Today: [Psalm 97-98] Will Jesus Actually (Physically) Return to Earth? Psalm 97 and 98 both are apocalyptic in nature – speaking of the rule of God that will one day physically come to earth. There are teachers today fostering a general trend to de-emphasize the teaching of the coming of Christ and the rule of God physically on the earth. These chapters however speak eloquently in contradiction to that thinking.
[Psa 97:1-12 KJV] 1 The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad [thereof]. 2 Clouds and darkness [are] round about him: righteousness and judgment [are] the habitation of his throne. 3 A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. 4 His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. 5 The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. 6 The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory. 7 Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all [ye] gods. 8 Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O LORD. 9 For thou, LORD, [art] high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods. 10 Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. 11 Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. 12 Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
Psalm 97 is understood by almost all commentators to be a prophetic psalm authored by David. According to Finis Dake verse 1 contains the 75th prophecy of the book of psalm – speaking of the millennial age when all the earth will rejoice and repose under the direct rule of God. Verse 1 of Psalm 97 connects with verse 9 of Psalm 98 that indicates that this is something that has yet to happen and will take place after the Lord comes to judge the earth and the people’s of the earth.
According to Dake, there are 14 characteristics of the Millenial age – which scripture indicates will commence in the 7th 1000 year “day” from the creation of Adam (approximately 6000 years ago – hence this is an ominous prediction for our day).
All nations giving God glory and strength (Ps. 96:7-8).
All nations going up to the temple at Jerusalem to worship God (Ps. 96:8-9 Isa. 2:1-4 Zech. 14:16-21). All the earth fearing God (Ps. 96:9; Isa. 2:1-4; 52:7; 66:19-21 Zech. 8:23; 14:16-21 Mt. 24:31; 25:31-46).
Messengers among the nations declaring that God now reigns in Zion (Ps. 96:10; Isa. 2:2-4; 52:7; Zech. 8:23).
The world of men established and unmoved by wars, dangers, and fears of any kind (Ps. 96:10; Isa. 2:2-4; 11:3-9; 35:1-10 Zech. 14).
Men ruled in righteousness (Ps. 96:10,13; Isa. 2:2-4; 11:3-9 Zech. 14).
Heavens rejoicing because the will of God is being done on earth as it is in heaven (Ps. 96:11; 97:6; Isa. 2:2-4; 11:3-9 Mt. 6:10).
Earth gladdened because of the glorious blessings of Messiah’s reign (Ps. 96:11-12; 97:1; Isa. 2:2-4; 11:3-9; 35:1-10; 65:20-25).
Righteousness and truth filling the earth (Ps. 96:13; 97:2; Isa. 2:2-4; 11:3-9; 35:1-10).
Enemies destroyed (Ps. 97:3; Ezek. 38:17-21 Mal. 4:1-6 1Cor. 15:24-28 2Th. 1:7-10 Rev. 20:7-10).
Great physical changes in the surface of the earth (Ps. 97:4-5 Isa. 35; Zech. 14:4; Mt. 24:29-31 Rev. 16:17-21).
Universal worship of God (Ps. 97:7; Isa. 2:2-4; 35:8-10 Zech. 14:16-21 Mal. 1:11).
Israel restored, delivered from the Gentiles, and converted (Ps. 97:8; Isa. 11:10-12; 59:20; 66:7-8 Ezek. 37; Mt. 24:29-31 Rom. 1:25-29).
God exalted above all gods (Ps. 97:9; Isa. 2:2-4; 52:7; Mal. 1:11).
Verse 2 says concerning God that “clouds” surround Him. There are several verses that compare men to clouds (2 Peter 2:17; Jude 1:12; Matt. 24:30). Zech. 14:10 specifically speaks of God creating “bright clouds” in the time of the latter rain. This is not actual weather phenomena but rather the raising up of carriers of the glory of God who will be used mightily in the earth in our time:
[Zec 10:1 KJV] 1 Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; [so] the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.
Verse 6 declares that there will be a time that the earth will see the glory of the Lord and rejoice. Col. 1:26,27 tell us that this glory is IN us. This gives us a sense that God is coming IN us in glory before He comes FOR us in the parusia, rapture, manifestation of the son of God, etc.
[2Th 1:10 KJV] 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed ) in that day.
Verse 7 says that this will be a time when every false dependency and idol will be put down and that the “gods” (read Elohim) will worship the one true God. The term Elohim is applied to God in Genesis 1 but it has a broader application. It means “the creator El and his pantheon”. Elohim is the tribal name, the surname of God which applies to you and I as well (as quoted by Jesus in John 10:34). This is what the writer of Philipians is referring to in the following verse:
[Phl 2:6-7 KJV] 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Verse 8 declares that Zion will hear the worship of God in the earth and be glad. This is Zion as it applies as a metaphor of God’s people and natural Zion, a location in Israel where God’s physical rule will be established in the earth.
[Psa 98:1-9 KJV] 1 [[A Psalm.]] O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. 2 The LORD hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen. 3 He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 4 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. 5 Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. 6 With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King. 7 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. 8 Let the floods clap [their] hands: let the hills be joyful together 9 Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.
Psalm 98 is a psalm with 12 admonitions for us:
Sing unto the Lord a new song (Ps. 98:1).
Make a joyful noise unto God (Ps. 98:4).
Make a loud noise.
Rejoice and sing praise.
Sing unto the Lord with the harp (Ps. 98:5).
Sing unto the Lord with the voice of a psalm. Make a joyful noise with trumpets (Ps. 98:6).
Make a joyful noise with cornets.
Let the sea roar in all its fullness (Ps. 98:7).
Let the world roar and all that dwell therein.
Let the floods clap their hands (Ps. 98:8).
Let the hills be joyful together.
The reasons given for why we should do these things are as follows:
God has done marvelous things (Ps. 98:1).
He has won the victory.
He has made known His salvation (Ps. 98:2).
His righteousness has been revealed openly to the heathen (Gentiles).
He has remembered His mercy and His truth toward Israel (Ps. 98:3).
His salvation has been manifest to all people on earth.
He will come to judge the earth (Ps. 98:9).
He will judge in righteousness and equity.
When verse 2 says that God will openly show His righteousness in the sight of the heathen, He is speaking of Jesus Himself because 1 Co. 1:30,31 tell us that Jesus IS our righteousness, in His person. Our righteousness is not a moral quality but it is Jesus Himself in us, cleansing us and making us new in our relationship to God our savior.
Verse 3 tells us that in a time when all the ends of the earth see the salvation of God that He will remember His mercy and truth toward the house of Isreal. This speaks specifically of Israel as a nation in the Millenial age. These are themes that have fallen into neglect in the church but they give us great hope as we look at the instability of our times manifesting all around us.
Verse 9 is the 76th prophecy in the book of Psalms declaring that there will be a time that God comes to judge the earth and set up His rule and His reign physically, not just metaphorically among men. There is a strong contingency of teachers in the Renewalist movement that do not believe in the physical return of Jesus to the earth. They forget the words of the angels at the Mount of Ascension:
[Act 1:11 KJV] 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Verse 9 gives us reason to rejoice because ultimately God will come to judge and rule the earth, and the social systems of men for a period of time before bringing all of humanity to their disposition in eternity future. This is a core truth in the word of God that cannot be dispensed of and is in fact our great hope that one day we will see and we will be participators of this grand scheme of the heavens as God brings His will to bear on the earth for eternity.
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