Bruce Waltke on Psalm 110

The festschrift for Richard B. Gaffin, Resurrection and Eschatology: Theology in Service of the Church is a really neat volume filled with several very useful essays.  With festschrifts, the contents are often fairly uneven, but I’ve found this one to be very consistent.

I was reading through Bruce Waltke’s contribution, “Psalm 110: An Exegetical and Canonical Approach,” and thought I’d share his conclusion to a very nice survey of this famous and important Psalm:

Those who support a different candidate from Jesus Christ [as “My Lord” in Psalm 110:1] contend that the New Testament and/or the superscripts in the book of Psalms reinterpret the oracle’s original intention.  In truth, no other candidate than Jesus satisfies the plain sense of the predications of this unified oracle addressed to David’s lord.  Historical critics, not the New Testament, reinterpret the psalm from its plain meaning to fit their dogma.  David’s lord is Daniel’s Son of Man, a term Jesus preferred to the political title Messiah.  This is so because he, like Daniel’s Son of Man, rides the clouds to the Ancient of Days and brings all nations under his dominion (Dan. 7:13f.; Matt. 24:36; 1 Cor. 15:24).

David probably composed his royal prophecy to be sung by cultic functionaries at the coronation ceremony of his heirs, hoping that in the end of salvation history a final successor of his would fulfill and consummate his prophecy.  He is probably unaware, however, that his language is a type of the spiritual reality that his eternal son introduced into salvation history.  David’s royal prophecy of Psalm 16:11 envisions his uncorrupted body at God’s right hand forevermore.  Psalm 110 adds to that vision the prophecy that his transcendent son, a David redivivus, in a type ascends to his throne of judgment and eliminates his self-serving enemies (Matt. 25:31ff.).  His hope is not put to shame in the resurrection, ascension, and present reign of Jesus Christ.

Resurrection and Eschatology, Pg. 85.

I know – this is only the conclusion without all the exegesis that enabled it to emerge, but hopefully it will whet your appetite to read this and the many other excellent chapters in this volume!

R. Andrew Compton
Christ Reformed Church (URCNA)
Anaheim, CA

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