Christ and the Psalter

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AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
When we approach the Psalms to what extent is Christ in every single one (i.e. should it be Christ speaking in every one?) and what is the Christological story of the Psalter as divided up by book? Thoughts? :think:
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
When we approach the Psalms to what extent is Christ in every single one (i.e. should it be Christ speaking in every one?) and what is the Christological story of the Psalter as divided up by book? Thoughts? :think:

Since He wrote them, He is definitely in everyone of them.
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I would agree Daniel but I do think we need to be careful not to shoehorn Christ into places that he does not fit. While yes Christ is in the words of Scripture it would not be true to say everything speaks directly about and to Christ in the Psalms or the rest of the OT.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I would agree Daniel but I do think we need to be careful not to shoehorn Christ into places that he does not fit. While yes Christ is in the words of Scripture it would not be true to say everything speaks directly about and to Christ in the Psalms or the rest of the OT.

Do you mean in the sense of speaking about Christ's work as mediator?
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
Since He wrote them, He is definitely in everyone of them.

That I doubt not, what do you think is the Christological narrative within the first book? I can see a good picture of Christ here on earth, the story being one of his suffering. But then take the Hallelujah psalms in Book 5 (Pss. 148-150). These do not have Christ in them personnally...I am just trying to think through what the narrative is from Ps. 1 to Ps. 150. :2cents:
 

ADKing

Puritan Board Junior
Another fantastic work I am presently reading is "Christ and His Church in the Book of Psalms" by Andrew Bonar. While, I am not sure I agree with every observation, overall I appreciate his approach and many of his comments are thought provoking.
 

MAV

Puritan Board Freshman
Horne comments: "O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thine hot displeasure." He expects that God will " rebuke" him, but only prays that it may not be in "anger," finally to destroy him ; he desires to be chastened, but chastened in fatherly love, not in the "hot displeasure" of an inexorable judge. As often as we are led thus to express our sense of sin, and dread of punishment, let us reflect on Him, whose righteous soul, endued with a sensibility peculiar to itself, sustained the sins of the
world, and the displeasure of the Father.

see his comments on rest of the psalm
 

Sydnorphyn

Puritan Board Freshman
He wrote them...David?

When we approach the Psalms to what extent is Christ in every single one (i.e. should it be Christ speaking in every one?) and what is the Christological story of the Psalter as divided up by book? Thoughts? :think:

Since He wrote them, He is definitely in everyone of them.

Meaning? Since he wrote them, half of them are attributed to David? Please explain.

John
 

Brett McKinley

Puritan Board Freshman
Rev Roderick MacLeod's Article

In reading Rev Roderick MacLeod's article, I came to this section:

“3. Psalms where David, or some other Old Testament figure is a type of
Christ. We will mention a few examples.
What is Psalm 133 to us if it speaks only of the anointing oil running
down the beard of Aaron and to the skirts of his garments? What if we are
not directed thereby to our great high Priest, and His holy unction flowing
down to His people? What if we are not to think of believers as like the
woman with the issue of blood, around His garments, speaking the language
of faith and love and drawing virtue from Him?
It is of comparatively small value today to read Psalm 89 and think only
of the sad decline of the royal house of David and the apparent decline of the
royal covenant which God made with him. But it is of great use to us to look
at the “Man of rest” promised to David – the “Prince of peace” who was to
sit upon his throne.”

His interpretation is troubling. Psalm 133 is speaking about the blessing of God's gift of unity. The similes of oil and dew are profound when their origin is considered. Like brotherly unity, they are coming down from God. cf. Kidner.

Is the text not clear?
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
When we approach the Psalms to what extent is Christ in every single one (i.e. should it be Christ speaking in every one?) and what is the Christological story of the Psalter as divided up by book? Thoughts? :think:

Since He wrote them, He is definitely in everyone of them.

Meaning? Since he wrote them, half of them are attributed to David? Please explain.

John

Since they are the word of God, then Christ wrote them through David.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Luke 24 and John 5 mean that the Psalter is about Jesus. I would agree that not every detail should be expounded as pointing to Christ (see Arthur Pink for typology gone amuck). However, Christ is definitely in the Psalter, and in far more places than just the Messianic Psalms (2,8,22,45,110, etc.). I do not believe that the Psalter has a narrative. it is poetry. Some Psalms have an historical background given in the preface. Many, however, do not. I also believe that Christ is the ultimate Singer of the Psalms. This is not to deny its historical situatedness. But the historical situatedness points to various aspects of Christ and His ministry.
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
It refers to Christ purifying His church.

Are you saying then that it is not Christ who is speaking i.e. it is not Christ asking the Father "rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure" but rather the church speaking to Christ?
 

MAV

Puritan Board Freshman
In reading Rev Roderick MacLeod's article, I came to this section:

“3. Psalms where David, or some other Old Testament figure is a type of
Christ. We will mention a few examples.
What is Psalm 133 to us if it speaks only of the anointing oil running
down the beard of Aaron and to the skirts of his garments? What if we are
not directed thereby to our great high Priest, and His holy unction flowing
down to His people? What if we are not to think of believers as like the
woman with the issue of blood, around His garments, speaking the language
of faith and love and drawing virtue from Him?
It is of comparatively small value today to read Psalm 89 and think only
of the sad decline of the royal house of David and the apparent decline of the
royal covenant which God made with him. But it is of great use to us to look
at the “Man of rest” promised to David – the “Prince of peace” who was to
sit upon his throne.”

His interpretation is troubling. Psalm 133 is speaking about the blessing of God's gift of unity. The similes of oil and dew are profound when their origin is considered. Like brotherly unity, they are coming down from God. cf. Kidner.

Is the text not clear?

Hi - I don't find it troubling it's basically similar to the Puritan Thomas Adams:
"Christ's grace is so diffusive of itself, that it conveys holiness to us, "running down from the head to the skirts", to all his members. He was not only anointed himself, but he is our anointer. Therefore it is called "the oil of gladness", because it rejoiceth our hearts, by giving us spiritual gladness, and peace of conscience."

I think that it is clear that the oil and dew are symbols of the Holy Spirit in Scripture and the Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son. Christ received the Spirit without measure. He pours out the Spirit upon his people. Their union and communion with each other depend upon their union with him and the activity of the Spirit.

thanks Matthew
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
It refers to Christ purifying His church.

Are you saying then that it is not Christ who is speaking i.e. it is not Christ asking the Father "rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure" but rather the church speaking to Christ?

That is how I see it at present; but I have not done any great study in the text. You will need to consult [-]Lane Keister [/-]the commentators.
 

Robbie Schmidtberger

Puritan Board Freshman
To add my two cents....
All of Scripture is 1. God's Word 2. Written by men like us, in situations like us. Paul wrote to the mission churches with godly counsel and the Lord inspired those words. (I do not believe that God spoke the words and the authors merely typed them up- the psalter, I believe, is evidence enough).

I conclude that the psalms were written by real men (inspired too) in real situations. As we read, and sing, the psalms we relate to what is going on. (It is amazing how many of the psalms refer to enemies and seeking the Lord to rescue the author). At the same time we must know the gospel, the person and work of Christ and we will see the Christocentric connection points. We must be careful not to force Christ into every word, clause, or stanza (I've heard John MacArthur do this), instead we must let the text speak for itself. It is clear that the psalter does speak of Christ- how does it then? It seems to me many of the psalms are a vibrant picture of a robust spirituality that trusts in God's promises and in the mystical union that we have with Christ. How else can one sing many of the psalms? It is only when we are united with Christ that God is our rock, our refuge, our wings (all Hebrew words for conversion, i.e. united with Christ)
 

mybigGod

Puritan Board Freshman
The psalms are a self reflection of one who stands in union with Christ. Here we have the merging of the doctrines of grace to experience in a man having assurances of these spiritual promise in the effects of his loves and hates creating wholeness of a single purpose from his head to a realistic conviction in his heart. This is having a deeper understanding of what God hates and what God loves. Not toward any particular person or even situation, but in a universal sense having these longings become more of a reality in lite of a given situation so that his mind and his heart is aligned to think and feel rite.
 

mybigGod

Puritan Board Freshman
Christ is not only an advocate in His substitutionary role, but also in being One who speaks on our behalf on a daily basis. This is where we fail to make the proper link to the ends for which He has accomplished this great work of redemption. Since He has gain the rite to rule over all things by His becoming man and dieing , being raised again, and now is seated at the rite hand of God, then that end will be accomplished by our being in union with Him. And even though we have a futuristic view of His advocacy, that is we wait for our adoption as Sons in that final conquering of sin and death, yet we are now experiencing that renewal effect in this life. For our hope is not just a future reality, but it is that being connected to Him we are conquering.

Our problem in all of this is we have our own desires that are not always what He desires. And this advocacy paradigm is having our desires renewed to be what He desires. But in a sense , since we are in Christ our desires have been made complete , since we believe that grace precedes all actions in the soul of a man. So we look to the relationship we have in Christ as being the only real advocacy that we have in this world. Since our view of the future is very narrow, yet we look through our union with Him as working all things for the good of those who love Him. This is our only object of renewal.

This is why we believe that there is nothing that we can do to cause this process to make better results in our lives. Even though we have the ability to increase our faith by the use of the means, yet the present advocacy the He has ordered was planned from eternity. Even our redemption from sin in His passive decrees. Here we see the thin line of being made able by Him and having an inflated view of our own righteousness. So now, we enter into the indicative mindset of understanding the proper use of the means of grace. Our tendency is to think of these means as more than they are, and yet the proper use of them is having a renewed understanding of our position in being corrupted. We are not only made righteous by a foreign righteousness but our ongoing trust is only as strong as we have the proper longings in lite of this work on our hearts. Since what we desire is caused by grace, then our spiritual longings though corrupted are made as the essential means in the process of being renewed to be fully effective through the redemption of that corrupted part. This is how we learn of His ongoing present advocacy.
 

dcomin

Psalm Singa
Has anybody read War Psalm's of the Prince of Peace by Jim Adams on this?

Yes.... it's a fine treatment of the impreccatory psalms that demonstrates that the best way to understand them is as the prayers of Christ for the destruction of His enemies.

I think it would be a mistake to presume that the psalter has a "narrative" in the sense of a chronological thematic presentation of the life of Christ and to try to fit Jesus into it in that sense. The Gospels and the Epistles make it clear that the Psalter is "about Christ" and that it is indeed "the Word of Christ." Many, if not most, of the psalms cannot be rightly understood or applied apart from the perspective that they apply to Him primarily.

Even the psalms in which the author speaks of personal sin and punishment, while not applicable to Christ from the perspective of His perfect humanity, have a poignant and beautiful application when seen from the standpoint of His identification with us as sinners - as the One who, while He knew no sin, was made to BE sin for us.

Robbie is right in the observation that God used human instruments who wrote the psalms out of the context of their own life experiences, and hermeneutical faithfulness requires that the author's purpose and experience be considered. But it is also true that David, and the other inspired writers, are said to have written the psalms as "prophets" and thus communicated divine truths concerning Christ, the full import of which they did not yet comprehend.

So... in what sense are the Psalms the Word of Christ?

1. As they are part of His inspired canon.
2. As they speak of His work and ministry
3. As they speak of His graces communicated to believers
4. As they speak of His judgments meted out upon His enemies
5. As they give first-person expression to His triumphs and sufferings
6. As they exalt the salvation that God promised and has now accomplished through Him for His glory and the good of His people
7. As they speak comfort, encouragement, warning, rebuke, and grace to His saints.

It is possible to understand the Psalms as "the Word of Christ" in all of these senses without forcing a false construct onto them in which every word must be seen as attributalbe to Him as a personal utterance from His lips concerning His personal experience as the God-man.

My :2cents:

Blessings,
Doug
 
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