Psalms and the Glorious Appearing of God

Chapter 6 of A. C. Gaebelein’s book The Harmony of the Prophetic Word is entitled “The Visible and Glorious Manifestation of Jehovah over the Earth and in the Earth.” This lengthy title simply means that he is now discussing prophecies, “which reveal the opened heavens and out of these opened heavens coming forth with unspeakable glory a Divine person in the form of a man.” When Scripture speaks of the Lord’s appearing, are men expected to look up and see it with their own eyes, or is it simply speaking in allegory and “spiritual” realities? Gaebelein argues that to spiritualize these prophecies is to miss the joy of the revelation of God and the blessed hope of the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ in the heavens.

Consider, for instance, the testimony of the Psalms to the Lord’s appearing at the end of the Great Tribulation. Psalm 18 provides a very powerful example of just such a testimony in which the psalmist speaks of himself in the 1st person yet his words suggest not his end but that of the Messiah. He speaks of “the pangs of death (v.4),” “the floods of ungodliness (v.4),” “the sorrows of Sheol (v.5),” and “the snares of death (v.5)which have surrounded him, and of his cry unto the Lord his God. Gaebelein says, “It is Christ first of all who is before us in this sublime song. He went into death and the deliverance was resurrection. But it is not Christ alone but also the remnant of His earthly people who will have to cry in the great tribulation.” The psalm continues with the revelation of the Lord in the heavens, at which the earth quakes and the mountains tremble, the skies are darkened and the voice of Yahweh thunders in the heavens. Of this Gaebelein comments, “Sublime picture, is it not? It will all be fulfilled.”

Next he points out that Psalm 29 also describes the Lord’s display of power and glory when he appears on that day, noting that It is the manifestation of His person, and His voice will be heard.” The psalmist says, “The voice of the LORD is powerful; The voice of the LORD is full of majesty. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars…The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness (v.3-8).” Then in Psalm 45 we read about the Lord coming in glory, and he is described as “fairer than the sons of men (v.2),and it is said of him, “You love righteousness and hate wickedness (v.7).” Certainly these verses describe Jesus when he came the first time to be slain as lamb for men’s sins, but he is further described “in this Psalm in His royal glory when He enters the earth again with His sword girded on His thigh, the victorious Conqueror who comes to rule the nations with a rod of iron.” What a picture of the Lord of glory coming to establish his throne in the earth!

Gaebelein says “The 50th and 68th Psalms give us additional descriptions of the glory of the coming of Jehovah, and in the 76th Psalm we read of it likewise. We cannot mention here all the other Psalms which predict Jehovah’s manifestation at the end of Jacob’s great trouble for the deliverance of the remnant of His earthly people.” Indeed there is great joy and hope to be found in the promise of the Lord’s coming!

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