Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Lord said to my Lord Problem

Today's Gospel reading was Matthew 22:34-46.
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him, "`You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: "What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?" They said to him, "The son of David." He said to them, "How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,
`The Lord said to my Lord,
"Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet"'?
If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?" No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Last year I posted about the difficulty with the greatest and first commandment and wrote,

"The heart has too many strings pulling on it, and the mind is constantly being distracted by its own musings for me to ever say that all my heart and all my mind are all in it for God all of the time."
Today I will focus of the problems many of us have with Jesus' question that he gave the Pharisees,
"How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord"
We have to look at the complete text of Psalm 110 which Jesus quotes,
Psalm 110 of David

1 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand,
until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
2 The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion:
rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power,
in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning:
thou hast the dew of thy youth.
4 The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent,
Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
5 The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.
6 He shall judge among the heathen,
he shall fill the places with the dead bodies;
he shall wound the heads over many countries.
7 He shall drink of the brook in the way:
therefore shall he lift up the head.

I have always needed help figuring out that first verse. Here is what I found at NazareneSpace,

Yeshua identifies himself as the Messiah as being the “my Adon” who YHWH speaks to in Psalm 110, verse 1. 
1YHWH says unto my Adon: Sit you at My right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool
The Midrash Tehillim (Midrash on Psalms) identifies the “My Adon” of Psalm 110:1 as Messiah.  According to the Midrash Tehillim: 
The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit you at My right hand.
To the Messiah it will also be said,
and in mercy the throne be established;…

Tovia Singer and other anti-missionaries (and others who question the deity of Messiah) insist that the “my Adon” of this passage is not YHWH.

However this identification is based on one of the “Tikkun Soferim”, the “emendations of the scribes”
While in verse 5 the Masoretic Text has “Adonai”, this is one of 134 places where the Masoretic Text reads “Adonai” but which the Masorah indicates that the text originally read “YHWH” and had been altered by the scribes in an attempt on their part to clarify the text. A copy found at the Cairo Geniza also has “YHWH” here.

Matthew Henry in his Commentary provides some help as to why the Pharisees were so puzzled,
It is not so easy for those who believe not the Godhead of the Messiah, to clear this from an absurdity, if Christ be David’s son. It is incongruous for the father to speak of his son, the predecessor of his successor, as his Lord. If David call him Lord, that is laid down (Matt. 22:45) as the magis notum—the more evident truth; for whatever is said of Christ’s humanity and humiliation must be construed and understood in consistency with the truth of his divine nature and dominion. We must hold this fast, that he is David’s Lord, and by that explain his being David’s son. The seeming differences of scripture, as here, may not only be accommodated, but contribute to the beauty and harmony of the whole. Amicae scripturarum lites, utinam et nostrae—The differences observable in the scriptures are of a friendly kind; would to God that our differences were of the same kind!
III. We have here the success of this gentle trial which Christ made of the Pharisees’ knowledge, in two things.
1. It puzzled them (Matt. 22:46); No man was able to answer him a word. Either it was their ignorance that they did not know, or their impiety that they would not own, the Messiah to be God; which truth was the only key to unlock this difficulty. What those Rabbies could not then answer, blessed be God, the plainest Christian that is led into the understanding of the gospel of Christ, can now account for; that Christ, as God, was David’s Lord; and Christ, as Man, was David’s son. This he did not now himself explain, but reserved it till the proof of it was completed by his resurrection; but we have it fully explained by him in his glory (Rev. 22:16); I am the root and the offspring of David. Christ, as God, was David’s Root; Christ, as Man, was David’s Offspring. If we hold not fast this truth, that Jesus Christ is over all God blessed for ever, we run ourselves into inextricable difficulties. 

No wonder the pre-resurrection Pharisees were unable to answer Jesus. Since we know the rest of the story, we are able to dissect the question and the response.

But it does take a bit of digging. 

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