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1 Peter 1:8-9
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1 Peter 1:6-7
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
The word “wherin” [in this] is most naturally referred by the English reader to the word “salvation” in verse 5. It is true that we rejoice in our salvation. But here the Greek text helps us to the correct interpretation, for the word goes back to “time,” since the Greek word “salvation” is feminine in gender and the word “time” is neuter, the word “wherin” being neuter, referring back to its neuter antecedent. Herein lies the value of the Greek. The rules of Greek grammar are just as clear and definite as those of mathematics. … The saints are to rejoice in the last time … — Wuest, page 24.
The words “if need be” are hypothetical, not affirmative. That is, they do not state that there is always a need for the dark days, for testing times and difficulties. — Wuest, pages 24-25.
The word “temptations” [trials] … refers both to trials and testings, and also to solicitations to do evil, in short, to all that goes to furnish a test of character. The trials may come from God or under His permissive will from Satan, or may be the result of our own wrong doing. The solicitations to do evil come from the world, the evil nature, or Satan. These are described as manifold [various], namely, variegated. The word emphasizes the diversity rather than the number of the trials. — Wuest, page 25
trial (v.7) = the act of putting someone or something to the test with a view of determining whether it is worthy of being approved or not, the test being made with the intention of approving if possible. The word was used of the act of examining candidates for the degree of Doctor of Medicine. It is the approval of … faith which is to resound to the praise of the Lord Jesus…. It is not the testing of our faith that is to the glory of God, but the fact that our faith has met the test and has been approved, that redounds to His glory. This is made very clear by the Greek grammar involved in the statement. — Wuest, pages 26-27.
It is not the approved faith, but the approval itself that is in the apostle’s mind here. For instance, a gold-mining company wishes to buy a proposed site where gold is said to have been found. But it is not sure whether the metal is real gold or not and whether it is there in sufficient quantity so that a mine if sunk would be a profitable venture. It engages an assayer of metals to take samples of the gold ore to his laboratory and examine them. The assayer sends his report to the effect that the ore contains true gold, and that the gold in found in sufficient quantity sot hat the venture will pay. The report of the assayer approving the gold ore is of fare more value to the mining company than the gold he returns with his report, for upon the basis of the report, the company can go ahead with assurance an guy the land and begin mining operations. The fact that God finds our faith to be one which He can approve is of far more value to Him and to His glory, than the approved faith, for he has something to work with, a faith that He knows can stand the testings and the trials which may come. — Wuest, page 26.
The picture here is of an ancient gold-smith who puts his crude gold ore in a crucible, subjects it to intense heat, and thus liquefies the mass. The impurities rise to the surface and are skimmed off. When the metal-worker is able to see the reflection of his face clearly mirrored in the surface of the liquid, he takes it off the fire, for he knows that the contents are pure gold. … In the crucible of suffering, in which process sin is gradually put out of our lives, our faith is purified from the slag of unbelief that somehow mingles with it so often and the result is the reflection of the face of Jesus Christ in the character of the [believer].— Wuest, page 27.
Many of the Old Testament prophesies had both a short term and long term view. Sometimes both were fulfilled in the prophet’s lifetime, but more often than not, there were hundreds and sometimes thousands of years between the two. We believe the same can be said regarding Peter’s instructions here in 1 and 2 Peter. They were not only timely for those of the dispersion, his counsel will also be consoling to his countrymen who live through the coming day of the Lord.
Peter speaks of their period of suffering as being “for a season.” That is, a brief or short period, which we know was the case in the first century. But the same can be said of the coming Tribulation period that will span seven years. It, too, is a little season (see Revelation 6:11). This is the period known as Jacob’s trouble. Interestingly, Peter uses the exact same Greek word found in Revelation 3:10, “the hour of temptation,” when he speaks of the manifold temptations that they were called upon to endure. The hour of temptation refers to the coming Tribulation, specifically the latter half of it known as the Great Tribulation.
Peter’s illustration of the trial of their faith being more precious than gold wasn’t without rhyme or reason. It finds is source in a prophetic utterance made by the prophet. Zechariah says concerning Israel’s future time of trouble: “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people; and they shall say, The LORD is my God” (Zechariah 13:9). — Sadler, pages 52-53.
Wuest does a better job of digging into the meaning of the words and explaining how they fit the context. But Sadler understands the big picture much better—that Peter’s audience was Jewish and not the Body of Christ (although there is a great deal of application that fits both dispensations/audiences).
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1 Peter 1:3-5
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Salvation is past (begotten us again), present (kept by the power of God), and future (revealed in the last time).
Blessed (v.3) = to praise, to celebrate with praises, “To bless someone in the sense of speaking well of him.”
Peter, a Jew with an Old Testament Jewish background, writing to … Jews of the same background, speaks of the God of Israel as the “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” thus recognizing the latter in His human relationship to God the Father, for our Lord in His incarnate humanity worshiped God and recognized Him as His Father. Yet he also takes into account His deity in the name “Jesus” which means “Jehovah-Savior,” and also in the name “Christ” which means “the Anointed One.” — Wuest, pages 20.
“According to” (v.3) is from kata whose root meaning is “down.” From this we get the idea of domination, thus not “According to the measure of His abundant mercy,” but “impelled by His abundant mercy.” — Wuest, page 20.
begotten us again (v.3) — regeneration, a new life
This lively hope is made possible by the resurrection of the Lord Jesus in that it is through the believer’s identification with Him in the resurrection that he is given a new life in regeneration, and thus will also be able to enjoy the heavenly inheritance into which he has been born. — Wuest, page 21
from (v.3) — lit. “out from within,”as Jesus was raised out from among the dead in Hades.
The inheritance (v.4) is reserved in heaven but it is to be brought down from thence, and manifested and established upon earth. It has been promised to Israel. They are guarded for it (v.5) as surely as it is reserved for them. This is true of believers in general. — Williams, page 998.
Peter emphasized again and again the importance of continuance. They were to have hope to the end, thus making their calling sure. Continuance in hope and obedience would guarantee their deliverance at the Lord’s return (1 Peter 1:5, 7, 9, 13-14; 2 Peter 1:10-11; 3:14). — Sadler, page 43.
While the promise of the kingdom was paramount in the mind of most Jews, Peter seems to lay special emphasis on the great promises of the resurrection and eternal life, all of which were being reserved for them in heaven.
This is in keeping with a promise our Lord made to the twelve. As He prepared to return to heaven He said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3). … This was in fulfillment of the parable of the nobleman who went into a far country (heaven) to receive a kingdom for himself (Christ), and then return (the Second Coming). In His absence they were to occupy [themselves] until His appearing, laying up their treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust could destroy them (Luke 19:12-13 cf. Matthew 6:20-21).
However, when God interrupted the Prophetic Program with the Mystery, their inheritance and the promises associated with it were reserved in heaven until Christ returns in glory at the close of the Great Tribulation. — Sadler, pages 43-44.
reserved (v.4) = to watch, to observe, to guard, protect, to reserve, set aside. The tense indicates a past completed action having present results.
kept (v.5) = to guard or protect. Tense indicates an action constantly going on.
salvation (v.5) — (here) glorification
The salvation of Israel is two-dimensional. The physical side of her deliverance always held a special place in the hearts of most Jews, especially those of the dispersion. … Peter was charged with the spiritual side of things, calling upon his hearers shortly after Pentecost to “repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
Both of these elements of Israel’s salvation are future, which helps to explain the “time phrases” in Peter’s epistles, such as, “ready to be revealed in the last times,” “receiving the end of your faith, hope to the end,” etc. (1 Peter 1:6, 9, 13). The “last time” and “the end” Peter speaks of here are the last days of prophecy that have been temporarily interrupted by the present age of grace. Consequently, the Hebrew race, including every detail of their redemption, is being preserved by the power of God until Christ returns in glory to establish His millennial kingdom. — Sadler, pages 45-46.
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1 Peter 1:1-2
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
The inspired writer of this letter, whose original name was Simon, received the Aramaic name of Cephas as a descriptive title of what he would some day be like (John 1:42). The A.V. translates, “Thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone.” The word “stone” is from the Greek word petros which means “a detached but large fragment of rock,” and is used here metaphorically to describe Peter as a man like a rock by reason of his firmness and strength of soul. The name “Peter” is the English spelling of the Greek petros which is the word chosen by the Holy Spirit that would adequately translate the meaning of the Aramaic “Cephas.” In answering Peter’s great confession of His deity, the Lord Jesus says, “Thou are Peter (petros), and upon this rock (petra) I will build My church” (Matthew 16:18). … Petros and petra [are] synonyms, petros meaning “a detached but large fragment of rock,” petra “the massive living rock.” The foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ is that massive living rock, the Son of God seen in His deity, acknowledged as such by Peter. Peter is but a fragment of that massive rock in the sense in which he speak so believers as “lively stones,” deriving their eternal life from the great Living Stone Himself (2:4-5). — Wuest, page 13.
apostle (v.1) = lit. one sent on a mission from someone else with credentials.
While the opening words of 1 Peter clearly identify Peter as the one who penned this letter, it is not until the closing passages that we learn it was written from Babylon. “The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you” (1 Peter 5:13). Tradition dismisses a literal interpretation of this passage. It claims Peter lived in the West and was crucified upside-down at Rome. But … first century church history is an uncertain guide. Those who hold the traditional view must resort to an allegorical meaning. Thus, the allege Babylon is actually Rom.
Whether or not Peter was martyred at Rome after he ministered the gospel at Babylon is immaterial. The fact of the matter is, according to the Scriptures, he wrote this epistle (probably 60 AD) from Babylon, on the Euphrates where a large community of Jews resided at the time. …
Further evidence that Peter was ministering in the East is found in chapter one: “peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” Peter naturally addresses the regions in eastern Asia Minor: Pontus, Galatia, and Cappadocia first because they were the closest to him geographically. As he worked his way westward he concluded with Asia and Bithynia, the farthest away from the point of origin. … It should also be remembered that while Paul’s gospel had its greatest realm of influence in the West, the kingdom gospel was the most influential in the East at that time. So it was quite natural for Peter to be ministering in Babylon since he was a minister of the circumcision (Galatians 2:7-8). — Sadler, pages26-27.
Dispersion (scattered) (v.1) — This word is found in the LXX where Moses says of Israel, “Thous shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth” (Deuteronomy 28:25), and is probably the earliest example of its use as a technical designation of the Jews who for whatever reason lived outside of Palestine. The word is used in John 7:35 and James 1:1, in both places referring to those Jews who were living outside of Palestine. — Wuest, page 14.
Clearly Peter was writing to his own countrymen who were strangers scattered, that is, “sojourners of the dispersion” … The phrase “of the dispersion” is distinctly Jewish (John 7:35). It refers to the Jews who were living in other nations outside the Promised Land. … Perhaps the most notable dispersion came when the followers of Messiah were driven from their homeland after the stoning of Steven … Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the Word … to none but unto Jews only” (Acts 8:4 cf. 11:19). Apparently it was these brethren, not Peter, who established the kingdom assemblies in the regions of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. Peter adds an interesting comment in this regard when he speaks to his hearers about the message of the prophets: “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven” (1 Peter 1:12).
The phrase “by them that have preached the gospel unto you” plainly indicates that others had led them to the truth that Christ was the Messiah of Israel. — Sadler, page 28.
elect (v.2) = to pick out, to select out of a number.
The word “foreknowledge” refers to that counsel of God in which after deliberative judgment, the Lord Jesus was to be delivered into human hands to be crucified. In 1 Peter 1:20, He is the One who was foreordained before the foundation of the world to be the Lamb who was to take away the sins of lost humanity. Thus, in 1 Peter 1:2, the word “foreknowledge” refers to that counsel of God in which after deliberative judgment certain from among mankind were designated to a certain position, that position being defined by the context. — Wuest, page 16.
In keeping with the Prophetic Scriptures, Israel was a chosen nation according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. God chose her from among the nations … Foreknowledge does not have so much to do with God’s prior knowledge of the nation’s conduct, although this is included,as it does with what He would graciously do for her. …
But simply because one was of the seed of Abraham did not guarantee that he was of believing Israel. … [Peter’s readers’] obedience as the covenant people of God had brought them into a new relationship with the Redeemer.” — Sadler, pages 37-38.
