The Lord said unto my Lord, 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. The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head. (Psalm 110)
The first two “Lord” designations in this Psalm, are distinct Hebrew nouns,. When translated it reads, “Yahweh said unto my ADONAI…”.
‘Yahweh’ is the covenant name of God. ‘Adonai ‘ is the title which translates “Lord”. Thus we have ,’ The God of Israel said unto my Lord…’ .
We know who the first person is, but who is the second, referred to as ‘my LORD’ ?
The Psalm is a Psalm of David, therefore the second figure,”My Lord” is David’s Lord. David’s Lord is the Messiah. The Psalm is a prophecy of Yahweh speaking to Messiah, who is seated at Yahweh’s right hand in the vision.
The Holy Spirit really desired to make this point for we have none less than three versions of Jesus’ commentary on this passage of the Psalm in the gospels, and Psalm 110 is the most quoted portion of scripture in all of the New Testament!
And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the son of David? For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly. (Mark 12:35-37)
This dialogue takes place in the last week of Jesus’ earthly life, when the Scribes and Pharisees were testing him, examining for any theological errors they could then use to condemn him as a false teacher. This religious argument took place in the temple, at the very time when Passover lambs were being examined by Priests, searching for flaws.
In the passage above Jesus turns the tables and asks his examiners a question; “How could Messiah be the Son of David, and yet David called him Lord ?”.
This quandary rests on two unquestionable assumptions which were held by all who were present in the argument that day. First it assumes that David is the human author of the Psalm and second it assumes that the Psalm is Messianic. None questioned either.
All of Jesus’ hearers knew that the Messiah to come, was going to come through the line of David. They were well aware of 2 Samuel 7, the prophecy through Nathan that the LORD would establish the throne of David forever, and that one of his Sons would rule forever…
…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 11b-17)
The solution to the quandary requires that Messiah is much more than a merely human ruler, or a conquering general like any of the Judges of the past. The Messiah is God himself, who came (in the Incarnation) through the line of David and who is coming again.
Everyone knew that the coming Messiah would be a “Son of David”, a human descendant of King David himself, but Jesus expanded the expectation of the Messiah through his teaching on the Psalm.
The prophecy of Psalm 110 shows us Messiah is God, and sat at the right hand of God when David reffered to him as ?My LORD”.
In order for Messiah to be LORD of David, He must be Divine. The fact that Messiah undoubtably is the Son of David, requires the Incarnation.
What we have in the 110th Psalm is no less than a conversation between the Lord God of Israel and the pre-incarnate Messiah of Israel, witnessed by David.