September 5, 2012

Revealing Christ In the Old Testament XIV: The Song Remains The Same


The Psalms. Phew! Where do I start with this book to show how it foreshadows the Anointed One Christ. I guess I should start with His royalty.


He is King. Psalms 2, 20, 21, 24, 45, 72 and 110 to name but a few that mention God's anointed, the Messiah, the Christ. It is in Psalm 2 that we see Jesus' title of Anointed. The title King of Zion rings out like a clarion's call in 2:6. The King of Heaven or vice-regent on the throne that sits upon Zion. We then get a explanation of ownership in verse 6 and 7. The Lord possesses the earth. Obedience to this King is the only acceptable way to be reconciled to the Most High God. We see the Sovereign above all King in Psalm 2 not the despised suffering servant of Isaiah 53. We see His towering glory as He stands above all creation.

Psalm 45 reveals of the marriage of the King. It is the underlying passion of the Songs of Solomon, and it prophesies of a Supper, nay, the marriage Supper. We see Christ as the Bridegroom and we hear mention of His bride. This Psalm clearly seems to be speaking of Solomon but as we know from other passages, there is double meaning here. There is the immediate historical application and the more distant historical application. So to the imagery of the Kingdom it can be describing and earthly kingdom and obviously a heavenly one.

Psalm 72 celebrates the coronation of the King. " The monarch grows greater than the Sons of Me. In these verses we seem to see allusion to the glory of the Transfiguration or one"who alone does marvelous deeds". A true Prince that brings prosperity to the poor and punishment to the wicked as a just and righteous judge.

A dual line of prophecy runs through Psalms. One speaks of the coming of the Messiah as an earthly King, the other of the coming King, Israel's true King for redemption and her glory. Although they run on in parallel lines like railroad tracks--they never meet, at least not until the New Testament and the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

One Sacrifice

In Hebrews we see the need for the perpetuity of the Jewish sacrifice but with Christ we read in chapter 9:

Hebrews 9:10-15 ~ They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings —external regulations applying until the time of the new order. But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance —now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

In Psalm 40:6-8 we again see Christ as High Priest. "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire - but my ears you have opened-burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, “Here I am, I have come -  it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.”

Hebrews again parallels this as it actually quotes Psalms 40:

Hebrews 10:5-10 ~ "Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll - I have come to do your will, my God.’” First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”- though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

All the sacrifices had been part of the Law which was a shadow of good things to arrive in Christ but the very fact of their repetition proved their inability to actually forgive sin once and for all. This stands in stark contrast to Jesus' once-and-for-all sacrifice on the Cross. It is in Christ's perfect obedience and His will being perfectly aligned to the Father's that Jesus fulfills the Psalm writer's words, " I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.”

Psalms 23 is often peoples favorite for overcoming fear and trepidation and rightfully so but it really should be seen in its proper context to fully appreciate its impact. The fact that it sits between Psalm 22 and 24 is important. When we see them together we under why. Psalm 23 is not a loner but in a threefold setting.

Psalm 22 speaks of the Good Shepherd in death (John 10:11) and Jesus is seen here as the Savior. We see the cross, something completed in the past that has eternal consequences for all being saved and therefore grace. We then see Psalm 23 and the Great Shepherd in His Resurrection (Hebrews 13:20) and he is our Shepherd with a crook. We see a present guidance to help us through our trials and tribulation. Psalm 24 shows us the Chief Shepherd in glory (1 Peter 5:4). We see our King with His crown standing in future glory!

In some shape or form all the above Psalms 22-24 bring us to the foot of the Cross. If Isaiah 53 and Psalms 22-24 focuses in on the Crucifixion. If we look closer though we see that Isaiah dwells heavily on the atoning aspect of Jesus' death. Psalm 22 on the other hand dwells on His suffering, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"...but it also ends with a beginning, " It is finished!" In the Hebrew of Psalm 22 we do no see complete sentences, we see a series of brief punctuated vocalizations, like those of a convulsing or spastic man whose breath is being wrenched from him in dying gasps while His strength falters. He speaks short halting words. If we look real close we see the Crucifixion of Christ relived...or should I say--pre-lived?

Broken-Hearted Savior

The final point that must be taken from Psalm is the one most people totally miss and sadly, it should be the one they most take to heart.

Psalm 69-19-21 ~ "You know how I am scorned, disgraced and shamed; all my enemies are before you. Scorn has broken my heart and has left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none. They put gall in my food
and gave me vinegar for my thirst.

Here we are told the immediate cause of our Saviour's death (outside of sin, or perhaps not). He died of a broken heart. In Psalm 69 the word "חֶרְפָּ֤ה or scorn/reproach " occurs six times. It is a shame or scorn carried or borne for others on the behalf of others. So in reality, Christ really is dying for sin or at least the shame or scorn of it. He bore it to the extent that even the Father in Heaven turned from Him. We should be not only aware of this fact but also quite ashamed of it. As I said, this is the one that people totally miss. Nor necessarily because they don't know but rather---because people chose to. No one wants to willingly hear about their depraved sinful fallen condition. Yet Christ bore this shame! We should be ashamed not only for the sins we commit that put Him on the Cross but even more so for trying to run and shirk the fact that we try to avoid it!

So to wrap up we revisit the Good Shepherd of Psalm 22/John 10

John 10:14-18 ~ “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life - only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

Evil sinful men crucified Him but it was by the establish counsel and foreknowledge of God He was delivered to death. Through His own will he willingly gave up His life. On the surface they look somewhat juxtaposed but in reality, in all these statements we see the truth of why and how Christ died for sin. Scorn being the direct embodiment of sin, as the sin and shame is what Jesus took on the Cross. Jesus came in a human body that He might have it to offer per Hebrews 10. He therefore possessed a human heart that it would be possible to break. In these ideas...the death of Christ on the Cross and the Gospel should humble us immensely. A crucified Lord must have crucified followers. By this I mean that we must kill off the old self daily. Only where we end can Christ begin. It is when we've divested ourselves of ourselves that we can truly and clearly see the Cross properly. In so doing we should then see sin its proper context...and it should break our hearts also.

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