Psalm 110:1, a devotional

Psalm 110:1, a devotional                                                                    By Jack Kettler

“A Psalm of David. The LORD [יְהוָֹהYhvh yeh-ho-vaw’] said unto my Lord [אֲדֹנָיAdonay], sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” (Psalm 110:1)

Psalm 110 is foundational in the Christian faith. Moreover, the persons of the Godhead and Christ’s reign as Prophet, Priest, and King are proclaimed.

From Spurgeon’s Treasury of David, there are several important insights into this passage:

“Psalm 110:1

“The Lord said unto 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 spring 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 co-equal 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 shouldst thus impart thy secrets unto him.”

Though David was a firm believer in the Unity of the Godhead, he yet spiritually discerns the two persons, distinguishes between them, and perceives that in the second he has a peculiar interest, for he calls him “my Lord.” This was an anticipation of the exclamation of Thomas, “My Lord and my God,” and it expresses the Psalmist’s reverence, his obedience, his believing appropriation, and his joy in Christ. It is well to have clear views of the mutual relations of the persons of the blessed Trinity; indeed, the knowledge of these truths is essential for our comfort and growth in grace. There is a manifest distinction in the divine persons, since one speaks to another; yet the Godhead is one.

“Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies they footstool.” 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 no 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.” (1)

What is the time period that Christ sits at the right hand of the Father? Mark, in his gospel, answers this question.

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

This sitting at the right hand of the Father is happening now. Christ’s reign is likewise happening now. It is the Father who put the enemies under Christ’s rule.

Psalm 110:1 and the following passage from 1 Corinthians 15:25 are inseparable.

“For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.” (1 Corinthians 15:25)

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible explains the reign of Christ:

“For he must reign…. That is, Christ must reign; he is set as King over God’s holy hill of Zion; he is King of saints; he is made and declared to be both Lord and Christ; he is exalted at the right hand of God as a Prince, where he sits and rules and reigns; and his sitting at God’s right hand is here explained by his reigning, for reference is had to Psalm 110:1 he must reign because it is the unalterable will, and unchangeable decree and purpose of God, that he should reign; and because he has promised it, and prophesied of it; and because the state and condition of his people require it, who otherwise could not be saved, nor dwell safely: and so he must and will,

till he hath put all enemies under his feet; and made them his footstool; meaning either all the elect of God, who in a state of nature are enemies in their minds, by wicked works, to himself and to his Father; whom he conquers by his grace, subdues their rebellious wills, of enemies makes them friends, brings them to his feet, and to a subjection to his sceptre, to his Gospel and ordinances; and he must reign till he has brought every elect soul into such an obedience to himself: or rather antichrist and his followers, and all wicked and ungodly men, with Satan and his angels; who will be destroyed with the breath of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming; and will be cast down by him into hell, and there be ever objects of his wrath and vengeance: and till all this is done he must reign; not that he shall cease to reign afterwards, but that he shall reign notwithstanding these enemies of his and his people, who would not have him to reign over them; and will reign until they are subdued or destroyed; and when they are entirely vanquished and overcome, who can doubt of his reigning then? or what, or who will there be to hinder it? The Alexandrian copy, and others, read, “his enemies”; and so, do the Syriac and Ethiopic versions.” (2)

 While brief, the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary adds something of significance:

“25. must—because Scripture foretells it.

till—There will be no further need of His mediatorial kingdom, its object having been realized.

enemies under his feet — (Lu 19:27; Eph 1:22).” (3)

 What is meant by the term “mediatorial kingdom”?

 From the Westminster Confession Chapter 8.1 explains Christ’s mediatorial reign:

“i. It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man, the Prophet, Priest, and King, the Head and Savior of His Church, the Heir of all things, and Judge of the world: unto whom He did from all eternity give a people, to be His seed, and to be by Him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.”

Scriptural evidence of the present reality of Christ’s kingdom?

