Justified By Christ In The Psalms 

The Anointed One

Introduction To Christ: The Anointed One 
We are introduced to Christ in the Psalms as God’s Anointed (Ps. 2:2 ESV), whom God also calls “my King” (v.6). Whenever “the king” is mentioned in Psalms it is speaking of the occupant of the throne of Israel, usually King David. However, when “the king” is called “the Anointed” 1 the psalmist greek golden lyre. Rasterized illustration. Vector version alsocan also be prophesying about the Messiah (Christ). Psalm 2 is a prophecy concerning those last days of the Tribulation period when Christ is installed as King of Kings: “I have anointed My king upon Zion, the hill of My holiness” (v.6, JND). In verses 7-9, Christ, as Son, announced His inheritance promised by God.

Psalm 89 details the covenant that Jehovah made with David in 2 Samuel 7:4-17. Verses 3-4 repeat the oath that Messiah’s kingdom would be established forever, that is, enduring until the end of time.2 The Davidic covenant is confirmed in verses 19-37. We read: “I have found David, My servant; with My holy oil I have anointed him … And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth … I will keep for him forever, and My covenant will stand firm for him. I will establish his offspring forever and his throne as the days of the heavens” (vv.20,27-29 ESV).

Psalm 132:10-14 reiterates the oath, emphasizing Jehovah’s [the Lord’s] sovereignty. The Holy Spirit tells us in verses 13-14, “For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place: ‘This is My resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it.’”

Many other psalms in which neither the act of anointing nor the name “Anointed” occur are recognized as “messianic psalms” because they speak of Christ even though not all the verses of each chapter apply to Him.3 In Luke 24:26-27,44-46 He said that the Psalms spoke of His sufferings as well as His glory. Psalm 22 and 69 describe the deep emotions He felt as He endured abusive and unjust treatment from men and suffered under God’s rod for sin.4 The Gospel writers drew verses and phrases from these two psalms. They also describe aspects of other psalms as being fulfilled.5 Two of Christ’s sayings on the cross use words of David, the psalmist. Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 quote Psalm 22:1, which says: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Luke 23:46, “Father, into your hands I commit My spirit!” quotes part of Psalm 31:5.

Christ In Psalm 2: From His Birth Through Servitude To Enthronement On Zion
Psalm 2 opens with descriptions of the world powers at Armageddon.6 But in verses 7-9 Christ speaks of His Father’s declaration to Him at His birth: “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you” (v.7, compare Acts 13:33). This eternal relationship continues to be true of Christ as Man.

In Acts 4:23-28 the disciples apply Psalm 2:1-2 to the way God’s Servant was opposed during His life, especially at His trial and at the cross. Yet God’s counsels for His Christ were fulfilled – Christ has, by redemption, the rights to take the authority of the kingdom (see Revelation 5:7). Yes, God is ready to enthrone His Christ in Zion!

Christ In Psalm 16: The Dependent Man On The Path Of Life
Preaching at Pentecost, Peter quoted Psalm 16:8-11 and stated that David was actually speaking about Christ (Acts 2:23-32). But the whole psalm is messianic. The contents of the Lord’s prayer life are disclosed in verses 1-6. He single-mindedly walked the path of life as the dependent Man. His complete refuge was in His God whom He fully trusted for all good (vv.1-2). In verse four the Christ is seen as the true Israelite and the godly Man who set Himself apart for God and His people (compare with Exodus 23:13 and Psalm 1:1-3). He chose the LORD as His portion (v.5, also see Numbers 18:20); and the Christ was entirely satisfied with the lot, or portion, and the inheritance assigned to Him for His life on earth (v.6, consider Deuteronomy 10:9, 18:1-2). The counsel given by the LORD dominated His thinking, even during the night (v.7). Having the LORD and His will as the sole objects of His life, He was confident of God’s support and protection (vv.8-9). He even faced death and burial knowing His soul would not be left in Sheol (Greek: Hades) and His body would not “see corruption” (v.10KJV). For Him the path of life concluded with His resurrection and ascension7 to God’s right hand (vv.10-11)!

