Calvary Road Baptist Church

“CHRIST’S ENEMIES SUBDUED”

Psalm 110

 

There are times in the lives of God’s people when things seem to be going wrong, when the enemy seems to have the upper hand, when everything seems to be falling apart, and you struggle with your conviction that all is well and God is sitting on His throne. We observe the fabric of our nation and culture unraveling. We are bombarded with convincing news that brutal and bloodthirsty enemies are on the rise in the Middle East, one of whom could be of our own nation’s making with the other being allowed to arm itself against us, while on the other side of the world an insane dictator oppresses his starving nation while he controls a nuclear arsenal, with the most populous and most formidable country in the world makes territorial claims over oil rich regions they have never in their long history ruled. Throughout the 20th century the United States of America exercised substantial control over an entire continent and two oceans, with a large Christian population that was both interested in Biblical prophecy and at the same time wondering what must transpire for our nation to become so irrelevant that we play no discernible roll in end time prophetical events. To our astonishment our nation’s slide into military and economic mediocrity is progressing so rapidly that we can see the United States sinking into obscurity at a never before imagined pace.

To those of you who are troubled by these events, and increasingly concerned about this unfolding drama that we are not only witness to but participants in, let me remind you that the faith once delivered to the saints is a faith that knows how by God’s grace to thrive in very difficult circumstances. What is our guide in difficult times such are we are presently entering? Our guide is the infallible Word of the living God, the love letter given to us by our Lord to comfort and guide us through troublesome times, in part by providing for us an overview of God’s plan and purpose for not only delivering us but also for accomplishing His grand purpose. After all, we who are Christians believe that history is really and truly His story. Of particular comfort to us this morning is a psalm written by David, the shepherd king and prophetic psalmist of Israel. Please turn to the 110th Psalm. I invite you to stand with me for the reading of God’s Word:

 

1      <> The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

2      The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.

3      Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.

4      The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

5      The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.

6      He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.

7      He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.

 

If I had to sum up this brief psalm in a single sentence I would say that it promises that Christ’s enemies shall be subdued. Is that not a comfort to you? It is to me. Though some people are so morally unfocused that they do not want to admit it, not only is there a God in heaven, but He has enemies, and He is determined to defeat them. That is motivation for all right thinking people to consider the question asked by Moses in Exodus 32.26: “Who is on the LORD’s side?” If you are not yet on His side you need to be. Observe with me that the psalm is easily divided into two parts, the first four verses being related to the actions of Jehovah, and the last three verses containing related predictions given by King David. Though only seven verses long, this psalm is prophetical and spans the time from our Lord Jesus Christ’s ascension to His Father’s right hand following His resurrection to the establishing of His millennial kingdom and beyond:

 

First, David Introduces The RELATED ACTIONS OF JEHOVAH

 

Walk through these four verses with me:

 

Verse 1: “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

 

There are a number of observations to make for a clear understanding of this prediction made a thousand years before it was fulfilled: First, please take note of the two words that are translated into our English word lord, the first LORD being all capital letters (though not all of the same size) and translating the Hebrew word for Jehovah (the very name of God), with the second Lord having only one upper case letter and translating the Hebrew word adonai, most closely defined by our English word lord. Clearly, Jehovah is speaking to someone He addresses using the word Adonai. Second, Jehovah invites this person addressed as Adonai to sit at His right hand, a place of favor. That the Lord is invited to sit at Jehovah’s right hand immediately rules out from consideration that this individual could possibly be a Jewish king, since no Jewish king has ever had a relationship with Jehovah that made this kind of exaltation possible. Thus, the Lord, this Adonai, must and can only be Israel’s Messiah. The only Biblical figure this could possibly be referring to is the Lord Jesus Christ following His resurrection from the dead and His ascension to heaven, His enthronement being a fulfillment of this very verse.[1] Third, a reason for the Lord Jesus Christ’s enthronement at His Father’s right hand is provided in the last phrase of the verse: “. . . until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Ponder this statement made by the Lord God Almighty Himself, because it explains what has been happening over the past 2,000 years since our Savior’s ascension into heaven. God the Father is subduing Christ’s enemies, making them no better than a lowly stool under His foot. Thus, in the ebbs and flows of history over the past two millennia, one thing is clearly stated for our understanding despite what we may conclude is happening from the events we see transpiring; Jehovah is subduing the enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Verse 2: “The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.”

