Thursday, 24 January 2019
The quote from Psalm 40 continues in this verse. It cites verses 7 & 8, but it isn’t a direct quote. Rather, it is a combination of two separate parts of these verses. The words reflect the Greek translation of the Old Testament. First, it says, “Then I said, ‘Behold I have come.”
Verse 5 spoke of God not desiring sacrifice and offering, but instead, He prepared a body for someone. In verse 6, it repeated the thought that God had no pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin. Now, to show what is pleasing to God instead of those sacrifices and offerings, the declaration is made, “Behold, I have come.”
It would make no sense for David to claim that he has come in place of sacrifices and offerings. He lived under the Law of Moses, and he was required, like all others under that law, to be obedient to it – presenting the necessary sacrifices and offerings according to the law. Therefore, because this is obviously not David speaking about himself, it must then be a prophecy of the coming Messiah. To say otherwise would be to damage the intent of the words, tearing them from their intended meaning. This is surely so because the quote continues with, “In the volume of the book, it is written of Me.”
Here, the Greek word translated as, “volume of the book,” is kephalis. It is a noun used only here in the Bible, and it indicates “a small head,” and thus a knob. By implication, it is the end of the stick on which a manuscript is rolled. That corresponds directly to the Hebrew word of Psalm 40:7, megillah, meaning “a scroll.” That comes from the word galal, meaning, “to roll.” Thus, this is speaking of a rolled up scroll that David says is already written, and which refers to Someone in a prophetic sense. As noted, David is not claiming that a prophecy of his own coming was made in a scroll. Rather, he is writing the prophecy, under inspiration of the Spirit, to indicate that a scroll exists which speaks of someone who has come. The words David writes are as if it is accomplished, even though it is a future prophecy.
But what “volume of the book” is David referring to? The answer must be the books of Moses, meaning the Torah, or Pentateuch. It is the law which prescribed the sacrifices and offerings; and it is also the Law which prophesied of the coming Messiah, in numerous ways, and both explicitly and implicitly. The accomplished nature of David’s words concerning the coming Messiah in the psalm correspond to the guaranteed nature of the promise of Messiah to come in the books of Moses. When God speaks, the matter is already done in His mind. The prophetic word is simply waiting for time to catch up with it. With this understanding, the final part of the quote is given with the words, “To do Your will, O God.”
The “will” of God is speaking of something which stands in contrast to the “sacrifices and offerings” of the previous verses. Again, this cannot be speaking of David. To force him into what is being said completely destroys any valid meaning which could be drawn from his words. Therefore, and without any possible doubt at all, this is a prophecy of the Messiah to come.
Verse 5 – “He came into the world,” meaning Christ.
Verse 6 – “In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
You had no pleasure.”
Verse 7 – “Behold, I have come.”
The author is saying that this verse is speaking of Jesus Christ and His greater work. For a moment, however, let it be assumed that someone hasn’t made the connection to Christ Jesus. It still does not negate the fact that the psalm points to a HUMAN BEING who would come and replace the sacrificial system found in the law. This is the necessary understanding of the words. The author will continue to explain this through verse 10, but it logically follows that this HUMAN BEING must die in order to 1) fulfill the Law of Moses, and then to also 2) initiate a New Covenant through His shed blood (Jeremiah 31:31).
The incredible part of what is stated here is that the Jews, who supposedly hold to the law and the prophets, fail to see this. David saw it in the law, and he prophesied of it in the psalms. Whether he actually understood what he was writing or not, the words are recorded in the inspired Scriptures, and thus they must be true, or this is not the word of God. And so why have they rejected what is claimed to have occurred in Christ Jesus? And more, why are they, once again, preparing to return to the sacrificial system in Israel based on the Law of Moses? And even more tragically, why do people, who supposedly believe that Jesus Christ is truly the Messiah, support rebuilding of the temple, or participate in various aspects of the Law of Moses, claiming that they are binding on Christians today? The answer lies in a lack of knowledge.
The whole counsel of the word of God is not taken into consideration, and teachers who are not properly competent to teach, or who purposely desire to place others back under the bondage of the law, do so anyway.
Life application: Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. As this is true – 1) No follower of Christ is bound to any precept of the Law of Moses. They are under the New Covenant. 2) Israel rejected their Messiah, who was clearly presented to them in their own writings (John 5:39), and thus their rejection of Him was a self-inflicted wound. 3) The efforts of Israel to reestablish the sacrificial system, though prophesied in the book of Daniel, is not a thing to be celebrated, but mourned over. It is a continuing rejection of Christ Jesus, and it will lead them into the tribulation period where two-thirds of Israel will be exterminated (Zechariah 13:8). 4) Pray for Israel now, that many will come to a saving knowledge of Christ before the terrible time of their judgment comes.
Lord God, Your word clearly and definitively states that a Person would come to offer Himself in fulfillment of the sacrificial system of Israel, and that in the shedding of His blood, a New Covenant would be introduced. It is not a hidden thing which occurred, but it was prophesied in advance, and then when it came about, it was meticulously documented for any who wish to verify the truth of His coming. Thank You that we don’t have a dubious, unverifiable faith in Christ Jesus, but a sure hope because of the word which foretold of Him, and which confirms that He came! Thank You for our sure and grounded hope in eternal glory because of the work of Christ our Lord. Amen.