Bible Studies on the Messianic Psalms
Psalm 110 Part 3: Jesus - The Judge of All

By I Gordon

Introduction

We have been in Psalm 110 for the last two studies where we have examined different roles of our Lord Jesus. We saw Him first as Lord and King. We looked last time at His role as Priest in the order of the mysterious man Melchizedek. In this study we see Him as Judge. The last part of the Psalm speaks of the judgment coming in the last days – in the day of His wrath. It tells us that God and mankind are on a collision course.

Let’s start with some general thoughts about judgment and the Judge...

Psalms 110:5-7 The Lord is at Your right hand; He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath. (6) He will judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses, He will shatter the chief men over a broad country. (7) He will drink from the brook by the wayside; Therefore He will lift up His head.

The last part of this Psalm speaks of Jesus as the Judge – He will Judge the nations. This thought of God as a judge is not very popular today. In this day, one of the great sins according to the world is to ‘judge’ something or someone. No one wants to be judged – not by man or God. Tolerance is very much in. Judgment is very much out. Way out. If John 3:16 is the Christian’s favourite scripture, Matt 7:1 (‘Judge not lest you be judged’) is the world’s favourite verse. It’s possibly the only one they know. The world hates the thought of judgement because they do not want to be honest in the assessment that they stand guilty before a holy God. Jesus said the main reason that men don’t come and open their lives to God is not because of a scientific complaint. It is not because there is a lack of evidence for God. No. The ultimate issue, according to Jesus, is a moral one. [1] The Lord Jesus, who fully understood the heart of man, said it like this:

John 3:19-21 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. (20) Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. (21) But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

In other words, men love the darkness. They love being able to do whatever they want, when they want, without being accountable to a higher being. But the light exposes what they are. And, excuse the analogy, but like cockroaches they run when the light comes on. They prefer the darkness.

A doggy illustration

I saw a really interesting experiment on TV a couple of weeks back that illustrated this. It was not actually to do with humans as such but with man’s best friend. It was with God’s canine creation, an experiment done with man’s four legged buddy. Here was the experiment: They had several owners with their dogs and they placed a piece of tasty delicious sausage in front of their salivating dog who was then told, quite clearly, ‘No! Wait!’ In each case, the dog obeyed its master and refrained from taking the sausage until given the ‘a-ok!’ Maybe you have mastered this with your dog. They then repeated the experiment, but this time, after being told ‘no, wait’ they turned off all the lights so it was pitch black. And yet they had a special camera that still tracked the dog. Little Rover knew he had been told to wait, but he also knew he couldn’t be seen by his owner. In each case the dog moved slowly forward, gave it a few sniffs and quietly cleaned the floor of its tasty treat. And, like a nimble cat burglar (ah, dog burglar in this case) quietly moved back into their original position so that when the lights came back on, and with the tasty morsel missing, they could say ‘What? What? Don’t look at me… I’ve been here all the time... haven’t moved a muscle!’ Finally, they did a third test. Like experiment two, they placed the sausage in front of the dog, removed all the lights so that it was pitch black, but this time they shone one light on the sausage alone. So the dog knew that the owner couldn’t see him but he also knew that he, and his doggy burglar deeds, would be exposed if he came into the light to take the sausage. On each occasion, the dog remained where he was and didn’t take the sausage. He was happy to polish off the sausage when the lights were off and no one could see him, but didn’t want who he really is (in his little fallen doggy nature) to be exposed by coming into the light. When I saw that I immediately said that is not just the nature of dogs… That is the human heart as well! The world doesn’t want to come into the light either, because it exposes what we are to the Judge of all mankind. Yet if they did they would find, in the miracle of miracles, that the Judge of mankind stands with nail pierced hands stretched out in grace and mercy, having taken the judgment already upon Himself! But if they don’t and remain in their sins and darkness, they will find that only judgment remains for they have rejected the only means of salvation that the Judge offers. Our passage before us today shows the end result for those that won’t come into the light and seek His forgiveness. Let’s read the passage again which shows how things end.

Psalm 110 – Some sobering verses

Psalms 110:5-7 NIV The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath. (6) He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth. (7) He will drink from a brook beside the way; therefore he will lift up his head.

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking that these are some pretty full-on verses. Outside of what the Bible teaches concerning Hell, the end time wrath and judgment upon the world is one of most difficult for some to take. It is a very sobering topic. Our incredibly P.C world likes its ‘God’ to be kind, loving, all inclusive and non-judgemental. Kind of like an old benign granddad who just sits in his rocking chair, slightly deaf and blind, oblivious to what’s going on and just lets everyone be. But that’s not what we have here. Whether we would click the ‘Like’ button on this topic or not isn’t the point. The Bible is very clear on this topic and in no way tries to hide it. It is important. Like brussel sprouts and spirulina, some things are difficult to take but they are still good for you!

