Psalm 110

Psa 110:1 Of David. A psalm. The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

This is the OT verse most frequently quoted in the NT, with some nineteen quotations or allusions.

‘It is clear that this prophecy played a very large part in Jesus’ own consciousness of his relationship to God, his mission and his destiny. By it he established in debate with the Pharisees the transcendent superiority of God’s Messiah over their conceptions of him as a political deliverer (Mk 12:36-37). In it he saw his own destiny: sharing the throne and the rule of God (Mk 14:61-62). And it forms part of the background to his commission to his disciples to invade the world with his gospel (Jn 14:12-14; 16:5-11, 23-28), as well as the basis of their final reward and vindication (Lk 22:29)’ (Peter Lewis, The Glory of Christ, 376).

This verse is also prominent in Acts 2:34; 5:31; 7:55. Moreover, it is, in the view of F.F. Bruce, the key text of Hebrews (Heb 1:3, 13; 8:1; 10:12-13).

This verse, as applied to Christ, ascribes to him a position more exalted than any other. God’s right hand is the place of absolute power and authority. Seated there, Christ reigns everywhere as supreme Lord and King.

Paul, as apostle to the Gentiles, uses the verse less than some of the other NT writers, but still retains and expounds its component ideas, Rom 8:34; 1 Cor 15:25; Col 4:1; Eph 1:20; Phil 2:9-11. He interprets the enemies not as ‘flesh and blood’ but as ‘principalities and powers’, Eph 6:12.

The Lord says to my Lord – ‘Jehovah’ said unto my ‘Adonai.’ ‘David in spirit heard the solemn voice of Jehovah speaking to the Messiah from of old. What wonderful intercourse there has been between the Father and the Son! From this secret and intimate communion springs the covenant of grace and all its marvellous arrangements. All the great acts of grace are brought into actual being by the word of God; had he not spoken, there had been no manifestation of Deity to us; but in the beginning was the Word, and from of old there was mysterious fellowship between the Father and his Son Jesus Christ concerning his people and the great contest on their behalf between himself and the powers of evil. How condescending on Jehovah’s part to permit a mortal ear to hear, and a human pen to record his secret converse with his coequal Son! How greatly should we prize the revelation of his private and solemn discourse with the Son, herein made public for the refreshing of his people! Lord, what is man that thou shouldest thus impart thy secrets unto him!’ (Spurgeon)

“Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet” – See Josh 10:24n. Away from the shame and suffering of his earthly life, Jehovah calls the Adonai, our Lord, to the repose and honours of his celestial seat. His work is done, and he may sit; it is well done, and he may sit at his right hand; it will have grand results, and he may therefore quietly wait to see the complete victory which is certain to follow. The glorious Jehovah thus addresses the Christ as our Saviour; for, says David, he said “unto my Lord.” Jesus is placed in the seat of power, dominion, and dignity, and is to sit there by divine appointment while Jehovah fights for him, and lays every rebel beneath his feet. He sits there by the Father’s ordinance and call, and will sit there despite all the raging of his adversaries, till they are all brought to utter shame by his putting his foot upon their necks. In this sitting he is our representative. The mediatorial kingdom will last until the last enemy shall be destroyed, and then, according to the inspired word, “cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God even the Father.” The work of subduing the nations is now in the hand of the great God, who by his Providence will accomplish it to the glory of his Son; his word is pledged to it, and the session of his Son at his right hand is the guarantee thereof; therefore let us never fear as to the future. While we see our Lord and representative sitting in quiet expectancy, we, too, may sit in the attitude of peaceful assurance, and with confidence await the grand outcome of all events. As surely as Jehovah liveth Jesus must reign, yea, even now he is reigning, though all his enemies are not yet subdued. During the present interval, through which we wait for his glorious appearing and visible millennial kingdom, he is in the place of power, and his dominion is in jeopardy, or otherwise he would not remain quiescent. He sits because all is safe, and he sits at Jehovah’s right hand because omnipotence waits to accomplish his will. Therefore there is no cause for alarm whatever may happen in this lower world; the sight of Jesus enthroned in divine glory is the sure guarantee that all things are moving onward towards ultimate victory. Those rebels who now stand high in power shall soon be in the place of contempt, they shall be his footstool. He shall with ease rule them, he shall sit and put his foot on them; not rising to tread them down as when a man puts forth force to subdue powerful foes, but retaining the attitude of rest, and still ruling them as abject vassals who have no longer spirit to rebel, but have become thoroughly tamed and subdued.’ (Spurgeon)

Christ’s Enthronement at God’s Right Hand

‘Based on Our Lord’s application of Ps. 110:1 to the Messiah, the NT writers frequently present the ascended Christ as enthroned at the right hand of God and as sharing the throne of His Father. By His exaltation Christ was reinstalled in the primal glory that He had with the Father before the world was (Jn. 17:5, 24; cf. 1:1-18 and Mk. 1:1-11, where He is already the beloved Son and heir when He comes to the vineyard). Yet the christological summaries present that exaltation as a reward for His incarnate ministry; His obedience even unto death (Phil. 2:6-11); His having made peace by the blood of His cross (Col. 1:15-20); and His purification of sins (Heb 1:3). Thus it is as the Reconciler, the divine-human Person, that He is associated with God in power and glory. In Christ, “the dust of earth is on the throne of the universe.” With the Father He is praised by the heavenly hosts (Rev. 1:6; 5:9-14). According to Pliny the Younger the primitive churches “sang antiphonally to Christ as to God” (Ep. x.96.7). Examples of these hymns have been identified in Jn. 1:1-18: Phil. 2:6-11; Col. 1:15-20.’ (ISBE)

Psa 110:2 The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies.

Psa 110:3 Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth.

Psa 110:4 The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

Psa 110:5 The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.

Psa 110:6 He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.

Psa 110:7 He will drink from a brook beside the way ; therefore he will lift up his head.