This psalm was composed by David and contains vital Messianic prophecies. Psalm 110:1 is the most frequently quoted verse in the Brit Hadasha (New Testament) and for that reason alone it deserves special consideration. It speaks of David’s greater Son, the promised Messiah who is both King and Priest. The Davidic Covenant explains that the throne of David will be established forever (2 Samuel 7:1-16). This psalm is the announcement of Messiah’s reign and is eschatological in focus.
“The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”(Psalm 110:1).
Messiah is the Son of David
In Matthew 22:41-46, Yeshua (Jesus) asked the Pharisees what they thought about the Messiah and whose Son is He? They responded that He is the Son of David. Jesus then asked how David in the Spirit called Him Lord and quoted Psalm 110:1 saying: “The LORD said to my Lord, sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies your footstool?” He then asked, “If David called Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?”(Matthew 22:46). Tellingly, no one was able to respond to that or, dared question Him following that.
Many ask the question, “How can man become God?” That is of course impossible. The greater question is, “Could God take on the form of a Man?” Yeshua is fully God and fully Man. He existed before David from eternity past yet He is also David’s greater Son. David’s Son is both the root and offspring of David (Revelation 22:16).
At his sermon during Shavuot (Pentecost), Peter explained that God raised Yeshua from the dead and that He was exalted to the right hand of God, having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit. Peter also quoted Psalm 110:1 explaining that David did not ascend to the heavens but David himself spoke of the One who did.
Messiah is King
David spoke of Messiah’s future reign in Jerusalem.
“The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion.
Rule in the midst of Your enemies” (Psalm 110:2)!
The Lord is sovereign and is the One who created and sustains the universe. Messiah will rule over the nations and reign in Zion (Jerusalem). Isaiah 66:1 reads, “Thus says the LORD: “Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you would build Me? And where is the place of My rest?” Psalm 2:6-8 states, “Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion.” “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, “You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession.”
Psalm 110:3 speaks of the Lord’s people willingly serving Him in the day of His power and these three verses demonstrate Messiah in His Kingly office. Israel is described as His glory and He would place His salvation in Zion (Isaiah 46:13). Psalm 110:4 explains that Messiah is both King and Priest and shows the uniqueness of Messiah’s role of Priest and King.
Messiah is Priest
Psalm 110:4 is central to this passage and declares, “The LORD has sworn and will not relent, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Only Yeshua could perfectly fulfil the office of both King and Priest. When Uzziah attempted to function as a priest he was smitten with leprosy (2 Chronicles 26:18-21), but Messiah, by divine decree will be a priest upon His throne (Zechariah 6:13).[i] Uncorrupted kingship and spiritual priesthood will give the world a government much desired but never realised.[ii]
Melchizedek is mentioned in Genesis 14, Psalm 110 and Hebrews 5-7. The writer to the Hebrews shows that the priesthood of Messiah is forever according to the order of Melchizedek and he compares and contrasts the Levitical priesthood with that of Melchizedek. Melchizedek was a foreshadow or type of Messiah. His name means “King of Righteousness”. Strikingly, there is no record of him in Jewish genealogies and Abraham paid tithes to him. This priesthood is better than the Levitical priesthood since Yeshua is the High Priest and His priesthood is unchangeable and continues forever. Yeshua offered Himself as a perfect sinless sacrifice to make atonement for sin and is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him.
At His birth Yeshua received prophetic gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh speaking of His kingship, deity and priesthood, and foretelling the suffering by which He would make atonement for sin. He was a Man born to die since He was sinless and has the power to forgive sins. His sacrifice satisfied the wrath of God and there is forgiveness for those who turn to Him and trust in Him and not themselves. Many anticipated Messiah Ben Joseph and Messiah Ben David as two individuals, a suffering servant and conquering king. Jesus the Messiah is the Servant King. After He rose from the grave He ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives and that is where He will return as the conquering King.
Messiah is Warrior and Judge
Verses 5-7 outline how Messiah will execute judgement amongst leaders and nations. He will conquer mightily and convincingly as both Warrior and Judge. This will usher in the Messianic kingdom which will include a millennial reign and Messiah will also bring peace. Messiah will complete the rout of His enemies and prepare the way for His kingdom of peace.[iii] Again this mirrors the portrayal of Messiah as a Warrior-King as presented in Psalm 2 where the kings of the earth need to embrace Him lest they perish. That which the Lord will establish cannot be defeated and when the nations try to oppose Him, the One who inhabits the heavens shall laugh and hold them in derision. Come to Messiah the King, Priest, and Saviour. Repent and ask Him to cleanse your sins and give you new life, in Him. Blessed are those who put their trust in Him.
[i] J. Flanigan What the Bible Teaches Psalms (John Ritchie, 2001; Kilmarnock), p478
[ii] William MacDonald Believer’s Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson, 1995; Nashville), p725
[iii] Flanigan, p480