Derek looks at prophecies given by David in the Psalms where he spoke in first person concerning the resurrection but never personally experienced being raised from the dead. Peter quoted David on the day of Pentecost when he was witnessing to the crowds about Jesus.
It’s good to be with you again, sharing with you on this week’s inspiring theme: Resurrection.
In my previous talks I’ve explained that the primary confirmation of Christ’s resurrection is provided by the prophetic scriptures of the Old Testament; and I’ve also explained how the Holy Spirit worked through the Old Testament prophets to do this. I quoted the words of the Apostle Peter in 1st Peter, chapter 1, verse 11 where he’s speaking about the Old Testament prophets and he says, “The Spirit of Christ who was in them.” - that’s the Spirit of the Messiah was speaking about these things when he testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. So, Peter is saying, in some of the prophesies of the Old Testament prophets, it was the Spirit of the Messiah, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, that was speaking through them and speaking or predicting two main phases; first, the sufferings of Christ, second, the glories that would follow. So that what happened was, with these Old Testament prophets, that they spoke things in the first person, apparently referring to their own experiences, but those things never happened in their experience. But later, what they spoke in the first person, happened exactly in the experience of Jesus. So the explanation is, it was the Spirit of the Christ, the Messiah, in them, speaking in the first person about things that did not happen to the prophets, but which were exactly fulfilled in the subsequent experience of Jesus.
I quoted examples of this principle in my talk yesterday from the prophetic writings of both David and Isaiah. In the Psalms I mentioned how David said, “They pierced my hands and my feet; they gave me vinegar to drink. They divided my garments and cast lots for them,” all things which never happened to David but all of which happened to Jesus in the crucifixion. And then I also quoted from Isaiah, chapter 50, where Isaiah says, “I gave My back to the smiters and My cheeks to those that plucked off the hair; I did not hide My face from the shame and the spitting.” Again, things of which there is no record that they ever happened to Isaiah, but which are clearly recorded in the New Testament as having happened to Jesus.
Well, my talk today, I want to develop this theme further, and I want to share with you two specific predictions of Christ’s resurrection from the Psalms of David. So, we’re going to apply this principle of Old Testament prophesy to the writings of David, in the Book of Psalms, and particularly, writings that predicted the resurrection of Jesus. The first such passage is Psalm 16, verses 8 through 11, where David says this:
“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. You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasure forevermore.” (NKJ)
Notice that all the way through, David is speaking in the first person and yet there are many things he says in the person that were not fulfilled in his experience. He says, first of all, “My flesh also will rest in hope.” He speaks about a body that is to be buried, but buried in hope of resurrection. Then he says, “You will not leave my soul in Sheol.” He’s speaking of someone whose soul descended into Sheol, that’s the place of the departed spirits, but did not remain there, “Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” He’s speaking about someone whose body was buried but never underwent the experience of corruption, and this person is here called God’s Holy One. And then in the following verse he says, “You will show me the path of life.” So here’s someone who has been dead and buried and yet comes back into the path of life, and then he says, “In Your presence [in God’s presence] is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forever.” This person who has died and been buried and come back to life is brought into the immediate presence of God and takes His place at God’s right hand. Now, none of those things happened to David; all of them happened to Jesus.
In Acts, chapter 2, verses 24 through 28, the Apostle Peter speaking to a large crowd of Jewish people on the day of Pentecost, specifically applies this prophesy to Jesus. He says about Jesus:
“God raised Him up, from the dead, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. [And then he quotes this Psalm] For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken; Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh will also rest in hope, Because You will not leave my soul in Hades, [that’s the Greek name for Sheol] Nor will you allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’” (NKJ)
And then in the following verses, Peter goes on to interpret these words and show how they applied exactly to Jesus but did not apply to David. In Acts 2, verses 29 through 32, this is what Peter goes on to say:
“Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. [So there’s the historical evidence that these words concerning resurrection were not fulfilled in the experience of David. He says, ‘I can take you to the tomb and show you where he was buried and from which he was not resurrected.’ Then he says in the following verses] Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ [the Messiah] to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, [the Messiah] that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. ‘This Jesus God has raised up, of which we all are witnesses.’” (NKJ)
So, you understand what Peter is saying. It didn’t happen to David, but it happened exactly to Jesus and prophetically David, in that Psalm, was foreshowing the resurrection of Christ. It was Christ’s soul that descended into Hades but was not left there, and it was Christ’s flesh in the tomb which never saw corruption. And so, Peter sums it up with these powerful words, “This Jesus, God has raised up, of which we all are witnesses.” And there’s the second confirmation, the witnesses who saw Him alive after His death and resurrection.
Now I want to turn to one other passage in the Book of Psalms where again David is speaking in the first person, but he’s speaking of things that did not happen to him, but which were exactly fulfilled in the experience of the Messiah who was of course descended from his line. This time it’s Psalms 71, verses 20 and 21. The Psalmist is speaking to God and he says:
“You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, Shall revive me again, And bring me up again from the depths of the earth. You shall increase my greatness, And comfort me on every side.” (NKJ)
It is truly amazing how exactly that predicts, step by step, and phase by phase, the experience of Jesus. Let’s look at that, phase by phase record just briefly. First of all, “You have shown me great and severe troubles.” Certainly that was fulfilled in Jesus, in His trial, rejection, scourging, and ultimately crucifixion and death; great and severe troubles. But then it says, “You shall revive me again, You will bring me back to life again, and You shall bring me up again from the depths of the earth,” which speaks of two things, the soul of Jesus being recalled from Hades or Sheol, and His body being brought back out of the tomb. That’s one of clearest statements of physical resurrection that is to be found anywhere in the Old Testament. Let me read those words again, “You will bring me up again from the depths of the earth,” but first, God revived Him. God made Him alive, then He brought Him up again, and that’s the order which is emphasized also in the New Testament. Then after resurrection, the Psalmist goes on to say, “You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side. Again, the New Testament abundantly records how that was fulfilled in the experience of Jesus. God not merely resurrected Him, but He raised Him up to Heaven and gave Him a seat at His right hand, on the throne, by His side. Surely that was increasing His greatness. The New Testament says, “He’s been exalted far above every principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named and that angels and principalities and powers have been made subject to Him.” Surely His greatness was increased, but the Psalmist also says, “You shall comfort me on every side.” Not merely did Jesus receive the position of supreme authority and honor in the Universe, but also He was comforted by His restoration to the bosom of the Father from whom He had been separated briefly for the sufferings of death. The ultimate word there is comfort.
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing with you another specific Old Testament prophesy of Christ’s resurrection, taken from the Prophet Hosea.