Discovering Christ in Unexpected Places Lesson 3

Lesson 3 | September 18, 2016

Prepared by Daniel L. Segraves, PhD

Another Look at Psalm 22

A close reading of the messianic texts in Scripture often reveals the biblical witness to both the Messiah’s humanity and His deity. Neither must be minimized or denied. Jesus Christ is the central focus of Scripture, and the full-orbed testimony of these inspired words is that He is both God and man.

Since Psalm 22 was understood as a messianic text by the first century church, it is no surprise that the New Testament linked the psalm not only to the genuineness of Christ’s human existence as demonstrated by His suffering, but also to His identity as Lord and God as indicated by His resurrection. This lesson will briefly explore both themes as they are specifically connected with the New Testament.

The Humanity of the Messiah

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Ps 22:1).

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?’” (Matt 27:46).[1]

                The New Testament frequently mentions the prayers of Jesus. His were genuine prayers offered not in pretense or merely as an example for us. His prayers arose from his authentic humanity. Jesus prayed because He was human, and humans need to pray.

                “…who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear …. of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing (Heb 5:7, 11).

                There was no charade here. Jesus prayed to Him and was heard. Matters related to the humanity of Christ are hard to explain. Indeed, they cannot be understood apart from faith[2] because the Incarnation is a mystery.[3]

                “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You” (Ps 22:22).

                “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You” (Heb 2:12).

                Hebrews 2:12 quotes the final verse of the Messiah’s prayer. These words declare the Messiah’s solidarity with the human race even to the point of lifting up His voice in praise to God “in the midst of the assembly,” or in the same way that human beings lift up their voices as they assemble to praise God.

The Messiah’s conversation with God arises from His human nature, not from His deity. It is not a picture of one divine person speaking to another, but of a genuinely human Messiah speaking to God just as surely as any human being would.

The point in quoting Psalm 22:22 is to reinforce and demonstrate the identification of the Messiah with His human peers (“My brethren”), a theme that continues from Hebrews 1:9. The Messiah’s declaration of God’s name to His brethren (human beings) is best understood in the context of the Hebrew idea of “name,” sometimes called “name theology.” The Jewish readers of this letter understood the statement that the Messiah declared God’s “name” to His brethren to mean that the Messiah declared God Himself. There is no idea in Hebrew thought of a name being a mere appellation or label by which one is known. A person is his name. This idea lingers somewhat today in statements like “He has a good name.” In prayer, Jesus said, “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given me out of the world” (John 17:6). This was another way of saying Jesus manifested God Himself.[4]

The Deity of the Messiah

“They pierced My hands and My feet” (Ps 22:16).[5]

“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10).

“But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, ‘Not one of His bones shall be broken.’ And again another Scripture says, ‘They shall look on Him whom they pierced’” (John 19:34-37).

“Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. … Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ So he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’ And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.’ And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’” (John 20:19-20, 24-29).

                It is significant that a text from Psalms that seems at first only to underscore the genuineness of the Messiah’s humanity – He had an authentic human body that could be pierced – becomes through the eyes of faith in the New Testament a powerfully convincing sign of Jesus’ deity: He is not only human; He is also Lord and God!

Some deny that Thomas’ response to Jesus’ invitation to move from doubt to faith is a proclamation of the deity of Christ. This denial fails on the facts of Greek grammar. Here is the Greek text of John 20:28:

Καὶ ἀπεκρίθη Θωμᾶς, καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ, Ὁ κύριός μου καὶ ὁ θεός μου.[6]

            Notice first the word αὐτῷ (autō). This masculine singular personal pronoun is in the dative case and means that Thomas was speaking directly to Jesus. That is why it is translated “to him.” Thus, Thomas’ statement was not merely an exclamation or an expletive. Devout Jews in the first century would not have used the language of deity to express shock, astonishment, or joy. To do so would have been to take the name of God in vain.

Next, κύριός (kyrios [Lord]) and θεός (theos [God]) are both preceded by the article (i.e., the) and in the nominative case. This means these nouns function as vocative, the case of address. The point of this is that Thomas addressed Jesus as his Lord and God. The structure of the Greek text allows no other possibility.[7]

Thomas’ confession of Jesus as his Lord and God evokes the Shema: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” (Deut 6:4). We can be certain that this was in the mind of this Jewish disciple who had previously declared that he would not believe in the resurrection of Christ unless he had visible and tangible evidence. In one moment of time, however, he moved beyond doubt and beyond belief in the resurrection alone; he identified the risen Christ as the God (Yahweh) of Israel and as his Lord and God.[8]

Jesus did not rebuke Thomas for his confession. Had Jesus been anyone less than Lord and God, He could not have neglected this rebuke.[9] Not only did Jesus not rebuke Thomas; He commended him for the faith Thomas had just expressed and pronounced a blessing on all who come to the same faith even though they have not seen Him in His resurrection.

