Psalms and the Restoration of Israel

What a glorious day it will be when the Lord himself descends from heaven to earth and reveals himself in his full majesty to the eyes of all mankind! To the unbelieving world, it will be a day of great judgment and wrath, but to the people of Israel, God’s chosen nation, it will be a day of mercy and prophetic fulfillment. A. C. Gaebelein writes of the conversion and restoration of Israel in chapter 7 of The Harmony of the Prophetic Word, and he finds prophetic evidence all throughout Scripture to prove that God is not yet done with Israel as a nation but will yet restore her and redeem her. Even the book of Psalms contains what Gaebelein calls “the blessedness which awaits God’s ancient people after the long night of their suffering…and all in fullest harmony with the testimony of the prophets.”

Psalm 14:7 speaks of that day in glowing terms: “Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD brings back the captivity of His people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.” The deliverance will come, not from Persia or from the West but out of Zion, the holy city, and it will be an act of divine mercy. Psalm 29:11 affirms this as well when it says, “The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace.” And the psalmist continues this theme in the next Psalm, declaring in v.11-12, “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”

Psalm 45 pictures the return of the King and is followed by three Psalms which describe what his coming means for the nation which first rejected him. Psalm 47:1-4 says, “Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! For the LORD Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth. He will subdue the peoples under us, and the nations under our feet. He will choose our inheritance for us, the excellence of Jacob whom He loves.”

Next we consider Psalms 80 & 81 in which we read this stunning prayer: “Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself. Then we will not turn back from You; revive us, and we will call upon Your name. Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved!” (80:17-19) Gaebelein explains that “The Son of Man, the Man at the right hand of God, the Man raised from the dead and made strong, is our Lord Jesus Christ, and He at last will be the restorer of Israel.” And the very next begins, “Sing aloud to God our strength; make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob. Raise a song and strike the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the lute.” (81:1-2) And this song of praise is echoed in Psalms 103 and 118, where it says, “I will praise You, for You have answered me, and have become my salvation. The stone which the builders have rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes….Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!” (118:21-23, 26a) The mercy of God will be displayed in its full splendor when he turns Israel back to himself and restores her to the position of blessing under the care and protection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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