W W W World Wide Web Witness Inc. Home Page Contents Page for Volume What is New
GATEWAY TO PARADISE
PSALM 118, 18 and Company
Has it ever struck you that in saying, "I am the door, whoever enters by Me will be saved, and go in and out and find pasture!" (John 10:9) has the closest association to the words of the Messianic Psalm118, cited by Christ in Matthew 21:42-44!
Consider the Psalm in vv. 15-26.
"The voice of rejoicing and salvation
is in the tabernacles of the righteous:
the right hand of the LORD works valiantly.
"The right hand of the LORD is exalted:
the right hand of the LORD works valiantly.
I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.
The LORD hath chastened me severely:
but He hath not given me over to death.
"Open to me the gates of righteousness:
I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD:
This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter.
I will praise You: for You have heard me, and have become my salvation.
"The stone which the builders rejected has become the headstone of the corner.
This is the LORDíS doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
This is the day which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
"Save now, I beseech You, O LORD:
O LORD, I beseech You, send now prosperity.
Blessed be He that cometh in the name of the LORD:
we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD."
Here we see the dramatic heights which come from what precedes in Psalm 118. In distress, the Psalmist has called on the name of the Lord, and it is by His action that the supplicant will be delivered from those who hate him. The reflection is apt in this setting, that it is better to put one's trust in the Lord than in princes. HERE is the incomparable justice, the unsearchable wisdom and the profound wit that walks with power. Here is the proper site for trust.
The severe challenge to the Psalmist mounted, we read. ALL NATIONS, it proceeds, surrounded me. Yet despite their power and arrogant assault, we learn, these attacking human multitudes and peoples will be quenched in their massive and murderous lust and thrust. The Lord is His strength and has become His salvation. So will He be delivered.
You will notice that the capital letter is now added; for it is clear that all nations as adversaries and the power to overthrow this international consortium of adversarial, confrontational hatred is that to be found in the deliverance of the Messiah, just as in Psalm 2, where the nations are mocked for their endeavours to quench the Christ (Greek word for the Hebrew Messiah) and so disrupt His thought and plan. Disrupt ? The Psalmist in that Psalm is moved to irony and scorn at such pretentious self-elevation.
Will you indeed thrust aside the Messiah, the anointed of the Lord! (Psalm 2), the Lord challenges in His own way. Think again, comes the challenge from Psalm 2. Peter cites it in the then contemporary assault on the Messiah, at Pentecost.
In His prophetic forecast, Psalm 118 tells us that the Lord will set Him safe in Jerusalem despite this murderous, mordant attack of hatred from man. Indeed, He will beget Him as if from the womb, in resurrection (Psalm 2:7-10, Acts 13:33).
Nor is this some dream; for in its time, the wheel will turn over completely and it is the Lord so disregarded, hated and mutilated (as Isaiah 52-53 details it for us), who will bring in a judgment so decisive, incisive and profound that detractors, scorners, murderers at heart, 'judges' of the earth are given a warning (Psalm 2:10-12). Take heed! If they do not repent and seek Him, showing devotion and willingness to worship, who will deliver them! If GOD is against them, who can be for them! Respond TO Him, lest in anger, God bring on a justice which is only to apt for those who hate Him, and hence reject His mercy, which the Messiah brought to bear, not only in Israel, but in the whole world ... as NOW! It is addressed to one nation and to one people and to all peoples, to the kings and high-flown, self-accredited judges of the earth, to all.
The time that ends the Age as foretold by Christ, will surely come (Matthew 24:8,14,23,29ff. with Matthew 25).
It is a long 2000 years, but then Peter in II Peter 3:9 warned of this very thing. Don't get impatient for His return, he indicated, for 1000 years years is s a day in this setting. When God brings wisdom and wit, mercy and love, grace and power to bear in the Messiah and then confronts the world with it, then time is provided. It is not forever, but sufficient is its duration, that all nations become aware (Matthew 24:12). Making a world is no small thing; costing and paying for salvation is profound; the end of it and the coming of a new heaven and earth (Matthew 24:35, II Peter 2) is not a daily occurrence. TO the contrary, the Lord gives us all a vast expanse, but for all that, NOT an endless one, before He comes, crucified once, regal to rule at length.
In the end, if HE did not intervene and come back in His regal return, He showed, the world would gobble itself up because of sin and wars and worries and defilement of spirit and nature! (Matthew 24:21-22). Such resides in the message of Jesus Christ in Matthew 24.
In Psalm 118, there is the same entourage ready to betray, to attack, to murder, a belligerence toward the Christ, Jesus the Saviour, from the nations. We gain insight in prophetic foresight.
There is the same coming Lordship of the Messiah, as in Psalm 118:19-24 (3rd paragraph in above quotation). HE, who was reviled and hated, is to become the very stability and strength, the mark and feature, the focus and chief point in the entire edifice of mankind! The stone the builders rejected will become the chief. It is a day of rejoicing for it terminates an Age of turmoil, one of ceaseless adversarial dynamic against the salvation of God in the Messiah. No, as in Psalm 2, He will not die but live. As in Revelation 1:18, from His own mouth, we find this of the very much alive Saviour:
"I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore. Amen.
And I have the keys of hell and of death."
