The Exodus Book of Psalms--Part 15
Apr 20, 2010
This psalm of David continues the celebration of the completion of the tabernacle of Moses in the latter chapters of Exodus. Yet David also mentions "the Temple at Jerusalem" in verse 29, even though this Temple was not built until some years after David was dead. Bullinger says that David wrote this psalm on the occasion of the Ark's move to Mount Zion in 2 Samuel 6.
Prophetically speaking, this psalm speaks of the completion of the Final Temple of Ephesians 2:20-22 and how it will affect the kingdoms of this world. Psalm 68 shows us that the kingdoms of this world will be conquered (by the love of God) and will become part of His Kingdom.
Verse 1 begins this way:
"Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; and let those who hate Him flee before Him."
This is a quotation from Num. 10:35. It is what the priests were to proclaim every time they took up the Ark to move to a new location. It is also the inscription on the Anglo-Saxon gold treasure (discovered last year) that included a gold bracelet having this inscription. I believe that this was a sign of the Ark beginning to move once again, as God does a new work in the earth.
When we view verse 1 through the eyes of the Old Covenant, it speaks of God arising in a militaristic way. When the Ark was moved in those days, God's enemies were conquered in battle. But in our day, under the New Covenant, we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, nor with carnal weapons of warfare (Eph. 6:12). We engage in spiritual warfare and use the Sword of the Spirit, which is sharper than any two-edged sword (Heb. 4:12).
And so when we apply Psalm 68 to the completion of the True and Final Temple of Ephesians 2:20-22, we see the promise of God arising in the earth by the power of the Spirit, revealing Himself and His glory throughout the whole earth. When the people of the earth see His glory, power, and LOVE, they will be drawn to Him, as Rev. 15:4 says, "Who will NOT fear, O Lord, and glorify Thy name?? . . . For all the nations will come and worship before Thee, for Thy righteous acts have been revealed."
So Psalm 68:2 says,
"As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish before God."
Under the Old Covenant, this was applied in terms of war and the death of the wicked. Under the New Covenant, "he that is dead is justified from sin" (Rom. 6:7).
Rom. 6:11 says, "Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus." This is the second type of death. It is not a matter of being mortal, which is the first death, but of the death of the "flesh," as we "die daily" (1 Cor. 15:31).
And so, what sounds rather brutal under the Old Covenant is totally different under the New Covenant. We do not desire the physical death of the wicked, but we do desire that they experience what is normal for all believers. Likewise, Psalm 68:12 says this:
"Kings of armies flee, they flee; and she who remains at home will divide the spoil."
When one army defeated another, the victors divided the spoil. That is, they took for themselves the possessions and wealth left by the defeated army. But what are the spoils of war when we conduct spiritual warfare under the New Covenant? David tells us in verse 18,
"You ascend on high, You capture captivity, You apportion gifts among mankind, and also for the stubborn, to tabernacle with Yah Elohim." [The Concordant Version]
In other words, when God makes war on the "stubborn" (rebellious) unbelievers, He distributes "gifts" to His people. Paul quotes this in Ephesians 4:8, interpreting this as follows,
(9) Now this expression, "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? (10) He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. (11) And He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, (12) for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; (13) until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.
So David first prophesies of Christ's resurrection and ascension. Secondly, in dividing the spoils of spiritual warfare, Christ apportions "gifts" to His army. Those gifts include the five-fold ministry "for the equipping of the saints for the work of service."
In this apportionment of gifts, God includes also "the stubborn" or rebellious, so that God might dwell in them as well. After all, the purpose of the five-fold ministry is to equip saints to minister to the rest of mankind, showing them the path to the glory of God.
Those who have been in a state of rebellion against Jesus Christ will ultimately turn to Him and come into "the unity of the faith" and become "mature" believers. It will be a process that will continueuntil He fills all things (Eph. 3:10). One can hardly expect the unbelievers to turn to Christ in great numbers apart from demonstrating the power of God along with the Word of Truth. That is why the success of world evangelism will not be accomplished fully until the tabernacle of God is with men.
Stage one was when God filled the tabernacle of Moses (Ex. 40:34). The second stage was when God filled the temple of Solomon (2 Chron. 7:1). The third stage is divided into two parts. The first was the fulfillment of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-3, followed by the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, which has yet to occur. David prophesies of this day saying in Psalm 68:24 and 25,
(24) They have seen Thy procession, O God, the procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary. (25) The singers went on, the musicians after them, in the midst of the maidens beating tambourines.
When the nations see the glory of God in His sanctuary (that is, His people), they will come to learn of His ways (Isaiah 2:2-4). The prophet says that "they will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation; and never again will they learn war."
David, too, prophesies in Psalm 68:30, "He has scattered the peoples who delight in war."
David concludes the psalm with verse 35, saying,
"O God, Thou art awesome from Thy sanctuary. The God of Israel Himself gives strength and power to the people. Blessed be God!"
We know that the believers in Jesus Christ collectively are the True Temple or Sanctuary of God, and that His dwelling is with and in His people. His divine presence gives us "strength and power."
This is the fifteenth part of a series titled "The Exodus Book of Psalms." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones