Skip to main content

The Promised King

Jesus is King
As Peter wraps up his explanation of Christ on the Day of Pentecost he uses two additional Old Testament passages.

The first reference is seemingly a paraphrase of Psalm 132:11 although it could simply be a summary of several Old Testament passages. The final passage is Psalm 110:1. Both texts serve to drive home the same point: Jesus is the promised king from the line of David.

Psalm 132 in Context

Psalm 132 is a Psalm of Ascents. It would have been sung by faithful Israelites on their way to the Temple to worship. This particular psalm calls on the Lord to remember His promise made to David. This promise included:
  • God providing a king from David's line to rule on the throne forever
  • God choosing Zion as His habitation forever
  • God's blessing upon His people for their faithfulness to the covenant
  • God bringing shame upon the enemies of His king
All of these hopeful truths are found repeatedly throughout the Old Testament. This psalm served as a reminder of God's promises and a stimulus to faithfulness on behalf of the ones singing the psalm.

Psalm 110 in Context

Psalm 110 is a psalm of David. This puts its dating in the same window as Psalm 16 which Peter already cited - approximately 1000 years before the birth and crucifixion of Jesus.

This psalm is messianic in nature, meaning it speaks prophetically of the coming Messiah. Many who are familiar with the New Testament know that often Jesus' followers thought He was going to establish the kingdom of heaven by forcefully overthrowing the Roman oppressors. Ideas like this came from passages like Psalm 110.

Psalm 110 starts with a conversation between God the Father and His Messiah - with the Father telling the Messiah to sit at His right hand until He makes the enemies of the Messiah a footstool for His feet. The psalm ends with a picture of the victorious Messiah lifting up His head and seeing peace in the land after taking a drink from the brook.

In between the first and last passage is a description of the Messiah's people submitting freely to His reign. We also see the striking contrast of the carnage wrought upon the enemies of the Messiah who persist in their rebellion against Him. He fills the nations with their corpses (Ps. 110:5-6).

This passage paints a vivid picture of both a conquering warrior king and a peaceful prince. However, the Prince reigns in peace after the destruction of His enemies.

How Peter Uses His Texts

Building upon the dramatic events of Pentecost and the foundation of Jesus' resurrection from the dead in fulfillment of prophecy, Peter turns to these two passages to emphasize the implications. These events are not simply happening to cause a stir. They are happening to call people to a decision: submit to Jesus or perish under His wrath.

Peter explains that Jesus is the promised king from the line of David. Contrary to the common expectation of a Messiah that would reign on earth immediately, this king has ascended to heaven and taken a seat at the right hand of the Father on high. He has taken his seat and He will remain there until the coming day of wrath when He will fully establish His kingdom on the earth.

The establishment of His kingdom will include two major tasks:
  1. The gathering of His people
  2. The destruction of His enemies
These implications are immediately understood by Peter's audience. They respond by asking, "Brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37). Peter directly tells them the appropriate response:
Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself." And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!" (Acts 2:38-40, NASB)

Explaining Christ

Part of our responsibility as ambassadors for Christ is explaining who Jesus is. Another part of our responsibility is explaining the implications of His identity. In Acts 2, Peter does both.

Jesus is not simply some guy that people can pay attention to if that makes them happy and ignore if that makes them happy. Everyone is accountable to Jesus as Lord whether they like it or not. That's what a king is.

What people often do not understand - and certainly many misunderstood in the first century - is the nature of Jesus' kingship. As Messiah, He came first to lay down His life and shed His blood to save all who will trust in Him. He did this already. But He is coming again.

After He ascended to heaven in his resurrected body, He went to wait for His second coming when He will return to judge the nations and establish His kingdom on earth. Peter cited Psalm 110 to show that Jesus has begun the second part of His ministry by sitting at the right hand of God the Father.

The present time - extending from the moment Christ ascended to the moment He returns - are described in this prophetic psalm. Psalm 110:5-6 describes the second coming of Christ which is described again in Revelation 19:11-21. Read both carefully and humbly.

We live in the time between the first and second coming.

As a result, we are responsible to solemnly testify and warn our hearers that this Jesus, whom we crucified, God has made both Lord and Christ. He has made two promises:
  1. He will save all who repent of their rebellion and call on His name to save them
  2. He will destroy all who persist in their rebellion against Him
Therefore, we must lovingly urge our hearers to be reconciled to God through Christ. If they do not heed this urging we must warn them that they will perish under His wrath.

