The Second Exodus and
Psalm 107 describes the process of the millennium
This will be my final post in my series on Prophetic Apocalypse in the Psalms. I know I said I was done doing exposition on specific psalms, but I have one more that I have been saving for last. The reason why I save this for last is that this psalm is different than the others that I have explored. The other psalms mainly focus on revealing the king and the kingdom. Psalm 107 actually looks into the process of the kingdom during the millennial reign. I hear many skeptics ask, “What’s the point of the millennial kingdom?” We don’t know everything in the mind of God, but God has revealed a great many things to us in His Word whereby we can see ahead.
The Second Exodus
First off, I want to focus on that fact that Psalm 107 sees into the Messianic kingdom. Note at the beginning of the psalm a reference to a group of redeemed which have been gathered from out of all lands; from the east, west, north and south. This is clearly a reference to the second exodus. I have mentioned the second exodus before, but I’d like to lay the foundation for this event so that my readers can see where I am coming from.
This regathering is first set forth in Deuteronomy 30:1-6 with Leviticus 26 as a backdrop. In a covenant which the LORD made as Israel was entering the promised land (not the covenant at Sinai), the LORD foretold that the nation of Israel would break the covenant at Sinai which would result in the nation of Israel being scattered from the promised land, but ultimately at the repentance of Israel they would be regathered back into the promised land. This covenant is frequently referred to as the Palestinian Covenant and [I have noticed] is usually overlooked by those who study the covenants. This regathering back into the land results in the nation of Israel having a new, circumcised heart as they return and obey God. It seems that the covenant which the LORD makes (Deuteronomy 29:1) with Israel at this point in time is His promise to regather them even though He knows that they will turn away from Him. In essence, the Palestinian Covenant assures the literal nature of the Mosaic Covenant and Abrahamic Covenant. The regathering itself is part of the covenant established as Israel entered the promised land.
Jeremiah 23:5-8 is a foundational passage for the future reign of the offspring of David over the nation of Israel. But it is also foundational for understanding the second exodus. Jeremiah 16:13-17 sets forth the events that Israel will be scattered from their land but will be regathered supernaturally by the LORD Himself. At the time that the LORD performs this regathering, it will surpass the original exodus by way of greatness. The children of Israel will no longer point to the exodus from Egypt as their defining moment, but to the time when the LORD regathered them from all lands. While the first exodus pointed to their physical birth, this second exodus will be the defining moment for the nation’s spiritual birth. Jeremiah 23:5-8 restates the promise of the second exodus linking it with the Messianic reign. Note one of the features of the Messianic reign is that Israel will dwell safely. We see that the second exodus will lead into the Messianic reign which includes Israel’s safety based on this passage. That is the relationship between these events set forth in Jeremiah 23:5-8. In Isaiah 11, we also have a description of the Messianic reign. In verse 11, one of the features is that the LORD will set His hand the second time to recover the remnant of His people, hence the term, second exodus.
I believe that Jesus was expounding upon the second exodus in Matthew 8:11-12 and Luke 13:23-30. Here Jesus states that many will come from the east, west, north, and south, but Jesus brings out the truth that it is a gathering into the kingdom of God (also known as the kingdom of heaven established here on earth). Instead of living Israelites being gathered into the promised land, Jesus describes living and previously deceased saints gathered into this kingdom that He has been proclaiming. While these teachings clearly occur before salvation was officially extended to the Gentiles, the comment of Jesus to the centurion seems to elevate his simple faith above all Israel. Since Jesus gives the description of this gathering into the kingdom immediately after He commends the faith of the centurion, Jesus was making the promise to all who are of faith, Israelite and Gentile, that they would be included in the gathering into the kingdom of God.
But does the teaching of Jesus negate the literal aspects of the second exodus? Is this gathering now purely spiritual? Not at all. You would have to go back and rewrite Deuteronomy 30 in order for it to not mean that the nation of Israel would be literally gathered back into the promised land after a time of disobedience followed by their repentance. The Palestinian Covenant was a clarification concerning how the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants would be fulfilled. Since the reign of David’s offspring begins as the second exodus is completed, this means that the Davidic Covenant is included in this fulfillment of the second exodus as well. There is a progressive continuity to the covenant plan of God. The Davidic Covenant did not negate the second exodus, but expanded upon what would occur without spiritualizing it in any way. The new covenant also expanded upon the second exodus without detracting from the original context.
When I read Psalm 107, I see a group of redeemed which have been gathered from the east, west, north, and south. This language reflects the second exodus of the OT and the language of Jesus from the NT. The psalm then goes on to describe how God worked (or will work) in various situations to bring people groups out of bondage, sinfulness, foolishness, and loneliness. So now let us move on to an exposition of Psalm 107 applying it directly to the time period immediately after the second exodus which occurs at the beginning of the Messianic Kingdom.
This psalm is poetically divided into 8 sections. The introduction is in verses 1-3 which contains the section concerning the second exodus. The next 4 sections are specific examples of how the LORD intervenes in the affairs of mankind. Each of these sections has one thing in common. Each shares the exact same wording for the second to the last verse in the section which reads, “Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of men!” These sections are 4-9, 10-16, 17-22, and 23-32; which makes verses 8, 15, 21, and 31 identical. Then there are 3 general sections at the end which summarize God’s working in the midst of all of these specific situations. The 3 end sections are 33-38 (God transforming creation), 39-42 (God transforming society), and 43 (a call to wisdom). Let’s start with the 4 specific examples of how the LORD will work during the Messianic Kingdom.
Leading the Lonely into Cities ~ vs. 4-9
Part of the process of the millennium will be rescuing those that are in desert, waste places. The people described in this section are hungry, thirsty, and just about ready to drop dead from starvation. They have truly reached the end of their rope. I think of Africa, although these people that are hungry, thirsty, and far from civilization could live just about anywhere. What is touching is that all they need to do is cry out to God wherever they are at and He delivers them from this situation. God supernaturally leads these people who would otherwise die of starvation into a city to function as a part of a society because of His mercy. Remember that after the second exodus, much of the world will have been renovated by plagues and the wrath of God. Certain places that once thrived as cities may have been destroyed. What will happen to those who survive?
When my cousin from Alaska visited me here he mentioned the beauty of the landscape of his home state. He said, “That’s God’s country up there.” I understand what he means. There is a beauty about a land that is pristine and untouched by human hands. But God also dwells with mankind in cities. God has designed that mankind will live together. These lonely folks who are far from a city need to be with others in order to survive. Part of the process of the millennium will be taking little pockets of starving people here and there and bringing them into corporate civilization where they can be productive. This is how God will satisfy people during this time. This may very well prove to be bringing them into the kingdom of God, although the text doesn’t quite spell that out. But one thing is clear, they must cry out to God for help. God doesn’t act unless men request Him to do so.
Freeing the Prisoners ~ vs. 10-16
The situation in this section is such that certain men have rebelled against God and are now oppressed because of their own rebellion. A brief overview of the pattern of David’s life as it relates to Christ’s life is appropriate here. David was mighty in words and deeds before the people. He then was rejected by his own countrymen. After his exile, his people believed on him and crowned him king. Then the nations gathered together against him and he slaughtered all those who made war with him. After this, David forced tribute upon the rebellious Gentile nations. In this way, peace was established across the region. When Christ comes again to take authority over the nations, one of the first steps will be the battle of Armageddon. After this, the nations will have the choice to either submit to the Son of God, or to suffer His wrath, Psalm 2:10-12. So these nations in this section have had sanctions placed upon them by Messiah. The LORD has forced them into a submissive place with hard labor. Some became prisoners of war being deemed too dangerous to be loose in the Messianic Kingdom.
The amazing thing is God’s response to them once they cry out to the LORD in their trouble. These rebels who brought the darkness of death upon their land are set free the instant they cry out to God. While He proves to be harsh to those who are rebellious, God proves to be merciful to those who are humble. Doors of bronze and gates of iron that acted as prison walls to keep the rebellious from entering into mainstream society are broken as prisoners are set free. Part of the process of the millennium will be to bring these harsh nations to a place where they can humbly trust the Redeemer of mankind. I think of Asia and some of the countries accustomed to communism and Sharia law. God’s patience with them through their rebellion shows His love for them. He disciplines them bringing them to repentance. When they cry out to Him, He personally breaks their bonds bringing them out of the prison darkness and into the light. Although it is not overtly stated, I see them coming into the light of the Messianic Kingdom.
