Psalm 110:1 is a prophecy of the ultimate subjection of all authority and enemies to the rule of the Messiah. But, in addition to teaching this truth, Psalm 110:1 is sometimes used in the scriptures to uphold another truth. Such is the case with its appearance in Acts 2:33-36. The authority of Christ to command is shown but in addition the psalm is used to pinpoint the time of the beginning of the kingdom of God.
John and Jesus both began their ministry preaching, “Repent ye for the kingdom of God is at hand.” Yet the fact that both said the kingdom was at hand or near, neither gave specific details when that kingdom would actually begin. Disciples were taught many truths about the nature of the kingdom, yet when the apostles perceived Jesus was about to leave them and return back to the Father, they asked Him, “Lord, dost thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). Jesus told them, “It is not for you to know time or seasons which the Father has set within his own authority …” (Acts 1:7) and they were then told to go into the city and wait for the promised coming of the Holy Spirit. And so they did. About ten days later the Spirit that had been promised both by John and Jesus came on the day called Pentecost. “And when the day of Pentecost was now come they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven the sound as of a rushing mighty wind and they were all filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them tongue like as of fire, parting asunder and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4).
The coming of the Spirit on Pentecost was not only the fulfillment of the promise of John and Jesus; it was something promised by Joel many, many years before (Joel 2:28-29). Peter quoted Joel in his sermon on that day, telling those who were present that the things they saw and heard were things which Joel had prophesied about (Acts 2:16-21). It was on that day that he preached the first gospel sermon. In his sermon Peter charged the Jews with having put to death Jesus whom he identified as “a man approved of God” but whom God had raised from the dead. Such an affirmation was an incredible statement and Peter set about to prove what he had affirmed by first testifying that he and the other apostles all were witnesses of the resurrected Christ. He further stated that God had predicted the resurrection of Christ through David (Psa. 16:8-9; Acts 2:25-27), and finally he told them that the things they saw and heard that day were things which Jesus Himself had “shed forth” (Acts 2:33), meaning, of course, that He had to be alive if He had just sent the Holy Spirit.
Furthermore, Peter affirmed that right then Jesus was “at the right hand of God exalted.” He had received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33). When Peter said Jesus had received of the Father the “promise of the Holy Spirit,” he did not mean that Jesus had received the Holy Spirit. He meant that Jesus had received the promise the Holy Spirit had given. That promise was spoken by David: “The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand till I make thy enemies thy footstool.” Peter has said that Jesus was “at the right hand of God exalted” (Acts 2:33), that he had received from the Father the promise the Holy Spirit had given (cp. Psa. 110:1). Then he told them that they were to all know assuredly that God had made Him Lord and Christ, quoting Psalm 110:1 as his proof that God had done so. The question Jesus had left unanswered on the day of His ascension (“Dost thou at this time restore again the kingdom of God to Israel?”) has now been answered. Centuries before Daniel spoke especially of this day when he wrote, “I saw in the night visions and behold there came with the clouds of heaven (cp. Acts 1:9) one like unto a son of man (Jesus, jm), and he came even to the ancient of days (the Eternal Father, jm), and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion and glory, and a kingdom that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:13-14). That kingdom was given to him on Pentecost, for if Christ had begun His rule, it is evident that His kingdom had begun for Him to rule over.
Since Christ had begun His rule, it was now time to open the gates to the kingdom of God! Jesus had already given the keys of it to Peter (Mt. 16:13-19) and use those keys he did. Multitudes were convicted by Peter they had crucified God’s Son and in anguish they “cried out to Peter and the other apostles, Brethren what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Peter could joyfully, confidently tell them, “Repent ye, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins …” (Acts 2:38-39). Those were the keys to the kingdom then. They are the keys to the kingdom today! The kingdom has come and Peter’s quotation of Psalms 110:1 on Pentecost is our assurance of that! Peter agreed with this assessment for in Act 11:15 he looked back to Acts 2 and said of it “at the beginning.”