Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Psalm 110 and the Kingdom of God (Esch 204)

The New Testament writers quote Psalm 110:1 more than any other Scripture. This is another key passage to understanding the Kingdom of God.

"The LORD said to my Lord, 'Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool'" (Psalm 110:1).

Translators use small capitals in “LORD” to show that David is using God’s personal name, Yahweh. Thus, David wrote, “Yahweh said to my Lord.”

Who is David’s Lord? Does he have any Lord’s but God? No. This is a reference to a distinction among God. We understand that David’s Lord is Jesus. Yahweh is a reference to the Father.

Thus, David is writing that the Father will say to the Son, “Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool.”

What does it mean “till I make Your enemies Your footstool?” This is common battle language to describe the defeat of enemies. The defeated kings would be brought before the victor, and the victor would place his foot on their neck, signifying total victory.

Thus, Jesus will sit down at the Father’s right hand and stay there until the Father has defeated all of Jesus’ enemies.

We learn three significant things from this verse:

1) Jesus will sit at God’s right hand at a certain point in time. This is a reference to the ascension, as multiple passages make clear (Mark 16:19; Acts 23:32-36; Acts 5:30-31; Romans 8:34; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:1-3; 8:1; 10:12-13; 12:2).

2) When Jesus first sits at God’s right hand, not all of his enemies are defeated. This was true of Jesus’ ascension.

3) Jesus will sit at God’s right hand until a certain point in time – namely, until God defeats all of his enemies. Thus, Jesus is still at God’s right hand until his enemies are defeated.
This integrates well with what we learned from Daniel 2 and 7.

a) The Kingdom of God is established at the ascension of Jesus: when the Son of Man comes to the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7) is also when David’s Lord sits at the right hand of Yahweh (Psalm 110).

b) The Kingdom of God grows: the stone becomes a mountain and fills the whole earth (Daniel 2) as all God’s enemies are subdued (Psalm 110).

This triumphal expectation carries forward into the gospels, yet Jesus adds to our understanding of the Kingdom of God.

No comments: