Christian Churches of God
(Edition 2.0 19970904-20000712)
This Psalm is short but very important. The text is one of the 134 texts altered by the Sopherim where Yahoweh or Jehovah was altered to Adonai. It begins with the identification that it is a Psalm of David. Thus the verse is not referring to David but to David's Lord who is the Messiah.
Psalm 110:1-7 A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. 2 The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. 3 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. 4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. 5 The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. 6 He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. 7 He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head. (KJV)
This text is one of the 134 texts altered by the Sopherim where Yahovah or Jehovah was altered to Adonai. The text in 110:1 uses the form adoni, a fact which is used by radical Unitarians to indicate that the Lord in issue is a human as it can refer to humans in the form of owner, master or lord. Even Strong lists this as the case. This contrived limitation however is denied by Bullinger as it obviously refers to the Adonai at the Right Hand of God. The word used in 110:5 was originally Yahovah but was changed to Adonai in the same possessive form Adoni as that of 110:1 and means Adonai and refers to Yahovah. This psalm is clearly dealing with two divine beings one of which is the subordinate of the other at his right hand. The subordinate is also named Yahovah (refer to the paper The Angel of YHVH (No. 24)).
The Sopherim changed the word to Adonai to conceal the fact of the divinity of the Messiah by association with Yahovah as the One True God. It begins with the identification that it is a Psalm of David. Thus the verse is not referring to David but to David’s Lord; the being is Messiah. The rabbinical authorities use the text in the commentaries to refer to Abraham using the link of Melchisedek in verse 4 (see the Soncino commentaries to the Psalm (pp. 371-372) and note the Hebrew of the MT in both verses). However Abraham tithed to Melchisedek so we must be speaking of Messiah and his order of priests of which Abraham is a subordinate. He is referred to as Jehovah in Psalm 110:5 and this was changed to Adonai as we will see.
Psalm 110:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
Jehovah is speaking to a being called My Lord (Adoni) who is David’s Lord. This being is Adonai. The form used of one divine being is the same in the Hebrew as the other being yet one is claimed to be referring to a human and the other is clearly referring to Yahovah as that was the original word. Thus the Sopherim changed the text. This text is quoted in Matthew 22:41-46, Acts 2:34-35 and Hebrews 1:13.
Jehovah said is ne’um Yahovah. This is in fact the Oracular utterance of Yahovah. It is always used of the immediate direct utterance of Jehovah and seldom of a prophet (cf. Num. 24:3,15), or David (cf. 2Sam. 23:1; see Companion Bible, fn. to v.1). The my Lord here is David’s Lord, i.e. Messiah. Thus Messiah was David’s Lord while he was still in his loins as a distant ancestor. The end of the Psalm in verses 5-7 shows it is prophetic and has yet to be fulfilled.
Matthew 22:41-46 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions. (KJV)
Thus Christ was fore-ordained antecedent to David and yet his descendent.
The text sit thou at my right hand until I make thy enemies thy footstool is quoted seven times in the New Testament (Mat. 22:44; Mk. 12:36; Lk. 20:42; Acts 2:34; Heb. 1:13; 10:13; 1Cor. 15:25). This phrase comes from placing the foot on the neck of the vanquished (cf. Josh. 10:24).
It means to set Messiah’s enemies as a footstool to his feet. In New Testament Greek it becomes tithemi meaning shall have placed (see Companion Bible, ibid.). 1Corinthians 15:25 is held to be an exception where it is not set as a footstool but under because Christ’s session on his own throne (Mat. 25:31; Rev. 3:21) is referred to in that text instead of his session on his Father’s throne as is the case in all others (ibid.). The Soncino avoids the Messianic intent of this psalm.
Psalm 110:2 The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
The rod of thy strength is a Hebrew idiom for thy strong staff or powerful sceptre (see Soncino). We are held to be dealing with the ancestral staff marking both priest and prince, and handed to Messiah here as David’s son. Zion here is the centre of the kingdom of Messiah (cf. Rom. 11:25-27). The text rule thou in the midst of thine enemies, being in inverted commas, is an order from God (Soncino).
Romans 11:25-27 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. (KJV)
This text is to be compared with Isaiah 59:20 and Luke 21:24. Messiah is to come to Zion and unto those that turn from transgression in Jacob. Thus at the appointed time at the end of the times of the Gentiles Messiah is to come to redeem Israel and establish his system from Zion.
Psalm 110:3 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 term thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power means that they will willingly offer themselves as voluntary offerings in the day that thou warrest. They are freewill offerings of the type found in Exodus 35:29; 36:3; 1Chronicles 29:9,14,17; Ezra 3:5; 8:28. This is the same root as in Judges 5 (Soncino). The term thy power is literally thy army. This time is literally the time of the army of the Lord of the last days. The people willingly flock to his standard (cf. Soncino).
The term beauties of holiness are found to be from some codices in (or on) the holy mountain (see Companion Bible, fn. v. 3). The Soncino renders the text as meaning in the adornments of holiness, similar to Psalms 29:2 and 96:9. The adornments of holiness are the vestments of the priesthood (Soncino) – hence the white robes of the elect. The rabbinical authorities are divided between attributing this to David. But Kimchi and Hirsch translate majesty of the sanctuary attributing the text to Jerusalem.
