Matthew 22:34-46 Part 4

Last Lord’s Day we saw, dealing only with verse forty, that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, was placed under the curse of the Law as our substitute.  The curse of the Law (Deuteronomy twenty-one) required His death by hanging, or crucifixion, (which the elders of Israel had already planned to do).

And now, having spoken to the scribe who questioned Him, He turns to the entire Sanhedrin to question them in their “collective wisdom”.  The Scriptures (Isaiah three, verses nine and ten) say that God delights in baffling His enemies when they are at their strongest; so as to give them the advantage of numbers, the whole group is challenged – with great authority – in a most public way.  And their shame and embarrassment is made complete before these great crowds in the temple.

He says, verse forty-two:


“’What does it seem to you concerning the Christ?  Whose Son is He?’  They say to Him, ‘David’s.’” 


Their answer reveals their entire perversion of the Law and the prophets, doesn’t it?  The Law (they imply) isn’t a curse upon depraved humanity; it is Israel’s connection (exclusive) to God.  And David’s son (somewhere down the line – when he comes) is God’s anointed one who will reign in David’s seat!  We don’t need a substitute law-keeper to abrogate some Mosaic curse (they say); what we need is a Messiah King to inherit the throne of David!

Now the Greek word “Christ” means anointed one, and it was understood that “Anointed One” and “Messiah” meant the same thing.  So when Jesus questions the Sanhedrin: “What does it seem to you concerning the Christos?”… they knew that He meant Messiah.  Because Messiah is the Anointed One of God.

The name “Jesus Christ” has become a proper name to us, because everybody has at least two names in our society.  But, like the Samaritan woman at the well in John chapter four, the Jews of Jesus’ time anticipated “Messiach” coming, which in the Greek is “Christos” – the Anointed One.

David, Son of Jesse, had been “anointed” king of Israel as Saul had been anointed before him.  And a son of David would, once again, someday be “anointed king of Israel.  The Hebrew word there is the verb form of Messiah.  And, as Daniel prophesies, Messiah would come and rebuild Israel and Jerusalem.

David prophesies concerning Messiah in Psalm two. 


“The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against Jahveh and against His Anointed….” 


The Hebrew word there is “Messiah”.

And in the New Testament Book of Acts, chapter four, the disciples, speaking of the resurrected Jesus, refer directly to that same Psalm two!


“The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.  For of a truth against Thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together….”


Now, “Messiah”, or “Anointed One”, or “Christus” (is this Christos? Or Christus?) in the Greek, was often referred to in Scripture as the Son of David.  For example in Second Samuel chapter twenty-two, we read:


“(The Lord) is the tower of salvation for His King:  and shows mercy to His Anointed, unto David and to his seed for evermore.”


And in Psalm eighty-nine, at verses thirty-five and thirty-six we read:


“Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David.  His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before Me.”


And in Isaiah chapter nine there is this:


“For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given:  and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called ‘Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace’.  Of the increase of government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever….”


And finally Isaiah chapter eleven:


“And there shall come forth a Scepter/rod out of the stem of Jesse (that’s David’s father), and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.”


And Isaiah then goes on to describe the nature and work of Messiah:  (and included in that work is the recovery of the remnant outcasts of Israel.  He says also that He will be the One the Gentiles seek!!!)  He is the Branch, and He is the Offspring.

So the term “Son of David” has long been associated with, and synonymous with, Messiah, and Anointed One and Christos.  And, in turn, in the Law and the prophets there has always been the association of Messiah with the remnant outcasts of Israel and the Gentiles!

And where have we seen “root and branch” of David, or “root and offspring” of David, before?  That’s what Jesus says to the apostle John in the Revelation, chapter twenty-two at the end of the book:


“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify unto you these things in the Churches.  I Am the Root and the Offspring of David….”


From the Law which curses and kills depraved humanity (from which man must be reborn), the hanging of the promised Substitute, and now the Anointed (Messiah), you can see the contrast between the Pharisees’ expectations of Messiah and the words of Jesus.

Messiah is the Son of David/Son of God promised in the Law and the prophets, Who would hang accursed of God for the sins of the world – in Whom man would be reborn and resurrected.  The perfect Law Keeper substituting for the depraved law breaker – a concept now completely unknown and completely unrealized for Israel and its leaders.

The Pharisees thought of the Christ as David’s Son, a man from the line of David, who would arise to the throne and rule the world from Jerusalem.  And there would be such an awakening in Israel under his rule that it would be akin to a great resurrection of the Davidic monarchy:  freedom from pagan rule (Rome, Greece, Babylon, etc.), subjugation of all the Gentile nations, vindication of the thousand-year-old system, world-wide institution of pharisaical law, and Sanhedrin anointing and approval!  This was a sincere belief among the Sanhedrin; but, as we read earlier in Psalm two and Acts chapter four, they were gathered together against God and against His Anointed One!  They were sincerely gathered!  I would guess that, from all the truths one could gain from that, one would certainly be that ignorance of God’s revealed Word does not merit sympathy – and neither does sincerity.