Peter understood well the difference between Jesus' first ministry and his second. We are sadly mistaken if we believe Jesus' return will be as peaceful as His first.

John combines the contrast with striking symbolic language the reaction of those who fail to repent:
Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" (Revelation 6:15-17, NASB, emphasis added)
We don't usually think of "lamb" and "wrath" in the same sense - as a lamb seems gentle. Jesus was meek and mild in His first coming. He is patiently giving time for people to respond to His invitation to salvation, purchased with His own precious blood.

He will not wait forever.

Jesus is King. He is coming back. Are you ready? 

Comments

Popular Posts

Prayer vs. Petition

Q: What's the difference between prayer and petition? Phil 4:6 for example.

A: An excellent word study question! When attempting to study words from the text it is necessary to analyze the word being studied in the original language (in this case Greek) as attempting to look up the words in English will often produce erroneous results.

For example, in English the word petition has within its range of meanings things that are certainly not within the scope of meanings for the Greek word (i.e. “a sheet that is signed to demonstrate agreement with some principle or desire for some social action to be taken” is part of the range of “petition” but not of the Greek deesis from which “petition” is translated).

The word most commonly translated as “prayer” in our English Bibles is proseuche, which appears 36 times in the New Testament (NT) in one form or another (for the purposes of this study, we are only examining the usage of these words as nouns – the verbal forms will not be included…

10 Things An Evangelist Is Not

You've probably heard the term Evangelist before.Most people have. The term most likely brings something to mind. Sometimes positive. Often negative.

Does your idea match what other people think of when they hear the term evangelist?

More importantly, do any of these ideas match what the Bible tells us an evangelist is?

The truth is that most of the popular ideas about what an evangelist is and does are based on the culture, not the Bible.This is a problem.

The cultural idea of an evangelist is so popular that it is beginning to be used by companies. If you go to popular job sites and put the term evangelist into the search bar you will find many non-church jobs looking for evangelists. Many of these positions include the duties of spreading knowledge about a particular company, product, service, or idea.

The Bible tells us that Jesus gave some Evangelists for His church.And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers (Ephe…

5 Keys To Effective Witness

Content is important. But it's not the only thing. Some evangelistic methods are presented as if they are the perfect witnessing method. Some think memorizing a method and mechanically delivering the content means you have effectively witnessed.

Witness throughout the New Testament demonstrates this is not accurate. There is not a cookie-cutter approach that is applied the same way every time.
Content is extremely important. Without the right content our witness cannot be effective. Messing with the content of the gospel voids its power. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. (1 Corinthians 1:17) Focusing only on content fails to recognize that we are not preaching to the air. We are preaching to persons.
To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel,…

Lift Up The Son, Part 2

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
(Romans 15:4)


(If you missed Part 1, you can read it here.)

The Apostle Paul quoted a verse from Psalm 69 before making his comment in Romans 15:4. When he speaks of whatever was written before he means what we have recorded in the Old Testament. He simply called them the Scriptures.

God inspired the Hebrew Scriptures, our Old Testament. Paul said they were written for the instruction of New Testament believers. Through perseverance and encouragement in the Scriptures we can have hope. The Old Testament is not supposed to be ignored by Christians.

As we apply this to our task of lifting up the Son, that in and through Christ our Father may be glorified, we encounter a word of caution.

It is easy to agree on the surface that the church ought to talk about Jesus. That's a given. But are we aware that not everyone means th…

Fullness By Design

My wife and I are expecting our 8th child this year. I want my children to grow to full maturity. That's not to say that I want to skip the fun things that accompany young kids. I don't want to skip any of it. As each day passes I realize how quickly these moments are gone.

The march toward adulthood is inevitable. Every day, we all get older. I must be aware that my children are growing up, whether I like it or not.

But maturity is not the same as age. It is possible to get older while never really growing up.

When I say that I want my children to grow to full maturity what I mean is: I desire my children to realize their potential. I want them to grow into responsible adults.

I don't want my three sons to live in my house indefinitely. They shouldn't be expecting their mother to cook and clean for them into their thirties. Part of my responsibility as a father is to steward the children God has so graciously given us. We are to raise them so that they can be delivere…