Psalms 45, a Psalm of Victory. Part 4
Ezekiel 37 identifies the army of God as those who have been raised from the dead to newness of life; raised by the very breath of God. (Born again from above. See Jn 3:8) Ephesians 6 is the command for his army to attack the gates of hell with the assurance that those gates will not stand. 6:10-18 establishes their weapons with which to carry out their victorious warfare. His army is equipped with the conquering Sword, and under the command of the captain of the hosts of the Lord, they are to go forth and conquer. (Matt. 28:19, 20) Psalm 45:4 tells us that His army will prosper in subduing all under His authority. The King carries out His war against the enemy by His grace through His people.
Psalms 45:4 And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.
2 Samuel 7:1-5 records King Davids desires to build a house for the Lord, yet he was forbidden to do so:
Ver. 5. Shalt thou, etc.? The question implies an answer in the negative; but there is no disapproval of Davids purpose as such; but only the deferring of its full execution unto the days of his son. There is more than this. The idea which runs through the Divine message is that the dwelling of Jehovah in a tent was a fitting symbol of Israels unquiet possession of the laud. It was Davids mission to give them tranquillity and security in the region which they had conquered long ago, but wherein they had never hitherto been able to maintain their liberty unimpaired. Then, upon the accomplishment of Davids special duty, his son, Shelomo, i.e. the peaceful, was to build the solid temple, as the proof that Jehovah had now taken permanent possession of the land. We find also a further thought, namely, that the building of the temple signified the making for David of a house. In its full significance this means that the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David were now chosen by God as the ancestors of the Messiah. (Pulpit Commentary)
In other words, the building of the Temple of cedar would show that God was now in full and permanent possession of the land. The building of the temple signified "The making for David of a house." Shelomo, i.e. the peaceful. His temple was to picture the true Prince of Peace, Christ and His kingdom on earth, the church.
For God to permit David to build the Temple would indicate God's establishment of His throne and his permanent Kingdom on earth through Davids bloody warfare. Though the blood was shed at Gods command, Gods throne was to be established without blood. God did establish His permanent throne, but He did it later and in a different way, as we will see.
Note that peace was established through war, and after Davids war, this son Shelomo, i.e. the peaceful, was to build the glorious temple as the proof that Jehovah had now taken permanent possession of the land.
How many of us have sung the rousing song, "When the Battle's Over"? The words are Isaac Watts' hymn "Am I a Soldier of the Cross" written ca. 1721. Watts wrote the lyrics to accompany a sermon on I Corinthians 16:13 "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong." When the battles over, we shall wear a crown, but most are looking for that crown without the battle against the powers of darkness.
I have been among Christians who believe that the Lords battle to expand the Kingdom of God on earth (Mat 6:33) will be with physical means as is common today, and is used by the peace keepers world- wide. (Those peace-keepers are known for their rape, murder, torture, &c.) The raging battle and the weapons of warfare provided for the Lords army to wage a victorious warfare are listed in Ephesians 6 & 1 Thessalonians 5:8.
2 Samuel 7:4-17 has several parts:
First, we have the reason why God prevented David from building the Temple: 1 Chron 22:8 & 28:3---His Temple had to be built on the peace that was established by God.
1 Chron. 22:8-19 is very significant, as David gives his final words to Solomon, his son. He tells Solomon that he was prevented from building the temple because of his bloody past. These wars were at Gods command; the slaughters were done at God's command, yet, the same bloody slaughter prevented his building of the temple.
Observe: God would not allow His Temple to be established on the blood of his enemies, the only type of warfare known in Davids time. He will not permit David's everlasting throne and kingdom to be built upon the blood of conflict as was know then.
I Chron. 22:9 --I will give him rest-- The immediate reference here is to Solomon: Note that He is referred to here as a man of rest, then as a man of peace and quietness.
All of these based upon "I will," God working to perform these things. Solomon was a man of peace. V. 10 identifies v. 9 as a prophecy of Christ, and identifies it with Hebrews 1:5. The throne of His kingdom will be built on peace and rest.
Second, God would only allow this temple (which represented His kingdom on earth) to be established in peaceful times; for it looked forward to the eternal kingdom of God that is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Rom 14:7)
2 Samuel 7:
1. God promised to establish David's throne, kingdom.
2. He would not do it in David's day because of the shedding of much blood required to bring both David and the nation of Israel to this point in time. We see that one must have war before there can be peace.