There is no reason to doubt that Thomas remembered Jesus’ words, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 3:19; see also verses 18-22). His confession indicates that he realized only the Lord God could raise Himself from the dead.

None of the other disciples rebuked Thomas or expressed disagreement with his confession. Their frequent arguments before this time suggest they would not have hesitated to reprove him if they thought he was wrong. Their silence is mute testimony of their agreement.

In uttering this confessional cry Thomas recognized the lordship of Jesus in the physical and spiritual realms as well as over his own life … and the essential oneness of Jesus with the Father which made his worship of Jesus legitimate …. As used in this verse, κύριός and θεός are titles, not proper names, the first implying and the second explicitly affirming the substantial deity of the risen Jesus.[10]

The videos and study guides for this class can be accessed at www.danielsegraves.com/blog.

[1] See also Mark 15:34.

[2] See Hebrews 6:1.

[3] I Timothy 3:16. Some recent translations have readings like “He,” “Who,” or “He who” instead of “God” in this verse. It has been pointed out, however, that “over 300 Greek MSS read ‘God’ while only eleven read something else. Of those eleven, two have private readings, two have a third reading, and seven agree in reading ‘who.’ So we have to judge between 97% and 2% , ‘God’ versus ‘who’” (Wilbur N. Pickering, The Identity of the New Testament Text, rev. ed. [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1980], 118).

[4] See John 1:18; I Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:3. Also see Daniel L. Segraves, Hebrews: Better Things (Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press, 1997), 75-77 and R. Youngblood, “Significance of Names in Bible Times” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Walter A. Elwell, ed.; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984), 750.

[5] The Masoretic text reads “like a lion” rather than “they pierced.” But “[a]ll the external evidence, the manuscripts and versions, supports the presence of a verb in the verse, probably with the meaning ‘they pierced’” (Allen P. Ross, A Commentary on the Psalms, vol. 1 [Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2011], 524). See also Daniel L. Segraves, The Messiah in the Psalms (Hazelwood, MO: WAP Academic, 2007), 353, n. 46.

[6] There are no textual variants for this phrase.

[7] See Walter Bauer et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979), 357 and Ray Summers, Essentials of New Testament Greek (Thomas Sawyer, rev.; Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1995), 17.

[8] In at least thirty places where the New Testament uses the words Lord and God in the same verse, there is no question that both words refer to the same Person: The Lord is God and God is the Lord. This is in keeping with the Shema.

[9] See Revelation 22:8-9.

[10] Murray J. Harris, Jesus as God: The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 1992), 129.

Discovering Christ in Unexpected Places 2

Lesson 2 | September 11, 2016

Prepared by Daniel L. Segraves, PhD

Psalm 22[1]

To read Matthew 27:33-46 and Psalm 22:1-22 together is to see the evident connection between these texts.  Psalm 22 has long been viewed as a messianic psalm fulfilled in the sufferings of Jesus on the Cross, and this is certainly supported by a reading of Matthew.

Matthew wrote, “Then they crucified Him, and divided his garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: ‘They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots’” (Matthew 27:35).  The prophet Matthew had in mind was David (see Acts 2:29-30), who wrote, “They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots” (Psalm 22:18).

The crucifixion was accomplished by driving nails through the hands and feet of Jesus to fasten Him to the Cross.  (See Luke 24:39-40; John 20:25, 27.)  David wrote, “For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.  They pierced My hands and My feet” (Psalm 22:16).

Matthew wrote, “And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself!  If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.’  Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, ‘He saved others; Himself He cannot save.  If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.  He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him; for He said, “I am the Son of God”’” (Matthew 27:39-43).  David wrote, “All those who see Me ridicule Me; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, ‘He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!” (Psalm 22:7-8).

Matthew wrote, “Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land” (Matthew 27:45).  This means that from noon until 3:00 P.M. night interrupted the day.  David wrote, “O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent” (Psalm 22:2).

Matthew wrote, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’  that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?’” (Matthew 27:46).  David begins the psalm, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1).