 

If verse 1 records Jehovah’s statement, verse 2 records Jehovah’s future action. The rod speaks of authority, referring to a king’s sceptre. Jehovah here predicts that He will send the authority of Christ’s strength out of Zion, which authority was asserted by our Lord Jesus Christ when He proclaimed the Great Commission in Matthew 28.18-20: “All power is given unto me. . . .” Zion is a reference to Jerusalem, where Christianity was established and from where it spread over the whole world. To rule in the midst of His enemies is a description of Christ’s rule over His own over the course of these last 2,000 years. He rules over His own (i.e. Christians), even while we are surrounded by Christ’s enemies, “in the midst of thine enemies” (i.e. unbelievers).

 

Verse 3: “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.”

 

In verse 1 the LORD speaks to the Lord, Jehovah speaks to Adonai (the exalted and enthroned Christ). In verse 2 Jehovah’s future action is predicted. And here in verse 3 Jehovah declares some things to the Lord Jesus Christ (who sits at His right hand) about His followers, referred to by Jehovah as “thy people.” This verse is far too complex for us to spend enough time on to get a firm grip on, but for this: Jehovah is declaring to Adonai that His followers are willing to sacrifice themselves for His cause when the time for such sacrifice comes, from the time when the morning is born being clothed in holiness, we are as His young ones who are likened to the dew.

 

Verse 4: “The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”

 

Charles H. Spurgeon writes about this verse: “We have now reached the heart of the psalm, which is also the very centre and soul of our faith. Our Lord Jesus is a Priest King by the ancient oath of Jehovah.”[2] Precisely what is it Jehovah has sworn and will not ever change His mind about? “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” Speaking to the Lord, to Adonai, to the exalted and enthroned Jesus Christ in this prediction made a thousand years prior to its fulfillment, Jehovah swore in eternity past that Jesus Christ is a priest after the order of Melchizedek. Notice that word translated priest. Its English equivalent is cohen, a word you may recognize as a Jewish family name. I remember the comedian who frequently appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in the 1960s, Myron Cohen. Translated in our Bible priest, the word literally means priest-king.[3] What is meant by the phrase “after the order of Melchizedek”? It means that the people of God, those who are Christ’s, will have as our priest-king One who has always been of a different type than those priests descended from Aaron, Israel’s first high priest, who not only sinned but also died. Melchizedek, you will recall, was the priest-king of the city of Salem encountered by Abram, who received tithes from Abram thereby showing that he was superior to Aaron Abram’s descendent.[4] How important is it that Christ is a priest-king after the order of Melchizedek, without father or mother, without beginning and without end? So important that it is mentioned for emphasis to distinguish Christ as a different type of high priest from Aaron in Hebrews 5.6, 10; 6.20; 7.17 and 21. Thus, we who know Christ have a priest. We also have a king. Our great high priest and king is of the order of Melchizedek, stressing His eternity, that fact that as He has existed from eternity past so He will continue into eternity future, always our Lord and forever our priest who represents us to God, and ruling over us as our king. Do verses 1-4 suggest to you that God is losing control of history, or that His Son Jesus Christ has somehow lost His grip? Quite the contrary, this psalm so far shows a LORD and a Lord, a Jehovah and an Adonai, a God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who are on top of the situation, with God the Father in fact accomplishing His goal of subduing Christ’s enemies.

 

Next, We Come To RELATED PREDICTIONS OF DAVID

 

If verses 1-4 are the record of prophetically revealed conversations that David overheard between the First and Second Persons of the Triune Godhead, spoken by Jehovah to Adonai, spoken by God the Father to God the Son, then verses 5-7 present predictions given by David:

 

Verse 5: “The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.”

 

As if David is rehearsing future events to God the Father, he writes, “The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.” The Lord Jesus Christ most certainly is at His right hand. What then does David predict that the Lord Jesus Christ will someday do? He will “strike through kings in the day of his wrath.” This reveals to us that there is a day of Christ’s wrath, #1, and that in the day of His wrath He will “strike through kings.” Of course, this will be fulfilled at His second coming in power and great glory, Revelation 19.11-18:

 

11    And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

12    His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

13    And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

14    And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

15    And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

16    And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

17    And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;

18    That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

 

Verse 6: “He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.”

