- The Source of Priesthood – 110:4a
- The Proclamation of Priesthood – 110:4b
- The Duration of Priesthood – 110:4b
- The New Order of Priesthood – 110:4c
- The Mosaic Law created a distinction between Israel and the other nations of the world—Deuteronomy 4:6-8, 7:6-11
- The Mosaic Law revealed God’s standard of righteousness—Psalm 19:7-11, 40:8.
- The Mosaic Law provided practical day-to-day guidance—Psalm 119:105.
- The Mosaic Law revealed the necessity for substitutionary atonement—Hebrews 9:22; Leviticus 17:11.
- The Mosaic Law revealed what sin is—Romans 3:20, 7:7.
- ll of these purposes caused men to sin more—Romans 5:20, 7:8-10; 1 Corinthians 15:56.
- The failure to keep the Law drove men to despair—Romans 7:12-25.
- That despair was a proper and good reaction because it drove men to trust in God for salvation and not themselves—Romans 8:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:57.
The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind
At this point, David is still speaking to the Messiah but God’s personal participation in this decree is emphasized. To swear in the Old Testament was to give one’s sacred, unbreakable word in testimony that the one swearing would faithfully perform some promised deed. God Himself is making an unalterable decree that the Messiah shall function in an unusual manner.
You are a priest
This is the heart of the psalm. In this psalm, the Messiah’s second office is clearly stated. Based on the structure of the psalm, He will function in both the office of king and the office of priest. He is a combination of God’s leadership and God consciousness, a double function that is unique and unprecedented. The significance of the double arrangement of priest and king is this: 1) As king, the Messiah will represent God to the people and 2) As a priest, Messiah will represent the people to God. Yeshua, our Lord, is a leader with a unique blend of righteousness, identification and sympathy. The duration of this unique priesthood is shown in the next phrase.
The Messiah’s priesthood is an eternal one. This psalm is not referring to a mere mortal. No other kings of later governments are included. Is not it wonderful to know that Yeshua, our High Priest, will always be there? He will be identifying with us, sympathizing with us, and ministering on our behalf, forever. He will never, never, never leave us or forsake us. This aspect of God’s love and character is brought out time after time in scripture. For example:
I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you. – Hebrews 13:5
Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6
Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. – Joshua 1:5b
The final statement of verse 4 describes the unique order of priesthood that the Messiah will function under.
According to the order of Melchizedek.
Melchizedek was the ancient king of Jerusalem. He was a Gentile and the priest of God Most High. He ministered to Abraham in Genesis 14. The key point of this verse centers on the priestly order that Melchizedek functioned under. The important point to note is that under his order of priesthood, a king could also be a priest. God’s oath is stating that the Messiah will function under the same arrangement. The Messiah will be both a priest and a king.
This dual role was impossible under the Mosaic Covenant and the Levitical priesthood. Under the Torah, the priests could only be from the tribe of Levi and the king could only be from the tribe of Judah and the family of David. The two offices had to be administered by two separate individuals.
Here, we see a significant change. One individual, the Messiah, will administer both offices. This demands a new arrangement, a New Covenant, one that is different from the Mosaic Covenant. The fact is, this New Covenant is anticipated by the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah 31:31-33 says:
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
Yeshua, the Messianic King, can legally function as a priest because the old Levitical order of priesthood ceased to be operative with the fulfillment of the Mosaic Covenant (Matt. 5:17). As Jeremiah stated, the Mosaic Covenant was repeatedly broken by Israel, and finally discontinued when the Messiah formally instituted the New Covenant during Passover in 30 AD. During His final Passover Seder with his disciples, Yeshua took the third cup of the Passover Seder, the Cup of the Redemption, and used it to symbolize the institution of the New Covenant. The institution of the New Covenant is recorded for us in Matthew 26:27-28 and reads:
And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”
With the Mosaic restrictions legally lifted, Yeshua can now step in and function as king and priest under the eternal order, the order of Melchizedek. The book of Hebrews, chapters 5 through 10, gives an explanation of the superiority of this order of priesthood to which the Messiah belongs over the temporary Levitical priesthood of the Mosaic Covenant.
