“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord!’” (Ps. 122:1)
“For the Lord has chosen Zion. He has desired it for His dwelling place: ‘This is My resting place forever. Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.’” (Ps. 132:13-14)
The third and fourth installments of the Psalms 118 series shall focus on perhaps why it speaks of a great war in the Middle East I discussed in Part II, wherein Israel shall vastly increase her borders. Part II also speaks as to why, if J.R. Church is correct in his book Hidden Prophecies in the Psalms where he claims Psalm 118 prophesies of events to transpire in 2018, God will pour out His Spirit on His first covenant people causing them to say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Again, a disclaimer: I am no prophet, I merely read the tea leaves of past and current events because Jesus told us we should be reading the signs of the times (Matt. 16), and anyone who reads Church’s work will come to understand the concept has merit when compared with past events. Furthermore, God is not One to be put in anyone’s convenient box, and that is why putting dates to prophetic scriptures is always dicey business. To wit, last year many including myself were looking to the history of the blood moons and the Shmitas forwarded by Rabbi Cahn and others for something big on the world stage. Nadda. Do I believe the events I speak of in this series will come to pass? Yes. Do I know they will come to pass within this timeline? Absolutely not, but I believe the chronological order makes sense, and at some point very soon they will. The Bible urges us to examine all things and hold fast to what is good. I echo that sentiment, so again let the reader beware.
That said, the reason given in Psalms 120-134 [known as “the Song of Ascents”] for what occurs in Psalm 118 is simple: The Song of Ascents, or “The Pilgrim Song,” was the song the Jews sang as they journeyed from their homes to Jerusalem for the three Pilgrim Festivals: Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. Let’s put it all together by examining these 15 Psalms.
Psalm 120 [2020 for the sake of this discussion] begins with the Psalmist crying out for protection against deceivers with lying tongues. There can be little doubt about the lies biased media outlets from around the world are spreading daily about Israel, which further inflate an already tense situation. During the celebration of the US moving its Embassy to Jerusalem, rather than showing clips of Christians and Jews praying together during the ceremony all the “fake news” media could do was show the riots in Gaza. They blamed Israel for the violence there, with no mention of the Palestinians who started it sending women and children in to harms’ way, burning tires, throwing rocks and storming fences, all intended to incite a response. No, it was all about the brutality of the Israeli countermeasures put up in a purely defensive effort. The lies continue without ceasing, and they will only become worse and more wide-spread as Satan and the powers of darkness who know their time is short, and now utterly control the liberal left around the world, ramp up their war against God’s people: Jews and Christians.
At the end of Psalm 120, we see the beginnings of the conviction in God’s people to go home as the Psalmist says, “Woe is me, for I dwell in Meshech [what would be Turkey today] and Kedar [NW Arabia].” He speaks of dwelling too long with those [Arabs] who hate peace and seek war, even though he [Israel] is for it. Then, in Psalm 121, we find Israel “looking to the hills” for help from the Lord. In the reference from Psalm 132 above God speaks of Mount Zion being where He will dwell forever. Mount Zion is also referred to as the City of David, the Temple Mount, and in a broader sense all of Jerusalem. The Psalm ends with a reassurance to the Jews God will protect them from Satan’s evil plans and preserve their “going out and coming in.” So, we see a picture of restlessness on the part of God’s people who are tired of living away from home, praying for protection as they begin their new exodus to Jerusalem from around the world.
Psalm 122  is a Psalm of great joy, beginning with hearts leaping when the call goes out to “go to the house of the Lord,” and their journey is completed with “their feet standing within Jerusalem’s gates.” Their prayers are for peace and prosperity within her walls, and for seeking her good because it is the Lord’s city. Then, in Psalm 123, we find Israel crying out to God for mercy because “they are exceedingly filled with contempt.” Under the Old Covenant, eye-for-an-eye laws, would Israel not have been more than justified feeling this way about the attacks, lies, deceptions, injustices, and hatred the world now projects upon them? Ah, but after Psalm 118 [see article one in this series], such will no longer be the case. Jesus said we are to love those who hate us (Luke 6), and all vengeance and repayment of injustice was up to Him, not us (Rom. 12). No, after “looking upon Him whom they had pierced” and coming to salvation, they are now asking mercy for such thoughts rather than seeking retribution.
After Psalm 124, where God’s people are offering praise to God for His protection, we come to the next verse of interest in Psalm 125  where the Psalmist proclaims, “The scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous are led into iniquity.” Again, we find the concept of God restoring the land of Israel to its proper tenants, removing it from the hands of the wicked who now worship in the Dome of the Rock. One of the most repeated warnings from the Lord to His people was to refrain from looking around at the nations which surrounded them, desiring their women and following their gods. Having now learned their lesson, the people are trusting in God alone.
Then comes Psalm 126, where the people are recounting “the dream” of returning to Jerusalem. There is singing, laughter and praise followed by Israel proclaiming, “They said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for us!” In my last article in this series, I stated God would be the One alone to get the praise for delivering His original covenant people, and here we see the nations doing just that. Toward the end of the Psalm we find a perfect picture of Jesus, as we read of One who “sowed in tears [the cross] reaping in joy—Who went forth bearing seed for sowing [the Word and the Spirit] and comes again bringing His sheaves [saved Israel] with Him.”
In Isaiah 53 we read of all the sorrows Psalms speaks of, which goes on to say, “When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed and shall prolong His days. And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong.” There it all is: the sorrow, the joy, and the reward, and it’s all about the Jesus the Jews will have come to acknowledge and embrace.
In Psalm 127 we again see references to “The Lord building a house,” and the Jews “speaking with their enemies in the gate.” It also speaks of the people “being fruitful and multiplying” as was God’s command to Adam and Eve. If we apply verses 3-4 to God and His children, we see the ranks in Israel during this Song of Ascents—this “Homecoming”—swelling greatly!
In Psalm 128 , we find a concept I have written about perhaps more than any other over the years, and that is the critical characteristic of a holy fear of God in the believer. This concept is mentioned more than 40 times in the Psalms, is the opening message of The Lord’s Prayer [“Hallowed be Thy name”], is the “beginning of wisdom and knowledge” in Psalms and Proverbs, and book-ends the final judgement and characterizes all those who enter in to the marriage supper of the Lamb in Revelations. It is also, sadly, the characteristic most lacking in modern Christendom due to false teachings on grace and eternal security. The Psalm ends with yet one more reference to the Lord being in Zion.
Psalm 129 contains more remembrances of those who have persecuted the Jews down through history, and again mentions Zion, refusing them any blessing. Then, in Psalm 130, we find Israel praising God for forgiveness, mercy, and redemption! According to Hebrews 8-9, the reason God enacted a new covenant was due to the fact “His people could not keep His covenants and He no longer cared for them.” Over 400 years of silence ensued. God was done with His first covenant people. They’d worn Him out with their disobedience, and apart from a radical new approach there would be no more forgiveness, mercy, and redemption. But God, “for His sake and the sake of His holy name,” came up with that radical new approach. “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8)! Now there is forgiveness, mercy, and redemption in Him alone, which by this time in the scenario according to the Psalms, the Jews have come to embrace. And why does the Psalm say this great mercy has been extended? “That God may be feared!”
In the interest of brevity I will end this article here. In the next and final article in this series, I will finish up the 15 chapters that are The Song of Ascents, which reveal without question God’s new, NEW covenant people enjoying life in the tabernacle of the Lord on Mount Zion!