Israel's Place in the Plan of God
The Songs of Ascent, Psalms 120—134
by Dr. David L. Cooper

The Golden Era Of Peace

AS WE HAVE seen in our investigation of the Psalms of Ascents, the main thesis of these fifteen psalms is that of Israel's return to God in a spiritual sense, which will become a reality when he returns to his Maker, confesses the national sin of repudiating the Messiah, is regenerated, and saved. We shall now glance at each of the three short psalms, 131, 133, and 134.

Israel's Childlike Trust In Jehovah His God

Psalms 131:1-3

  1. Jehovah, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty; Neither do I exercise myself in great matters, Or in things too wonderful for me.
  2. Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child with his mother, Like a weaned child is my soul within me.
  3. O Israel, hope in Jehovah From this time forth and for evermore.

In the Revised Version the caption to this psalm is "Childlike Trust in Jehovah." This is true, but it is Israel's childlike trust in Jehovah. It is a definite prediction concerning the time when the entire nation living at the end of the Tribulation will be perfectly resigned to accept the chastisement which God brings upon the people for their rejection of Messiah, and will trust in Him to deliver them from their predicament. That the whole nation of Israel will thus turn to God from their iniquities and receive their Messiah is clearly set forth in many passages. A classic one on this point is Romans, chapter 11. Yet there are many predictions concerning this great event. The first verse of this psalm presents the nation of Israel humbly bowing before God in submission to Him to do His will. Thus the assertion is made that the heart of the people is not haughty, nor their eyes lofty; neither will they be exercising themselves in great matters or attempting to ferret out things that are too wonderful for them. We are living in a great scientific age. Men are taking nothing for granted, but are probing to the depths of various matters in the different fields of scientific investigation in order to ascertain the truth concerning the things under consideration. Thus far, they have learned many things about the material and spiritual universes; but as they settle some problems there are, as a rule, additional situations that arise and that baffle them. Thus the questions to be solved are becoming more numerous as investigation proceeds. It is the conviction of many that man will never be able to get down to basic facts and discover what is the real nature of the universe. In Psalm 131 we see Israel, having turned from the various fields of scientific research and investigation, and resting in a state of mind in which they trust God absolutely.

The sentence in verse 2 is quite suggestive: "Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with his mother ..." The statement that the people have stilled and quieted their souls indicates that before they reached this point, their souls were not at rest, but were disturbed, agitated, in doubt, and in fear. But now, by the grace of God, those who are represented in this picture which, as I have already said contemplates the whole nation of Israel, will have quieted their souls and will no longer be in distress and in perplexity.

The simile is most beautiful: The weaned child, after having fretted and cried, learns that there is nothing to be profited by such action. He, therefore becomes quiet and lies in his mother's arms, perfectly at rest and trusting her. Thus will the entire nation of Israel be, at the time of the end of the Tribulation, when they look unto Him whom they have pierced, even the Messiah. The psalm closes with an exhortation by David to all the people of Israel to hope in God from that time forth and forevermore. They will heed that admonition, and the deliverance will then come.

The United Israel Of the Future

  1. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
  2. It is like the precious oil upon the head, that ran down upon the beard,
  3. Even Aaron's beard; that came down upon the skirt of his garments;
  4. Like the dew of Hermon, that cometh down upon the mountains of Zion:
    for there Jehovah commanded the blessing, even life for evermore (Ps. 133).

In the study of this series of Songs of Ascents let us, before treating this Psalm 133, comment on Psalm 132 which is a forecast of the coming of the Messiah and the establishment of the kingdom of God upon the earth. At that time King Messiah will reign from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. Then there will be a united world. Then will be fulfilled the vision of Isaiah. This is such a wonderful passage that I wish to quote it herewith:

1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 And it shall come to pass in the latter days, that the mountain of Jehovah's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem. 4 And he will judge between the nations, and will decide concerning many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more (Isa. 2:1-4).

In this prophecy we see a warless world, a regime of righteousness, joy, and peace under the benign and powerful reign of King Messiah. This will be the Golden Era of which Moses and the prophets spoke. But it has never dawned upon this earth yet—but will when Israel accepts his Messiah and pleads for Him to return.

When a person looks at the past history of Israel, he sees that the nation has been torn with strife and division from time to time. All during the period of the Judges everyone did that which was right in his own eyes. Group contended against group, tribe against tribe. This condition continued for approximately 450 years. Then the kingdom was established under Saul. His reign started out well, but soon it was wrecked by unbelief and disobedience. The bright splendor of a glorious reign began when David started his reign. This outward glory continued through the reign of Solomon. But upon his death the kingdom was rent asunder, ten of the northern tribes withdrawing from the house of David and setting up a rival kingdom, which stood for 264 years. There were strife and contention all during this time. Never was there real peace and prosperity.

But Isaiah, in 11:13, foretells that the time will come when all of this hatred and jealousy, strife and envy, will pass away from among the Ancient People of God. The prophet Ezekiel spoke along the same line and foretold the absolute unity of the nation, as is found in Ezekiel 37:14-28.

