Faithlife Sermons

Eschatology and The Psalms

Eschatology and Then Some  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 14 views
Notes
Transcript

Introduction

Over the past several weeks we have begun building a case for what we call postmillenial eschatology—an optimistic interpretation of the end times that shows us that Scripture does not claim that the world will get worse and worse and there’s nothing we can do about it except pray for Jesus to come quicker. Rather, God’s Word shows us the opposite—that God has a plan and a purpose for the material world that doesn’t end in destruction, but resurrection, redemption, reconciliation. That the people of God have a particular part to play in that plan, we have a “ministry of reconciliation” 2 Corinthians 15 shows us, we are to fulfill the Creation Mandate and the Great Commission to continue spread through the world and taking dominion over it as vice-regents, delegated authorities. We learned that the Abrahamic promises are not just for ethnic Israel, but expand out to everyone who is considered the true Israel, those who have the faith of Abraham, who believe on God and His promises, and that these Abrahamic promises of a messiah, a people, and a land all have deeper, bigger spiritual realities for us here as Christians in the 21st century.
Finally, we learned that Jesus is King now, not only at some point in the distant future, and that means His reign over the earth is already happening. We’re going to dig into that even further and continue building the case that this is so as we go through some of the most important Messianic Psalms.
First we’re going to begin with , one of my personal favorite psalms. I really want to write a worship song based on this psalm one day. As a quick addendum and tangent, I think our modern worship is missing a lot of things, one of them being that they are rarely as explicitly based on Scripture as they should be. There is such a grand opportunity to adapt the psalms to a modern music style and sing them together as the people of God have throughout all of Christian and Jewish history. Another thing that modern worship music is missing is an edge. We like the fluffy stuff, but we forget that half the psalms are about God judging his enemies and destroying evildoers. We need more worship songs like that. Why? Because it’s a part of Scripture, and we don’t want an unbalanced theology.
Let’s dig into and really get into what this Psalm means and what we can learn about eschatology from it.
Psalm 2 ESV
1 Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” 4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. 5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6 “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” 7 I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” 10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

The Cosmic Struggle

Psalm 2:1 ESV
1 Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?
Right away in verse one we have our continued theme of victory that we’ve been studying through this series. The Psalm asks the question: Why do the nations rage and peoples plot…in vain? If we’re thinking about this Biblically, and God is sovereign over the universe, this is really the only response we could have to a passage like this. The nations certainly rage, but they rage IN VAIN, for there is nothing they could do against God’s sovereign authority.
If we don’t have a Biblical view of God’s sovereignty and/or a Biblical view of eschatological victory, we could view the fact that evil nations are shaking their fists at God as something to worry about it. We could look at abortion, or child sex trafficking, or tyrannical governments, or any other evil thing caused by evil people who want to rebel against God’s authority and maybe imply by our reaction that they might have a chance. We could be worried that these horrible things might actually thwart or hinder God’s good plans, instead of playing right into them.
If our view is that everything is getting worse, we might even be tempted to get excited when we see bad things happening, cause that means Jesus is coming back soon and we’re free. But that’s not the right view either. Let’s keep reading and figure out what is.
Psalm 2
Psalm 2:2–3 ESV
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”
Ultimately, this is what all sin comes down to—rebellion against God. It’s people trying to be their own king instead of following the true king of the universe. What’s interesting here is that there are two figures that the kings of the earth are against: The LORD, and his Anointed. We know who the LORD is, but who is the Anointed? This is the Hebrew word “Messiah” here, and in the OT it designates the great Deliverer and King that the Jews long expected. We know that the Anointed One/Messiah is Jesus.
I’m sure you could guess, but let’s keep reading to be sure.
Psalm 2:4 ESV
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.
So what response does God have to this rebellion? He laughs at them. This is what Scripture says. I said earlier that I wish we sang more of these victory/battle psalms as the Church, but the reason we don’t is because we’re usually uncomfortable with this sort of language. Isn’t that mean, we say? Well, let’s remember who these people are and who God is. First, the people in view here are rebellious sinners, evil. And second, God is the creator of the universe, and these rebellious kings owe him both their allegiance and their very existence. So God’s reaction is to laugh at the futility of it all?
Do you really think that you can stop me? He asks. The answer is no. And that’s the answer we have to understand in this Psalm and in all of Scripture. The message of the Gospel is that God wins.
Genesis 3:15 ESV
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
There will be struggle, of course, but God wins in the end, and it is an inevitable victory. There is nothing the rebellious powers of the world can do about it. God laughs even at the thought of it.
This is why it saddens me when Christians don’t trust the sovereignty of God over salvation and history, and instead freak out and despair over every bad thing that happens in the world. Of course these things are awful, evil horrible things that need to end. But God will end them. He will. There’s no doubt about it. And God graciously uses us as the means to accomplish what He desires in the world.

The King of Zion

Psalm 2:5–6 ESV
5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6 “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”
After God is done laughing at these rebellious kings of the Earth, he speaks to them in wrath and fury. No nice words, no beating around the bush, God speaks to them angrily. Did you know it’s not a sin to be angry? It *can* be a sin to be angry? Just like it *can* be a sin to be sad, or fearful, or happy, but not always. These emotions have proper channels and they have unproper channels. When we channel our emotions into an action that glorifies God and is in line with his character, we aren’t sinning. And so being angry at evil and even evildoers themselves is not inherently sin.
God says “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”
This king is an extension of God’s sovereign authority over the universe, here to challenge and combat the evil powers of the world.
So what does it mean that he has set his king on “Zion”. Well, originally Zion was a fortress of the Jebusites, pagan enemies of Israel that David captures and renames the “City of David”. David brings the Ark of the Covenant to Zion, and it becomes a sacred place with holy significance. In Jewish history, the term Zion then began to mean the site where Solomon builds the temple and then the whole city of Jerusalem itself. It is the seat of God’s power. Zion ultimately became a symbolic term that means the center of God’s rule, the Kingdom of God, a realm of justice, righteousness, and peace.
Galatians 4:25–26 ESV
25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.
Galations 4:25-26
Hebrews 12:22 ESV
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,
Revelation 14:1 ESV
1 Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.
In the New Testament, we see Zion transcending these Old Testament designations of an earthly place or people to reach into heaven itself. So, God transfers the center of theocratic rule (God’s rule) from a particular place on Earth (Jerusalem) to heaven itself. Why is this important? Because Jesus is in heaven, sitting at the right hand of the father.
John 18:36 ESV
36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
Colossians 3:1 ESV
1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Revelation 1:5 ESV
5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood
1 Peter 3:22 ESV
22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.
This means that Jesus truly did come to be the king that the Jews expected and longed for him to be. A king over the whole earth, who would reign from Zion. But Zion, was not ultimately Israel, but was bigger, and higher than that. We’ll find this over and over again as we look at the OT promises. These earthly, physical promises and expectations were merely foreshadowing for something bigger and greater, spiritual.

The Return of the King

Psalm 2
Psalm 2:7 ESV
7 I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.
We have this verse begin to explicitly state more about who the Anointed Messiah is. He is the very son of God. This decree here is a pledge of adoption by God, a holy coronation rite establishing this King’s legitimacy. The word “today” here suggests a formal moment at which the title applies to the new ruler. When was this moment? Well, we can go to the NT to know that.
Acts 13:33 ESV
33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “ ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’
Romans 1:4 ESV
4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
Here we have the writers of the NT saying that this coronation does not happen in some distant future but has in fact already happened in history at the Resurrection and then the shortly thereafter ascension of Jesus into heaven. Christ is installed as the king who will rule from God’s right hand. The Great Commission also speaks of this moment:
Matthew 28:18 ESV
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
This is where all of our stories of kings and the true king and all that come from. From the actual true reality that all of history centers on the coronation of the true king and the inheritance he gets from the father.
Psalm 2:8 ESV
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.
The Lord, God the Father, is saying this to the son on the day he is coronated. Important note here is God says “ask of me” and I’ll give these things to you. Do you think Jesus forgot to ask? That’s what many people seem to assume given their eschatology. If this happened at Jesus’ Resurrection and ascension, which we know it did, then why would Jesus not have taken what was his inheritance? The fact is that he did, because all authority in heaven and on earth HAS been given to me.
We can imagine it almost as like that scene from the Lion King, the Father showing the son the whole earth and saying “this is yours”.
We see this very thing also paralleled in , in another Messianic Psalm
Psalm 110:1–2 ESV
1 The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” 2 The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies!
Psalm 110:1
These passages clearly anticipate Christ subjugating his enemies, not losing to them. He does this while sitting at the right hand of God in heaven, not by his leaving heaven and returning to earth at the second advent.

No Other Kings

Psalm 2:9 ESV
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Here we have the completion of Christ’s victory. The Messiah will look at the rebellious kings of the world and he will break them, destroy them, defeat them. Why? Because He is the king, and he has all authority, and anyone who does not bow to that authority will perish. So what do we do? How do we escape this terrible wrath? Aren’t we all sinners, rebellious people who want to be our own kings?
Psalm 2:10 ESV
10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Psalm 2:10–12 ESV
10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
The important thing here is that this isn’t just a message for the individual, though it certainly applies to each individual as well. But this is for the kings of the earth. The powers of the earth. The nations and peoples of the earth that rebel against Jesus. This means that Jesus, as king, doesn’t just come to smite and destroy individuals that rebel against him, and save those individuals who throw themselves upon his mercy, but he also does the same to nations. There is a cosmic, global scope to this message. Jesus is king and he can’t suffer any other kings to rule against him. He has been given all the earth as his inheritance, and he will come to claim it all, piece at a time.

