Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The Messiah Most High Pt. 2b

Sam Shamoun

We proceed with our analysis.


David’s Sovereign Lord

Jesus not only referred to himself as the Son of Man of Daniel’s vision, who also identified himself as the Lord of David who sits enthroned at God’s right hand:

“A Psalm of David. The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’” Psalm 110:1

Note Jesus’ exegesis of this particular text:

“And Jesus began to say, as He taught in the temple, ‘How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself said in the Holy Spirit, “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, Until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet.’” David himself calls Him “Lord”; so in what sense is He his son?’ And the large crowd enjoyed listening to Him.” Mark 12:35-37

The Lord wasn’t the only One to make allusion or reference to this particular Psalm:

“So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.” Mark 16:19

“For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” Acts 2:34-36

Christ’s reasoning implies that David’s Lord has to be more than a mere human descendant of David in order for him to be his Lord. The implication is that the Messiah must be much more than a man, he must also be fully divine, which explains why he can sit next to God on his heavenly throne, thereby sharing in his sovereign rule over the entire creation:

The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, you His angels, who are mighty, and do His commands, and obey the voice of His word. Bless the Lord, all you His hosts; you servants who do His pleasure.” Psalm 103:19-21


The Most High that Reigns

In light of the foregoing, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find the NT depicting the risen Christ as the Most High who is exalted as the Head and Ruler of every creature:

“and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:19-23

“For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority… Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” Colossians 2:9-10, 3:1

“Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.” 1 Peter 3:21-22


The One Who is to be Worshiped and Feared

Nor should it be surprising to discover the Christian Scriptures proclaiming that the risen Lord shall judge every creature in order to repay each person for what s/he has earned:

“But when the Son of Man comes in HIS glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on HIS glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before HIM; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…’ Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels…’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:31-34, 41, 46

“and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.” John 5:27

As such, everyone must learn to worship and fear this One, since he holds the destiny of every individual in his hand:

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.” 2 Corinthians 5:10-11

“and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” Ephesians 5:21

In fact, every creature must worship him,

“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

In the same exact manner that they worship Yahweh God Most High:

“Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.” Isaiah 45:21-23

“But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.  For it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God.’” Romans 14:10-11

“For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son EVEN AS they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” John 5:22-23

“And EVERY CREATED THING which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne, AND TO THE LAMB, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.’ And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.” Revelation 5:13-14


The God-Man Reigns!

Now it begins to make sense. The reason why David was promised to reign alongside Yahweh as the Most High over all the kings of the earth, with all the nations being in subjection to him, is because he foreshadowed the One to come. And as our examination has proven, this Figure is no mere human; rather, he is God Almighty himself who enters into the world in order to become a human descendant of David so as to fulfill all the Davidic promises. According to the inspired NT documents, this God-Man who comes to reign forever is none other than our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The inspired author of Hebrews sums it up best:

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, ‘And let all the angels of God worship Him.’… But of the Son He says, ‘Your throne, O God (ho Theos), is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness above Your companions.’ And, ‘You, Lord [the Son], in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of Your hands; They will perish, but You remain; And they all will become old like a garment, And like a mantle You will roll them up; Like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.’ But to which of the angels has He ever said, ‘Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies A footstool for Your feet’?” Hebrews 1:1-3, 6, 8-13 – cf. 8:1-2; 10:12-13; 12:2

Here we see Christ being depicted as God’s unique Son and Heir, the Agent and Sustainer of all creation, the radiance of God’s glory, as well as the exact copy or representation of God’s infinite, uncreated substance. In light of such accolades, it only makes sense that God would command all his angels to worship his Son and even go as far as to personally praise him for being the God who reigns on high forever and ever.

What all of this shows is that, even though the promise to reign as the Most High was made to David, God never intended to exalt him to that status and position. Rather, God’s purpose was to use David as a type, a picture, of the Messiah to come who would be the One to actually share in God’s status as the Most High over all the earth since this Anointed Figure is no mere human being. Rather, the Messianic King is the eternal, divine Son of God, his very beloved Heir, who fully shares the very uncreated essence of God himself, and is therefore worthy to receive the worship of every created thing as he rules as the Head of the entire creation forever and ever. 

Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptural citations taken from the New American Standard Version of the Holy Bible (NASB).