Another aspect of fulfillment is recognized by John, who wrote, “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’” (John 19:28).  This is an apparent reference to Psalm 22:15, where David wrote, “My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought me to the dust of death.”

In Psalm 22:1-21a, the Suffering Messiah is speaking, describing His experiences on the Cross.  In Psalm 22:21b He proclaims that His prayer for deliverance has been answered.  We know, from the New Testament account, that His prayer was answered not by sparing Him from the suffering of the Cross, but by the resurrection.  In Psalm 22:22, the Messiah declares His intent to declare the name of the Lord to His brethren and to praise Him in the midst of the assembly.  (See Hebrews 2:11-12.)

In Psalm 22:23-24, David speaks to the congregation, to those who “fear the Lord,” about the suffering of the Messiah.

In Psalm 22:25-27, David speaks to the Messiah.

In Psalm 22:30-31, David looks to the future and declares that the events of Psalm 22 will be recognized by “a people who will be born” to be the work of the Lord.  This “posterity shall serve Him.”[2]

Some have thought that Jesus’ plaintive cry, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me,” indicates that at the moment of His greatest need, God abandoned Jesus.  This is not the case.  Jesus’ words indicate instead the genuine depth of the emotional trauma He experienced; His suffering was not just physical; it affected every aspect of His being, materially and immaterially.  In the same way that any human being in the midst of the horrors of painful circumstances might cry out, “God, where are you?” (see Psalm 10:1), so Jesus on the Cross cried out of His experience of aloneness and the feeling of being forsaken.

When Jesus uttered the words of Psalm 1:1a, He acknowledged the messianic import of the psalm.  Although we have no record that He prayed all of the words in Psalm 22:1-22, we should understand His use of the first words as representative of His entire experience.  This is how the psalm was understood by the writers of the gospels.

Jesus’ feeling of being forsaken is further developed in the words, “Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of my groaning?” (verse 1b).  Although Jesus prayed, and His prayer was heard (see Hebrews 5:7), the answer was not to deliver Him from the experience of death.  His prayer was answered by means of the resurrection.  (See Psalm 22:21b-22.)[3]

Because the light of day was interrupted by the darkness of night for three hours, from noon until 3:00 P.M., Jesus cried out to God “in the daytime” and “in the night season” (verse 2).  There was no answer from God at that time; God’s answer would come with resurrection.  (See Romans 1:4.)

On the cross, Jesus acknowledged the holiness of God, which is demonstrated by His enthronement “in the praises of Israel” (verse 3).  The phrase “praises of Israel” is a figure of speech used as a “confessional reference to God’s rule,”[4] as seen between the cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant.  (See Psalms 80:1; 99:1.)  This makes very significant the tearing of the curtain separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place in the Jerusalem temple at the time of Christ’s death.  (See Matthew 27:51.)  The tearing of this veil represented the access into God’s presence that is now available to all people of faith on the basis of Christ’s death.  (See Hebrews 10:19-22.)

In Psalm 22:4-8, the Messiah contrasted His experience on the Cross with the experiences of the “fathers”[5] who trusted in God and were delivered (verses 4-5).  In contrast to those who were delivered, He said, “But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people” (verse 6).  The first part of this verse is, of course, a figure of speech intended to describe the extent of the reproach Jesus experienced on the Cross.[6]

The extent of the way the unbelievers despised Jesus can be seen in their ridicule of Him (verse 7).  They denied that God had any interest in the events of the Cross (verse 8).

The Messiah acknowledges the genuineness of His human existence and His dependence on God since His birth (verses 9-10).

The words of verse 11 are similar to those of verse 1b.  Although His prayer was heard, the answer was not deliverance from death.  The answer was resurrection from death.  (See comments on verse 1b.)

In Bashan, a fertile region east of the Jordan River known for its sheep and plump cattle, “a breed of ferocious undomesticated cattle roamed free.”[7]  The imagery of danger is vividly presented in the words, “Many bulls have surrounded Me; strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me.  They gape at Me with their mouths, like a raging and roaring lion” (verses 12-13).

The Messiah describes His physical condition in verses 14-15.  He is “poured out like water” and His heart is like “wax.”  These are metaphors expressing formlessness and His inner feelings of anguish; He can no longer function as a human being.  Like a dried-out and useless potsherd, He has exhausted his resilience and is unable to cope with the trauma.[8]  On the Cross, He cries out, “I thirst” (John 19:28).  Not only did Jesus experience dehydration; His bones were out of joint; He was brought “to the dust of death.”

