The Book of Psalms – a Bible Study
By Neville V. Stevens
The Book of Psalms was written by a man greatly loved of God. David was both a king and a prophet, and this is reflected in all that he wrote. So great was this man that God has promised that he will be resurrected to rule once more over all the Tribes of Israel. Jesus Christ saw him as one of the fathers, and was unashamed to refer to Himself as the Son of David. David had the very heart and mind of Jesus Christ. In fact, Luke states this in the Book of Acts:Acts 13:22 "After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: `I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do." There are not too many people today that can claim they have done everything that God wants them to do. David, however, was such a man.
The enduring theme with everything concerning David is the establishment of the House of David. The House of David was established forever, and will have great prominence in the days ahead as Bible prophecy unfolds. Although Christianity generally doesn’t see it this way, it will be the overriding factor leading up to the Kingdom of God.
Most of the Psalms were written by David, though a few were written by Levites. The authorship of one Psalm in particular is shared by both the Levite Prophet Samuel and David.2Sam 22 is virtually a verbatim account of Psalm 18, so we’d have to conclude dual authorship of the 18th Psalm. There are many references in the Psalms to the writings of former and latter prophets. Many of the words of Moses are found in the Psalms, and so are the words of the Levite Prophet Habakkuk – especially when he describes the crushing end, in the last days, of the Babylonians who were then attacking Judah.
The importance of David and the Book of Psalms is found in the closing words of Jesus in the Book of Revelation, when He confirms that He is the Root and Offspring of David (Rev 22:16). This is yet another clue that if you want to know more about Jesus and what He plans to do, then you need to understand what his famous forefather had to say. Because this one has the Key of David and he reveals it in his writings. It should be obvious to all that David holds the Key to his own house, the House of David.
Jesus Christ, in speaking to the Churches for the final days, which is evidenced throughout the Book of Revelation, says that He holds the Key of David.Rev 3:7-8, 13 "To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name." V13 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches (plural)." The message written for the angel was for all the Churches [of God]. The Churches are the congregations, not the building, not the organization, and certainly not the self-styled leadership that dominates doctrinal teachings. These disciples of Jesus are a scattered people, who are obedient to God and uphold His Word and His Name, and they have little strength in either number or through organization. Many of the self-styled church leaders today seem to think they’re the angel of God to whom the message was written. The angels given charge over these scattered Churches will become evident in these last days. Indications are that God will choose just a tithe of the congregations of the Churches; that is, just ten percent. The distinction will be between those who are prepared to follow the True Shepherd and lay down their lives for Him – just as He did for them! Only those who truly obey the Commandments of God and have the Testimony of Jesus will be prepared to do this. These are specifically named as the offspring of the House of David in Rev 12:17. The ‘woman’ mentioned in this verse is the ‘woman’ that gave birth to Jesus (Rev 12:12); that is, the House of David. The Scriptures confirm many times that Jesus Christ is the Son of David. By no amount of creative reasoning could the churches possibly imagine that they gave birth to Jesus Christ! But still they insist they are the ‘woman’. Perhaps about a tithe of them will one day be able to claim to be the offspring of the woman. But before this, they will have to learn a whole lot more about the Testimony of Jesus – which is defined as the Spirit of Prophecy (Rev 19:10). To this very day, their prophecy has nothing to do with Bible Prophecy, and the sooner they acknowledge this the better.
Jesus Christ confirmed that He has placed an open door before them, but whether they enter or not, is up to them. The day will come when Jesus Christ will firmly shut that door and no-one will be able to open it. It will be just like it was in the days of Noah, when the LORD God shut the door of the Ark Himself (Gen 7:16), blocking the admission of anyone else, other than Noah and his family. It’s no coincidence that Jesus Christ compared the horrors of the last days to the days of Noah. When everyone is swanning around, feasting and partying and enjoying themselves, the flood is going to sweep them away: Matt 24:37-39 "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man." We won’t go into it now, but take particular note of the reference to the coming of the Son of Man. Remember what the angel said when Jesus departed from the earth? Acts 1:11 "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." The same Son of Man whom they knew and loved will return in the same way as the Apostles saw Him go. This is not speaking about the triumphal return with all the saints – this will come much later. Jesus Christ is going to return to fight against His enemies, and the Scriptures make this very clear. But this will be discussed later.
Everyone has just one shot at becoming servants of God in the House of David. And if not, the only option is to do it the hard way and they will be totally alone for a period of some years in the worst holocaust this world has ever seen.
The intent was to indicate that David holds the Key to understanding all about the House of David. Much of what David wrote is directed to the Churches, or more specifically, to Christians in the last days. It should come as no surprise that Christianity likes to quote from the Book of Psalms to offer comfort and hope to their parishioners. In fact, some Psalms, likePsalm 23, is widely quoted and even memorized. Yet I’ve never known of anyone who understood the true message of it.
Leaving this aside, the Key of David is obviously of great importance, since Jesus referenced it in regard to the Churches. The underlying message is that you must have this Key in order to enter the door to the House of David.
Then He makes another reference; this time to the gate for the sheep. To enter Jerusalem, the City where David dwelt, you must enter by the Gate. The Gates of Jerusalem are well-known and each is named, for example – the King’s Gate and the Sheep Gate to name just two. It was in reference to the Gates of Jerusalem that Jesus made this statement:John 10:7-11 "Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture (this is obviously speaking of a specific place where they will live). 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."
The key to entering the door to the House of David, is to enter the City of Jerusalem by the Gate, which is Jesus. Jesus made the point that all who ever presented themselves to Him were thieves and robbers. He is talking about shepherds who robbed the flock, but had no intention of ever laying down their lives for the sheep. In fact, these shepherds would run for their lives at the first sign of trouble. So the true sheep are the ones who never listened to these greedy, self-appointed shepherds. This is why Jesus confirmed that He alone is the Good Shepherd. To this end, He is advising the true sheep or flock that they must listen to Him. In so doing, He is directing them to His forebear David – who holds the Key to it all.
And just to add another point about thieves and robbers, God even makes the point that they also like to rob Him inMal 3:7-9. These churches imagined they had the right to collect tithes for their exclusive use, while doing almost nothing that God required of them – like actually believing the Scriptures. Church-goers might be surprised to know that no church has the right to collect God’s tithe – but only the Levites! And not just any Levite, but specifically one man, whom God has named Levi from birth.
To their credit, though belatedly, Christianity has begun to see the significance of the City of Jerusalem. They recognize the distinct possibility of it being overrun by a pagan religion, in fact, a religion that worships Satan (Allah). This religion possesses all the characteristics of Satan as a liar and murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). Personally, I can’t recall any time in the recent past when Christianity saw the Holy City as anything but an historical site. Formerly they seemed only interested in the promised New Jerusalem that will arrive from heaven. Consequently, they had no concern about the welfare of the present custodians of Jerusalem, which of course, is Judah – the Tribe of David.
Now, everything hinges on the welfare of Judah. On the other hand, the welfare of Christianity, hinges on them understanding the Key of David, and without it, they have nothing in common with Jesus, who holds this Key. It’s David’s own Tribe of Judah that will possess this Key along with God’s own Tribe, the Tribe of Levi. Collectively, these two Tribes are the House of David. And of course, it was the Levite Prophet Samuel that established the House of David.
So what is the Key of David? The Key of David is the fount of knowledge that is vital to these last days. Everything David did, with all the battles he fought, to establishing Jerusalem as the City of God, even to providing the key to what happened to the earth are signs and symbols for us. Without this Key you would understand nothing about what is going to happen. Even the Star of David, the symbol on the Israeli flag, contains a real message about all these things, which will be expanded on during this study. God spoke about signs and symbols among His disciples:Isa 8:16-18 "Bind up the testimony and seal up the law among my disciples. 17 I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob. I will put my trust in him. 18 Here am I, and the children the LORD has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the LORD Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion."
