The promised Messiah, the King
Now to which of the angels has He ever said: Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool? Hebrews 1:13 CSB
The text provides an introductory sentence that resembles the one in Hebrews 1:5, “For to which of the angels did he ever say, You are my Son; today I have become your Father, or again, I will be his Father, and he will be my Son?” Remarkably, the author of Hebrews begins his series of seven quotations with the question, “For to which of the angels did He ever say,” and ends the series with the same rhetorical question, which expects a negative answer. The first six quotations lead to the climax in the last one, taken from Psalm 110:1. No angels have ever been given the honor of sitting at God’s right hand, although their work may be important. By contrast, the Son, “after he had provided purification for sins, … sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven” (Hebrews 1:3). The Son took his place of honor in answer to the Father’s invitation to sit at his right hand. This prophetic declaration gives evidence that Jesus is the promised Messiah and King and He is superior to the angels due to His authority. Of all the psalm quotations in the New Testament, Psalm 110:1 is quoted and alluded to most often. It is quoted in Matthew 22:44 and the parallel passages such as Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42–43, Acts 2:34–35 and Hebrews 1:13. Writers allude to Psalm 110:1 in Matthew 26:64, Mark 14:62, 16:19, Luke 22:69, Romans 8:34, 1 Corinthians 15:25, Ephesians 1:20, Colossians 3:1, and Hebrews 1:3. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, in the address to the Pharisees regarding the identity of Christ, the Son of David, quoted Psalm 110:1 and asked the revealing question: “If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his Son?” (Matthew 22:45). Obviously, Jesus is claiming that He is the Messiah. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, quoted Psalm 110:1 and, ruling out a possible reference to David, concluded, “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Paul, in the resurrection chapter of I Corinthians, applied Psalm 110:1 to Christ, who “has put everything under his feet” (1 Corinthians 15:27). The phrase, “sit at my right hand” is addressed not to David but to Christ, who is elevated to a place of honor, seated next to God the Father. The words sit at my right hand are not only a symbolic description for the seat of honor; they also invoke up a picture of a court in which the king, seated on his throne, is surrounded by servants. The servants stand in the presence of the king to show their respect. When Stephen was martyred because he was declaring his faith to Jesus, the Messiah, Luke declared “‘Stephen full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven. He saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. He said, ‘Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’” (Acts 7:55-56). This is a declaration just like what Hebrews 1:13 says, “until I make your enemies your footstool,” that Jesus is preparing for that day when the enemy will be subjugated and the victorious King “puts all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be abolished is death” (1 Corinthians 15:25-26). Before Jesus was born, it was prophesied that “a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end” (Isaiah 9:6-7). Let Jesus, the promised Messiah and King, reign in your hearts and declare Him your Lord and Savior.
Isaac De Guzman