Today: [Psalm 87-88] The Foundation of God and is Hell a Reality? In Psalm 87 we see the foundation of God celebrated by the writer. Modern theology suggests that the foundation of God is doctrinal in nature. Yet the scriptures plainly teach that the church is not build on doctrine but upon the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone. The idea of apostles and prophets are almost wholly rejected by even the Evangelical church today. As such in this regard we find that Christian culture as a whole is almost totally divorced from this fundamental biblical truth of the foundation of God. In Psalm 88 we see messianic references to Jesus going down into hell and suffering there for our sin as well as suffering on the cross. The doctrine of hell is either rejected or largely ignored in modern Christianity yet it is a plain teaching throughout the bible. In Psalm 88 we see the price Jesus paid not only on the cross but after His death when he went down into hell for our sins.
[Psa 87:1-7 KJV] 1 [[A Psalm [or] Song for the sons of Korah.]] His foundation [is] in the holy mountains. 2 The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. 3 Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah. 4 I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this [man] was born there. 5 And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her. 6 The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, [that] this [man] was born there. Selah. 7 As well the singers as the players on instruments [shall be there]: all my springs [are] in thee.
Psalm 87 speaks of the foundations of God. Foundations and mountains are spoken of throughout the scriptures as metaphors connected with the government and kingdom of God. Isaiah prophesied that the age of man would culminate with all the nations of the earth flowing into the mountain of the Lord:
[Isa 2:2 KJV] 2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, [that] the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
The mountain of the Lord and the kingdom of God are synonymous in scripture. In Daniel 2:44 and 45 Daniel interpreted the king’s dream of the image that was the kingdoms of the earth being destroyed by the rock that was cut out of the mountain of the Lord. 1 Cor. 10:4 tells us that this rock is the Lord Jesus Christ. To this the writings of Paul agree who wrote in the book of Ephesians:
[Eph 2:20 KJV] 20 And [we as a church] are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];
It is interesting that Paul did not say we are built on the foundation of Jesus Christ – but rather that we are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone. In first Corinthians Paul also wrote:
[1Co 12:28 KJV] 28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
These references are not obscure references. This is a theme that runs throughout both the Old and New Testaments. It is therefore astonishing that the church, particularly the evangelical church rejects the idea of modern apostles and prophets. One person who wrote into the ministry said that in her area of Europe it was spiritual suicide to call yourself a prophet or to be connected with the prophetic. What are people thinking? It is unthinkable that those who consider themselves Christians would so remarkably distance themselves from what the bible actually teaches about apostles and prophets.
Conversely it is important to note that apostles and prophets are in the foundation and not lording over the church. Apostles and prophets, nor another other leadership ministry can biblically see themselves as the head of the church or the “covering” of the church. There is not one New Testament ministry that ever claimed to be a lord or dictator over any local church. Jesus Christ is the head. The ministry of every apostle, prophet and pastor is to point people to Christ and not to ourselves.
[Psa 88:1-18 KJV] 1 [[A Song [or] Psalm for the sons of Korah, to the chief Musician upon Mahalath Leannoth, Maschil of Heman the Ezrahite.]] O LORD God of my salvation, I have cried day [and] night before thee: 2 Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry; 3 For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave. 4 I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man [that hath] no strength: 5 Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand. 6 Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. 7 Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted [me] with all thy waves. Selah. 8 Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: [I am] shut up, and I cannot come forth. 9 Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.
Psalm 88 is a messianic psalm that shows the suffering of Jesus upon the cross and after his death when he descended into the grave. It shows us that when we feel all hope is lost we can still call upon God and He will hear us. There will be times that you will despair of life and feel that there is no hope left in your situation. The writer in verse 3 speaks of having a heart full of nothing but trouble to the point that death seemed the only alternative.
Imagine Jesus after the death of the cross. It was necessary for him to then go down into hell. In verse 4 the writer speaks of going down into the pit without strength being cut off from the land of the living. Whatever you may be going through know that Jesus has gone on before you to pay the price. Though you make your bed in hell He is with you. In verse 6 we see the messianic figure being laid in the deepest pit in total darkness as deep and as far away from salvation as was possible. This was a necessary part of the salvation that Jesus wrought for us in order to save and redeem those of us who have descended into the depths of sin beyond which we can imagine nothing but just punishment for ourselves. Jesus paid the price. Jesus went on before us in order to make it possible for us to be forgiven and rescued.
Verse 7 speaks of the wrath of God lying hard upon Jesus when he hung on the cross and paid even after death the fullest price for sin. We tend to think that the cost of sin was paid while Jesus hung on the tree – but this chapter plainly implies that even after death the suffering was not over. The cost of sin was more fully exacted upon Jesus even after his heart quit beating. It was only after he went down into hell that the gates of hell could not hold him. Therefore there was a time that he was in hell before something takes place to empower Him to overcome death, hell and the grave for our sakes.
10 Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise [and] praise thee? Selah. 11 Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? [or] thy faithfulness in destruction? 12 Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? 13 But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee. 14 LORD, why castest thou off my soul? [why] hidest thou thy face from me? 15 I [am] afflicted and ready to die from [my] youth up: [while] I suffer thy terrors I am distracted. 16 Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off. 17 They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together. 18 Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, [and] mine acquaintance into darkness.
We don’t like to think about hell. Even among the most conservative churches very, very little is ever taught about hell. Yet it is where the majority of men, women and children born upon the earth will spend eternity without Christ. This is the one great apostacy that is raging in the church – to reject or ignore the reality of an eternal hell. The fact of hell is what necessitated the fact of Jesus death, burial and resurrection. This is the plain testimony of this messianic psalm.
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