Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 94-96

Psa 94.1-23 is the Psalm of the Day for the fourth day of the week (Wednesday). Jewish history (Talmud, Midrashim) says that this was the song that was sung in the Temple by the Levitical choir on the last day it functioned before it was destroyed, which was a Sabbath (Saturday). But why did the Levitical choir sing the psalm for Wednesday, the fourth day, on a Saturday, the seventh day? Many thought it was because it talks about the God of vengeance and asking God to judge the wicked Romans, but it wasn’t till June 7,1967, that the true meaning was revealed. That was the day the Israeli army took control of the Temple Mount again during the Six Day War for the first time since the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D. What day of the week was June 7, 1967? It was a Wednesday. This was the first step towards the rebuilding of the Temple (see the website called “templeinstitute.org” and “A Day in the Life of the Holy Temple”-Part 8). There is no title or author given so we will not speculate.

Psa 94.1-7 tells us that Yehovah is the judge of the earth and he will render recompense against the wicked. Yehovah is the God of vengeance and it is said twice to settle any doubts about it. Vengeance belongs to God because he knows all the circumstances. We can ask God to deliver vengeance but we must trust him in doing so. Even though he is a dispenser of kindness, there comes a time to punish also (v 1). They ask Yehovah to rise up and render judgment to the proud. This makes it look like the Lord is apathetic and has to be moved in order to act, but that is not true (v 2). The question is asked, “How long shall the wicked, O Lord; How long shall the wicked exult?” This shows the impatience of the believer and the disregard of anything good by the wicked. This is the last time, “How long” is used in the psalms (v 3).

They pour forth words without constraint, and speak arrogantly; the wicked exalt themselves and glorify their reputations (v 4). They crush (to break in pieces) God’s people (Israel) and afflict his heritage (Israel-Isa 47.6; Jer 50.11). A true believer will have a love for Israel and the Torah as seen in 1 John 2.3-4 (v 5). They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the orphans. All these groups are helpless and can’t fight back (v 6). They say “Yah does not see, nor does the God of Jacob pay heed.” The shortened form of Yehovah is used here in “Yah (Yod-Hey).” The wicked think that God does not exist or does not see because he is not a part of this world (v 7).

Psa 94.8-11 tells us about the senseless (the “Ba’arim” who are oblivious to God but can be taught) and the stupid ones (“Kesilim” who are intelligent but use their intelligence to come up with arguments against God and moral wisdom-Psa 92.6) among the people. God wants them to understand something (v 8). God is the one who created the ear, does he not hear? And God is the one who created the eye, does he not see? Of course he does and he will act and he will judge the wicked for what they have done (v 9). God chastened the nations in the flood and at Sodom, will he not rebuke these tyrants? He teaches man knowledge, will he not know what is going on (v 10)? Yehovah knows the thoughts of man and only a ba’ar or a kesil (a senseless fool) thinks he doesn’t, and their lives are a mere breath, full of futile and vain thoughts.

Psa 94.12-16 says that the righteous will never be rejected, even though God may chastise them. He is blessed (empowered to succeed) when God chastises his people because he is teaching true understanding out of the Torah (v 12). As a result of this knowledge he has been taught, he will have relief from the days of evil until a pit is dug for the wicked and they receive their due punishment (v 13). Yehovah will not reject his people no matter what they go through because they are his inheritance (v 14). For the judgment found in the Torah will return and the righteous will follow it (v 15). The author wants to know who will stand up for him against the wicked, and who will take his stand for him against those who do wickedness because the hour of restoration has not arrived yet?

Psa 94.17-23 tells us that only the Lord can help him and he knows that. Yehovah has been his help against the wicked or he would have been dead already (v 17). He is in danger of being overcome by all this oppression (“my foot has slipped”), but he believes the Lord will hold him up (v 18). When his thoughts cause anxiety and he gets pessimistic, God’s promises will cheer him up (v 19). Can a throne of destruction (an evil ruler) that devises evil by law be in fellowship (allied with) Yehovah (v 20)? They band together against the soul (life) of the righteous and plan evil, and condemn the innocent (v 21). But Yehovah is our defense and the rock of refuge to protect the righteous (v 22). He pays back the wicked by bringing their own wickedness upon their own heads and he will destroy them for all the evil they have done and cut them off (v 23).

Psa 95.1-10 is a psalm that deals with worship and its various forms. There is no heading or author given for this psalm. However, this psalm is referred to in Heb 3.7 through 4.13, and in Heb 4.7 says that David may have written this psalm. or it may be alluding to the idea that Psalms was seen as David’s book. Since no author was given, we will leave it at that.

This psalm is the first psalm that is recited at the beginning of the Sabbath day called “Kabbalat Shabbat” or “receiving the Sabbath.” This alludes to receiving the kingdom. There will be six psalms corresponding to the six days of creation at this time (Psalm 95, 96, 97, 98, 99 and 29). We know that the Sabbath is a picture of the Messianic Kingdom and God begins to rule. This brings terror to the wicked and peace to the righteous (tzadik). This is a call to worship involving all nations.

Psa 95.1-5 speaks about how to worship. who to worship and the greatness of Yehovah. It begins “Come (an invitation), let us sing for joy to Yehovah and shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation (v1). Let us come before his presence (at the Temple) with thanksgiving and psalms (v 2). For the Lord is a great God and king, above all the gods (powers of the heathens, like angels and other forces-v 3). In whose hand (power) are the depths (mysteries) of the earth; the peaks of the mountains (where man cannot go) are his also.” God understands every aspect of his creation even when it defies logic and human understanding (v 4). The sea and all the animals belong to the Lord and he is the one who gathered them all together, and his hands formed the dry land showing his power and omniscience (v 5).

Psa 95.6-11 is another invitation to worship Yehovah. It begins with, “Come (the invitation), let us worship and bow down (humility), and kneel before Yehovah our maker” which is the concept behind Jewish worship (v 6). For Yehovah is our God (eloheynu) and we are the people of his pasture fed by his word and the sheep of his hand (guided by his hand). “Today (urgent), if you would hear his voice” is a call for us to make a decision (Rev 3.20; Heb 3.7, 15 and 4.7) in v 7. We are not to harden (contend) our hearts like Israel did at the rebellion in Meribah (Num 20.1-13) as in the day of trial at Massah (Exo 17.7) in the wilderness (v 8). This was when the fathers tested Yehovah and they “tried” him though they had seen all his miracles. God gave them reason to trust him but they rejected all those reasons and this provoked the Lord (v 9). For forty years (a time of testing) God loathed that generation for rejecting him and he said they were a people who had gone astray (erred) in their heart, and they do not know my ways, or the ways works mentioned earlier (v 10). So God swore in his anger that they would not enter into God’s rest (“m’nuchah” or completion) and this refers to the land of Canaan, but it also alludes to the Atid Lavo or the Messianic Kingdom and the rest (completion) we have in Messiah. The writer of Hebrews refers to this in Heb 3.7 to 4.13 (v 11).

Psa 96. 1-13 is another psalm that is read at the receiving of the Sabbath which alludes to receiving the kingdom and the dawn of a new era. There is no heading for this psalm and no author is mentioned, but some (Septuagint; Latin Vulgate, etc) believe it may have been written by David as he brought the Ark into Jerusalem (1 Chr 16.23-33).

