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43He said to them, “How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,
43. How then does David by the Spirit call him Lord. The assertion made by Christ, that David spoke by the Spirit, is emphatic; for he contrasts the prediction of a future event with the testimony of a present event. By this phrase he anticipates the sophistry by which the Jews of the present day attempt to escape. They allege that this prediction celebrates the reign of David, as if, representing God to be the Author of his reign, David would rise above the mad attempts of his enemies, and affirmed that they would gain nothing by opposing the will of God. That the scribes might not shelter themselves under such an objection, Christ began with stating that the psalm was not composed in reference to the person of David, but was dictated by the prophetic Spirit to describe the future reign of Christ; as it may easily be learned even from the passage itself, that what we read there does not apply either to David, or to any other earthly king; for there David introduces a king clothed with a new priesthood, by which the ancient shadows of the Law must be abolished, (Psalm 110:4)
We must now see how he proves that Christ will hold a higher rank than to be merely descended from the seed of David. It is because David, who was king and head of the people, calls him Lord; from which it follows, that there is something in him greater than man. But the argument appears to be feeble and inconclusive; for it may be objected that, when David gave the psalm to the people to sing, without having any view to his own person, he assigned to Christ dominion over others. But to this I reply that, as he was one of the members of the Church, nothing would have been more improper than to shut himself out from the common doctrine. Here he enjoins all the children of God to boast, as with one voice, that they are safe through the protection of a heavenly and invincible King. If he be separated from the body of the Church, he will not partake of the salvation promised through Christ. If this were the voice of a few persons, the dominion of Christ would not extend even to David. But now neither he, nor any other person, can be excluded from subjection to him, without cutting himself off from the hope of eternal salvation. Since then there was nothing better for David than to be included in the Church, it was not less for himself than for the rest of the people that David composed this psalm. In short, by this title Christ is pronounced to be supreme and sole King, who holds the preeminence among all believers; and no exception ought to be allowed to ranking all in one class, when he is appointed to be the Redeemer of the Church. There can be no doubt, therefore, that David represents himself also as a subject of his government, so as to be reckoned one of the number of the people of God.
But now another question arises: Might not God have raised up one whom he appointed from among mankind to be a Redeemer, so as to be David’s Lord, though he was his son? For here it is not the essential name of God, but only Adonai 8383 Our authorized version of Psalm 110:1 runs thus: The Lord said unto my Lord. While the word Lord occurs twice in this clause, the Translators have followed their ordinary method of printing the first in small capitals, to present it to the eye of the reader as standing for the Hebrew word יהוה, (Jehovah,) which our Author calls “the essential name of God,” while the second stands for (אדני), (Adonai,) my Lord, which, as he also mentions, “is frequently applied to men.” — Ed. that is employed, and this term is frequently applied to men. I reply: Christ takes for granted that he who is taken out of the number of men, and raised to such a rank of honor, as to be the supreme Head of the whole Church, is not a mere man, but possesses also the majesty of God. For the eternal God, who by an oath makes this claim for himself, that
before him every knee shall bow, (Isaiah 45:23,)
at the same time swears that
he will not give his glory to another, (Isaiah 42:8.)
But, according to the testimony of Paul, when Christ was raised to kingly power,
And though Paul had never said this, yet such is the fact, that Christ is above David and other holy kings, because he also ranks higher than angels; which would not apply to a created man, unless he were also
God manifested in the flesh, (1 Timothy 3:16.)
I do acknowledge that his divine essence is not expressed directly and in so many words; but it may easily be inferred that He is God, who is placed above all creatures.