Psalm 97 - The LORD reigns. Let the earth rejoice.
This psalm is about the 2nd coming of the Messiah (Hebrews 1:6; v7)
Psalm heading is from LXX "Through David, When his land is established." MT has no heading.
The many distant shores are the gentile Christians all over the world (Gen 10:5).
This verse is the fulfillment of Mat 6:10.
v2 - lit. Righteousness and judgment are the foundation of His throne.
Why would the earth and many distant shores rejoice at the Lord's coming back in clouds and thick darkness? These are the Christians and Jews and those that fear God rejoicing (v8).
v3 - lit. Burns His enemies round about
v5 - I translated the Hebrew for "presence" as "coming" as is done in the New Testament, and as interpreted by Hebrews. In the New Testament, the Greek word parousia meaning "presence" is used for the Lord's 2nd coming (Matt 24; etc).
v6 - Since v7 refers to Christ, this verse does also.
v7 - At the Lord's 2nd coming all who serve or boast in idols will be put to shame. This word is true not only for pagans, but Christians also who reverence images or relics of Jesus and of saints (1 Jn 2:28; 5:21).
This last sentence of this verse is quoted by Heb 1:6 which refers it to Christ.
The Hebrew word for "angels" is elohim, meaning "gods". LXX and Hebrews translated it as "angels", which is the meaning here.
The Hebrew text just says "gods", but LXX says "His angels", and Hebrews says, "angels of God". The DSS does not preserve this part of the verse.
The verse says "Him" instead of "the Firstborn Son".
"Judah" always refers to the Jews and never to Christians. The daughters of Judah are the Jewish people scattered over the whole world.
Zion heard and was glad by faith, because they heard of the Lord's 2nd coming in the gospel and believed before it happened.
The Jews rejoice when they see the Lord come back because of the His judgments because He judges those who are persecuting them and attacking the nation of Israel (Zec 12:4-9;14:2-3).
v9 - I translated the Hebrew word elohim, literally "gods", as "angels" as in v7. The LXX & Hebrews 1:6 translated it as "angels" in v7, but LXX translated it as "gods" in this verse. I think Heb 1:4 may be paraphrasing this verse.
v10 - The psalm now turns from praise of the Lord at His 2nd coming to exhortation to the saints. The 1st 2 exhortations are in this verse:
1. Love the Lord - the exhortations are addressed to those who love the Lord. Loving the Lord qualifies us to hear the exhortation (2 Tim 4:8; 1 Cor 16:22).
2. Hate lawlessness just as Christ does (Heb 1:9).
He who does not hate the false does not love the true; and he to whom it is all the same whether it be God's word or man's, is himself unrenewed at heart. - Charles Spurgeon
v11 - Today, we have light and gladness sown in us as a foretaste, and when the Lord returns it will be full.
v12 - 3 more exhortations to be ready for the Lord's return:
3. Rejoice in the Lord.
4. Give thanks
5. Remember His holiness.
Point #5, I think, is neglected by Christians in the U.S. today. William Longstaff heard a sermon on the text "Be ye holy, for I am holy" (1Pet 1:16) and wrote down what holiness meant to him in the great hymn "Take time to be holy". - Great Songs of Faith by Brown & Norton.
-copyright Steve Miller 4/19/2011