I am excited about this next endeavor. My appetite was whetted when I blogged on the salvation of the Gentiles in Romans 15:8-12. I had the opportunity to explore Psalm 18, Psalm 117, and the prophetic implications of both. Many conclusions surprised me as I studied. One thing I am certain of is that many psalms were originally one longer psalm and have been divided up into smaller segments by chapter divisions. I have already concluded that Psalm 117 is part of an overall passage which I have termed The Grand Messianic Opus spanning Psalms 110 through 118.
I spent a week deciding whether to name this series Apocalyptic Prophecy in the Psalms or Prophetic Apocalypse in the Psalms. Sometimes I agonize over stupid things, but this, to me, seems like the biggest issue. I finally decided on the above because the main focus is Apocalypse, that is, revealing God, the appearing of our Messiah, and the Kingdom of God in the psalms. Sometimes there are past apocalyptic psalms portraying how God was revealed at Sinai and through the establishment of David as King, but many see into the future. The prophetic psalms are the psalms that I want to focus on, but apocalyptic language is clearly the main focus of this series.
Most psalms were written during the days of David. This provides a window of context to operate from. The major and minor prophets were probably not written in many cases when we examine these psalms. So when we come to the major and minor prophets, we should be using these psalms as prophetic apocalyptic backdrop for the fulfillment of those prophecies. For instance, Isaiah prophesies of a Messianic figure to be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), who will shoulder the governments from the throne of David (Isaiah 9:6-7), and judge the earth by slaying the wicked (Isaiah 11:4). Behind all this should be Psalm 110 which gives us an earlier foundation of the Messiah originating from heaven (Psalm 110:1), being a King and Priest (Psalm 110:4), and striking through the kings of the earth in the day of His wrath (Psalm 110:5). The prophecies should clearly be complementary with the psalms as foundational to the prophets.
To clearly demonstrate how psalms have been divided by human authors, turn to Psalms 42 and 43. Here is an example of a psalm which was originally three stanzas long. 42:5, 42:11, and 43:5 give the repeated refrain which concludes each stanza. Otherwise, the conclusion of Psalm 42 would be melancholy without the final hope of God’s light breaking forth to this soul which has been cast down. Examining 42 and 43 as being one in theme allows us to see the progression of the psalmist’s hope slowly turning to God through the course of the song.
Another example is Psalm 103 through Psalm 106. You see that there are no headings over Psalms 104, 105, and 106. This means that there were no divisions in the original language as far as setting them apart as a separate song. The interesting thing about this series of psalms is that it clearly shows how the covenant plan of God was viewed in David’s day. Creation is viewed as a part of His covenant, 104:10-13. The promise that God made after the flood of Noah is a part of His covenant. 104:5-9. The promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are bound up as one covenant which is made with the nation of Israel, 105:7-11. When God leads the children of Israel out of Egypt it is because of His covenant, singular, 105:42-45. Each decision God makes is due to His covenant, 106:44-46. There is no attempt on the part of the psalmist to divide up the different covenants made with Noah, Abraham, and with the nation of Israel brokered by Moses. It is all God’s covenant, as in, His covenant plan. This is yet another reason why I find dispensationalism so lacking.
I will briefly mention Psalm 92-97 followed by a parallel in 98-99. The language used is true apocalyptic prophecy… wait, I mean, true prophetic apocalypse. So occasionally over the next few months or whatever, I will be blogging about the psalms.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman