The Salvation of the Gentiles in Psalm 117

Closing Thoughts Regarding the GMC

Psalm 110 through Psalm 118 being contiguous makes for some interesting conclusions regarding the Messiah, His Priesthood, the Covenant People of God, and the Salvation of the Gentiles. Instead of simply reading Psalm 110 and coming to conclusions regarding a Priest after the order of Melchizedek, we can read 111-118 as well and realize they are prophesying of the same person. I’m dubbing this series of psalms the Grand Messianic Concerto or maybe the Great Messianic Concerto or maybe the Grand Messianic Opus or maybe…

When I began this series, I didn’t realize I would be studying this passage as in depth as I have been. In order for us to properly understand the Apostle Paul’s thinking in quoting Psalm 117:1 in Romans 15:11, we need to be as well versed as he was in the OT scriptures. Here are some closing thoughts regarding this passage.

The Messiah ~ It’s easy for us to focus on the Messiah in Psalm 110 as the Priest-King who will strike through Gentile kings, and in Psalm 118 as the stone which the builders rejected, but how about throughout the rest of the Concerto? If Psalm 110 gives the introduction as being Messianic, we should see that Psalm 111-115 focuses on Messiah’s people. Messiah deals with the people of the LORD according to His covenant by providing redemption, Psalm 111. Messiah also descends into the grave, Psalm 116. Messiah is for all nations, Psalm 117; but Messiah will be victorious over any nations who come against Him, Psalm 118:10. After His rejection period where He has sat at the right hand of the Majesty on High, 110:1, He will become the chief cornerstone (118:22) of the nation of Israel, the priesthood of Aaron, and of all who fear the LORD, meaning the church and all Gentile nations.

His Priesthood

~ It is proclaimed in Psalm 110 that Messiah is a priest. Then we have the LORD providing redemption to His people in Psalm 111. It only stands to reason that the aforementioned Priest is the mediator of this redemption. Remember that Covenant and Redemption are inseparable, 111:9. Moving ahead to Psalm 114, a holy place was established by God within the nation of Israel. It became necessary for a group of priests to represent the nation of Israel, which is the holy place of God, before the God of Israel; so the Aaronic priesthood was established. Then we have the command in Psalm 115 for Israel, the house of Aaron, and those who fear the LORD to trust in the LORD. Why the specific mention of the priesthood of Aaron here?

The singular voice in Psalm 116 signifies that the Priest is singing of the redemption that He purchases for His people. He ventures into death, hell, and the grave for the purpose of retrieving this "cup of salvation" which allows Him to call upon the name of the LORD for His people. That’s redemption! At the end of Psalm 116, the Priest is present in the temple offering sacrifices of thanksgiving on behalf of the congregation. That’s intercession! The word for "pay" as he pays His vows in the presence of all His people (mentioned twice, 116:14, 18) has the idea of being at peace, making peace, or establishing a covenant of peace. That’s propitiation!

In Psalm 117, all nations receive the cue to praise God for His merciful kindness. Climactically, in Psalm 118, the house of Aaron is again prompted to worship the LORD. The Priest conquers the nations so He may enter the gates of righteousness. He takes His place on Mount Zion in order to intercede for ALL nations in a kingdom which has subdued all Gentile authority. The rejected Messiah/Priest/King has returned to establish His priesthood alongside the priesthood of Aaron on Mount Zion. His priestly ministry is celebrated by His people who bless others out of the temple on Mount Zion. The Priest commands the festival sacrifice to be tied to the horns of the altar. The kingdom ruled by the Messianic Priest has begun. The sacrifices are a part of the festival nature of this kingdom. The nation of Israel, the house of Aaron, and those who fear the LORD have been mentioned three times (115:9-11, 12-13, 118:3-4) to demonstrate the three agencies that the Priest [after the order of Melchizedek] will shine through while reigning from Zion.

The Covenant People of God

~ The Covenant People of God, Messiah’s Kingdom Citizens, The Redeemed, The Community of Royal Servants, they are all people for whom the Priest-King intercedes. Individuals who participate in this covenant will display certain characteristics of godliness in their lives, Psalm 112. The congregational assembly (church) which proclaims the name of the LORD is a community whereby social distinctions no longer separate people into classes, but unify them by making them all royal servants, Psalm 113. Israel was the beginning of this covenant people, Psalm 114-115, but not the end, Psalm 117. They have a hope of life beyond the grave. Note that Psalm115:17-18 spells this out. None who go to the grave can praise the LORD, but we (God’s people) will praise the LORD. This means there was a hope that their final destination was not the grave. Psalm 116 reveals Messiah’s triumph over the grave on behalf of His people. Any one in any nation can praise the LORD, Psalm 117, demonstrating that they also have this victory of life after death. Psalm 118 brings us full circle with verses 22-27 encapsulating the voice of the people who will be willing in the day of His power mentioned in Psalm 110:3. God’s people are marveling at His awesome work in making the rejected stone the chief cornerstone as He enters the gates of righteousness. They put their complete trust in this Rock to save them by giving them complete success in battle. The bloodshed will give way to blessings being pronounced by God’s people from the temple of the LORD.