As in Psalm 2, it is no mere terrestrial matter; but celestial, one of shame and shambles or light and truth, of discord or concord, and all is shown in prior record, for God knows precisely what He is doing (cf. Romans 8:29ff., Ephesians 1:4, Isaiah 46:8). His plans are not, like some climate ones this day discounted in part by a climatology expert in a report in The Australian (August 8, 2011, p.1), as to be taken with a grain of salt. In the current climate case, this IS so, an expert is reported to declare. Why ? he states that it is because there is often a failure to test the data on the field, while mere, inadequate postulations rage on (the view of Professor Charles Finkl, the editor-in-chief of Journal of Coastal Research).
After all, one must make the point that putting inadequate ideas into a computer does not sanctify them, but merely expresses them! They can thus swerve this way or that in response to cultural, political or ideological pressures. This is not to comment at this point on the climate actualities, but on method, man's method and its dangers and perils.
Not so with God. His is a sovereign who created not only the weather, but also the heart and the spirit of man which has so painstakingly fallen into disarray, disingenuity, dissavour and disrespect toward Him, yes, even of one another, mingled with hatred both of God and of man on the part of whole multitudes. It might be urged that hatred of God is not always or even at all the case; but every IDOL which men take in place of God is a hatred emblem: for if I were your employer, and you continually made up, mocked-up images of someone else and kept these on your desk as your boss, and in your computer for use in any emergency, then hatred it would indeed be!
What then ? It would be a mocking dismissal, while they themselves were not dismissed, and a rejection allied with subversive subtlety. You would not only be displacing your employer, but acting as if somebody else filled this role, and blatantly and patently letting this appear by your actions, your courses of conduct, your evaluation and your way of handling things. The desk symbol would merely exacerbate the double-mindedness.
YOU CAN DISPLACE BUT NOT REPLACE
So to displace and degrade, if not ignore, and so to personify your preferences, as if you could hand over God's own power by your will, rather than merely your responsibility to an outrage which bears your signature, is worse than hatred. It is entire disjunction, deliberate dissuasion where will beats intellect, desire destroys conscience and rebellion overthrows reason in the most elementary manner (cf. Romans 1:17ff., Ephesians 4:17ff.*1). It is to give to God His marching papers, rather than to receive His presentation of the marching papers for the sin which demeans man, and the folly which unmans him, to make of a marvel, often what is beyond the beast in pure devilry, or self-satisfied self-sufficiency, so obviously untrue, as to be a dream voyage into vacuity, as if all wits had failed and reality were incapable of acknowledgement!
But all this, and all the powers and plans of the nations, directed to their own ambitions, constructions, concentrations, power groupings and the like, to their own philosophies and resources, with their own aspirations, inhibitions and conditions: these will be dealt with in their time. It will come in a massive, final confrontation, resembling in much, the red pen strokes of the examiner, who knows, and sets these on the paper of the floundering student who thinks he knows, but does not do so.
The hatred that killed that Messiah is confronted with that always so very awkward fact, that in His resurrection there is considerably more than comfort for those who love life, delight in eternal life and are ravished to realise that it is demonstrated, available and gifted to as many as receive this Messiah! It is the crux from the cross, but also the culmination of His work who showed the prevailing and unceasing power over sickness and death, repeatedly on a vast scale, as also to perform as only God can, and as only the Messiah HAD TO DO. It was thus He had to verify Himself (cf. Isaiah 29, 35), in order to identify Himself as the One sent for this long specified purpose, accurately dated fulfilment of what was written in the book of the prophets in the Bible (cf. Christ the Citadel... Ch. 2).
You see such a coming confrontation between God and man in many places, both in first onset, and final result, in such sites as Micah 7:15ff. (a book in which the Messiah is shown in Micah 5, along with His later judgments), along with Psalm 2 (cited by Peter at Pentecost), Isaiah 59, 65, Habakkuk 3, Psalm 18, 110, with the results of this on exhibition at sites such as Psalm 45, 72, 89, Isaiah 2, 9, 11, 26, 32, 40, 49, Micah 4, Matthew 25, Revelation 19-20, Isaiah 51, II Peter 3:1-13. He who died, yet lives, who was slain, banished death but left it in its putrescent power for those who insist on no pardon, no peace and no God, and in particular, no saving, predicted Messiah for purposes of their own hearts.
WHERE JERUSALEM LOST ITS JOY
Before we investigate the parallel Psalm 18, joined to 118, it is noteworthy that the statement in the latter, concerning the blessedness of the One who comes in the name of the Lord, the rejected Statesman, the despised Prince, are echoed in the New Testament. Thus in Luke 19 we find that as Christ came into Jerusalem, seated on an ass's colt as foretold in Zechariah 9:9, amid the many Messianic predictions in that book, nearly all already fulfilled (cf. SMR Chs. 8-9), the disciples of Christ were using this part of Psalm 118:
"Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD.'
Peace in the heaven and glory in the highest!"
It was being cried out, declaimed, vociferously shouted. Children were among those who clamoured to confess Him!
Christ clearly identified Himself by identifying with this Messianic figure, declaring quite clearly that it was He who was the stone rejected of the builders, to become the Headstone of the corner (Luke 20:17-18). The people by using this paean of praise, from Psalm 118, following the One rejected by man but endorsed by God, Jesus the Christ, were announcing in this manner their allegiance (though many under pressure of events did not pursue the point during the protracted, public murder to follow one week later).