Christ In Psalm 91: The Man Whom God Guarded In All His Ways
Christ is also seen as the dependent Man in Psalm 91: “I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’” (v.2 ESV). This psalm is unique in that all three divine persons of the Trinity speak in it. In verse one the Spirit, through the psalmist, assures Christ of the Almighty’s protection because Christ always lived in constant, secret communion with Him. The practical meaning of this assurance is told out in verses 3-13 where the Spirit continues to speak to Christ. Christ’s confidence is rewarded by God the Father because of their mutual, eternal relationship of love. There are seven “I will’s” in verses 14-16 of what God says He will do with His Christ. “I will set him on high” (v.14, KJV/JND) is seen in the resurrection and ascension of Christ to God’s right hand (see Psalm 21:2-6).

Christ In Psalm 110: The King-Priest
Christ Himself cited verse 1 when He replied to the Pharisees’ answer to His question: “What do you think about Christ? Whose Son is He?” (Mt. 22:41-45 ESV). Verse 1 is an oracle [prophecy] of what the LORD (Jehovah) said to David’s Lord (Adonai). “Sit at My right hand” was uttered by God the Father to Christ at His ascension. As the most quoted or inferred text in the New Testament,8 it is essential to the whole superstructure of Christian doctrine [inclusive of all of the Christian teachings beyond the person of Christ Himself, built on Him who is the foundation]. God’s right hand is the place of power, supremacy, stability and certainty – the correct place for Him who is both Son and heir! From verse 2 we learn that “until I make your enemies your footstool” means until Christ is actually reigning in Zion as the King of Kings, for the oracle continues, “Rule in the midst of Your enemies!” (see Ps. 2:6,9).

We see that Hebrews 10:11-14 explains Psalm 110:1-2 in terms of Christ’s finished work of salvation. For us His place at God’s right hand highlights His present activity as our High Priest. He is there “a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek”9 – the oath of Psalm 110:4. Hebrews 1 proves Christ’s deity as Son and concludes with the oath of Psalm 110:1 (v.13). Hebrews 5-7 expands on the meaning of the oath (and of the mysterious person Melchizedek). Specifically, our High Priest is beyond death and is living in God’s presence in the power of an endless (eternal) life. Therefore He is able to help, support and maintain all believers in their Christian pathway. We also see that the meaning of Melchizedek’s name and who he was – king of righteousness and king of peace (Heb. 7:2) – brings into focus two important features of Christ’s kingdom on earth. Psalm 110:5-7 concludes Jehovah’s oracles by outlining the way in which the Warrior-King will execute His judgments upon the nations to establish His everlasting kingdom.

Christ In Psalm 8: The Son Of Man Who Has Universal Dominion
Psalm 8 primarily celebrates the glory of creation and man’s (Adam’s) position in it: “Jehovah our LORD, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth!” (vv.1,9 JND). Unlike verse 9, verse 1 continues and finishes with “Who hast set Thy majesty above the heavens.” “Majesty” is the visible manifestation of the Presence of Jehovah10 displayed by His Christ in the physical kingdom of God upon earth (compare 2 Peter 1:16-19). Prophetically, Psalm 8 anticipates the climax of this present creation – the universal reign of the Christ as the Son of Man. Adam failed in administration and stewardship, but Christ will succeed when He is set over all the works of God’s hand, that is, both the terrestrial/earthly and astronomical/heavenly creations (see Ephesians 1:10,22).