The Salvation of the Gentiles

~ Since the salvation of the Gentiles is the greater theme which I am studying, I’d like to devote a little more space to this topic. The word translated heathen or nations occurs six times in the concerto. Let’s just look at each one, examine the immediate context, then connect the dots between each instance and draw some conclusions.

#1- 110:6 tells us that Messiah will judge the Gentile nations. Here it refers to a one time judgement rather than an ongoing rule. It is the day of His wrath when kings are shattered, slaughtered, and executed.

#2- Psalm 111:6 tells us that God’s people will be given the Gentile nations as an inheritance, which is given in the context of His covenant.

#3- 113:4 demonstrates God’s position above all Gentiles nations while His people are a separate society of noble servants.

#4- 115:2 gives us insight into the attitude of Gentile nations. As a whole, these Gentile nations seem to mock God’s people asking where their God is. God’s people are asking Him to glorify His name in order that this accusation may be put to silence. Immediately after this we have a description of the false worship system of the Gentiles which is idolatry. Gentile nations worship things made with hands by trusting in them instead of trusting in the God of Israel.

#5- 117:1 is a command for all Gentile nations to praise the LORD. Previously, God’s people had been praising the LORD, but now the way is opened for Gentile nations, or Gentiles from all nations, to praise the LORD alongside God’s people. This further explains what was hinted at when the phrase "You who fear the LORD" was used alongside the word "Israel".

#6- 118:10 shows the Messiah beginning His rule in the midst of His enemies, and moving on to be victorious over any Gentile nations who come against Him.

Messiah is rejected by His own people, the builders, the foundation of Israel. He descends into the grave to bring salvation to all who fear Him, not just for Israel. He triumphs over the grave then ascends into heaven to sit at the right hand of the LORD. The way is opened for any Gentile to be a part of God’s covenant people. During this time of rejection, Gentiles from all nations are full of praise for the LORD if they become a part of God’s Covenant People by fearing the LORD. At the appointed time, the LORD sends Messiah to act on Israel’s behalf. Rejected Messiah returns and his rule begins immediately. Gentile nations are not happy. They gather against Messiah since they corporately do not know Messiah. Messiah cuts off all who come against Him by slaughtering their kings. As each nation is subdued, they become Messiah’s possession who in turn gives them to His people for an inheritance. God’s people are now ruling the Gentile nations. Since Gentiles are a part of God’s people, they receive the inheritance of their own nationality. Gentile nations as a whole bless Israel and Messiah since they are now free from idolatry. Gentile nations may corporately praise the LORD as Israel now praises the LORD, but some will not. This is the essence of the thousand year kingdom. Note how this view undermines Dispensationalism, Covenant Theology, A-Millennialism, Post-Millennialism, but supports Pre-Millennialism.

Currently during this "church age", we could really say we are in the time of the salvation of the Gentiles. Salvation is being extended to individual Gentiles who may participate in the covenant without becoming a member of the nation of Israel. When it is time for Messiah to physically reign on earth, Gentiles who are a part of the covenant will rule with Him, receiving their inheritance in His kingdom. They will not be Israelites, but Gentiles who participate in the covenant which makes them part of God’s people. The church is not the replacement for Israel, but is the society of equal standing amongst God’s people whether rich or poor, slave or free, male or female, Israelite or Gentile. This society will one day rule the entire earth from Zion. What better way to save these Gentile nations in the future than by calling out individuals from among them to be a part of the people of God now!

The above conclusions would be impossible if we viewed Psalms 110 – 118 as being separated from each other. My thanks to the Diva for her help in putting together the previous post on the Great Messianic Concerto posted on 4-13-08. Who knew there was so much to say about Psalm 117:1? There remains one more text in the main portion of Romans 15:8-12 to be discussed, which is Isaiah 11:10. But a bit later in Romans 15:21, Paul quotes Isaiah 52:15. This series is coming to a close, but there is still some investigation which needs to be done.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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One Response to The Salvation of the Gentiles in Psalm 117

  1. Pingback: Links for the Series on Prophetic Apocalypse in the Psalms | The Orange Mailman

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