The text is explained as [as the dew] from the womb before the morning I have begotten thee [a son] (cf. Ps. 2:7). There should be no stop after the word morning. We are dealing with the concept of the son who was pre-existent, ordained before the morning or before eternal times. He has the dew of a son (here rendered youth) (see Companion Bible).
Psalm 110:4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
Here the word sworn corresponds with that in verse 1 as an Oracle of God. Here Messiah was ordained a priest forever after the order of Melchisedek (see Gen. 14:18; Heb. 5:6,10; 6:20; 7:1-28). The rabbis try to attribute it to David in an attempt to avoid the Messianic intent and the transfer of the priesthood. Reliance for this is placed on 2Samuel 8:18 where the word cohen is used of David’s sons rendered chief ministers – but the word is cohen. David wore the sacerdotal ephod (2Sam. 6:14) and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings (2Sam. 6:17). However, this was the duty of the Prince as we see from Ezekiel and elsewhere and does not involve the establishment of another order of priesthood.
We see from the New Testament that this order was vested in Messiah and from him the Church. Levi improperly resists this interpretation. The Companion Bible misunderstands the significance of the priesthood here. It was opened to the Gentiles being without genealogy and without beginning or end. The Aaronic priesthood passed in lineage through Levi. Messiah was of the line of David and David has no priestly lineage. Messiah was also of Levi through his mother’s house (see the paper Genealogy of the Messiah (No. 119)). He was prophesied to be of Levi through Shimei as well as of David through Nathan (see Zech. 12:12). The Aaronic priesthood was thus extended in this transfer to include not only Judah but also Israel and the Gentiles. God will not repent or revoke what He has ordained.
Psalm 110:5 The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.
This text here was changed by the Sopherim from The Jehovah at thy right hand to read The Adonai at thy right hand (see Appendix 32 to the Companion Bible for the list). The alteration was because there was clearly a Jehovah that was subordinate to Jehovah of Hosts who was the Lord. David’s Lord, Messiah, was also a Jehovah but not Jehovih or Jehovah of Hosts. This distinction is preserved in the terms Jehovah (SHD 3068) and Jehovih (SHD 3069). SHD 3068 is always rendered as Adonai and Jehovih (Yahovih) (SHD 3069) is always rendered elohim. In this way the Jews sought to protect the transcendent monotheism of Jehovah of Hosts (see Strong’s for comments). Jehovih was thus the God Most High. Jehovah was the elohim of Israel as a subordinate entity. Thus, Messiah shall strike through kings in the day of His (i.e. as God’s) wrath.
Psalm 110:6 He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.
Messiah is to judge among the nations (i.e. the Gentiles). Let him judge among the peoples [the regions] full of corpses (see Kimchi, cf. Soncino). Thus the death of many is foretold in this process. The Hebrew word rendered dead bodies denotes both living (Gen. 47:18) and dead bodies. Ibn Ezra understands it in the former sense, the nations being numerically strong. Others think it refers to the corpses of the slain. Hirsch understands it to refer to the victims of the nations who plundered them. The plan of salvation shows it will be both (see esp. Rev. 20:1-15). Messiah removes the heads of the nations. Thus the rulership of the world’s systems is to be removed. The singular head refers to Satan and the destruction of the beast system under the false prophet of the last days (Rev. 19:11-21). This also refers to the seed of the woman who is Messiah (Gen. 3:15). The many countries refers to a great land.
This next verse actually begins with the Hebrew Mem or From. This corresponds with verse 3 above.
Psalm 110:7 He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head. (KJV)
He shall drink of the brook in the way is connected with the lifting up of the head. This is a reference to the transfer of power. Kimchi says the text in the singular here may be rendered in the plural (Soncino). The head in the singular removed is that of Satan over the nations (see also Ps. 68:22 for this phrase referring to the leader of the fighting men (cf. Rashi, Soncino). Here it would mean the leader of the rebels. In this way Satan is the Anti-Christ, and all that flows from his system is Antichrist. The head lifted up is the leadership of the true God through the Holy Spirit. Messiah drinks of this spirit. In this way he possesses the fullness of the Godhead or the Theotetos. This is the divine essence (see Thayer’s). Christ was filled with the divine essence and thus was filled with the Godhead. Verse 10 shows us that we too are filled with Christ and thus we dwell in the fullness of the Godhead as Christ was filled with the Godhead or Theotetos.
This is reflected in the concept of being before God in Revelation 7:9-15. The redeemed humans and the elders or council are before God. In this way God is lifted up. The elders throw their crowns before God thus placing all the system under the One True God and thus being Monotheist. By being before the throne each is ascribed office and authority and power. In this way we lift up the head by drinking from the brook which is the Holy Spirit.
Metsudath David says that victory will be achieved solely as a result of God’s intervention (cf. Soncino, fn. to v. 7). That is the appropriate end to the rebellion and the restoration under Messiah at the right hand of God.