Suffering Before Glory

Psalm 22 ESV
To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David. 1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? 2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. 3 Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. 4 In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. 5 To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. 6 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. 7 All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; 8 “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” 9 Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. 10 On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God. 11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help. 12 Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; 13 they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; 15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. 16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— 17 I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; 18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. 19 But you, O Lord, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid! 20 Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog! 21 Save me from the mouth of the lion! You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen! 22 I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: 23 You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! 24 For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. 25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him. 26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. 28 For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. 29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive. 30 Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; 31 they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.
Psalm 22:1–21 ESV
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? 2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. 3 Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. 4 In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. 5 To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. 6 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. 7 All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; 8 “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” 9 Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. 10 On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God. 11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help. 12 Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; 13 they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; 15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. 16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— 17 I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; 18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. 19 But you, O Lord, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid! 20 Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog! 21 Save me from the mouth of the lion! You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!
Psalm 22:17–21 ESV
17 I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; 18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. 19 But you, O Lord, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid! 20 Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog! 21 Save me from the mouth of the lion! You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!
We skipped through some of this, but the first twenty-one verses of the Psalm, most theologians agree, is prophesying the crucifixion. Verse 1, for example, is uttered by Christ himself at the cross:
Psalm 22:1 ESV
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
Verse 17 we know is true because the gospels account that Jesus did not have a broken bone.
Psalm 22:17 ESV
17 I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me;
And 18 was specifically paralleled in Mark
John
Psalm 22:18 ESV
18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
John 19:2 ESV
2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe.
Matthew 27:46 ESV
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Mark 15:24 ESV
24 And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take.
Yet the Messiah’s suffering gives way to glorious dominion, as we see in the latter half of the Psalm. We’ll get to that in a moment. I want to hone in on something: this is the pattern we see in Scripture, particularly the NT. Suffering, and then glory.
Luke 24:26 ESV
26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
Philippians 2:6–11 ESV
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
1 Peter 1:11 ESV
11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.
Suffering and conflict does indeed have a part to play in God’s sovereign plan for the universe, but the cosmic battle will always give way to glory, as Christ is victorious over every enemy. Let’s keep reading in the Psalm and see what else is there for us to uncover about the Messiah as King:

The Reign of the King

Psalm 22
Psalm 22:22–31 ESV
22 I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: 23 You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! 24 For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. 25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him. 26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. 28 For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. 29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive. 30 Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; 31 they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.
There are a lot of familiar things here, aren’t there? Let’s pick a few of them apart quickly.
Psalm 22:22 ESV
22 I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
After Christ’s suffering is over, his name will be spoken of and praised. What happened after Christ’s suffering? The early church did exactly that.
Psalm 22:23 ESV
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
We see more allusions to the offspring promised to Abraham and the other patriarchs. Who are these offspring now? The church.
Psalm 22:
Psalm 22:24–25 ESV
24 For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. 25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
Psalm 22:24 ESV
24 For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.
Psalm 22:27 ESV
27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.
Does this verse seem familiar to something? The Abraham promises! So what are the early church praising him for? For fulfilling the Abrahamic promise and giving victory in the great commission. This verse alone tells us that the great commission succeeds. How do we know this is happening in history and not some distant eternal future? Let’s keep reading.
Psalm 22:28 ESV
28 For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.
Hebrews 12:23 ESV
23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
The reason Jesus will save the earth is because the earth is his birthright and inheritance. He created the material world for his glory, and he displays that glory through worldwide redemption and his rule as king.
This is
Psalm 22:29 ESV
29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive.
We can see that this is happening in history because we see people dying here in this verse.
Psalm 22:30–31 ESV
30 Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; 31 they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.
And we see generations worshipping the Lord and following after their ancestors. This is happening in history.

The King Brings Prosperity

The last want to briefly mention, because it perfectly leads into next week’s topic, is . This is the one we read right at the beginning of the series, and is kinda the main focal point of the entire series. Let’s read a few verses:
Psalm 72:5–8 ESV
5 May they fear you while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations! 6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth! 7 In his days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more! 8 May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth!
We see the Messiah’s reign on the earth, his dominion from sea to sea, and what happens in this reign? The righteous flourish and peace abounds. That’s an important aspect of this I want to leave you on. Christ is not only king, but he is a good king, and the blessings of the Creation Mandate, the Abrahamic Promises, and the Gospel all come together here to bring us the future of our world. As things are reconciled to Christ, the righteous will flourish and peace will abound. We are looking forward to victory and goodness, not pain and misery. Will there be struggle? Of course. But after suffering, comes glory.
Related Media
Related Sermons