A Believer's Preparation for the Final Conflict
YEARS AGO THE LORD DIRECTED ME TO PSALM 110. I spent months looking at it, hours at a time. I found that the first verse of the Psalm has more reference to it in the New Testament than any other passage from the Old Testament. This placed a stamp of importance on it.
In the Psalm are the two main texts for the Epistle to the Hebrews: Psalm 110:1 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool—the text of the finished work; and Psalm 110:4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melehizedek—the text that directs us to the continuing priesthood of the Lord Jesus. These two verses set the Covenant basis for His triumph and ours.
I read little commentary on the Psalm but I was impressed by one statement from Adam Clarke: "The hundred and tenth Psalm is a war song, and every phrase and term in it is military." The light and effective energy released in it will take us through every personal conflict, as well as the great conflict of the end when all Satan’s force will be released against the church.
Another thing that claimed my attention in the Psalm is the direction it gives us toward Zion. This is an important factor for today as we draw near the time of Christ’s final triumph in this age. What mystery attends Zion, and yet, what reality for those who already know its Government! Following is a translation born to me from the Original.
We note there are two parts, each introduced by the Word from JEHOVAH to His Anointed Son.
PSALM 110—A Psalm of David
1 A declaration of JEHOVAH to my Lord: Sit at my right hand until I set Your enemies as a stool for Your feet.
2 Jehovah will send the scepter of Your strength from out of Zion. Take dominion in the midst of Your enemies.
3 Your people shall be freewill offerings in the Day that You go forth in battle. In the splendid array of holiness, they will come from the womb of the day that is dawning. To You is the dew of Your youth.
dew....Figurative of young warriors of a king with flashing weapons like dewdrops; signifying preparedness, having been equipped in the night, made ready for the battle of a new day.
4 JEHOVAH has promised with an oath and will not alter His purpose, saying: You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
5 The Lord at Your right hand will shatter kings in the day of His wrath.
6 He will sit as a Governor among the nations where He has assembled an army. He will shatter the head over the earth with a powerful blow.
army….Taken from a Hebrew word similar in meaning to the Latin corpus which can mean a dead body, or a body of people assembled for military purpose, as in "Marine corps." We impose this second meaning upon the Hebrew word here.
7 He will drink from the flowing river that runs by the pathway; therefore He will lift up the Head.
WE WILL LOOK AT THE PSALM NOW verse by verse from the King James Version. Each verse is so full, that no translation could ever reveal the full impact of all its statements. We can only hold ourselves in the presence of the Lord and await His revelation.
Psalm 110:1 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at myright hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
The LORD is a translation from the Hebrew of the Name of Israel’s God. For generations His people considered His Name too holy to pronounce. They used four Hebrew consonants, corresponding to JHWH, in their writings. They called this "The Name." Today some believe its best translation is Yahweh. We are more inclined to use the traditional JEHOVAH. It is the usual word translated LORD in the Old Testament, but in Psalm 110 there is also another word translated Lord. It is Adoni. It occurs but this one time. The LORD said unto my Lord is literally "JEHOVAH said to ADONI."
Jehovah is God’s Covenant Name. It came from a word meaning "to be." It seems to mean The Eternal and Immutable One, Who Is and Who Causes to Be. This Name describes Who and What God is in Himself. Adoni is the name David called God’s Son. It meant "My Personal Governor, My Ruler." Here is the only place in the Bible where this Name occurs in this precise form, but it occurs many times as Adonai. Adoni has a singular Pronoun ending making it "My Lord." Adonai has a plural ending making it "Our Lord." This allows us to see the very personal and intimate relationship David held with the Lord Jesus, even before He came in the flesh. He would come as David’s greater Son, but He was also David’s Lord. This is part of the glorious mystery. Jesus touched on this mystery when He confronted the religious leaders who were more concerned with their doctrine than with the Lord Himself. He put a question to them they could not answer. David therefore calleth him Lord, how is he then his son? (Luke 20:44) This mystery cannot be resolved in discussions and arguments. Angels cannot fathom the depth of it. Only mercy can discover its truth and find its release in the lives of His loved ones.