Alas, just as Psalm 118 near its end, adds "Send now prosperity," following the identification of the Messiah and the report of His coming, then to be, but now long past, so long has been the interval. The 'now', with the murder of the Messiah, became very much 'then'!
IF they accepted Him, prosperity indeed had been their lot; but they did not. Instead, they relied on the extravaganzas and fanaticism of their leaders, even to the point of murder (cf. Matthew 27:25), led by their morally and spiritually fallen leaders. Long would it be before the conditions set by the Messiah, Jesus Christ, when He did come, would be met, so that prosperity COULD be given. Killing your God and employer does not hasten repose. It is WHEN they rejoice in and receive Him, that this long delay will terminate.
Christ gave them good notice, as seen in Luke 13:34-35: "
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
which kills the prophets,
and stones those who are sent to you!
How often would I have gathered your children together,
as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 3
"Behold, your house is left to you desolate: and truly I tell you,
You will not see Me, until the time comes when ye shall say,
'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.' "
Here, then, is a parable for the Gentile nations. They who have played so fast and loose with the Lord, coming and going and renewing and spewing, weaving and turning, and burning and killing, and denying and defying over the years, yes some 2000 of them: they too need to humble themselves and receive the long toyed with truth, so often banished, its disciples robbed and slain. Long will their prosperity come only to learn how to fall, and long will their lives fail (cf. Luke 21), even as man praises himself, amid horrible sights and sites. Further, long will tensions build before there is any peace there! Indeed, Revelation 19 shows that unlike the great movement that is to come toward the Lord in Israel, the Gentile nations take another course. They will be joined as in Revelation 13,17, in power-lust grouping, and will assail the Lord to their destruction.
As to that, it is better to learn with Israel, late, than never!
THE HIATUS IN HISTORY
Praise and faith in Christ, knowing the time of their visitation, of their opportunity would have meant an entirely different history for Israel (Luke 19:42ff.), and no wonder Christ wept for them, as God lamented as in Isaiah 48:16ff.. What then of the other nations, with a cumulative regress to come ? what of them ? We cannot avoid what they are groomed and ruined into becoming, but we CAN and SHOULD seek for many AMID them, the other nations as indeed in Israel, to lessen the calamities and expand the bounties of divine blessing.
Love in the heart surely leads to life in the mind, the desire and the thrust to present the way home to the lost, forward the Gospel and be faithful with it (as in Matthew 28:19-20), while bringing to God the glory due to His name, on whom all depends, for whom all is made, from whom anything of worth or value comes, above all, His love, mercy, truth and salvation. Indeed, this is the chief purpose of this site, for the confirmation and application of the Gospel, of the word of God, of the ways of deity for man, the way out of delusion to delight, of hostility to friendship with God, of the exit from evil to the finding and funding of the goodness of God.
Can many now learn from Israel and ITS day of opportunity ? They did not take it then, in Christ's day, nor was there repentance. Therefore, the death of mercy meant to roil in judgment, restless in its impact. Prosperity in terms of the power, peace and grace of God would await the day when the city would at length acclaim Him. If Israel the nation is still stubborn, to this day, then they merely give the enemies of the Lord the opportunity harass, murder, surround them as foretold. WHEN however there comes that vast change of heart which is so clearly predicted for them in Zechariah 12:10-13:1 as in Romans 11:25ff., THEN will come the deliverance of the Lord, and the power of God to completely transmute the situation, just as it will also lead to the regeneration of hearts (cf. Micah 7:15ff., Isaiah 65:20, Ezekiel 36-37).
Such beneficence however is not limited to them, but is open to anyone who comes, acclaiming the Lord in faith and repentance, putting trust in Him who died and rose from the dead, that He, the Redeemer, the triune God should be at peace with His people, being as is His due, Lord both of the living and of the dead (Romans 14:9).
So does Luke 19 show this remarkable accord, concord and intimate relationship with Psalm 118, His spiritual act, His gateway divine and His blessing for a people when ready to receive Him!
While on this topic of New Testament resonances with the Psalms, it is good to note that in Matthew 23:37ff., Christ in his lamentation for Jerusalem (which compares with that of Jeremiah both before and after its earlier devastation, for He was moved by the Spirit of God - cf. I Peter 1:10-12) is very close to another lament. It is to that of the Lord for the recalcitrant Jerusalem and Judah, as found in Isaiah 48:12-19. There is the same poignancy, intensity, empathy, pitiful pang! The Lord does not change, and in incarnation has the same heart as He had before He entered this world, creation of His authorised enterprise (Colossians 1:15). So does the Lord bring up things past and to come, with a ready facility, present the prediction and the performance not only to match the content, but to resemble the atmosphere and emotion of it as well. One God with one mind has one total Being which neither varies nor grows.
We who grow from infancy to psychically stout manhood or womanhood may think this a loss; but growth in man is essentially a dramatic, time-related, space-contained, richly textured series of events with meaning, matrixed in personality and moved in spirit. It then declines, as so often forgotten in these heroics of the restless human spirit. Does it learn in the meantime ? That is the question. A humble and a contrite heart is one essential to learn (cf. Isaiah 66:1-3), and the sacrifices required for salvation and cancellation of guilt with justice, all housed in ONE incarnate PERSON, Jesus Christ that is another!