3. 7:10, here we have the prophecy pointing to Christ. We must identify it with Christ because the Israel of Solomons and David's kingdom was moved out of that land. God's chosen people in Christ will never be moved. (Jn. 10:28)
4. 7:12-17, is another reference to Christ. Solomon was able to build the physical temple which passed away, but the true and everlasting temple of God, as He dwells with men in His temple made without hands, is established forever in Christ. (1 Cor 3:16-17) His temple is described in detail in the last of the book of Ezekiel.
In Acts 15:13-19, James stated that the Gospel Church fulfilled the promise of the tabernacle of David prophesied in 2 Samuel. (Comp Acts 15:16/Amos 9:11.)
Christ was the greater than Solomon. (Matt. 12:42, Lk. 11:31) Stephen points out that Solomon's temple only pointed to Christ that greatly upset his hearers. (Acts 7:47, 38, Isa.54:1-5, Hos. 3:5, Mic. 5:2.)
Thus, the law is clearly before us; that is, God would not allow warfare, slaughter and the blood of battle to establish His promised throne and kingdom. In Genesis 49:8-12, the promise of the everlasting kingdom was delivered by God through Jacob, Judah and David, and is not going to be fulfilled by bloody combat.
The throne and kingdom are going to be established through the "I wills" of God. God gave Solomon peace and wisdom, and the world sought after him. Sin corrupted him, and he came down with a crash and his kingdom divided. (2 Sam 7:10, 1 Chron 22:9)
If God would not allow David's throne and kingdom to be established upon the blood and slaughter of even godly warfare, how can we think He will allow the "Greater than Solomon's" throne and kingdom to be established on the blood and slaughter of warfare?
Why is it so hard to understand that the same God of Peace can establish His Son over the entire world through peaceful means, when He was able to establish Solomon, whose name means Peaceable with peaceful means?
(Note that David fought the battles so Solomon could have peace. Our David fought our battles so we could have peace.)
Christ is the greater than Solomon; therefore, it is ludicrous to think that the Greater than Solomon cannot be established by even more peaceful means than was Solomon.
2 Samuel 7:12-16 indicates that the establishment of HIS throne and Kingdom is based upon the Lord working in the hearts of men; that is, by the grace of God working through truth, meekness and righteousness, or, as is pointed out by Paul, "righteousness, peace and joy. (Rom. 14:17)
We have two means of conquest.
First, war, military might, slaughter, death, and destruction. The outward conquest of men's bodies which can never conquer the soul of men. Try to subdue an unsaved child or another person to proper authority.
Second, truth, meekness and righteous, the inner conquest of men's souls. The new creature in Christ desires to obey another authority outside of themselves, Gods authority.
Clearly, the God of Scripture is interested in the heart and
soul of men far more than He is in their bodies. Moreover, the
more we examine scripture, the more we see that Christ's kingdom
and throne, as prophesied in Psalms 45, is established by peaceful
means. Isaiah identified Him in His future reign (now) as the
Prince of Peace, not as a king of slaughter, death and destruction.
(Isaiah 9:6, 7)
Without exception, anti-Christ Human governments expand by war, conflict, oppression, corruption, servitude, &c. When His government increases, it is not an increase in oppression and force, but an increase of peace, righteousness and justice. His love for His people will not allow His kingdom to be reduced to the level of human government. His rule is from within, the Prince of Peace dwelling within the believer. As His rule in the heart increases (called Christian self-government), the need for outside control decreases. As long as the fallen nature is in control, outside governing laws will be needed, and the more sin increases, the more oppression must increase.
Outward rules have never, nor will they ever bring peace. Only the changed heart subdued to the Prince of Peace has ever brought peace.
"How necessary soever, under certain conditions, war may be for the kingdom of God, --as indeed the Saviour also says that (in the first instance) He had not come to send peace but a sword--it is after all only something accidental, and rendered needful by human corruption The real nature of the kingdom of God is peace. Even in the OT, the Lord of the Church appears as the Prince of Peace, Is. ix.5. According to Luke ix.56, the Son of Man is not come to destroy men's lives but to save them. In order to impress upon the mind this view of the nature and aim of the Church, the Temple,--the symbol of the Church--must not be built by David the man of war, but by Solomon, the peaceful; the man of rest, 1 Chron.xxii.9." (Christology, p. 94.)