The Word of Jehovah to David’s Lord was, Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool. Sit Thou means "Reign Thou as King." This He has done ever since His ascension to the Throne after His resurrection. Those who know Him intimately know Him as King. At My right hand signifies the highest place of honor there is. Jesus occupies this place as He awaits the time when His enemies will be brought manifestly under His feet. His final disclosure in the earth as King will come at the end of the age. His triumph is secure now in the heavens. Those who know the heavens and their place in Him in this age will become instruments for the release of His kingly power in the age to come.
THIS STATEMENT, Sit down at my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool, has more reference to it in the New Testament than any other statement from the Old Testament. The fulfillment of it in Jesus baffled the Pharisees—Matt 22:41-46; enraged the high priest—Matt 26:63-65; gladdened the common people—Mark 12:35-37; released the power of God—Mark 16:19,20; preceded the outpouring of the Holy Spirit—Acts 2:32-36; continues to be effective till death itself is brought under—I Cor 15:24-26; and obtained a complete triumph for Christ’s Body, the Church—Eph 1:18-23. Add to the list Luke 20:39-47; Luke 22:66-71; Col 3:1; Heb 1:3,13; Heb 8:1; Heb 10:12,13; and Heb 12:2. You will be strengthened as you become acquainted with all these passages and the verses surrounding them.
This powerful Word from Psalm 110, being one of the main texts for the Epistle to the Hebrews, tells of the finished work of the Lord Jesus, after which He sat down.
Hebrews 1:3 says that after He made purification for our sins He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Hebrews 8:1 says the highest point of the truth spoken in the Epistle is that we have such an High Priest, Who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.
Hebrews 10:12 reveals how every priest before the Lord continued offering the same sacrifices, but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.
Hebrews 12:2 tells us that as we run in the course set before us, we are to give our undivided attention to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith Who is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
THE POWERFUL TRUTH OF ALL THIS began to come alive to us one day in the Bible school where I once served. For some days instruction had been coming to the students concerning The Finished Work of Christ, much of it from Hebrews. The frequent occurrence in that Epistle of one particular Greek word claimed our attention. It was teleióo which means "to bring to an end; to fulfill; to consummate; to bring to perfection." Some form of this word occurs about twenty times in Hebrews. We noted it was the same word Jesus spoke when He hanged on the Cross and said, It is finished—John 19:30. That word was tetélestai. Thus, the finished work is linked to all the revelation of Psalm 110 and to all the truth laid out in Hebrews.
The Holy Spirit was anointing our understanding during those days in the Bible School. We saw that those words Jesus cried out from the Cross ring through the corridors of time to say to every sin, to every sickness, to every demon, and to every evil principality, It is finished!
One day during an unusual moving of the Spirit in the morning chapel hour, someone said, "I believe if Dave were here, the Lord would heal him." Dave had asthma and had not attended class for some days. A friend went to the dormitory where he was in the same building and told him of the concern and faith for him. He put on a clean shirt and came, unshaven and looking quite ill.
Several gathered around Dave to pray, all to no effect. He just stood there, weak and pale. Finally I was impressed to ask if he had anything he wished to say. He breathed heavily, almost gasping, then suddenly yelled out, It is finished! He fell to the floor under the impact of those powerful words, healed. We should say, rather, that the Truth of his healing became real in him. It was actually accomplished before Jesus sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high—Heb 1:3.
The next day, faith being prevalent, someone suggested that we go and minister healing to Mrs. S. The doctors had said she would never walk again. She had come with her husband to stay in an apartment on the school campus. With some degree of trepidation, several of us went to their quarters. I remember that walk, single file and silent, wondering if this might not be going a bit too far.