Without this, man is merely a whizzing asteroid, hard to find its home, but if doing so, likely to damage what it hits! The chief and memorable growth is in his spirit, which if loosed from misalliance and dimness, borne to the Lord, born by His Spirit, may become that of a child of God indeed, whose end is never.
Small wonder, then, is it that the religious authorities (then as now, so often wrong to the point of murdering what they could of Jesus Christ, instead of worshipping Him - an error concerning infinity hard to distinguish from an infinite error because of its scope and consequences), in Christ's day found Him quite intolerable! Indeed, on hearing the popular acclaim above noted, accorded to Christ on what we now call Palm Sunday, they asked His disciples to quash it. No such talk should be permitted. Even less wonder is it that Christ countered by commenting in this way: IF, He declared, "if these should keep silent, the STONES WOULD IMMEDIATELY CRY OUT!" (Luke 19:40, caps. added).
In other words, so incisively decisive is the point of WHO HE IS, that FAILURE to acclaim, receive and operate on the basis of His salvation, of His words (as in Matthew 7:15ff.) is such a confrontation with truth is a matter of maelstrom. It CANNOT be, is impossible without derangement. By WORD attempt it, and the very furniture of the living room provided for man, the geological background would cry out, the stones exclaim, yes these would attest Him, and would not suffer such a situation.
This - since they DID seek to silence Him anyway, has been fulfilled in a variety of ways, of which two follow.
Firstly, within a generation, the poor tortured stones of such distinction and beauty, so lovingly prepared and erected for the Temple (in a way, rather like the case with man himself), into a thing of meaning and symbolism, usage and felicity, for the design of the Temple itself, which symbolised GOD and His salvations in various aspects, came to grief. They were dismantled. Instead of providing, by design, an ordered and meaningful masterpiece, they were mere objects on the earth, with no knowledge even of what they had been, and with nothing to show it! Yes, the stones cried out in Jerusalem, and the invading Romans went further: they even ploughed the land about the city, and salted it, at that!
Secondly, during many generations, the Gentiles, that is THE REST of the world, those not initially chosen as a mouth-piece and message-giver from God as Israel was (cf. Deuteronomy 4, 7, 12), were given their OWN opportunity. They too had their many churches, some national, their brilliant bursts of friendship with the Messiah, even at very considerable levels in various countries, their own mission programs and levels of worship - and we remember the NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER set through the British War Office, just before the miracle of Dunkirk, and the results.
There have been times, which however are largely lapsing. Gentile peoples too, largely and in most places, despite various elevations and wonders for a time, are increasingly turning it down, not least in Britain, whose Prince of Wales is keen to defend Islam and went to the USA to do so as well. They say, money talks; it does so more when power sings base to its tenor. At all events, the doom that came to Israel, in that it lost 1) its temple 2) its ability for a time to visit its site, 3) its nationality site, and 4) for millions, the lives of its members, and 5) its peace, is it not one of principle! (cf. Leviticus 26). Does it not now nip at the heels of the Gentiles, many of whom can scarcely contain their financial debt, just as they are indebted monumentally to God already, or for millions provide their mouths with food or their citizens with peace, as strain and gloom, tension and distress mount as predicted for them (Luke 21:25-28).
As if to mock their high-minded superiority (warned against by Paul in Romans 11:18-22, but largely unheeded), the Lord is now letting them find the results of being ungodly, and not always satisfied with that, even glorying in its degradation. Indeed, liberty of speech is being challenged increasingly as moral laws are massacred, not only in mind, but in body. To object to immorality biblically defined increasing is becoming legally actionable, suppressible. It is precisely as Romans 1 forecast, when mankind would not only engage in exceedingly evil conduct, but approve or commend those who did so! (Romans 1:28-32).
Thus President Obama, before becoming the first President of the USA in whose time in office, the credit rating of the US dollar declined from AAA to AA+, make two epochal announcements. First, the USA, he declared, is NOT a Christian nation. Well, that certainly at the FORMAL level clears some things up. Their method of being founded in the first place from Britain, their emphasis on trusting in God, even on coins, their insistence on freedom of worship, the spiritual institution of some of their prime bodies, such as Princeton, the traditions of their laws, the vast extent of their Christian Churches (most long since white-anted), all this can be, or at least was put to one side and an amorphous result was simply announced. It was not merely a separation of Church from State, but of a people from glory.
As if this were not enough, there was a cry to remove tiny little references to the Lord from certain gun sights. It might offend. It was forgotten that righteousness exalts a nation, and that sin is a reproach to ANY people, let alone to one so largely founded in terms of Christianity, as was the case with the USA.
In such a statement from the President, it was disesteemed that the definition of a Christian country is not only formal, but functional, so that this became a statement not of faith, but of dis-faith, and that from one claiming to be a Christian. But the classic came at Cairo. The Koran, well-known for attacking and seeking to remove from the Prince of peace, the earned titles of Redeemer, Saviour, Lord, who fulfilled in history what was foretold of Him, also stripped the deity from Him. Instead, even those who took Mecca by armed power forced on it their own religion, without the long testimony of the Bible and its testable authenticity, have a book from Muhammad's visions. This, the Koran, was was described by President Obama. In what way ? It was said to be a HOLY BOOK.
