Psalms and the Great Tribulation

How do the psalms contribute to the overall prophetic message of the Scriptures? In his book, The Harmony of the Prophetic Word, A. C. Gaebelein shows how all of the Bible speaks with one voice on the future of Israel in God’s prophetic plan and the coming millennial kingdom of Christ. In each chapter, he surveys a sample of passages and draws out the common threads which run through Biblical prophecy.

In the Psalms, he finds extensive evidence concerning the Lord’s prophetic program. Concerning the Great Tribulation he says, “These prophetic songs are especially rich in predictions and vivid descriptions of the troubles which come upon a remnant of the sons of Jacob. Many Psalms contain the experiences of the God-fearing part of the Jews passing through the tribulation and being delivered out of the hands of their enemies by the coming of the Lord from Heaven. We read of the dangers and perplexities by which this remnant, brought back to the land of their fathers, is surrounded. Their sufferings are clearly portrayed, and we hear their pleadings for divine mercy, deliverance, and interference.” Gaebelein sees these, not as the experience of God’s people in the OT era, nor even of his people in the church age, but as the trials of the faithful remnant in the last days of this age before the second coming of Christ. He cites two passages specifically to illustrate his point:

Judge me, O God,

And plead my cause against an ungodly nation;

Deliver me from the deceitful and wicked man.

For thou art the God of my strength;

Why hast thou case me off?

Why go I about mourning,

Because of the oppression of the enemy?”

Psalm 43:1-2

Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God;

Secure me on high from them that rise up against me.

Deliver me from the workers of iniquity,

And save me from men of blood.

For behold they lie in wait for my soul;

Strong ones are gathered against me;

Not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O Jehovah.”

Psalm 59:1-3

It is not strictly necessary to agree with Gaebelein when he classifies these as direct prophecies of Israel’s future, even if one is sympathetic to his use of a normal, plain interpretation, but even if they are not directly prophetic, they serve to give us insight into the troubles that God’s people face in every age. He concludes, “It is very interesting and instructive to study these experiences, pleadings, and sufferings of the Jewish remnant in the coming days, the ending of our age, as revealed in the Psalms, and many are the lessons we can learn for ourselves, though we shall not be present on the earth when that day comes.”

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