To all those Jew-hating, anti-semites out there, let me tell you that you sure backed the wrong horse! And let me also confirm to you that your actions will cost you your life – forever! You will never enter the Gate!
Christianity knows the value of claiming to be ‘spiritual’ Jews, mainly because of what Paul wrote. He said there was much to be gained in every way for being a Jew. Importantly, it was to the Jews that God entrusted the Scriptures (Rom 3:1-3). Thankfully, this was the way it was, otherwise Christianity would have rejected all the Scripture that Jesus and the Apostles used – the only Scripture that existed in their time. Even today, Christianity only cherry-picks the parts of the Old Testament that suits their doctrine! The overall message of it, they reject! How then, could they ever have the knowledge of the Key of David?
Bible students should be aware that the Son of David, Jesus Christ, always spoke in parables when speaking to the people. Jesus forefather David also did the same. And just to dispel a widely held myth, Jesus Christ spoke in parables to the people so they wouldn’t understand! He didn’t speak in parables to make the message clearer as some like to believe.Matt 13:10-15 "The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" 11 He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: "`You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15 For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'" The knowledge of the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven has not been given to the masses, nor even to the churches! In explaining these things, Jesus was referencing a prophecy of Isaiah. God always spoke through the prophets, and did so many times and in various ways (Heb 1:1), and in regard to the secrets that God wanted withheld from all others – other than the Apostles and Prophets – God spoke in parables: Hos 12:10 "I spoke to the prophets, gave them many visions and told parables through them." Christianity has a way of always missing the obvious, and there are very distinct reasons for this, which Jesus touched upon, but we won’t go into it now. Importantly though, David spoke in parables just like his famous descendant Jesus: Psa 78:2 "I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old-- 3 what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us." Anyone who rejects what the fathers have told us will never understand anything, and certainly not the knowledge of the secrets of God’s Kingdom.
The Psalms are a diverse mix of information. At times it’s an historic account of events that happened in David life, and these are given as examples. In other places, some of David’s writing appears to be poetic and were even set to music. Yet in the midst of all this, certain parts of what he said are later quoted as prophecy by both Jesus and the Apostles. We have many examples in David’s writings which Jesus Christ fulfilled as Bible Prophecy. The New Testament is literally full of quotes from the Psalms.
For example, it was through David’s writing in the Psalms that the Apostles learned that a replacement for Judas Iscariot had to be found. The number of Apostles to the House of Israel had to be 12.Acts 1:15-21 "In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus-- 17 he was one of our number and shared in this ministry." Judas died shortly after Jesus while he was surveying his new land, which he bought with the proceeds of his treachery: V18 "(With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) It’s important to note that no-one dwelt there after Judas’ death. It became a cemetery for the poor and dispossessed. V20 "For," said Peter, "it is written in the book of Psalms, "`May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,' and, "`May another take his place of leadership.'" It was obvious to Peter that with the demise of Judas another had to take his place, because this is what David had prophesied through the Holy Spirit. And so a choice had to be made – but not by the remaining Apostles! The choice had to be made by God. And so they set about finding likely candidates that met certain conditions. It was necessary for this candidate to have been with them from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was resurrected. V21 "Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection." Two candidates were found who met these conditions, and lots were cast. As we all know, the lot fell to Matthias.
This demonstrates the thoroughness of the Apostles in making decisions. Always it was done according to what is written in the Scripture. You’ll note that the only Scripture that existed at the time was the Old Testament, and it was from this written Word that the Apostles sought guidance in all matters. You’ll also notice that, generally speaking, Christianity doesn’t follow the example of the Apostles.
Unless we know what David was referring to, we wouldn’t understand the meaning of the Psalms or the prophecies they contain. The New Testament is literally full of quotations from the Psalms, which demonstrates their importance to our understanding. And of course, the writer of the Psalms is the key figure in the House of David, and David holds the key to the House of David as does his famous descendant, Jesus Christ!
This is obviously the theme of this study of the Book of Psalms.
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