Psalm 97

Psalm 97
The Appearing of Christ and Accompanying Judgments
Psalm 97. In this Psalm we have the appearing of Christ (compare Psa. 93:1 with Psa. 97:1), to deliver the godly remnant, put down enemies, and set up His kingdom. Psalm 97 provides us with a wide view of the appearing and its effects on the earth.1 Notice that v.7 is quoted in Hebrews 1:6, showing that this Psalm is Messianic, describing the introduction of the First-begotten into the world the second time; i.e. the appearing of Jesus Christ, the Son of man.
1 Jehovah reigneth: let the earth be glad, let the many isles rejoice.
v.1 The Reign of Jehovah. In the introductory verse we find that Jehovah is reigning on the earth, and the effect is that the earth is glad, including the far off Gentiles (the isles).
2 Clouds and darkness are round about him; righteousness and judgment are the foundation of his throne.
3 A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his adversaries round about.
4 His lightnings lightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled.
5 The mountains melted like wax at the presence of Jehovah, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
6 The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory.
vv.2-6 A Description of the Appearing of Christ. When Christ appears it will be with judgment, pictured poetically as dark storm clouds (v.2). In Rev. 19:14 we find a cloud of white following the Lord out of heaven; i.e. the armies of heaven! When the Lord appears it will be to judge this world, and to set up His kingdom on a righteous basis. The very foundation of His throne is said to be “righteousness and judgment”. The Lord’s appearing will bring fiery judgments on His enemies (v.3). There will be great publicity in His appearing; “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:30). Perhaps the “lightnings” of v.4 refer to this sign (c.p. Matt. 24:27). All the great government establishments of man will be reduced to nothing, pictured as mountains melting like wax! Christ’s dominion is universal; He is called “the Lord of the whole earth”. His appearing will be public, such that “all the peoples see his glory”. Compare with Rev. 1:7; “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”
7 Ashamed be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols. “Worship him, all ye gods.” [quoted Heb. 1:6]
8 Zion heard, and rejoiced; and the daughters of Judah were glad, because of thy judgments, O Jehovah.
9 For thou, Jehovah, art the Most High above all the earth; thou art exalted exceedingly above all gods.
vv.7-9 The Effect of Christ’s Appearing on Various Classes. Next we have the effect of the appearing of Christ on various entities. Those who serve graven images and trust in idols will be “ashamed”. The angels will bow down and worship Him; “Worship him, all ye gods” (v.7). This is quoted in Heb. 1:6; “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him”. This quotation refers to when the Lord Jesus will be brought into the world the second time, at His appearing. It refers to the great shift in administration that will take place before the Millennium begins. But His first coming is a foreshadow of it, and the sentiments of this prophecy are fulfilled in the angels who welcomed the newborn King (Luke 2:13). Zion and the surrounding cities (“the daughters of Judah”) are glad and rejoice, because their Deliverer has come, and has executed judgment. Finally, in a summary statement, we have the effect of the appearing of Christ on the whole earth; “For thou, Jehovah, art the Most High above all the earth; thou art exalted exceedingly above all gods”. The supremacy of Jehovah over all gods will be made known; that He is El-Elyon – the Most High – which is a Millennial title.
10 Ye that love Jehovah, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints, he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.
11 Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. 
12 Rejoice in Jehovah, ye righteous; and give thanks in remembrance of his holiness.
vv.10-12 The Appearing of Christ for those who Love Jehovah. The conclusion of the Psalm takes a tender turn, to address those “that love Jehovah, hate evil”. He will come to deliver the faithful out of the hands of the wicked, and He will preserve “the souls of his saints”. The portion of the saints is light and joy, and they will rejoice in the light of Jehovah’s abiding presence, and “give thanks in remembrance of his holiness”. His character as holy will be known and enjoyed by His saints in that day!
  1. It is a very complete statement of the character of the Lord’s coming to earth. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
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