Messianic Reign in the Psalms

In 2 Samuel 7:1-17, we have the record of God making his covenant with David in which he promises to take the son(s) of David (i.e. the royal lineage) and make him his own Son, to build the House of David, and through his Son to build a House for the Name of God.

Psalm 89 is composed by Ethan the Ezrahite. It offers praise to God for his covenant with David, laments that the kingship has been taken away from David’s sons, and calls upon God to keep his covenant and restore the kingship to his anointed one(s). This Psalm may have been composed during Judah’s exile in Babylon or afterward based on that context.

In the Davidic Covenant, the ruling descendant of David becomes synonymous with the Son of God and the Anointed One (or Messiah). This is why we see these titles of Messiah and Son of God used interchangeably going forward from this time in the Scriptures well into the Gospels in reference to the Lord Jesus.

The Messiah and Son of God is the Davidic King.

The glorious immediate fulfillment of God’s covenant with David is his son Solomon. The Kingdom of Israel was at its apogee of peace and prosperity under the reign of Solomon—at the height of its geographical occupation, international influence, and monetary influx. And Solomon built the House for the Name of God with all that David prepared for him.

The glorious ultimate fulfillment of God’s covenant with David is his son Jesus who is the one to come and is “something greater than Solomon”.

Two Psalms reflect prominently on the reign of the Messiah—Psalm 2 and Psalm 110. And the Gospels and Epistles offer interpretive commentary on the meaning and fulfillment of these Psalms in the Lord Jesus.

I will tell of the decree: Yahweh said to me,
“You are my Son; today I have begotten you.”

Psalm 2 opens with a description of various civil authorities, the people of Israel, and the Gentile nations in an uproar and in rebellion against God and his Messiah. The Apostles cite these verses and interpret them to refer to the actions of Herod and Pilate along with the Gentiles and the people of Israel against Jesus (Acts 4:23-31).

The Psalm continues in the next few verses to emphasize God’s mocking laughter at the intentions and actions of all those rebelling against him and his intentions to respond to them in wrath and terrifying fury. He assets that he has established his king in Zion.

Then the decree is pronounced concerning the begetting of the Son of God. The Apostle Paul understands this public declaration of the Son of God to be the resurrection of the Lord Jesus (Acts 13:33; Rom. 1:4) with his subsequent ascension and enthronement. He’s been made king and is in session (Heb. 1:5).

Then God promises to give the Son the Gentile nations as his heritage and the ends of the earth as his possession. This is affirmed after the resurrection by Jesus when he declares that all authority in heaven and on the earth has been given to him (Matt. 28:18-20). And then he commissions his Apostles, ambassadors of the Kingdom to go out and catechize all of the nations which he has been given. The Son of God reigns with a rod of iron, and the nations are warned to serve Yahweh and embrace the Son.

Yahweh says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”

Psalm 110 opens with the most frequently quoted verse in the New Testament as well as an enigma that Jesus used to challenge the Pharisees. “If the Messiah is the Son of David, then why is it that David calls the Messiah his Lord?”

(My guess at an answer to the question Jesus posed is that the Messiah is God as a Man.)

In his sermon at Pentecost, the Apostle Peter indicates that God has raised Jesus from the dead to sit forever on David’s throne (Acts 2:29-32) and that David’s throne is synonymous with being seated at the right hand of God (Acts 2:33-36). From there, King Jesus rules in the midst of his enemies as God makes them a footstool for the feet of the Son. He will do so until he has destroyed every last rule, authority, and power. “For he must reign until he has has put all his enemies under his feet, and the last enemy to be destroyed is death,” as the Apostle Paul teaches (1 Cor. 15:24-26).

Furthermore, Psalm 110 teaches that the Messiah is a priest-king forever in the order of Melchizedek, a priesthood established by an oath of God and maintained by the power of an indestructible life as the author to the Hebrews teaches (Heb. 4:14–5:10; 7:1-28). At the right hand of God, he intercedes for us (Rom. 8:34).

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