We found the dear lady sitting with her husband in their bleak little apartment, their life beset with a problem too great to comprehend. She greeted us from her wheelchair. We told her she was healed and could get up from the chair. Her face lightened as she said, "Yes, I believe the Lord has healed me," and got up. Soon she was able to walk down a long flight of stairs. Restored, she returned with her husband to their home in Pennsylvania where they resumed work together in the fields of their farm.
So the truth of the finished work laid hold on us. Dave, healed of asthma, became an anointed Pastor. Others in whom the truth found lodging became effective ministers of the Word. For myself, I’ve found that any triumph that has ever come has had to come on the basis of the work finished by the Lord Jesus Christ.
So, for those of us who face the days of the end of the age, our triumph is already sure, having been secured in that work of His. It is now being ministered to us from Him Who sits at the right hand of the throne of God.
NOW, SEE THE UNFOLDING REVELATION from Psalm 110. We’re touching on points here that can never be exhausted, nor can their depth ever be discovered. But we hold ourselves before them with the expectation that some of the life and power of them will find impartation in us.
Ps 110:2 The LORD shall send the rod of Thy strength out of Zion: rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies.
Note the word rod in this verse. It comes from the Hebrew word matteh. I like to translate it "scepter" for it is the rod, or staff, held by a king to signify his authority and sovereignty. This means, "Jehovah will stretch forth the scepter of Your strength from out of Zion." The rod will never leave Zion, but will extend from it into all the earth. Thus, Out of Zion will come forth the manifestation of God’s Kingdom in the earth.
By Zion we do not mean one geographical location in the Holy Land. The Zion of prophecy is far greater than this. It transcends geographical bounds. The eyes of men and their minds cannot trace Zion out or discover if it has bounds. But it can be known, especially in the lives of those joined to the Throne of God’s Kingdom. Zion is corporate, made of living stones—people. It is the Government of God released in and through His people.
IN THIS NEXT VERSE we find a description of the people who will serve with the Lord in His Government. We find what they are, how they are dressed, where they have come from, and to what extent they are prepared.
Psalm 110:3—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.
The word willing in this verse more exactly means "freewill offering." Thus, "Thy people shall become freewill offerings in the Day of Thy power." The word translated willing in this Psalm is verily translated freewill offerings in Lev 23:38, and similarly in various other passages. This means that this people will belong singularly to the Lord in the Day of His manifested might and become voluntary sacrifices for His purposes alone.
There is something about the Day called the day of Thy power that calls forth this willingness in His people.
The Lord will then have greater purpose than ever before for a people abandoned to Him. The Headship of Christ will find recognition over these people exceeding any ever before known over so great a company.
It will be necessary for Him to have a people abandoned to His command as His Kingdom covers the earth. The rewards due this people will not be soon evident. They will serve for a while without reward, given unto Him whether He give to them in return or not, bound by love. The word translated power is more exactly a word meaning "host or army." It refers to a military assembly in the earth made up of persons abandoned to their Leader.
We’ve felt for some time that this verse is full of governmental truth. This is confirmed by the Septuagint (a translation into Greek of the Old Testament made several centuries before Christ came) which interprets the verse with this understanding: "With Thee is dominion in the Day of Thy Power, in the splendors of Thy saints."
In the beauties of holiness may more accurately be interpreted "in holy array," thus speaking of the splendid garments of holiness His soldiers wear. As with the armor of Eph 6:11-18, this is an inward dressing, but expressed outwardly in the lives of those committed to Him.
This army being prepared for the Lord comes forth from the womb of the morning. The Hebrew word for womb is from a root word meaning "to tenderly love." These people are a birthed people, having been very mercifully and tenderly cared for and brought to this place of usefulness in His Kingdom. That they come from the womb of the dawn implies that long before the dawn of His Day, while still in another day, and during a period of darkness, these were in spiritual gestation, forming into that which the Father alone fully understood, and from which they could not emerge until the time appointed for their birth. These had long severe lessons in being still. What discipline has been upon them! They were being prepared for a Day never before seen or understood, a Day called His Day, for which no people may be prepared by man’s methods—but only in God’s own mystical womb.
