There is a particularly interesting place in the New Testament where Jesus confounds the leaders of Israel. These men were highly trained in the Hebrew scriptures and experts in the Law. They achieved their great positions of power because they were intelligent and able to impeach any argument against the existing laws of Israel.
When the Pharisees gathered before Jesus to question Him, it was with the intent of publicly discrediting Him before all those who were listening. Instead, these men were themselves, confounded. The text that the Pharisees used to trap Jesus was a well-known verse from Psalm 110:1a. In this portion of scripture, The LORD God, is saying to the Messiah, “sit at my right hand till I make your enemies my footstool.” The Pharisees believed that they already knew the answer to this question: “What do you think about the Christ (Messiah), Whose Son is He.” These men believed that the Messiah was the Son of David.
Psalms 110:1a The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
New Testament Fulfillment:
Matthew 22:41-45 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.” He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool” ’? If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?”
Jesus asks the Pharisees; “if the Messiah is David’s son, then why is He called “Lord”? In other words, how could the Messiah be a human being (David’s son) and also be Lord (God’s Son)?
These men knew and understood that the verse of scripture Jesus was referring to, was about the Messiah. Only the Messiah could sit at the right hand of Jehovah/God. Jesus believed that these verses from Psalm 110:1 were inspired by God and were true, as did these men. Jesus asked, “if the Messiah is David’s son, how can He also be David’s Lord?”
The Pharisees did not have an answer. It was them who were confounded, not Jesus. The obvious solution is that the Messiah will be both; David’s Lord and His Son, a fact that Jesus made concerning Himself.
The fact that Jesus is both David’s son and his Lord is confirmed by Jesus’ question to the Pharisees: “How can the coming Christ, the Messiah, be both David’s Son and his Lord?”
When Jesus asks this question of the religious leadership of Israel, no one was able to answer Him. This is because it was generally accepted by the Jews that Psalms 110:1 was speaking of the Messiah. If the Messiah is both a son and Lord, He must also be God and man. The idea that God could be dwelling within the person of Jesus Christ, was a reality that was totally unacceptable to the leaders of Israel. Yet, this is exactly what David was predicting when he penned Psalms 110:1.
As Jesus presents their own scriptures, which clearly prove that the Messiah will be both a human being—as He is David’s descendant—and the Lord of heaven, the Pharisees are confounded. They realize that Jesus is claiming to be the one whom David speaks of. As a result, these men are perplexed as to what they should do with Jesus. He accurately interprets David’s true intent when He wrote this Psalm—Yet the reality that Jehovah could be standing before them in the form of a man, was beyond their ability to comprehend, or willingness to accept.
Today, many people are faced with a similar dilemma. How can God become a human being? Why would He, and to what end? This is the great paradox of salvation—that God would create us, knowing ahead of time that we would require a Savior, which would necessitate His death. According to the blueprint for redemption that is found in the Book of Ruth, only a close relative could fulfill the role of a redeemer. In order for God to redeem all human beings from the penalty of their sins, He would need to become one of us. He would have to be born without a sin nature, by virgin birth, and continue to live without sin for His entire life. Only if He could meet these requirements would He qualify to offer His life in exchange for all other human lives.
The qualifications and purposes of the Messiah:
1. He will possess the unlimited value of God’s eternal life.
2. He must become one of us, born as a human being; yet by virgin birth—without the sin nature.
3. He must live a perfect life as a man and never sin, or He will be disqualified as the Savior.
4. He will offer His life as a perfect sacrifice in exchange for all human lives and pay the penalty that is owed to God for all sins.
5. If we believe the four preceding points, our record of sin is removed by God as if they never existed, and we become perfect.
6. Upon our trust in the sacrifice of the Messiah for our sins, we receive eternal life—never to die again, destined to live and reign with Christ forever.
7. As a result of His obedience in laying down His life for all people, the Messiah will be exalted above all others as King, Lord, and Judge, over the whole universe.
This is the purpose for all of the Old Testament prophecies that concern the Messiah:
To demonstrate that one man will come and fulfill all the demands of the law and meet the requirements for our salvation. When Jesus questioned the leaders of Israel as to who they thought David was describing in Psalms 110:1a, they were forced to acknowledge that He met all the qualifications which God had established. Though the evidence was overwhelming, these men suffered from a deficient will to accept Him as the Messiah. Jesus used their own scriptures to bring to light the real reason that they would not receive Him. It was not because He lacked the qualifications to prove who He was. The problem resided in their insufficient will to believe that Jesus is the one whom David had predicted.
