Lord and Messiah

The New Testament links the enthronement of Jesus to his resurrection and ascension by applying key Messianic texts to him. He qualified to reign because of his “obedience unto death.” This was confirmed when God raised him from the dead and seated him at His right hand,” making this Crucified man both “Lord and Messiah.” He now rules over the Cosmos as King and Sovereign– (Acts 2:36).

Canyonlands Utah - Photo by Zach Betten on Unsplash
[Photo by Zach Betten on Unsplash]

Two passages in the Psalms figure prominently in these descriptions of his reign. The Psalmist foresaw that it would commence
upon his arrival before God and his enthronement at His right side”:

  • (Psalm 2:4-8) – “He who sits in the heavens will laugh, My Lord will mock at them. Then will he speak to them in his anger, and in his wrath, He will confound them. Yet I HAVE INSTALLED MY KING ON ZION, my holy mountain. Let me tell of the decree, the LORD has said to me: You are My Son. I, this day, have begotten you. Ask of me and let me give nations as your inheritance and as your possession the ends of the earth” – (Hebrews 1:1-14, Revelation 1:4-6, 12:1-5).
  • (Psalms 110:1) - “The declaration of the LORD to my Lord: SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND until I make your foes your footstool.”

Jesus confirmed his status as the Messiah by alluding to this text from Psalm 110 in his testimony before the High Priest. He also included a passage found in the Book of Daniel:

  • (Matthew 26:63-65) – “And the high priest said to him, I adjure you by the living God, tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus said to him, You have said; nevertheless, I say to you, from now on, you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.
  • (Daniel 7:13) – “I saw in the night-visions, and behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days… And there was given him dominion, glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him.

The High Priest understood what Jesus had said, therefore, he “rent his garments, saying: He has spoken blasphemy!” Not only did he identify himself as the Messiah of Israel, but he also asserted his right to reign from the Throne of David.

In his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, Peter cited the same Psalm to confirm what God had accomplished only a few weeks earlier when he raised Jesus from the dead:

  • (Acts 2:32-36) – “This Jesus did God raise up, whereof we all are witnesses. Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured forth this, which you see and hear. For David ascended not into the heavens: but he said himself: The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet. Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.

God made Jesus both “Lord and Messiah.” Already, he was ruling from God’s “right hand,” and his right to dispense the Gift of the Holy Spirit was evidence of this new reality.

Peter pointed to the present reign of Jesus when he alluded to the first verse of Psalm 110 in his first epistle. Not only was he reigning on the Divine Throne, but even the hostile spiritual powers were subjected to him - “He is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, angels and authorities and powers being made subject to him.” – (1 Peter 3:22).


Likewise, Paul presents his reign as a present reality. Since Jesus possesses all authority, he reigns over the “powers and principalities” whether hostile to him or not:

  • (Ephesians 1:17-22) – “…According to the energy of the grasp of his might which he energized in the Christ when he raised him from among the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavens, over-above all principality, authority, and power, and lordship, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the coming one, and did put all things in subjection beneath his feet” - (See also - Colossians 1:12-20, 2:10-15).

When Paul applied clauses from both Psalms to the exaltation of Jesus, he used past tense verbs. Since his resurrection, he has been implementing the Kingdom and subjugating his enemies, a process that will continue until his future “arrival.”

  • For he must reign until he shall put all his enemies under his feet. And the last enemy, death, will be destroyed; for He put all things in subjection under his feet” - (1 Corinthians 15:20-26).

The listed events leave no room for further victories over any enemies after his “arrival.” That day will mean nothing less than the cessation of death and the consummation of the Kingdom.

In his Letter to the Philippians, Paul declared that the obedience of Jesus even “unto death” was why he was exalted and made Sovereign over all things:

  • (Philippians 2:8-11) – “And in fashion being found as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient as far as death, yea, death upon a cross. Wherefore also, God uplifted him far on high and favored him with the name which is above every name, so that, in the name of Jesus every knee might bow, of beings in heaven and on earth and underground, and every tongue might openly confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord for the glory of God the Father.” - (Compare Romans 14:9-11).

That already he is “far above” means he holds the highest imaginable authority. His sovereignty is not limited to Heaven, restricted to Earth, or delayed until any future date. He reigns over all things in the present.

In the Book of Hebrews, both Psalms are cited to demonstrate the superiority of Jesus over the now obsolete Levitical system. For example:

  • (Hebrews 1:3-5) - Having achieved the purification of sins, he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; having become by so much better than the angels, as he hath inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels said he at any time: You are my Son; this day have I begotten you?” – (See also Hebrews 5:5).

Crown of Thorns - Photo by BBC Creative on Unsplash
[Crown of Thorns by BBC Creative on Unsplash]

Jesus echoed the
Second Psalm when he declared that he had received absolute sovereignty following his resurrection - “All power in Heaven and on the Earth has been given to me” – (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8).

Jesus is reigning already. His sovereignty began with his resurrection and exaltation to God’s “right hand.” Ever since he has been subjugating his enemies wherever his followers announce the “Gospel of the Kingdom of God,” and every heart won by the Good News becomes reconquered territory and further evidence of his glorious reign.

  • The Shepherd King - (The Lamb’s reign commenced with his death and resurrection, and since then, he has been shepherding the nations toward New Jerusalem)
  • Reigning from Zion - (Following his resurrection, Jesus began his reign from the Messianic Throne as prophesied by David – Psalm 2:6-9)
  • Why do the Nations Rage? - (The conspiracy by the earth’s kings to unseat God’s Son is applied by the New Testament to the plot to destroy Jesus – Psalm 2:1-6)



The Word Made Flesh

Language of the New Testament