To continue yesterday's discussion of the phrase, “In the midst of your enemies,” we are reminded that Christians are not to attempt to defeat and subdue the devil and the world by means of physical power or weapons. The church has always gotten into deep trouble when it has tried to Christianize society, as if the secular world could be made Christian. From time to time believers suppose that they can impose their idea of a just society on other people by enacting laws and proscribing civil penalties for those who break them. But this is not our calling. Paul pointed out the right way when he wrote to the Corinthians, “Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:3, 4).

Yesterday we noted the visions that the first martyr, Stephen, and the apostle John had of Jesus. These visions are very different from the sentimental views people sometimes hold of Jesus today. We would do well to recover this proper understanding of Jesus' heavenly splendor—of who Jesus is and where he is now. For if we did, we would worship him better and with greater reverence.

The first verse of Psalm 110 also speaks of Jesus' present position at the right hand of the Father in heaven and of his Lordship over all things in heaven and on earth. This is cast in the form of an oracle from God, for God is quoted as saying: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” We are familiar with this idea from the Apostles' Creed, which most Christians recite together each week: “He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty.”

It is easy to see why this first and most often quoted verse is so important. In Hebrew the first word for “Lord” is Jehovah or Yahweh, which is indicated by its being printed in capital letters. It refers to the God of Israel. The second word for “Lord” is “Adonai.” Adonai refers to an individual greater than the speaker. So here is a case of David citing God’s words in which God tells another personage, who is greater than David, to sit at his right hand until he makes his enemies a footstool for his feet. This person can only be a divine Messiah, who is Jesus Christ.

Why should Psalm 110 have been so important to the early church and to the New Testament writers? The answer is that Psalm 110 is the greatest of the messianic psalms in that it alone is about the Messiah and his work exclusively, without any primary reference to an earthly king.