The details in this psalm began with the enthronement of the Saviour following his ascension to heaven. What happened then was the focus of verses 1-4. In the remaining verses, the psalmist moves on to what will take place in the future, at the second coming of Jesus. Psalm 110, therefore, is an example of several Old Testament prophecies that combine the first and second comings of Jesus. This feature has been likened to two hills with an unseen valley between them. One hill was the ascension and the second hill is the second coming. From the psalmist’s perspective, there was not a long time gap between them, but we know that there has been almost 2,000 years so far.
In order to explain what will happen when Jesus returns, the psalmist uses the imagery of ancient warfare except that this battle is very different from any that have taken place previously. The battlefield is the whole earth and the enemy is the nations and their leaders who have resisted the rule of Christ from heaven. Jesus will have a complete victory. Even the combined resources of his opponents will prove futile once he comes to judge.
The time of this awesome event is fixed and unknown. It is fixed as far as God is concerned and unknown as far as we are concerned. Yet we should remember that just as God as arranged for other important days, so he has decreed when the Day of Judgement will take place.
The reference in verse 7 to the Messiah ‘drinking from the brook by the way’ illustrates his haste. In ancient times, a general would not have time during a battle to stop for a meal, as it were, but would only take a short drink from a stream before continuing with his fight. It is not a literal prediction of what Jesus will do, but it does remind us that once he begins to judge he will do nothing else until he completes it.
There is a big difference between the first and second comings of Jesus. When he came the first time, he came with the purpose of dying for sinners. The reason for his second coming will be to judge the world. The way to escape the judgement is to depend on what he did during his first coming, when he paid the penalty for sin on the cross of Calvary.