“…the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2)

“But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” (Matthew 12:28)

“Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here, who shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” (Matthew 16:28)

“Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” (Colossians 1:13)

What are the implications of Christ’s mediatorial reign, both spiritual and political?

In closing, the awesome article by David Hall and Christ’s reign that answers the above question:

David Hall

Apr 14, 2016

“Allusions to Reformation themes abounded in early American sermons. The Waldensians, the eradication of the French Huguenots, Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli were all referred to in Samuel Davies’ 1756 sermon, “The Mediatorial Kingdom and Glories of Jesus Christ.”

The Calvinist college at Princeton, where Edwards had once presided and where James Madison would later be educated, became a hive for anti-hierarchical theory. A line of distinguished presidents contributed to Princeton’s reputation as an educational laboratory for Calvinistic republicanism. Samuel Davies (1724-1761) assumed that presidency in 1759. Taking the helm of this strategic college shortly after the death of the college’s third president, Jonathan Edwards, Davies straddled the watersheds of the Great Awakening and the Revolutionary War. His political Calvinism, which apparently fit well with that of Jonathan Witherspoon, is evident in his sermon, “God the Sovereign of all Kingdoms.” Davies maintained that “the Most High is the sole disposer of the fates of kingdoms” because of his divine perfections. Argued Davies: “How shall this [goodness] be displayed in this world, unless he holds the reins of government in his own hands, and distributes his blessings to what kingdom or nation he pleases? . . . His power is infinite, and therefore the management of all the worlds he has made, is as easy to him as the concerns of one individual.” [1] God was not a remote “unconcerned spectator” but ruled by his active providence. Active providence, by implication, led to an active citizenry.

In his 1756 “The Mediatorial Kingdom and Glories of Jesus Christ,” Davies inquired about the nature and properties of Christ’s kingship. While many honorific titles were attributed to Christ, the office of King was assigned to him in both Old and New Testaments. The regal “character and dominion of our Lord Jesus” was a theme that spanned the pages of Scripture. Of course, Davies pointed out, the rule of Christ was not an earthly one, but nonetheless all earthly sovereigns were required to submit to his sovereignty. Since Christ had “an absolute sovereignty over universal nature,” he had superiority over any earthly ruler, and no earthly ruler was absolute.

Christ’s reign was absolute and supreme; he overrules and controls all political powers, “disposes all the revolutions, the rises and falls of kingdoms and empires . . . and their united policies and powers cannot frustrate the work which he has undertaken.” Sunday after Sunday, early American congregations heard that the key difference between the reign of Christ and the reign of any human ruler was the “universal extent of the Redeemer’s kingdom.” In contrast to his universal empire, the “kingdoms of Great-Britain, France, China, and Persia, are but little spots of the globe.” The laws of Christ’s kingdom were perfect, but earthly laws were not.

Davies praised “the ever-memorable period of the Reformation” for advancing liberty and diminishing persecution. He also decried the fact that Protestants were still being tortured and persecuted in France. He reminded Americans to appreciate, among the noble witnesses of God, the precursors to the Reformation, including Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and the martyrs from France. While he lamented the lack of piety in his own day, he also noted in one sentence two phrases that would be yoked in the Declaration of Independence twenty years later: “The scheme of Providence is not yet completed, and much remains . . . [one day] the time shall be no more; then the Supreme Judge, the same Jesus that ascended the cross, will ascend the throne, and review the affairs of time.”

In his 1758 “Curse of Cowardice,” Davies preached another classic political sermon, this time to the Hanover (Virginia) County Militia from the OT. That sermon began by enumerating a list of grievances (including reference to “rapacious” hands and the “usurpation [by] Arbitrary powers”). Sermons like this commonly itemized civil governors’ moral violations of covenants. At the same time, Davies also reminded his listeners that, in the outworking of his Providence, God occasionally brought people to war. To fail to respond because of cowardice was to beg for the curse on Meroz described in Judges. It was a line of reasoning made previously in Stephen Marshall’s sermon to the British Parliament (1641). American political sermons, thus, were not novel—they stood on the shoulders of a long line of Puritans and other Reformers who intensely applied Scripture to their own times.

