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The Coronation as High Priest: Psalm 110
 

Psalm 110:4 “The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”

 

In this psalm, God issues a second decree about His Righteous Servant.  He now makes His Servant a Priest by a decree.  God’s Servant is not only the King by decree, but now He also is the High Priest by a similar decree.  Just as He is the King forever, by this decree, He is also the High Priest forever.  Thus, God’s Righteous Servant is both Israel ’s King and High Priest forever.

Psalm 110 was written by David.  There is no doubt that he wrote it.  There are 58 psalms directly attributed to David, all beginning with, “A Psalm of David.”  No psalm starts with the heading “A Psalm about David” or “A Psalm to David.”  The heading for Psalm 110 is identical to the other 57; therefore, the subject of Psalm 110 is someone other than David.  The first verse follows:

 

Psalm 110:1 “A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

 

David starts with the first verse by stating, “The LORD said unto my Lord.”  Since David was the king of Israel , His Lord has to be someone higher in authority than even him.  This person needs the authority of a king, but on a higher level than David.  Only one person fits this description, and that is Israel ’s eternal King.  This is King Messiah who reigns forever over all the nations of the world.  The Prophet Daniel identifies Him as the “son of man.”  His origin is supernatural as He comes directly from heaven to set up His eternal kingdom on earth.  King Messiah is given dominion, glory and a kingdom that will last forever.  All of the nations of the earth will serve Him.  King Messiah is David’s Lord as shown in the following verses:

 

Daniel 7:13 “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

(14) And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

 

Great kings are chronicled in the Bible such as David and Solomon; however, none were ever placed in such a highly glorified position as described in Psalm 110.  Not even Abraham or Moses were given the distinction of being placed at the right hand of the holy God of Israel.  Rather, King Messiah will be at God’s right hand of authority.  He is the One whose throne is for all generations:

 

Psalm 89:3 "I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, (4) Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations."

 

The Hebrew uses two different words in Psalm 110:1 for Lord.  The Hebrew word for David’s Lord is “adon,” referring to someone in authority, usually human authority.  In addition to Lord, adon is also translated: master or owner.  David recognizes that the person he is writing about has authority over him.  The Hebrew word adon is a very strong indicator that this person is a human king.  This King then becomes the central figure of Psalm 2.

The second word is LORD or Jehovah in English.  The LORD is the holy God of Israel.  David recognizes that his Lord is seated at the right hand of the LORD.  The expression “Sit thou at my right hand” relates to power and authority.  It means that whoever sits at the right hand of the LORD exercises all the authority of God.  David’s Lord has complete power and authority.  This is the exact authority that King Messiah possesses.

David’s identification of his Lord does not end in verse one.  Psalm 110:5 contains a tremendous revelation of Israel ’s King Messiah.  This verse reveals a third Lord.  This is the Hebrew word “Adonai.”.  Adonai is now at the right hand of the LORD in the same position as the “Adon.”  The Hebrew word Adonai always refers to the God of Israel.  This verse reveals that not only is David’s Lord a human King, He also is the God of Israel!  This is easily observed by examining the two verses placed together.  Please carefully examine Psalm 110:1 and 5, which follow:

 

Psalms 110:1 "The LORD (Jehovah) said unto my Lord (Adon), Sit thou at my right hand (Jehovah), until I make thine enemies thy footstool."

Psalms 110:5 "The Lord (Adonai) at thy right hand (Jehovah) shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath."

 

Psalm 110:5 identifies the Lord on the right hand of the LORD in verse one as being the holy God of Israel.  By looking at these two verses together, the conclusion is that Adonai is at the right hand of Jehovah!  Therefore, in the context of both Psalm 110:1 and Psalm 110:5, the subject at the right hand of the LORD is both God (Adonai) and man (Adon).

In addition, these verses reveal something about the nature or person of the holy God of Israel.  By placing these verses together, the conclusion is that God is at the right hand of God.  This is such a significant revelation about the nature of God.  There is only one God; however, within God there are two “persons.”

Psalm 2 already revealed that King Messiah is the begotten Son of God.  So then, by comparing Psalm 2 with Psalm 110, it is evident that the Son of God is at the right hand of the LORD.  Let us examine these key verses from Psalm 2 and Psalm 110:

 

Psalm 2:6 “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. (7) I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”

Psalm 110:1 “… The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. (5) The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.”

