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Posts tagged ‘Zion’

Church of God Head: Our Forefathers’ Anointing Resides on Us.

Church of God General Overseer Mark Williams
Church of God General Overseer Mark Williams

General Overseer Mark Williams delivered a “state of the church” report last week to the Church of God International Council, which was in session at the International Offices in Cleveland, Tenn. Williams’ address was the highlight of the opening session of the Council and set the tone for the agenda of the group of Church of God world leaders from all parts of the globe. The following is the address in its entirety:

I am going to read a few passages of scripture from Psalm 137; these are very familiar passages. This is what they say, and I think these scriptures are truly apropos to the day to which we have come.

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. Upon the willows in the midst of it, we hung our harps. For there our captors demanded of us songs, and our tormentors mirth, saying, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion.’ How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?”

You will remember that the psalms and the psalter are indeed the worship poems of the nation of Israel. Each of them, in their own unique way, tells something of the stories of the trials, the triumphs and the tragedies of God’s people. These are liturgical prayers that span the whole range of human emotion. These are hymns. Many of them are set to song, or set to music, that give voice to the attitudes and the feelings of people in a desperate search for an encounter with God.

There are psalms in this psalter that are psalms of celebration and victory. You’ll remember psalms like “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, and the worlds and they that dwell therein. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. Lift up your heads oh, ye gates, and lift them up ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in.”

There are psalms of decree, there are psalms of ascent, that were chanted among the pilgrims as they were making their way to Jerusalem for the celebration of the feast. There are even Messianic psalms that anticipate the coming of Messiah. All of it concludes with those Hallel songs. “Let everything that hath breath, praise the Lord, praise ye the Lord.”

But, praise in this feeling of ascent was as far removed as darkness is from dawn in Psalm 137. Psalm 137 was not a psalm of celebration; this was a psalm of exile. It is a psalm that doesn’t envision the beautiful city of Jerusalem, but rather a psalm in Babylon. In captivity with tormentors, demanding a song to be sung in a strange land from people who had been stripped of their culture, stripped of their identity, living in a place where there was no temple; a place where there were tormentors inflicting misery upon them.

Part of the misery was the memories of Zion; what they used to have. But most of the tormenting from their tormentors was the misery of the demand of a song that they felt they could no longer sing. And isn’t that the way it feels in the church world today? The world, the flesh, the devil, with the tide of current events, demanding of the church a song; a song in a strange land?

The year was 1886, the eastern hills of Tennessee, and the western hills of North Carolina, where a band of people were gathered together to seek the face of God for reformation and renewal. All led by a 72-year-old missionary Baptist, whose name was R.G. Spurling. He, along with his son and a layman, John Plemmons, had become so concerned about a church that had become encumbered with creeds and traditions, feeling that the protestant reformation was wonderful introducing the law of faith, but feeling like it did not go far enough to also introduce the law of love. They were desperately praying for a reformation from within and for a revival for withouts. All of that led to a gathering.

As many as are here, present, that are anxious to be freed from manmade creeds and traditions, and are willing to take the New Testament, the law of Christ, and are willing to give to each other the right to read and interpret the scriptures as your conscious may dictate; who are willing to sit together as the Church of God and transact business for the same come forward. That day, eight people and on the second invitation, which we preachers are famous for giving, one more, nine, they came to each other. They gave to each other the right hand of fellowship and out of that humble beginning; the Church of God was born. They called themselves the Christian Union, in an anxious discovery to recover the Church of scripture and to truly become, not just a denomination, per se, but a movement-a kingdom movement-under the power of the Holy Spirit.

Ten years later, into the picture came William Martin, Martin McNad and Joe Tipton who came preaching a doctrine called sanctification; or holiness. That resulted in the gathering at the Shearer schoolhouse in 1896. God poured out His spirit in that little schoolhouse.

One hundred people received the baptism in the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance. Imagine that five years before Topeka, Kansas; 10 years before the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles, echoing from hill to hill where the sounds of the shouts of praise in the Unicoi Mountains and speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance.

