We are going to pick up with the Enthronement Psalms. The list includes Psa 47, 93, 95, 96, 97, 98, and 99. In Psalm 96.1 we have the term “new song” and this term is associated with the coming of the Messiah (Isa 42.10; Rev 14.1-3). The teaching associated with the concept of the “new song” says that before man sinned he could hear a 10-note scale. Since the fall, we hear an 8-note scale. When the Messiah returns at the beginning of the Messianic Kingdom, man will be changed and once again hear the 10-note scale called a “new song.” In addition, the word “song” is usually in the feminine form “shirah” but in our verse here it is “shir” which is the masculine form. This is because it alludes to the fact that the Messiah has come. A harp in Hebrew is called a “kinnor” and it has 10 strings, and ten alludes to judgment (Rosh ha Shannah is a Yom ha Din).
Psalm 95 to 99 are called “Kabbalat Shabbat Tehillim” of “Receiving the Sabbath Psalms” along with Psalm 29. The Sabbath is a “tavnit” or “picture, blueprint” of the Messianic Kingdom. Psalm 81 is associated with Psalm 95 (remember Psa 81.3?). We have the Enthronement and Royal Psalms associated with the Messianic Kingdom and according to Mowinckel and others, they were used at Rosh ha Shannah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. An ancient name for Rosh ha Shannah is the “Day of the Lord” (sources: Encyclopedia Judaica article on “Rosh ha Shannah” and Mowinckel’s book already mentioned). Jewish and early Christian teaching was that there was going to be a 7000 year period. Then after that, we come to the Olam Haba (also called the “Eighth Day”). The last 1000 year period of the 7000 years is called the Atid Lavo (also Messianic Kingdom, the Day of the Lord, the Sabbath of God, Millenium and other names). This last 1000 year period called the “Day of the Lord” will begin on a Rosh ha Shannah, and that is why Rosh ha Shannah was called the Day of the Lord. What is interesting is that this 7000 year period is divided into seven periods of a 1000 years (Encyclopedia Judaica on “Eschatology”). The 6000 years leading up to this last 1000 year period is called the “Olam HaZeh” or “this present age.”
So, Rosh ha Shannah has enthronement psalms (because coronation is a theme) that teach the Messiah and his kingdom. The Sabbath services will also teach these concepts. On Friday evening we have what is called “Kabbalat Shabbat” which means “receiving the Sabbath” and recite the Lecha Dodi, which talks about the bride, and how “nigh draws the hour of the Bethlehemite’s birth” (Micah 5) and “the man, the son of Perez” (Gen 38.27-30, which is a picture of the fall in Eden and the coming of Messiah. See also Micah 2.12-13; Ruth 4.18; Matt 11.12; Isa 62.10; June 10-13). These terms in the Lecha Dodi are found in the Hertz Authorized Daily Prayer Book.
The Sabbath day has a Ma’ariv service Friday night, and that is a picture of the Birth-pains at the beginning of the Messianic Kingdom. It is a time of “darkness.” In the morning we have the Shacharit service and this pictures the beginning of the kingdom which will be a time of “light” and joy. After the Shacharit service, there is a Mussaf service and this pictures the middle of the Messianic Kingdom, and then we have later that day, the Minchah service which teaches the end of the Messianic Kingdom. When you have a Jewish prayer book, you work it in the following way. First, you read it and then use it in prayer, You can also use it for the services on the Sabbath and festivals so it is a “textbook” working alongside of the Scriptures, so it should be studied word for word. You will pick up a lot of idioms depending on what day you are working on. In other words, if you have a Rosh ha Shannah Machzor, look at what Scriptures are being read, all the commentary and footnotes and see what names the day went by. This will make the Scriptures come alive.
Words and phrases in these psalms don’t mean the same thing to us in English or western culture as it did in the first century, Jewish mind because these things are not taught. Anciently, the cycle of readings in a synagogue outside Jerusalem was called the “Triennial Cycle” and it was made up of the Torah, Psalms and the Prophets. In Jerusalem, there was an annual cycle and they read from the Torah and Prophets. However, the Haftorah today is not the same reading they had. So, how do you go about reconstructing the ancient readings” There is a book called the Midrash Tehillim. Each week there was a psalm that went along with the Torah reading because it reflected back on some theme found in the Torah reading. So, if you read the Midrash Tehillim, it will talk about Psalm 2 and associate it with Abraham and Sarah Torah readings. People will say “What does Psalm 2 have to do with Abraham and Sarah?” Because that psalm was read with the Torah reading about them and it ties the two together, and then you can know what the reading from the Prophets was.
Now, remember when we talked about the Malchiot, the Zikkranot and the Shofarot? What pattern did you see? You had a reading from the Torah, Psalms and Prophets, the same order as the ancient Triennial Cycle of readings in a synagogue outside of Jerusalem. Now, Luke 24.44 says, “Now he said to them, ‘These are my words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about me in the Law (Torah) of Moses and the Prophets and Psalms must be fulfilled.'” Yeshua made a statement and he was not just making a statement about the Scriptures in general, he is referring to this triennial cycle. These relate together and the Messiah was taught out of them. Likewise, we can reconstruct much about the Rosh ha Shannah services in the Temple by going to the Torah, Psalms and Prophets as well as the ancient sources.
In Part 26, we are going to begin talking about the Yom Kippur ceremonies and service in the Temple.