But Jesus then poses a real problem to that false expectation, doesn’t He?  After the Sanhedrin respond that the Christ is “David’s Son”, Jesus refers them to Psalm one hundred ten:  “How is it then that David, in spirit, calls Him ‘Lord’?”

Then He quotes the first verse of the Psalm to remind them, of what it says!  “The Lord says to my Lord, ‘Sit out from My right until I shall put your adversaries beneath your feet.’”

Then, in verse forty-five of our text, Jesus goes back to His question.  He says, “If David calls Him ‘Lord’, how is it he is his son?”

Now, in a minute I’m going to read a literal translation of the Psalm (short) for you, and then give you a quick synopsis of it; but first I want to deal with a word in it.  So that when it’s read you can understand the Psalm better.

The word is in the first verse of the Psalm – Jesus quotes it here in verse forty-four.  “The Lord says to my Lord….”  “Kurios says to my Kurios….”

The Hebrew text of the Psalm has two different words both of which are translated “Lord” in English.  That text reads like this:  “Jahveh says to my Adonai.”  And when we see two different names for God like that, then we know that He is revealing something more of His person and His activities.  Jesus’ question to the Sanhedrin is, “How then does David, in Spirit, call him Lord (or Adonai) if he is his son?”  Well, what did David mean when he called God by His name – Adonai?

Well, the name first occurs in Abram’s address to God after his encounter with Melchizedek, who called God the “possessor of all” (owner).  Abram then said “Adonai Jahveh” repeatedly (Adonai – plural, Adon – singular).  And the name automatically implies relationship of owner to property – master to slave, husband to wife.  His elect know Him as Owner, Master, Lord – Adonai.  It’s a name we ought to use freely (if we know what it means).

The world, in practice (and sometimes in open, verbal rebellion), denies any relationship with God having to do with their being slaves and property.  But the Church openly acknowledges it, calling on Him for its every need!

Abram’s concern, in his plaint before God, was a “seed” and an inheritance which he had already been promised.  And he calls God “Adonai” – the One (the only One) who can give it to him.  Therefore, in the Name Adonai, Abram acknowledges himself as one who is “owned” and one who is a servant.  And all through Biblical history, God’s people call upon Adonai to supply that which only an absolute Owner can supply.  And Adonai says to us all – “Go, I will be with you.”

And, now, as we look at a translation and synopsis of Psalm one hundred ten, David has completed his victory over the city of Ammon (presently Amman, Jordan).  The One Who he calls “Adonai” has made him victorious over his enemies; and he sees the objective reality of the Future One of God being his Master/Owner.  And He is the Coming One over whom David is not king – but subject!

At the height of his own power as king over Israel, David looks forward to the Future One Who sits enthroned on Zion, Who is victorious from Zion, Whose enemies are put under His feet.  And not only is the Coming One King, but He is eternal priest after the manner of Melchizedek – by virtue of a sworn promise!  So the “type” lays down his crown before the “Reality”, and pays homage to the “sinless One” Who is to come from his own line!  Listen to the translation:


“A statement of Jahveh to my Adonai:  ‘Sit to My right until I set Your enemies a stool for Your feet.  The scepter (rod) of Your strength shall send Jahveh out of Zion; rule in the midst of Your enemies!  Your people shall be willing in the day of Your might; in the majesties of holiness from the womb of the dawn; to You the dew of Your youth.  Jahveh has sworn and will not repent:  You are a priest forever according to the manner of Melchizedek.’  Adonai at Your right hand shatters kings in the day of His anger.  He shall judge in the nations:  He will fill with corpses; He will shatter chiefs over much land.  From the brook in the way He shall drink; therefore He shall lift up the head.”


Now, so we can understand Jesus a little better as He quotes from this Psalm, let me give you just a quick summary of what’s being said here.  First, Jesus says that David in spirit calls Him “Adonai”.  We quickly recognize that as terminology having to do with inspiration of Scripture.  In other words, the Holy Spirit moved David to write these words; and the words were “God-breathed” as Paul says to Timothy concerning all the Scriptures of the Older Testament.

At the beginning of the Psalm the Psalmist hears a statement of Jahveh to (what David calls) “my Adonai”, his Owner/Master.  And Jahveh commands Him (Adonai) to take the seat out from His right!  Now, the scene is the glory cloud/throne room of God as it exists over the firmament/creation/universe!  This is what we’re allowed to glimpse, you remember, in the inspired Scriptures of Ezekiel and the Revelation of St. John.

