Anticipating Jesus in the Psalms

David the Psalmist, Grace Lutheran Church, Jersey City, NJ; accessed at

Advent Week 2: Anticipating Jesus in the Psalms

The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.”

Psalm 2:7

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.

Psalm 45.6-7

The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”

Psalm 110.1

The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”

Psalm 110.4

The collection of the Psalms is vast. As a collection of songs it covers the fullness of emotion. In addition to that, it also directs our attention to the coming Christ. There are some we call ‘Messianic Psalms’ that direct our attention to the Davidic king of Israel. Although they may have initially been general Psalms about the current Davidic king, in God’s providence and through the work of the Holy Spirit of God, they also anticipate the great and ultimate king Jesus. This is the Jesus who would fulfill the Davidic covenant of 2 Samuel 7. So these generally Messianic Psalms anticipate the greatest and most perfect fulfillment in the new man Jesus Christ.

The author of Hebrews brings out these passages in his book as words specifically addressing Jesus. They anticipated the Messiah nearly 1,000 years before the birth of Christ. So in Psalm 2, the coronation Psalm says, The Lord said to me, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’ Although they could have metaphorically referred to any Davidic king at his coronation, they ultimately pointed precisely to the Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Son of God from eternity and later on in the Psalms we hear that Yahweh himself calls this person the Lord. How can Yahweh call him Lord? These words of Psalm 110 only fully make sense when they refer to the Father and Son. The Father speaks to the Son who is Lord as well.

This Davidic Messiah will also rule forever. As Psalm 45 says, ‘Your throne, O God is forever…Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.’ In other words, the throne of Yahweh is forever and his anointed, his messiah, is anointed with the oil of gladness beyond his companions. To sum up all of these passages, it seems that throughout the Psalms all the kingly language ultimately points to a king who would also be divine.

But we also get one additional picture in Psalm 110, which reads, ‘You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.’ Now this is an odd thing to say, but as we consider it what stands out is that these words, which anticipate Jesus Christ, help us realize that this Jesus would be more than a divine king. That is only part of the plan. This divine king would also be a priest in the order of Melchizedek. In other words, he would be a priest-king. Yes, the messiah was the Son of God, yes, he is a king, but he is a different kind of king altogether. The Old Covenant didn’t pave the way for this. Instead, the example of Melchizedek himself did. This is quite interesting considering the fact that there is a tradition that says Tamar could be the daughter of Melchizedek. If that was the case, Jesus is in the line of Abraham, in the line of Judah, in the line of David, and in the line of Melchizedek. Even if he isn’t physically a descendant, though, Melchizedek is a type of who Christ would be. He provides us with the pattern of how God would redeem. He would redeem through his kingly rule and his priestly sacrifice.

So in this advent season, we are actually benefitting from a person that Israel had waited for hundreds of years. They were waiting for this person who would bring resolution to the curse of sin and death. And even today, we are waiting for the end to come when the great king and priest would return to redeem his people and rule all in all.

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