Psa 96.1-6 begins with the concept of a “new song” and why God deserves to be worshiped and honored. To “sing to the Lord a new song” is an eschatological term. New song is “Shir chadash” in Hebrew and it is masculine. Ordinarily it is “Shirah Chadash” and it is feminine. This is recited at the beginning of the Sabbath (a picture of the Day of the Lord, the Lord’s Day, Sabbath of God, Atid Lavo and the Millennium) and the term Shir Chadash alludes to the fact that the Messiah has come (Masculine). It is also an idiom for the Messianic Kingdom for that reason. Today we have an eight note scale. A Kinor has ten strings for a ten note scale. The “new song” in the Messianic Kingdom is a song Messiah will teach us with the extra two notes, the teaching goes. The word “ruach” in Hebrew means “wind or spirit.” The Nevel (harp) and the Kinor (lyre) can be played by the wind. The Nevel has 22 strings and this alludes to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, which make up the Word of God. The Word of God is “played” on our hearts (harps) by the “Ruach ha Kodesh” (Psa 33.3; Isa 42.10; Rev 14.3). All the earth should sing. The Exodus is called the First Redemption or the Egyptian Redemption and they sang a song (Exo 15.1-18). The coming of Yeshua is called the Second Redemption or Messianic Rdemption and we will sing a “new song.” This term is always associated with the coming of the Messiah and the kingdom (v1).

We sing to the Lord and bless his name by making known his qualities, works and reputation, proclaim the basar (good news) of his salvation (Hebrew “Yeshuati” and you can see the name of Yeshua there) from day to day (v 2). We can tell of his glory among the nations, not just to Israel, and his wonderful deeds (miracles). As we can see here, the call to reach the nations started in the Tanak (v 3). Why do we do this? Because the Lord is great and greatly to be praised, and he is to be feared (regarded with awe) above all gods (powers, angels, demons, rulers, powers, heavenly bodies, etc) because he alone is to be worshiped (v 4). All the gods (powers) of the nations are idols (worthless) and besides all that, Yehovah made the heavens. But many worshiped the creation instead of the creator (v 5). Splendor and majesty are before him (like attendants), strength and beauty are in his sanctuary (in heaven) This also alludes to the eschatological kahal (v 6).

Psa 96.7-10 calls on the whole world to give God glory and to bring korbanot into the courts (“azarah” meaning to “help”) of the Temple. We are to give Yehovah the glory he deserves and the strength , and we are to acknowledge that only Yehovah possesses these abilities (v 7). Giving God the glory of his name Yehovah and reputation is also accompanied by korbanot (a minchah offering) in the courts of the Temple (1 Kings 8.41-43). Giving korbanot also applied to the non-Jews who came to the Temple to worship Yehovah (v 8). Worship of Yehovah also means to prostrate in the beauty of his holiness (he has a kedusha) that has been imputed to us by faith. We should be in awe of him, and that includes all the earth. The nations may not have recognized God throughout the Olam Ha Zeh (6000 years) but during the Messianic Kingdom they will (v 9). “Say among the nations (non-Jews), ‘Yehovah reigns (is king of the universe); the world is also firmly established, it will not be moved because Messiah will bring stability; he will judge the peoples with righteousness'” (by the Torah-Mic 4.3; Isa 2.2-4 -v 10).

Psa 96.11-13 is a message to the creation about the happiness that will sweep the universe. Remember, Messiah not only redeems mankind but he also redeems the creation. “Let the heavens (there are three) be glad, and let the earth rejoice, let the sea roar (with thanks) and all it contains.” The sea is seen as the domain of Ha Satan and Leviathan, name for the False Messiah (Rev 13.1; Isa 27.1; Job 26.12-13). They have been defeated causing much thanks in the spiritual realm (v 11). Then it goes on to say, “Let the (literally “my”) field exult and all that is in it (beast of the wilderness). Then all the trees of the forest (the believers) will sing for joy (v 12) before the Lord, for he is coming; for he is coming to judge the world in righteousness (as defined by the Torah) and the peoples in his faithfulness (Hebrew (“emunato” and this word is related to “emunah” which is the word for faith).” Notice it says he is coming” twice in this verse, and there will be a judgment. This tells us that Yeshua will come on Rosh Ha Shanah, year 6001 from creation, and this is a Yom Ha Din or “Day of Judgment” in Dan 7.9-10 and Rev 4-5. But he is also coming on a Yom Kippur, also a Yom Kippur or Yom Ha Din , a Day of Judgment in Matt 24.29-31; 25.31-46 and Dan 7.22 (v 13).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

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