 

I think the passage in Revelation 19 that I just read explains this verse very well. The Lord Jesus Christ will execute judgment upon the heathen (unbelievers), with heaps of dead bodies, and obviously wounding the heads over many countries.

 

Verse 7: “He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.”

 

This is the only verse in the psalm that speaks to Christ’s earthly ministry, referring to His sacrificial death on the cross for our sins, His burial, and His subsequent resurrection from the dead with two phrases: The first phrase, “He shall drink of the brook in the way,” is something of a passing nod to Gideon and his 300. Once more from Spurgeon: “So swiftly shall he march to conquest that he shall not stay for refreshment, but drink as he hastens on. Like Gideon’s men that lapped, he shall throw his heart into the fray and cut it short in righteousness, because a short work will the Lord make in the earth.”[5] From beginning to end His earthly ministry lasted perhaps three and one-half years. “therefore shall he lift up the head.” Envision Christ hanging from the cross after He had given up the ghost, His head hanging atop a lifeless body. So ended His earthly ministry. This phrase looks to the future, to His Second Advent: “His own head shall be lifted high in victory, and his people, in him, shall be upraised also. When he passed this way before, he was burdened and had stern work laid upon him; but in his second advent he will win an easy victory; aforetime he was the man of sorrows, but when he comes a second time his head will be lifted in triumph. Let his saints rejoice with him.”[6]

 

Thus ends our overview of the last 2,000 years of human history that will end with the Lord Jesus Christ’s coming in power and great glory. It does, indeed, look very bad at present for Christians in many parts of the world. However, the divine plan is unfolding on schedule as the LORD subjugates the Lord Jesus Christ’s enemies. Precisely how does He go about doing that? He subjugates the Lord Jesus Christ’s enemies in three very different ways, though each way results in individuals bending the knee, bowing the head, and confessing with the mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.[7]

The one means by which an enemy of Christ is subjugated and acknowledges Him as Lord is by means of the gospel of God’s grace in Christ, whereby a sinner comes to see his sinful and wretched condition before God, turns from his sins and trusts Christ for the forgiveness of sins through His shed blood, and is made a new creature in Christ, a child of God, who willingly bows before his cherished Lord and Savior.

Another means by which an enemy of Christ is subjugated, the means which this psalm speaks pointedly to in very direct terms, is when the stubborn and resistant sinner who refuses the gospel message, and who rejects the free offer of salvation in Christ, dies and is cast into Hellfire. Everyone dies. No one escapes death. And when you die without Christ you fall into God’s hands at last and forever for the last judgment.

The final means by which an enemy of Christ is subjugated is revealed in the passage we just read in Revelation, which declares to us that our returning King Jesus will smite the nations. Thus, if an enemy of Christ remains alive until the coming of the Lord he will be summarily executed by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself for treasonous rebellion, Revelation 19.15.

So you see, in the end the LORD will get His way, He will subdue His Son’s enemies one way or the other. Either He will woo the sinner by means of the gospel message and His precious Holy Spirit and his eventual faith in Christ, or He will meet you who are stubborn and resistant at the doorway to eternity, the death that takes every one of us, to consign you to Hell, or His Son will take you down when He comes to this old world to reclaim by power what is His from those of you who would not be persuaded by the gospel. To those of us who know Christ, who are saddened by the relentless march of sin that we see overtaking the institutions once held dear, and claiming more and more of our loved ones, this promise of eventual victory is a great comfort and delight to our soul. However, to those who resist the truth, who are estranged from God by their sins, such promise of God’s victory and the subjugation of Christ’s enemies is very bad news indeed. Just know that for now the gospel offer goes forth, the Spirit of God is still convicting men of their sins and convincing them of their need for Christ. The Savior still beckons sinners to come to Him for salvation full and free. For now. Therefore, I urge you to consider the claims of Christ and pray that you will flee to Him while you can.



[1] Mark 16.19

[2] Charles H. Spurgeon, The Treasury Of David, Volume II, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers), page 462.

[3] Francis Brown, S. R. Driver & Charles A. Briggs, The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew And English Lexicon, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1979), page 463.

[4] Genesis 14.17-21

[5] Spurgeon, page 464.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Isaiah 45.23; Romans 14.11; Philippians 2.9-11


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Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org