Monday, 15 April 2019

All birthed from One - the Gospel in Psalm 87

Some nations and peoples are condemned to spend an eternity in hell ... or are they?

Worldly springs yield no pure delight; all there are mixed and turbulent: all here are refreshing, satisfying, delightful.

Springs? Wells? Fountains?

Does it say so?

Reading Psalms 87 I found an interesting explanation in Clark's that really touched me ... but let's read the Psalm first ...

His foundation is In the set-apart mountains.

יהוה loves the gates of Tsiyon More than all the dwellings of Yaʽaqoḇ.

Esteemed matters are spoken of you, O city of Elohim: Selah.

“I mention Rahaḇ and Baḇel to those who know Me; See, O Philistia and Tsor, with Kush, ‘This and that one was born there.’ ”

And of Tsiyon it is said, “Each one was born in her; For the Most High Himself does establish her.”

יהוה does write, In the register of the peoples, “This one was born there.” Selah. 
And the singers and the players on instruments – All my fountains, are in you. Psa 87:1-7

What's in a place?

When you read the pronouncements made about many specific nations and peoples in the Bible, it is clear. Based on the evil they do and house within themselves, they are utterly doomed. The ones specifically mentioned in the Bible with their meanings are:

Egypt (Rahab): The arrogant one filled with pride. Also called mitsrayim meaning besieged, to bind, to shut up (same root word as Tyre).

Babel (or Babylon): Confusion by mixture. Mixing the Good with the bad.

Philistia: The rollers or self-pitying-ones. Those filled with shame.

Tsor (Tyre): As hard as rock, but also bound, confined, besieged, cramped (from the root word)

Kush (Ethiopia): Those seen by themselves and others as unworthy.

What's the question?

Do we even know what this Psalm and the one before (Psalm 86) and the one following (Psalm 88) is talking about?

Do we see the finished work of Jesus when we read? (Remember Emmaus?)

Is it applicable today?

What's the answer?

The answer to this seemingly difficult Psalm 87 is in the last verse: And the singers and the players on instruments – All my fountains, are in you.

Have you read the Psalm?

Enters James Clark for some clarity. (I'm quoting all of his commentary of the last verse - enjoy the Grace message of the Gospel! I'll expound in square brackets where necessary .. )

Perhaps, this may mean no more than, The burden of the songs of all the singers and choristers shall be, "All my fountains (ancestors and posterity) are in thee" and consequently, entitled to all thy privileges and immunities. Instead of sharim, "singers," many MSS. and early printed editions have, sarim, "princes." Some formayenai, "my fountains," would read with several of the Versions, money, "habitations;" but no MS. yet discovered supports this reading.

It would be a very natural cause of exultation, when considering the great privileges of this royal city [Note: Tsiyon or Jerusalem, the city of peace, a metaphor for the temple of God not made by the hands of man that He inhabits], to know that all his friends, family, and children, were citizens of this city, were entered in God's register, and were entitled to his protection and favour. Applied to the Christian Church [Note: remember our post on ekklēsia], the privileges are still higher: born of God, enrolled among the living in Jerusalem, having their hearts purified by faith, and being washed and made clean through the blood of the covenant, and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, such have a right to the inheritance among the saints in light. I need not add that springs, wells, fountains, and cisterns, and waters are used metaphorically in the sacred writings for children, posterity, fruitful women, people, c. see among others Ps 5:15; Ps 5:16; Ps 68:26; Isa 48:1; and Re 17:15 (refs5). The old Psalter understands the whole as relating to Gospel times; and interprets it accordingly.

Bishop Horne [Note: Dunno this guy ...] takes it in the same sense. The whole Psalm is obscure and difficult. I will venture a literal version of the whole, with a few explanatory interpolations, instead of notes, in order to cast a little more light upon it.

1. A Psalm to be sung by the posterity of Korah. A prophetic song.

2. "Jehovah loves his foundation, the city built by him on holy mountains. He loves the gates of Zion more than all the habitations of Jacob."

3. "Honourable things are declared of thee, O city of God. Selah."

4. "I will number Egypt and Babylon among my worshippers; behold Philistia and Tyre! They shall be born in the same place." They shall be considered as born in the city of God.

5. "But of Zion it shall be said, This one, and that one," persons of different nations, "was born in it, and the Most High shall establish it."

6. "Jehovah shall reckon in the registers of the people, This one was born there."

7. "The people shall sing, as in leading up a choir, All my fountains," the springs of my happiness, "are in thee."

I have nearly followed here the version of Mr. N. M. Berlin [Note: ... and dunno this guy either ...], who wonders that there should be any doubt concerning this translation of the last verse, when Symmachus and Aquila [Note: ... come to think of it ... I dunno these guys either ...], who must have well known the sense of the Masoretic text, have translated: και αδοντηςωςχοροιπασαιπηγαιενσοι "And they shall sing, as in leading up a dance, All my fountains are in thee." The translation cannot be far from the meaning.

Clark concludes further


This Psalm contains marks of the beauty and perfection of the Church [Note: by now we know what God means when He talks about "church" ...].

1. Its foundation. The author is GOD, it is his foundation; not laid in the sand, but upon the mountains, not common, but holy mountains, Ps 87:1.

2. The Lord loveth his Church - this assembly [Note: You know what "church" is, right!], beyond all others: "The Lord loveth," c., Ps 87:2.

3. All the prophets have spoken glorious things concerning it, and have considered it as the "city of God," Ps 87:3.

4. One of the glorious things spoken of it was the conversion of the Gentiles to it. So here Egyptians, Babylonians, Tyrians, Ethiopians, c., are to be gathered into it by regeneration. They shall all be brought to know the true God and shall be classed in the multitude of those who know him, i.e., who offer him a pure and holy worship, Ps 87:4. [Note: Uwaah!]

5. By having the word of God in this true Church [Note: "church" - YOU], they shall be converted to God so that it may be said, "This and that man were born to God in it," Ps 87:5.

6. All other cities shall decay and perish; but the Church of God [Note: "church" - YOU], the city of the Great King, shall be established for ever, the gates of hell shall never prevail against it, Ps 87:5.

7. The converted Gentiles shall have equal privileges with the converted Jews; and in the Christian Church [Note: "church" - YOU] they shall all been rolled without difference or precedence, Ps 87:6.

8. They shall enjoy a perpetual solemnity. They shall ever have cause to sing and rejoice, Ps 87:7.

9. The highest privilege is that in God's Church he opens the fountains of living water; in his ordinances [Note: Remember that Jesus is the complete fulfillment of Gods ordinances. He is our blessing!] God dispenses every blessing; every sincere and upright soul rejoices in opportunities to wait on God in his ordinances [Note: This is Jesus]. Such a one can sing, "All my springs are in thee." All other fountains are muddy; this alone is as clear as crystal. Worldly springs yield no pure delight; all there are mixed and turbulent: all here are refreshing, satisfying, delightful.


Can I give the short answer?

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