Home > Hermeneutics > In not a few instances the Scriptures possess both a literal and a mystical force: Example 5

In not a few instances the Scriptures possess both a literal and a mystical force: Example 5

The eighth Psalm supplies us with another example of a passage of Scripture having a double purport a natural and also a spiritual. The principal scope of that psalm, as its opening and closing verses show, is to magnify the Creator—by extolling the wondrous works of His hands. As David beheld the beauties and marvels of the heavens, he had such a sense of his own nothingness that he exclaimed, “What is man [enosh—frail, puny man], that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man [a diminution of “man”], that Thou visitest him?” Then his wonderment deepened as he went on to say, “For Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet.” Therein we behold both the sovereignty and the abounding grace of God, in so highly elevating one so lowly. This filled the Psalmist with amazement and awe, that God should have placed all mundane creatures in subjection unto man rather than unto angels (Genesis 1:28). Therein we behold the goodness of God to mankind, and the high favor conferred upon them. But that by no means exhausts the scope and sense of those verses.

Psalm 8:4-6, is quoted by the apostle in Hebrews 2:6-8, where he was proving from Scripture the immeasurable superiority of Christ over angels. He was indeed for a little while (during the season of His humiliation) made lower than they, but after He had triumphantly concluded the work given Him to do, God exalted Him far above them. Thus, what was spoken indefinitely of “man” by David, Paul makes a definite and spiritual application of unto Christ, for after saying “we see not yet all things put under Him,” he at once added “but we see Jesus,” which signifies that we see accomplished in Him the terms of that ancient oracle. All room for doubt on that score is removed by Paul’s next words, “who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor.” That Psalm 8 is a Messianic one is further seen by the passages cited from it in Matthew 21:16; 1 Corinthians 15:27, which unquestionably applies to the Lord Jesus. The language used by David, then, was far more than a natural outburst of admiration of God’s works in creation, namely a spiritual ecstasy as he was granted an insight into the mystery of grace, the kingdom of Christ, and the love of the Father unto the person of the Mediator.

But the ravishment of David’s spirit was excited by something more than what has just been pointed out: the “man” whom he contemplated was the “new man,” the “perfect man” of Ephesians 2:15, and 4:13—that spiritual Man of which Christ is the Head. David’s utterance had respect, ultimately, not only unto Christ personal, but unto Christ mystical, for the Redeemer shares with His redeemed the spoils of His victory and admits them to a participation in His reward. They are His “joint-heirs” (Romans 8:17), and it is their glorification which Psalm 8:5, 6, had in final view. Even now the angels are in a position of subordination to them (Hebrews 1:14) and in a coming day the redeemed shall be “crowned with glory and honor.” “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me on My throne” (Revelation 3:21, and cf. 21:7). The exaltation of Christ is the guarantee of the Christian’s, for He entered heaven as the firstfruits—the earnest of the coming harvest. Oh, what a prospect is there here for faith to lay hold of and hope to enjoy now! If it were more real to us, if we were more engaged in looking away from the present to the future, we should be filled with wonderment and praise, and the petty trials and troubles of this life would affect us much less than they do.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

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