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Revisiting the implications that Psalm 110 has on the divine identity of the Messiah Pt. 1

I am going to touch on Psalm 110 once again in order to show that the Lord whom Yahweh invites to sit enthroned alongside of him is a divine Person who is one with Yahweh in essence and nature.

We will break down the Psalm in two sections, beginning with the first half:

“A Psalm of David (ladawid mizmor)The Lord said unto my Lord (ladoni), Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. 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 Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” Psalm 110:1-4

A Psalm written by David

Here are all the places where the phrase “of David” (ladawid) appears at the beginning of the Psalms: 3:1, 4:1, 5:1, 6:1, 7:1, 8:1, 9:1, 11:1, 12:1, 13:1, 14:1, 15:1, 16:1, 17:1, 18:1, 19:1, 20:1, 21:1, 22:1, 23:1, 24:1, 25:1, 26:1, 27:1, 28:1, 29:1, 31:1, 32:1, 34:1, 35:1, 36:1, 37:1, 38:1, 39:1, 40:1, 41:1, 51:1, 52:1, 53:1, 54:1, 55:1, 56:1, 57:1, 58:1, 59:1, 60:1, 61:1, 62:1, 63:1, 64:1, 65:1, 68:1, 69:1, 70:1, 86:1, 101:1, 103:1, 108:1, 109:1, 110:1 124:1, 131:1, 133:1, 138:1, 139:1, 140:1, 141:1, 142:1, 143:1, 144:1, 145:1.

And here are all the Psalms that start off with the words “A Psalm of David” (ladawid mizmor/mizmor ladawid): 3:1, 4:1, 5:1, 6:1, 8:1, 9:1, 12:1, 13:1, 15:1, 19:1, 20:1, 21:1, 22:1, 23:1, 24:1, 29:1, 31:1, 32:1, 34:1, 35:1, 36:1, 37:1, 38:1, 39:1, 40:1, 41:1, 51:1, 52:1, 53:1, 54:1, 55:1, 62:1, 63:1, 64:1, 68:1, 70:1, 101:1, 103:1, 108:1, 109:1, 110:1, 139:1, 140:1, 141:1, 143:1.

I am unaware of any Bible believing conservative Jews and/or Christians who would question that David wrote any of these Psalms attributed to him by name. Nor am I aware of any of them claiming that the phrase means a Psalm written ABOUTFOR or TO David, and not one written by him personally. Therefore, what textual, contextual, linguistic grounds do we have to reject the Davidic authorship of Psalm 110?

Who is David’s Lord?

There are four possible candidates:

A mere human being, perhaps some human ruler or future Davidic king.

A mere angelic spirit creature.

Yahweh God.

A specific human being who is also truly God in essence, even though he is personally distinct from Yahweh God who addresses him.

No mere human being could be David’s Lord

To begin with, the Hebrew Bible is emphatically clear that, from the moment of his enthronement, no mere human potentate could be greater and higher than David since God had made him the king of all the earth, with God commanding that all other rulers be subject to him:

“Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 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.” Psalm 2:6-12

“I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah… Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people. I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him: with whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him. And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him. But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.” Psalm 89:3-4, 19-27

“My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever,
and his throne as the days of heaven. If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, 
nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, 
nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness 
that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, 
and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.” Psalm 89:28-37

Nor could David’s Lord be an ordinary human son of his that would eventually rule on his throne, since all subsequent kings were ruling in the place of David as his heir and representative.

In other words, it was David’s throne which Israel’s kings were inheriting. This explains the repeated references in the Hebrew Bible to God promising to raise up someone from and for David in order to sit on David’s throne,

“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:7

“And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.” Isaiah 16:5

“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.” Jeremiah 23:5

And why the coming King is even called David:

“Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.” Isaiah 55:3-4

“For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: but they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.” Jeremiah 30:8-9

“And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it.” Ezekiel 34:23-24

And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.” Ezekiel 37:24

“For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.” Hosea 3:4-5

This is because the Hebrew Bible is quite clear that Yahweh’s earthly throne had been given to David as his perpetual possession, which is why a person had to be a Davidide in order to reign for God on earth:

“… Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house. And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: but my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And THINE house and THY kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: THY THRONE shall be established for ever.” 2 Samuel 7:11b-16

“and of all my sons, (for the LORD hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel.” 1 Chronicles 28:5

“Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king INSTEAD OF DAVID HIS FATHER, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him.” 1 Chronicles 29:23

“Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee to set thee on his throne, to be king for the Lord thy God: because thy God loved Israel, to establish them for ever, therefore made he thee king over them, to do judgment and justice.” 2 Chronicles 9:8

“And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of the LORD in the hand of the sons of David; and ye be a great multitude, and there are with you golden calves, which Jeroboam made you for gods.” 2 Chronicles 13:8

“Howbeit the LORD would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as he promised to give a light to him and to his sons for ever.” 2 Chronicles 21:7

As such, any of David’s sons who were nothing other than human would always remain subject to their ancestor, and could therefore never become greater than him in terms of authority and rank.

No angelic creature could be David’s Lord

The Hebrew Bible is just as emphatically clear that, not only does Yahweh reign from his throne in heaven,

He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” Psalm 2:4

“The Lord is in his holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.” Psalm 11:4

But that he is also the only One who does so, since the entire heavenly host are creatures who stand before God in order to serve and obey him:

“Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the Lord; I saw the LORD sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner. Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the LORD said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee.” 2 Chronicles 18:18-22 – cf. 1 Kings 22:19-23

The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.” Psalm 103:19-21

The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.” Psalm 115:16

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Isaiah 6:1-5

“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” Daniel 7:9-10

We are further told that angels are spirits whom Yahweh made to be his ministers:

“who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:” Psalm 104:4

Therefore, since Yahweh alone rules from heaven and since heavenly creatures are ministers whom Yahweh made to serve, not rule over God’s people, this means that no mere angelic creature could ever be David’s Lord.

With that said we are ready to move on to the second part of our discussion

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