 

The New Testament teaches that the God of Israel is triune.  Psalm 110 reveals that the Son of God is Adonai; however, the New Testament also shows that the Holy Spirit is God.  Thus, the Godhead is made of the LORD (Father), Son of God and Holy Spirit.

 

The New Testament and Psalm 110: 1 and 5

The New Testament claims that the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, is seated at the right hand of the Father.  The writer of the book of Acts claims that Psalm 110 is a direct reference to the Lord Jesus.  Thus, He exercises all the authority of God:

 

Acts 2:32 “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. (34) For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool.”

 

This New Testament concept of the Lord Jesus at the right hand of the LORD is therefore in perfect harmony with the Hebrew Scriptures.  The New Testament expression for “Adonai at the right hand of Jehovah” is “The Son seated at the right hand of the Father.”  The verses to show this follow:

 

Mark 16:19 "So then after the Lord had spoken unto them he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God."

1 Peter 3:22 “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”

Colossians 3:1 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.”

Matthew 28:18 “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”

 

Since it has now been established that the Messiah is on the right hand of the holy God of Israel and judges the nations of the earth, understanding Psalm 110 and its context is not that difficult.  Psalm 110:2-4 focuses on David’s Lord as a human king while Psalm 110:5-7 emphasizes Him as Adonai the God of Israel.  A verse-by-verse analysis of Psalm 110:2-7 follows.

 

Psalm 110:2

"The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion : rule thou in the midst of thine enemies."

 

In verse two, the LORD sends the rod of strength out of Zion to rule.  The rod of strength is King Messiah who is at the LORD’s right hand.  He is the one who rules from the throne of David.  God’s righteous Servant rules over the nations with a firm hand.  He will break the nations with a rod of iron.  That rod of iron is His words.  The Messiah will speak the very words of God and rule with a rod of iron:

 

Psalm 2:9 “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”

Isaiah 11:4 “But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.”

Revelation 19:15 “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”

 

Psalm 110:2 and Psalm 2:9 tie together beautifully and show the authority and power of King Messiah’s words.  Let us view how these verses read by placing Adon after the appropriate noun:

 

Psalm 110 2 "The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion : rule thou (Adon) in the midst of thine (Adon) enemies.”

Psalm 2:9 “Thou (Adon) shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou (Adon) shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”

 

Psalm 110:3

 

"Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth."

 

The day of His power is the awesome Second Coming of the Lord Jesus when He destroys the nations gathered together to annihilate Israel .  This event is found in Zechariah 14.  In this chapter, the Prophet Zechariah prophesies of the time when all of the nations of the earth will come against Jerusalem to battle (Zechariah 14:2).  In that day, as Jerusalem is in the midst of defeat, the LORD will descend upon the Mount of Olives and fight against those nations (Zechariah 14:3-4).  This is the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus.

As a result of the LORD fighting for His people, victory will be obtained for the children of Israel (Zechariah 14:12).  Psalm 110:3 indicates that the LORD’s people will offer themselves willingly in that day and fight with Him.  Zechariah 14:14 reveals that Judah will fight with the LORD at Jerusalem and gather the spoils in victory.  These verses follow:

 

Zechariah 14:2 "For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle … (3) Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. (4) And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east,

(12) And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem ; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes

(14) And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem ; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance."

 

Let us view how Psalm 110:3 reads by placing Adon after the appropriate noun:

 

"Thy (Adon) people shall be willing in the day of thy (Adon) power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou (Adon) hast the dew of thy (Adon) youth."

 

Psalm 110:4

 

"The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."

 

In this verse, the Messiah is called a priest forever.  In the preceding verses, He was identified as King Messiah.  He is David’s Lord seated at the right hand of the LORD.  Just as the LORD decreed God’s Servant as King, now by a similar decree He is a priest.

Notice He is not just any priest, but He is a priest forever.  The LORD’s decree clearly states that King Messiah is not a priest like Aaron, but He is a priest like Melchizedek.  Through the law a person became the high priest by genealogy.  To qualify for the office of high priest, a man had to be from the tribe of Levi, the line of Aaron.

King Messiah is not the high priest by genealogy, but by the decree of the LORD.  This means there has to be a change in the law.  These two decrees, King and Priest, by the LORD tie directly into the New Covenant.

An extremely important concept to grasp is that before the law of Moses there was a priesthood.  At the time of Abraham, a person named Melchizedek was recognized by Abraham as a priest of the most high God.  Melchizedek was both the king of Salem and a priest of the most high God.