Certainly, there are times when war and conflict are required for peace, for it is the strong man armed which assures peace. Christ fought our conflict with the evil one, and won on the cross. (Col 2:15)
The strong man was defeated, and his house spoiled. (Luke 11:21, 22. Notice 23-26, the man set free from the hold of the strong man, the devil, did not replace the sin he was freed from with righteousness. The result was worse than before he was freed. See our message on Gideon #3, 11/18/90.)
Peace results from conflict, but the conflict is not in human terms, nor is it our conflict. The conflict was the spiritual conflict that brought the victory to King Jesus. That victory established the King on His throne above every name that is named. That victory is ours to claim by a living faith (a faith that lives and applies the law of God, 1 Corinthians 15:57, 58). The conflict involves prophesying, that is testifying of the saving power of Jesus to our friends, co-workers, family, community, &c. It involves doing all things to the glory of God. (See my notes in Isaiah 9:7 for a further treatment on this.)
One more point for consideration:
If we say that Christ must return as a slaughtering, bloody, conquering king, then not only does this idea destroy the illustrative principle of 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles, but the implication is that the way of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost cannot win over the pagans with their hatred of God and hatred of man who is made in the image of God.
Ephesians 3:8-11 tells us that God is going to prove to all, which includes the human creation as well as the spiritual creation, that HIS way of grace through the unsearchable riches of Christ is the better way. In fact, it is through these "unsearchable riches of Christ" that He is going to work "according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:"
Even in prison, we see that Paul only saw one thing. He saw victory in the end through Jesus Christ our Lord. Notice Ephesians 3:21, "in the church." We are not bold enough to think He is going to do anything like this through the "church" as we think of it today. We saw this idea rule the world in the past in the Church of Rome. V. 10, by the church tells us that it is Gods power of grace through faith that empowers the Elect to lay hold of His power, so they can wage the good warfare. (Eph 6) They are called to subdue, or control all things to the glory of God: education, politics, art, education, vocations, &c. They instruct the new converts in how to obey and apply the law-word of God into every area, all to the Glory of God. Thus, the church does not control the political world, the Christian man does. (Election does not mean flowery beds of ease, but difficult self-control and confrontation of sin as they advance the Kingdom into every area.)
Clearly, victory is on the side of Gods grace. The enemy has used warlike means since Cain and Nimrod. This passage implies that "through the church" (or through His grace working in His people), He is going to show ALL that those warlike means are not the way, but that the way of grace and peace is higher and more effective.
How will it all fit together? We have only what is clearly revealed in His Word which assures us that there is final victory over the world, flesh and the devil in His victory on the cross. Maybe one day the Holy Spirit will open His peoples eyes and give them the desire and power (grace) to please Him. This is one of the mysteries that is still well hidden.
Is His way of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost more effective and better able to conquer than the way of slaughter, blood and warfare? If it isn't, then let's get our guns. If it is, then let's grab our Bibles (Truth), go in meekness, and go with the righteousness of the saints as well as the clear conscience, knowing we are right with Him according to His Word, and, charge the Prince of Darkness on his own grounds, I Tim. 1:19. We charge this angry prince by applying the law-word of God into the areas of society that he has usurped from the kingdom of God. He will flee as God's people stand against Him. His strongholds can be pulled down if God's people will move against Him, II Cor. 4, 5. (Note 2 Cor 10:5, every high thing would mean every high thing, not just the imagination.)
V. 4 shows us that when His people clad themselves in their proper attire for warfare (Eph 6), they will see great and terrible things. We shall see God working in the hearts of men. We have the sure confidence that He will move, v. 5.
Did He come to kill and destroy in order to establish His rule and authority? We are assured that one day every knee will physically bow to Him, Rom. 14:11, Ph. 2:10.
This one thing I know, (as did Job) one day I will see Him with my own eyes, and I will spend eternity praising the LAMB who was slain for my sins from before the foundation of the world. (Job 19:25, 27)
We have the sure confidence that God can work in the heart of the hardest, most wicked sinners for His glory and that He uses people to speak to their hearts. We also know that He uses the most wicked for His praise, Ps. 76:10. So what is our responsibility?
