (the Father) seated upon this throne.
But where is Messiah, David's Lord? In verse 2 we find the answer. According to this statement, the Father will send forth the rod of Messiah out of Zion. This thought is repeated in the last line of this verse, "Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies." Enemies in this second line corresponds to Zion in the first.
This passage therefore assumes that Messiah leaves heaven and comes to the earth. Instead of receiving Him with enthusiasm, the Jews become His enemies and endeavor to slay Him--and finally do so. When they thus spurn His love and assistance, God invites Him to leave this earth, to ascend to heaven, and to take His seat at His right hand. Thus He who is rejected upon earth by man is honored with the greatest dignity and glory by the Eternal Father in heaven.
THE Father says to the Son, King Messiah, for the latter to take the seat at His right hand until He (the Father) makes the Jewish people the footstool of Messiah's feet. The word until is a very significant term. Here it covers the entire Christian Dispensation. A glance at the chart will make this plain. The words, "Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool," are an invitation from God for the Messiah to sit at His right hand in the heavens throughout the Christian Dispensation. During this time Israel is in rejection, wandering from nation to nation and being hated, despised, and persecuted by many peoples of the earth.
In Hosea 5:15, we have the word till used with the same significance. "I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me earnestly." Here the same situation appears and likewise the time. Messiah comes to Israel and she rejects Him--yes, executes Him. Then He leaves this earth (at the invitation of God in fulfillment of Psalm 110:1), returns to His own place (heaven), and remains there till they (the Jews) acknowledge their offense against Him, Messiah. He will remain seated at the right hand of the throne of God until the nation of Israel, shown by those who have the truth that Jesus of Nazareth, the rejected Messiah, is the true King of Israel, accepts Him as such, and pleads for Him to return. This they will do in their affliction, that is, in the Tribulation period--at the close of it.
We see the same usage of this word in Matthew 23:39: "For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." The Jews at the time Jesus uttered this statement were planning His destruction. In this lament, which begins with verse 37, Jesus poured out the grief of His heart and made the prediction that the leaders of Israel who were rejecting Him would never see Him until they take the attitude of the great masses who welcomed Him as King and Messiah. The word till therefore covers this entire Christian Dispensation.
Although the Jews rejected Christ, He is still, as we learn in Psalm 80:1-3, guiding the nation of Israel from the glory above. It has been due to His shepherding of His flock that any of them have survived the terrific crises through which the nation has passed during the time of His rejection and its dispersion abroad.
IN THIS invitation for the Lord Jesus to sit at the right hand of God until the Almighty subjects Messiah's enemies to Him, we see by inference that, when these enemies are subjected to King Messiah, He will no longer be seated at the Almighty's right hand. His session there in glory is limited to the present dispensation, at the end of which God providentially puts the nation of Israel under King Messiah.
This will occur, as we learn from various passages of Scripture, at the very end of the Tribulation period. It is a time of trouble--seven years--which is by Jeremiah called "the time of Jacob's trouble." But, as the prophet continues, he (Israel) shall be saved out of it. The entire nation will not be saved at that time; but, as is indicated in the last verses of Zechariah, 13, one-third of them will survive the Tribulation. The inference is that two-thirds of them will fall under the terrific blows of this period of judgment.
We learn from many scriptures that Israel in her extremity will give God an opportunity to save her.
JEHOVAH will send forth the rod of thy strength out of Zion: Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies." The Lord Jesus Christ will return from heaven at the end of the Tribulation and will mount the throne of David in Jerusalem. His government, established among the Jews, will increase until it has encircled the globe. Some Bible students, however, do not understand that Zion here refers to the city of Jerusalem. Zion was at first the name of the large hill in the southwestern part of the city of Jerusalem. Because of its overtowering the other three hills, the name which it had previously borne was applied to the entire city. Thus Zion here means Jerusalem. This Jerusalem is a literal city in Palestine. We must accept this position unless there is positive evidence in the passage or in a parallel one that indicates a different meaning for this word. But an examination of the entire context will not yield such an idea. We must therefore accept this as the literal reign of Christ in Jerusalem during the thousand years of which John in Revelation 20 speaks.
David was selected to succeed Saul as the king of Israel. He became the founder of the Davidic dynasty. The throne was overturned and Israel went into exile. The sacred writer in Psalm 89 asked God to explain this seeming failure of His plans. The Lord revealed that the situation was only temporary. The throne of David is not to be cast down always. God made such promises concerning it in II Samuel 7 in regard to its standing forever. The Psalmist declared that it will remain continuously, for God will neither change nor alter the thing that is gone out of His mouth. Messiah therefore mounts the throne of David and reigns over the earth, in Jerusalem, for one thousand years.
THUS in Psalm 110 we see a clear picture of the redemptive career of King Messiah. His coming to earth, entering it by virgin birth, is assumed. His early life and His ministry consisting of three and one half years are also taken for granted. The plan of the ages, so far as this passage is concerned, begins to unfold at the time when Jesus was in the shadow of the cross.
The entire Christian Dispensation which has now run for 1912 years (written in 1942), during which Jesus is at the right hand of the throne of God, is here shown in clear outline. It is, according to the teaching of other scriptures, to be brought to a close by the rapture of the church. After this event comes the great Tribulation which continues for seven years. At the end of that period Israel will be brought to her extremity and will accept her Messiah, pleading for Him to return. When she thus implores His presence and aid, He will leave heaven, come to her rescue, and establish the throne of David, and reign in Jerusalem for a thousand years.
The Lord will carry out this plan, as here set forth, in His own good time. He will likewise fulfill every utterance of His exactly as He has spoken. Blessed be the name of God.