APPEARANCE OF THE TRINITY TO ABRAHAM AND DAVID PT. 3

I come to the final installment of my discussion: APPEARANCE OF THE TRINITY TO ABRAHAM AND DAVID PT. 2.

JEHOVAH AT JEHOVAH’S RIGHT HAND

The prophet David foresaw and spoke of Jehovah his Lord coming forth Jehovah’s right hand to slay wicked kings on the day of his wrath:  

“Of David. A melody. The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord (ladoni) is: ‘Sit at my right hand Until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.’ The rod of your strength Jehovah will send out of Zion, [saying:] ‘Go subduing in the midst of your enemies.’ Your people will offer themselves willingly on the day of your military force. In the splendors of holiness, from the womb of the dawn, You have your company of young men just like dewdrops. Jehovah has sworn (and he will feel no regret): ‘You are a priest to time indefinite According to the manner of Mel·chizʹe·dek!’ Jehovah himself at your right hand Will certainly break kings to pieces on the day of his anger.” Psalm 110:1-5

Here is how other English versions render the texts in question:

Adonai says to my Lord, ‘Sit at MY right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’… Adonai at YOUR right hand will shatter kings on the day of his anger.” Psalm 110:1, 5Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

“Yahweh says to my Lord, ‘Sit at MY right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool for your feet.’… The Lord is at YOUR right hand. He will crush kings in the day of his wrath.” World English Bible (WEB)

As the readers can see, the majority of English translations go with the dominant reading found in the Masoretic text for v. 5, e.g., Adonay. It is the Jehovah’s Witness Bible that has adopted the term Jehovah on the basis of the information provided by Jewish tradition.

With that in mind, the fact that David’s Lord reigns at Jehovah’s right hand and ministers as a priest presupposes his humanity. I.e., David is prophesying that a specific Person of the Godhead will become one of David’s physical descendants for the express purpose of becoming the Davidic King who also serves as high priest for the Jehovah whose right hand David’s Lord sits at.

The humanity of David’s Lord is further corroborated by God’s irrevocable promise to his beloved servant that he shall possess Jehovah’s kingdom forever, which is why he shall never fail to have a physical descendant sitting upon the throne of Jehovah on his behalf and in his place:  

“For I have said: ‘Loving-kindness will stay built even to time indefinite; As for the heavens, you keep your faithfulness firmly established in them. I have concluded a covenant toward my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant, “Even to time indefinite I shall firmly establish your seed, And I will build your throne to generation after generation.”’ Seʹlah… At that time you spoke in a vision to your loyal ones, And you proceeded to say: ‘I have placed help upon a mighty one; I have exalted a chosen one from among the people. I have found David my servant; With my holy oil I have anointed him, With whom my own hand will be firm, Whom my own arm also will strengthen. No enemy will make exactions upon him, Neither will any son of unrighteousness afflict him. And from before him I crushed his adversaries to pieces, And to those intensely hating him I kept dealing out blows. And my faithfulness and my loving-kindness are with him, And in my name his horn is exalted. And on the sea I have put his hand And on the rivers his right hand. He himself calls out to me, “You are my Father, My God and the Rock of my salvation.” Also, I myself shall place him as firstborn, The most high of the kings of the earth. To time indefinite I shall preserve my loving-kindness toward him, And my covenant will be faithful to him. And I shall certainly set up his seed forever And his throne as the days of heaven. If his sons leave my law And in my judicial decisions they do not walk, If they profane my own statutes And they do not keep my own commandments, I must also turn my attention to their transgression even with a rod And to their error even with strokes. But my loving-kindness I shall not break off from him, Nor shall I prove false with regard to my faithfulness. I shall not profane my covenant, And the expression out of my lips I shall not change. Once I have sworn in my holiness, To David I will not tell lies. His seed itself will prove to be even to time indefinite, And his throne as the sun in front of me. As the moon it will be firmly established for time indefinite, And [as] a faithful witness in the skies.’ Seʹlah.” Psalm 89:2-4, 19-37 – Cf. 1 Chronicles 28:1-7; 17:10-14; 22:7-10; Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7; 16:5; 55:1-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; 30:8-9, 21; 33:15-16; Ezekiel 37:22-28; Hosea 3:4-5; Amos 9:11

Therefore, David’s Lord had to become one of his physical offspring, otherwise he would not be qualified to reign from Zion without God violating the oath he made to his beloved servant.  

And yet according to the “original” reading of Psalm 110:5, David’s Lord is actually Jehovah God who humbles himself to become a physical descendant of David!

Note the verses once again:

110:1: The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord is: “Sit at MY right hand Until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.”

110:5: Jehovah himself at YOUR right hand Will certainly break kings to pieces on the day of his anger.

The same Lord who is at Jehovah’s right hand in v. 1 is the same Jehovah of v. 5 who will eventually come forth from Jehovah’s right hand to destroy rulers in his anger.

The immediate context provides additional corroboration that the Lord (adoni) of v. 1 is the same One whom the inspired prophet calls Jehovah:

Jehovah himself at your right hand Will certainly break kings to pieces on the day of HIS anger. HE will execute judgment among the nations; HE will cause a fullness of dead bodies. HE will certainly break to pieces the head one over a populous land. From the torrent valley in the way HE will drink. That is why HE will raise high [his] head.” Psalm 110:5-7

Keep in mind that there is no change in the referent, since the pronouns all refer to the same subject.

As such, it is one and the same Person that is described as coming to judge the nations and destroy wicked kings in the day of his wrath. And it is this same Lord whom David describes as refreshing himself by drinking water from a torrent, which is clearly a human function!

Therefore, since this is a human action undertaken by Jehovah, this must be describing David’s Lord. There’s simply no way around this fact.

As the following Messianic Jewish author puts it:

“… Unlike v. 1, where the vowels used generally (although not exclusively) indicate a human master (’adoni) rather than God, in v. 5 the vowels indicate that it is certainly a Divine Master being described. This has led many commentators to assume that this is not the King at Yahweh’s right hand but instead Yahweh at the King’s right hand.57

Yet it is better to view this as the King at the right hand of God. First, grammatically, all the third-person singular pronouns in vv. 5-7 refer back to the Lord (’adonay).

The Lord [’adonay, the messianic king] is at Your right hand; 

He will crush kings on the day of His anger.

He will judge the nations, heaping up corpses;

He will crush leaders over the entire world.

He will drink from the brook by the road;

therefore, He will lift up His head.

Plainly, it is the King who battles and drinks. Since there is no change in subject, it is the King who is called the Divine Lord (‘adonay) in v. 5. Edward J. Kissane notes the error of understanding ’adonay as Yahweh while taking the third singular pronouns that follow as referring to the King: ‘This introduces a change in subject of which there is no indication in the text. If the Messiah is the subject of v. 7, he must also be the subject of the preceding verses.’58

“Secondly, just as it is the Lord (’adoni) who is seated at the right hand of God in v. 1, so He is once again described in v. 5 as the one who is on the right hand of God. As Perowne says, ‘It is hardly probable that in so short a Psalm the King should first be said (ver. 1) to be at the right hand of Jehovah, and then that in ver. 5 Jehovah, on the contrary, should be said to be at the right hand of the King.’59 The logical conclusion is that the King is called ‘the Lord’ (’adonay), A TITLE RESERVED FOR GOD ALONE. While it is possible to object that the King would not have been granted a divine title, there are implications of the King’s deity throughout the psalm. In light of Ps 45:6 saying to the King, ‘Your throne, God, is forever and ever,’ therein calling Him ‘God’ (’elohim), why is it so objectionable, apart from dogmatic presupposition, for Him to be called ‘Lord’ (’adonay) in this one?