Healing the Foolish ~ vs. 17-22
In this section we see people who insist on living sinfully. They are aptly named fools here because their sinfulness will lead to suffering from an affliction. I believe this specific affliction will come during the Messianic reign. If nations continue in their sinful ways, the misery of loathing food will come upon these people. Even though there is food all around them, they will be repulsed by it which will lead to starvation because of their iniquity. It is at this point that they begin to approach the gates of death. God is goading them to repent of their sinfulness.
Even though these fools have chosen to sin against the LORD, when they cry out to Him He heals them from their distress. They do not experience destruction because God is merciful. The loathing of food proves to be a loving correction which brings these sinners into a right relationship with God. Now they can offer sacrifices to God and sing of His wondrous deeds, which seems to indicate that they have come under the Messianic reign. Part of the process of the millennium will be to prompt the foolish into leaving off their sinful ways. Sinfulness always brings a curse. The curses that come from man’s own sinfulness lead only to the gates of death. Yet even as fools approach the gates of death because of their own sinfulness, they can still cry out to God. He will hear them, heal them, and deliver them. I think of my own country and many others in the Americas and how the sinfulness all around us is really a sickness. I wonder how quickly my country will leave off their sinful ways once Messiah comes. I’m certain that we will prove to be fools.
Rescuing Businessmen out of the Storms
Commerce will continue into the Messianic Kingdom. Nations will trade with each other. Buying and selling will continue to take place. Yet some of these businessmen will not recognize the hand of the LORD over every aspect of their lives. As they get in their ships to do business, God specifically commands a stormy wind and waves to come upon these people. God is confronting mankind with His majesty and power over nature. Out on the waters they are helpless in the face of this awesome storm. Their hearts are melted within them knowing that they could meet their end.
Part of the process of the millennium will be God confronting mankind with His supreme majesty. Man cannot perform the simplest of functions without the LORD. While the example of operating on the sea is given here, I imagine the LORD could do just about anything within the realm of nature to get man’s attention during the Messianic reign. In this example, those who were conducting their business cry out to the LORD and He rescues them. Not only does He calm the storm, He also personally escorts them into their desired haven. God showed mercy to these people when they humbly cried out to Him for help. The command for the storm to come prompted these businessmen to rely on God. The end result is that these people are allowed to praise God in the assembly, which means that they have come into the Messianic Kingdom. I think of Europe and how commerce-oriented they are. God desires man to rely on Him. Society will be God oriented in every way, at His insistence.
The Closing Verses
After these four examples of how God will transform society during the Messianic Kingdom, there are descriptions of how God will be generally working here on the earth. In verses 33-38, we read a description of how God transforms creation during this period of time. Verses 33-34 actually show God cursing certain portions of His creation because of a certain nation’s wickedness. If a nation persists in not submitting to the LORD, or continues in sinful ways without repentance, God will take away the fruitfulness of that land. The rivers will become a desert. The wells will dry up. The fields, fruit trees, and gardens will be transformed into barren wasteland. This is all due to the sinfulness of the people in that nation.
Notice how verses 35-37 describe the opposite effect. God will also transform desert places into fruitful plains. These places of blessing will have their livestock multiplied as well. He does this in order that men and women may learn to live together. Hungry people will have a place to go since God is able to bring them into places where they can work the fields, vineyards, herds, and flocks. These places which receive God’s blessing will require some amount of mankind working interdependently. Cities are the places where God designed men and women to live together. Again this points to God (Messiah) dealing with mankind politically and corporately as opposed to individually.
The second general section in verses 39-42 focuses on God transforming society rather than transforming creation. Although I will state that I believe that God will transform creation in response to society’s actions based on Zechariah 14:16-19. But here in this section I would advise you to avoid KJV in verse 39 otherwise it could be misleading. There is a cause and effect in the poetry between verses 39 and 40 that the KJV misses. The idea set forth here is that when a certain people group experiences oppression, evil, and sorrow (vs. 39); then the LORD acts on their behalf (vs. 40). The way the LORD acts on their behalf is by humiliating oppressive rulers or dictators and exalting the poor, needy, and oppressed.
