Psalms 110:1 - Jehovah saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, Until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
-- American Standard Version.
It is claimed by many trinitarians and some others that Jesus had to be a person of Jehovah, since David spoke to him in Psalm 110:1. Some claim that one person of Jehovah speaks to another person of himself as David’s Lord, and that since the New Testament identifies Jesus as David’s Lord, then Jesus is Jehovah (some prefer "Yahweh").
Since the scriptures do show that Jesus was in existence before the world of mankind was made (John 1:1-3; 17:5), we can say that David could have spoken to Jesus. However, Psalm 110:1 offers no evidence of such, and even if David were speaking to the pre-human Jesus at that time, it would still not mean that David’s Lord is Jehovah.
David spoke prophetically in Psalm 110:1, just as he does in many of the Psalms.
When did Jesus sit at Jehovah’s right hand, as this speaks of? The Bible tells us that it was after he was raised from the dead.
Mark 16:19 – So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.
Acts 2:34 For David didn’t ascend into the heavens, but he says himself, 'Jehovah said to my Lord, “Sit by my right hand,
Acts 2:35 Until I make your enemies the footstool of your feet.”'
Acts 2:36 “Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
This certainly lets us know that David is speaking prophetically, just as he was speaking in Psalms 16:8-11. See Acts 2:22-33.
Paul tells us:
Ephesians 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him;Ephesians 1:18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,Ephesians 1:19 and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to that working of the strength of his mightEphesians 1:20 which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places,Ephesians 1:21 far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.
Hebrews 1:3 tell us that Jesus,
when he had by himself made purification for our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.
1 Peter 3:22
who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, angels and authorities and powers being made subject to him.
Jesus was exalted to Jehovah’s right hand when he ascended to his God.
Jesus raised the question of who David’s “Lord” was in Matthew 22:42-45:
Matthew 22:42-45 (New King James Version) saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.” He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool” ‘? “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?”
See also Mark 12:35-37 and Luke 20:41-44.
Jesus said: “I am the root *and* the offspring of David.” (Revelation 22:16) How so? Because the promised Son of David, David’s offspring, also in his resurrection became the “life-giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:25), and as such, the ruler of and restorer of life to the human race, which includes David. “For to this end Christ died, rose, and lived again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.” (Romans 14:9) Thus when David is raised to life again by Jesus, Jesus will be David’s Lord.
But it is also well to remember that angels in olden times, sent to bear messages to mankind, were addressed by men as Lord — that is, superior or master. In a similar sense Jesus before he became a man was man’s superior; and when a man he was sinless, since his body of flesh was prepared by his God (Hebrews 10:5), and hence -- in his regard -- was superior to those about him; and in addition to this as the agent or messenger of Jehovah, he was a Lord, a master, a teacher, among men.
Thus he said to his disciples, “You call me, ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord.’ You say so correctly, for so I am.” (John 13:13.) But he was not then Lord in the sense which David’s prophecy of Psalm 110:1 implied, and to which our Lord’s question referred, except in a reckoned sense, until he had finished his trial and sacrifice, and was raised from the dead, and sat at Jehovah’s right hand in heaven. — Romans 14:9
The sense in which it is used is made clear by Revelation 22:16, “I am the root of David,” that is, the father or progenitor of David in the coming day of regeneration, when he will sit on his throne of glory (thus, as David’s Lord) with his disciples. — Matthew 19:28.
The Lord Said to My Lord
Most translations have the Holy Name of God changed to “The Lord” in Psalm 110:1, making it appear that two “Lords” are being spoken of. Being ignorant themselves of the fact that the translators have changed the Holy Name to “the Lord”, or else preying on the ignorance of the reader regarding this, some trinitarians and others thus make much ado about there being two who are both addressed as “Lord” in Psalm 110:1, and they falsely claim that the two are both the one only true God. Having a good translation of the verse helps to clarifiy this, and it also helps to realize that Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Exodus 3:14,15), is being depicted, not as three persons, but as only one person, and that the one that David speaks of as “my lord” is depicted as separate and distinct from the unipersonal Jehovah.
We quoted the American Standard Version above. Some other translations that show some English form for the Holy Name in Psalm 110:1:
Jehovah said unto my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put thine enemies [as] footstool of thy feet. — Darby Translation
The affirmation of Jehovah to my Lord: `Sit at My right hand, Till I make thine enemies thy footstool.’ — Young’s Literal
A declaration of Jehovah to my Lord: Sit at My right hand, until I place Your enemies as Your footstool. — Green’s Literal
The declaration of Yahweh to my Lord - Sit thou at my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
— Rotherham’s Emphasized
Yahweh says to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand, Until I make your enemies your footstool for your feet."
-- World English.
See also our study:
Was David Speaking of Himself as “Lord”?
Some others claim that “lord” in the phrase “my lord” in Psalm 110:1 refers to David himself, which really makes no sense. It would mean that David was saying that he was the “lord” of himself. However, some Jewish authors claim that David wrote this to be sung by the “Levitical singers.” From this it seems that their reasoning is they assume that “my” in the phrase “my lord” would apply to each singer individually as saying “my lord” to David. This would mean that David was sitting at God’s right hand. This idea has to ignore the New Testament applications of this verse to Jesus as being the one exalted to Jehovah's "right hand."
Psalm 110, however, never mentions the Levitical singers, nor is there anything in the context that would indicate that “my” in the phrase “my lord” is referring to anyone other than David, and thus our conclusion is that David refers to a “lord” over himself, who is not himself. Furthermore, David died. How could David be a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4) if David is dead? Why would the Levites wish to call a dead priest “my lord”? It should be evident that the one who was to become priest after the order of Melchizedek must be one who is not dead, but alive. David, however, speaks prophetically in Psalm; he is not speaking of what was actually the present, for Jesus is not such a priest until after his ascension, for he is not such a priest while in the days of his flesh on earth. (Hebrews 6:20; 8:4) Jesus fits this role, for since he has been raised from the dead, he dies no more. — Romans 6:9.
David wrote of God speaking to his — David’s — lord, there is no indication that David was speaking of himself as the lord of someone else.
How thankful we should be for further revelation of who this is, that David was speaking prophetically of the coming Messiah, who, now living forever, has an eternal inheritance of the throne of David, by means of which he will soon bring the promised blessings to the whole earth to all peoples of all nations!– Genesis 3:15; 2:18; 2 Samuel 7:11-13; Psalm 2:6-8; 110:1-4; Isaiah 2:2-4; 9:6,7; 11:1-9; 16:5; Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15; Ezekiel 34:23; 37:25; Daniel 7:27; Luke 1:32,33; 2:14; 20:41-44; Acts 2:22-36; 3:13-26; 13:32-39; Ephesians 1:20-22; Hebrews 1:3,5,13; 5:5,6; 6:20; 7:28; 8:4; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22; Revelation 22:16.
Yes, we have no reason to think that “my” in the phrase “my lord” means any other than David. David wrote of Jehovah as speaking to the Lord of David. It is David’s Lord who becomes the firstborn son from the dead to live forever, and who is thus the one who becomes a priest after the manner of Melchizedek. David is not now alive, and has certainly not been serving as the everlasting priest of the Levites for the past 3,000 years or so, so that these priests would call him “my lord”.