“Thus, in 110:5-6 the victorious Divine Messiah is graphically depicted defeating all who have rebelled against God. He crushes kings and rulers, judges the people (nations), and heaps up corpses, indicating that no rebels will escape. The violence of the imagery recalls Isa 63:1-6, where the messianic King tramples through the winepress of the nations, staining His garments with blood and crushing nations in His anger.60 The psalmist says all this will occur on ‘the day of His anger,’ with the pronoun ‘His’ referring to the King. Since the phrase ‘day of anger’ (yom ’ap) occurs in only six verses in Scripture61 AND IN EACH CASE IT REFERS TO GOD’S WRATH, this would imply that the triumphant King IS INDEED A DIVINE KING.62” (Michael Rydelnik,Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic? [B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN 2010], pp. 178-179 https://books.google.com/books?id=3hm6YdykoKUC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false; bold and capital emphasis mine)

57 VanGemeren, “Psalms,” EBC 5:699; Kidner, Psalms 73-150, 396; Kraus, Psalm 60-150, 351-52; Mitchell, The Message of the Psalter, 262.

58 E. J. Kissane, The Book of Psalms (Dublin: Browne and Nolan, 1954), 2:194.

59 Perowne, The Book of Psalms, 2:309.

60 Perowne has objected to the messianic interpretation of this section, wondering how it can describe the Messiah as “literally reigning from Zion” and engaging “in fierce and bloody war with his enemies” (The Book of Psalms, 2:296). This sort of objection stems from a false image of Jesus as the meek and mild one. Although at present “He will not break a bruised reed” (Isa 42:3), in the Hebrew Bible there are many wrathful images of the Messiah executing justice against the nations, such as Psalm 2 and Isaiah 63. There will one day be a literal battle in which the Messiah will crush all rebellion against the true God. D. Sayer’s observation is helpful: “We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified him ‘meek and mild,’ and recommended Him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies” (The Whimsical Christian: Eighteen Essays [New York: Macmillian, 1978], 14).

61 Job 20:28; Lam 2:1, 21-22; Zeph 2:2-3.

62 Davis, “Is Psalm 110 a Messianic Psalm?” 166. (Ibid.)

NEW TESTAMENT APPLICATION

According to the inspired Christian writings, both Jesus himself and his Spirit-filled emissaries ascribed Psalm 110 to God’s uniquely begotten and beloved Son:  

“However, when making a reply, Jesus began to say as he taught in the temple: ‘How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is David’s son? By the holy spirit David himself said, “Jehovah said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies beneath your feet.’” David himself calls him “Lord,” but how does it come that he is his son?’” Mark 12:35-37

“This Jesus God resurrected, of which fact we are all witnesses. Therefore because he was exalted to the right hand of God and received the promised holy spirit from the Father, he has poured out this which YOU see and hear. Actually David did not ascend to the heavens, but he himself says, ‘Jehovah said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.”’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know for a certainty that God made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom YOU impaled.” Acts 2:32-36

“He is the reflection of [his] glory and the exact representation of his very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power; and after he had made a purification for our sins he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty in lofty places… But with reference to which one of the angels has he ever said: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet’? Hebrews 1:3, 13 – Cf. 10:12-13; 12:2

“So too the Christ did not glorify himself by becoming a high priest, but [was glorified by him] who spoke with reference to him: ‘You are my son; I, today, I have become your father.’ Just as he says also in another place: ‘You are a priest forever according to the manner of Mel·chizʹe·dek.’” Hebrews 5:5-6

“For it is quite plain that our Lord has sprung up out of Judah, a tribe about which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. And it is still more abundantly clear that with a similarity to Mel·chizʹe·dek there arises another priest, who has become such, not according to the law of a commandment depending upon the flesh, but according to the power of an indestructible life, for in witness it is said: ‘You are a priest forever according to the manner of Mel·chizʹe·dek.’” Hebrews 7:14-17

Jesus is further described as doing the very things that Psalm 110 states that David’s divine Lord shall do, namely, judge the nations,

“For the Father judges no one at all, but he has committed all the judging to the Son,” John 5:22