Davies exhorted soldiers in 1758 to turn to religion in order to keep themselves “uncorrupted in the midst of Vice and Debauchery.” They were to acknowledge God’s Providence in all situations. In language similar to that used later in congressional proclamations, Davies reminded his listeners that they walked before the Supreme Ruler of the Universe. He concluded by calling for “A THOROUGH NATIONAL REFORMATION” that would begin with individual listeners.

Davies articulated the common view of depravity embraced by the early Princetonians, i. e., that sinners were inactive, listless, insensible to the things of God, and utterly unable to quicken themselves. He preached, “The innate depravity and corruption of the heart, and the habits of sin contracted and confirmed by repeated indulgences of inbred corruption, these are poisonous, deadly things that have slain the soul; these have entirely indisposed and disabled it for living religion.” As a good Calvinist, Davies traced this sinful nature to Adam’s fall.

Davies’ Diary from that period mentions two figures central to this period. Years before he assumed the presidency of Princeton, Davies knew of Witherspoon, whose “Ecclesiastical Characteristics,” a “Burlesque upon the highflyers under the ironical name of Moderate Men,” had caused a stir in 1754. Davies liked the work and compared its humor to that of Dean Swift. Also, Davies read Montesquieu’s The Spirit of Laws in December 1753 and called it “an ingenious Performance with many new and valuable Sentiments.”[2] The seeds of Calvinistic politics were watered by many gardeners.

Davies, one of those gardeners, exhorted his Princeton students, including future signer of the Declaration of Independence Benjamin Rush, that the union of “public spirit” and religion made a man useful. These two components of human life were inseparable. He charged Rush and others: “Public spirit and Benevolence without Religion is but a warm Affection for the Subjects to the Neglect of the Sovereign, or a Partiality for the Children in Contempt of their Father who is infinitely more worthy of Love. And Religion without Public Spirit and Benevolence is but a Sullen, Selfish, sour and malignant Humour for Devotion unworthy that sacred name.” [3]

Davies also influenced Patrick Henry, who listened to his preaching from age eleven to twenty-two. Henry, whose own oratory bears striking resemblance to that of Davies, based his stirring cadences on what he had certainly heard Davies assert (as Buchanan and Rutherford had earlier)—namely, that the British constitution was “but the voluntary compact of sovereign and subject.” [4]

Davies’ sermons mentioned above may be found at: http://consource.org/document/the-mediatorial-kingdom-and-glories-of-jesus-christ-by-samuel-davies-1756-5-9/. His “Mediatorial Kingdom and Glories” is available in Ellis Sandoz, Political Sermons of the American Founding Era (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1998).

[1] Cited in Morton H. Smith, Studies in Southern Presbyterian Theology (Jackson, MS: Presbyterian Reformation Society, 1962), 51.

[2] The Reverend Samuel Davies Abroad, The Diary of a Journey to England and Scotland, 1753-1755, George W. Pilcher, ed. (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1967), 40.

[3] Cited in John Kloos, “Benjamin Rush’s Public Piety,” American Presbyterians 69:1 (Spring 1991), 51. The original was a 1760 “Religion and Public Spirit, A Valedictory Address.” Another of Davies’ students was the Rev. John Lathrop, who spread the Calvinistic-Princetonian views from the pulpit of Boston’s Old North Church beginning in 1768. See Alice M. Baldwin, The New England Clergy and the American Revolution (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1928), 112.

[4] C. H. Van Tyne, “Influence of the Clergy, and of Religious and Sectarian Forces, on the American Revolution,” American Historical Review, vol. 19 (1913-1914), 49. Davies’ son (William Davies) was head of the war department of Virginia during Patrick Henry’s life. See William Wirt Henry, Patrick Henry: Life, Correspondence, and Speeches (1891, rpr. Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1993), vol. 2, 134.” (4)

 David Hall’s Bio:

“David W. Hall has served as the Senior Pastor of Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Powder Springs, Georgia since 2003. Previously, he served as Pastor of the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (1984-2003) and as Associate Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Rome, Georgia (1980-1984).