Is it holy so to treat the Messiah ? and is it not like the crucifixion, to rid Him of realities, just as Judaism did, but here, to do so by a reconstruction from one mind, without testability, and without warrant ? Is this what a Christian says of such deadly hostility to the Lord ? such a transvestite movement concerning the reality of God ? It is Christ or agnosticism, Christ or Islam, Christ or Judaism, and there is nothing in between. Holy ? The Koran holy ? is it this, in being an unhallowing assault on Jesus Christ ? And this is the view of a self-proclaimed Christian ? Worse, it is the statement of the current President of the USA!
It is of vast interest to note that within a relatively short time, measurable readily in months, since the Cairo speech (June 4, 2009), implicitly downgrading the credence in the God of the Bible in elevating the work of one demeaning the Lord's Messiah, there has been another downgrading for the once spiritually distinctive USA. It is this: the credit rating of this same USA has FOR THE FIRST TIME, itself been downgraded! Is it like a dance ? let us hope it will not progress, as a dance of death. Life is where it is to be found, and Christians must do ALL in the NAME of the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Journey to God ... Ch. 7). The tongue must talk where the feet stand (Colossians 3:17).
While this is a profound fall, the USA is not alone in its efforts to divest Christ from a people; indeed, its long history has been filled with examples of kindness sometimes approaching nobility, resource and resolve in the Lord, with amazing revivals and strong efforts to seek the Lord. But this! Alas, if often it has been strong to rejoice in the truth, yet what comes now sinks lower and lower. In the sight of the eyes, yes and of the heart, it is far worse than meriting some degradation of credit rating with Standard and Poor's ideas (though two other such agencies did not so act), for itself to PROVIDE a discounting declaration towards God in the President's characterisation of the country. It is worse yet when even this is fortified by strong sentiments towards the adversative people of a false prophet*1A (John 14:6, Matthew 24:24, Hebrews 13:8), Muhammad, whose words of forceful subjugation speak for themselves (cf. Divine Agenda Ch. 6), driving on his forces relentlessly. They spoke very loudly in Europe later, nearing take-over till the battle of Tours in 732 A.D..
Any President may announce where he stands; and if he is a consistent sort of person, he is EXPECTED to stand where he declares, and act in terms of the vision, perspective and credentials of his faith. It is not mandatory for others to follow; it does not mean that justice will be denied to any, or that privileges will be stripped from some sectors. It DOES mean that he will be adverse to enabling some morals, which depart from his understanding and conviction, and that on which it is based, which itself should be rational as well as revelatory, for God does not expect us to fail to use the minds given to us, and indeed challenges us to find a better thing (Isaiah 41, 43, 48) with better credentials... if we can.
It means that in truth, the Christian will NEVER speak as if culture were his god and he had to worship it, but rather of GOD BEING HIS GOD; and he will not deviate by one fraction of a millimetre from His ways, rules, statements and declarations, and believing this to be best for the individual as for the nation, will seek without penalty for opposing, to forward the vision. This is to be done, on penalty of hypocrisy, lest it creep in by confusing his presidency with a captivity. It is to be hoped that President Obama will recover, but meanwhile the nation roils and boils and contravenes each his neighbour so that the government houses seem less to house wisdom than discontent.
However this, in the USA, is but one illustration. As nation after nation falls to the hypnotism of international human culture, as Israel did to this or that example in its neighbours (notably as in II Kings ;16:8-12, in the case of slippery King Ahaz), the scene is prepared at this our day, for a suitable rebuke, such as came to Israel in its ancient time. God loves, and although He shows the meaning of the slaughter of the Site of Mercy, in Jesus Christ, it is not just to one nation, that He does this: it is to one as to all.
The Jews ? and what their nation did ? Are the Gentiles any better ? Indeed in much, it seems they are much worse. But in one thing they are just the same, to an increasing degree: they slip from, or act as if to slaughter, or to wound, or to mock or to disregard Jesus Christ in their national identities, their established sites of learning, their educational perspectives*2 and kick the heels like a braying donkey, coding the things in the UN (cf. It Bubbles ... Ch. 11, Mystery of Iniquity). The nations of this world are indeed gathering more and more to act precisely as in Psalm 2, to break the 'bonds', cast the cords away, dismissing deity as if an employe. Yet it is not so. It is man who is the employe.
PSALM 18 and Company
A Psalm for
the Depths from the Heights
and the Heights from the Depths
Having pondered Psalm 118, and modern examples associated with its revelation, its message, data and applications, we move to the strong parallel of Psalm 18.
Here we see more of the international rule to come for Christ, the Son of God who became man not only so that He might redeem those who receive and believe in Him, but deliver and consummate their destiny. It is not to last for any mythical reconstruction, whether from any religion or philosophy; such will never long wreak its havoc on this earth. No pseudo-divine face-lift or imaginary idea given His name by a kind of theft, will do more than meet its intemperate folly with a tempestuous confrontation (as in II Thessalonians 1-2, Revelation 19). It will come like a craze for a little, but will be dismissed for ever.