This is what Paul saw and had reference to in Rom 8:21-27 when he spoke of creation groaning and travailing in birth pangs, and also ourselves which have the firstfruits of the Spirit groaning within ourselves.
Thou hast the dew of Thy youth might be understood: ‘To you belongs the freshness of Your young warriors." The fresh vigor of those born belongs to the Lord. They come forth from the womb fully grown, and before their strength is spent in soulish and carnal pursuits, they are given unto the Lord for His purposes.
The dew speaks of quietness and gentleness. This mighty army assembled will not come with the flurry of human endeavor, but as quietly as the dew distills on the grass. The word youth is from the root word which means "to bring forth in birth." Its reference is to those who are newly born. Ordinarily the newborn ones are infants, but these are born ready for combat. A supernatural host indeed!
HERE WE FIND the seceond text for the Epistle to the Hebrews as it gives its powerful exposition regarding the unchanging priesthood of the Lord Jesus.
Psalm 110:4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
Here again, the LORD is Jehovah. There is no doubt but that this is the Word of the Father to His Son. See Heb 5:5,6; 6:20; and 7:17,21.
Hebrews presents much about Christ’s being a priest according to the order of Melchizedek. All we can say here is that this mighty military Leader is both Priest and King, like no other priest or king. There is no order of Priesthood or Kingship that can be found as a precedent for this display of love and might. Melchizedek means "King of Righteousness," Who was also King of Salem (Peace). He appears in history in Gen 14:17-20, in prophecy in this Psalm, and in fulfillment in Heb 7.
THE NEXT TWO VERSES point us to the final blow against the man of sin himself as he is brought down by the Lord Jesus in the final day.
Psalm 110:5 The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of His wrath.
Here the Hebrew word for Lord is Adonai. This is addressed to David about Christ. To David: "Our Governing Lord at your right hand will shake into pieces and crush kings in the Day when His wrath arises." The word for king is often used to speak of the Lord Himself as King, but can also refer to the idols heathen nations worship and to the principalities that hold nations in darkness. Since this refers to those whom the Lord will strike through, it means those spirit rulers over nations who give their might to human rulers of earthly governments. The smiting refers to the bringing down both of spirit rulers and the men through whom they rule. This striking will come in the Day when the Lord’s fierce anger is called forth by the last bold moves of the anti-Christ himself in the earth.
Psalm 110:6 He shall judge among the heathen, He shall fill the places with the dead bodies; He shall wound the heads over many countries.
The word judge is basically a word of government. This verse speaks powerfully of the extension of Christ’s Government over the nations.
He shall fill the places with the dead bodies may have reference to the Lord making heaps of corpses through an immense slaughter of His enemies. See Rev 19:17,18. However, the words of the original in the Psalm can be interpreted to mean this: "He will bring together bodies of soldiers, troops for combat, corps of trained warriors."
The Lord has quickened to our hearts that this latter is so, and that He is now making up His great army to fill all the places in the earth—wherever the enemy has reigned.
He shall wound the heads over many countries more exactly comes to us: "He will shake to pieces the head over the earth." It closes with an exclamatory statement best translated as "much!" The word heads is singular in the original. This must refer to that man of sin of whom Paul speaks in II Thess 2:3, and who is so forcefully put down when the Lord Jesus Christ makes His glorious appearance in the earth, which we call His parousía.
NOW WE SEE the final hope pointing us on into a day when the Lord alone is exalted.
Psalm 110:7 He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.
It is from the flowing stream of Life that moves within His redeemed people that refreshment comes to the Lord. His people who praise Him and exalt His Kingdom minister to Him. The praise that issues from a life or from a congregation becomes a throne for the exaltation of the Lord in His Holy Government. So also the torrents of praise that flow cause the exaltation of His Government in an area instead of the government of anti-Christ forces. This Psalm found much fulfillment in Christ’s first coming, but it will have far greater meaning at His manifestation soon to come. May the words of it—indeed— may the WORD of it, take hold of your being that you may be prepared to stand with Him in the Day of His power.
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