Jesus’ Designation, Domain and Dominion
But to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Thine enemies A footstool for Thy feet”? Hebrews 1:13 (NAS)
How appropriate that today, Resurrection Lord’s Day 2010, the next Old Testament citation by the inspired writer of the book of Hebrews to help clinch Christ’s superiority to the angels is from one of the most often quoted and/or alluded to passages from the Old Testament, Psalm 110:1. Here is the verse’s complete rendering as contained in the Old Testament: ‘The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet.” ’ (NASB)
There are five direct quotes of this verse in the New Testament; Matt. 22:4, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42-43, Acts 2:34-35, and our selected text for today, Hebrews 1:13. Thirteen times the passage is alluded to in New Testament writings in the reference to the “right hand”; two other times in reference to His enemies being made a footstool for His feet.
David’s “sneak peak” of Jesus’ exaltation
Psalm 110 is a perfect (seven verses!) foreshadowed presentation of the designation, domain, and dominion of the Messiah in His exaltation to the throne in heaven. Verse one, by itself, communicates these three principles. The psalm is David’s prophetic ode of praise to the promise of the seating of his coming Lord and King in heaven.
The Hebrew word translated “Lord” is adonai. Though used in reference to God, it is also used extensively throughout the Old Testament when speaking of someone in a position of rule, high rank, authority, or who exercises control, possession, or dominion. In short, someone designated as superior. This term was even applied to David himself by others (C. f. 1 Sam. 25:23-31, for example). When the LORD dispatched the prophet Samuel to anoint him ( 1 Sam. 16:12-13), as far as the LORD was concerned, David was now the designated ruler (Lord, adonai) in Israel even though Saul still held the reins of power. David understood this and was patient in waiting for the LORD to place him upon the throne in Israel. In the sacred writ of the Old Covenant, King David then became the standard by which all other kings in Israel would be measured.
With this understanding in hand, we can determine then that David was not speaking of someone else that would have held a superior station to him in the physical realm, so the only logical and honest conclusion is that David was prophesying of the promised Messiah, the one crowned king in the heavenly realm, the one worthy to be called “my Lord” by David. Jesus, in citing this passage from Psalm 110, in the words of James Smith, a restoration movement teacher and commentator, “With irresistible logic Jesus argued that the word ‘Lord’ implied one superior to David. Of his successors only Messiah would be his superior.” (C. f. Matt. 22:41-45, Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44) Jesus, the son, by reason of His resurrection from the dead and ascension to the right hand of the Father in heaven proved His right to be designated as David’s Lord. David ‘s inspired declaration in his sneak peak of Jesus’ exaltation, confirmed Christ’s superiority to himself, making David His willing subject.
David, as king, was at the top of the heap in Israel when he uttered these inspired words. His domain, as designated by the LORD, comprised the nation and people of Israel. David’s throne, when his power was consolidated, was located in Zion, in the city of Jerusalem. It was from here that David ruled his God-given earthly domain. Through the power and purpose of the LORD, His kingdom was the world power at the time of his reign exerting his influence on the nations that surrounded him. David’s earthly domain served as a type of Jesus’ eternal and heavenly domain.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews makes it clear in Hebrews 12:22-24, that physical Zion and Jerusalem were types of the true eternal abode where David’s Lord, Jesus Christ, is now seated and rules. Indeed verse two of Psalm 110 makes it clear that Jesus’ power, “Thy strong scepter”, will stretch forth from Zion. This Zion is the heavenly, eternal, universal domain. Indeed, King Jesus’ domain is far superior to that of King David’s!
The LORD, in working to place David upon the throne in Israel, progressively put all his enemies under his feet. This was fulfilled by all Israel’s recognition of him as king and seating him upon the throne (2 Sam. 5:1-15). Here’s an interesting note though. David and his men then went to Jerusalem and “captured the stronghold of Zion”. This became know then as the city of David, their king. David ultimately came to understand his kingdom had been exalted for the sake of His people Israel. (2 Sam. 5:12)
What did Jesus have to do when He went up (ascended) to heavenly Jerusalem? He too had to “capture” and cleanse it, casting down the covering cherub (Ezek. 28:11-19), Satan, who had reached for what was not his – the authority to rule, and the right to be worshipped at the right hand of the LORD. This was never reserved for angels, but rather the Son. Our great God through the means of progressive revelation to mankind, helps us to see that the exaltation of Jesus to the throne in glory is for the sake of His people now, spiritual Israel. He reigns, all authority in heaven and earth having been given to Him (Matt 28:18), and through the work of His church proclaiming the gospel, is now making His enemies a footstool for His feet. Amen!