“He sent out the word to the sons of Israel to declare to them the good news of peace+ through Jesus Christ: this One is Lord of all [others]… Also, he ordered us to preach to the people and to give a thorough witness that this is the One decreed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.” Acts 10:36, 42

“When the Son of man arrives in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will put the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.” Matthew 25:31-33

And destroy the kings of the earth and their armies that oppose him in his divine wrath on the day when he returns to the earth to unleash the wrath of God Almighty upon the wicked:

“And the kings of the earth and the top-ranking ones and the military commanders and the rich and the strong ones and every slave and [every] free person hid themselves in the caves and in the rock-masses of the mountains. And they keep saying to the mountains and to the rock-masses: ‘Fall over us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of THEIR wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’” Revelation 6:15-17

“And the ten horns that you saw mean ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom, but they do receive authority as kings one hour with the wild beast. These have one thought, and so they give their power and authority to the wild beast. These will battle with the Lamb, but, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, the Lamb will conquer them. Also, those called and chosen and faithful with him [will do so].” Revelation 17:12-14

“And I saw the heaven opened, and, look! a white horse. And the one seated upon it is called Faithful and True, and he judges and carries on war in righteousness. His eyes are a fiery flame, and upon his head are many diadems. He has a name written that no one knows but he himself, and he is arrayed with an outer garment sprinkled with blood, and the name he is called is The Word of God. Also, the armies that were in heaven were following him on white horses, and they were clothed in white, clean, fine linen. And out of his mouth there protrudes a sharp long sword, that he may strike the nations with it, and he will shepherd them with a rod of iron. He treads too the winepress of the anger of the wrath of God the Almighty. And upon his outer garment, even upon his thigh, he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. I saw also an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice and said to all the birds that fly in midheaven: ‘Come here, be gathered together to the great evening meal of God, that YOU may eat the fleshy parts of kings and the fleshy parts of military commanders and the fleshy parts of strong men and the fleshy parts of horses and of those seated upon them, and the fleshy parts of all, of freemen as well as of slaves and of small ones and great.’ And I saw the wild beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage the war with the one seated on the horse and with HIS army. And the wild beast was caught, and along with it the false prophet that performed in front of it the signs with which he misled those who received the mark of the wild beast and those who render worship to its image. While still alive, they both were hurled into the fiery lake that burns with sulphur. But the rest were killed off with the long sword of the one seated on the horse, which [sword] proceeded out of his mouth. And all the birds were filled from the fleshy parts of them.” Revelation 19:11-21

It is, therefore, clear from the inspired NT that Jesus is that very Jehovah whom David prophesied would come forth from Jehovah’s right hand to judge the living and the dead:

“For the Son of man is destined to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will recompense each one according to his behavior. Truly I say to YOU that there are some of those standing here that will not taste death at all until first they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” Matthew 16:27-28

“True, God has overlooked the times of such ignorance, yet now he is telling mankind that they should all everywhere repent. Because he has set a day in which he purposes to judge the inhabited earth in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and he has furnished a guarantee to all men in that he has resurrected him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31

“This will be in the day when God through Christ Jesus judges the secret things of mankind, according to the good news I declare.” Romans 2:16

“For to this end Christ died and came to life again, that he might be Lord over both the dead and the living. But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you also look down on your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written: ‘“As I live,” says Jehovah, “to me every knee will bend down, and every tongue will make open acknowledgment to God.”’ So, then, each of us will render an account for himself to God.” Romans 14:9-12

“For we must all be made manifest before the judgment seat of the Christ, that each one may get his award for the things done through the body, according to the things he has practiced, whether it is good or vile. Knowing, therefore, the fear of the Lord, we keep persuading men, but we have been made manifest to God. However, I hope that we have been made manifest also to YOUR consciences.” 2 Corinthians 5:10-11

“For they themselves keep reporting about the way we first entered in among YOU and how YOU turned to God from [YOUR] idols to slave for a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from the heavens, whom he raised up from the dead, namely, Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath which is coming.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10

