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Hebrews 1:5-14 – OT

01.17.2011

Psalm 110

This psalm is one of the most heavily quoted in the New Testament.  It falls in the tradition of predicting the Messiah out of David’s line.  There are four notes that I think explicitly point to Christ.

  1. Jesus Himself quoted the phrasing of verse 1.  David refers to God as ‘the Lord,’ and the addressee is the descendant of David’s about whom the psalm is written, here referred to as, ‘my Lord.’  Jesus cites this as evidence that the Messianic king is greater than David, which David recognized by referring to Him as, ‘my Lord.’
  2. This one is my own inference (so take accordingly), but I see, ‘rule in the midst of Your enemies,’ to refer to the triumph over death that Jesus accomplishes in the middle of the city whose people had just murdered Him.  I think it can also refer to Jesus’ Lordship even in the presence of evil, but the more immediate reference jumped out at me first.
  3. The ESV study Bible says that the ‘holy garments’ referred to the celebration clothes (Sunday best?) of the people.  That’s probably the more accurate interpretation, but I read it as meaning the righteousness of Jesus that we wear in the presence of God.
  4. Lastly, Melchizedek was both a king and high priest (more on him later, I promise).  This heir of David’s is being referred to as fulfilling this double role.  Since no other king in David’s lines joined the two distinct offices of king and high priest, as Zechariah promises, I think this is best read, again, as referring explicitly to the Messiah.

Now, most of this language points to the generally accepted description of the Messiah.  Sometimes, I’m tempted to respond to these prophecies and say, ‘How did they not get it?  Given all this heads up, the Jews still rejected Jesus?’  But it’s important to distinguish between prophecies of Jesus as a specific individual, like in Isaiah’s suffering servant, on the one hand and general messianic prophecies on the other.  Ostensibly (although I don’t believe this to be true) Jesus could have consciously modeled Himself after the prophecies in order to pass Himself off as the Messiah.

So a conclusive proof that Jesus the Man was the predicted Messiah has to go more in depth than this.  That is what Matthew does in His gospel.  My understanding of Hebrews is that it’s more concerned with the ‘so what’ aspect of the proof.  The author is more concerned with where Jesus fits into the Jewish theology than with arguing the case that Jesus is the predicted Messiah.

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