His undergraduate degree from the University of Memphis (BA, 1975) was in philosophy. After completion of his undergraduate studies, David Hall studied at Swiss L’Abri and then enrolled at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, graduating in 1980. He later earned a Ph.D. in Christian Intellectual Thought from Whitefield Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 1980.

In addition to pastoring, David Hall is the author or editor of over 20 books and numerous essays, and co-editor, with John L. Carson, of To Glorify and Enjoy God: A Commemoration of the Westminster Assembly, published by the Trust.

David Hall, Alliance for Confessing Evangelicals https://www.placefortruth.org/blog/the-mediatorial-kingdom-and-glories-of-jesus-christ”

 In conclusion:

 “The LORD [Κύριος – Jehovah] said unto my Lord [Κυρίῳ – Adonai], sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?” (Matthew 22:44)

 Jesus in Matthew is quoting the Greek Septuagint in this text. The Pulpit Commentary elucidates this passage exceptionally well: 

“Verse 44. – The Lord said unto my Lord (Psalm 110:1). The quotation is from the Septuagint. But neither this nor our English Version is an adequate rendering of the original, where the word translated “Lord” is not the same in both parts of the clause, more accurately, the solemn beginning of the psalm is thus given: “Utterance [or, ‘oracle’] of Jehovah to my Lord (Adonai).” The psalmist acknowledges the recipient of the utterance as his sovereign Lord; this could be no earthly potentate, for on earth he had no such superior; Jewish tradition always applied the term unto the Messiah, or the Word. The prediction repeats the promise made by Nathan to David (2 Samuel 7:12), which had no fulfilment in his natural progeny, and could be regarded as looking forward only to the Messiah. Sit thou on my right hand. Thus, Messiah is exalted to the highest dignity in heaven. Sitting at God’s right hand does not necessarily imply complete Divine majesty (as Hengstenberg remarks), for the sons of Zebedee had asked for such a position in Messiah’s earthly kingdom (Matthew 20:21); but it denotes supreme honour, association in government, authority second only to that of Monarch. This is said of Christ in his human nature. He is “equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; inferior to the Father, as touching his manhood.” In his Divine nature he could receive nothing; in his human nature all “power was given unto him in heaven and earth” (Matthew 28:18). Till I make (ἕως α}ν θῷ) thine enemies thy footstool; ὑποπόδιον τῶν ποδῶν σου. This is the Septuagint reading. Many manuscripts here give ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν σου Τιλλ Ι πυτ τηινε ενεμιεσ υνδερνεατη τηψ φεετ. Some few have both ὑποπόδιον and ὑποκάτω. Vulgate, Donec ponam inimicos tuos scabellum pedum tuorum. The complete subjection of all adversaries is denoted (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:25-27; Hebrews 1:13); and they are subjected not merely for punishment and destruction, but, it may be, for salvation and glory. The relative particle “till” must not be pressed, as if Christ’s session was to cease when his victory was completed. We have before had occasion to observe that the phrase, ἕως οῦ, or ἕως α}ν, asserts nothing of the future beyond the event specified. As St. Jerome says of such negative phrases, “Ita negant praeteritum ut non ponant futurum” (comp. Matthew 1:25; Matthew 5:26; Matthew 18:34). Of Christ’s kingdom there is no end. Matthew 22:44” (5)

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

 “To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)

 Notes:

 1.      Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Treasury of David Volume 2, (Nashville, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984), p. 460.

2.      John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, 1 Corinthians, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), p. 26-27.

3.      Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 1222-1223.

4.      David Hall, Christ’s reign, Alliance for Confessing Evangelicals, https://www.placefortruth.org/blog/the-mediatorial-kingdom-and-glories-of-jesus-christ

5.      H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Matthew, Vol. 15., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 367.

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at www. JackKettler .com

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