The Greek word “sanctify” means “to set apart.” the word “through”… literally means “in.” It was in the sphere of the setting apart work of the Spirit that the sinner was chosen. That is, God the Father chose the sinner out from among mankind to be the recipient of the setting-apart work of the Spirit, in which work the Holy Spirit sets the sinner apart from his unbelief to the act of faith in the Lord Jesus. The act of faith is spoken of here by the word “obedience,” which is not the obedience of the saint, but that of the sinner to the Faith, for this act is answered by his being cleansed in the precious blood of Jesus. — Wuest, pages 16-17.
[God] ordained these elect Hebrews unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ, as in Exodus 12. The elect on that night were saved by obeying the command to sprinkle the blood of the Paschal Lamb upon the doors of their houses. — Williams, page 998.
Grace (v.2) — the enabling grace for daily living which is given to the saint yielded to and dependent upon the Holy Spirit. (Wuest)
Peace (v.2) — peace of heart
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1 Peter Introduction
Around the fourth century the epistles of James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2, 3 John, and Jude, were given the title of The General Epistles. Historians differ but there seems to be a general consensus that the designation appears originally to have meant an epistle directed not to one Church but to all. …
We believe a more suitable designation for this collection of writings is The Hebrew Epistles. We do not question the motives of those who assigned the title General Epistles, but down through the centuries it has clouded a very important distinction originally established by the Holy Spirit: Whatsoever God has separated let no man join together. We must always distinguish between Paul’s Gentile epistles written to the Body of Christ, and the Hebrew Epistles, including the Book of Revelation, that were addressed to the circumcision. …
These epistles contain specific instructions regarding the last days of Israel. While we are accustomed to turning to Paul’s epistles for the commands of Christ today, the future Tribulation saints will turn to the Hebrew Epistles for their marching orders. — Sadler, page 12.
After God’s gracious offer of the kingdom was rejected by the aristocracy in Israel, Peter wrote to those of the dispersion who had received their Messiah. The purpose of his letters was to remind his countrymen that even thought Israel was set aside nationally for the time being, “the Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). — Sadler, page 13.
This letter was addressed to the members of the Divine Election out of the Dispersion sojourning in Asia Minor, and was written shortly before the Coming of the Lord in wrath upon Jerusalem, as predicted in Matthew 24:2 and Luke 19:44. James … wrote to all the Tribes at the same period of time; for God still maintained relations with Israel and acknowledged them as His people and the Temple as His House (John 1:11 and 2:16). These relations were broken when the judgment fell; but they will be resumed in the near future, and the believing Remnant of the nation in that future day will be fortified by these letters, for the moral conditions then will resemble those of the days in which the Apostles wrote.
The believing members of the Dispersion were confounded and discouraged because they were so few in number and so fiercely persecuted. The Apostle animated them by reminding them that though the Messiah Himself preached by His Spirit in Noah for a hundred and twenty years (3:19) heralding the approaching judgment, yet the whole world disbelieved Him, and only eight persons were saved in the baptism of the Ark. As to their sufferings, they as servants were appointed to share their Master’s rejection and to fell the bitter hatred of the world. The Coming of the Lord was to be their home then (4:7), as it will be to their suffering brethren of the future (1:7 and 13). — Williams, page 998.
The opposing view is offered by Guthrie and Motyer:
Some have argued from the language of 1:1; 2:6-10 and the use of the Old Testament that it was written to Jewish believers. There is, however, plenty of other evidence (see 1:14, 18; 2:9, 18ff,; 4:3-5) that the writer had Gentiles in mind, and it is most unlikely that at this stage in the area in question there would have been separate Jewish and Gentile churches. — Guthrie, page 1237.
Even a surface survey of the verses Guthrie referenced to indicate Peter wrote to Gentiles show no such proof. And whether or not there were separate churches is irrelevant—there were Jewish Kingdom believers and Gentile Grace believers.
There are two inescapable proofs that Peter was writing to Kingdom Jews.
