Psalm 48: the new Jerusalem
May 12, 2006 § Leave a Comment
At first sight, this psalm sings the praises of Mount Zion and the old, powerful Jerusalem, in particular of God’s protection and blessing upon the city. And I don’t think it’s a mistake to interpret it that way.
Yet there is another way in which one could look at this psalm. Like in Psalm 46, there are certain clues which point to it as a prophetic description of the new Jerusalem described in Revelation, God’s city, which will descend from heaven to crown the newly re-made earth. Let’s look at them:
- “… in the city of our God, the holy mountain, towering in beauty, the joy of the whole world… the settlement of the great king; God Himself among its palaces…” (verses 1-2)
- “What we had heard we saw for ourselves in the city of our God, in the city of Yahweh Sabaoth, which God has established for ever.” (verse 8)
- “Both your name and your praise, God, are over the whole wide world…” (verse 9)
- “Go round Zion, walk right through her, count her bastions, admire her walls, examine her palaces, to tell future generations that such is God; our God for ever and ever, He is our guide!” (verses 12-14)
Now let’s look at Revelation and compare, verse by verse:
- “I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride dressed for her husband… In the spirit he carried me to the top of a very high mountain, and showed me Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down out of heaven from God.” (Revelation 21:2, 10)
- This is a promise yet to be fulfilled, but this prophecy mentioned in verse 8 of Psalm 48 is detailed clearly in chapters 21 and 22 of Revelation, where the new Jerusalem is described. I encourage you to read both. When we, those who hope to be saved, will see it, we’ll be able to say that “what we have heard we saw for ourselves in the city of our God…”
- “Look, here God lives among human beings. He will make His home among them; they will be His people, and He will be their God, God-with-them… The world of the past has gone… ‘Look, I am making the whole of creation new… I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 21:4-6)
- “It had all the glory of God and glittered like some precious jewel of crystal-clear diamond. Its wall was of a great height and had twelve gates; at each of the welve gates there was an angel, and over the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel… The curse of destruction will be abolished. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city; His servants will worship Him, the will see Him face to face, and His name will be written on their foreheads… They will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 21:11-13, 22:3-5) Again, I recommend you read these entire chapters to see the full descriptions.
As you can see, it’s not a stretch to think of Psalm 48 as a prophetic psalm, describing the New Jerusalem. The parallels are quite strong, and I’m sure if I looked, I’d find them in the book of Daniel as well.