Bible Studies on the Messianic Psalms      

Psalm 24 – The King is Coming!

 

By I Gordon 

 

Introduction

 

We have been studying the Messianic Psalms are in the third of a little trilogy that is better than Star Wars or Lord of the Rings! They are Psalm 22, 23 and 24. We looked first at Psalm 22 which depicts Jesus as the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. We looked next at Psalm 23 which gives the present day ministry of Jesus as the Great Shepherd of our souls. Today is about the Chief Shepherd – the soon and coming King! Explaining it another way Psalm 22 is the past, Psalm 23 is the present and Psalm 24 is the future. Explaining yet another way, Psalm 22 is the Savior’s Cross, 23 is Shepherd’s Crook and Psalm 24 is the Kings crown. There will be more but I have now officially come to the end of all explanations I know of describing this trilogy!

 

So today is about Psalm 24. The theme of this study, if I could put it as simply as possible, is ‘The King is coming!’ I’ll say some things related, and some things possibly unrelated, but the core message is make sure you are ready, for the King is coming. Let’s read the entire Psalm.

 

Psalms 24:1-10  Of David. A psalm. The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;  (2)  for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.  (3)  Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place?  (4)  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.  (5)  He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior.  (6)  Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah  (7)  Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.  (8)  Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.  (9)  Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.  (10)  Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty-- he is the King of glory. Selah

 

Before we examine this Psalm let me just state the obvious and say that we are living in pretty extraordinary times. Recently a poll was done of Bible scholar experts as to what they thought were the biggest signs that we are in the last days leading up to Jesus return. The normal suspects (and rightfully so) were mentioned: Israel is back in the land and facing constant pressure from the world; apostasy is occurring at an ever increasing rate within the church; there is an explosion of knowledge; morally bankrupt societies… Of those Israel is always the super sign. But there was another sign of the end that got mentioned a lot in this survey. It was this: Convergence. What they meant is that a sign that we are in the end times isn’t just one sign… it’s a convergence of all the signs. In the past people have pointed to one or two things that are happening. Now they start pointing to them all. Convergence! The pace is quickening. The King is coming!

 

Signs of the times and times of the signs -  Birth pangs of the Messiah

 

Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son said a few weeks back to get ready for storm clouds are gathering on the horizon. I believe even non-Christians can see that things are changing rapidly. Look around at some of the things happening in the world (as of early 2015):

 

 

What is it all leading to?[2] That is where Psalm 24 comes in. All of these things are called the ‘birthpangs of the Messiah.’ Psalm 24 gives an overview of the One who can not only sort out all this mess, but also has the right and ability to take possession of this world! The Psalmist gives only one answer – He portrays someone coming... someone to whom the doors and gates have to open. The King of Glory!

 

Back to the beginning

 

Psalm 24:1-2 The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;  (2)  for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. 

 

Let’s look at this on a personal level: The earth is the Lord’s and all who live in it. That includes you! You are His - Firstly by creation, for you are not an accident, and secondly by redemption. The New Testament says ‘you are not your own – you were bought with a price. Therefore honour God with your body.’ 1 Cor 6:19-20. Many like to be saved so that they have their ticket, their fire insurance, for the life to come... but they don’t want to allow God to call the shots in the mean time. ‘The earth is the Lord’s and all who live in it.’ In the world around us, this is taken for granted. A designer, unless they give it away or sell it, has ownership of their design. An inventor controls that which they invented. The artist has ownership of their art. And the creator has exclusive rights to His creation. He created you and He redeemed you. You are not your own. We should honour God with our lives and allow Him to be King in our life.

Let’s look at this on a wider prophetic level: Mankind has been fighting over this planet since the beginning of time. We all want to own a little piece of it. You may have purchased a little portion of it. Of the 149 Million Km2 of land on this earth I own a substantial 750m2. Our city and regional councils control the wider area. The national government may think that they own and control the nation. Nations fight and make war to gain greater amounts of land and resources and control. But not many stop to think that we are all but caretakers and the land is the Lords! The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it. All the cattle, all the gold, all the trees, all the rivers... He founded it. He made it. He owns it. The creator, as we said, has exclusive rights to His creation – Both for this planet that we live on and this life that we live. You’ve heard of the saying ‘finders keepers, losers weepers’. Well with God it is ‘Founders keepers, loser’s weepers’. He made it, He founded it and is coming shortly to take His possession back, thank you very much. 

