Divine Laughter (A Meditation on Psalm 2)

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This special meditation was prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

Divine Laughter

Meditation on Psalm 2: 1-7

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

The Lord reigns! Just as Hurricane Laura came on our shores with howling wind and restless waves of the sea, so do the wicked rage. Psalm 2 describes the terrible opposition that David experienced once he was anointed by Samuel to be the next king of Israel. But the opposition against David is only a faint type of the reaction of the wicked against the Lord Jesus. Jesus, the righteous King is contrasted with the world that is filled with those who hate the instruction of the Lord. They are those who walk, stand, and sit in the counsel of the wicked (cf. Psalm 1). When Jesus’ righteousness reveals the wickedness of those in the world, they naturally respond in hatred. This is true not only for Christ, God’s anointed, but also for all those who follow Him. There is a conflict between those who seek shelter in the Christ and those who refuse Him. This is the conflict of the ages between the Lord’s Anointed and the nations.

Think back to the beginning of Christ’s ministry. Hearing of the birth of Jesus, Herod immediately began to plot against him. Later, the Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes plotted to kill Jesus. Jews and Gentiles (Pilate and the Romans) tried to extinguish the light of the world! In Acts 4: 24-28 the Apostles John and Peter report the evil treatment they received of the religious leaders. They pray to God using Psalm 2 to describe the opposition to Christ’s ministry. But clearly, they point out that the wicked doing this are only carrying out what God’s hand and counsel determined beforehand. The wicked put Jesus to death; the Lord raised and exalted Him.

What is the LORD’s reaction to this rebellion and hatred of his Son? The Psalmist writes, “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision.” Just as the raging sea could not hurt Jesus and His disciples when out on the Sea of Galilee, so also the plotting of the wicked cannot hold back the reign of Christ Jesus nor His kingdom. God has set His Son on His throne. He did this after Jesus’ victory over sin, Satan, and death in His death and resurrection. He ascended up into heaven, and His enemies are made his footstool. The Apostle Paul quotes this part of Psalm 2 in Acts. 13:30-33. Paul identified the resurrection of Jesus as His royal enthronement.

What comfort this was to the church in Paul’s day. They underwent persecution from the Jews and the Gentiles. The nations hatched their plots and schemes, yet the Lord “sitteth in the heavens” and laughs. Even though Christ has been installed on Mount Zion, the nations still conspire and rebel against His authority. Do we not still see this today? Think of all the persecution of the church in many nations. Think of the sinful and rebellious counsel of the wicked in our own land. The abortion of little children is seen as essential while the worship of the Lord in His house had been banned. What a rebellious and sinful world we live in. And it will only get worse!

For the rebellion of the wicked, Christ will come with a rod of iron and dash them to pieces. We see God’s judgment in the world today with the violence and upheaval in the streets of our cities. There are the natural disasters: fires, floods, and hurricanes. This is only the beginning. Kingdoms rise and fall. But Christ is coming again in glory, and will bring judgement. Not one of the wicked will escape. They will be broken like a piece of pottery.

The Psalm ends with a call to repentance. Instead of rebelling against the Lord’s Anointed, let people abandon their sinful ways and submit in faith to Christ. “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son…Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (vs. 11,12).

When we find ourselves suffering for the sake of righteousness, we too must seek shelter in the hope of this psalm. Try as they might, the nations and the wicked will not overthrow the reign of the Lord and his Anointed. Christ reigns and will shelter all those who take refuge in Him. Oh, the heathen rage! Many take counsel together against the Lord and His Christ in rebellion. But Christ is already enthroned. Those who take refuge in Him shall also one day reign with Him. Whatever the opposition, no human power can ever nullify or undo God’s divine purpose.

Are you allowing pessimism to affect you, or are you hanging on to the hope that Christ’s kingdom will prevail in every nation? Do you serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling? Have you kissed the Son in submission and love? One day, maybe very soon, Christ will return as Judge.

The Power and Blessing of Jesus’ Intercession for His People

Rome talks about providing an enduring efficacy of Jesus’ sacrifice in the mass.

We reject that. And why do we?

In order to preserve nothing more than a cold, bleak emptiness and hollowness?