So in case you were just dozing or thinking about lunch, these three verses describe Jesus, the Messiah, judging the nations, crushing kings and rulers and heaping up the dead. Those rulers that the world crowds the streets to see and almost worships in some cases, do not have the same standing in the sight of God (unless their heart is right with Him) and are given a specific mention concerning those that the Lord will crush in the end times. And the Lord, having put down the rulers and opposition in the world, is then seen as the conquering King, refreshed by the water (which speaks of the living water of God’s Spirit) and His head will be lifted up. He will be exalted and His name will be the only name in all the earth (Zech 14:9). And on that day, as verse 3 of this Psalm says, God’s people will volunteer freely. So if you struggle with this thought now, I can guarantee you that on that day, when you know even as you are known, you will see that Jesus is perfect in all His ways and His judgements are true and just.

So... questions, questions, questions.

So as I approached these verses, I started asking myself questions. It is always good to ask questions of the text you are studying. In fact it is essential. So I had a few questions that came to mind as I read these verses:

  1. What is this day of wrath that this verse speaks about?
  2. How do we get from where we are today to this day spoken of here?
  3. Will we or the world know it is coming?
  4. What does this thought of judgement mean for the believers future?
  5. How should it affect our lives today?

1. What is this day of wrath spoke of here?

The text says ‘He will crush kings on the day of his wrath.’

The New Testament speaks of different ‘days’ (which are not literal 24 hour days but periods of time):

Day of salvation : We could also call this the day of grace. It is a time when, as Jesus said, God gives rain to the good and the bad. He is incredibly patient with man not wanting any to perish, and (as a general statement) not currently judging them for their sins. 2 Corinthians 6:2 For He says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you."Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.’

Day of Christ : This is the return of Jesus for His people, His bride. Philippians 1:6,9-10 ‘For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus… And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, (10) so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ .’ It is also called the day of redemption: Ephesians 4:30 ‘Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.’

Day of judgment : This day speaks of the Great White Throne of Judgment that the unrighteous are being kept under guard for that day to come. 2 Peter 2:9 ‘The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment…’

Day of eternity : This speaks of the eternal order when we are with the Lord. 2 Peter 3:18 ‘Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.’

But the Bible also speaks of a day at the end of this age called the day of the Lord or the day of wrath and this is what this passage in Psalm 110 speaks of.

Day of wrath: Revelation 6:15-17 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; (16) 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; (17) for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?"

This day of wrath is a 7 year period, split into two halves of 3 ½ years, which the Bible declares will be unlike any time either before or after it – it will be totally unique and unprecedented. Jesus Himself said:

Matthew 24:21 "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.

There are various names given to this period of time. Jesus called it the Great Tribulation (Matt 24:21). The prophets often called it the day of the Lord. Daniel called it ‘the time of distress’ (Dan 12:1) and ‘the indignation’ (Dan 11:36). John, in Revelation, called in the ‘hour of trial’ (Rev 3:10). For the nation of Israel, it is called ‘the day of Jacob’s trouble’ (Jer 30:7). [2]

2. How do we get from where we are today to this time of wrath and judgement?

Having asked the question, my second thought is that maybe it is not such a tremendous leap. If we are honest we would have to say that the world is becoming all the more ripe for judgment. But let’s be clear: God takes no pleasure in this. God is amazingly gracious and patient with all of mankind. It was His love for the world that caused Him to send His only Son to die for it. God said to Ezekiel 'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways!' (Ezekiel 33:11)

God’s judgement is His last resort. But there does come a time when He says enough! He said ‘enough’ during the times of Noah when His Spirit was grieved that He had made man. He said ‘enough’ during the times of Sodom and Gomorrah when it says He came down to really see how bad it was! He said ‘enough’ during the days the days of Israel’s bondage in Egypt when He judged the nation of Egypt. He said ‘enough’ during the days of Jeremiah and Ezekiel where the sins of Judah were such that He wouldn’t even allow Jeremiah to intercede for the nation anymore! They had past the point of no return. Think about that... Three times God tells Jeremiah not to pray for his nation. In fact God says even if Jeremiah does pray, He won’t listen! Jeremiah 7:16-17 "As for you, do not pray for this people, and do not lift up cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with Me; for I do not hear you. (17) "Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?

They were past the point of no return. In the language of the Bible, ‘their wound was incurable’ (Jer 30:12) Judgement would come. [3]

So what are the signs that a nation or even the world, is heading down this track? The book of Romans tells us that in this current age, it is seen by a different type of judgement - the wrath of abandonment. Romans chapter 1 speaks of a crazy downward spiral that occurs once a nation gives up the thought of God. I won’t go into this in detail but it is there in Romans 1:18-32. In short, this passage says that the evidence of God is abundant all around us in creation so that mankind is without excuse. But when men make an active choice to suppress this truth and no longer glorify God or give Him thanks, a darkening of their heart and mind occurs. The next step, Romans tells us, is that they start to worship creation and not the creator. Ringing any bells? Seen any of that in our age? At this point God steps back and gives them over to the lust of their hearts and sexual immorality. This was written 2000 years ago but it accurately describes Western society today! [4] If they carry on this course they are again given over the Bible says, this time to homosexuality and a depraved mind leading to all types of wickedness. The final stage given in Romans as a sign that a nation is experiencing the wrath of abandonment is the outward approval of all this wickedness even though inwardly they know it is wrong. In other words, it is no longer that these things happen in secret or behind closed doors. The last stage is that it is openly celebrated and approved of by the masses. Gulp. We are there. [5]

3. Will we or the world know the day of the Lord is coming?

I’ll answer this quickly... For the world, the Bible says it will come like a thief in the night. They are not going to know. Jesus said As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.’ (Matthew 24:37-39)

In a similar manner, the Apostle Paul wrote that ‘While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:3-5)

The prophet Daniel was told "Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.” (Daniel 12:9-10)

Yet it is different for believers: “ Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:23-25) Now there are quite a few ‘lettuces’ there, but please take note of the last ‘lettuce’ – ‘Let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching.’ The believer can and should be able to see the day approaching. We don’t know the day nor the hour of when these end time events take place, but we can see and read the signs so there should be a general knowledge that that day is approaching – if you are interested in the Lord’s return that is!

4. What does this thought of judgement mean for the believers future?

We know it is going to be an unprecedented time for the world, but what about the believer? We can’t go into great detail here, but it needs to be said that the early church wasn’t specifically looking for the coming wrath itself, nor were they looking of the coming world ruler, the Antichrist. They were looking for the Lord and His return. In fact Paul commended the Thessalonians because they turned from idols to God, and were waiting for Jesus to come from heaven who would rescue them from the wrath to come. (1 Thes 1:9-10) Later, but still in the context of God’s end time judgment upon the world, Paul wrote: God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ ( 1 Thessalonians 5:9) Now that’s not to say that things won’t get difficult for the believer as we approach the last days… They already are! Terrible persecution exists in many countries for Christians and even in the West things are definitely changing for the believer. But in terms of God’s wrath and judgment, He does not, and will not, judge the righteous with the wicked.

But let’s look at this general thought of God’s judgment and its relationship to the believer. There we find an amazing thing stated by the Lord Jesus: John 5:24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. What an amazing verse! The only truly safe place in this entire world is ‘in Christ’. [6] But you may ask ‘If the Christian does not come into judgment, why does the Bible say that we all must appear before the Judgment seat of Christ?’ Is the Bible contradicting itself? No. We will not be judged for our sin for another has already been judged for that on our behalf. Don’t ever get used to that truth! But our work and lives as Christians will be brought into the light to be tested for the purpose of eternal rewards or lack thereof. We will all step into the light and let the fire of God test our works. Again, this is nothing to do with sin… everything to do with eternal rewards. But it’s still a thought that should sober the believer up and get them living more for eternity that the here and now!

5. Conclusion - How should this thought of judgement affect our lives today?

In the light of what we have been talking about, with the coming judgment of God upon this world and also the thought of one day standing before the judgment seat of Christ to have your life examined by the light of God, how should it affect our lives today? What should be our response? Many things could be said but one that stood out to me recently was a passage I read in John 9:1-5:

John 9:1-5 As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. (2) And His disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?" (3) Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. (4) "We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. (5) "While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world."

When I read this, it was verse 4 that stood out to me. Let’s just quickly break it down…

‘We’ must work – Jesus was speaking to His disciples and by extension, to His followers today. ‘We’ must work.

‘The works of Him who sent me’ – They are the Fathers works for you. There are general and specific works we are called to do. All of us are to tell others about the Lord, where we can, and help them grow in Him. All of us are to show kindness and mercy and the fruit of the Spirit. But there are specific things also that the Father has just for you, prepared even before your life began. Your works are not necessarily my works and what the Father is asking of me is not necessarily what He is asking of you. What is important is that you are enquiring of the Lord – ‘What would you have me to do?’ There are a 1001 needs out there but you are called to that which the Father is calling you to do.

‘As long as it is day’ – While we have the opportunity make use of the time. Make use of the day. It is still the day of salvation today. It is still the day of grace. Work while it is day.