The millennium will be an interesting time. Not only will the Messiah simply cause wars to cease, Psalm 46:9, this act of God will allow time, energy, and efforts to be directed toward agriculture, Isaiah 2:4. This is what we see here in Psalm 107:37. The money that will be saved due to not having to maintain an army will be phenomenal. No country will have to worry about another country invading them because the Prince of Peace is right here to personally stop these types of things. What a relief to not have to worry about war with another nation!
But what about people who are peaceful, humble, and repentant, but somehow an oppressive dictator rises to power over them? During the millennium, the Messiah will personally step in and bring down this dictator in order to liberate these people. We saw this principle in Psalm 72 as well, see verses 4, 12-14. Here the language is more specific. These princes are forced to wander in a wasteland. That’s ironic, because at the very beginning of this psalm we saw people who were wandering in desert places who had cried out for God to save them. They were fortunate enough to have God listen to their cry and lead them into a city to save them from starving to death. Some of these poor people wandering in the desert will be there due to a just sentence, perhaps a former oppressive dictator. But even there they still have the opportunity to call on a merciful God. The people which had been oppressed are set on high as they are exalted. These families no longer experience the previous affliction, being well cared for.
Just by way of application, think of this. What if, after the second exodus, after the return of Jesus Christ, a law were to go out from the New Jerusalem? This law would stipulate that abortion is against God and that nations must begin to comply. Nations that begin to comply with this supreme edict would experience blessings. Nations that continue in their sinfulness would slowly but surely have their rivers dry up. But remember, this is not in the here and now. Right now sometimes wicked nations will prosper. Sometimes oppression of righteous people will occur. After Messiah comes, Psalm 107 will be the way in which God deals with organized mankind.
Many Pre-Millennial scholars have believed that the earth will experience a return to Eden-like conditions during the millennial kingdom. Based on scriptures like Psalm 72:16, Isaiah 32:15, Isaiah 35, Joel 3:18, and Amos 9:13-14, these scholars believe that the earth will produce fruit so bountifully that it will be like paradise here on earth once again as in the garden of Eden. I agree but have a stipulation to go along with this belief. Each of these passages is centered around the nation of Israel, the repentance of Israel, and the reign of the Messiah over the nation of Israel. So in context each of these passages only suggests that the promised land will flow with milk and honey. Only the repentant nation of Israel is promised to be transformed in such a way as to produce bountiful fruit during the millennium. Other nations will have to repent as well in order for these blessings to come upon them. Nations that continue in their wicked ways will not experience this transformation, but instead may be plagued.
What difference does it make?
Every single Christian (Messianic Gentile) living in the USA is impacting those around us for the Kingdom of God (the Messianic Kingdom). We are preparing the Gentiles to worship the God of Israel when He will be revealed from heaven and sit on His throne on Mount Zion. God is currently saving Gentiles to show that there will be no favoritism in the Messianic Kingdom. When a minority group feels oppressed, the best thing for the majority to do is to allow people of the minority in positions of power. It’s like the first African-American to serve as mayor, or governor, or now as president. It shows that African-Americans are being represented. The same goes for the Messianic Kingdom. Gentiles from all nations will receive positions of authority in the Messianic Kingdom to give fair representation to all Gentile nations during the Messianic Kingdom. We will serve our God and others by showing that God is no respecter of persons.
Since not all nations will be destroyed when Messiah comes, the current countries, cities, neighborhoods will continue to exist after He arrives. The world will be seriously renovated because of the trumpet and bowl judgements, but there will still be nations to be reigned over. The social structures which exist now may very well continue into the Messianic Kingdom. The impact that we are having in this world will not end at the second coming, but will carry over into the time period known as the age to come. The nations will need to be transformed socially when Messiah ascends His throne. Israel will have corporately repented. But what about the other nations? The work that we are doing now will not end at Messiah’s coming.
I ask each reader of my blog to slowly read through Psalm 107, and then come back and read this post again. How do you think Psalm 107 applies to Israel, the church, and the kingdom?
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman