Again, the psalmist is leading the worship of the nations. He calls to the “kindreds of the people” and to “all the earth.” He speaks in the imperative: “Give ... bring ... come .. worship ... fear”).
- Again, the exuberance of the worship is indicated by the repetition (“Give unto the LORD ... give unto the LORD ... Give unto the LORD,” Ps. 96:7-8). This type of language is awakening, stirring, inspiring. Preachers and song leaders should learn from the psalmist to be enthusiastic in speaking and leading. Speak out! Preach out! Sing out! God desires and deserves our best zeal. Professing Christians get enthusiastic about all sorts of things, but enthusiasm is rarely exhibited in the assembly. If the leaders don’t have passionate zeal for God, the church will reflect their lukewarmness.
- The millennial temple is described as “his sanctuary” and “his courts” (Ps. 96:6, 8). It is the focus of at least 12 psalms: “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early” (Ps. 46:4-5). “I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows” (Ps. 66:13). “Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee” (Ps. 68:29). “In Judah is God known: his name is great in Israel. In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion” (Ps. 76:1-2). “Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts” (Ps. 96:6-8). “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise” (Ps. 100:4). “In the courts of the LORD'S house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD” (Ps. 116:19). “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD” (Ps. 122:1). “Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD” (Ps. 134:1-2). “Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the name of the LORD; praise him, O ye servants of the LORD. Ye that stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God” (Ps. 135:1-2). “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” (Ps. 138:2). “Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power” (Ps. 150:1).
- The millennial temple is described in detail in Ezekiel 40-44. Sitting on the top of a high mountain, it will be the prominent feature of the region (Eze. 40:2; 43:12). Its glory will be seen from great distances. It is the crown jewel of a glorified Jerusalem, which will be “beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth” (Ps. 48:2). Isaiah describes the “king in his beauty” (Isa. 33:17). He sees Jerusalem built with fair colors, her foundations with sapphires, her windows of agates, her gates of carbuncles, and her borders of pleasant stones (Isa. 54:11-12). Glorified Jerusalem will sit in the midst of a world transformed by God’s power. It will exceed Eden. The waste places will become paradise (Isa. 35). The glories of this present world will seem as nothing. The temple courts are mentioned 40 times in Ezekiel. Surrounding the temple is an outer court and an inner court, with the temple itself lying within the inner court. The distance across the outer court from the outer gates to the inner gates is 175 feet (Eze. 40:23). The courts have walls (Eze. 42:15-20), pavements (Eze. 40:17-18; 42:3), pillars (Eze. 40:49; 42:6), galleries (Eze. 42:3), gates (Ex. 40:6, 23, 24, 27) and porches (Eze. 40:8, 9, 15). There are three gates into the outer court: north (Eze. 40:20-23), south (Eze. 40:24-27), and east (Eze. 40:6-16), with corresponding gates into the inner court. The gates are magnificent. They are about 44 feet wide and 87 feet long (Eze. 40:13, 15). They have posts and arches (Eze. 40:6, 21, 22), and the posts are 105 feet high or about 10 stories (Eze. 40:14). Each gate opens onto a porch or vestibule hall toward the court area (Eze. 40:9). Stairs of seven steps lead up to the outer gates (Eze. 40:6, 22). The worshipers will enter the courts by the north gate and the south gate, and will exit by the opposite way that they enter (Ex. 46:9).
- The millennial temple worship will be glorious beyond present comprehension. Christ will sit on the throne of His glory (Eze. 43:7; Mt. 25:31). This glory is a splendid divine light. “The earth shined with his glory” (Eze. 43:2). “... behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house” (Eze. 43:5). It is the same glory that filled the tabernacle and Solomon’s temple (Ex. 40:34-35; 1 Ki. 8:10-11). When Christ was glorified on the Mount of Transfiguration to pre-figure His kingdom glory, He shone “as the sun” (Mt. 17:2), “exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them” (Mr. 9:3). David will be there, leading the worship with his whole heart on an instrument of ten strings. He says in Psalm 144:9, “I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.” (For studies of David in the millennial temple, see the commentaries on Psalm 108:2 and 138:1.) The holy priests will sing and play with perfected skill to God’s glory. They are mentioned in Eze. 40:44-45. The Church will be there in her magnificent glory as the Bride of Christ. The millennial temple and the palaces of Zion will ring with holy singing and laughter by its joyful inhabitants and the pilgrims from the far corners of the earth. “Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. ... As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee” (Ps. 87:2, 7).
