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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

NT Use of OT Part 18: Psalm 110:1 and Contextual Fulfillment

With my last blog I offered my thoughts on the use of Psalm 110:1 in Acts 2:33–35. I argued for a contextual understanding with Peter’s use of Psalm 110:1 being a case of Direct Literal Prophetic Fulfillment. With this blog I want to make some comments about Psalm 110 and verse 1 of this psalm in particular. Psalm 110:1 is the most quoted OT verse in the NT, with at least 22 separate references to this book in the NT. Psalm 110:1 states:

The LORD says to my Lord:
         “Sit at My right hand
         Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”

As I argued earlier, Psalm 110 is an explicit prophetic messianic passage in which David consciously discussed the coming eternal King-Priest. Hebrews 1:13 also quotes Psalm 110:1:
           
            But to which of the angels has He ever said,
             “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,
            UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES
            A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET”?

Within the context of Hebrews 1, the writer of Hebrews is arguing that Jesus is superior to angels. The writer uses Psalm 110:1 to show that Jesus is God’s designated King, a role that no angel has ever possessed nor ever will possess. Thus, he is making the point that Jesus is superior to angels since He has a role and position that no angel could ever have.

With Matt 22:41–46 we see another reference to Psalm 110:1 by Jesus:

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question: “What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?” They said to Him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “Then how does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying,

‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD,
“SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,
UNTIL I PUT YOUR ENEMIES BENEATH YOUR FEET”’?

“If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question.
Jesus uses Psalm 110:1 to stump the skeptical Pharisees. For our purposes, two things are worthy of note. First, Jesus viewed David as the author of Psalm 110. Second, Jesus uses this passage to establish both the humanity and deity of David’s “Lord.” David’s Lord is human because he is David’s son, but He is also divine since He is David’s Lord. Jesus clearly sees this Psalm as applying to himself even though the Pharisees would not admit it. Again, this appears to be another case of contextual use of Psalm 110:1.

References to Psalm 110:1 can also be seen with Matt 26:24; Mark 12:36; 14:62; 16:19; Luke 20:42, 43; 22:69; Acts 5:31; 7:55-56; Rom 8:34; 1 Cor 15:25; Eph 1:20; 2:6; Col 3:1; Heb 1:3; 8:1; 10:12–13; 12:2; Rev 3:21. Most of these references indicate that Jesus is at the right hand of God.

My main point here is that when it comes to the most quoted OT verse in the OT, the uses are consistently contextual. Psalm 110 is an explicit messianic psalm and this psalm is applied to Jesus in the NT.

2 comments:

  1. Mr. Vlach, thank you so much for this topic I have a side question. What text books do you use in your Historical Theology class? I preordered Gregg Allison's new book. Which ones do you recommend?

    thanks!!!

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  2. I recommend Roger Olson's The Story of Christian Theology. I also like McGrath's Historical Theology.

    ReplyDelete