Christ in the Psalms -- E. S. McKitrick

Discussion in 'OT Wisdom Literature' started by VirginiaHuguenot, Feb 26, 2008.

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  1. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

  2. Brett McKinley

    Brett McKinley Puritan Board Freshman

    Is his statement: "Christ is the central figure in" [the Psalms] accurate? It seems to me we ought to step back and say God is the central figure in the Psalms. Is there a need to descend to that particularity?

  3. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Christ is indeed the central figure of the Psalms. In the words of Augustine, "the voice of Christ and His Church is well-nigh the only voice to be heard in the Psalms." The Gospels speak of the life of Christ, and Christ is the central message of the Bible (which is why Biblical preaching is Christocentric), and the Book of Psalms is, as Luther said, like "a little Bible." To put it another way, the Song of Solomon is, on one level, imo, about conjugal love; but who can fail to see that Christ is the very Bridegroom spoken of? But the Psalms of David, in particular, are focused on Christ to a remarkable extent, as even Christ Himself stated (Luke 24.44). It shows us not just the external actions and words of Christ, but the very inward thoughts of his soul (cf. Ps. 22, for example). A good resource that demonstrates this theme is Andrew Bonar, Christ and His Church in the Book of Psalms.
  4. jaybird0827

    jaybird0827 PuritanBoard Honor Roll

    I trust that you are not tri- or bi- theistic?
  5. Sydnorphyn

    Sydnorphyn Puritan Board Freshman

    Is Christ in the Psalms before he is in the NT? Is the statement true exegetically? Should we say "Christ is in the Psalms after Christ is incarnated?" That is, it is only after the incarnation and resurrection that one can "see" Christ in the Psalms. Thoughts?
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2008
  6. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    The Old Testament saints certainly "saw" Christ, prior to the Incarnation, in theophanies (Gen. 18), prophetically (Ps. 22, 45, 110, et al.) and by faith (Heb. 11).

    S.M. Baugh, "Hermeneutics and Biblical Theology," in Modern Reformation 2/2 (November-December 1993):

    Christ Himself said:



    If they saw Christ dimly, nevertheless, they saw Him; and if Christ expected the Pharisees / disciples to see Him in the Old Testament Scriptures, how much more should we see Christ in them, to whom the mysteries of God have been revealed in the fullness of His written word?
  7. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    I would say that the fully revealed person, name and work cannot be seen in the Psalms without the NT.

    What do modern orthodox Jews see in the Psalms? They would say they see "christos" as well, right?
  8. Brett McKinley

    Brett McKinley Puritan Board Freshman

    I tried to enjoy Bonar on the Psalms, but could not bear his hermenutic for the very reason you recommend him. I think his hermeneutic is not a Biblical one. I believe Luther was the one who proposed to "find Christ on every page". (I prefer Spurgeon, Kidner, Calvin, Plummer, Henry, & Horne.)

    If Christ is there, we ought to find Him, but to place Him there when He is not there, seems to be an unfaithful interpretation of Scripture. I trust we would use the grammatical, historical & theological interpretation. I want to be clear, indeed many Psalms speak of Him (e.g. Parts of 2,16,22,41 etc...), but not all; unless you would say all references to God refer to Christ. In this case, we would have to say they speak of the Holy Spirit as well and back to my original point that the central person of the Psalms is God: Father, Son & Holy Spirit.

  9. R Harris

    R Harris Puritan Board Sophomore

    But Christ clearly told us in Matthew 22 that David called Him 'Lord' in Psalm 110. So how was David in 900 BC able to call Jesus 'Lord' when Jesus was not already incarnate?

    Christ does not say, nor do we see anywhere else in Scripture, how much David actually 'knew,' nor how much Abraham actually 'knew' when Christ said Abraham looked forward to His day, and rejoiced. No such explicit rejoicing is mentioned in Genesis. But they were regenerate and trusting in Christ, nonetheless.

    Regarding the Orthodox Jews, they are still blinded by the veil of Moses, and obviously are not regenerate. David WAS. So was Moses, so was Elijah, and so they spoke with Jesus at the transfiguration.

    Now we are talking distinctives between dispensational and covenant theology, which speaking about the Psalms helps place in sharp focus.
  10. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Robert McWatty Russell, "Christ in the Psalms," in John McNaugher, ed., The Psalms in Worship, pp. 216-217:

  11. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    While it is true that any person who has the Spirit of God dwelling in them will see Christ in the Psalms, I don't see where in the NT worship in Revelation where they are singing Psalms. They are singing Worthy is the Lamb that was slain. That is a new song. I believe it is right and appropriate to sing that.
  12. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    James Parker, "The Psalms in the New Testament Church" in John McNaugher, ed., The Psalms in Worship, pp. 124-125:

  13. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I don't see how you can so easily dismiss the singing in Revelation 5 because of the harps and viols.
  14. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Revelation 5 also has incense. For the same reasons in the thread below, ie., the Book of Revelation is full of imagery from the abolished/fulfilled ceremonial worship, which is not the rule for Christian worship today, we see descriptions of worship in heaven which are not prescriptive for worship on earth today.
  15. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    John, can we broaden the picture a bit? To expand on your words, "is it only after the incarnation and resurrection that one can "see" Christ in the Old Testament?" I believe if we can see Christ before the Psalms it will have great effect on the Messianic references in the psalter. For example:

    What is Jesus saying in John 8:56? Abraham's rejoicing is in the past tense. Is this because Abraham witnessed Jesus incarnation while in glory, or could it be the sureness of the promise that Abraham believed? In Genesis 16, 17 & 18 Abraham has encounters with God. In chapter 18 it is most certainly either a christophony or a theophony. Four times we read in Genesis 18, "So the LORD said." I think we can rightly conclude that Abraham had seen the pre-incarnate Christ, and knew him. If Abraham had met the LORD, does it not make it easier to see Christ in the Psalms?
  16. Brett McKinley

    Brett McKinley Puritan Board Freshman

    Sorry if I'm too slow on the draw. I was trying to gather my thoughts for such this important discussion.

    Regarding the Matt. 22 & Acts 2 quotes of Ps. 110. Do we not see in these verses "The Lord says to my Lord", The Father says to the Son. Also, later in the same psalm "The Lord has sworn...You are a priest forever", The Father declaring the eternal priesthood of the Son. These verses seem to reinforce my earlier suggestion that we see the Triune God throughout the Psalms (Contrasted with seeing Christ exclusively). In this case "Lord" is used to refer to Father & Son. cf. Ps. 2:2 "Against the Lord and His Anointed".

    Also, the prevous quote above from Russel: "Our Lord certainly found the Psalms filled with references to Himself." True, but this is very different from saying, Our Lord certainly found the EVERY Psalm filled with references to Himself exclusively. This is my bone of contention.

    Thanks for the sharpening.
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