“Now as for the times and the seasons, brothers, YOU need nothing to be written to YOU. For YOU yourselves know quite well that Jehovah’s day is coming exactly as a thief in the night… because God assigned us, not to wrath, but to the acquiring of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us, that, whether we stay awake or are asleep, we should live together with him.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2, 9-10

“This is a proof of the righteous judgment of God, leading to YOUR being counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which YOU are indeed suffering. This takes into account that it is righteous on God’s part to repay tribulation to those who make tribulation for YOU, but, to YOU who suffer tribulation, relief along with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels in a flaming fire, as he brings vengeance upon those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus. These very ones will undergo the judicial punishment of everlasting destruction from before the Lord and from the glory of his strength, at the time he comes to be glorified in connection with his holy ones and to be regarded in that day with wonder in connection with all those who exercised faith, because the witness we gave met with faith among YOU. To that very end indeed we always pray for YOU, that our God may count YOU worthy of [his] calling and perform completely all he pleases of goodness and the work of faith with power; in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in YOU, and YOU in union with him, in accord with the undeserved kindness of our God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12

“I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is destined to JUDGE the living and the dead, and by HIS manifestation and HIS kingdom… From this time on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous JUDGE, will give me as a reward in that day, yet not only to me, but also to all those who have loved HIS manifestation… In my first defense no one came to my side, but they all proceeded to forsake me—may it not be put to their account—but the Lord stood near me and infused power into me, that through me the preaching might be fully accomplished and all the nations might hear it; and I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will deliver me from every wicked work and will save [me] for HIS heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:1, 8, 18

“‘Look! I am coming quickly, and the reward I give is with me, to render to each one as his work is. I am the Alʹpha and the O·meʹga, the first and the last, the beginning and the endI, Jesus, sent my angel to bear witness to YOU people of these things for the congregations. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright morning star.’… He that bears witness of these things says, ‘Yes; I am coming quickly.’ Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.” Revelation 22:12-13, 16, 20

What all this means is that the Holy Spirit enabled David to foresee and speak of God the Father addressing God the Son as the Jehovah that becomes flesh to perfectly fulfill the Davidic covenant and who eventually returns to the earth to judge and unleash God’s wrath on God’s enemies!

CONCLUSION

In this series of posts, we have seen evidence suggesting that Genesis 18:3, 19:18 and Psalm 110:5 initially read YHVH, which was then changed by certain Jewish scribes to Adonay. I proceeded to show how this reading supports the view that the inspired authors of the Hebrew Bible were made aware that the God of Israel was an infinite multi-Personal Being, in fact Tri-Personal, who could and often did appear to individuals in visible form.

Some of these divine manifestations included human appearances such as the three men whom Abraham saw and worshiped as Jehovah, with two of them appearing to Lot who eventually came to realize that he was actually beholding Jehovah his God that had come to save him from God’s destruction upon Sodom (Cf. Isaiah 13:17-19; Jeremiah 50:40; Amos 4:11).

In the case of David, I demonstrated how this Spirit-filled king and prophet was given revelation that the coming anointed Ruler wasn’t merely a physical descendant of his. Rather, the Holy Spirit had revealed to him that the Messianic King was both personally distinct from and identical with Jehovah God Almighty.

David knew that the Messiah not only sits enthroned at Jehovah’s right hand but that he himself is Jehovah God, and therefore David’s very own Lord, who humbles himself to become one of his physical descendants for the express purpose of fulfilling the promises that God had made to Jesse’s son (Cf. Matthew 1:1; 4:12-17; Luke 1:26-35; 2:1-11; Acts 4:23-31; 13:22-37; Romans 1:3-4; 2 Timothy 2:8).  

FURTHER READING

How the theology of the Psalms proves that Muhammad was a false prophet

Psalm 110:1 – Another Clear Testimony to Christ’s Deity Pt. 3

Did Christ’s Sacrifice Appease the Father or the entire Godhead? [Part B]

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