 

Recently I looked again at a principle laid down by God in the Bible and given to the nation of Israel, called the Year of Jubilee. Each tribe and family in Israel was given a portion of the Promised Land. Some, through hardship, sickness, stupidity or plain bad luck would lose or have to sell their land. But according to God’s law it was never permanent. On the year of Jubilee the land would be returned to its rightful owner.  While we do not know when the Year of Jubilee is anymore, it will be a fulfilment of the Jubilee Year when Jesus returns and this planet will return to its rightful owner – Jesus Christ - The King of Glory. All things were made by Him and for Him, Colossians tells us.

 

The qualifications for this Planet

 

(3)  Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place?  (4)  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.  (5)  He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior. (6)  Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah

 

On the personal level: Most of the time when we read this passage, we read it and take it personally. We think how can a person come into God’s presence? He has to have clean hands and a pure heart. If we were to look at the personal aspect, this passage is surely a reminder that as God’s people, we are to be different. Look again at the true heart condition that God looks for:

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit’ – that is, being aware of your own deceptive heart and frail human fallen nature – for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied.’

‘Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.’

 

We live in very difficult days in which to be a Christian, and everything that bombards us from this world sets itself up against these things that Jesus said. That was brought home to me this week. I listened to a message recently given by Dr David Reagan about America’s spiritual crisis. He is in his 70’s and was contrasting what life was like when he grew up to how it is today. He had many interesting things to say but two things he said stuck with me.

  1. The movie ‘Gone with the wind’ came out in 1939 – It wasn’t released on time even though it was finished and ready to go. Why not? Because the very last word of the movie broke Hollywood’s standard and rules. You may remember that it ends with ‘frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn’. That last word of the last line in the movie broke Hollywood’s rules and standards at the time. Who would have thought that Hollywood had standards? They eventually gave way and allowed it to be released. And I think it is fair to say that wouldn’t be the only time they gave way. [3]
  2. The second point that really spoke to me concerning the times in which we live was an identical survey done by the same people (Californian police department in conjunction with the education department) 40 years apart. The survey was done in the mid 1940’s and then the mid 1980’s looking at the Top Public School Problems. Here they are.

Worst School Problems in the mid 1940s
1) Talking
2) Chewing gum
3) Making noise
4) Running in the halls
5) Getting out of turn in line
6) Wearing improper clothing
7) Not putting paper in wastebaskets 

Worst School Problems in the mid 1980s
1) Drug Abuse
2) Alcohol Abuse
3) Pregnancy
4) Suicide
5) Rape
6) Robbery
7) Assault

 

We forget how far things have gone and in fact, we don’t even notice it because we are in it all the time. What is the old children’s song? Be careful little eyes what you see... Be careful little ears what you hear... It is such a challenge to be in this world but not of it, but that is one we must take seriously. 

 

On a prophetic level, as well as speaking of those that will enjoy the Kingdom when Jesus returns (and how awesome will that be when righteousness abounds on this earth and all this other rubbish is gone?) Psalm 24:3-5 also points to the One that alone can ascend the hill of the Lord. In the context of this Psalm it is looking at far more than just whether we individually have clean hands. It is looking for one that has the rights to this planet. Some commentators see two different hills mentioned here. The ‘hill of the LORD’ is thought to be referencing Mount Zion, where the throne of the King was. ‘Who may stand in the Holy Place’ is speaking of another hill or mount – Mount Moriah where the Jewish temple was. In other words, who can be both King and Priest to take possession of this planet? This question was addressed by the prophet Zechariah:

 Zechariah 6:12-13  "Then say to him, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, "Behold, a man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of the LORD.  (13)  "Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the LORD, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices."'

 

The long awaited entrance…

 

(7)  Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.  (8)  Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.  (9)  Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.  (10)  Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty-- he is the King of glory. Selah

 

When Jesus made His triumphant entrance into Jerusalem 2000 year ago the people cried out the following:

 

Matthew 21:10-11  When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, "Who is this?"  (11)  And the crowds were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee."

 

Mark 11:9-10  Those who went in front and those who followed were shouting: "Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD;  (10)  Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!"

 

Luke 19:39-42  Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples."  (40)  But Jesus answered, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!"  (41)  When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it,  (42)  saying, "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.

 

Let’s put these things together:  In His triumphant entry into Jerusalem 2000 years ago it says the whole city was stirred saying ‘Who is this? This will be played out again at the end but in far, far greater power and glory. The first time, some of the people recognized Jesus as a ‘prophet from Nazareth’. This time the answer to their question is the greater truth – He is the King of Glory![4] The first time they said ‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David’ but Jesus, seeing Jerusalem, could only weep over it saying ‘if you had only known in this day, the things which make for peace – but now they are hidden from your sight.’  The next time their eyes will be opened and they will be the ones weeping, for a time, as they recognize that they pierced and killed their Messiah. But the weeping will pass and the joy remains.

 

Psalms 47:2-9  How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth!  (3)  He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet.  (4)  He chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loved. Selah  (5)  God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets.  (6)  Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.  (7)  For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.  (8)  God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.  (9)  The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham, for the kings of the earth belong to God; he is greatly exalted.

 

What a day of celebration! What a day of rejoicing! The Word tells us that even the trees in the field will clap their hands in that day. Do I take that literally? I don’t know exactly what that will look like but I do know that all of creation will somehow be liberated to be able to worship the Lord in that day. Creation itself ‘groans’ at the moment the Bible says. Even more remarkably, it says it has an ‘anxious longing’ and is ‘waiting eagerly’ for the revealing of the sons of God because it too will be liberated into the freedom that it was created for in that day. 

 

Conclusion

 

We’ve seen that the King is coming. He is coming to take back that which is His. We’ve also spoken of how His return, the Bible tells us, is preceded by birth pangs - ‘the birth pangs of the Messiah’.

 

Luke 21:31-36  "So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near.  (32)  "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place.  (33)  "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.  (34)  "Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap;  (35)  for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth.  (36)  "But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."

 

Our job now is to finish well. Our job now is to now grow weary in this race that is before us. Our job is to be good and faithful servants who are found doing what their master has called them to do. Finish well!

 

 



[1] Recently there came the threat from the so called Islamic State to conquer the nation of the cross – saying we will take Rome.  There was a #tag trending on Twitter from ISIS and supporters saying ‘We are coming O Rome’. To which some replied ‘Tomorrow is another public transport strike – Good luck!’ showing a picture of massive traffic jams currently in Rome. And another said ‘You’re too late – Italy has already been destroyed by its governments’. Sometimes you have to laugh but it only temporarily masks the seriousness of what is going on around the world.

 

[2] Jan Markell recently said: “We must spread good news amidst the bad. We can't grow weary in well doing. We must love when we are hated. And we must look up much more than we look around or we won't be able to handle things. Things aren't falling apart -- they are falling into place.”

 

[3] In contrast, and I’ll just put this in a footnote cos it isn’t nice… a movie called ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ recently came out that contained the F-word 544 times in 180 minutes... That is that swear word every 19 seconds! And that is just looking at one swear word! And the scary thing is that hardly anyone thinks anything of it. Look how things have changed!

 

[4] The Believers Bible Commentary has this which I liked: ‘The Twenty-Fourth Psalm looks forward to a glorious event which occurs at the end of the Great Tribulation. The thunders of God's judgments have ceased, the Lord Jesus has returned to earth and has put down all His foes, and Christ is now marching to Jerusalem to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. This is a triumphal procession such as the world has never seen. Even as onlookers were once startled by the depths of the Savior's suffering, so they are now speechless at the height of His glory... I like to think that the procession has been singing the words of verses 1-6 as they cross the Valley of the Kidron. But now their singing is interrupted by the clarion call of the herald at the head of the parade. He calls out to the watchmen at the gates of Jerusalem: "Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in." A sentry on the wall of the city calls back in loud, impressive tones, "Who is this King of glory?" The answer comes back in clear, stentorian words, "The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle." ...Then the King enters the city with His loyal subjects to take the scepter of universal dominion in His nail-pierced hand.’