Psalm 110 states that by a decree of God, the Messiah is going to be the Priest as Melchizedek.  According to Psalm 2, the Messiah is King, so like Melchizedek; He is going to be both King and Priest.  Once again, this shows that a change is coming to the law.  The priesthood of Melchizedek supersedes the law of Moses.  The passage that shows Melchizedek was both a king and priest follows:

 

Genesis 14:18 “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. (19) And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:”

 

A priest is one who intercedes or mediates on behalf of man before God.  In Leviticus 16, the Day of Atonement, the high priest entered into the Holy of Holies of the temple before the very presence of God.  He did this with the blood of a sacrificed animal that died to atone for the sins of Israel .  Likewise, God’s Messiah will be a High Priest before God to intercede on the behalf of sinners.

Additional passages in the Scriptures reveal the Messiah will be a priest forever.  Isaiah shows that both God’s Righteous Servant and “The Arm of the Lord” function as an intercessor.  Both these titles refer to King Messiah.  Remember that intercession for transgressors is a priestly function.  The verses from Isaiah follow:

 

Isaiah 53:12 "Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."

Isaiah 59:16 "And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.”

 

By reviewing Psalm 110:1 and 4 together, a very interesting concept is developed about David’s Lord.  The Lord seated at the right hand of the LORD is not only a King, but He is also a High Priest.  He sits at the right hand of God both to rule as King Messiah and to intercede for sinners as a High Priest.

The claim of the New Testament that Jesus of Nazareth is the high priest after the order of Melchizedek is in perfect accord with the Hebrew Scriptures.  The Bible shows that the Lord Jesus as our High Priest sits at the right hand of God to intercede for us.  He fits the requirements established in Psalm 110.  The Lord Jesus’ position as High Priest is not based on His genealogy but rather on the decree from the Father:

 

Hebrews 8:1 “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens”

 

Under the law of Moses, the high priest interceded before the holy God of Israel for the sin of the people.  The high priest would bring blood of an innocent animal into the holy place of the temple as atonement for sin.  The Melchizedek High Priest of the New Covenant purged sin with His own blood:

 

Hebrews 9:25 “Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others”

(26) For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”

 

Because He purged sin as God’s Righteous Servant, He can now sit at the right hand of God and intercede on behalf of those who are under the New Covenant.  He lives forever as the New Covenant High Priest to make intercession:

 

Hebrews 10:12 “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God”

Hebrews 1:3 “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high”

Romans 8:34 “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”

 

The Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, is the High Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek, and, as a result, all those that place their faith in Him have assurance of eternal life with the holy God of Israel:

 

Hebrews 7:25 "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."

 

Let us view how Psalm 110:4 reads by placing Adon after the appropriate noun:

 

"The LORD (Jehovah) hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou (Adon) art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."

 

Psalm 110:5

 

"The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.”

 

In Psalm 110:1-4, the focus was on David’s Lord as Adon.  Now in verse five it switches to David’s Lord as both Adon and Adonai.  As previously illustrated, the one on the right hand of the LORD in Psalm 110:5 is identified as Adonai.  This Hebrew word always refers to the holy God of Israel.

Psalm 110:5 reveals that it is the Lord’s wrath, the Messiah’s wrath, which is kindled on that day when He strikes through the kings of the earth.  An interesting passage in Psalm 2:6-12, specifically verse 12, gives additional information about the Lord in Psalm 110:5.  Although Psalm 110:5 states that Adonai’s wrath will be kindled in that day when he strikes through kings, Psalm 2 shows that it is the Son’s wrath, which is kindled:

 

Psalm 2:12 “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."

 

According to Psalm 2:6-7, it is the LORD’s begotten Son who will be placed as King upon Mt. Zion .  He is the Messiah, the only begotten Son of God.  Psalm 2:8 indicates that He will be given the heathen for His inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession.  Psalm 2:9 states that He will break the nations in pieces like a potter’s vessel.  Psalm 2:10-12 serves as a warning to the nations of the earth to "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, when His wrath is kindled" (Psalm 110:5).  In summary, the LORD at the right hand of the LORD in Psalm 110:1,5 is the Son of God in Psalm 2:6-12, whose wrath is kindled against the nations.