‘Night is coming when no one can work’ – This is an interesting phrase. The Bible Knowledge Commentary says ‘Night is the limit set to do God’s works. In Jesus’ case it was His coming death.’ But for the world in general it could also speak of that time of darkness that has been prophesied to come at the end of this age. None of us knows how long ‘the day’ is and when night is coming. Not for our own lives or for this world. There is a night coming for us individually and there is one coming for this world. The Bible is very clear about that and we have looked into a small fraction of that today. Work, Jesus said, while it is still day. Eternity is a long time. Do you think that when you stand before the Lord to have your life examined you will be disappointed for any of the time that you spent doing His will during this life? Of course not. Judgment of this world is coming as we have seen. Night is coming. Now is the day of salvation. Work while it is still called the day.


[1] Robert Laidlaw, the founder of Farmers and author of ‘The Reason Why’, said "God exists whether or not men may choose to believe in Him. The reason why many people do not believe in God is not so much that it is intellectually impossible to believe in God, but because belief in God forces that thoughtful person to face the fact that he is accountable to such a God." You’ve probably heard the saying that ‘An atheist can’t find God for the same reason a thief can’t find a policeman – they don’t want to!’ – This expresses the same thought.

[2] We had a friend of the family who loved the Lord but for some reason he wanted to be around at this time. He was getting on a bit but he wanted to still be alive to see the Antichrist. Most of us are longing and looking for the return of Jesus Christ who, according to 1 Thes 1:10, will rescue us from the wrath to come. This man wanted to see the Antichrist! He has now gone to be with the Lord and I think he would now be pleased that he didn’t get his wish! We should never diminish or think lightly of what this time will be like. The Bible says:

Amos 5:18-20 Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD! Why do you long for the day of the LORD? That day will be darkness, not light. (19) It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. (20) Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light-- pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?

[3] To Ezekiel, God said that when a country gets to that point of wickedness, even if the godliest men of all time were in that country, they could only save themselves. Ezekiel 14:13-14 "Son of man, if a country sins against Me by committing unfaithfulness, and I stretch out My hand against it, destroy its supply of bread, send famine against it and cut off from it both man and beast, (14) even though these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job were in its midst, by their own righteousness they could only deliver themselves," declares the Lord GOD.

[4] A man called Dr. Carle Zimmerman (who taught at Harvard University) wrote a book called "Family and Civilization" where he looked at the factors that caused the decline of a civilization. Here are the main factors listed in his book:

1) Marriage loses its sacredness; is frequently broken by divorce.

2) Traditional meaning of the marriage ceremony is lost.

3) Feminist movements abound.

4) Increased public disrespect for parents and authority in general.

5) Acceleration of juvenile delinquency, promiscuity, and rebellion.

6) Refusal of people with traditional marriages to accept family responsibilities.

7) Growing desire for and acceptance of adultery.

8) Increasing interest in and spread of sexual perversions and sex-related crimes.

Now that obviously reads like what we see today does it not? The interesting thing about this book is that is wasn’t based on today’s culture. The book itself was written in 1947 (when marriage and values were strong you’d have to say) and it was based on the ancient civilizations (like the Greek and Roman empires, medieval Europe) looking at what led to their downfall. Sobering and revealing don’t you think?

[5] It is interesting looking at the huge discrepancy in the surveys between the average estimate for the gay population that the American has versus the real percentage. Such surveys have been done over the last few years and show that 23-25% is the average estimate for the percentage of gays in the United States by Americans. The actual figure of those responding saying they are homosexual is 2-3%. Why such a vast difference? Because it is openly promoted by the media, Hollywood and politicians way out of proportion to the actual reality.

[6] One of my favourite illustrations concerning God’s judgment was given by H.A Ironside. I’ve mentioned it before but it is worth repeating. "The pioneers were making their way across one of the central states of the US to a distant place that had been opened up for homesteading. They traveled in covered wagons drawn by oxen, and progress was necessarily slow. One day they were horrified to note a long line of smoke in the west, stretching for miles across the prairie, and soon it was evident that the dried grass was burning fiercely, and was coming toward them rapidly. They had crossed a river the day before but it would be impossible to go back to that before the flames would be upon them. One man only seemed to have an understanding as to what should be done. He gave the command to set fire to the grass behind them. Then when a space was burned over, the whole company moved back upon it. As the flames roared on toward them from the west, a little girl cried out in terror. "Are you sure we shall not all be burned up?" The leader replied, "My child, the flames cannot reach us here, for we are standing where the fire has already been!" The fires of God's judgment burned themselves out on Him, and all who are in Christ are safe forever, for they are now standing where the fire has been!