Psalm 118


by Douglas D Jones


(This is the second of two addresses given at the S.G.A.T Conference on 23rd September, 1994).



Unlike many of the other psalms, the 118th has no title.  Moreover, we have no Biblical evidence as to who was the human author of this part of the Divinely inspired record.  Numerous scholars and commentators believe it was written by David, while others consider it to be post-exilic, i.e. written after the return of the Jews from captivity in Babylon.  I think the second view is the more likely to be correct.



A Messianic Psalm



It is evident from the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), that at the time of the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus, the Jews saw this Psalm as being prophetic of the promised Messiah and His relation to Israel, although the religious leaders did not accept Him as such and their influence affected numbers of people who otherwise were inclined to do so.


There are some who see the whole Psalm as applying to the Messiah in His sufferings and subsequent exultation, but C H Spurgeon rightly observes that while the writer did have a prophetic view of our Lord Jesus, yet it could not have been intended that every particular line and sentence should be read in reference to Him.  He says that to do so requires very great ingenuity, adding ‘ingenious interpretations are seldom true.’


A perusal of many commentaries reveals that most of the contributors relate what is said of the Messiah to Christ and His Church and how it applies to the individual Christian.  It was Martin Luther’s favourite Psalm. He declared that it had saved him from many a pressing danger, from which neither emperor, kings, sages, nor saints, could have saved him.


However, there are those of us who contend that while much of what is expressed may be applied in a personal manner to the individual believer and prove to be of abiding value to him, yet as we compare Scripture with Scripture, it will be seen that in whatever way the writer was referring to his own experience, yet prophetically the Psalm has to do with Messiah and Israel.  Moreover, not only does it show how Jehovah has sustained His people through many past sufferings, but it is predictive of those that are yet to come to the nation, their subsequent deliverance by Jehovah and their consequent thanksgiving and joy in Him and His Messiah, Jesus. How much more this Psalm will mean when the nation’s blindness has ceased and all Israel shall be saved (Romans 11: 26).



The Conclusion of the Hallel



The Psalm would appear to have been intended for use in the temple in Jerusalem which in verse 26 is called ‘the house of the LORD (Jehovah)’ with seeming reference to its gates (verse 19) and one particular gate (verse 20) as well as to the head stone of it (verse 22).


In this respect we find commentators Keil and Delitzsch seeing the Psalm as being in two main parts.  The first (verses 1-19) is the song of the festive procession as it ascends on its journey to the temple, verse 19 being what they sing on arrival at the entrance.  The second part (verses 20-27) is sung by the body of Levites who receive the worshippers.  Then verse 28 is the answer of those who have arrived, while verse 29 is the concluding song of them all.  Such a style is called antiphonal, i.e. words sung alternately by one or more people and is typical of the post-exilic period.


There is something else we do well to remember about this 118th Psalm.  That great Hebrew Christian scholar, David Baron, observes that it is one of a series of six psalms (113-118) known as ‘The Hallel,’ which means ‘Praise,’ and although the whole book is pervaded by a spirit of fervent praise and adoration of Jehovah’s Name, those of this short series are especially so, because they were the public praise, sung in circumstances of joyous solemnity in the temple courts at the three great feasts - Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles - when all the men of Israel were required to attend (Exodus 23: 17), although their women and children often travelled with them (see Luke 2: 41).


David Baron points out that it is especially in connection with the Passover that the Hallel has always been associated in the minds of the Jews, and it figures very prominently in the ‘Haggadah’ or ritual of the Passover meal, commemorative of Israel’s deliverance from bondage in Egypt. (‘Haggadah’ means ‘Narrative’).


In connection with the Pascal supper, the Hallel used to be divided into two parts - the first consisting of Psalms 113-114 at an early part of the meal, and the second consisting of Psalms 115-118 after the partaking of the fourth cup.  On the night on which our Lord Jesus kept the Passover for the last time with His disciples (when He turned what was a commemoration of deliverance from the Egyptian bondage into a feast of remembrance of Him in His death for the redemption of all those the Father had given Him), having sung a hymn (or psalm) at its conclusion, they went out to the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26: 30; Mark 14: 26).  That hymn must have been this Psalm 118.



God’s Mercy Endureth for Ever



It will be seen that what is said in Psalm 117: 2 of Jehovah’s Truth (that it endures for ever) is said of His Mercy in Psalm 118: 1. ‘O give thanks unto the LORD: for He is good: because His mercy endureth for ever.’ First Israel, as a people (verse 2), then the House of Aaron, the priesthood (verse 3), and those who fear the LORD - perhaps a reference to those who are truly devout (verse 4), are called upon to give thanks to the LORD.


We have already observed that what the Psalmist expresses in the first person singular in this Psalm shows not only how Jehovah has sustained His people through many past sufferings, but it is predictive of those that are yet to come to the nation, their subsequent deliverance by Him, and their consequent thanksgiving and joy in Him and His Messiah, Jesus.  See their sufferings (verse 5), in distress (verse 6), feeling the force of the hostility of others and experiencing their hatred (verse 7), the futility of putting confidence in men and princes, i.e. leaders (verses 8-9), surrounded by hostile nations (verses 10-11), which are like bees bent on Israel’s harm (verse 12), thrusting sore at him, i.e. pushing him violently (verse 13).



The Nations Against Israel



While I would not attempt to comment in more detail on all this passage as it relates to Israel, there are certain verses to which I would draw your particular attention.  All nations compassed me about’ (verse 10); ‘They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about’ (verse 11); ‘They compassed me about like bees’ (verse 12).


How descriptive of the Satanically-inspired efforts to destroy this people through the centuries!  A reading of Richard Gade’sHistorical Survey of Anti-Semitism’ is very revealing in this respect as he traces it from its origins to the present time.  With what vehemence did the Egyptian Pharaoh seek to wipe out Israel in Old Testament days.  Besides much else that took place during the intervening centuries, in the last one and into this, there came the awful Russian pogroms against the Jews, followed by the Holocaust under Hitler’s Nazi Germany, during which six million Jews died.  Disturbing indeed is the resurgence of anti-Semitism in some European countries today.  Then the bitter Arab opposition to Jews settling back in their own land intensified after the Second World War and particularly following the Declaration of Independence in May 1948, whereby Israel became a sovereign state, recognised as such by the United Nations nearly a year later.


Further wars had to be fought to defend themselves against Arab states in 1956, 1967 and 1973.  Although there have been differences with some of the Arab countries, the P.L.O. (founded in 1964) has been the main instigator of terrorist activities against Israel.  Despite the present Middle East peace negotiations in which the Israeli government is involved, there are those of us who believe that because the politics of the Arab states are influenced by the powerful religion of Islam, they would never be satisfied unless they had completely subjugated Israel and taken the land for themselves.


We believe that Israel is yet to be surrounded by hostile nations as verses 10-12 of this Psalm indicate.  The prophet Jeremiah refers to what he calls ‘the time of Jacob’s trouble’ (30: 7).  Moreover, Jehovah says through ZechariahI will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken’ (14: 2).



Wrong to put Confidence in Men



Now in Psalm 118: 8-9 the Psalmist shows how wrong it is to put confidence in man or princes (leaders).


Israel did that in Old Testament days.  They turned to Egypt and to Assyria, only to be let down.  In modern times, they have sought the same from nations such as U.S.A. and Britain, only to find that while their aid is available as long as it suits their political and economic ends, yet when that ceases, and it becomes more convenient to accommodate Arab ambitions, Israel finds itself on its own.  And now, as we have mentioned, they are in the midst of efforts for peace with their Arab neighbours, making concession after concession because of promises that are made by people who cannot be trusted; yielding up land that other generations gave their lives to possess; putting confidence in men and their leaders.  This people, who have rejected their Messiah, never learn from the past.



God’s Sovereign Over-ruling



But not all is gloom as we shall see as we proceed.  As we come to verses 22 and 23, we reach a section which reveals God’s sovereign over-ruling – ‘The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.  This is the LORD’S doing (i.e. what Jehovah has done); it is marvellous in our eyes.’


Turn to Matthew 21.  Jesus was among the people in the court of the temple in Jerusalem in the early part of the week of His crucifixion.  His opponents, the chief priests and Pharisees, were there (verse 45).  He had just spoken one parable and proceeded with a second, which was that of the wicked husbandmen, or vine-dressers. When the owner sent his servants to receive a harvest, they beat one, killed another, and stoned another.  They did the same to further servants he sent.  Last of all, he sent his son, saying ‘They will reverence (respect) my son.’  Instead, they murdered the son and seized the vineyard for themselves (verses 33-39).  Jesus asked His hearers, what would happen in such a case when the master of the vineyard came, their reply being that he would destroy them miserably, i.e. bring them to a wretched end (verses 40-41).


It was at this point (verse 42) that Jesus said, ‘Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?’ (see also Mark 12: 10-11 and Luke 20: 17).  He continued ‘Therefore I say unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.  And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder’ (Matthew 21: 43-44; see also Luke 20: 18).



Jesus is the Promised Messiah



In the light of the parable of the wicked husbandmen, the inference was obvious and they perceived it (verse 45).  Jesus was charging them with bringing no fruitful service to God, of rejecting Him as His Son, the Messiah promised in the Psalm, and warning them of subsequent judgment.  In Acts 4: 11, we find the apostle Peter also charging the religious leaders with this rejection by referring to the same Scripture.  Yet, despite their rejection, Jehovah has wrought a marvellous thing in making His Son, the stone which the builders (the leaders of the nation) rejected, the head corner stone of a spiritual temple, the Church.


What a wonderful thing that was, is seen in Ephesians 2: 19-22.  Having shown how believing Jews and Gentiles become one in Him, the apostle addresses the Gentile ones ‘Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Corner Stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.’  In becoming that Chief Corner Stone, our blessed Lord has united believing Jews and Gentiles like two walls of a building which meet in the corner stone.  This is the LORD’S doing: and it is marvellous in our eyes’ (Psalm 118: 23).


In writing to his fellow believers concerning the Lord Jesus, Peter says, ‘To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed (rejected) indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively (living) stones, are built up a spiritual house’ (1 Peter 2: 43).  Then in the same passage (verses 7-8) he says ‘Unto you therefore which believe He is precious; but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed (rejected), the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed.’



Messlahship Proclaimed



The other verses of Psalm 118 which I would ask you to consider particularly are 25 and 26, where we read ‘Save now, I beseech Thee, O LORD; O LORD, I beseech Thee, send now prosperity.  Blessed be He that cometh in the Name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.’


These verses are related prophetically to the last week of the ministry of the Lord Jesus before His crucifixion. A comparison of the gospel narratives gives reasonable grounds for assuming that on the previous Friday, He and His disciples would have made the journey of about 20 miles or so from Jericho to Bethany, a village on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives, arriving before sunset when the Jewish Sabbath began.  The Sabbath rest was observed and then on the Saturday evening, they attended a supper given in the honour of Jesus at the home of a man named Simon (John 12: 1-8 and Mark 14: 3-9).


All four gospel writers record what happened the next day - our Sunday.  This first day of the week in which the crucifixion took place has become known in Christendom as Palm Sunday, the reason for such a designation being evident from an event that occurred on it which was an outstanding and important one in the ministry of our Lord.


Up till then He had not [been] invited publicity.  In fact, on numerous occasions, He had purposely avoided it. Now, however, as the time drew near for Him to complete the work the Father had sent Him to do, He was ready to proclaim His Messiahship to the nation in a more open manner than previously.  There could have been no more appropriate an occasion than this, for Jerusalem would have been crowded with not only its inhabitants, but pilgrims who had come from far and near to keep the Feast of the Passover.


From the eastern slopes of the Mount of Olives, Jesus instructed two of His disciples to go to a nearby village where they would find an ass tied, together with a colt on which no one had ever sat.  They were to loose them and bring the animals to Him.  Should anyone enquire why they were doing this, they were to say that the Lord had need of them.  Although the owners had no idea why this was so, it is evident that they let them go, not realising at this juncture the importance of what was taking place.  In fact, Jesus was going to use the colt on which to ride into Jerusalem in order to fulfil a prophecy.


In Matthew 21: 4-5 we read ‘All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.’  Although not an exact quotation, Matthew was referring to the prophecy of Zechariah 9: 9 written over 500 years before the event, showing that the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in this manner was that as Israel’s Messiah-King in accordance with the Scriptures, which emphasised His meekness.  He would not come on a great horse attended by a large number of soldiers like some military conqueror, but rather on a young, unbroken donkey and a borrowed one at that!


As we compare the gospel narratives, we see that with Jesus riding upon the colt, He and His disciples began to make their way to the ridge of Olivet and then downhill towards the city on its west side.  This produced the acknowledgement of an enthusiastic crowd.  The disciples had placed their outer garments on the colt to form a saddle cloth for the Lord.  Now, many of the people used theirs to carpet the path along which Jesus was travelling, others adding a surface of leafy branches taken from trees.  This crowd was now joined by another, for, as we compare the synoptic accounts with that of John, it is evident that there were others who, having already arrived in Jerusalem for the coming Passover, and having learned of the miracle Jesus had performed in raising Lazarus from the dead, and hearing that the Lord was on His way from the Mount of Olives, went out to meet Him, taking with them branches of palm trees (see John 12: 12-13).  Having done so, they turned round, leading Him and the crowd already with Him towards the city, thus forming one great throng.


This explains the mention in Matthew 21: 9 of those who went before (i.e. in front) and those who followed. Notice what they were calling out, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.’  In his gospel, Luke links this acclamation with the point at which ‘the whole multitude began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works (miracles, [signs]) that they had seen, saying, ‘Blessed be the King that cometh in the Name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest’ (Luke 19: 37-38).  Never before had there been such an enthusiastic, public acclamation of Jesus.


There is no doubt that what the people were saying was based on Psalm 118: 25-26, ‘Save now, I beseech Thee, O Jehovah: O Jehovah, I beseech Thee, send now prosperity.  Blessed be He that cometh in the Name of Jehovah: we have blessed you out of the house of Jehovah.’  Incidentally, the contraction of the two words ‘Save now’ gives the word ‘hosanna’ used by them.  According to Luke, some of the Lord’s persistent opponents, the Pharisees, had joined the crowd, and now urged Him to rebuke His followers for such a demonstration, but Jesus said, ‘I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out’ (Luke 19: 39-40).



How Jesus Saw Jerusalem



Could it be that among this huge crowd were some who, by the grace of God, were acknowledging Jesus as their Messiah in a spiritual and Biblical sense, recognising in Him the One who had come to save them from their sins?  One thing is quite evident - by and large what the people wanted was their own kind of Messiah, a political deliverer who would free them from the yoke of the Roman occupying power, quite blind to their need of spiritual deliverance.  For this materialistic attitude there was no excuse.  So, while many of them were crying ‘Hosanna’ (save now), the Lord knew full well that soon from the lips of a mob stirred up by the religious leaders, would come the cry ‘Crucify Him’ (Mark 15: 13-14).


In descending from Olivet, Jesus had reached a spot from which Jerusalem and its magnificent temple would have been clearly visible and it was at this point He burst into tears, saying ‘If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.  For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench (build an embankment) about thee and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground (level thee), and thy children within thee: and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another: because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation’ (Luke 19: 42-44).  Jesus saw Jerusalem as it was then, and as it would be some 40 years later as a result of the siege of the city by the Romans, and its ultimate devastation at the hands of their armies under Titus as the Jewish rebellion against the occupiers of their land, which had broken out, was crushed.


On the entry of the Lord into the city itself on that Sunday and of His second cleansing of the temple courts the following day we have not time to dwell, except to say that His stay was evidently a brief one, for the evening was drawing on, so He and the 12 disciples returned to Bethany from whence they had come (see Mark 11: 11).



The Double Fulfilment



We have seen, then, that in the acclamation of the crowds as He descended from the Mount of Olives, there came a [partial or typical] fulfilment of Psalm 118: 25-26  'Save now. I beseech Thee, O Jehovah; O Jehovah, I beseech Thee, send now prosperity.  Blessed be He that cometh in the Name of Jehovah.’


However, as we read the narratives of Matthew (23: 37-39) and Luke (13: 34-35), it is clear that in this Psalm is found one of the numerous prophecies of Christ’s coming which were to have a double fulfilment; that at His first advent, which we have been considering, and also at His second coming.*


[* See footnote.]


Turn to Matthew 23.  It was the Tuesday after the triumphal entry of the Lord into Jerusalem on the Sunday, the same day as that on which Jesus had clearly referred to Himself as the stone which the builders rejected (Psalm 118: 22 and Matthew 21: 42).  In front of the crowds and His disciples (verse 1), the Lord exposed the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees (verses 2-12) and then proceeded to pronounce a series of woes upon them (verses 13-36).  As Edersheim puts it, ‘Thicker and heavier than ever before fell the hailstorm of denunciation as He foretold the certain doom which awaited their national impenitence.’


Jesus was showing how these religious leaders, and all those who followed them, were typical descendants of their forefathers who murdered the prophets.  History was being repeated.  The measure of the guilt of those who had gone before them was being, and was going to be, made full.



The Certainty of Judgment



It is remarkable how literally this prophecy was eventually fulfilled, for the Book of the Acts bears testimony to the fact that unbelieving Jews were always on the heels of those who preached the gospel.  Notice Matthew 23: 25 – ‘That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.’ The reference is undoubtedly to the Zechariah whose courageous testimony and cruel death in the days of King Joash are recorded in 2 Chronicles 24: 20-22.  The reason why Jesus said ‘from Abel to Zechariah’ is, of course, because according to the arrangement of the books in the Hebrew Scriptures, Genesis comes first, being in that portion known as ‘the Law’ (hence mention of Abel), while Chronicles comes last, being in the section known as ‘the Writings’ (hence mention of Zechariah).


However, let us look particularly at what Jesus then said – ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!  Behold, your house is left unto you desolate’ (Matthew 23: 37-38).  Here was a moving lament, revealing that necessary severity of Divine judgment was tempered with deepest compassion and tenderness.  It has been described as ‘the very heart of God pouring itself forth through human flesh and speech,’ the intensity of what the Lord felt coming out in the repetition ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem.’


The fact that Jesus addressed the city did not mean He was confining what He said to its inhabitants.  Being the capital, it was the centre of Israel, and so in this instance it was used to symbolise the spirit and attitude of the nation as a whole.  That the nation was indeed guilty of killing and stoning the servants of Jehovah had long been established (see 2 Chronicles 36: 15-16; Nehemiah 9: 26).  In the sermon on the mount, in a word of consolation for those of His followers who underwent reviling, persecution and false accusation as a result of their faithfulness to Him, Jesus said, ‘for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you’ (Matthew 5: 12).


The word ‘would’ in the statement ‘would have gathered’ (Matthew 23: 37) is from a verb which means ‘to wish.’  He was expressing the frequency in which He longed to gather the [His] people to Himself in saving protection.  But ye would not’ ‑ it is the same verb as before.  They had no wish to come to Him.  You will notice that Jesus did not say ‘I would but I could not,’ but ‘you would not.’  Here we see the awful perversity of man’s rebellious will.


Such unwillingness was felt so keenly and deeply by our blessed Lord as with sadness He looked into the future, just as He had done on the Mount of Olives two days before, causing Him to weep (Luke 19: 41-44).  It brought the pronouncement of a coming desolation.  Behold, your house is left unto you desolate’ (Matthew 23: 38), a seeming reference to the temple and its precincts.


The Jewish historian, Josephus, estimated that over one million people perished in the siege of Jerusalem under Titus and the aftermath of its fall in AD70.  Nearly 100,000 Jews were ruthlessly taken prisoner and sold into slavery, the temple completely destroyed.  Today, the Muslim Dome of the Rock stands on the site of it (built AD691).  There followed the dispersion of the Jews that became worldwide over the centuries.



Israel Will Greet Messiah



Has this meant that because of the rejection of His Son, the nation as a people and their land have no further place in the Divine plan; that all the blessings formerly promised to Israel have now conferred upon the Church?  There are so many Christians whose interpretation of Scripture is such that as far as the Jews are concerned, there will never be any more than a relatively small number of them who come to faith in the Lord Jesus.


That is not what I believe, I only wish our friends saw Matthew 23: 39 as we do, for we are convinced that here we have the prediction of an ultimate national acknowledgement, ‘For I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord.’  The crowds had said that two days before, but here the Lord Jesus refers to it being said again at some future time.  The time will come when the nation shall [once again] greet Him with the words of Psalm 118: 26, ‘Blessed be He that cometh in the Name of Jehovah.’


It has been pointed out that the survival of the Jews throughout their long history of suffering and dispersion is unparalleled in the annals of the nations.  How many other peoples, much more powerful than they have long since been absorbed by other nations!  Such have disappeared without facing anything like the persecution which the Jews have experienced.


Why has the nation been preserved?  Why has there been a return to their land in such numbers?  How is it that since May 1948 they have been a sovereign state again and continued to survive attacks from hostile neighbours far stronger numerically and in arms, those who have vowed to wipe them from off the face of the earth?  Because God is going to fulfil the covenant He made with Abraham and his descendants through the line of Isaac, a covenant that was related not only to the people themselves, but to their possession of the land (Genesis 12: 7; 13: 15; 15: 18; 26: 3; 28: 13), Paul reminds us that the gifts and calling of God are without a change of mind on His part (see Romans 11: 29).


Meanwhile, as the Scriptures indicate would be the case, Israel has returned to their land in unbelief.  Having weathered perilous years, comparatively few look upon their preservation other than in terms of what they have accomplished.  While we thank God for every Jew who comes to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus, so that a remnant according to the election of grace continues from generation to generation (Romans 11: 5), the majority of the nation, both in Israel and in the lands of the dispersion, remain in that state of blindness (hardening), to which the apostle refers in Romans 11: 25.


Praise God, it will not be so for ever.  The Son of God has declared that the time is coming when [all] Israel will say ‘Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord’ (Psalm 118: 26 and Matthew 23:39).  It will take place at the [end of a] time of great trouble for them (Jeremiah 30: 7).



How This Age Will End



It will be seen from Zechariah 14: 2 that a confederate of nations will attack Jerusalem, resulting in the spoiling of the city and great personal suffering among the inhabitants.  But in verse 3, Zechariah also prophesies that it is then that the LORD shall go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle.


It is when things seem at their blackest for Israel that Jehovah, in the person of Messiah, the Lord Jesus, will deliver His people, as He returns to the place from which He ascended 40 days after His resurrection, just as the angels promised He would (Acts 1: 11), See Zechariah 14: 4And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives,’ This chapter (verses 4-9) and other Scriptures dwell on the final stage of the battle, when the Gentile nations will be utterly defeated.


The return of Messiah will see a great national repentance on the part of the nation.  And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn’ (Zechariah 12: 10).


Likewise the prophet Hosea (3: 4-5) declares ‘For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim.  Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king*; and shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.’  Thanks be to God that there is an ‘afterward’ for Israel, following the ‘many days.’ They will seek their God and David their king in the Person of David’s Greater Son, the Lord Jesus.


[* NOTE. In the clause above: ‘the Lord AND ‘David their king’, we have a description of TWO persons.  That is to say, the word ‘and” should be seen as a conjunction – not a disjunction – pointing to the time (yet future) of the RESURRECTION out from amongst the dead in Hades of ‘David their king,’ when Messiah Jesus returns to establish His Millennial kingdom here, (1 Thess. 4: 16. cf. Acts 2: 34; Luke 20: 35, etc.).]


When the Deliverer comes out of Zion, He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Israel) and it will be then that all Israel shall be saved, as the apostle writes in Romans 11: 26.  Israel will be saved in exactly the same way as people of every other nation need to be saved, that is through repentance and faith in Messiah, the Lord Jesus, who shed His precious Blood to redeem a people to God from among Jews and Gentiles, breaking down the middle wall of partition between them and making them one as His Church.


It is then that they will acknowledge in accordance with the prophecy ‘He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed’ (Isaiah 53: 5).


It is then that Israel will thank Jehovah as predicted in Psalm 118, for His mercy that endures for ever (verse 2); for answering them in distress and setting them in a large place (verse 5); for being on their side and freeing them from the fear of man (verse 6); those who hated them defeated with Jehovah’s help (verse 7).  They will acknowledge that it is better to trust in Jehovah than in human aid (verses 8-9), for through Him surrounding foes have been destroyed (verses 10-12), despite their efforts to cause Israel’s downfall (verse 13).  As their Deliverer, Jehovah has become the subject of their song (verses 14-16), thus preserving them to be enabled to declare His deeds (verse 17).  Although He has chastened them greatly, He has not given them over to destruction (verse 18).  Verse 27 appears to refer to a festive sacrifice or thanksgiving.



The Millennium



Now, one can imagine the question being put, ‘Where does the Church come into all this?’  As I understand Scripture, she will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air as He descends to deliver Israel and set up His millennial kingdom.  All the [accounted worthy from amongst the] redeemed of history prior to His coming will receive transformed, glorified bodies, so that they will not [only]* dwell on earth alongside a converted Israel and the rest of humanity, but will share with Messiah, Jesus, in His reign over the earth, Israel being sent by the LORD to the nations, declaring His glory among them (Isaiah 66: 19), as a result of which many people and strong nations shall come to seek Jehovah of hosts in Jerusalem and pray before Him (Zechariah 8: 22-23) going there from year to year to worship the King, Jehoyah of hosts (Zechariah 14: 16).



[* Haw far does your faith carry you?  Is it not written (of those who are to be resurrected from the dead) that they are to be “like the angels” (Luke 20: 35)?  That is, able to ascend into heaven and also dwell upon the earth!  Did our Lord’s resurrected glorified body prevent Him from dwelling upon this earth?  Look and see, (Luke 24: 25-27).]




We have been reminded that the Psalm we have been considering would have been that which Jesus and His disciples sang together at the end of that Passover meal on the night of His betrayal, when He instituted the remembrance which is often called ‘The Lord’s Supper’ (Matthew 26: 39).  How the Lord must have been cheered with the knowledge that He, the Stone which the builders had rejected, was to become the Chief Corner Stone of a glorious spiritual temple.  What it must have meant to Him to anticipate a coming day when those who had not welcomed Him would do so with ‘Blessed be He that cometh in the Name of Jehovah.’ Surely, such thoughts heartened the Lord, with the imminence of arrest in Gethsemane before Him, the mock trials and ill treatment to be experienced overnight, and the prospect of the additional physical sufferings; and above all the spiritual ones that would be His at Calvary.  Ah, yes, as the Scripture tells us, it was for the joy that was set before Him that He endured the cross, despising the shame and sat down on the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12: 2).  From there He will come to bring to pass the ultimate fulfilment of those things which Psalm 118 predicts.


Gladly may those of us who by grace are His redeemed people, echo the words of the refrain with which this portion of God’s Holy Word begins and similarly ends, ‘O give thanks unto Jehovah; for He is good: because His mercy endureth for ever’ (verses 1, 29).









Necessity for Christ’s Reign on the Earth.



Does it not follow that the great scheme of redemption requires Christ’s return?  As He once came with a sin-offering, He should come a second time without?  He should come a second time to claim His inheritance? He came once, that His heel might be bruised; He comes a second time to break the serpent’ head. With a rod of iron to dash His enemies in pieces!  He came once to wear a crown of thorns!  He must come again to wear the diadem of universal dominion.  Make you sure of this, that the whole drama of redemption cannot be perfected without this last act of ‘the second coming!’  The complete history of paradise regained requires this!”


- C. H. Spurgeon.




Eliezer’s Testimony


by Philip I Beeman



Some precious stones are found upon the surface of the earth, some are found in the beds of rivers after the water has been drained off, some are found by digging deep into the earth.  As a general rule the most valuable stones are those which have been acquired after much search and labour.


In a manner of speaking it is thus with the precious truths in God’s Word.  There are many which shine forth vividly wherever one may look.  There are others which come to light after many tears have been shed and much sorrow has passed over the soul like the rushing waters of a tropical river, and again there are those which need to be diligently sought for, and ‘the hand of the diligent maketh rich’ (Proverbs 10: 4).


In reading the account which Abraham’s trusted servant, Eliezer, gave of his journey to find a wife for Isaac, we find him using an expression, which is full of encouragement to those who truly wait upon God for [a future] salvation.  It is a real jewel.  His words are these, ‘I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master’s brethren’ (Genesis 24: 27).


Abraham’s direction to his servant was ‘thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac’ (Genesis 24: 4),* and to this direction he added a promise, ‘He (the LORD) shall send His angel before thee,’ i.e. to lead thee and direct thee (Genesis 24: 7).


[* That is, the “wife” is taken OUT FROM AMONGST FAMILY RELATIVES: it is a selection out from amongst a previous selection!]


Eliezer had definite instructions given to him.  He was to proceed from Abraham’s encampment to the dwelling place of Abraham’s kindred; and there to carry out the definite purposes of his errand.  He followed his instructions and God blessed him and directed his steps aright.  He went in the way commanded, and kept to that way, and he was brought to his desired haven (Genesis 24: 48).


Now consider. God would have poor sinners brought to the Lord Jesus.  He therefore gives them directions even as Abraham gave directions to his servant.  God tells them there is but one way whereby this can be accomplished.  He says ‘this is the way, walk ye in it’ (Isaiah 30: 21), and the Lord Jesus says ‘I am the way’ (John 14: 6), ‘come unto Me ... and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11: 28).  It is not an earthly road.  It is the way of holiness.  It is for poor wayfaring men, whom the world often considers fools (Isaiah 35: 8).


The redeemed [are commanded to] walk in this way.  It is a path which is undetected by the vulture’s keen eye (Job 28: 7), but it is seen by the eye of faith.  They that wait upon the LORD and walk in this wayshall renew their strength ... they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint’ (Isaiah 40: 31).


This way can only be known by taking heed thereto according to God’s Word (Psalm 119: 9).  Therefore seek this way with all thine heart, as the Psalmist did and as all God’s [obedient] children have done, and ‘being in the way’ the Holy Spirit will lead you and draw you to the Lord Jesus that you ‘may dwell in the house of the LORD for ever’ (Psalm 23: 6).





Always keep in mind: “… his bride has made herself ready. 

Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.

(Fine linen stands for THE RIGHTEOUS ACTS OF THE SAINTS)”:

Revelation 19: 7-, 8.