Prophecy Psalms for the Jews and for You – Part 1
By Steven J. Hogan
I love the Psalms, a treasure trove of truth for the soul, one of the most encouraging books in the entire Bible. This Jewish song book was written from 2500 to 3400 years ago, but because it is God’s word then it is still relevant today. It has much to say about your personal relationship with the Lord, knowing Him, trusting Him, crying out to Him, loving Him, singing to Him, praying to Him, and being loved and comforted by Him. But it’s more than just about you and the Lord, and that’s because a good portion of the Psalms is prophetic. Do you remember when Jesus told His disciples, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44). Surely Jesus wasn’t just talking about Psalms that would be fulfilled when He came the first time, but also those that would be fulfilled when He came the second time.
It was about seven years ago that the words of Luke 24:45 relative to the Psalms were coming true in my own life. “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” At that time I was understanding more about the Jews, and the promises God had given them concerning their land, their salvation and their King. I was more clearly seeing how these were central themes in the Old Testament, but had only been partially fulfilled. Hundreds of prophetic verses in the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms spoke about the future of the Jews, but have still not yet come to pass.
Then during my daily reading in the Psalms, I started seeing many prophecy portions speaking about God’s plans for His people, plans that now include believers like you and me. Yes, these words were written for ethnic Jews, and they will come true for ethnic Jews, but it is also true that Christians will be joining believing Jews in the millennial kingdom, reigning with them, working with them, and worshiping the Lord together. I was so excited when I was reading the Psalms, because I found so many verses that spoke of the future God had for the Jews and for me, and for all Christians.
Let me mention some keys to finding prophecy verses in the Psalms about our future:
– First, you have to realize that the Psalms were originally and primarily written to the Jews and for the Jews. That is, the Psalms were and are Jewish in their purpose, context and content.
– Second, look for anything in the passage that speaks about God’s promises for the Jews concerning their land, their King, and their salvation.
– Third, look for words like forever and eternal, for they are strong clues that the passage you are reading is speaking about the future.
– Fourth, find from the text those things which have not yet taken place, for that means they are still future, and particularly so with regard to the millennial kingdom.
– Fifth, realize that we will be united with the Jews in the coming kingdom age, and that these verses are relevant for your future and the future of all Christians.
– Sixth, remember that you need hope, and these prophecy passages give some of the details of the hope you have for the future. And so read these verses, think about them, believe them, pray over them, and then tell others about them. Romans 15:4-13
Most believers don’t properly understand the prophetic portions of Scriptures, and this includes the Psalms. Might you not be one of them. Might God’s prophetic words in the Psalms not be a mystery unsolved, words misunderstood, and promises misapplied. Might it be true of you as it was for the disciples – “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” Luke 24:45
Now I must admit, that sometimes God’s word is hard to understand, and that I am by no means perfect in my comprehension of His word. Not only that, but I’m not completely sure which Psalms are still prophetic. Some of the Psalms had relevance for the Jews in the Old Testament days, and for us today in the church age, and for the future in the millennial kingdom. And then there are those that are strictly future. I think we all know that we will only learn so much this side of heaven, but we should still try to learn as much as we can. But when we are with the Lord, then He will open our minds to understand His word like never before. How wonderful and glorious that will be, when we are finally and forever in heaven, and on the earth, with the Lord and with one another.
Following is a summary of many of the prophecy Psalms (Part one):
Psalm 2. The unbelieving nations, people, and kings of the world have defiantly been taking their stand against God since the tower of Babel (Genesis 9). These rebels have been hating God, not wanting to bow down to Him and let Him rule their lives. But the time is soon coming when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in His holy wrath, will return to earth and shatter and smash all His enemies. Then Jesus Christ, officially installed as King over this entire earth, will save a great remnant of Jews, and then for one thousand years will powerfully and righteously rule over all the nations of the world. “But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain… I will surely give the nations as your inheritance.” Psalm 2:6, 8
Psalm 22:22-23, 27-31. This is a unique Psalm, for it speaks about Christ’s first coming and His second coming. The first 21 verses vividly describe different aspects of Christ’s crucifixion, of His loving and sacrificial work as a Savior, but the last five verse are about the future, and speak of Christ the King reigning over the world. “For the Kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over all nations.” From both Jews (vss. 22-23) and Gentiles (vs. 27), there will be praise and glory for our Lord, Savior and King. “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will worship before You.”
