by Stan Rosenthal
Hope is an extremely potent word or concept. Without it, despair tends to make its way to the forefront of one’s life. With it, there is a reason to go forth with optimism. In other words, hope, or lack thereof, plays an integral role in how we live out our everyday lives and how we handle the circumstances of life that engulf us on a daily basis.
Expectation, anticipation, potential, likelihood, prospect, possibility, chance and even desire and want are a few of our English words which are synonyms of hope. It is noteworthy to recognize that God’s people however, perceive hope to be connected to trust and faith. They have a confident conviction based upon a belief system that does not waiver or change with circumstances that arise from the day to day routine of events or even from serious challenges that could otherwise overcome the faithful. It allows the believer to confidently rely and depend upon God Almighty with unwavering assurance. This hope also extends beyond our current, present day walk, as meaningful as that may be. The true believer has the right to look forward to the time when he or she will bask in the glory of God with all its blessings throughout all of eternity.
“Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust. O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord:” (Psalm 16:1-2a)
“God” in Hebrew is “El” and means God is “Almighty.” “Trust” is the “confident hope” the child of God has in his Almighty God. “LORD” in Hebrew is “Y’HWH” speaking of the self-existing one and only true God. “Lord” is “Adonay” and means lord and master. These words embrace the reason for the hope believers have.
A quick review of Psalm 16 provides a look into the dynamic relationship David experienced with God. It could all be wrapped up in the fact that David recognized God to be the Almighty, having the ability to deliver on all of His promises, that He was genuinely the one and only true living self-existing eternal God, and that God the LORD was his Lord, Master, in whom he revered, respected, obeyed and trusted. Compare David’s understanding of God as stated in Psalm 110:1, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”
David was obviously pleased about his relationship and fellowship he had been experiencing at the hands of God. He had learned that the Almighty stands ready to counsel and preserve him in his everyday life. This in-depth trust extended beyond David’s present day-by-day earthly sojourn. It included the confident hope that God would preserve his life in the face of death. He took comfort in the belief that his life would not soon come to an end and cease to exist while rotting away in the grave, but rather like Job, he would one day see his redeemer face to face in his resurrected glorified physical body (cf. Job 19:25-26).
It was very understandable that David displayed loyalty, respect and faith. He had a confident hope that he was indeed in good hands for both the present as well as for his eternal future.
Messianic Hope Foretold
“I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm16:8-11).
Psalm 16, one of David’s seventy five or so Psalms, is a Messianic Psalm. In general, the Psalter contains several categories of Psalms. They are classified as follows: praise/thanksgiving; worship/adoration; petition/supplication, penitence/remorse, imprecation/invoke judgment, didactic-wisdom/instructive, royal/majestic, and of course, Messianic/anointed redeemer.
Messianic Psalms reflect both current day events surrounding the inspired penmen of God, as well as foretelling prophetic occurrences and truths relating to the Messiah, at either or both of his two future advents. There are sixteen such Psalms in the Psalter; they are Psalm 2, 8, 16, 22, 34, 40, 41, 45, 68, 69, 72, 89, 102, 109 110, 118. It should be noted that in some of these inspired writings, the Psalmist may actually be discussing the Messiah in a straight forward manner, while in other instances, they are typological. Simply put, there is a dual fulfillment. The first speaks to the immediate context related to a person or occurrence, while the second remains somewhat distant in the future. This latter figure or event then becomes the anti-type, a specific event relating to the Messiah, or a truth/fact about the person of Messiah which fulfills the prophecy, thus, the first is a type of the latter, the anti-type.
Messianic Hope Gloriously Fulfilled
In the midst of David sharing his exuberant joy emerging from God’s positive intervention in his life, arises the typology which both the Apostle Peter and Paul understood to be a Messianic prophetic truth. They were stirred by the Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus of Nazareth to be the anti-type of David’s own experience as recorded in verses 8-11.
An examination of Peter’s apologetic given to his Jewish brethren on the day of Pentecost (the birth of the Church) being celebrated in Jerusalem could not be communicated any better by anyone to explain the supernatural event of the day.
“Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Messiah to sit on his throne; He, seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:29-36
An analysis of Paul’s reasoned argument delivered in the Synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia during Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 13) clearly identified Jesus as the anti-type of David’s one thousand year earlier Messianic prophecy.
“But God raised him from the dead: And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people. And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:30-39).
Both Peter and Paul’s presentations were delivered to large Jewish audiences mixed with some God fearing Gentiles. It would have been meaningful, especially to the seed of Abraham, as this argument would have surely resonated with them.
There are at least three very important and basic truths that are direct outgrowths from these biblical passages under review.
Number one, fulfillment of many centuries old biblical prophecies establishes the Bible to be the inspired Word of God.
Number two, the fact that Jesus was physically resurrected from the grave, to never die again, and without suffering any corruption of his body, is the final facet of the “gospel”. This is the good news resulting in the salvation from our sins accomplished by the death, burial and resurrection of Messiah Jesus.
Number three, as with King David, we too can have, and in fact, do have, the confident sure hope he both experienced and looked forward to which is the assurance of God’s relationship and fellowship for our time on earth as well as all of eternity.
As Robert Lowery’s chorus from the well known hymn, “Christ Arose,” so eloquently proclaims,
“Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o’er His foes; He arose a victor from the dark domain, and He lives forever with His saints to reign; He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!”