Christ did not come to be outfaced by mock-up faces, based on His name, but not on His history. He came to redeem; but He came no less to rule as Lord, Prince of Peace and Truth. The word of the living God on this has already been sited. In Psalm 18, the Messiah being identified as to who He is, His work is then identified as to what it is. Ruler is no small part. Perhaps by that time, when He comes back as announced long before He came, the world will begin to resemble some huge mastiff taken for a run, and now exhausted, lying with glowing eyes, the tongue massively protruding as it pants, and will begin to awaken to the fact that what God began (in making man and his universe), ONLY God can complete ...
It will in no small part come to see that rule by man is really sound, only when it is also rule by God, who is both great and gracious, just and kind (cf. Ezekiel 21:27). Only when God who IS great, does it, is it a grand thing! It is when His Spirit rules, and His Word is central (cf. Isaiah 11), His counsel is operative, that we begin to move up; and it is when HE is the King of hearts, the Lord of peace, that peace can flower or flourish. Why ? It is ONLY when truth is so regarded that collisions with neglected reality are going to be avoided...
Only when He does it, is rule regal, delicious, a joyful solemnity and a just holiness. Righteousness exalts a nation but Christ consummates glory in Himself, and those who are His in their completion. His is the crop, of the seeds that did not shrink, as it were, from falling into the ground to be buried with Him, that they might rise.
In Psalm 18, we find David declaring His love for His and our Lord. "God," he says, "is my strength, in whom I will trust, " and likewise his rock, fortress, shield, worthy to be praised.
David's need can be catastrophic in kind. "In my distress, I called upon the LORD," he declared, as the pangs of death clustered about him, and "the sorrows of hell surrounded me." Indeed, "floods of ungodliness," made him afraid. Then he called on, cried to the Lord, and "my cry came before Him, even to His ears."
The results were a shaking of the whole foundations of the earth. "He bowed the heavens also," and indeed, "He thundered from heaven," and "the foundations of the world were uncovered at Your rebuke, O LORD," he reveals.
In other words, we are here dealing with an answer to prayer which, for its basis, involves the very shaking of this world and its stanchions, bases, principles and powers, with threat of ultimate disorder, sanctions and confrontation from the God of heaven Himself (cf. Hebrews 12:25-29, Haggai 2:6). We now move into something beginning to explain this remarkable escalation. The one so calling upon God has been upright, the statutes of the Lord constantly before him, while has kept himself from any proneness to iniquity, and God has rewarded him according to his righteousness.
Already, we are finding that this being is illustrious indeed, who can stand before God and on the ground of his own righteousness have a standing not to be blighted or compromised or qualified at all. God deals with the devious, to shame them, for He knows; but with the merciful He is merciful, as with the pure, His is pure. Now we find that the Lord will "light my lamp," His word and way being both perfect and proven. God! He exclaims, who is God except the Lord, and "who is a rock, except our God," sealing off Romanism in advance as does Matthew 23:8-10.
Not only so, but the speaker in this Psalm overtakes the enemies whom he pursues, and though they cry to the Lord, they receive no answer. It begins to become clear that this is One who in Himself is the very criterion of mercy, so that if you oppose Him to the uttermost, there IS no mercy. That here appears why they are not heard. You can use some other name to try to reach God, but it will not serve. Here is God as man speaking and on Him it all turns. Yes, precisely as in Psalm 2, He is delivered from the strivings of the people ("why do the nations rage, and the people imagine a vain thing!" it said), We verify now clearly, for He declares that God has made Him "the head of the nations," and that "a people I have not known will serve Me," Psalm 18:43. It is as in Psalm 110, where as soon as they hear, they will be volunteers, and hearing, they will obey.
Such is to be the subversion of the subverters and the fate of the detractors who refuse the truth and invent false gods or god, in their own name, stealing God's words from one another, as Jeremiah puts it (23:30, with 23:14-30). Spiritual oreigners will be deprived of resistance and the Lord will rule all as promised in Isaiah 11, Micah 4 and 7, Psalm 72, Habakkuk 2:14.
Here as so often in the Psalms, the plight or predicament of David, from whom was to (and did) come the Messiah (II Samuel 7), is brought to the ultimate basis of ANY deliverance for ANYONE. What is that ? It is the Lord Himself who in what would show both empathy and legal substitution, would come in Person bear the blight of sin in order to relief the sinner and release him from the bonds which sever from God (as in Hosea 13:14). Thus the one so delivered might KNOW God, and rejoice in Him, as friend and counsellor (Jeremiah 9:23-24), finding in Him, the site of peace and of rest for the soul. So indeed did Christ fulfill the irenic wonder of Isaiah 26 in Himself, as shown in Matthew 11:28ff.).
Thus we transcend the situation and the Psalmist in such developments within many Psalms, to find, in the case of David, his famed Descendant, the Messiah and in Him the solution and answer to intense prayer. It comes in pardon, peace and strength, sourced in the then coming Messiah, as was required. From this source, then, effectual, eventual, and for us now efficacious these 2000 years, comes the Messianic deliverance at the time of David, as at any other time: for as to Him, His work is both retrospective and retroactive, covering all time, from before time indeed (Ephesians 1:4, Revelation 13:8).
