Thursday, March 22, 2012

Exploring the Gospel ~ Psalm 96

Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
(Psalm 96:2)
“Proclaim the good news” is all one Hebrew word, basar. The Septuagint (a.k.a. LXX), the earliest translation of the Old Testament into Greek, renders it with the verb evangelizo, which, of course, means to evangelize, to announce the gospel. The announcement is about the salvation that comes from Yahweh. But what is this salvation about? We find the shape of it throughout the rest of this psalm.
  • It is a declaration to the nations that reveals the glory of Yahweh and displays His wonderful works (v. 3).
  • It is Yahweh being exalted and honored above all “gods,” specifically the idols worshiped by the nations (vv. 4-5). But it would also include whatever diabolical spirits may be behind them. This is part of what Paul means in the New Testament when he speaks about “principalities” and “powers.”
  • It is Yahweh coming to dwell in His temple, among His people, in honor and majesty, strength and beauty (v. 6).
  • It is all the peoples of the earth bowing down before Him, acknowledging His honor above all else (vv. 7-9).
  • It is declaring to the nations, “Yahweh reigns!” (v. 10), that is, that He is King.
  • It is heaven and earth coming together with rejoicing (vv. 11-12).
  • It is Yahweh judging the world with truth and righteousness (v. 13), with the judgment that sets things right, roots out evil and brings deliverance to all who trust in Him.
Although the immediate historical setting for this psalm was the rebuilding of the Temple at Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity, the ultimate fulfillment is found in Jesus of Nazareth. He is the Messiah, God’s Anointed King, in whom everything in this gospel and this salvation is fulfilled. Indeed, the name of Jesus in Hebrew, Yeshua, means “salvation.”
  • Jesus began His ministry by proclaiming the good news that the time was now fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come into the world (Mark 1:14-15).
  • After the resurrection and before He ascended to heaven, Jesus declared, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). In other words, not only has the kingdom of God come into the world, but Jesus Himself is the King.
  • Then Jesus sent the disciples (and through them, the Church) to go and “make disciples of all the nations,” baptizing them and teaching them everything Jesus taught (Matthew 28:19-20).
  • God has raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at His own right hand, “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come, and He put all things under His feet” (Ephesians 1:20-22).
  • God has also highly exalted Jesus and “given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).
  • In Jesus the Messiah, God is bringing everything that belongs to heaven and earth together into one (Ephesians 1:10). That is why Jesus taught us to pray, “Kingdom of God, come. Will of God, be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10 JVD). He also promised that whatever we bound on earth in His name will have already been bound in heaven, and whatever we loose on earth will have already been loosed in heaven (Matthew 18:18).
  • Jesus is the Word who became flesh and “dwelt” among us (John 1:14). The Greek word for “dwelt” literally means to tent, or to tabernacle. It corresponds to God dwelling in the Tabernacle of Moses, and later in the Temple. Peter calls Jesus the “living stone, rejected by men, but chosen by God and precious,” then adds, “You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:4-5). This is temple language.
  • At the end of the book of Revelation, heaven and earth are joined together by the New Jerusalem, with the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb (Jesus) as its temple. “And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it” (Revelation 21:22-24).
The gospel of God’s yeshuah (“salvation”), portrayed in Psalm 96, is now being accomplished through King Jesus (Yeshua) the Messiah. His kingdom reign has already begun and will be fully revealed when He returns to judge the world and everything will be completely set right.