First Corinthians 15:45,47 describe Christ as the last Adam and the second Man and answer the (implied) question of Psalm 8:4, “Who is the real Son of Man?” Christ frequently claimed the title “Son of Man” for Himself. Variations of the phrase “You have put all things under his feet” (Ps. 8:6 ESV) are used in three passages to substantiate several truths of Christianity:

  • Hebrews 2:5-10 quotes Psalm 8:4-6. The Son of God became the Son of Man in order to suffer death for everyone (Heb. 2:9). While not everything is in subjection to Him now, we do see the Lord at God’s right hand in His office of High Priest, to help and sympathize with believers and to provide grace for daily living.
  • Ephesians 1:20-23 recounts how God raised and seated Christ at His right hand, establishing Him as universal Lord and Head.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 describes the “first resurrection,” from Christ’s resurrection to the end of time and into eternity. Christ is the guarantor that everyone “in Christ” will be raised to life immortal (vv.20-23,50-55). In verse 26 He deals with man’s greatest enemy – Christ is the victor over death! The victory song of Psalm 8:5-9 is echoed in the words of verses 24-25: “all rule,” “all authority,” “all power” and “all enemies under His feet.”

Christ In Psalm 24: The King Of Glory
Christ has moral, official and personal rights to claim the kingdom. But, most fundamentally, He has creatorial and sovereign rights to it (vv.1-2). The earth with all its fullness and populations was designed to give satisfaction and bring glory to its Creator. This will actually happen during the millennial reign of Christ when “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD” (Hab. 2:14; Isa. 11:9).11

Christ In Psalm 102: “The Same” Who Abides Forever
Hebrews 1:10-12 uses Psalm 102:25-27 as one of the proof-texts of Christ’s essential deity as Son. But the whole psalm is messianic and gives an insight into the Lord’s prayers in Gethsemane. The title together with verses 1-11,23 express the extremity of His grief (read Luke 22:44). Psalm 102:10 gives the reason for His death: “because of your indignation and anger.” His prayer in verse 24 is interrupted by the Father’s ready response, which continues through verse 27, reminding Him, “but you are the same, and thy years shall have no end.” (A footnote in the Darby Translation for verse 27 adds “the Same” is a name of God meaning “The existing One, who does not change.”) And verses 12-22 state it is through Him, who is also “the Afflicted One” (title), that the promises regarding Zion will be fulfilled (see Jeremiah 33:14-16)!

Concluding Thought
It is quite apparent that we can enjoy many aspects of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, throughout the Psalms. May we appreciate who He truly is, enjoying our relationship with Him and living in faithfulness to the One who was, is and always will be above all others. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and to the ages to come” (Heb. 13:8 JND).

1. Ps. 2:2, 18:50, 20:6, 28:8, 45:7, 84:9, 89:20,38,51, 132:10,17.
2. Compare Daniel 2:44, 4:34-35, 6:26, 7:13-14,27 with 2 Peter 1:11.
3. Ps. 2, 8, 16, 22, 24, 31, 34, 40, 41, 45, 68, 69, 72, 89, 91, 102, 110, 118 and see note 1 where Christ is called “the Anointed.”
4. Ps. 22:1-2,6-8,11-21, 69:1-4,6-21.
5. Ps. 41:9 (Jn. 13:18), Ps. 34:20 (Jn.19:36), Ps. 118:22-23 (Mt. 21:42), Ps. 22:18 (Mt. 27:35; Jn. 19:24), Ps. 69:21 (Jn. 19:28-30), Ps. 35:19, 69:4 (Jn. 15:25).
6. Rev. 16:13-16, 19:17-21.
7. Eph. 4:7-16 explains what happened at the ascension and its meaning with respect to the gifts given to Church by its ascended Head and uses Ps. 68:18 as the Scripture text.
8. Mt. 22:44, 26:64; Mk. 10:37, 12:36, 14:62, 16:19; Lk. 20:42, 22:69; Acts 2:33-34, 5:31, 7:55-56; Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3,13, 8:1, 10:12, 12:2; 1 Pet. 3:22; Rev. 5:1,7.
9. Heb. 5:6,10, 6:20, 7:11,17.
10. 1 Chr. 29:11; Ps. 45:3, 93:1.
11. Ps.72 details the glory of the King’s reign.

By David Anderson

With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website:



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