Having just concluded the Book of Ephesians, it is time to focus our attention on the Advent Season. Advent, from the Latin adventus meaning “coming or arrival.” It is the Latin translation of the Greek parousia.
In the New Testament, this is the term used for the coming of the Christ or Messiah. The annual season of Advent in the Christian calendar anticipates the “coming of Christ” from three different perspectives.
The first is the physical incarnation or birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem of Judea (Micha 5:2; Luke 1:25-38; 2:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25). It is the celebration also known as Christmas.
The second perspective is the reception of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord in the heart of the believer (John 1:12-13). God accomplishes this by grace alone through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone (Romans 3:21-26; Ephesians 2:1-0).
The third perspective is the soon eschatological or Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It is when the Savior returns to earth in power, might and glory (Matthew 24-25; Revelation 19-22) to establish His eternal kingdom.
Of the many Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah, the collection known as The Psalms contains several significant passages related to the coming Savior and Lord. It is to these particular passages, seventeen in all, that we will give our attention to in the several weeks. All but one of the seventeen references to which i refer is either recited, or referred to, in the New Testament.
The entire collection of Psalms is entitled “Praises” in the Hebrew text. Jewish Rabbis often designated it “The Book of Praises.” The Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the OT, labeled it “Psalms” (cf. “The Book of Psalms” in the NT: Luke 20:42; Acts 1:20). The Greek verb from which the noun “psalms” comes basically denotes the “plucking or twanging of strings,” so that an association with musical accompaniment is implied. The English title derives from the Greek term and its background. The Psalms was/is Israel’s ancient, God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16) “hymnbook,” which defined the proper spirit and content of worship of the One, True God: Yahweh.
It is helpful to recognize certain recurring genres or literary types in the Psalter. Some of the most obvious are: 1) the wisdom type with instructions for right living; 2) lamentation patterns that deal with the pangs of life (usually arising from enemies without); 3) penitential psalms (mostly dealing with the “enemy” within, i.e., sin); 4) thanksgiving psalms; and (5) kingship (universal or mediatorial; theocratic and/or messianic rule). It is to these Messianic Psalms that we are going to give our focus.
It is my prayer that our study of The Savior in the Psalms will deeply enrich your 2021 Advent Season. May each of us gain a deeper understanding of the Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in all three of its biblical aspects.
Soli deo Gloria!