As with any revival, heresy and fanaticism and excess threaten to destroy the church, but in 1902 it was reorganized as the Holiness Church in Camp Creek. In 1907, in the second General Assembly, five churches, 150 people they took the name “Church of God.” Who could have imagined 127 years after our origin, 109 years after the Assembly where we took our name “Church of God,” that we would be sitting here, not with five churches and 150 members, but of over 7 million members, over 15 million people in constituency, grown from five churches to over 35,000 churches from a church there in the Unicoi Mountains, five of them, to now a church in 179 countries of the world? Who could have imagined this movement would now embrace 120 schools and educational institutions, orphanages, ministries to the poor and the hurting and the disenfranchised? How in the world could they have envisioned what God would do for His people and for His church?

Today, I am proud to tell you, that even though we are living in some strange land, the same DNA, the same passion, the same anointing that was in our foremothers and forefathers, resides in us. This is our mission; a mission that is not changed.

The mission of the Church of God is to proclaim the full gospel of Jesus Christ in the Spirit and power of Pentecost. That mission is supported by seven core values, which include: prayer, Pentecostal worship, world evangelization, church planting, interdependence, leadership development and care; all of that to fulfill the mission and the vision of our church.

What is our vision? The vision of our church is to become a movement committed to the authority of scripture for faith and practice. The mission of our church is to become a fellowship whose worship brings God’s power into the life of the church and extends that power into the life of believers into the marketplace.

The mission of our church is to become a body that is directed by the Holy Spirit, fully believing that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is both a personal blessing and an enduement of power for service in fulfilling the Great Commission. Our mission is to become a people who long for God, who hunger for God, who experience the presence of God, who stand in awe of His Holiness as He transforms us into the image of Jesus Christ. Our mission is to become a New Testament church that focuses on the local congregation, where the pastor nurtures and cares for believers and encourages them to exercise their spiritual gifts. Our church, our vision is to become a church that loves all people and stands actively opposed to any kind of policy that discriminates on the basis of race, color or nationality.

The vision of our church is to become a people that is moved by the hurts and the loneliness of the unsaved, and actively promotes evangelism and discipleship ministries to reach the unsaved and to bring them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The vision of our church is to become a church that is Christ-centered, people-oriented, need-sensitive; a church that actively promotes policies and programs to become relevant to every generation.

That vision, that mission, those core values, did not originate with me. I did not just make them up. That’s what you find, actually written right here in the book of Minutes, both the international version and the version that is also used here in the United States. They represent the dreams, the hopes, the desires of people from all over the world who have sat together and searched the scriptures as the Church of God.

Now, here we sit with this vision, with this mission, with these core values, with this history, and the question that comes before our Executive Committee, our Executive Council and you and I as brothers and sisters in the Lord is what decisions need to be made to now position the Church of God for its future? What policies must we embrace in order to capture the hopes and the dreams of a new generation? What will it take to reach out into the last frontiers of evangelism and church planting? What are the non-negotiables? What are we willing to die for? What about the poor? What about the disenfranchised? What about those that are trafficked in human slavery? Bottom line, can our kind of church, 127 years old, reach our kind of world?

The truth is, Peter Thomas, Jacob Nahuway, Ken Anderson, David Ramirez, Jacques Houle, you brothers, you sisters that are around us even at these tables; the fact is, the world that we live in now is radically different from the world where the church was first conceived. I’m talking about our particular movement. It’s a world that was totally different from the world that you and I grew up in.

When we look at the world today, we look at a world that has exploded into more than 7 billion people scattered into 4,300 metropolises and mega cities and towns and villages all over the world. The world to which we have come is a world that still battles with hunger. One out of seven people in this world go to bed hungry every night, and of that number, one of three are starving. Much of the world still does not have access to drinkable water that can help them to be healthy.

The world to which we have come is a world that continually faces the threats of global terrorism. Ours is a day when nuclear and biological weapons are a very real and present danger. The world to which we have come today is a world that is so connected financially, globally, that the downturn in the economy on one nation can literally affect the economy of another nation overnight.

The world to which we have come is digitalized, connected together in a web of communication. A world that because of that web of communication, which has given us ready access to available data simply with the touching of our iPad or iPhone; yet also has increased demands and expectations on leaders from the people that we now serve.

The world to which we have come is a world still filled with unreached people. One statistic I read–and there are probably many versions of this, but I bet they are close—there are 11,342 people groups in the world; 6,422 not including the people groups of the United States, that are unreached.

Approximately 571 people groups within the United States have been identified as unreached. And to add to that number, 3,133 people groups, not only are unreached, but are unengaged, where there is absolutely no one that is known to be a witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ours is a world where the mission field has now also moved west.

The west is a mission field. Ours is a world in which we live in that is filled with pluralism and the plurality of faith. There are over 1 billion Hindus in the world, more than 500 million Buddhists, and more than 450 million people that are engaged in some sort of folk religion. Add to that the rise of Islam in our world; and now–what we in the United States are coming to see as a category we have not looked at before–the religiously unaffiliated.

Ours is a world where people are on the move. Look at the movement of people, migrating, immigrating. Look at the immigration, the diaspora from the Caribbean, the diaspora from Latin America, the diaspora that is spreading throughout the world from Asia, from the Philippines and different parts of the world where people are on the move. Look at globalism and globalization that has now come.

The good news with globalization is that it has interconnected us in such a beautiful way, but it still has not found a way to deal with poverty and the global undernourished. Look at the growth of cities. Get this, 130 people every 60 seconds are moving from rural areas to cities in our world. Look now at the mega cities of our day. Tokyo, Japan; Delhi, India; Mexico City; Shanghai, China; Sao Paulo, Brazil; New York City; those are just a few of the 21 or 22 now defined as mega cities. Ours is a world where change is so rapid, that it is hard for us to keep up with the pace of change. Ours is a world where there is still a struggle with infant mortality.

Ours is a world that is affected by HIV and the AIDS epidemic and sexually transmitted disease. Ours is a world where we now have, what I have called the “pornification” of society; where the evil of pornography has spread throughout the world, and is bringing about the destruction of souls, the destruction of family, and is also, I believe, the chief cause behind sexual trafficking. Every 30 seconds in our world, someone is enslaved in human trafficking. 21 million people, it is estimated, in our world are enslaved in some way.

And yet, it is into this world and it is for this moment, that you and I have been called to stand and to say, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance unto the captives, to the recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. I refuse to believe, that the best days of the Church of God are behind us. I refuse to believe that God is finished with the Church of God and with our partnerships, such as, Gereja Bethel in Indonesia, or the Full Gospel Church of God in South Africa, or our partnerships in Romania and in other parts of the world. I believe God has raised us up for a time such as this, but God help us not to become so trapped in our institutionalism, that we cannot seize the moment for which He has placed us today.

The question is, where do we start? That’s why this Executive Committee has been so patient, kind and enthusiastic to join me in initiating five points of emphasis over these next years. The first is on scripture. I know it sounds simple, but I just feel so led of the Lord to call our church back to the centrality of scripture, to reading God’s Word to living God’s Word; and I’ll tell you why: because when I read God’s Word, I find God’s Word reading me and telling me what I should be doing and what I should not be doing.

This is a day when the spirit of antichrist is at work, and false teaching and false doctrine are spreading throughout this world, and the only thing that is going to help us to discern false teaching is the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. We need God’s Word. I’m so thankful that around the world, we had 127,000 that signed up on the R.E.A.D. initiative to daily read God’s Word. That shall continue, the Lord’s willing, next year; the reading of scripture.

The second point of emphasis, not only is scripture, but also students. I have a burden; we have a burden, to reach our sons and our daughters with the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is a world that the enemy has targeted our children, our young people, to try to rob us from a next generation. I have a 12-year-old and an 18-year-old, so part of this is very personal with me. I plead guilty to that. But I see through the eyes of my 12-year-old and my 18-year-old the kind of sinister forces culturally, academically, every otherwise that are out to rob the soul of our generation. We will, by God’s grace, embrace the challenge, that hearts of the fathers will be turned to the children, and children will be turned to the fathers; and our sons and our daughters will prophecy, and our old men will dream dreams, and our young men will see visions. We will not lose this next generation. But, it will require us to be intentional on taking advantage of the 4/14 window opportunities that we will be discussing in this meeting, and other opportunities. Students.

The third point of emphasis in this vision is not only scripture and students, but thirdly, shepherds. Pastors, who are pastoring today, be they in Jakarta, Indonesia, be they in Lusaka, Zambia, be they in London, England, be they in Sao Paulo, Brazil, be they in the United States or Canada; pastors that are working for the Lord in our day are facing challenges and problems like we have never known before. This Executive Committee feels a passion to be able to affirm, to be able to resource and for God to give us a climate where a new generation of shepherds can arise to lead God’s people.