The Messiah that David described in Psalms 110:1a, was standing before the leaders of Israel, nevertheless; they would not believe. Later, Jesus would pronounce upon the entire nation that their house would be left to them desolate because they did not recognize the day of their visitation by the Messiah and receive Him.
Matthew 23:37-39 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ ”
Luke 19:42-44 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
Jesus spoke this prediction just after His entry into Jerusalem as the Messiah, in fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy. See the chapters: The Son of Man, Establish a Kingdom, Ruling with Jesus, 70 Weeks for Israel, and Arrival of the Messiah.
Immediately after this encounter with the leaders of Israel, Jesus entered the Court of the Gentiles and drove the money changers out of the Temple, without opposition—exercising His authority as the Messiah.
With the vast number of Old Testament prophecies that vividly describe the Messiah, even revealing the precise day when He would appear, the scribes and the Pharisees should have been eagerly anticipating His arrival. Jesus came to Jerusalem on the precise day that the Prophet Daniel predicted, yet only a few people lined the streets proclaiming the words of Psalm 118 that were required when the Messiah arrived. The leaders of Israel missed their opportunity; and the entire nation suffered tremendously as a result of their error. Just 38 years later, the Roman General, Titus, destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple, and made their nation a desolation. All this, in fulfillment of the words of Jesus in His pronouncement upon Israel:
Matthew 24:2-13 And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone (of the temple) shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” 3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered and said to them: (Jesus’ description of events leading up to the seven-year Tribulation) “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Jesus’ description of the seven-year Tribulation) 9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
In these 12 verses from the gospel of Matthew, Jesus describes the final 70th week of Daniel Chapter 9, in which a period of Tribulation for seven years will come upon the whole world. Jesus warned the Jews who would be living in Jerusalem during this time, to not receive him who claims to be their Messiah, for he will be a false Christ. Jesus, the true Messiah, will return at the end of the seven year Tribulation—with His church. The Jews who endure this great time of trial will receive Jesus as the Messiah and declare at His arrival: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. These are the words that Jesus told the Jews that they would say to Him upon His return, at the end of the seven-year Tribulation, as described in Matthew 23:39, above.
… for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’
The Mystery of the Universe: That God would become a man
Continuing with the theme of the last section of this chapter, the prophet Jeremiah confirms Psalm 110:1a, with his prediction that the Messiah will be both David’s Son and God’s Son, a King and the great Jehovah God who created the universe.
When we are looking at so many different prophecies that validate Jesus as the Messiah, sometimes we forget how incredible each one of these statements are. From the earlier section of this chapter, Psalm 110:1a, was written nearly 1,000 years before Jesus was born; here, Jeremiah’s prophecy was written 500 years later, yet still 500 years before Jesus was born. These two men, both write in perfect harmony with each other, both telling the same story. Is this what we would expect from a myth, a story that was contrived? Impossible.
Jeremiah 23:5-6 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
New Testament Fulfillment:
1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.
John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
John 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world.”
The uniqueness of Jesus is seen in this prophecy from the Book of Jeremiah, as the prophet describes the Messiah. First, that He will be Jehovah God, the Creator of the universe. Second, that He is David’s son, his descendant, as foretold by the Old Testament. Third, that He is a King and not just any King but a ruler over all kings.
The “Mystery” that Paul describes in writing to Timothy (above) in chapter 3:16, is understood by his statement that this great God of the universe was willing to become a human being like us.
without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.
Further, that He would allow evil men to torture and kill Him so that He could die for their sins. Understanding that these things are true, I cannot comprehend why the whole world does not run to Jesus and fall at His feet in thanksgiving and worship. He is magnificent—beyond compare and filled with love and eternal grace towards all people.
There are many who accept that the Messiah will be the “Son of David.” It is an entirely a different matter, altogether, that He is also the “Son of God.” This would demand that the Messiah is equal to God, being God Himself. When Jesus spoke at the synagogue in Nazareth and proclaimed that He is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of the Anointed One, those who heard Him could not believe that He was the Messiah because they knew that He was the Son of Joseph and Mary. They had not considered that there were hundreds of prophecies of the Messiah, with many which described Him as God in Human flesh. When we study all of these Old Testament prophecies, we discover that the body of prophetic scriptures describe the Messiah as the son of David, the Son of God, and the Son of man.
Jesus is both David’s son, a man, and the Lord of heaven. In these two, Jesus is uniquely qualified to be the only Savior of the world—disqualifying all others.