Psalm 33:10-12. World history is filled with stories of how powerful heathen nations, with their strong willed and wicked kings, have been carrying out their man made – demon inspired plans. But we must not miss that God is sovereign over all of them and, in ways you cannot see, has been continually frustrating and nullifying their plans – they cannot do whatever they want. This is in sharp contrast with the fact that God will faithfully fulfill His eternal plans for His people – plans for the salvation of the Jews, their occupation of their land, and for Christ His Son to rule as King. Because God is God, and is purposeful, powerful and wise, then He will wonderfully bless the nation of Israel, and the whole world will know what He has done, and bow to Him. “The counsel of the Lord stands firm forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.” Psalm 33:11
Psalm 37:9, 11, 18, 22, 29, 34. Remember God’s promise to Abraham, that “all the land which you see, I will give it to you and your descendants forever” (Genesis 13:14-17). That promise from God to His people is clearly reiterated many times in the Old Testament, and is repeated six times here in Psalm 37, and for it says that the Jews will “inherit the land.” But it is not just some nice little promise that will come true for a few years, for verse 22 informs us, “the righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.” And do you remember what Jesus shared in the Beatitudes, that the “meek will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5), which is referring to church age believers. This parallels Psalm 37:12 which says, “the humble will inherit the earth.” This means that in the millennial kingdom, both believing Jews and Christians, will be inheriting the land together.
Psalm 45. This is clearly a Kingdom Psalm, for seven different times the word King or kingdom is mentioned. And it’s not speaking of the past or the present but of the future, for we understand that Jesus Christ will be reigning as King over the whole world, and He will reign over it forever. “Your throne O God is forever and ever” (Psalm 45:6). In speaking of the Jewish people, it tells us that there will even be princes and princesses, and that they will eternally worship and serve the Lord. Finally, verse 17 reminds us that all “the peoples will give You thanks forever and ever.”
Psalm 46. This Psalm is very relevant for it speaks of the end times, of our time now, of that time when there are many wars and earthquakes. And what are we to do? We are to know that “the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold”, and we are to trust in the Lord, for “God is our refuge and strength.” Supernatural peace will be given to those trusting in Him during these days of trouble, of increasing “birth pains”. We also read that our Lord Jesus, our King, will be victorious, for “He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth.” But God also knows we need hope, and so He gives us a vision of our glorious future – “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High.” Then we come to the conclusion, and it is a command, “Cease striving and know that I am God,” and a promise, “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” This promise has not yet come true, but it will – you wait and see, for it won’t be long from now.
Psalm 47. This is the Psalm that most clearly articulates that Christ is King and will be reigning over the world. Close to 3000 years ago, God made a promise to David (1 Samuel 7) that one of His descendants would be exalted as King and would rule over the entire earth. But let the Psalm speak for itself: “For the Lord Most High is to be feared, a great King over all the earth… Sing praises to God, sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a skillful psalm. God reigns over the nations, God sits on the holy throne.” (Psalm 47:2,6,7). And as Zechariah 14:9 tells us, “The Lord will be King over the whole earth.”
Psalm 48. This series of kingly Psalms continues. But here the focus is on the “city of the great King,” the “city of our God, His holy mountain,” the “city of the Lord of hosts,” on “Mount Zion in the far north.” This city will be the “joy of the whole earth,” the glorious and beautiful city from which our great Lord and Savior will reign over the world. And you and I as Christians, along with believing Jews, will be there, in this city and in His temple. It also tells us one very important thing that we will be doing: “Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.” God’s love for us is one of the greatest subjects there is, and is to occupy our minds, stir our hearts, and encourage our souls for all eternity. In Jerusalem and all over the earth we will wholeheartedly and joyfully be worshiping our Lord – “as is Your name, O God, so is Your praise to the ends of the earth.”
Psalm 67. This encouraging little prayer Psalm sums up some of Christ’s primary purposes during the millennial kingdom. But first you must see that it is from the perspective of the Jews, for the “us” in verse one is referring to Jewish believers during this time when Christ is reigning over the earth. It instructs the Jews to pray, “God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us.” During this time, God will bless the Jews in a way in which the whole world will be blessed, for many of God’s promises to them will then be fulfilled (Look at Isaiah 40-66). Of course the center of attention is Jesus Christ, for ultimately, it is all about His way, His salvation, and how He will judge the peoples and guide the nations of the earth. And why? So that “the peoples praise You… so that all the end of the earth may fear Him” (Verses 5, 7). But remember that all believers will be there, believing Jews and Christians (in their glorified bodies), loving and serving the Lord, enjoying Him, and living life like never before.