The fourth point of this five-point vision, or commitment, shall I say, that I have made, is for cities. When I think about the cities that, by and large, some of them, untouched with the gospel, much less untouched with the message of the Church of God, breaks my heart. I am praying that God will give us a strategy for the cities of our world through church planting, through missional, compassionate efforts; whatever it takes. I have been so thrilled to see what the Lord has helped us to do in Cambodia, for example, in Phnom Penh, the testimony, that through compassion ministries, opportunities have now arisen in this largely Buddhist country with strong anti-conversion laws to now be allowed, with a little more freedom, to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Cities.

Finally, social action. I come to temporarily occupy the chair where I’m sitting, convicted that the Church of God must regain its prophetic voice to speak to the social ills of our day; and not just through rhetoric, but through action. How can we shout at camp meeting when we see our sons and daughters trapped in slavery? How can we feel good about ourselves when we see our sons and daughters victimized through drug addiction? How can we just ignore some of the totalitarian oppression that some of our church is called upon to live and to work? It’s a strange land, brothers and sisters. A strange land that we’re called upon to sing, but sing we must. We have no option of hanging our harps on the willow trees. Even in a strange land, the Lord has brought us for such a time as this.

I will conclude with a very special word that came to people who were living in a strange land. It actually came in the form of a letter. A letter that was written by a prophet named Jeremiah. Jeremiah wrote a letter to those who were living in the strange land of Babylon. You may have read it; it is in chapter 29.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, ‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce… Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile… For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

We’ve had 1,362,000 saved. This is all just since the General Assembly. We have had a 154,000 Spirit baptisms, internationally, 48,000+ in the United States; sanctified 433,000, internationally, 108,000 in USA and Canada. Do you see the water baptisms that we have had in the churches? But I am going to tell you, our work has just begun. May God help us in this meeting, in this moment, in this time, to take advantage of the brilliant gifting’s of the people that sit around this table to unite our hearts and to do whatever it takes to fulfill the mission, for which Jesus died.


{ Day 265 }.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion—Psalm 84:5-7

Zion is a prophetic picture of Jesus being made King over all the earth just as David was king over all Israel. It would be a shame to miss this beautiful portrait of what’s coming. The Father has promised His Son an inheritance, a bride who will be His eternal partner. She will love Him in this age and the age to come. She will find her fulfillment in Him just as David found fulfillment of his earthly purpose in Zion. I want to assure you that there’s a divine pattern in your life. In the pain and the maze of things, it seems as if there isn’t a plan and you are wandering aimlessly from cave to cave, pursued by armies much stronger than you, and surrounded by losers. Yet God has a strategic plan and is bringing you to a specific purpose. Each one of us will, God willing, stand before Him one day in Zion. When we submit to His divine leadership in every season of our lives, we will ascend out of the wilderness entirely dependent on Him. He alone will be the reward of our hearts through every season of life.


Father, I rest in the knowledge that You have a perfectly designed pattern of destiny for my life. Help me to understand that You are in each season of my life, are directing each step I take, and will never leave me or forsake me.

God has a prophetic pilgrimage for every one of us.


{ Day 198 }.

But only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. —Isaiah 35:9-10

God is the God of gladness, a happy God of infinite joy. In the billions of years that we will relate to Him, His anger will only be for a brief moment, and the other 99.9999999 percent of our experience and relationship with Him will be based on the gladness of His heart toward us. He is a God of happy holiness, without any contradiction between those words. His holiness flows from abundant joy that cannot be imagined. This does not deny His anger with rebellion. He is fierce to remove what hinders the love between you and Him. But in the life of a sincere believer, there is an important distinction between rebellion and immaturity. They are entirely different things. God hates rebellion, but He sees immaturity as something other than outright sin. He is smart enough to separate the individual from the sin. He can enjoy us and still disapprove of things we do or believe, like a parent who disciplines and enjoys a child from one moment to the next.


Father, I want to experience the happy, abundant joy that will permeate eternity. Reveal Your exuberant Father heart to me, Your child. Raise me up to share Your eternal joy.

The God of affection—this is the foundational
truth that you experience in your intimacy
with Jesus.


{ Day 190 }.

“Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. —Jeremiah 3:14-15

God intimately understands the human heart, which He formed. He knows perfectly how to motivate His people toward holiness. This very revelation is the highest and most effective motivator for calling people to abandon all else for Him. Great desire for human beings is the secret weapon in God’s arsenal. The power of this revelation when we grab on to it is simply unmatched by any other revelation in the universe. It is not built on shame or fear but on strong desire. He says in essence, “Turn to Me because I am married to you and because I desire you.” He is not negating all of the other types of biblical motivation, but He is making it clear what the superior motivation is. This will become the single most important impulse toward holiness in the final hour of natural history as the Lord raises up a bride with a heart after God’s.


Lord, You are my Bridegroom, my husband, my eternal Lord and master. Let Your holiness flood over my soul so that I am prepared to be a holy, consecrated bride to You forever.

The highest and best way of motivating the human
heart to righteousness is through fascination
and exhilaration in love.


Sid Roth: The Most Anti-Semitic Act I Know.

Sid Roth
Sid Roth (Facebook)

The most anti-Semitic act I know is to so love and honor your Jewish friends that you do not share the gospel with them. I am a Jew and Israeli citizen and, like Paul, would give up my very life for my brethren after the flesh.

In recent years I am grateful for the Christians Bless Israel nights. God knows Israel needs friends and support. But to bless the Jew and Israel and intentionally withhold the gospel on these nights isnot Christian.

I am in favor of infomercials that raise money to help persecuted Jews return to Israel. But to take Christian money and not help Jews who believe in Jesus is wrong!

I am concerned about Christians who are more concerned about Jewish roots than Jewish souls.

I am concerned about traditional Jewish rabbis who are exalted on Christian television yet hate Jews who believe in Jesus.

This is the set time to favor Zion. The spiritual scales are being removed from the eyes of Jewish people. But Paul says in Romans 10:

“My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. … How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (vv. 1, 14).

And we read in Ezekiel 3:

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. … When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning … to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand” (vv. 17, 18).

It’s time for the emperor to put on his clothes. Someone has to tell him he is naked.



Sid Roth is host of the It’s Supernatural! TV show. His ministry has distributed over 2.4 million copies of his Jewish evangelistic book, They Thought for Themselves, to unsaved Jews around the world. For more information, visit



Why read the Psalms? Because they are designed to heal. In particular, they are designed to heal by pointing ourselves to Jesus. I know that when I read the Psalms I will not come across the name “Jesus” anywhere, but if the New Testament writers are to be believed, the soul language of the Psalms finds its fulfillment in Jesus, and in so doing it heals me by his wounds. Consider Psalm 2,Psalm 110, and Psalm 118 with me:

Psalm 2 says,

Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

When I read this psalm, I gain boldness. Consider Acts 4:23-31. The disciples had just been commanded not to preach any more in the name of Jesus. They refuse to obey this command because they must obey God’s commands when they conflict with human commands (Acts 4:19). They continue to speak the word of God with boldness. What is it that gives this confidence? The answer is found in the prayer of Acts 4:23-31, a prayer which focuses upon a correct understanding of Psalm 2.

23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them.24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

“‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
    and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

As they pray, they reflect upon Psalm 2. They notice that Psalm 2 predicts opposition to “the Lord and against his Anointed,” that is, against Jesus Christ. They realize that the opposition they are experiencing is because of their insistence on preaching Jesus. Therefore this opposition is predicted all the way back in Psalm 2. Once they realize this, they understand how the story will end. The psalm continues:

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

 The opposition, therefore, that they are experiencing to their preaching of the word of God is an opposition which has been predicted and whose result has also been foretold. Christ will triumph. His kingdom will be established. No wonder they are filled with the Spirit and speak the word with boldness. They are playing a part in a narrative whose conclusion is the victory of Jesus through the proclamation of his word.

The second psalm I have in mind is Psalm 110. It reads:

The Lordsays to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”

The Lordsends forth from Zion
    your mighty scepter.
Rule in the midst of your enemies!
Your people will offer themselves freely
on the day of your power,
in holy garments;
from the womb of the morning,
the dew of your youth will be yours.
The Lordhas sworn
and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever
after the order of Melchizedek.”

The Lord is at your right hand;
    he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
He will execute judgment among the nations,
filling them with corpses;
he will shatter chiefs
over the wide earth.
He will drink from the brook by the way;
therefore he will lift up his head.

This psalm also finds its fulfillment in Jesus. Jesus himself exegetes this psalm. He is teaching in the temple courts and explaining how the traditional message that the Christ was the son of David has to be understood by means of the psalm as a divine Son.

