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Thursday, April 8, 2010

4/8/10- Resurrection in the Psalms

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, 10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. (Psalm 16:9,10).

15 As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness. (Psalm 17:15).

15 But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself. (Psalm 49:15)

(David- Michelangelo)

     There are many who do not or will not see any talk or belief of eternal life in the Old Testament.  The last two blogs I wrote about two prominent passages in Job (which many consider as written in patriarchal times- Abraham or possibly before).  Here are three passages from the Psalms that appear to have hope in eternal life, and they are important for us.  Psalm 49 specifically contrasts the death of animals (sheep-14) and the wicked (17) to the death of those who believe.  Sheep and the wicked are said to decay but God will "take us to himself."  It even speaks of the wise (10-13) and wealthy die (6-9).  One cannot be smart enough to earn our way to eternal life, and cannot pay enough to earn our way there (9). 
     Psalms 16 and 17 claim to be ancient psalms of David.  Some scholars think that the concept of eternal life was not an ancient concept- therefore these psalms cannot be that early. But such thoughts are circular (it can't be ancient because it doesn't fit into what I think the ancients believed).  The idea of eternal life, even in pagan religions or pre-historic customs (Egyptian thought, even neanderthal burial methods) has been around.  Acts 2:27,31 sees Psalm 16:9,10 as a prophecy about the Messiah's resurrection.  But all three passages above could express hope and faith in our own resurrection.
     My point is simply this: for centuries even before Christ people believed in some kind of eternal life.  But there was no secured hope of it until the resurrection of Christ. Christ's resurrection confirmed not only Christ's teachings, but the teachings of others that went along with his.

Prayer:  Thank you Lord, that though I cannot be smart enough to get to heaven, or earn enough to get there, you have provided a way for me.  I join my faith with the ancients who believed that you will not allow your faithful to see decay.

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