1. Truth, take the truth of God to EVERYONE so He will have the chance to work. This truth that is to be taken is not only the truth of redemption, but it is the eternal truth of the word of God applied to every sphere of society in general-from civil government on down. This truth is not only spoken and preached, but it must be applied in very practical terms.
2. Meekness, one MUST have the right attitude, Eph. 4:29-32; II Tim. 2:24-26. People can tell what kind of attitude we have as we talk to them. The Word of God with meekness may extract the person from the snare of the devil, from his captivity. This is as much contrary to human nature and understanding as any one other thing in all the scriptures. Fallen nature demands assertiveness.
3. Righteousness, we MUST also have a righteous life. Our heart must be clean before God to the very best we know according to His Word. The good conscience must be there in order to have the boldness to wage an effective warfare, I Tim. 1:18, 19; Prov. 28:1. The more righteous our living habits, the further we are removed from worldliness, the more effective will be our testimony.
4. Eph. 6:18 adds prayer to this list.
We are given our weapons of warfare, and with these weapons we can charge the very gates of hell itself.
Losing sight of the above will strip the church of its zeal and power. If we believe that the only way the King and His kingdom can possibly be established is by mass slaughter and shedding of blood, then we cannot have the zeal which is needed to hold back the tide of the powers of darkness, let alone advance against them.
V. 4, one more quote: Spurgeon says of Ps. 86:9 (Vo. 2, pg. 465-6),
""All nations whom thou hast made," and these include all mankind, since they all come of the first Adam--thy creature, and their lives are all distinct creations of thine omnipotence. All these "shall come" with penitent hearts, in thine own way, to thine own self, "and worship before thee, O Lord." Because thou art thus above all gods, the people who have been so long deceived shall at last discover thy greatness, and shall render thee the worship which is thy due: Thou hast created them all, and unto thee shall they all yield homage. This was David's reason for resorting to the Lord in trouble, for he felt that one day all men would acknowledge the Lord to be the only God. It makes us to be in the minority to-day, when we are sure that the majority will be with us. Tomorrow, ay, and that the truth will one day be carried unanimously and heartily. David was not a believer in the theory that the world will grow worse and worse, and that the dispensation will wind up with general darkness and idolatry. Earth's sun is to go down amid tenfold night if some of our prophetic brethren are to be believed. Not so do we expect, but we look for a day when the dwellers in all lands shall learn righteousness, shall trust in the Saviour, shall worship thee alone, O God, "and shall glorify thy name." The modern notion has greatly damped the zeal of the church for missions, and the sooner it is shown to be unscriptural, the better for the cause of God. It neither consorts with prophecy, honours God, nor inspires the church with ardour. Far hence be it driven."
This is strong, but Spurgeon addresses the problem. The feeling that the only way Christ can reign must be through slaughter and blood has left a 'church' waiting for, hoping for, and expecting this great slaughter; it has left it with really no motivation to obey Matt. 18:19, 20; "Go forth and conquer, subdue all kingdoms for our Great King". And this is exactly where we find ourselves today. The church as a whole, has decided that the grace of God is not sufficient to conquer the hardened sinner, and subdue him to the King of kings.
Romans 5:20 shows us that hopeless attitude is not of God. No matter how much sin may abound in the world, grace does much more abound. The feeling that sin cannot be overcome by grace has led to a hopeless attitude for the cause of Christ. The message which we hear in the average Baptist pulpit is about how bad things are, how much worse they are going to become, and that our only hope is to be removed from this mess. We even hear of pastors and lay people looking forward to the further decay of society, because in this they see the sooner return of Christ. (The faithless and apostate Christians see wars as a prelude to the battle of Armageddon.) Or we hear a prosperity gospel from men like Joel Osteen who has prostituted the gospel for money.
Those with the defeated view will not be salt of the earth, block corruption, nor heal the wounds of sin. They will not be the light in the surrounding darkness. We have hope in the grace of God, not defeat. We must be about our Master's business of advancing His Kingdom in sure confidence of His victory over the power of sin and death.
"O Lord, help us to grasp the hope we have in You and Your grace" and WHAT A HOPE WE HAVE.