35 And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David?36 David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet.”’

37 David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?”And the great throng heard him gladly. (Mark 12:35-37)

The point Jesus is making is that their idea of “son of David” did not fit the evidence of this psalm. This son was also David’s Lord. What kind of “Son” must this then be?

The early disciples make the same point when Peter preaches his Pentecost sermon:

34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
35     until I make your enemies your footstool.”’

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”(Acts 2:34-36)

This Jesus is the Lord.  The Psalms not only give us confidence when we face opposition, they also are designed to give us clarity about the divine nature of Jesus.

My third example is Psalm 118.  Psalm 118 is a much longer psalm but the relevant excerpt is as follows.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
    that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lordhas made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
(Psalm 118:19-24)

While the first two psalms are more positive, this psalm has a distinctly negative function. It is intended to convict those who oppose Jesus of their danger. This is how Jesus preached the psalm in Mark 12. He told a parable where tenants of a vineyard reject all of the master’s messengers, until they finally reject and kill the son of the master. He concludes his story with this warning:

What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others.10 Have you not read this Scripture:

“‘The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
11 this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

12 And they were seeking to arrest him but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they left him and went away. (Mark 12:9-12)

Jesus’ point is that if people reject him, they are fulfilling God’s plan that this Christ would be rejected and yet still become the keystone of God’s salvation plan, and that is a matter for rejoicing and wonder.

Once more the early disciples pick up on Jesus’ exegesis of the psalm to preach the psalm in the same way. Dragged before the religious rulers to explain their miraculous healing of a crippled man, Peter declares:

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders,if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:8-12)

Pete is saying that their rejection of Jesus fulfills God’s plan that by Jesus’ death salvation would come to the whole world. There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.

In each of these three cases – Psalm 2, Psalm 110, Psalm 118 – the New Testament clearly indicates that the message of the psalm is fulfilled in Jesus the Christ. By so using the “soul” language of the Psalms to point to Jesus, they employ what someone called “Psalmnotherapy” by leading us to Christ in the midst of three different and specific situations.

1)      First, Psalm 2 gives us great boldness in the face of opposition to continue to stand up for Jesus. It heals us, by the work of the Spirit, of our temerity, fear, and cowardice. We become bold when by the work of the Spirit we realize that the One in heaven laughs – and that God’s Son will be proclaimed as the King of the whole universe.

2)      Second, Psalm 110 is intended to help us be clear about the divine nature of Jesus. If Jesus stands in the line of David, the promises in the Old Testament regarding this Messiah figure create such large categories – “the Lord said to my Lord” – that there is no space big enough for them other than infinity.  Psalm 110 provides healing for our man-centered, humanistic, small-minded appreciation of Jesus. He moves from being the man in sandals with a beard to the Son of God, the Lord, the majestic One, before whom we kneel, and at whose name we worship.

3)      Third, Psalm 118 is a warning psalm. I read it and am convicted of my need to accept Jesus as God’s salvation. There is no other name. Reject him and reject God; believe in him and you are saved. It heals through him, through Jesus. There is no other person who can provide the saving, healing, that I need: only Christ Jesus.

By Josh Moody

Josh Moody is senior pastor at College Church in Wheaton, Illinois. He has a Ph.D. from Cambridge University and is an Associate Fellow of the Jonathan Edwards College at Yale University. He has authored several books, including No Other Gospel (Crossway, 2011) and Journey to Joy (Crossway, 2013).  Follow him on his blog and on Twitter @GodCenteredLife.

God’s Delivery Service.

Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God. —Isaiah 66:9

The process of fetal development is fascinating. As the weeks turn to months the mother’s stomach muscles expand to adjust to the growth pattern of the infant. When the final stage arrives, the baby shifts, moving its head downward into the birth position. The beginning of delivery is heralded by labor pains and allows time to prepare for proper birth.

Through the prophet Isaiah, God declared the mother of Zion gave birth without labor pains. What is God trying to say through this analogy?

God is the author of life and the giver to birth. What God impregnates (or begins) He will not abort. This passage is alluding to revival. God birthed it at Pentecost. What He has started He will surely finish. Nothing can stop this great move in the final hours of these last days. Get ready to be delivered into the pearly gates!

Jesus, keep me from aborting Your new creation
in my life. Birth in me Your newness
and create in me a new mind
and heart this day. Amen.


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