22 August, 2016

Psalm 68:18—“… thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also …”

Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them (Ps. 68:18).

“If the Bible presents God’s blessing and cursing as sharply ‘antithetical’ from beginning to end (i.e. no mixture or overlap whatsoever), how then do we explain this passage? It seems to speak of gifts given to Christ for ‘men’ in general, including the ‘rebellious.’  Also, do not all men (including the reprobate) fall into the category of ‘rebellious’?”


Prof. Herman C. Hanko

[Source: Common Grace Considered (2019 edition), pp. 111-112]

Psalm 68 was written by David at the time the ark was brought to Jerusalem. The event was a type of the ascension of Christ, forty days after His resurrection, and of Christ’s exaltation to the glorious position at God’s right hand. It speaks especially of the blessings that come to the church from the exalted Christ, but it also speaks of Christ’s sovereign rule over the wicked for the benefit of the church. Concerning this sovereign rule of the wicked, the Psalm says three things: 1) the exalted Christ shall destroy, in His fury, these wicked (vv. 1-2); 2) the exalted Christ shall so use His sovereign power over the wicked to further the cause of His own church. He leads captivity captive; that is, He uses those great powers of darkness, that held His people in the captivity of sin and death, to serve His own purpose (v. 18); and He saves His elect from all these nations. The perspective is, of course, Israel—God’s people, the church of the old dispensation. But this salvation of a catholic church is the idea of the expression in verse 18 and is one of the blessings of the exalted Christ: “Thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.” This same truth is mentioned again in verses 31 and 32. All these are the mighty deeds of the ascended Christ. A part of the work of the ascended Christ is the gathering of a church from every nation.



More to come! (DV)

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