The King Will Be a High Priest Forever
Psalm 110:4 says, , “The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Yahweh has sworn and He won’t relent. Melchizedek, of course, is a complicated and mysterious person. Melik is the word king in Hebrew and so tsedeq is righteousness. We’ve talked a little bit about righteousness, that God always does the right thing in the right way. No injustice escapes His mind. There will be a reckoning.
He’s a king who embodies righteousness. Abram, before he’s Abraham, is in the area of Salem. It’s in Genesis 13. Melchizedek comes on the scene. Abram has won a battle and for whatever reason the text doesn’t tell us that Abraham recognizes Melchizedek as a person having authority over him. He gives him a tithe. He gives him a tenth of all that he has. Now who’s Abram? He’s the chosen man of God to be the father of the Jewish people. So who is over him? We all scratch our heads and being the Bible students we are, we make up stuff. We make up who we think Melchizedek is.
Some popular beliefs are that he might be a theophany, a christophany; that he was the Christ. And Jesus occurs in the Old Testament a number of times. Whatever He was, He was a type of Christ. He’s a King, Melik, tsedek, and He’s righteous. And Abram was the man God picked to be the father of a multitude of countless people who would be His chosen people. He gives him a tenth. It’s a picture of worship. He recognizes them as the word play, Melchizedek, the king. You can’t miss the language, and this of course will come back in the book of Hebrews.
The End of The Levitical Priesthood
Now let’s stretch our brains a little bit. Aaron is the priest. The Levites are the priests who carry out the sacrifices we’ve talked about. They bloody their hands. In fact, when Jesus comes on the scene, the shepherds are tending sheep that would most likely be used for the tabernacle and the temple complex sacrifices. That’s why they got it when the star came out and they heard about this baby who was born. They had been shepherding those paschal lambs for their entire lives. They understood it.
Do we need the Levites anymore? We don’t need experts in knowing how to sacrifice. The order of the Levitical priest ended. It was time to have a new priest. He couldn’t come through Aaron. He had to come through Judah, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. God in His super intentional plan says, I’m not going to have a bloody priest come through the Aaronic priesthood. I’m going to do something different. I’m going to pull him out of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. So the Levitical priesthood has ended and the Aaronic Priesthood is still recognized, but now we have a new Priest. It means that this King comes from a line of righteousness, not a line of sacrifice.
God Does Not Change His Mind
Notice again in verse four “God swore, He’s not going to change His mind. You’re a priest forever.” You don’t need Levitical priests forever because the sacrificial system is over. You need new priests and this one has to come from the order of Melchizedek.
“The Lord is at Your right hand; He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath.” When God the Father declares an oath just as He did with His covenant promise and chosen people, He doesn’t change. The character of Yahweh, Elohim, is such that if He says something, you can stake your life on it. That’s what it means to trust in His Word.
Here we have the language stacking up on top of it. We don’t need this old form of sacrifice. Take another look at verse one. “He sat at His right hand.” Are you familiar with the old song about how there’s no chair in the Holy of Holies? I think it misses the point! The point is the priest had a job and the job never ended because the sacrifice never ended. But now there’s no more sacrifice. You can sit down Jesus.
The priesthood is rested. We don’t need to butcher hundreds of thousands of bulls and goats and sheep and turtle doves and all these bloody sacrifices, because you also happen to be the one who fulfilled it according to God’s solemn oath. He will not relent, He does not change His mind; the emotional aspect of this is that He doesn’t regret and He’s not grieved by promises He makes.
The King Will Crush The Opposition
The language becomes military; it becomes clearly victorious; it’s convincing; it’s devastating and this person, this King, is going to wreak some havoc. The New Testament offers the full revelation; we know the King is the divine Son, Jesus Christ. We know the Godhead is at work in this Trinitarian Doctrine we hold dear. For instance, in Psalm 110:4-5, when “the Lord is at Your right hand,” who is being talked about? It can’t be David because most likely “Your” is capitalized, indicating deity.
In other words, Yahweh is now at the right hand of Jesus. If that’s true and it’s what the psalm is saying, then there’s an inseparable ministry of Christ and the Father and a time will come in the dispatch when the Father will say, “Go to earth and go to Zion and let’s continue the program I set from eternity past.” If verse five is interpreted this way, then the Lord is now at the right hand. The role is not reduced; they are joined together. The effect of this will be that God shatters the enemies of Jesus; the enemies of Yahweh Elohim.
There will be armies that rise up against Jesus Christ. He will judge among the nations. He will fill them with corpses. This is the Messiah we don’t talk about. He will shatter the chief men over a broad country. Here the word chief is a singular word. It causes people who believe in prophecy and eschatology to run to the book of Revelation, to favor the idea that, yes, there’ll be many who will come against Messiah, but there will be a leader
The Psalm Concludes
In verse seven, the psalm concludes this man, this leader, this King, “will drink from the brook by the wayside; therefore, He will lift up His head.” This conquering King will drink from what was once a barren, dry, gulch, and it’s a picture of the blessing of the land; it’s a picture of the conquering King. Remember the number one thing you need in Israel: water. You’ve got to have water. The image says, He’ll drink water. Life comes from death. The Judean wilderness will no longer be so because of the blessing of God.
It’s a nice touch of scripture that reminds us of the glory of the King. He will therefore lift up His head. We hear many expressions that tell us He’s the lifter of our head, and it’s the idea that Messiah has won. Messiah is King. It goes back to verse one, our Chiastic devices again. The Lord says to my Lord, and in verse seven, He’s going to lift up His head. He’s the victor. He’s the last man standing because He’s the God, King. The King will be filled with honor. He will be exalted in eternal heavens. He’s enthroned in heaven. He rules on earth for a time. He becomes the Priest forever, fulfilling the ironic Levitical priesthood that could not fulfill its mission, and then He will judge the nations forever.
Why Teach Psalm 110?
This is the one Jesus talked about; this is the most quoted one in the New Testament. It speaks very specifically about the coming of Jesus, the Messiah. So it should give us hope and comfort.
My hope comes from this passage. We have a King. One day He’s going to come down here and He’s going to set it right. Nobody will stop Him. There’ll be no Aminadab who will be successful. There will be no Al Qaeda terrorist who will die a foolish martyr’s death for some cause he doesn’t understand because we have a King. We have nothing to fear as believers. So we comfort and encourage one another and we live in Christ, according to His righteousness, and that’s what we’re called to do.
During the course of our lives, we face uncertain times. It may be in our twenties, sixties, or eighties, but we face those cliffs as it were and wonder about this world and the next.
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