A Brief Look At Psalm110:1

What does this verse have to do with eschatology? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Before going further in the Gospels looking at eschatology and verses relating to the topic, it’s important to consider a passage that shows up repeatedly in the New Testament, at least seven times quoted and several allusions. That is Psalm 110:1 and it could be the most important verse to understanding eschatology.

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

In this verse, David speaks about the coming Messiah and the Messiah is, as Jesus pointed out, David’s son and yet also His Lord. This verse also introduces a possibility of a multiplicity in the Godhead with two beings addressed as Lord. It doesn’t necessitate that, but it works just fine with it.

This verse is about the kingship of the Messiah. In this passage, when the Messiah begins His rule, He will sit at the right hand of God. While He is sitting, God will be in the process of making His enemies a footstool for His feet.

Note this about the passage. While the reign of Messiah is going on, Messiah will still have enemies that are active. This can be problematic for a position that says that Jesus cannot be king right now because of all the evil that is in the world.

However, from an orthodox Preterist perspective, this is entirely possible. Jesus can be reigning and evil can still be roaming about. Jesus is going to reign in the midst of His enemies.

As the passage goes on, we find that this king is also a priest and one in the order of Melchizedek. What’s interesting about this is that there is one book that presents all of this and that is Hebrews. In Hebrews, Jesus is king at the start because at the start of the book, Jesus sits down at the right hand of God. Later in the book, Jesus is said to be a priest in the order of Melchizedek, which is interesting since there is nothing supposedly about priests coming from the tribe of Judah.

Jesus is then our priest and king right now. What that means is that if Jesus is our priest who provides atonement for us right now, then He is our king right now. If He is our king right now, then He is providing atonement for us right now. Both of them have to be here. If we want to say we are forgiven but there is no kingship, then we have to say that Jesus is not really king right now and if He is not, then how can it be He has sat down at the right hand as Hebrews say, but yet is not king and is still somehow priest? It doesn’t fit.

As an orthodox Preterist then, I do see Jesus as king and priest right now and He is reigning. God the Father is bringing all the enemies of Jesus under His feet and this is what we see going on. The Kingdom of God is spreading rapidly more and more with Christianity reaching more people all around the globe.

This will be important as when we look in the Gospels, we will find numerous references to the kingship of Jesus Christ. Even secular scholars agree today that Jesus taught the Kingdom of God. We will see what is so important about this and if Jesus truly is king right now or not. Psalm 110:1 is central to this and if your eschatology doesn’t have a place for this verse, you need to change your eschatology.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Birth of the Trinity

What do I think of Matthew Bates’s book published by Oxford press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

How did we get to the Trinity? Of course, the Trinity was never born, per se, but how did the early church come to the idea? Was it in the Old Testament and we just hadn’t seen it all these years? Could it be they read Scripture in a way today that we’re not familiar with?

“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me.

With burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.

Then I said ‘Here I am. It is written about me in the scroll — I have come to do your will, my God.”

When the writer of Hebrews has this passage, he says that this is what Christ said. If we go back to where it comes from, Psalm 40, we don’t see Christ saying this at all. It looks like what the Psalmist is saying. How do we get to Christ saying this? Are we just reading into the text?

As good Christians, we don’t want to say that. After all, do we want to accuse the writer of Hebrews of eisegesis? In fact, we can go further and say that our Lord Himself used this kind of reading. Did He not ask the Pharisees whose son the Messiah is only to be told the Son of David. Christ responds with Psalm 110:1 “The Lord said to my Lord.” How can He be David’s son if David calls Him His Lord?

Bates says this is called prospological reading where the text is read from the perspective of a divine conversation going on. Sometimes, the Psalmist or prophet seems to give us a peek behind the curtain, perhaps unknowingly, to conversations that have taken place long in the past. (Well, at least to us. Since all of God’s actions are eternal these are eternally happening.)

The early church engaged in this and in fact, so did the early opponents of Christianity. This doesn’t mean that every reading like this is valid, but Origen and others did lay down some ground rules. Those are quite helpful for many who will think that this is an approach that can just lead to chaos and anything can mean anything.

Bates throughout this book that is incredibly inspiring seeks to enter us into a divine drama taking place and how the early church saw the text. Numerous texts are explored in-depth including countering various ideas, such as a popular adoptionist idea as has recently been argued for by Bart Ehrman. Bates also wants to return us to the idea of not divine identity but divine persons thinking we’re losing something of the idea of how we should speak of God when we don’t speak of persons.

Bates’s argument then is that when Christ came, the readers of the Old Testament indeed looked back in hindsight to see if they could see Christ speaking there, and they saw several passages. These they fit into the divine drama that had been taking place behind the scenes. This can also make us go back and read the Old Testament with new eyes. We’ve all known about this kind of reading before as we see it in the New Testament. We just never knew how seriously it was undertaken and what an impact it had.

If there was something I’d say I would like to see better, I think the title can be misleading. Every now and then there’s something about the Holy Spirit, but really very little. The book emphasizes more on the deity of Christ I think than the whole of the Trinity. Perhaps that can be saved for another work.

This is still an excellent book to read. If you want to see a fresh new reading of the text, try this one out. This is definitely an area that New Testament scholarship needs to further study.

In Christ,
Nick Peters