Some in the Messianic movement today insist that Messianic Jews must obey the Mosaic Law. There are two very significant problems with taking that approach: 1) If you are under the Law, Yeshua cannot, absolutely cannot be your High Priest; He is disqualified under the Aaronic order of priesthood, and 2) You find yourself under the blessings and curses of the Mosaic Covenant. Under the stipulations of the Mosaic Covenant, God is obligated to bless you for obedience and curse you for disobedience. If you break one Law, you have broken the entire covenant (James 2:10). God is then obligated to curse you (Lev. 26 and Deut. 28). The sad truth is that you will be unable to keep the Mosaic Law perfectly. The only one to do that was Yeshua (Matt. 5:17). You will find yourself under the curses of the covenant in short order. For the Messianic believer to live under obligation to the Mosaic Law is hypocrisy (Gal. 2). You have fallen from grace (Gal. 4).
This subject of the Mosaic Law is so important that we need to take a short digression from Psalm 110 and explain what the New Testament has to say about the purpose and duration of the Law. The most succinct statement about the purpose and duration of the Mosaic Law is found in Galatians 3:19. It reads:
Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.
Galatians 3:19 first tells us that the Law is temporary. The phrase “it was added” tells us it had a beginning. The beginning of the Law was 1440 BC at Mount Sinai. The phrase “until the seed” tells us it had an end. “The seed” is a reference to Messiah. The authority of the Law ended in 30 AD when Messiah Yeshua instituted the Brit Chadashah (New Testament). The institution of the New Covenant is found in Luke 22:20 and 1 Corinthians 11:25. Those who trust in Yeshua live under the authority and stipulations of the New Covenant today. The stipulations of the New Covenant consist of all the commands found in the New Testament that apply to those who trust in Yeshua. There are over 600 of them.
Galatians 3:19 next tells us about the position of the Law. The word “added” raises the question, “To what?” The Mosaic Law was added to the Abrahamic Covenant. The Abrahamic Covenant is an eternal, unconditional covenant that was instituted with Abraham and the Jewish people 430 years before the institution of the Mosaic Covenant. This is brought out in Galatians 3:17:
What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant (Abrahamic Covenant) previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise.
Finally, Galatians 3:19 informs us of the purpose for the Law. The purpose for the Law is found in the phrase “because of transgressions.” The Mosaic Law was added to the Abrahamic Covenant to deal with the sin issue. Now, how did it deal with the sin issue? Let us look at eight items.
In summary, the Mosaic Law temporarily administered the Abrahamic Covenant by providing a constitution for the country. It provided the civil, moral, and ceremonial standards that the nation needed to obey in order to function righteously in God’s sight until the institution of the New Covenant. We obey the precepts of the New Covenant today.
However, we now have to answer the question, “How do we relate to the Law of Moses today since we do not believe we are under its authority any longer?” (We are under the authority of all the commands in the New Testament.) For the answer to that question, we need to go to 2 Timothy 3:16-17 which says:
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that the Law of Moses is relevant, even if it is not required. We should go to the Law of Moses today to look for principles of behavior. It can teach, reprove, correct, and train us even though following its details is not mandatory. By meditating on it (Ps. 1:2, Ps. 119, etc.), we can learn what the mind of God is regarding specific issues. We want to begin to think biblically, the way God thinks, rather than the way the world thinks. We then apply the principles we discover in the Law of Moses to the day to day incidents of our lives. This is the proper position of the Law of Moses for the believer today.
At this point we need to return to Psalm 110. Verse 4 proclaims that Yeshua has authority over us and over the world because He is God’s king and priest. Remember the context of the passage. In Psalm 110, David has been given the privilege of viewing a heavenly scene. He sees forward beyond his time and views the exaltation of Yeshua the Messiah.
In verse 1, David has been addressing us, the reader. He has related to us a statement made by God the Father to God the Son, Jesus the Messiah.
In verses 2-4, David has been addressing Yeshua. He described the Messiah’s office of king and Messiah’s office of priest.
Now David shifts his attention. In verses 5-7, David is given the privilege of addressing God the Father. The following three diagrams illustrate those who David addresses. The word Y–H in the diagram represents the Tetragrammaton, God’s personal name. The R and L indicate God’s right and God’s left hands.
In verses 5-7, David speaks to God the Father and describes the third position of authority given to the Messiah, the authority of a judge. The revelation begins by revealing the source of the Messiah’s authority.