Although dogs were domesticated at this time, “they still lived as scavengers, often roaming in packs on the outskirts of town (Ps 59:6, 14) and scavenging in town itself (1 Kings 14:11).  For these reasons the term dog is often one of derision and contempt in the Bible.”[9]

The Messiah described those who were involved in His crucifixion as “dogs” (verse 16).  They pierced His hands and feet.

On the Cross, the Messiah endured the shame of nakedness: All of His bones could be counted; the onlookers stared at Him (verse 17).

His garments were divided among those who participated in His crucifixion.  They cast lots for His robe (verse 18).  (See Matthew 27:35.)

The Messiah’s prayer in verses 19-21a recapitulates the danger He faced on the Cross.  He prayed that the Lord would not be far from Him (19a; see verses 1b and 11a).  He prayed for help (19b; see verse 1b).  He prayed for deliverance from the sword, the chief weapon used by the Roman military (verse 20a).  (See Romans 13:4.)  He returns to the imagery of the dog, the lion, and the oxen, or bulls (verses 20b-21a; see verses 12-13, 16.)

If Psalm 22 is a messianic psalm, we would expect the superscription to make some contribution to the messianic theme.  The KJV offers a partial translation and transliteration: “To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David.”  The NKJV offers a translation: “To the Chief Musician.  Set to ‘The Deer of the Dawn.’  A Psalm of David.”  Why, then, does the LXX translate the superscription as “For the end, concerning the morning aid, a Psalm of David”?

Kidner’s comments are helpful:

This may be a tune-name . . . but is better explained as a glimpse of the theme, and translated . . . ‘On the help of (i.e., at ) daybreak’.  The word ’ayyelet (‘Hind’, rsv) is very close to the rare word eyalut, ‘help’ (19, Heb. 20), and could be vocalized to coincide with it, if it is not indeed a feminine form of eyal (help), Psalm 88:4 (Heb. 5).  So the title draws attention to the deliverance which will light up the final verses of the psalm.[10]

If this is the way we should read the superscription, the psalm begins by pointing to the resurrection of Christ: This was His aid or help on the morning of the first day of the week.[11]

Psalm 22 is not the only Old Testament reference to the events Jesus experienced in His suffering on the Cross, but it is certainly a clear and sustained prophecy of the Event that brought redemption for the human race.

The videos and study guides for this class can be accessed at www.danielsegraves.com/blog.

[1] This lesson is abbreviated from the comments on Psalm 22 in Daniel L. Segraves, The Messiah in the Psalms (Hazelwood, MO: WAP Academic, 207), 71-77.

[2] The broad outline of Psalm 22 presented here follows John H. Sailhamer, NIV Compact Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 319.

[3] Notice the contextual connection between the death of Jesus and the words of Psalm 22:22 in Hebrews 2:9-12.

[4] Willem A. VanGemeren in Frank E. Gabelein, gen. ed., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991), 201.

[5] When Jesus says “our fathers,” He acknowledges His solidarity with the people of Israel.  This is attributable to the genuineness and fullness of His human existence.

[6] The statement “I am a worm, and no man” is certainly not intended to deny Christ’s humanity, any more than it is intended to be literally understood to mean that He is a worm.

[7] John H. Walton, Victor H. Matthews, and Mark W. Chavalas, The IVP Bible Background Commentary, Old Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 523.

[8] VanGemeren, 205.

[9] Walton, Matthews, and Chavalas, 524.

[10] Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72 (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1973), 41-42.

[11] See Mark 16:9.

Discovering Christ in Unexpected Places, Lesson 1

Lesson 1 | September 4, 2016

Prepared by Daniel L. Segraves, PhD

Introduction

The Psalms have been widely used as devotional literature, giving comfort and hope to those who are in difficult circumstances.  Many people have favorite psalms they love to quote or to meditate on, like Psalm 1, 8, 23, or 91.  The beautiful words and well-timed cadences of the Psalter sooth troubled hearts.  They assure us that we are walking on a path others have trod before us and that, if we trust in our Lord, there is the promise of a better day.

