The Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library

The Dead Sea Scrolls.

DeadSeaScrollPicDid you know that the Dead Sea Scrolls are now available online through the Israel Antiquities Authority (Go here to see an earlier post I did on this.)? The “Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library” may be found at the website link above. This digital library is a fascinating look at this diverse collection of ancient manuscripts, which include almost all of the Hebrew Bible (Esther is missing).

Click on the link above to visit this significant collection. Below is part of the introduction to this digital library.

The discovery of the first Dead Sea Scrolls in a remote Judean Desert cave in 1947 is widely considered the greatest archaeological event of the twentieth century. Bedouin treasure hunters and archaeologists ultimately found the remains of hundreds of ancient scrolls. These fragile pieces of parchment and papyrus, including the oldest existing copies of the Hebrew Bible, were preserved for two thousand years by the hot, dry desert climate and the darkness of the caves where they were placed. The scrolls provide an unprecedented picture of the diverse religious beliefs of ancient Judaism, and of daily life during the turbulent Second Temple period when Jesus lived and preached.

The History of Psalm-Singing in the Church (1) – Rev.B.Huizinga

SB-Psalm Issue-April 1-2014_Page_1As I noted here previously, the April 1 issue of The Standard Bearer is a special issue devoted to the subject of psalm-singing. Included in this issue are two articles on the history of psalm-singing in the church – one more general (Rev.B.Huizinga’s on the history in the church generally) and one more specific (Rev.K.Koole’s on the history in the PRC).

It is the former one by Rev.Brian Huizinga (pastor of Hope PRC, Redlands, CA) that I would like to start referencing today. “Through Endless Ages Sound His Praise”: The History of Psalm-Singing in the Church” was part of my Sunday reading yesterday, and I found his article to be not only informative but also inspiring. And I hope by quoting from it, it will also be the same for you.

Today I quote from the opening paragraphs, which set the stage for what is to follow.

What among men has endured as many ages under the sun as the psalms…the psalms sung…the psalms sung in corporate worship?  Precious little.  Psalmody has seen Solomon’s temple used and burned, doleful children of the covenant marched to Babylon and jubilantly returning, the Son of God incarnate humiliated and exalted, Rome risen and fallen, the mighty wave of the gospel of salvation sweeping through the Mediterranean world, into Europe, over the seas to America, and now to the ends of the earth, always with the bitter death of apostasy following in its wake.  Over the past three thousand years much has come and much has gone.  Psalmody has seen it all.  Psalmody remains.  Psalmody is rare.  Psalmody is not popular.  But psalmody remains.  Because Jesus Christ defends and preserves His church to the end, psalmody will certainly remain to the end.  None may doubt that psalmody will see the antichristian world-kingdom and then Christ Himself—the one of whom the psalms spoke, and that by His own testimony (Luke 24:44)—appear in splendid majesty arrayed more glorious than the sun.  Through endless ages the church sounds Jehovah’s praise—with psalms.

 

The Old Testament Age

The Old Testament church sang the psalms, one of them perhaps already in the wilderness on the way to Canaan (Psalm 90, written by Moses), most in Solomon’s temple (those written mostly by David), and others thereafter.  So much was psalm-singing a part of Israel’s life and worship that when the Jews were deported by Nebuchadnezzar as captives into Babylon in 586 B.C., they were identified as psalm-singers.  As they sat weeping by the river, their proud captors taunted:  “Come sing us one of Zion’s songs.”  Even the ungodly knew what took place in Zion.  Israel sang the psalms.  Would to God Babylon of today would have reason to know and say the same.

If you would like to receive this issue, or become a regular subscriber to this fine Reformed magazine, contact the RFPA at the link given above.

Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross (3)

As we noted here the last two Sundays, for the Lord’s Days  leading up to Good Friday and Easter (April 18 and 20 this year) we plan to do a series of meditations centered on the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. For my own devotional reading during this special season of reflection I purchased the little book Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross: Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter, a wonderful collection of sermons and writings edited by Nancy Guthrie (Crossway, 2009).

JesusKeepMeNear-NGuthrieToday we begin quoting from chapter six of this book, which contains a sermon by Dr.J. Ligon Duncan III, titled “Betrayed, Denied, Deserted”. It is based on Matthew 26:47-56, the account of Jesus’ arrest in the garden of Gethsemane. Listen to how Duncan emphasizes the sovereignty of God in this part of our Lord’s suffering:

But again I must stress that his actions (Peter’s, in drawing his sword to defend Jesus against the mob led by Judas -cjt) were completely ignorant and uncomprehending. Jesus will say twice in this passage that he had to be arrested in order that the Scriptures would be fulfilled. Jesus was conscious that God’s plan was being worked out and nobody, not Peter, not Judas, not the mob, nor anyone else was going to keep that plan from being fulfilled.

…In this statement (about Jesus being able to ask the Father for twelve legions of angels to defend him, if he needed to be delivered – cjt), Jesus is stressing that he is not going to the cross because God lacks the power to stop it. Not does Jesus lack the ability to ask of God to spare him. Instead, Jesus is going to the cross because he has chosen to go to the cross. He is not a passive victim. He is the prime actor and has chosen to go to the cross. Jesus goes to the cross because of his desire to fulfill the word of God.

J.C.Ryle explains this beautifully, ‘We see in these words (about the Scripture being fulfilled -cjt) the secret of His voluntary submission to His foes. He came on purpose to fulfill the types and promises of the Old Testament Scriptures, and by fulfilling them to provide salvation for the world. He came intentionally to be the true Lamb of God, the Passover Lamb. He came to be the Scape-goat on whom the iniquities of the people were to be laid. His heart was set on accomplishing this great work. It could not be done without the “hiding of his power” for a time. To do it he became a willing sufferer. He was taken, tried, condemned, and crucified entirely of His own free will.’

…Notice too that Jesus does not just acquiesce to God’s sovereignty. He doesn’t just shrug his shoulders and say, ‘Well, I guess God has allowed this terrible thing to happen.’ We do that sometimes, but not Jesus. Jesus said, ‘God has caused and decreed this to happen. This is in accordance with his holy will, which he has established before the foundation of the world. I embrace it, because it is the will of my heavenly Father, and it is good. It may be horrendous for me, but I willingly embrace it, because it is good for his people, and I love his people. …Jesus reveled in the sovereignty of God, and he proclaims it even to the multitude of captors.

For this submission to the sovereign will of God on the part of our suffering Savior we must also give thanks. For by His godly will we are saved, even as we fell into sin and death of our own free will in the first garden (Eden, through Adam). And being saved by the gracious will of our mighty Savior, we are also given grace to submit to God’s will when we are called to suffer. May we have the humble spirit of our Lord and reveal His saving grace in our own afflictions, trusting in the same heavenly Father to deliver us.

Sunday Worship Preparation: Psalm 126

Psalm126As we enter the Lord’s gates of righteousness and joy today (Ps.118:19), we consider together Psalm 126, the seventh of the songs of ascent sung by God’s OT pilgrim people as they journeyed to Jerusalem for worship. Here is the Word of God in this song:

Psalm 126

When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.

2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.

3 The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.

4 Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south.

5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

We can see immediately that the setting of this psalm is a late event in the history of Israel – the return from captivity in Babylon after 70 years (see also Psalm 137). And we also catch the note of joy and gladness – this is a celebratory psalm! The OT church is celebrating the joyful event of the return to Israel and Jerusalem with laughter and singing because it was the work of their sovereign God and Savior, v.2-3. Though it was the Persian king Cyrus who granted them release from Babylon, it was the Lord of Persia and Cyrus Who “turned again the captivity of Zion”, v.1 (Read the history of this again, especially in Isaiah, to see the Lord’s sovereignty over all the details of this event. You will recall that Cyrus is even called the Lord’s anointed servant, Is.45:1.)

In fact, it was the “LORD” – Jehovah, the faithful God of the covenant, the One Who remembered His promise to His own and Who never forgets or forsakes His people, no matter how much time goes by or how many events take place. The Lord of salvation set His people free from Babylon and restored them to the land of promise. And He did that in His love, mercy and grace for His elect remnant, because Christ was in them and they were in Him.

No wonder then that their mouths were filled with laughter and their tongues with singing! No wonder they sang praise to God and attributed this saving event to Jehovah! “The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad”, v.3. As in the time of harvest, God had turned their weeping into joy, vss.5-6. Sowing in tears, they now reaped with rejoicing, because the Lord had turned all things – even the troubles and temptations of the captivity in Babylon – for their good.

This glad song is also ours today. And even more so. For we know about a greater return from captivity. We know the reality to which the return from Babylon pointed and still points: to our release from the bondage of sin and the return to the joyful freedom  of serving God! To the perfect work of God’s highest Servant, Jesus Christ, Who for us miserable sinners went to Calvary to pay the full price of our release and return, even the wrath of God and the sufferings of hell. But Who also rose again from the dead for us and went to heaven for us and is coming again for us, so that someday we may fully leave the Babylon of this world and enter the joy of our Lord!

O, what great things the Lord has done for us! And for this we are glad, so glad! O, how our weeping has been turned into joy! So we laugh and we sing, and we worship and shout our praises to the God of our salvation! Today, on the Lord’s Day, the day of our risen, victorious Savior! And every day! For we have begun to live the endless life of our return to God, and the full day of rest is not far off. God’s Servant, our Savior, is soon coming to set us fully free and bring us home!

And so,  we, like the OT church, still pray, “Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south” (v.4). Even as we celebrate God’s work of turning again the captivity of Zion, we long for the full and perfect day. For we are still sit in the Babylon of this world. We still suffer from the remnants of our bondage to sin. Satan can still hinder us and hurt us. But our Lord is coming! The day of our full return is seen on the horizon! “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!” May that be our prayer as we laugh and sing and celebrate God’s work for us today.

If you wish to meditate on Psalm 126 through the music of the Psalter, we post this versification of it and link you to the page where you may also find piano accompaniment.

1. When Zion in her low estate
Was brought from bondage by the Lord,
In ecstasy we sang for joy,
By grace and wondrous love restored.

2. The Lord in greatly blessing us
Before the world His power displays;
Yea, great things God has done for us,
And filled our hearts with joy and praise.

3. O Lord, refresh us by Thy grace,
Revive and quicken all our powers,
As failing streams are made to flow,
Replenished by abundant showers.

4. The sower bearing precious seed
May weep as in his toil he grieves,
But he shall come again with joy
In harvest time with golden sheaves.

Holy infographics: the Bible visualised

Holy infographics: the bible visualised | Books | theguardian.com.

The British magazine The Guardian usually has some fascinating things in its “books” section. This post from September 5, 2013 was no exception. Infographics seem to be all the rage at present (Visuals are very effective in gaining information and seeing connections!) and this series of infographics on the Bible is quite interesting, especially for seeing its unity.

Below is a brief introduction to the graphics. Click on the link above to see the images. Take the time to study them a bit and things will start to be clear. They are not all equally useful, but some are highly so, like the cross reference one below.

Scholars have been visualising the holy texts for years but recently, they’ve taken a turn towards data. Here are some of the most interesting biblical visualisations we’ve found.

holyvis

Published in: on October 12, 2013 at 7:24 AM  Leave a Comment  
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J.Calvin on Psalm 114: “The sea… sanctified his name.”

JCalvinPic1As we meditate on Psalm 114 today, it is fitting that we also hear these words of John Calvin as he comments on vss.3-5 of the psalm. May his references to God’s power in the use of creation at the Exodus also serve to lead us to great worship of our great Lord and Savior.

It is in a poetical strain that the Psalmist describes the receding of the sea and of the Jordan. The description, however, does not exceed the facts of the case. The sea, in rendering such obedience to its Creator, sanctified his name; and Jordan, by its submission, put honor upon his power; and the mountains, by their quaking, proclaimed how they were overawed at the presence of his dreadful majesty. By these examples it is not meant to celebrate God’s power more than the fatherly care and desire which he manifests for the preservation of the Church; and, accordingly, Israel is very properly distinguished from the sea, the Jordan, and the mountains — there being a very marked difference between the chosen people and the insensate elements.

5 What ailed thee, O sea! The prophet interrogates the sea, Jordan, and the mountains, in a familiar and poetical strain, as lately he ascribed to them a sense and reverence for God’s power. And, by these similitudes, he very sharply reproves the insensibility of those persons, who do not employ the intelligence which God has given them in the contemplation of his works. The appearance which he tells us the sea assumed, is more than sufficient to condemn their blindness. It could not be dried up, the river Jordan could not roll back its waters, had not God, by his invisible agency, constrained them to render obedience to his command. The words are indeed directed to the sea, the Jordan, and the mountains, but they are more immediately addressed to us, that every one of us, on self-reflection, may carefully and attentively weigh this matter. And, therefore, as often as we meet with these words, let each of us reiterate the sentiment, — “Such a change cannot be attributed to nature, and to subordinate causes, but the hand of God is manifest here.”

Sunday Worship Preparation – Psalm 114

Psalm 114For our preparation for worship on this new Lord’s Day, we consider the Word of God in Psalm 114, the human instrument of which is unknown. But this is what the Holy Spirit inspired the human writer to pen:

 Psalm 114

When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language;

2Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his dominion.

3The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was driven back.

4The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs.

5What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back?

6Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills, like lambs?

7Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob;

8Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters.

It is evident from these powerful lines that the psalmist is recalling God’s great saving work in the Exodus, when He delivered His people Israel from the hand of pharoah and the Egyptians and set them on the way to Canaan, the promised land. The New Geneva Study Bible (Foundation for Reformation/T.Nelson, 1995) adds these notes:

Jewish tradition assigned this psalm to the eighth day of Passover. In eight short verses of unrivaled poetic subtlety, the psalmist describes the tremendous power of God’s visual self-revelation (theophany) at the time of Israel’s salvation from Egypt and entry into Canaan (Ex.13:21).

The Exodus was the most tremendous display of God’s redemptive power during the Old Testament period. It was constantly remembered and became a source of encouragement for later generations, including Christians who perceive themselves as ‘strangers and pilgrims’ in search of their true ‘homeland’ (Heb.11:13,14).

There are several things worthy of special note in this psalm. First, notice that v.2 refers to Judah/Israel as God’s sanctuary and dominion. That means that Jehovah, as Israel’s all-glorious, sovereign King, made Judah His dwellingplace, His home or abode. And that, of course, is the heart of the covenant: the Triune God living with His people in saving friendship and fellowship. That could only be in Christ and for His sake, which is why it is significant that the tribe of Judah is named for the whole nation of Israel here – the tribe from which our Lord came (see Heb.7:14). Our own exodus from sin and death and our own entrance into fellowship with God is through Jesus Christ alone, accomplished at the cross of Calvary and sealed at the empty tomb.

Second, note how the creation was involved in the redemption of Israel from Egypt and in her entrance into Canaan. Creation is even  personified here, i.e., described in terms of personal characteristics, as if the sea watched the exodus and willingly fled and as if  the hills rejoiced at what was happening and skipped like rams (vss.3-4). The psalmist even goes so far as to ask these creatures why they reacted this way (vss.5-6). This too shows the absolute sovereignty of our God, for the whole of creation is His army, called to carry out His sovereign will for the sake of the salvation of His church (He is the “Lord of hosts”!). You will recall that the creation also participated in the great wonders at Calvary and at Christ’s grave (Matt.28:45; 50-53). And the same will be true at the end of the world, when the church is fully redeemed (see Matt.24 and 2 Peter 3). What a God we have! If the creation is called to tremble at His presence (v.7), how much more we, who know the saving presence of this Lord! Shall we reveal our godly fear (awe) of this God today in our worship?

And finally, note that vss.7-8 take us directly to Christ, the Water of life and the fountain of our salvation. The historical reference is to God’s provision of water for His thirsty people at Kadesh in the wilderness (Numbers 20). But 1 Cor.10:4 tells us that this water was spiritual water (to the believing, that is) because the Rock was a spiritual Rock. And this Rock was Christ! Now tie that to John 4:1-14 (Jesus and the Samaritan woman) and Rev.22, and you have the whole picture.

Today, having experienced the Lord’s redeeming hand in our lives this past week, taking us out of Egypt once again, and having walked through the dry and thirsty land of this world, we come to the refreshing Rock of our salvation. From this Rock flow the life-giving waters of grace – free forgiveness, perfect righteousness, the Spirit of renewal and holiness, and fellowship with God. Let us drink deeply and thankfully, with the mouth of faith. Then we too shall be God’s “sanctuary”. We shall be His home; and we shall be at home, in blessed rest.

“When God is Not Enough” – Scotty Smith

When God is Not Enough by Scotty Smith | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

As I continue to use and profit from Tabletalk magazine, one of the rubrics I have grown to look forward to is “Heart Aflame”, which contains articles directed to the Reformed Christian’s heart. The new April issue contains an article by pastor Scotty Smith (PCA) under the title “When God is Not Enough”. In this fine article he addresses the matter of idolatry, which, as he shows, begins in the heart. He bases his thoughts on Ezek.14 and speaks to our hearts, which is what God does in this passage.

Here is a portion of his article; you will find the rest at the link above.

The new hearts we have in Christ are yet-to-be-perfected hearts, and when God is functionally “not enough,” our anxieties and fears take over; then we go on the hunt for designer gods and pseudosaviors. What does this look like?

At the beginning of Ezekiel 14, we get to eavesdrop on a fascinating conversation that took place between the prophet and God. Here’s the back story: Instead of showing and telling God’s story of redemption to the nations, Israel had progressively been drawn into the worship of the gods of the surrounding nations.

Israel’s drift into idolatry didn’t happen because the people became bored with the liturgy of their temple, enamored with the music of the worship bands in pagan temples, or impressed with the oratory of the new Canaanite prophet who had just moved into the neighborhood. No one in Israel went looking for a new worship service, but for new gods to service them. The center of their worship shifted from God to themselves. They began to worship worship more than they worshiped God—that is, their relationship with God became utilitarian rather than doxological.

When the glory of the one true living God is no longer our principal passion in life, worship becomes a pragmatic vehicle for fulfilling two basic quests in life: provision and protection. Instead of living for God’s glory and looking to Him to meet our needs, we exist for our glory and look for gods who will meet our demands.

Rev. Scotty Smith is founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee, and he is author of Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith.

The Conversion of Ruth: True Commmitment to Christ and His Church

EveninDarknessJudgesFor our final Bible study on the period of the Judges tomorrow night we will be studying the book of Ruth. I have been reading Gordon Keddie’s brief but beneficial commentary Even in Darkness: Judges and Ruth Simply Explained (Welwyn Series, Evangelical Press, 1985/1993). In the section treating Ruth’s conversion Keddie outlines five points on it that reveal that it was indeed a true conversion. Today I give you a couple of these points as they pertain especially to membership in the church, something loosely held and practiced by the contemporary church. Not only are his comments good, but at the end he closes with some searching questions for us to ponder.

A second facet of Ruth’s commitment is commitment to the Lord’s people. Your people will be my people.’ This necessarily flows from a real commitment to the Lord. Immediately after his conversion on the Damascus road, the apostle Paul spent several days with the very people he had been intending to persecute. The effect of Pentecost was to create a church – a united band of called-out ones (‘ecclesia’) – all members one of another. The ‘unchurched’ Christian is denying in practice what is in principle at the centre of the Christian life. To be an ‘independent’ Christian is to say you have no need of brethren in the Lord. To join yourself to others in Christ, in contrast, is the admission of need – it is the humility to recognize that you cannot ‘go it alone’. You cannot help loving the people that God loves; these are your brothers and your sisters and your mother in the risen Christ (Mark 3:31-34).

…Finally, notice the vow with which Ruth solemnly sealed her commitment. ‘May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.’ How easily men and women take vows of membership in the church of Jesus Christ and lightly cast them aside when it suits them! Such a vow is a solemn act of commitment which carries with it the recognition that to break it later will deservedly incur the divine wrath. So it was with Ruth. So it is, in reality, for everyone who professes faith in Christ. To be converted to Christ is to receive him by faith and to realize that to turn away from him again is unthinkable. Hence the nature of the vow: ‘May the Lord deal with me….’

Let it be asked of you, dear reader: have you ‘paid your vows” to the Lord? Do you know what it is to be converted to Christ? Is the God of the Bible your God? Is Christ your Saviour? Do you love the Lord’s people? Would you regard, with Moses, ‘disgrace for the sake of Christ’ as of more value than the treasures of modern materialism? Ruth confronts us with the vital question: ‘To whom do you belong?’ To the Lord Jesus Christ? Or to yourself or somebody else…?

Sunday Worship Preparation – Psalm 110

Psalm 110To guide us in the thoughts, desires, and actions of our worship today we consider the 110th Psalm, a highly significant song of David given through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. When we read this psalm, we will come to see that the truth revealed in it is the very basis and reason for our worship, for the key to our worship is Christ. Let’s put it before our mind’s eye right away, reading it slowly and meditating on it:

Psalm 110

The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

2The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.

3Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.

4The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

5The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.

6He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.

7He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.

Having read this psalm, we see that this Word of God is clearly Messianic, pointing us to and showing us the glory of Israel’s king to come, the Lord Jesus Christ. While the immediate occasion of this song may have been the coronation of David as king (after he had conquered Jebus and established Jerusalem as the royal city), we understand (in the light of the NT) that David was not merely writing about himself but about someone greater. He speaks of the Son in his covenant line Who is the fulfillment of all God’s promises and Israel’s hopes – THE Christ (Messiah), Who in the fullness of time was revealed to be Jesus, the very Son of God in our flesh.

And in fact, Jesus Himself used Psalm 110 to prove that he is the promised Son of David as well as the Son of God. You will recall this exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees:

41While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. 43He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?46And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

And the greatness and glory of this Messiah is not only that He is the sovereign King of God’s Israel (the church in both the OT and NT) but also that He is Priest. And not just any Priest, but a Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (Gen.14:18). The writer to the Hebrews especially explains the significance of this priesthood (5:6,10; 6:20), telling us these truths about Jesus in chap.7:

For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 2To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; 3Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually….

11If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? 12For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. 13For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. 14For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. 15And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, 16Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. 17For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 18For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. 19For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. 20And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: 21(For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) 22By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. 23And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: 24But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 26For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. 28For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

It is not my purpose to add much more commentary on this psalm, for this is the Spirit’s own commentary on Psalm 110. I trust we see now why I said that this psalm reveals the very basis and reason for our worship: Christ Jesus, our great Priest-King! Why are we allowed to draw near God today? Why are we able to draw near to Him in worship and in fellowship? Why do we want to draw near in praise and thanks? Because the LORD (Jehovah) said unto His Lord, “Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool.” With firm trust in this Messiah, may we come near to our God this day and magnify Him in every part of our worship.

If you wish to meditate through music on this psalm, I point you to the PRC Psalter page and to this versification of Psalm 110 found in our Psalter (Click on the title to hear piano accompaniment):

302.  Our Lord Jesus.   Psalm 110.  8s and 7s. (3 stanzas)

1. The Lord unto His Christ hath said,
In glory I enthrone Thee
Till all Thy foes, in triumph led,
Their sovereign King shall own Thee;
From Zion shall Jehovah send
Thy scepter, till before Thee bend
The knees of proud rebellion.

2. Thy people will be gladly Thine
When Thou shalt come victorious,
In holy beauty Thou shalt shine
Like morning fair and glorious;
The word of God shall not depart:
The King of Righteousness Thou art,
A Royal Priest forever.

3. The Lord at Thy right hand shall smite
Earth’s kings in indignation,
And He shall judge with sovereign right
Throughout His wide creation;
While living streams His strength sustain,
The Christ the victory shall gain,
Head over all exalted.

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