Prophecy: The Christ in the Psalms (Part 1)

The Jews of Jesus’ day divided the Bible (our Old Covenant) into sections. Sometimes, they used a two-fold division: (1) The Law (Genesis – Deuteronomy) and (2) The Prophets (Joshua – Malachi). This two-fold division is frequently mentioned in the New Covenant (Matthew 5:17; 7:12; 11:13; 22:40; Luke 16:16; 24:27; John 1:45; Acts 13:15; 24:14; 28:23; Romans 3:21). Other times, they used a three-fold division: (1) The Law (Genesis – Deuteronomy). (2) The Prophets (Joshua – Job; Isaiah – Malachi). (3) The Psalms (Psalms – Song of Solomon). This three-fold division is mentioned in scripture (Luke 24:44; Also see Josephus Against Apion 1:8). Note: There was also a later three-fold division which developed from the Masoretic text. However, this three-fold division came much later.

Jesus told His disciples “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me” (Luke 24:44). Observe that He said that the Psalms spoke of Him. In this writing, we will narrow our study of the book of Psalms itself.


Psalm 40:6-8, “Sacrifices and offerings You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offerings and sin offerings You did not require. Then I said, ‘Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of Me. I delight to do Your will, O My God, and Your law is within My heart.’” This passage is applied to Jesus, by the writer of Hebrews (Hebrews 10:1-10).

Let us notice: (1) The writer of Hebrews indicates that Jesus said this “when he came into the world” (Hebrews 10:5). (2) God wanted more than the sacrifices of old. [(a) In truth, God has always wanted more than ritualistic sacrifice from man (cf. Ps. 50:8-15; 51:16-19; Isaiah 1:11-17; Jeremiah 7:4-10; Hosea 6:6; Amos 5:22; Micah 6:6-8). (b) Moreover, He wanted a greater sacrifice than the blood of bulls and goats (Hebrews 10:1-4). Adam Clark wrote, “It is remarkable that all the offerings and sacrifices which were considered to be of cleansing nature, offered under the law, are here enumerated by the psalmist and the apostle to show that none of them, nor all of them, could take away sin” (Vol. 3, p. 350).] (3) Jesus answered the call. He said, “My ears You have opened … behold I come … I delight to do your will, O My God, and Your law is within My heart (Psalm 40:6-8). (a) The words, “My ears You have opened” could be rendered “My ears You have bore (or dug).” This may refer back to being a servant forever (cf. Exodus 21:6). (b) While the Psalm reads “My ears You have opened,” the book of Hebrews says, “A body You have prepared for Me” (Hebrews 10:5). The writer of Hebrews is quoted from the Septuagint. It is possible that a transmitting error occurred while translating the Septuagint (Adam Clark explains how this would easily happen. See Adam Clark vol. 3, p. 349-50). John W. Haley commented: “We may first ask: Why did the Septuagint translators commit such an error in rendering the Hebrew into Greek? (Some suggest) that the translators misread the Hebrew (see also A. Clark) … The second question is: Why did the apostle employ this loose rendering, instead of a literal one? In reply, it may be shown that the fundamental idea is retained, even in the inexact phraseology … ‘Thou has fitted me for willing service in the execution of thy designs’” (Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, p. 152). (4) This one is spoken of “in the scroll”. That is, He was prophesied of in scripture (cf. Jn. 5:39; Lk. 24:44, etc.).


Psalm 16:8-10, “I have set the LORD always before Me; Because, He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore My heart is glad, and My glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope for You will not leave My soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” Both Peter and Paul affirmed that this passage was speaking of Jesus (Acts 2:25-34; 13:33-37).

Let us notice: (1) The one referred to would die. His soul would go to Sheol (Hebrew term equivalent to the Greek term Hades). [Sheol is not the grave. (a) The Bible speaks of “graves” plural (Exodus 14:11), but “Sheol” is always singular. (b) Graves may belong to people (Genesis 50:5; Judges 16:31), but such language is never used of Sheol. (c) Graves can be dug or hewn physically by man (Genesis 50:5; 2 Chronicles 16:14; Isaiah 22:16), such language is not used of Sheol. (d) Graves have an earthly location ( Genesis 50:5; Exodus 14:11; 2 Samuel 3:32), no such language is used of Sheol. (e) The body goes to the grave (1 Kings 13:30; Jeremiah 8:1; 26:23; 2 Samuel 21:14; 1 Kings 13:31), such language is not used of Sheol.] (2) His soul would not remain in Sheol. (3) His body would not see corruption (decay). Jesus, you will recall, remained only three days in the grave. Yes, the Bible proclaims the bodily resurrection of Jesus (John 2:19-21; Luke 24:36-39). (4) Knowledge of these things helped the one mentioned deals with the trials before him. Jesus said to the Father, “Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit” (Luke 23:46). Moreover, we’re told of him “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2).


Psalm 2:7, “The LORD said to me, ‘You are My son, Today I have begotten You.’” These words are thrice quoted and applied to Jesus (Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:5; 5:5).

When was this said? The reference is to the resurrection (Acts 13:33). It must have been said at that time. Remember these words “(Jesus was) declared to be the Son of God … by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). The crowning proof of Jesus’ authority is the resurrection.

Have you noticed how Psalm 2 ends? Psalm 2:12, “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are those who put their trust in Him”. Robert R. Taylor, Jr., writes, “To kiss refers to the homage, adoration and worship which is His rightful due. The anger refers to his displeasure of the Son if His Messiahship is rejected … But blessed indeed are those who place their trust in Him” (Studies in Psalms, p. 135-136).

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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2 Responses to Prophecy: The Christ in the Psalms (Part 1)

  1. Brenda Black says:

    “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach God’s Word”! Bless you, Brother Hodge.

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