- The Psalms are filled with prophecies of the praise that will fill Jerusalem, the millennial temple, and whole earth in that day. See Ps. 33:1-11; 57:8-11; 66:1-8; 71:22-24; 95:1-6; 96:1-13; 98:1-9; 100:1-5; 134:1-3; 138:1-5; 145:1-12; 149:1-3; 150:3-6. The worship in the millennial temple will far exceed in glory that of Solomon’s day, though that of Solomon’s day was very glorious. The praise in Solomon’s temple was holy, orderly, harmonious, beautiful. It was bound by the law of God. The words and tunes were given by divine inspiration. Everything was under the control of God’s Spirit. The priests were sanctified and clothed in white linen. They used the instruments made by David (1 Ch. 23:5; 2 Ch. 7:6; Ne. 12:36). They were led skillfully by Asaph, Jeduthun (Ethan), and Heman, who were prophets of God and enthusiastic worshippers (2 Ch. 5:12; 1 Ch. 25:1). There were singers and 120 trumpeters that made one sound (2 Ch. 5:12-13). This was glorious praise, indeed, but it will be far exceeded by the millennial worship.
- “Give unto the LORD glory and strength” (Ps. 96:7). To give unto the LORD glory and strength is, first of all, to give Him our glory and strength. We are to love Him with “all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (De. 6:5). This is never fulfilled in perfection in this present life, but it will be in the resurrection body, beginning in Christ’s millennial kingdom. There will be no “old man” to corrupt, no devil to tempt, and no world to attract. Second, to give unto the LORD glory and strength is to attribute to the Lord glory and strength. God’s glory encompasses everything that He is in an infinite degree. His strength is almighty.
- “bring an offering” (Ps. 96:8). An offering is a token of recognition that God is the Author of all things, and it a sign of appreciation for His bounty. It is a way to honor the Lord (Pr. 3:9). Offerings will be brought to the millennial temple from throughout the earth. See Isa. 60:5-13.
- “come into his courts” (Ps. 96:8). We have already considered this. The courts of the Lord refer to the first and second temples and prophetically to the millennial temple. The exhortation to “come into his courts” can be applied today to the church, which is the house of God (1 Ti. 3:15).
- “worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness” (Ps. 96:9). This is repeated four times in Scripture (1 Ch. 16:29; 2 Ch. 20:21; Ps. 29:2; 96:9). In God’s eyes, holiness is beautiful, and anything unholy is ugly. God is “glorious in holiness” (Ex. 15:11) and “sitteth upon the throne of his holiness” (Ps. 47:8), and He must be worshipped in holiness. This is the Hebrew qodes. (1) Qodes is that which is set aside exclusively for God, separated unto God, devoted unto God, such as the “holy sabbath” (Ex. 16:23), “holy garments” (Ex. 28:2), the “holy place” in the tabernacle (Ex. 28:29), the “altar most holy” (Ex. 40:10), the “holy house” (2 Ch. 3:8), the “holy land” (Zec. 2:12), and the “holy hill of Zion” (Ps. 2:6). In this sense, qodes is translated “hallowed” (2 Ki. 12:18) and “consecrated” (Jos. 6:19). (2) Holiness (qodes) refers to God’s truth, sincerity, and faithfulness, such as “his holy promise” (Ps. 105:42). God swears by His holiness (Am. 4:2). (3) Holiness (qodes) encompasses God’s moral purity and is distinct from all moral filthiness. Holiness is God’s righteousness, godliness, justice, and truth. Holiness is the opposite of anything that is unclean (“... it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it,” Isa. 35:8). Holiness is the opposite of the unrighteous pollutions of this fallen world (“I will not let them pollute my holy name any more,” Eze. 39:7). Holiness is profaned by idolatry and immorality (Mal. 2:11). (4) Holy people are those who are “the redeemed of the LORD” (Isa. 62:12), meaning those who have trusted God’s salvation in Christ, those who have been cleansed of their sin by the blood of Christ, those who have been converted by the Spirit of God. Thus, to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness is to worship God in redemption. The unsaved cannot worship God in the beauty of holiness. It is to worship God in truth and in righteousness. It is to worship the Lord in accordance with God’s Word. Anything unrighteous, unclean, worldly (“the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,” 1 Jo. 2:16), false, heretical, anything contrary to God’s Word is not holy worship.
- “fear before him, all the earth” (Ps. 96: 9). God is to be feared. He is to be revered, held in awe, submitted to, honored, and obeyed. The fear of God is mentioned about 50 times in Scripture. It is taught seven times in the New Testament (Lu. 1:50; 12:5; Ac. 9:31; 2 Co. 7:1; Eph. 5:21; Heb. 12:28; Re. 19:5). It is the beginning of wisdom (Ps. 111:10). It is to hate evil (Pr. 8:13). It is a fountain of life (Pr. 14:27). It is riches and honor and life (Pr. 22:4). Note that all the earth is to fear God. In the church age the call to fear God has gone to the ends of the earth by the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The entire earth will fear God in a full sense in Christ’s millennial kingdom.
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