And the command that David hears is that of Jahveh to the Crucified and Resurrected Christ Who, as the Scriptures say, came up out of Hades/death and ascended to the right of His Father!  So taking the seat at Jahveh’s right has to do with His ascension and His receiving all power in Heaven and Earth!

Just as Jahveh sits enthroned in His tabernacle over the created universe and laughs at the rebels and their rebellion, so David’s Adonai is exalted until all His enemies are subdued and He is the unlimited and universally acknowledged Ruler of it all!  This is the subjugation of evil in the world.  Jahveh will force all evils into submission and hold them down under His feet.  The “rod” or “scepter” of verse two is the emblem of that authority.

With youthful vigor (verses three, and four), His “willingnesses” (that’s the way it reads), His willingnesses will come down like dew, which is the offspring of the dawn in the morning, with holy attire, into holy battle!  This is the description of holy people, a priestly people, who are connected in the priestly way to David’s Adonai – the Royal High Priest – according to the manner of Melchizedek.  So the Kingship of Messiah is united to the High Priesthood!

Then, verses five and six, the battlefield will be covered with corpses, and kings and heads will be dashed to pieces in the kindling of His wrath.

And, lastly, He will unceasingly pursue His work of victory without rest, standing still only for a short time to refresh Himself at the brook, only to fight anew.  And it will come to pass that He will lift His Head on high – in victory!  Giving all honor and glory to the Father.

So!  From the kingly line of David comes David’s Son, the King/Priest/Messiah/Anointed One – Who is David’s Owner/Master!  He is God/man.  Of Divine descent.  Born of a virgin of Davidic descent; Who had a legal father of Davidic descent.  Who, as Royal High Priest came under the curse of the Law and was hanged – cursed of God; that offering being perfect – and a ransom to nullify the curse of the Law for all of God’s elect!  So, He most assuredly is not the king anticipated by the Pharisees!!!

“If therefore David calls Him ‘Adonai’, how is it He is His Son?”  It was well known that the Scribes and Pharisees believed that the “Christ” would proceed from human lineage.  Jesus knew it, and the crowds knew it.  But He interrogated them about it in front of the people anyway – that they should be severely stung in their own doctrinal error.

The Lord Jesus Christ was God/man!  The root and the offspring of David – the beginning of David and the culmination of David.  If not for Jesus, David’s line would have ceased; for David was the type of the Coming One, the Future Messiah/Christ!  God covenanted with David for that!

So Jesus is Alpha and Omega, First and Last; the last from the beginning and the beginning from the last!  As R.J. Rushdooney wrote, years ago, history is not only from the beginning to the end; but it is also from the end to the beginning.  For if Jesus (God’s Anointed) is both Alpha and Omega, then He is All in All.  He is the fullness of all for which history was designed.  As God pronounced history’s course, Jesus Christ was there at the end!  Therefore all history reaches out for Him in its fullness.

Without Him nothing was made that was made, says the apostle John.  He is the root, the origin, the Genesis of David; and He is the offspring and limit and destination of David – the God/man.

David sinned while his armies were being victorious over the city of Amman; but Christ did no sin as the Covenantal fullness of David.  The Archetype was a sinless man!  His life was without sin; but He became sin – cursed by God and under the curse of the Law; hanged on a tree for all to see the “One accursed” of God.

The Scribes and Pharisees and priests would not, could not answer the question – why would David call his son Adonai, “Master”.  They were blind leading blind.  They were cursed by the very Law they saw as access to God.  The One who stood before them was David’s Adonai – the Son of God!  And they were gathered against God and against His Messiah and planned to crucify Him.

Now they have refused to have anything more to do with Him, especially to engage Him in more conversation, since they were all put to shame in public every time they did it!  But now their interrogations cease and the situation grows much more critical.

But Jesus isn’t through with them yet!  They don’t dare say another word to Him, but He’s not finished!!  In fact He has hardly begun.  Next Lord’s Day we begin the thirty-nine verses of chapter twenty-three; still in the temple, with the entire Sanhedrin still there and listening to the charges and condemnations and accusations of this man Jesus.  All red-faced and aghast at what they were hearing, they were still unable to say even a word!

The newest, simplest Christian can now easily account for, and verbalize, that Christ is God and David’s Lord, and He is Man and David’s Son.  According to Scripture they do that by the Spirit.  But these men would have none of it.  And Jesus didn’t explain it to them; the resurrection would.  Jesus’ mother, Mary, sang an inspired song (recorded by Luke in what we call “the Magnificat”) concerning the deity of her coming Redeemer Son!  But God silences those who will not glorify Him and His Son Jesus the Christ.  Since they couldn’t win, the Pharisees would have nothing to do with Him – except kill Him.  But they were finally convinced of one thing – the inequity of the match.