God’s Righteous Servant, King Messiah, is the one who judges the nations of the earth.  This responsibility has been set aside exclusively for Him as clearly revealed in the following Scriptures:

 

Jeremiah 23:5 "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth."

Isaiah 11:4 "But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked."

 

Let us view how this verse reads by placing Adon/Adonai after the appropriate noun:

 

"The Lord (Adonai/Adon) at thy (Jehovah) right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his (Adonai/Adon) wrath.”

   

Psalm 110:6

 

"He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries."

 

According to Micah 4:3, the Messiah judges the nations.  He is the Judge of all the earth.  In Psalm 110:6, David’s Lord judges the nations:

 

Micah 4:3 “And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

 

Verse six reveals the one “at the right hand” of the LORD will judge among the heathen and wound the heads over many countries.  This is the Son of God (Psalm 2:9) the Branch, the Messiah (Jeremiah 23:5, Isaiah 11:4).  They are all one and the same.  Psalm 110:6, Psalm 2:9, Jeremiah 23:5, and Isaiah 11:4 all refer to the same individual: the Messiah, the King and Judge over all the earth:

 

Psalm 2:9 “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”

Jeremiah 23:5 “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.”

Isaiah 11:4 “But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.”

 

Let us view how this verse reads by placing Adon/Adonai after the appropriate noun:

 

"He (Adonai/Adon) shall judge among the heathen, he (Adonai/Adon) shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he (Adonai/Adon) shall wound the heads over many countries."

 

Psalm 110:7

"He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head."

In Psalm 110:6, King Messiah has just judged the nations and smashed the oppressive rule of the Gentile nations.  After completing this mission, He then establishes His kingdom on the earth.  Verse 7 now touches upon His reign on earth.

This is the time of the exaltation of God’s Righteous Servant.  Thus, He will “lift up his head.”  He will be honored and esteemed throughout the ends of the earth.  Psalm 110 ends where the Fourth Servant began.  This Song began by mentioning the exaltation of God’s Servant.  The verse follows:

 

Isaiah 52:13 “Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.”

 

The Hebrew word, “ruwm,” translated exalted in the above verse is the same Hebrew word translated lift in Psalm 110:7.  The lifting of King Messiah’s head means His exaltation!  Numerous additional verses show this exaltation of God’s Righteous Servant when He sits on the throne of David and rules from His magnificent temple in Jerusalem .  A few of these verses follow:

 

Micah 4:1 “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.”

Isaiah 2:11 “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.”

 

Now is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s Second Servant Song, when God’s Servant is exalted to the ends of the earth.  The entire world is now brought under the New Covenant.  God’s Righteous Servant reigns in peace as King Messiah over the entire world:

 

Isaiah 49:6 “And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel : I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”

Isaiah 49:8 “Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages”

 

Let us view how this verse reads by placing Adon after the appropriate noun:

"He (Adonai/Adon) shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he (Adonai/Adon) lift up the head."

In summary, it is God’s Servant, King Messiah who is placed “at the right hand” of the LORD in Psalm 110:1.  He is the only begotten Son of God in Psalm 2:7 whose wrath is kindled on that great and terrible Day of the LORD (Psalm 2:12, Psalm 110:5-6).  He will judge the nations of the earth and set up His kingdom that will last forever (Psalm 2:9, Psalm 110:5-6, Jeremiah 23:5, Daniel 7:13-14).  He will be King over all the earth (Psalm 110:2, Psalm 2:6-7, Psalm 72:8, Isaiah 9:7 (KJV), Jeremiah 23:5, Zechariah 6:12-13).  Not only will He be a King but He will also be a Priest as well, just as Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18, Psalm 110:4, and Isaiah 53:12).

 

By John McTernan: Defend and Proclaim the Faith
Blog: John McTernan's Insights at www.johnmcternan.name

Meet author John McTernan
During numerous appearances on television, radio and in seminars, he has publicly defended Israel in light of Biblical prophecy. His current best selling book is As America Has Done To Israel.
He is author of the acclaimed book God's Final Warning to America, and co-author of the bestseller Israel: The Blessing or the Curse. From his experience debating, John wrote the Only Jesus of Nazareth series. This series includes: Only Jesus of Nazareth Can Sit on the Throne of David and Only Jesus of Nazareth Can Be Israel's King Messiah. Additionally, he has written several tracts, including Muhammad or Jesus: The Prophet Like Unto Moses, and The Koran vs the Bible.

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