Psalm 68:24-35. The strength, glory and majesty of our God and King is vividly on display in this Psalm. Featured here is the procession of believers into the temple in Jerusalem during the millennial kingdom. Singers, musicians, princes of Israel, and kings from all over the earth will be in attendance. They will be singing praises to God, and bringing gifts to the King, for He is the awesome One, the Glory of all the earth. “O God, You are awesome from your sanctuary. The God of Israel Himself gives strength and power to the people. Blessed be God.” Verse 35
Psalm 72. This great and grand Psalm is speaking specifically about Jesus Christ’s 1000 year rule on earth. Yes, it is a reference to Solomon, but more so, it is a prophecy, a promise about Christ and His perfect and glorious reign. He will judge the people, “rule from the River to the ends of the earth”, save the children of the needy, and have compassion on the poor. The righteous will flourish, nations will serve Him, and there will be an “abundance of peace” on the earth. Glory and praise will continually be given to our Savior and King. Verses 18-19 state it well, “Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone works wonders. And blessed be His name forever; and may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen.”
Psalm 86:8-10. The Psalmist is speaking of God’s personal work in his life, but he suddenly shifts to God’s work in the world, and it’s important that we see this. As believers we need to see ourselves as a small part of this big world, but we also need to see God’s work in the world at large. This chapter talks about God’s glorious and merciful work in the life of David, but then it quickly transitions, and not to the nation of Israel, but to all the nations of the world. And we see that the work of our sovereign God will be completely successful, for we read, “All nations whom you have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and they shall glorify Your name.” Yes, David the writer was worshiping the Lord, but now we realize that the entire world will be worshiping the Lord during the next age. This portion of the Psalm is definitely speaking of the millennial kingdom, for it has not happened yet, but it will, and every one of us will see and rejoice in this amazing, miraculous work of God. Then we too will say, “There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord… For You are great and do wondrous deeds; You alone are God.” Psalm 86:8, 10.
Psalm 87. This encouraging little Psalm tells us about something very glorious that will take place during the millennial kingdom. We read about those being born in Zion, the city of God, the holy mountain. This city is referring to Jerusalem, where Christ will be living. Now when it says born, it is not referring to physical birth but spiritual birth for it says, “those who know Me,” and that those born there will sing, and these no doubt will be spiritual songs to the Lord. The Psalm tells us that those born there are Jews, for there are ones from Zion. But they are also from Rahab, Babylon, Philistia, Tyre, and Ethiopia, and these are all Gentile nations. One of the most exciting and encouraging things taking place during the millennial kingdom is that people will be getting saved. Now not everyone living during this age will get saved, but this Psalm tells us that there will be those who do, and that they will worship and serve the Lord. And they will be exceedingly happy for they will be singing and saying to the Lord, “All my springs of joy are in You.”
Psalm 89:1-5, 19-29. This Psalm, much more than any other Psalm, focuses on the faithfulness of God. And for what reason, and to what end? The theme of this Psalm is clearly stated in verse 3, that God will be faithful to His covenant with David. “I have made a covenant with my chosen; I have sworn to David my servant, I will establish your seed forever, and build up your throne to all generations.” God will surely be faithful to His promise to David, that one of his descendants will be an eternal King in Jerusalem. The promise is again stated in verses 27-29, “I will also make him My firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth, My lovingkindness I will keep for Him forever, and My covenant shall be confirmed to Him. So I will establish His descendants forever, and His throne as the days of heaven.” Again it is confirmed in verses 35-36, “Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David. His descendants shall endure forever, and His throne as the sun before Me.” Without question, God will be faithful to fulfill His covenant promise to David, and it won’t be long before this takes place, for we now live in the end times. The signals that Christ is coming soon are being given – the birth pains are taking place, God is aligning the nations, and the gospel is being preached all over the world. And then in the near future, as it says in Psalm 47:2, “The Lord Most High is to be feared, a great King over all the earth.”