Thus in Psalm 18, you have the parallel to Psalm 118, with the inherently victorious power of the Messiah mounted before us like a portrait, available and applied; and this agrees with Psalm 2, where it is seen in the operative magnitude of the finale as in Micah 7 in its regal outset, and Isaiah 11 in its equally regal onset. What the Messiah would do would both cover the case in the day of David, and by His total and absolute authority and power, by no means denying but rather assuring the upholding of love and not licence or degradation, complete all things. Whether it was the Messianic phase of suffering in a sufficient sacrifice for sin, or dealing with the ultimate rebellion of the devil and his disciples, whether keenly conscious or partially confused, in glorious majesty (cf. Luke 24: 25), He would accomplish all, meet all, and be all in all to all who should receive Him as He is.
The theme pounds like the breakers on the sea-shore, insistent, unchanging, ever fresh, continual.
AND HE WILL LIVE
As we look at these Psalms, and indeed at Psalm 22 with them, we find a fascinating common element, sometimes revealed in one way, sometimes in another.
It is the stress found on the part of what becomes before our eyes, the Messiah, on the matter of life and death. There is death surrounding, biting, pounding, but life for all that, is found arising, ascending, incapable of vitiation, glorifying God in triumph that transcends pathos and opens onto a profundity which leads straight on to the resurrection and the glory of majesty (as in Psalm 145:4-7).
In Psalm 118, we find at 118:17, this assertion: "I shall not die but live." Indeed, though so thoroughly menaced by the nations, He is delivered by the Lord even from such universal assault, attack and acrimony. Since, as vicarious victim and then victor, He had to inherit sin, even being offered for all and for any who would take the opportunity and receive Him, such as believers, so dispensing with those sins instead of bearing them to the death (John 8:24): therefore as in Psalm 118:18, He has been punished severely. It is as Isaiah 53 declares, "by His stripes," that "we are healed!" That is vicarious punishment as in Galatians 3 and I Peter 2. We continue in Psalm 118 to find in Him the stone rejected by the builders, the very One to become the Headstone.
So in Psalm 72, we discover, after finding that this glorious King is to "save the souls of the needy," and "redeem their life from oppression and violence," this sudden injection of basics at the spiritual level. This is not ordinary earthly kingdom, this kingdom of heaven! (cf. Matthew 20:25). It tells us, in plain view, "And He shall live ... prayer also will be made for Him continually, and daily He shall be praised." His name is to endure with the sun, and it is the God who ONLY does wonderful things, who has engineered, performed, and achieved in this way through His Messiah, the works that no other could do, in the One who spoke the words no other could speak (John 15:21-23). This He did, despite all the nations, the anguish and the death (Psalm 22), moving through the resurrection (Psalm 16 and Acts 2, with I Corinthians 15) to the glorious majesty of His kingdom.
As in Psalm 18, there are prodigious affairs moving even to the foundations of the earth, from the commands of heaven. The heart beyond the heart of the universe, of its Maker is involved and in view. No power in earth can resist, nor can this earth withstand the shaking to be received, whether to its mind or spirit, or indeed, to its very geological depths and astronomical heights above (Haggai 2:6). In Psalm 22, in particular, we find the step by step shattering of human vitality, the dismemberment of life, the anguish of hatred's butt, and as all hope departs and horror has its heyday, suddenly there is the change, the transmutation indeed. God affronted, at last has confronted, and the long liberty of display becomes the short answer in judgment.
In Psalm 22:15, we find that "You have brought Me to the dust of death," thus paralleling Isaiah who declares, "It pleased the Lord to bruise Him," since this was the sacrifice of love to obtain the salvation of souls. As He cries to the Lord, in this Psalm, suddenly in this merciless-seeming mausoleum of hope, we hear astonishing words: "You have answered Me!" (22:21).
What now ? With apparently a spring in His exultant step, He will now "declare Your name to My brethren," for God has not "despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, nor has He hidden His face from Him; but when He cried to Him, He heard," Psalm 22:24.
He has accomplished it, so that "your heart will live for ever," and not only so, but "all the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord." It will never be forgotten, this epochal exhibition of sin-bearing, divine deliverance and triumph even over death, allowing conscious, concerted, vigorous action amid the brethren, and the establishment of a generation which will be His own expressly (Psalm 22:16ff.).
How is this (cf. The Bountiful, the Accountable and the Surmountable Epilogue with Ch. 6) ? It is because though cut off out of the land of the living as in Isaiah 53, when YOU MAKE OF HIS SOUL A SIN OFFERING, THEN, despite the evacuation from earth which came in the ascension of Christ, and prior to His return, HE SHALL SEE HIS SEED. for EACH ONE so coming to the Lord will be that seed, the children of the Lord (cf. Isaiah 8:16-18.Hebrews 2).
It will even be an evangelical generation (Psalm 22:30-31, as in I Peter 2), a meta-chronological slice from many centuries seen in one continuous and increasing grouping, as His own, who will publish what the Lord has done. It was to be done, and so we do, yes we who speak and hopefully many who read. It is all fulfilled and it is a delicious privilege to be part of that generation, HIS generation, the holy nation and royal priesthood, so acting as foretold.
This time, then, the transition is shown at 22:21:
"You have answered Me,"
comes to a robust life and declaration, manifestation and practical result in the very generation of believers to come, who will continue to come till complete (Revelation 6:10-11).
At the beginning of Psalm 22, there was a very different situation, for then the operation had still to be performed, and the work done:
"My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!".
"You have answered Me."