First, he said he was writing to Jews in 1:11—the Dispersion wasn’t just a loose reference to some Jews who lived in Asia Minor. It was an actual historical scattering of Jews. The name refers to a specific event, much like “the Depression” or “the Revolution” in the United States.
Second, in Galatians 2:9, we read this: “And when James, Cephas [Peter], and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me [Paul], they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.” The “circumcised” were the Jews. This verse says clearly that James, Peter, and John would confine their ministry to the Jews of the Kingdom, and there’s no verse in Scripture that indicates that ever changed.
There are plenty of other proofs, but I’m pretty sure they’ll show up in this study.
I’m using the following commentaries for this study. In quotes in future posts, I’ll simply refer to the author and page number.
First Peter in the Greek New Testament, by Kenneth S. Wuest. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (1942)
The Life and Letters of the Apostle Peter, by Paul M. Sadler. Berean Bible Society (2004)
The New Bible Commentary, edited by D. Guthrie and J.A. Motyer. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (1970)
Williams’ Complete Bible Commentary, by George Williams. Kregel Publications
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A Psalm of Thanksgiving.
1 Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
3 Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5 For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.
In its heading this composition is described simply as a psalm of (or “for”) thanksgiving, which, given both the Levitical/Temple context of the Psalms’ original compilation, as well as the frequent use of the Hebrew term [for] “thanksgiving sacrifice,” it seems most likely that it was in conjunction with such sacrifices that this psalm was meant to be sung. — Wechsler, page 239.
[Vs.1-3a] The psalmist exhorts his addressees to express their thanksgiving, first and foremost, by worshipping (as the verb translated “serve” is typically intended) the Lord for who He is—i.e., focusing on the fact of His deity in general as opposed to any specific attribute(s) appertaining thereto: that the Lord (Hebrew “Yahweh,” His uniquely revealed name) Himself is God—in which the pronoun (“Himself”), which is usually not supplied except for emphasis, is intended to underscore the fact that the Lord alone is God (i.e., the only one who qualifies as deity.) — Wechsler, page 239.
[V.3b] The psalmist continues his exhortation to praise and thanksgiving by declaring, on behalf of Israel, that “it is He”—i.e., the one and only God as affirmed in the previous clause—”who has made us,” referring not to God’s creation of them as humans, but rather to His “making” of Israel as His own special people, as evident from (1) the parallel phraseology in 1 Samuel 12:22, and (2) the following clause, in which the psalmist affirms that (because God has “made” them), they are His people and the sheep of His pasture. — Wechsler, page 240.
[Vs.4-5] Drawing out the implication of Israel being the “sheep” of God’s “pasture,” the psalmist exhorts his people to offer God thanksgiving and praise because of His lovingkindness and faithfulness [terms used for God’s covenant love for Israel]. — Wechsler, page 240.
Verse 3 is the center of the song. The two verses which precede, and the two which follow, belong, respectively, to Israel and the nations. In harmony with this distinction worship has the first and prominent importance for the one, and entrance for the other; for Israel’s position was assured but the Gentile being outside the Covenant needed the assurance of entrance. …
So this prophecy assures the fulfilment of all the promises of the Old Testament respecting the millennial glory, and the one flock. This of course is distinct from the higher glory which is to be the heritage of the Church. — Williams, pages 376-377.
While I lean toward Wechsler’s view that this psalm is directed toward Israel, I think there may be a millennial kingdom application based on where it comes in the book—after several other psalms that I believe have a millennial application.
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1 The Lord reigns;
Let the peoples tremble!
He dwells between the cherubim;
Let the earth be moved!
2 The Lord is great in Zion,
And He is high above all the peoples.
3 Let them praise Your great and awesome name—
He is holy.
4 The King’s strength also loves justice;
You have established equity;
You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.
5 Exalt the Lord our God,
And worship at His footstool—
He is holy.
6 Moses and Aaron were among His priests,
And Samuel was among those who called upon His name;
They called upon the Lord, and He answered them.
7 He spoke to them in the cloudy pillar;
They kept His testimonies and the ordinance He gave them.
8 You answered them, O Lord our God;
You were to them God-Who-Forgives,
Though You took vengeance on their deeds.
9 Exalt the Lord our God,
And worship at His holy hill;
For the Lord our God is holy.
Though the Hebrew text of this psalm has no heading, early Jewish tradition (i.e.,the Septuagint) attributes it to David. — Wechsler, page 236.
The little company of believing Hebrews as they press through the wilderness of trouble and anguish see in vision Revelation 4 and 5, and here sing of that expected day-break when Jehovah Messiah, bearing in His hand the title-deeds of the earth (Revelation 5:5), will ascend His throne, to which are attached the cherubim uttering their cry of Holy, Holy, Holly, and when angels and men and the creation will fall in worship at His feet. …
In this song they invite all nations to unite with Israel in worshiping the King. The cherubim in Revelation 4 announce the Kingdom and its judgments with a thrice repeated “holy,” They here appear (v.1); and their three-fold cry is given in verses 3, 5, and 9. This triple “holy” marks the three stanzas of the psalm. The first (v.3) states the reason why the nations should praise Messiah; the second (v.5), why Israel should praise Him; and the third (v.9) repeats the motive why all nations should praise Israel’s God and Lord.
In the first three verses Israel invites the nations to come to Zion and worship the King; in the following five verses she invites her own Twelve Tribes also to worship at His footstool; and in the last verse she repeats the invitation to the nations, and emphasizes the important command that the place of worship is to be Zion’s holy hill. —Williams, pages 375-376.
The psalmist begins with the affirmation that the Lord reigns, continuing one of the central, unifying themes of the preceding psalms in this Fourth Book (see 93:1; 96:10; 97:1). In the present psalm, however, this theme of God’s “rule” is considered with respect to its various expressions in holiness—or, to put it differently, how the various expressions of God’s holiness reflect His universal rule (as emphasized by the repeated refrain “Holy is He/the Lord” in vs. 3b, 5b, and 9b). In this opening section [vs.1-3] the universal aspect of God’s rule is correlated with the manifestation of God’s holiness in Creation—signaled first and foremost by the reference to Him being enthroned above the cherubim … that crowned the ark of the covenant.—Wechsler, page 237.
The psalmist now [vs.4-5] reflects upon God’s holy rule as represented by His code contained within the ark—i.e., the Law as epitomized by the two tablets of “testimony.” It is to the Law, accordingly that the terms “justice,” “equity,” and “righteousness” in this section refer. —Wechsler, pages 238.
The psalmist moves on [vs.6-9] to His holiness as represented by the service that took place around the ark. The psalmist thus opens this section by referring to Moses and Aaron, since the priesthood (and its attendant tabernacle duties0 was established with them, the first priests. So too, mention is made of Samuel because he was among the most—if not the most—prominent of the later Levites. … The reference to God as “a forgiving God” (v.8) highlights the result of that priestly work in which God’s holiness is most often encountered and affirmed by the common Israelite—i.e., atonement—with the reference to His holy hill highlighting the exclusive location where this work is accomplished. — Wechsler, pages 238.
A few commentaries explain v.8b—”you took vengeance on their deeds”—by pointing out that Moses, Aaron, and Samuel were flawed. God gave them forgiveness, but they still had to face the consequences of their sins—Moses and Aaron by failing to enter the promised land and Samuel … we don’t really know. He was wrong to install his evil sons as judges, but what punishment he received for it, we don’t know. I think this makes sense to me, especially as the psalm refers to God’s justice and righteousness.
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1 Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
For He has done marvelous things;
His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.
2 The Lord has made known His salvation;
His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
4 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;
Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.
5 Sing to the Lord with the harp,
With the harp and the sound of a psalm,
6 With trumpets and the sound of a horn;
Shout joyfully before the Lord, the King.
7 Let the sea roar, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell in it;
8 Let the rivers clap their hands;
Let the hills be joyful together
9 before the Lord,
For He is coming to judge the earth.
With righteousness He shall judge the world,
And the peoples with equity.
In its heading this composition is described, simply, as a psalm (sung by the Levites in the Temple to the accompaniment of musical instruments), though early Jewish tradition (i.e., the Septuagint) also attributes it to David. — Wechsler, page 235.