What will bring about this unity? A hint is found in Psalm 133:2:

  1. It is like the precious oil upon the head, that ran down upon the beard,
  2. Even Aaron's beard; that came down upon the skirt of his garments;

Unity among the Hebrew people is here compared to the anointing oil that was placed upon Aaron's head when he was initiated into his office as the high priest of the Jewish nation. This oil, that is called precious, ran down upon his beard. It is considered here a most blessed, holy, and precious thing.

When we look at the oil of anointing and recognize that it was a material substance, we realize that there is evidently a hidden, or symbolic, meaning that is suggested here. What is it? one may ask. A clue to answering this question probably is found in the fact that when Saul, for instance, was anointed king of Israel by Samuel, the Holy Spirit came upon him and made him into another man. Thus the anointing ceremony was symbolic of the reception of the Holy Spirit. Since it evidently has a symbolic significance in our passage, we immediately come to the conclusion that it probably signifies the unity of the Spirit of God, which will come upon all Israel when the Ancient People turn to the Messiah and accept Him as Lord and Savior. The nation will be born in a day and the Spirit of God will come upon them and reside in their hearts. He will produce a unity of brotherhood such as the Jewish people have never known. This seems to be the fact that is spoken of here in this short, but beautiful and instructive, psalm.

This blessed condition will be the result of Israel's accepting the Messiah and of the work of the Spirit of God in their regenerated hearts. This unity of the people of God in the Millennial Age is likewise compared to the dew of Hermon, that comes down upon the mountains of Zion. It is a well-known fact to people in Palestine that, after the spring rains cease, the growing crops depend upon the dew (which comes down from Mount Hermon) in order to mature the grain. If these dews fail after the rains cease, the crops are blighted and are likewise a failure. Thus the dew of Hermon is a very vital thing to the people in the Hauran district, Trans-Jordan, and in Palestine. What the dew was materially to these districts, the coming of the Spirit will be to the people of the Millennial Age.

The Worship Of God During The Millennial Reign Of Our Lord

  1. Behold, bless ye Jehovah, all ye servants of Jehovah,
  2. that by night stand in the house of Jehovah.
  3. Lift up your hands to the sanctuary, and bless ye Jehovah.
  4. Jehovah bless thee out of Zion; even he that made heaven and earth (Ps. 134).

The conclusion of the Songs of Ascents is reached in Psalm 134. This psalm forms a fitting end to the Songs of Ascents. Unity in Israel becomes a reality. Messiah is welcomed back to the earth. He has mounted the throne. He has stopped all wars and established a reign of righteousness, justice and peace. The devil will then at that time have been bound and with the demons will be incarcerated in the pit of the abyss so that they cannot deceive the nations any more during the thousand years and cannot cause trouble. Then every man will dwell under his own vine and fig tree and enjoy for a long time the fruit of his labors.

At that time there will be topographical changes that will have taken place in the Holy Land. It will be level and become a plain, like the Garden of Eden—according to the prophecy of Balaam (Num. 24). In the central part of Palestine the mountain of Jehovah will be exalted above all the hills. It will be the beauty spot of the world. The top of this mountain will be fifty miles by fifty miles. It will be divided into three sections which, when counted from the north will be, first, the northern section with an area of fifty miles from east to west and twenty miles from north to south. In the central part of this northern section will be one square mile, which will be used for the temple of God, and which will be the house of prayer for all the nations. The middle section of this mountain summit will be of the same dimensions, fifty miles from east to west and twenty miles from north to south. The southern section will consist of a strip of land fifty miles from east to west and ten miles from north to south. In the central part of the southern section will be located the city of Jerusalem. Thus people will go up from year to year in a constant stream to worship Jehovah of hosts, the great King, as we have seen in Isaiah's prophecy (Isa. 2:1-4) and in many other passages.

The worship of God will continue in heaven day and night without cessation. All the celestial beings will render praise, worship, and adoration at the proper time. The seraphim and the cherubim will likewise engage in this most glorious, wonderful, and inspiring worship. The same thing will be true here upon earth. Men will go up to the mountain of Jehovah and worship God in this house of prayer for all the nations.

But those who engage in the worship of God at that time, that is, those who are engaged in the services of the temple, are, especially in Psalm 134, urged to carry on this worship during the night. Men ordinarily sleep at night and then work in the day. But the psalmist shows us that, during the night as well as during the day, this worship and praise will continue, moment by moment.

The worship that will be rendered at that time will be of the very highest order and of the purest character. Men will no longer worship by rote or in a ceremonial, formal manner, but they will praise God from the very depths of regenerated hearts.

Thus the inspired seer urges all the people to continue to worship and praise God as they should, even the God who made heaven and earth, and in whom they live and move and have their continual being.

May the time hastily come when these blessed conditions will be inaugurated upon the earth, and when the kingdom of God will come and the Lord's will be done upon earth as it is in heaven!