Psalm 110:1 is a prophecy concerning the exaltation of Christ to his throne and his kingdom where all enemies will be under his subjection. The phrase “The LORD said to my Lord,” originally occurs in Psalm 110:1 and is quoted by Jesus in Matthew 22:44, Mark 12:36, and Luke 20:42-43. It is also quoted by Peter in Acts 2:34-35. The writer of Hebrews references it in Heb. 1:13 and 10:12-13. The original Old Testament reference in Psalm 110:1, says, “The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’” The New Testament references have a very slightly different where the present tense word “says” of Psalm 110:1 is rendered as “said” in all N.T. quotes. So, what is meant?
In Psalm 110:1 it says
“The LORD [יְהוִה YHWH, Yâhovah /yeh·ho·vaw] says to my Lord [אָדֹון, aw-done]: ‘Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’”
The word יְהוִה, YHWH Yâhovah /yeh·ho·vaw is the very name of God spoken of in Exodus 3:14-15 where God reveals it to Moses as “I AM.” It occurs 6517 times in the Old Testament and in every instance, it is the name of God. But, the word אָדֹון, aw-done/adonai, occurs 334 times in the Old Testament and is translated, depending on the context, as master and lord. But, this ‘lord’ is not the same as ‘LORD” used in the English in Scripture. whenever the all caps form of LORD occurs, it means God’s name YHWH. Whenever the lower case form of the English word occurs, it means lord or master and can apply to people.
In the New Testament
Matthew 22:44, “THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, ‘SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I PUT YOUR ENEMIES BENEATH YOUR FEET” ’?” See also Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42-43
Acts 2:34-35, “For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,” 35 UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.”
Hebrews 1:13, “But to which of the angels has He ever said, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET”?”
Hebrews 10:12–13, “but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, 13 waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.”
Since it is quoted in the New Testament so many times, Psalm 110:1 is obviously prophetic as a reference to Jesus.
What does it mean?
Psalm 110:1 is a prophecy concerning the exaltation of Christ to his throne and his kingdom where all enemies will be under his subjection. the Jews understood this to be a prophetic utterance where the second word ‘lord’ adone/adonai, was a reference to the Messiah. The first reference, LORD, is the name of God. So, God Himself was speaking to the ‘lord’ who is the Messiah.
Sit at my right hand
To sit at someone’s right hand was a designation of honor and power (1 Kings 2:19; Psalm 45:9; Mark 14:62; Luke 22:69; Eph. 1:20) as well as safety (Psalm 16:8; Psalm 17:7; Isaiah 41:10; Acts 2:25). But, ‘right hand’ can also just mean the right hand (Matthew 27:29; Luke 6:6; Rev. 1:17) as compared to the left hand or the right side of a boat (John 21:6) It is interesting to note that Jesus says if your right-hand causes you to sin, cut it off (Matthew 5:30). His admonition against sin is strong because it references the right hand which is the Jewish representation of power, authority, and safety.
Why did Jesus quote Psalm 110:1
Described understood that the Christ was to be the son of David (Matt. 22:42). Of course they meant one of David’s descendants. So He asks them how is it possible for David to call the Messiah Lord if the Messiah is the son of David? The question is critical because, in that culture, Fathers did not call their sons lord. If anything, the son would call the father Lord as a sign of respect. So, Jesus is asking the scribes how then does Psalm 110:1 makes sense?
So, Jesus is drawing attention to his own deity because in Psalm 110:1, He is saying that Yahweh said to my Lord, ‘adonai’, sit at my right hand. But, that would mean the Messiah is to have power and authority sitting at the right hand of God himself. Therefore, David would rightfully call him ‘lord.’
Therefore, Jesus is pointing to himself showing how he has a great position of authority next to God the father and how he is greater than the ancient King David.
This, of course, would silence the Jews.