The sweet melody and perfect harmony of the new song that will salute Jehovah Messiah on the millennial morning will have three voiced, the Hebrew (vs. 1-3), the Gentile (vs. 4-6), and Nature (vs. 7-8). But Israel will have the leading part and a double theme, for she ill sing of grace in past redemption and in present restoration. — Williams, page 375.
This exhortation (vs.1-3) is directed not only to the assembly of Israel, but to all the earth. The basis for this exhortation/challenge is, in essence, twofold: (1) because He has done wonderful things [miracles], entailing the display of His universally preeminent power over man, and (2) the display of His gracious and faithful pursuit of intimacy with man (represented by His lovingkindness and faithfulness to the house of Israel, on behalf of whom He has made known His salvation to the nations). — Wechsler, pages 236-236.
The extent of the psalmist’s exhortation is here vividly underscored by (1) the sources of God’s praise, which extends from all the earth (v.4), including its people (v.7b: “those who dwell”), its animals (v.7a: “all it contains”), and even its inanimate parts (v.7a: “the sea”; v.8a: “the rivers”; v.8b: “the mountains”); and (2) the diversity of God’s praise, represented by the multifaceted ways in which that praise is produced (by “shouting joyfully,” by “singing,” “with the lyre,” “with trumpets,” by “roaring,” and by “clapping.” — Wechsler, page 236.
The identical phraseology as in this verse (v.9) is used to refer to the advent of the Son of God, the messianic King, when He will judge all those who have up to that point rejected Him, bot then and throughout history (cf. Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 20:12). — Wechsler, page 236.
Although most of my commentaries try to explain this psalm as a present-day exhortation to worship or even as a celebration of the release of Israel from Egypt, I think the main application in view is the celebration of Israel after the Tribulation is over and the Lord is on the throne in His Millennial Reign.
Posted in Psalms Comments Off on Psalm 98
1 The Lord reigns;
Let the earth rejoice;
Let the multitude of isles be glad!
2 Clouds and darkness surround Him;
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
3 A fire goes before Him,
And burns up His enemies round about.
4 His lightnings light the world;
The earth sees and trembles.
5 The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the Lord,
At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
6 The heavens declare His righteousness,
And all the peoples see His glory.
7 Let all be put to shame who serve carved images,
Who boast of idols.
Worship Him, all you gods.
8 Zion hears and is glad,
And the daughters of Judah rejoice
Because of Your judgments, O Lord.
9 For You, Lord, are most high above all the earth;
You are exalted far above all gods.
10 You who love the Lord, hate evil!
He preserves the souls of His saints;
He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.
11 Light is sown for the righteous,
And gladness for the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
Though the Hebrew text of this psalm has no heading, early Jewish tradition (i.e., the Septuagint) attributes it to David.
This psalm continues and further develops the idea with which the previous psalm ended—to wit: the coming of the divine King to permanently establish His kingdom on earth. As in the previous psalm, moreover, this look at God’s coming kingdom is intended with specific reference to the Son of God, as indicated by (1) the citation of verse 7b in Hebrews 1:6 with direct and exclusive application to Jesus, and (2) the clear references in this section to God’s presence—the manifestation of which is, according to John 1:18, always that of the Son of God. — Wechsler, pages 233-234.
This is the new song of Psalm 96, not new for heaven but new for earth.It sings of a new day for humanity—a day of righteousness and peace and brother hood. It will dawn when God causes His First-Begotten to return to the earth on the millennial morn, and commands all the angels to worship Him (Hebrews 1:7). In this quotation the Holy Spirit interprets the Psalm, and declares its God to be Messiah. — Williams, page 374.
The song pictures the gladness which will fill the world when Messiah is enthroned, His adversaries destroyed, and His people delivered. The “foundation” of that throne will be righteousness and judgment (v.2). The great islands of verse 1 figure the nations dwelling in the continents washed by the waters of the great oceans of the world. The previous psalm summons them to sin the song. Here they respond. — Williams, page 375.
[The psalm] begins with a clear affirmation of universal rule over all Creation—viz., “The LORD reigns” (more precisely “has been reigning”). The ensuing description of the features attending God’s manifest presence and the reaction thereto by the inanimate world itself parallels the phraseology of other passages referring either to (1) the display of His sovereign power in past history (i.e., verse 2a “Clouds and thick darkness,” to which compare Deuteronomy 4:11; 5:22: “Fire goes before Him,” to which compare Exodus 13:21; Leviticus 9:24, or (2) the future advent of the Son of God (i.e., verse 2b: “Righteousness and justice,” to which compare Isaiah 9:7; 11:4; Psalm 97:6: “All the peoples have seen [the “prophetic past tense”] His glory,” to which compare Isaiah 62:2) — Wechsler, page 234.
Verses 7-9 declare God’s authority over the “gods” (graven images and idols) of the Gentiles. This also includes angels who were worshiped as gods by the Gentiles.
Verses 10-12 declare God’s dominion over His people—the believing remnant.
Posted in Psalms Comments Off on Psalm 97
1 Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
3 Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.
4 For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the Lord made the heavens.
6 Honor and majesty are before Him;
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
7 Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
Give to the Lord glory and strength.
8 Give to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come into His courts.
9 Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Tremble before Him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns;
The world also is firmly established,
It shall not be moved;
He shall judge the peoples righteously.”
11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice
13 before the Lord.
For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth.
He shall judge the world with righteousness,
And the peoples with His truth.
Though the Hebrew text of this psalm has no heading, it is almost certainly to be attributed to David seeing that (1) the entirety of the psalm is given, with minor variations, in 1 Chronicles 16:23-33 as part of a psalm of thanksgiving ascribed to David, and (2) early Jewish tradition (i.e., the Septuagint) attributes it to David. — Wechsler, page 231.
Beginning with this psalm and running through the 100th psalm is a great celebration when the Messiah comes to the earth to claim His possession and to set up His Kingdom. … These psalms look forward to the day when the Messiah will appear in His Kingdom as it was revealed to David in Psalm 72. At that time, righteousness and peace will be enthroned through Him, who is both King of righteousness and King of peace. — Phillips, pages 213-214.
Israel having sung the previous psalm (“us” v.1 and “we” v.7) now invites the nations to join her in “a new song.” The next psalm [Psalm 97] is the song. … The doctrine of the psalm is that the advent of the Messiah into the world will make it a Paradise, and that His rule alone can banish dissension, war, misery, and injustice, and establish society in an enduring brotherhood. — Williams, page 374.
It is Jesus, specifically, who is ultimately in view in this psalm as is indicated by the reference (in v.3) to His wonderful deeds, which term refers to His acts of redemption as expressed within history—and any manifestation or revelation of God’s presence or work within history is, per John 1:18, the work of the Son (whose “role” has always been to do that which the Father wills). These past deeds, together with His work of creating the heavens (i.e., “sky,” referring to Genesis 1:7-8, which was also the specific work of the Son; cf. John 1:3; Colossians 1:16), amply attest His majesty (v.6) and worldwide sovereignty in past history. — Wechsler, page 232.
The psalmist challenges to families of the people not simply to submit in fear to the divine King (as a defeated people might grudgingly submit to a royal conqueror), but rather, reflecting God’s own desire in the matter, that they come into His courts (implying conversion, since Gentiles could go no further than the single Court of the Gentiles) and worship the Lord in holy attire (unquestionably implying full status, via conversion, among God’s people, to whom the expression “holy attire” [or “splendor of holiness,” “holy array] is elsewhere exclusively applied; cf. 1 Chronicles 16:29; Psalm 29:2; 110:3. This point is further emphasized by the universal challenge to say (i.e., affirm) that the Lord reigns (corresponding … to the English present perfect continuous tense, “has been reigning”—i.e., ever since the beginning of Creation until now). — Wechsler, page 233.
The psalmist concludes his challenge by focusing on the Lord’s future coming to judge the earth (v.13), which refers specifically to the future coming of the Son of God, to whom the Father “has given all judgment” (John 5:22). At that time He will remove “the prince of this world” (i.e., Satan; cf, Ephesians 2:2; 1 John 5:19) and, as a manifestation of the universal rule that has always been His (yet which, in His forbearance, He has so far withheld from imposing), He will judge the world in righteousness and … faithfulness. — Wechsler, page 233.
Posted in Psalms Comments Off on Psalm 96