No, a thousand times over, no! It’s because only the intercession of Christ maintains the efficacy of that sacrifice! It also provides the unceasing effort and all-enabling strength that sustains the souls of the redeemed day and night. It blesses them!

So don’t ever think that the praying that Jesus does happens now and then based on your petition, your request, or your imploring him for his prayer. It’s not like your Savior has to be asked to pray on your behalf before the throne of grace. Look, Jesus doesn’t just pray for you some of the time or only once! He does so ceaselessly. Praying for you is his preoccupation; it’s his purpose for living! He lives for it. His life revolves around praying for you.

…He lives for uttering his supplications on our behalf before his Father’s throne. Such praying is his very breath. It amounts to pouring out his soul on behalf of his people. Such praying reflects the sacred effort of our redeeming Hero on behalf of those struggling here on earth.

That’s why Jesus’ praying is the lifeline tied to your soul that prevents it from sinking.

Jesus is praying for you even while you’re sleeping.

He’s praying for you even when in the busyness of your daily life you are no longer thinking about him.

As your Savior, he’s praying for you even when you cause him sorrow and distress.

Christ imploring God on your behalf is your constantly flowing stream of life. It’s the wind that fills your sails and moves you forward, even when you lie down exhausted in your little boat and give up struggling.

Yes, even when you approach death and hover between heaven and hell, it will be the praying of Jesus that upholds you, offers you support, and ultimately saves you.

honey from the rock-ak-2018Taken from the new translation by James A. De Jong of Abraham Kuyper’s Honey from the Rock (Lexham Press, 2018), pp.394-95.

This particular meditation (#16 of Volume 2) is titled “He Lives to Make Intercession for Them” and is based on Hebrews 7:25, “Wherefore 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.”

“We cannot doubt that through him we may now surmount all worry, fear and dread….” ~ J. Calvin

crucifiedandrisencover-JCalvin-2020Moreover, since we have to struggle with such dread [of death, which is “as it were the pit of hell, expressive of God’s wrath.”], we need to know that our Lord Jesus Christ made provision for all our fears, and that even in the midst of death we can still come before God with our heads held high.

…If, then, we have no hope of life when we come before the heavenly Judge, we are sure to be rejected by him. He will not acknowledge us but will disown us, even though we make profession of the Christian faith. We can only await the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ if we are persuaded and convinced that he so battled with the terrors of death as to free us from them and to win for us the victory. And although we will always struggle to be conscious of our weaknesses, to turn to God for help and to be continually made to confess our sins so that God alone is seen to be righteous, we can nevertheless be sure that Jesus Christ has fought for us and gained the victory, not for himself but for us. We cannot doubt that through him we may now surmount all worry, fear and dread, and call upon God, certain that he will always receive us with outstretched arm.

It is important that we remember this. We should be clear that there is nothing speculative about the message that our Lord Jesus suffered the awful terrors of death, and that he deliberately stood surety for us before our Judge, so that, because of the battle he fought, we today may triumph over all our infirmities and may persistently call upon God’s name, never doubting that he will answer us and will always be ready in his goodness to receive us to himself. Thus we will pass through life and death, through fire and water, knowing that our Lord Jesus did not fight in vain but gives the victory to all who come to him in faith. That, in sum, is what we need to bear in mind.

Taken from the first sermon of John Calvin, “No Sorrow Like His Sorrow,” in the newly published collection of his sermons on Matthew 26-28 titled Crucified and Risen (Banner of Truth, 2020) “newly translated from the French of 1558 by Robert White.”

This particular quote shows just how relevant the gospel of Christ crucified is, no matter the place or time or circumstance. Faith in this Christ of the cross and empty tomb frees us from fear of death and gives us hope in the life to come.

One also cannot fail to note how pastoral Calvin was in his preaching. He truly ministered the Word to God’s people, convicting them of God’s truth and comforting them with the good news in Christ Jesus.

This will be a collection of sermons you will want to obtain. It makes for fine reading in this time of year.

Ascension Day Thoughts – A. Kuyper

Night Sky, Hyden, Western Australia.