Now He will "see His seed," as Isaiah foretold, and now will His own generation over the centuries augmenting itself, come as faith is operative and the chosen become the little lights that shine in the world, publishing His salvation.
It is much the same in Revelation 1:18, for there He is self described:
"I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore."
Indeed, He has the keys of hell and death, for in Him and on Him and for Him is the whole array of salvation placed; and thus He judges (John 5:19ff., Acts 17:31, Hebrews 2-4).
REFLECTION AND PERSPECTIVE
Thus Psalm 18 begins with David. and as so often, the scene moves to the base for David (Psalm 110), "The LORD said to My Lord." Christ challenged unbelievers on that, for how, He asked, is He merely the Son of David, when He is David's Lord! That is the status of the Messiah.
It is here God who spoke to and through the Messiah, who came in human body, the derivative of David by descent. It is as his Lord that He relates to David. Thus this very One is the Lord God of David. On the one side, He has humanity through David's progeny, while on the other, He has deity as always, from His Father, God Himself (Luke 1:30-35, and note the "therefore"). Eternal, He was invested in the temporal, the very Word of God, definitive of Him, His express image, that He might lead many to eternity, even to eternal life one by one, that He might be all to many.
Thus, Psalm 18 moves to this One to come, the Saviour and Lord, with an intimacy of affinity, to Him through whose perfect work alone is there hope for David or any of us; but it is more than hope (Romans 8:24-30). It is faith, so free and fervent is the Lord with His gift, that through faith in Him and His saving work, eternal life is a grant (Romans 6:23, 5:1-18, John 6:50-54, 5:24), and the divine righteousness a gift with it!
Thus scenes, as in such Psalms, may move from the depths to the heights of God Himself, and then from those heights to the depths to find and fund, soon to bring up the supplicant, to the heavenly places prepared for the spirit of man, in which he may sit (as in Ephesians 2:6), surrounded by the certainties of the Saviour once and for all.
To this perfection in whose name alone we can stand as Christians, whether in prospect or retrospect and current condition, as now, we move in Psalm 118:16-21, and thence to vv. 43-45, in the stark sovereignty of the Messiah who did, and does all things well. It is in this surge of deliverance that the Psalm 18:16-20,50 becomes parallel in part to Psalms 118:15-18, 72:15 and 22:21,24.
The application for all is seen teeming in the midst of Luke 19:37-40, in terms of the outcome! The GATE and the GATEWAY remain, as foretold, as enacted and built, for believers, so gaining access to the triumph of God for man, who after all, in all their afflictions was afflicted,. to none of their sins was addicted, and from all their evils, by faith through grace, arose triumphant, patient, insistent, persistent, unmoved except to do what was required by love, that mercy should flow abundantly, like celestial rivers from above.
In such a case, it is good to feel thirsty (cf. John 4:14).
See SMR, TMR for grounds, and Light Dwells with the Lord's Christ Who Answers Riddles and Where He is, Darkness Depart, at more length, for classified itemisation of the distinctive, decisive and ineradicable heritage in reason which is the lot of the word of God, the only one authorised by God to mankind, the Bible.
On this religion, and its manifestation, see:
More Marvels ... Ch. 4, esp. *4,
SMR pp. 50ff., 62ff., 829ff. , 1080
Dancers, Prancers, Lancers and Answers Ch. 3, *1A misconceptions about the Cross, variable and mutually conflicting, on the part of the Koran
Lord of Life Ch. 3 (and force), 1081ff. (and faith),
Outrageous Outages ... Ch. 5;
His Wounds Opened Eternity Ch. 4; 3
Stepping Out for Christ Ch. 9,
Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 8 (in perspective), see also *1,
Divine Agenda Chs. 6
with 3 (an overview of religious truancies, including Marx, Darwin and Koran)
and Highway to Hell - (Koran citations in both, with ideational parallels in perspective, in the latter two; and in the former, futile depravities in endless ideologies such as Sudan has shown so significantly, Islam ablaze without glory),
cf. Overflight in Christ Ch. 1 (and the Koran's musings);
1493 (esp. Britain and sharia);
News 138, Beauty for Ashes Chs. 4, 7
Jesus Christ, Defaced, Unfazed ... Ch. 5,
Acme ... Ch. 9 ,
Great Execrations ... Ch. † 3,
SMR p. 1O88D - three major religions in some ways in concert, astray.
News 138, Beauty for Ashes Chs. 4, 7,
SMR pp. 1074ff., esp. 1079, 1081ff.
(These latter show this religion, with the other three major conspiracies towards the ultimate - why conspiracies ? It is because men conspire, or breathe plans together for a control, rule or oversight not ordained by God: these are breaths of man, and the breath that matters is that of God, in and by which all scripture is inspired by Him (II Timothy 3:16, Isaiah 8:20), in the Book of the Lord (Isaiah 34:16), the Bible, and sustained and implemented by Him (Matthew 26:54ff.). Other ideas for rule are always unruly, since they always tend to use power for what neither reason nor truth compels.).
Possess Your Possessions Ch. 8, app.,
with Vol. 11, 4, 5 (national character and character of Islam).
See also SMR pp. 822ff., 986ff., 1O88D.
See for example, Lead Us Not into Educational Temptation, and TMR Ch. 8, with Beauty for Ashes Ch. 3.