110:0This is a very old psalm. Today, Bible students are not sure what many of the verses really mean. But it is a very important psalm. Jesus repeated part of it just before his enemies killed him. He was talking to the Pharisees, who were Jewish leaders. He asked them what they thought about the Christ. Christ is the Greek word for messiah. Messiah is the Hebrew word for ‘anointed.’ Anointed means ‘someone with oil poured over them.’ The oil came from plants called olives. It was not the oil that we use in our cars. The Jews anointed men when they made them kings. So ‘Christ’ really means a king that someone has anointed.
When David wrote the psalm, he was the king. He was anointed, or the messiah. But he said, ‘The Lord said to my Lord.’ The two words (Lord and Lord) do not mean the same. Lord is a name for God. It is the name only his servants really use. It is the ‘covenant-name.’ A covenant is when two people (or groups of people) agree. Here the two are God (the Lord) and his people (the Jews). This Lord (or God) said to David's Lord, ‘Sit on the right of me.’ Who was David's Lord? This Hebrew word means ‘master’, or ‘someone with authority.’ It is another word for God!
In Matthew 22:43 we read ‘Why then did David, in his spirit, call him Lord?’ What does ‘in his spirit’ mean? So here, David was talking to God. He was calling him, ‘Lord.’ So everything in the psalm is about the Lord, or God. It is not about David. This is very important in verse 4. It means that God is ‘always a priest, as Melchizedek was.’
A priest in the Old Testament was someone that was God's servant in the temple (house of God) in Jerusalem. There were many priests in the temple. But that was only a picture of what was going to happen! In the New Testament there was one great priest. His name was Jesus. But he was not a priest as the Jews were priests. He did not give dead animals to God. He gave himself! And he was not as the Jewish priests, he was as Melchizedek!
This is a Psalm of David.
1 The Lord spoke to my Lord.
‘Sit on my right side until I put your enemies under your feet,’ he said.
110:1In verse 1, ‘the right of me’ means ‘in a place where you will be powerful.’ ‘Under your feet’ means ‘where you have destroyed them.’ Really, the Hebrew says, ‘until they are your footstool.’ Hebrew is the language that David spoke. He wrote his psalms in Hebrew. A footstool is where you rest your feet when they are tired.
2 The Lord will send your great power out from Zion.
You will rule over all the enemies that are round about you.
110:2In verse 2, what does ‘Zion’ mean? If this verse is about God, then Zion does not mean the city of Jerusalem. It means the place where God is ruler. That is the Jerusalem that we call ‘heaven.’ Read Psalm 87 to learn more about this idea.
3 When you fight your enemies, your people will give you help.
In the early morning on the day of battle,
your young people will be there, on the hills round Zion.
110:3Bible students are not sure what verse 3 means. This translation makes it mean that people (young and old) will help God in the fight against evil. ‘Evil’ means ‘very, very bad people, and the bad things that they do.’ ‘On the hills (round Zion)’ is ‘on the holy mountains’ in the Hebrew Bible. ‘Holy’ is a word that means ‘very, very good.’ Only God is really holy. Zion is the mountain in Jerusalem that they built the temple on. Jews believed that God lived in the temple. So Zion was holy too.
4 The Lord has made a special promise. He will not change it.
‘You will always be a priest, as Melchizedek was,’ he said.
110:4Verse 4 is an important part of the psalm. It tells us that Jesus (who is God) was a priest as Melchizedek was. What do we know about Melchizedek?
– His name means righteous (zedek) king (melchi). Righteous means ‘very, very good.’ Only God is very, very good. (Righteous means doing good things, holy means not doing bad things.)
– He was the King of Jerusalem when Abram met him, (Genesis 14:18-20).
– He had no father or mother, (Hebrews 7:3).
Now the important thing about Melchizedek is this. He was a priest of God before there were any Jews. He was not a Jewish priest. This means that Jesus was not a Jewish priest! He was a priest as Melchizedek was. Some Bible students think that Melchizedek was Jesus. We do not know if this is true. But we do know one thing. Melchizedek was a priest (or servant of God) before there were any Jewish priests or religion. (Religion is a way of loving and obeying God.) The Jewish religion is a way to lead people to God. Christians believe that Jesus' death gives us a better way to God than the Jewish religion. Jesus said that he was the only way to God (John 14:6).
5 The Lord is standing on the right of you.
When he gets angry, he will destroy kings!
110:5In verse 5, ‘on the right’ means the same as in verse 1. It means that the Lord is in a powerful place. So, when he gets angry, he will destroy kings!
6 He will be the judge of all the nations.
There will be many dead people.
He will destroy kings over all the earth.
110:6He will be ‘the judge of the nations’, (verse 6). A judge is a person that says who is right and who is wrong. Nations are countries with governments. The people that are wrong will soon be dead!
7 He will drink from the stream at the side of the road.
And so, he will lift up his head.
110:7In verse 7, ‘lift up his head’ means that he will be powerful. And he will win every fight. Perhaps this will make him feel that he has had a drink of water from the stream at the side of the road! It will make him feel good.