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34For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

‘The Lord said to my Lord,

“Sit at my right hand,

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34. For doubtless David Although they might easily gather by the very effect which they saw with their eyes, that the principality was granted and given to Christ, yet to the end his glory may carry the greater credit, he proveth, by David his testimony, that it was so appointed in times past by God, that Christ should be lifted up unto the highest degree of honor. For these words, to “sit at the right hand of God,” import as much as to bear the chief rule, as we shall afterward more at large declare. Yet before he reciteth the prophecy, he saith that it agreeth only to Christ. Therefore, to the end the sense may be more manifest, the sentence must thus run. David pronounceth that it was decreed by God that a king should sit at his right hand. But this doth not appertain unto David, who was never extolled unto so great dignity. Therefore lie speaketh this of Christ. Furthermore, that ought to have seemed no strange thing unto the Jews which was foretold by the oracle of the Holy Ghost. Hereby it appeareth in what sense Peter denieth that David ascended into heaven. He intreateth not in this place of the soul of David, whether it were received into blessed rest, and the heavenly dwelling or no; but the ascending into heaven comprehendeth under it those things which Paul teacheth in the Epistle to the Ephesians, (Ephesians 4:9), where he placeth Christ above all heavens, that he may fulfill all things. Wherefore the disputation concerning the estate of the dead is altogether superfluous in this place. For Peter goeth about to prove no other thing but this, that the prophecy concerning the sitting at the right hand of God was not fulfilled in David, and that, therefore, the truth thereof must be sought elsewhere. And forasmuch as it can be found nowhere else save only in Jesus Christ, it resteth that the Jews 125125     “Prophetia admoniti,” admonished by prophecy, omitted. do know that that is showed to them in Christ which was foretold them so long before. That is true, indeed, that David reigned, God being the author hereof, and, in some respect, he was God’s vicegerent; yet not so that he might be above all creatures. Wherefore, this sitting agreeth to none, unless he excel and be above all the whole world.

The Lord said unto my Lord. This is the most lawful manner of ruling, when as the king (or by what other title soever he be called) doth know that he is ordained of God, therefore David pronounceth that the commandment to reign was given unto Christ by name, (Psalm 110:1.) As if he should say, He took not the honor to himself rashly, but did only obey God when he commanded him, (Hebrews 5:5.) Now must we see whether Peter’s reason be sound enough or no. He gathereth that the words concern Christ, because the sitting at the right hand of God doth not agree to David. It seemeth that this may be refuted, because David did reign by the peculiar commandment, name, and help of God; which is to sit at the right hand of God. But Peter taketh that for a thing which all men grant, which is true, and which I have already touched, that a greater and more royal government is here spoken of than that which David did enjoy. For howsoever he was God’s vicegerent and did, as it were, represent his person in reigning, yet is this power far inferior to that, to sit even at the right side of God. For this is attributed to Christ, because he is placed above all principality, and above every name that is named, both in this world, and in the world to come, (Ephesians 1:21.) Seeing that David is far inferior to the angels, he doth possess no such place that he should be counted next to God. For he must ascend far above all heavens, that he may come to the right hand of God. Wherefore no man is said to sit at it, rightly and properly, save only he which doth surpass all creatures in the degree of honor. As for him which is resident amongst the creatures, although he be reckoned in the order of angels, yet is he far from that highness. Again, we must not seek the right hand of God amongst the creatures; but it doth also surpass all heavenly principalities.

Furthermore, there is great weight even in the sentence itself. The king is commanded to bear the chiefest rule, until God have put all his enemies under his feet. Surely, although I grant that; he name of such an honorable sitting may be applied unto earthly lordship: yet do I deny that David did reign until such time as all his enemies were subdued. For we do hereby gather that the kingdom of Christ is eternal. But the kingdom of David was not only temporal, but also frail, and of a small continuance.

Moreover, when David died, he left many enemies alive here and there he got many notable victories, but he was far from subduing all his enemies. He made many of those people which were round about him tributaries to him; some did he put to flight and destroyed; but what is all this unto all? Finally, we may prove by the whole text of the Psalm, that there can nothing else be understood save only the kingdom of Christ. That I may pass over other things: that which is here spoken touching the eternal priesthood is too far disagreeing from David’s person. I know that the Jews do prattle, that kings’ sons are called elsewhere cohenim. But he intreateth here of the priesthood as it is ascribed by Moses to the king Melchizedek. And there is established by a solemn oath a certain new kind of priesthood. And, therefore, we must not here imagine any common or ordinary thing. But it had been wickedness for David to thrust himself into any part of the priest’s office. How should he then be called cohen, greater than Aaron, and consecrated of God for ever? But because I do not intend at this present to expound the whole Psalm, let this reason suffice which Peter bringeth: That he is made Lord of heaven and earth, which sitteth at the right hand of God. As touching the second member of the verse, read those things which I have noted upon the fifteenth chapter (1 Corinthians 15:25) of the former Epistle to the Corinthians, concerning the putting of his enemies under his feet.