Jesus told his disciples, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which are written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning me” (Luke 24:44). Jesus indicated that the Psalms spoke of Him. Let us consider some of the things said of Jesus in the Psalms.
“Enemies Become Footstool”
Psalm 110:1, “The LORD said to my Lord, ‘sit at my right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’” This appears seven times in the New Covenant (Matthew 22:44; Mark 12:36; 1 Corinthians 15:25; Hebrews 1:13; 10:12-13). The reference is to the current state of Jesus, the state which commenced with His ascension and will continue until death is no more.
Let us notice: (1) David penned these words (Matthew 22:43-44). David called the Christ “My Lord”. Yet, it was universally accepted by the Jews that the Christ was to descend from the seed-line of David (Matthew 22:41-42; John 7:42; Psalm 16:8-10 cf. Acts 2:25-34 and 13:33-37; Isaiah 11:1-2, 10). Jesus posed this riddle to the Pharisees: If the Christ is the Son of David, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him “Lord’” (Matthew 22:43). Such only makes sense, if this Christ had authority over David. Jesus will judge both the living and the dead at His appearing (2 Timothy 4:1 cf. Acts 17:30-31; Romans 2:16; 2 Corinthians 5:10). (2) The LORD told David’s Lord to sit at His right hand. The right hand is a position of honor (e.g., 1 Kings 2:19; Psalm 45:9; Matthew 20:20-21). Jesus now sits at the right hand (Acts 2:33-34; Romans 8:34; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3; 1:13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet. 3:22). Notice: This sitting began following His resurrection (Acts 2:32-36), and His purging of sin (Hebrews 1:1-3). (3) One day all of His enemies will be made His footstool. This is an expression of a complete conquering of enemies (cf. Joshua 10:24; Judges 1:7). Jesus now reigns in the midst of His enemies (Psalm 110:2). These enemies will be defeated. The last enemy to be destroyed will be death (1 Corinthians 15:25-26). Note: “Till” is a preposition of time. It refers to a point in time. It may refer to a terminal point (e.g., Genesis 27:45). However, it does not always refer to a terminal point (e.g., Genesis 8:5; 46:33-34; 1 Samuel 15:35; 2 Samuel 6:23; Acts 23:1; Romans 8:22). It can simply refer to “up until that point” without implying what will follow.
Priest Like Melchizedek
Psalm 110:4, “The LORD has sworn and will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’” These words are quoted three times in the New Covenant (Hebrews 5:6; 6:20; 7:21).
Let us notice: (1) Jesus is described as a priest. Jesus is elsewhere referred to as: (a) a prophet (Acts 3:20-ff); (b) an apostle (Hebrews 3:1); (c) a priest (Hebrews 3:1; 5:4-ff; 6:20; 7:21), even the High Priest (Hebrews 3:1); and (d) king (Matthew 21:5; 27:11; John 18:36; 1 Corinthians 15:25), even King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15 cf. Revelation 19:11-16). (2) It was God who exalted Him to this position (Hebrews 5:4-6 cf. Psalm 110:4). (3) The priesthood of Jesus is likened to that of Melchizedek.
What do we know about Melchizedek? (a) Melchizedek occupied two offices, simultaneously. He functioned as both priest and king (Genesis 14:18; Hebrews 7:1). So also, does Jesus (Ps. 110:2, 4; Zechariah 6:13). This is the great point of comparison. Never in Jewish history was there a priest-king until Jesus. There were 81 High Priests in Jewish history and not one of them served as king. There were 3 kings over the united kingdom of Israel, 19 kings over Israel, and 20 kings over Judah but not one functioned as priest (with God’s approval). (b) Melchizedek was king of “Salem”. Salem was an early name for Jerusalem (Psalm 76:2). The name means “peace” (Hebrews 7:2). Jesus is called “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). (c) The name “Melchizedek” means “King of righteousness”. Jesus is referred to as “Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).
A puzzling thing is said about Melchizedek. He is said to be “without father, without mother, without genealogy (descent KJV), having neither beginning of days nor end of life” (Hebrews 7:3). What does this mean? (1) Some have suggested that this was a theophany, an appearance of God on earth. If so, this does not appear to be Jesus. The ESV Study Bible points out “This passage indicates, however, Melchizedek was not in fact the Son of God but someone resembling the Son of God.” (2) There is another possibility. (a) Without father, without mother: may simply mean that he did not receive his priest-king position by inheritance. Wayne Jackson has written, “Several of the Tell el-Amarna tablets are letters written to Pharaoh by Ebed-tob … the king of Uru-Salim (aka Salem) who begs for help against his enemies. He tells the Pharaoh that he had not received his crown by inheritance from his father or mother; it had been conferred on him by ‘the might king’” (Bible Studies in Light of Archaeology, p. 25). Seneca says of one Roman ruler “of the matter of Servius Tullus there are doubts; and Ancus Marcus is said to have no father.” Adam Clark said of this, “This only signifies that the parents were either unknown or obscure” (Vol. 6, p. 731). Philo says of Sarah “she is said not to have had a mother, having received the inheritance of relationship from her father only” (Hebrews, p. 249). It is possible that the language means that Melchizedek and Jesus received their priest-king positions in a means other than inheritance, and that they had both sprang from parents who were not well known. (b) Without genealogy (descent): This may mean that neither came from a lineage of priest-kings. They were not like the priests who came through Levite lineage. It could also mean that they did not pass this position on to any other. (c) Without beginning of days nor end of life: The ESV Study Bible comments “Melchizedek had neither beginning of days nor end of life recorded in scripture.” Jesus, of course, is literally without beginning or end. (d) He continues a priest forever: Again, the ESV comments “As far as the O.T. narrative is concerned, it shows no end to his priesthood, so in that sense he continues a priest forever … In this way, Melchizedek is compared to the eternal high priesthood of the righteous Son of God.”