On this Ascension Day 2019, I give you some moving words from Abraham Kuyper, after reading ahead and finding this appropriate meditation on Christ’s ascension in his newly translated work Honey From the Rock (see details below).

No, the Lord God saves! actually saves! He saves both body and soul.

And what’s truly beautiful is not the apparent defeat of saving love, as tragically moving as that may be. No, the only thing that is truly beautiful, moving, and holy is the saving love that also triumphs. It not only descends into the stream but is also capable of rising out of the stream. He not only succeeds in rising from the stream, but he carries the drowning person out of that stream of misery with him and sets him on the throne where he himself had been before. [Kuyper has used the illustration of a parent out of love being willing to plunge himself into a stream to save his drowning child, but perhaps not being strong enough to get himself and the child back out of the raging torrent. And now he is contrasting that with the saving work of God in Christ.]

This is the reason  why the ascension of Jesus is so beautiful, my good readers. It’s why it’s so majestic and so completely glorious. For here we see overwhelming power. Here is complete victory. Here we have ascending once again out of a majestic and beautiful struggle. Here we witness climbing higher, being lifted up until he is again finally ‘where he was before’!

He’s there despite everything that opposed him. The laws of nature opposed him. The elements opposed him. The human flesh he assumed opposed him. Even the love found in the hearts of his disciples opposed him. It all pulled him down. It all held him down. It all resisted his ascending.

But even so, nothing withstood him.

He vanquished it all.

He ascended.

And oh, the miracle of divine omnipotence! In ascending he carried the entire church of the redeemed along with him on high. Those who dwell above! Those living now! And those who have yet to live. All God’s children!

Look! Look at him standing there in heaven with his treasure, the souls of the redeemed in his arms.

All the angels are adoring him.

All the martyrs and prophets are kneeling before him.

The Father is crowning him!

honey from the rock-ak-2018Taken from the new translation by James A. De Jong of Abraham Kuyper’s Honey from the Rock (Lexham Press, 2018), pp.242-43.

This particular meditation (#75 of Volume 1) is titled “Ascending to Where He Was Before” and is based on John 6:61b-62 (KJV), “When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?”

Calvin on Psalm 24: Worship, the Presence of God, and the Glory of Christ

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7.Lift up your heads, O ye gates!

The magnificent and splendid structure of the temple, in which there was more outward majesty than in the tabernacle, not being yet erected, David here speaks of the future building of it. By doing this, he encourages the pious Israelites to employ themselves more willingly, and with greater confidence, in the ceremonial observances of the law. It was no ordinary token of the goodness of God that he condescended to dwell in the midst of them by a visible symbol of his presence, and was willing that his heavenly dwelling-place should be seen upon earth.

This doctrine ought to be of use to us at this day; for it is an instance of the inestimable grace of God, that so far as the infirmity of our flesh will permit, we are lifted up even to God by the exercises of religion. What is the design of the preaching of the word, the sacraments, the holy assemblies, and the whole external government of the church, but that we may be united to God?

8.Who is this King of glory? etc.

…That this was no vain and empty promise, but that God truly dwelt in the midst of the people, is what the faithful experienced who sought him not superstitiously, as if he had been fixed to the temple, but made use of the temple and of the service which was performed in it for elevating their hearts to heaven.

The amount of what is stated is, that whenever the people should call upon God in the temple, it would manifestly appear, from the effect which would follow, that the ark of the covenant was not a vain and an illusory symbol of the presence of God, because he would always stretch forth his omnipotent arm for the defense and protection of his people. The repetition teaches us that true believers cannot be too constant and diligent in meditation on this subject.

The Son of God, clothed with our flesh, has now shown himself to be King of glory and Lord of hosts, and he is not entered into his temple only by shadows and figures, but really and in very deed, that he may dwell in the midst of us. There is, therefore, nothing to hinder us from boasting that we shall be invincible by his power.

Mount Sion, it is true, is not at this day the place appointed for the sanctuary, and the ark of the covenant is no longer the image or representation of God dwelling between the cherubim; but as we have this privilege in common with the fathers, that, by the preaching of the word and the sacraments, we may be united to God, it becomes us to use these helps with reverence; for if we despise them by a detestable pride, God cannot but at length utterly withdraw himself from us.

jcalvin-1Taken from John Calvin’s Commentary on the Book of Psalms. The text of his comments on Psalm 24 quoted above may be found on this website.

Jesus, Our Forerunner into the Heavenly Sanctuary – Rev. J. Slopsema

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The May 15, 2017 issue of the Standard Bearer includes an Ascension Day meditation by Rev. James Slopsema based on Hebrews 6:19-20,

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

Since we commemorated this step of our Lord’s exaltation this past week, we quote a portion of Rev. Slopsema’s meditation today for our profit.

ENTERED IN AS OUR HOPE

In this connection our passage speaks of our hope.

In the Bible the idea of hope is used in two different ways. Most often it is used to describe the anticipation, longing, and certainty that the believer has for eternal life in heaven. But sometimes it is used to describe the glory that the saints will receive and for which they hope.

The latter is the emphasis here.

Verse 18 of this chapter speaks of the hope that is set before us. This hope is the eternal glory that is ours in Jesus Christ, which we will receive one day as an inheritance. As our High Priest, Christ earned this heavenly glory for us by His perfect sacrifice for sin. As our High Priest He is preparing our places in this heavenly glory. As our High Priest Jesus even gives us a foretaste of this glory by showering us with heavenly blessings through His intercession for us.

Our eternal hope is inseparably connected to Jesus Christ, our eternal High Priest.

And so our passage speaks of our hope having entered into heaven. When Jesus ascended into heaven as our eternal High Priest, so did our hope. The thing for which we hope is now in heaven, in Jesus, awaiting us.

This distinguishes us from those who do not know Jesus Christ. The unbeliever also has hope. But his hope is only an earthly hope, a better tomorrow on the earth.

Our hope in Christ is an eternal hope of glory.

For more on the saving wonder of Christ’s ascension, read this recent Reformed Witness Hour message of Rev. C. Haak, posted on the PRC website.

For more on the contents of the May 15 SB, see the cover below. Visit the RFPA website for information on subscribing.

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Ascension Day and the Pilgrim’s Progress

Christian Reaches the Celestial City

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After thinking about the classic The Pilgrim’s Progress the last few days, and in the light of this being Ascension Day (the church’s remembrance of Christ’s going up to heaven), it seemed fitting to post this part from the Tenth Stage of John Bunyan’s allegory, where Christian and his fellow pilgrim cross the river and enter the Celestial City.

May this encourage all true Christian pilgrim’s to continue to make their trek through every valley, over every mountain, and in battle against every enemy to the heavenly city, knowing that our great Pilgrim has gone before us, conquering and preparing (Heb.6:19-20; 12:1-2).

Now, upon the bank of the river, on the other side, they saw the two shining men again, who there waited for them. Wherefore, being come out of the river, they saluted them, saying, We are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those that shall be the heirs of salvation. Thus they went along towards the gate.

Now you must note, that the city stood upon a mighty hill; but the pilgrims went up that hill with ease, because they had these two men to lead them up by the arms: they had likewise left their mortal garments behind them in the river; for though they went in with them, they came out without them. They therefore went up here with much agility and speed, though the foundation upon which the city was framed was higher than the clouds; they therefore went up through the region of the air, sweetly talking as they went, being comforted because they safely got over the river, and had such glorious companions to attend them.

The talk that they had with the shining ones was about the glory of the place; who told them that the beauty and glory of it was inexpressible. There, said they, is “Mount Sion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect.” Heb. 12:22-24. You are going now, said they, to the paradise of God, wherein you shall see the tree of life, and eat of the never-fading fruits thereof: and when you come there you shall have white robes given you, and your walk and talk shall be every day with the King, even all the days of eternity. Rev. 2:7; 3:4,5; 22:5. There you shall not see again such things as you saw when you were in the lower region upon earth; to wit, sorrow, sickness, affliction, and death; “For the former things are passed away.” Rev. 21:4. You are going now to Abraham, to Isaac, and Jacob, and to the prophets, men that God hath taken away from the evil to come, and that are now “resting upon their beds, each one walking in his righteousness.” The men then asked, What must we do in the holy place? To whom it was answered, You must there receive the comfort of all your toil, and have joy for all your sorrow; you must reap what you have sown, even the fruit of all your prayers, and tears, and sufferings for the King by the way. Gal. 6:7,8. In that place you must wear crowns of gold, and enjoy the perpetual sight and vision of the Holy One; for “there you shall see him as he is.” 1 John, 3:2. There also you shall serve him continually with praise, with shouting and thanksgiving, whom you desired to serve in the world, though with much difficulty, because of the infirmity of your flesh. There your eyes shall be delighted with seeing, and your ears with hearing the pleasant voice of the Mighty One. There you shall enjoy your friends again that are gone thither before you; and there you shall with joy receive even every one that follows into the holy place after you. There also you shall be clothed with glory and majesty, and put into an equipage fit to ride out with the King of Glory. When he shall come with sound of trumpet in the clouds, as upon the wings of the wind, you shall come with him; and when he shall sit upon the throne of judgment, you shall sit by him; yea, and when he shall pass sentence upon all the workers of iniquity, let them be angels or men, you also shall have a voice in that judgment, because they were his and your enemies. Also, when he shall again return to the city, you shall go too with sound of trumpet, and be ever with him. 1 Thess. 4:14-17; Jude 14,15; Dan. 7:9,10; 1 Cor. 6:2,3.

Now, while they were thus drawing towards the gate, behold a company of the heavenly host came out to meet them: to whom it was said by the other two shining ones, These are the men that have loved our Lord when they were in the world, and that have left all for his holy name; and he hath sent us to fetch them, and we have brought them thus far on their desired journey, that they may go in and look their Redeemer in the face with joy. Then the heavenly host gave a great shout, saying, “Blessed are they that are called to the marriage-supper of the Lamb.” Rev. 19:9. There came out also at this time to meet them several of the King’s trumpeters, clothed in white and shining raiment, who, with melodious noises and loud, made even the heavens to echo with their sound. These trumpeters saluted Christian and his fellow with ten thousand welcomes from the world; and this they did with shouting and sound of trumpet.

This done, they compassed them round on every side; some went before, some behind, and some on the right hand, and some on the left, (as it were to guard them through the upper regions,) continually sounding as they went, with melodious noise, in notes on high; so that the very sight was to them that could behold it as if heaven itself was come down to meet them. Thus, therefore, they walked on together; and, as they walked, ever and anon these trumpeters, even with joyful sound, would, by mixing their music with looks and gestures, still signify to Christian and his brother how welcome they were into their company, and with what gladness they came to meet them. And now were these two men, as it were, in heaven, before they came to it, being swallowed up with the sight of angels, and with hearing of their melodious notes. Here also they had the city itself in view; and they thought they heard all the bells therein to ring, to welcome them thereto. But, above all, the warm and joyful thoughts that they had about their own dwelling there with such company, and that for ever and ever; oh, by what tongue or pen can their glorious joy be expressed! Thus they came up to the gate.

Now when they were come up to the gate, there was written over it, in letters of gold, “blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

Then I saw in my dream, that the shining men bid them call at the gate: the which when they did, some from above looked over the gate, to wit, Enoch, Moses, and Elijah, etc., to whom it was said, These pilgrims are come from the City of Destruction, for the love that they bear to the King of this place; and then the pilgrims gave in unto them each man his certificate, which they had received in the beginning: those therefore were carried in unto the King, who, when he had read them, said, Where are the men? To whom it was answered, They are standing without the gate. The King then commanded to open the gate, “That the righteous nation (said he) that keepeth the truth may enter in.”  Isa. 26:2.

Now I saw in my dream, that these two men went in at the gate; and lo, as they entered, they were transfigured; and they had raiment put on that shone like gold. There were also that met them with harps and crowns, and gave them to them; the harps to praise withal, and the crowns in token of honor. Then I heard in my dream, that all the bells in the city rang again for joy, and that it was said unto them, “enter ye into the joy of your lord.”

I also heard the men themselves, that they sang with a loud voice, saying, “blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the lamb, for ever and ever.”

Now, just as the gates were opened to let in the men, I looked in after them, and behold the city shone like the sun; the streets also were paved with gold; and in them walked many men, with crowns on their heads, palms in their hands, and golden harps, to sing praises withal.

There were also of them that had wings, and they answered one another without intermission, saying, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord. And after that they shut up the gates; which, when I had seen, I wished myself among them.

This quotation is taken from the online edition found at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

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May 1, 2017 Standard Bearer – Special Missions & Evangelism Issue

The last issue of the Standard Bearer (May 1, 2017) was another special issue in this volume year (93, 2016-17). This one featured the Great Commission of our Lord and the PRC’s work of missions and evangelism in obedience to that call.

Below you will see the cover and the contents of this special issue, as all of the major labors of the PRC and some of the local evangelism efforts of the PRC congregations were featured.

SB-cover-May1-2017

Rev. Daniel Holstege, the new missionary to the Philippines, penned the meditation on the Great Commission, expounding Jesus’ words in Matt.28:19,20 and Mark 16:15, spoken to His disciples just before He ascended into heaven.

Below are a few of his thoughts, significant for those called to herald the gospel to this nation and the nations of the world, and for all who are called to bear witness to the Lord and to support these heralds. May God use these words to encourage us in this grand labor of our ascended Lord through His church.

What an amazing privilege He has just given to us, His specially called and ordained apostles! To be leaders in His church whom He will use to build His church upon the rock of brother Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God! We are no men of high repute or earthly power, no kings or governors, whom He has sent to do this task, but mere servants of our King, in a spiritual kingdom, ordained ministers of the gospel.

What a blessed work we are sent to do – and not only we, but all whom the Master calls into this ministry of the Word, laborers in His vineyard, pastors and teachers in His church, preachers of the gospel of peace and glad tidings of good things! Let all who follow after us do the work of an evangelist! Let them go out into the highways and byways and bid their neighbors to the marriage of the Lord! Let them not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ, but be eager and open and ready to speak with their lost, heathen neighbors. Let them go, too, into other nations, across vast oceans, over mighty mountains, afar off to preach the gospel or aid and encourage those who do.

And, O, that all His disciples, male and female, farmer, sailor, builder, lawyer, doctor, engineer, craftsman, businessman, single and married, mother and father – would support and participate in our great commission! O that they all would pray for us, with intimate understanding of our work, that the word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified! O, that they would give cheerfully and liberally to support us who preach the gospel, so that we need not make tents or have another occupation to eat our daily bread! O, that they might have opportunity to visit us on faraway mission fields to witness the glorious work and appreciate it all the more!

But, O, that they would themselves participate, being ready always to give an answer to everyone who asks them a reason for the hope that is in them! O, that they would shine as lights in the world, in the midst of crooked and perverse nations, ready and eager to hold forth the Word of life to those who are without! Not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, but knowing that it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes! Would to God that they will radiate every day with the hope of eternal life, having faces that show that the joy of the Lord is their strength! Master, use them too to bring others into the fold to hear the blessed tidings of salvation! Give them too to hear the call – GO! – as the Lord puts in front of them an opportunity in their daily life to bear witness of Christ Jesus!

Ascension Thoughts: Seeing Jesus Crowned – Rev.M.De Vries

The May 15, 2015 issue of the Standard Bearer is out, and the meditation this time focuses our attention on the glorification of Jesus Christ in His ascension to heaven and sitting at God’s right hand. Rev.Michael DeVries, pastor of Kalamazoo PRC, is the author of this instructive and comforting article.

To view more of the content of this latest issue of the “SB”, click on the image to the left. For information about subscribing to this solidly Reformed periodical published by the RFPA, visit the link above.

Here are a few of Rev.M. DeVries’ thoughts on the glory of our ascended Savior-King:

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” Hebrews 2:9

Like the multitudes of Jesus’ day many today want an earthly Jesus who will satisfy their carnal desires by creating an earthly kingdom of peace and prosperity. They minimize and ignore His ascension and its significance. But by grace we rejoice in the ascension and exaltation of Christ. We see how necessary it was for the salvation of the church. We understand that were Christ to have remained here on this earth, His coming in our flesh would contain no advantage for us at all.

But even more, by faith we see Jesus crowned with glory and honor at God’s right hand! No, we could not be there with the disciples to see this side of the ascension. But by faith we see Christ exalted on the glorious, heavenly side! We behold His coronation and see Him set at God’s right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, (Ephesians 1:20, 21). The very sight of Him in His glory ought to fill our hearts with joy and peace. And see Him we do according to this Word of God!

And then, after explaining the nature of this exaltation and its purpose in the plan of God for our salvation, Rev. DeVries closes a note of comfort:

What comfort the exaltation of Christ affords us! We may face the future with courage and confidence. With the natural eye what we see is frightening and discouraging. For as we note from the preceding verse, “But now we see not yet all things put under him.” We see man far, far lower than the angels, yea, in the depths of depravity. We see abounding iniquity and immorality. We see a generation of the ungodly having apparent control in this world, committing horrible atrocities. We see the faithful church hated and persecuted as never before. We see the powers of darkness increasing in their bold and wicked attempt to destroy the church of God. We see our place in this world becoming smaller and smaller.

…But let us not despair! For we see Jesus, crowned with glory and honor!

With the eye of faith we see Him in perfect control over all these enemies of the church. We see Him with the Book of the seven seals of God’s counsel. He faithfully and powerfully causes all things to come to pass which must shortly occur in order that He may return to glorify His Church. By faith we see that we are secure and that our salvation is absolutely sure. Seeing Jesus crowned with glory and honor means that the victory is already ours! We are now more than conquerors!

As long as we see Him there all is well. How blessed it is to look into heaven by faith and see Jesus there in His glory and honor, working all things for our good! Make no mistake, all things work together for good exactly because Christ was crowned with glory and honor for all those for whom He tasted death.

J.Calvin on Psalm 118: “…Pray fervently and constantly for the prosperity and progress of this spiritual kingdom.”

Also for our meditation on Psalm 118 today, I post these words of John Calvin on vss.25-26. May they too point us to Christ and to our calling to “pray fervently and constantly for the prosperity and progress” of Christ’s spiritual kingdom.

JCalvin1…The clause, blessed is he that cometh, may be viewed as a form of congratulation; but seeing that the benediction of the priests is immediately annexed, I am disposed rather to believe that the people wished for David God’s grace and favor. To induce them to present this petition with more alacrity, and thus be encouraged to receive the king whom God appointed them, this promise is added in the person of the priests, We bless you out of the house of the Lord.

They speak in this manner agreeably with the nature of their office, which enjoined on them the duty of blessing the people, as appears from several passages in the books of Moses, and particularly from Numbers 6:23. It is not without reason that they connect the welfare of the Church with the prosperity of the kingdom, it being their desire to throw out the suggestion, and to represent that the safety of the people would remain as long as that kingdom continued to flourish, and that they would all share in the blessings which would be conferred upon their king, because of the indissoluble connection which exists between the head and members.

Knowing, as we now do, that when David was constituted king, the foundation of that everlasting kingdom, which was eventually manifested in the advent of Christ, was then laid, and that the temporal throne upon which the descendants of David were placed was a type of the eternal kingdom given to Christ by God his Father, in consequence of which he obtained all power, both in heaven and on earth, there can be no question that the prophet calls upon the faithful to pray fervently and constantly for the prosperity and progress of this spiritual kingdom; for it was incumbent on those who lived during the shadowy dispensation to pray for David and his successors; but after all the grandeur of that kingdom was overthrown, it behooved them to entreat the more ardently that God, in fulfillment of his promise, would re-establish it.

In short, all that is here stated properly relates to the person of Christ; and that which was dimly adumbrated in David was brightly represented and fulfilled in Christ. The election of David was secret; and after he was anointed by Samuel to be king, he was rejected by Saul, and by all the heads of the people, and all abhorred him as if he had been a person deserving of a hundred deaths. Thus disfigured and dishonored, he did not appear to be a fit stone for occupying a place in the building. Similar to this was the beginning of the kingdom of Christ, who, being sent by his Father for the redemption of the Church, not only was despised by the world, but also hated and execrated, both by the common people and the dignitaries of the Church.