But there is something in the Psalms that goes far beyond this.  According to Jesus, Peter, Paul, and the consistent use of the psalms by the New Testament church, the Psalter is first and foremost a book about the Messiah.  This doesn’t mean only that there are a few “messianic” psalms scattered throughout the book.  The entire Psalter, from beginning to end, testifies of the Messiah.  When read as a messianic book, Psalms takes on a dynamic dimension beyond that of devotional literature.  It is no longer a section of the Bible that we turn to only when we are searching for encouragement or wisdom; it is a book we turn to in order to know Jesus better.  This does not eliminate its devotional value; it enhances it.  Now we see that the one with whom we identify in suffering and victory is not just David or other human authors; it is our Lord Jesus Christ.

For many years the first century church existed without a New Testament.  Until the first New Testament book was written, which was at least about fifteen years after the church was founded on the Day of Pentecost, the only Bible Christians had was the Old Testament.  From the time that the books that now make up our New Testament began to be written, it was almost another half century before the last book was completed.        How could the New Testament church exist without a New Testament?  This was possible because the gospel message is deeply rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures.  The first apostles found everything they preached in the Old Testament.

During His final days on earth, Jesus explained to His disciples everything in the Old Testament that concerned Him.  (See Luke 24:27.)  He said, “[A]ll things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me” (Luke 24:44).  By explaining the Christ-centered content of the Old Testament, Jesus “opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45).  He taught them, from the only inspired Scripture that existed at that time, about the sufferings of the Messiah, His resurrection on the third day, “and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46-47).

On the Day of Pentecost, Peter’s Bible was the Old Testament.  He quoted extensively from Joel and Psalms to explain the events of that day.  Twelve verses of Peter’s Pentecostal message were either direct quotes from Psalms or explanations and applications of those quotes.  It was Peter’s use of Psalms that led his hearers to ask, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).

To read the Book of Acts is to recognize the fundamental place of the Old Testament Scriptures in the mission and message of the first century church.  For example, to explain his message and ministry that led to the healing of the man at the Beautiful Gate, Peter said, “Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days” (Acts 3:24).  Since Peter had already identified David as a prophet (see Acts 2:30), this means that Peter believed David foretold the events that were occurring in the life of the early church.  This understanding was not limited to the apostles.  The church at large understood that the Book of Psalms foretold the treatment of Jesus by Herod, Pontius Pilate, and the Romans.  (See Acts 4:24-28.)

Paul declared that what he believed was that which was written in the Law and the Prophets (Acts 24:14).  He had done nothing offensive against the law of the Jews or the temple (Acts 25:8).  He was called before Agrippa “for the hope of the promise made by God to [the] fathers” (Acts 26:6).  In a very clear appeal to the Hebrew Scriptures for his message, including the inclusion of Gentiles equally with the Jews, Paul told Agrippa that he said nothing other than those things “which the prophets and Moses said would come—that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles” (Acts 26:22-23).  Rather than claiming innovation for his message, Paul insisted that he said nothing new.   After arriving in Rome, Paul told the Jewish community there that he had done nothing against the Jewish people or the fathers (Acts 28:17).  Instead, he was bound “for the hope of Israel” (Acts 28:20).  He “explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets” (Acts 28:23).

The New Testament quotes from, alludes to, or paraphrases the Old Testament in nearly 800 verses.   The book most frequently appealed to is Psalms, which is referred to 206 times in the New Testament.  Psalm 110:1 is the verse most frequently referred to out of the entire Old Testament; it is quoted, alluded to, or paraphrased twenty times in the New Testament.  Jesus Himself quoted Psalm 110:1, confounding the Pharisees.  (See Matthew 22:43-44.)

In the Book of Psalms, we discover that Christ, the promised Messiah, is the Son of God.  He is, at the same time, the Son of Man and, specifically, the Son of David.  The fact that He is the Son of God does not mean that He is in any way less than God.  The Messiah is God Himself in human existence.  The psalms foretell the Messiah’s birth, important events in His life—including things not found in the New Testament, His betrayal, His sufferings, His death, His resurrection, His ascension, His Second Coming, and the Millennium.  The Psalter foretells the proclamation of the gospel, the Messiah’s bride, and the gifts given to the New Testament church upon His ascension.

When our eyes are opened to the primary focus of the Book of Psalms, we begin to understand why this book was such a major part of the preaching of the first century believers.  And we come to know that through the reading of the Psalter, we will “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18).[1]

The videos and study guides for this class can be accessed at www.danielsegraves.com/blog.

[1] This introduction is from Daniel L. Segraves, The Messiah in the Psalms (Hazelwood, MO: WAP Academic, 2007), 9-12.