The Crown of All the Psalms
By Franklin L. Kirksey, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort, Alabama, and author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice.
These expositions by Dr. Kirksey are offered to suggest sermon or Bible study ideas for pastors and other church leaders, both from the exposition and from the illustrative material, or simply for personal devotion.
Dr. Alfred Edersheim (1825-1889) affirms, “This psalm has been well designated the crown of all the Psalms, of which Luther saith that it is worthy to be overlaid with precious jewels. More especially does the Reformer call verse 5 a well spring,—nay, a treasury of all Christian doctrines, understanding, wisdom, and comfort, richer and fuller than any other passage of Holy Writ.”
Dr. Edward Reynolds (1599-1676), a theologian of the 16th Century, explains, “This psalm is one of the fullest and most compendious prophecies of the person and offices of Christ in the whole Old Testament, and so full of fundamental truth, that I shall not shun to call it Symbolum Davidicum, the prophet David’s creed. And indeed there are very few, if any, of the articles of that creed which we all generally profess, which are not either plainly expressed, or by most evident implication couched in this little model.”
From Psalm 110:1-7 we read, “The Lord said to my Lord, / ‘Sit at My right hand, / Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’ The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies! Your people shall be volunteers / In the day of Your power; / In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, / You have the dew of Your youth. The Lord has sworn / And will not relent, / ‘You are a priest forever / According to the order of Melchizedek. The Lord is at Your right hand; / He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath. He shall judge among the nations, / He shall fill the places with dead bodies, / He shall execute the heads of many countries. He shall drink of the brook by the wayside; / Therefore He shall lift up the head.”
Dr. W. A. Criswell explains in The Believer’s Study Bible, “This verse [Psalm 110:1] is quoted or alluded to more frequently in the N.T. than any other single verse.” For example, we read in Matthew 22:41-46, “While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, ‘What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?’ They said to Him, ‘The Son of David.’ He said to them, ‘How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, / Till I make Your enemies Your footstool’? If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?’ And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.”
Dr. Edward Reynolds reveals, “First, the Doctrine of the Trinity is in the first words; ‘The Lord said unto my Lord.’ There is Jehovah the Father, and my Lord, the Son, and the consecrating of him to be David’s Lord which was by the Holy Ghost, by whose fulness he was anointed unto the offices of king and priest; for so our Saviour himself expounds this word ‘said,’ by the sealing and sanctification of him to his office, John 10:34,35,36.”
David was a prophet according to both the Old and New Testament. The prophets like Elijah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, declared their prophecy by saying God spoke directly to them. For example, we read in 2 Samuel 23:1-3, “Now these are the last words of David. Thus says David the son of Jesse; / Thus says the man raised up on high, / The anointed of the God of Jacob, / And the sweet psalmist of Israel: ‘The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, / And His word was on my tongue. The God of Israel said, / The Rock of Israel spoke to me: ‘He who rules over men must be just, / Ruling in the fear of God.’” The Book of Acts in the New Testament also declares King David a prophet in Acts 2:29-35. Here, we read, “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. ‘For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, / ‘Sit at My right hand, / Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’
Please allow me to share three prophecies about Jesus Christ from our passage.
I. David prophesies about the execution of the royal office of Jesus Christ. (vv. 1-3)
From Psalm 110:1-3 we read, “The Lord said to my Lord, / ‘Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’ The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies! Your people shall be volunteers / In the day of Your power; / In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, / You have the dew of Your youth.”
From Joshua 10:24 we read, “So it was, when they brought out those kings to Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the captains of the men of war who went with him, ‘Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings.’ And they drew near and put their feet on their necks.”
From Isaiah 51:23 we read, “But I will put it into the hand of those who afflict you, / Who have said to you, / ‘Lie down, that we may walk over you.’ And you have laid your body like the ground, / And as the street, for those who walk over.”
From 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 we read, “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For ‘He has put all things under His feet.’ But when He says ‘all things are put under Him,’ it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.”
From Hebrews 10:11-14 we read, “And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”
Rev. E. Theodore Carrier explains, “The kingship of Christ is a twofold kingship. It is essential and it is hereditary. The one belongs to Him as God, the other belongs to Him as Mediator. The first is founded upon the Divinity of His Person, the second upon the dignity of His work. Hence the first is eternal, the second conferred.”
II. David prophesies about the execution of the sacerdotal office of Jesus Christ. (v. 4)
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the term “sacerdotal” as follows, “of or relating to priests or a priesthood”.
Dr. Talbot W. Chambers comments on Psalm 110, “The psalm is peculiar in setting forth Messiah as a priest upon His throne. He is a real priest, one that makes atonement, intercedes and blesses, and as such meets all the needs of sinful men, because He is a King, and can give effect to His sacerdotal functions, applying the merits of His sacrifice, and actually bestowing the blessing which He pronounces. And all this for ever. Christ neither has nor needs a successor. He is an unchangeable priesthood. Again, Messiah’s followers are like Himself, wearing holy attire — an emblem of their cause and character. It is not a kingdom of this world to which they belong, but one heavenly and divine. They wear its uniform and seek to express its spirit. Nor are they in any sense hirelings, but rather volunteers, eager to obey and glorify Him whom they call Master and Lord. Napoleon truly said, ‘My armies have forgotten me even while living, but Christ has left the earth, and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.’ The strength of His cause lies in the character of His followers and the fulness and freeness of their consecration. A host made of such materials cannot be overcome, for it is perpetually renewed from the womb of the dawn. Once more, the final result is sure. Messiah leads forth judgment to victory. All foes are to perish. The appurtenances of ancient warfare, captured kings and slaughtered heaps, only indicate the thoroughness of the conflict and its predetermined result. Forward the royal standards go, and the issue is not uncertain. The priestly King must reign till all enemies are made His footstool, and the whole earth acknowledges His rightful supremacy.”
We read in Psalm 110:4, “The Lord has sworn / And will not relent, / ‘You are a priest forever / According to the order of Melchizedek.’”
In Hebrews 5:1-10 we read, “For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness. Because of this he is required as for the people, so also for himself, to offer sacrifices for sins. And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: ‘You are My Son, / Today I have begotten You.’ As He also says in another place: ‘You are a priest forever / According to the order of Melchizedek’; / who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, called by God as High Priest ‘according to the order of Melchizedek,’ of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.”
From Hebrews 7:11-28 we read, “Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. For He testifies: ‘You are a priest forever / According to the order of Melchizedek.’ For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: ‘The Lord has sworn / And will not relent, / ‘You are a priest forever / According to the order of Melchizedek’), by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant. Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.”
III. David prophesies about the execution of the judicial office of Jesus Christ. (vv. 5-7)
In Psalm 110:5-6 we read, “The Lord is at Your right hand; / He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath. He shall judge among the nations, / He shall fill the places with dead bodies, / He shall execute the heads of many countries.”
In Genesis 18:25, Abraham states, “Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
In John 5:22-31, Jesus declares, “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”
We read in Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” We will either stand before Jesus Christ at the Judgment Seat of Christ for reward in heaven or the Great White Throne Judgment for retribution in hell.
From Psalm 110:7 we read, “He shall drink of the brook by the wayside; / Therefore He shall lift up the head.” This represents the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
From Revelation 19:11-16 we read, “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
In a message titled, “Handle With Worship,” Rev. Daniel D. Meyer shares the following account, “[Dr.] Frederic Farrar [1831-1903] was a personal friend of Queen Victoria [1819-1901]. On one occasion he told of a conversation he had with her Majesty after she had heard one of her chaplains preach on Christ’s second coming. She said, ‘Oh, Dean Farrar, how I wish that the Lord would come during my life time!’ When he asked why she desired this, her countenance brightened, and with deep emotion she replied: ‘Because I would love to lay my crown at His blessed feet in reverent adoration.’”
This should be the response of every one of us! May each of us so desire the return of our Lord Jesus Christ! As those redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, we should constantly pray in the words of John, recorded in Revelation 22:20, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
The Believer’s Study Bible, ed. W. A. Criswell, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991), pp. 817-818
E. T. Carrier, “Messiah’s Sceptre and Kingdom,” Sermon Notes, (Psalm 110:2-3), featured in The Biblical Illustrator, ed. Joseph S. Exell The Psalms, Vol. II, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, n. d.), p. 421
Available from: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sacerdotal Accessed: 12/05/12
Talbot W. Chambers, “The King Who Is Also Priest,” Sermon Notes, (Psalm 110), featured in The Homiletic Review, ed. Isaac K. Funk, Vol. 21, From January To June, (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1891), pp. 459-460
Daniel D. Meyer, “Handle With Worship,” Sermon Notes, (Matthew 2:9-12)
By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527
Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on Amazon.com and WORDsearchbible.com
© February 3, 2013 All Rights Reserved