4

In the Book of Psalms, Psalm 22, a psalm of David, appears to be describing Christ and His Sacrifice for humanity throughout:

Psalm 22:1-19: "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. 2O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest. 3Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. 4In You our fathers trusted; They trusted and You delivered them. 5To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not disappointed.
6But I am a worm and not a man, A reproach of men and despised by the people. 7All who see me sneer at me; They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying, 8'Commit yourself to the LORD; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.'
9Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts. 10Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother’s womb.
11Be not far from me, for trouble is near; For there is none to help. 12Many bulls have surrounded me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me. 13They open wide their mouth at me, As a ravening and a roaring lion.
14I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me. 15My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And You lay me in the dust of death.
sup>16For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet. 17I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; 18They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots. 19But You, O LORD, be not far off; O You my help, hasten to my assistance."

I have only listed verses 1 through 19 above because it is not clear to me that the entire psalm is speaking of Christ from verses 20 through 31:

Psalm 22:20-31: "Deliver my soul from the sword, My only life from the power of the dog. 21Save me from the lion’s mouth; From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me. 22I will tell of Your name to my brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You. 23You who fear the LORD, praise Him; All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel.
24For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard. 25From You comes my praise in the great assembly; I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him. 26The afflicted will eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever!
27All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations will worship before You. 28For the kingdom is the LORD’S And He rules over the nations.
29All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship, All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep his soul alive. 30Posterity will serve Him; It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation. 31They will come and will declare His righteousness To a people who will be born, that He has performed it."

Are verses 1-19 of Psalm 22 speaking of Christ, or is the entire psalm Messianic?

2

Many Christians believe the entire psalm is Messianic.

Is Psalm 22 a Messianic Prophecy?

This leaves us with the conclusion that the Psalm is, indeed, prophetic. The text of the Psalm itself also gives us reason to think so. The Psalmist writes at the conclusion of the suffering and deliverance he describes that:

“All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will worship before You,” (Psalm 22:27).

David’s own suffering did not cause all the nations of the world to worship the one true God of Abraham. Neither did the suffering of any of the kings, prophets, or patriarchs of old. Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection have done exactly that. Indeed, to this day, more families of more nations all over the globe continue to come to God through the testimony of Jesus’ suffering and deliverance. Not only do the details of the events fit, but what’s more, the stated result of the events not only fits Jesus but fits Him exclusively. This simply cannot be said of any other person and there is no way that the author of the Psalm meant it about themself and the events of their own life. Psalm 22 is a prophecy and one that was miraculously fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

Even some non-Christian Jews believe that the entire psalm is Messianic.

https://www.oneforisrael.org/bible-based-teaching-from-israel/psalm-22-prophecy-crucified-messiah/

Now, we would like to demonstrate how even our Jewish Sages recognized and admitted that Psalm 22 was a prophetic psalm about the Messiah. In fact, Rashi explains verse 27 as referring: “To the time of redemption, to the days of the Messiah.” [Rashi’s commentary on Psalm 22:27] Please pay attention to the following rabbinic Midrash which was written prior to the Masoretic text:

“During the seven year period preceding the coming of the son of David, Iron beams will be brought low and loaded upon His neck until the Messiah’s body is bent low. Then He will cry and weep, and His voice will rise to the very height of heaven, and He will say to God: Master of the universe, how much can my strength endure? How much can my spirit endure? How much my breath before it ceases? How much can my limbs suffer? Am I not flesh and blood? …During the ordeal of the son of David the Holy One, blessed be He, will say to him: Ephraim, My true Messiah, Long ago, ever since the six days of creation, thou didst take this ordeal upon thyself. At this moment, thy pain is like my pain. At these words, the Messiah will reply: ‘Master of the Universe, now I am reconciled. The servant is content to be like his Master.'” [Midrash Pesikta Rabbati, 36:2]

The Midrash goes on to clarify:

“Ephraim, our true Messiah, even though we are thy forbears, thou art greater than we, Because thou didst suffer for the iniquities of our children, and terrible ordeals befell thee. For Israel thou didst become a laughingstock and a derision among the nations of the earth; And didst sit in darkness, in thick darkness, and thine eyes saw no light and thy skin cleaved to thy bones, and thy body was as dry as a piece of wood; and thine eyes grew dim from fasting, and thy strength was dried up like a potsherd (Psalm 22:16), All these afflictions on account of the iniquities of our children.” [Pesikta Rabbati 37:137]

I selected their comments on Psalm 22:27. A strong case can be made that the entire psalm is Messianic.

2
  • So hard to see how anyone, reading this and trusting the rabbinical ‘order’, would not immediately recognise Jesus as the Messiah? It can only be put down to the stopping of ears and eyes, I guess.. Oct 27 at 0:35
  • 1
    I agree. But even for me, sometimes it's difficult to stay objective on certain issues. People tend to believe what they want to believe.
    – Tony Chan
    Oct 27 at 13:22
1

This one of the delightful cases where the Psalm applies equally to Messiah and David, the author. (Some verses apply more to one than the other). Note the very helpful comments found in "The Treasury of David":

That question mentioned Acts 8:34, is very proper here. Of whom speaketh the prophet this (Psalm)? of himself, or of some other man? It is confessed that David was a type of Christ, and that many Psalms, or passages of the Psalms, though properly and literally understood of David, yet had a further and mystical reference to Christ, in whom they were accomplished. But there are some other Psalms, or passages in the Psalms, as also some chapters or passages in other prophets, especially in Isaiah, who lived not very long after David, which either by those sacred penmen, or at least by the Holy Ghost inspiring them, which is one and the same thing, were directly, primarily, and immediately intended for, and are properly and literally to be understood of, the Messias; though withal there may be some respect and allusion to the state of the penman himself, who being a type of Christ, it is not strange if there be many resemblances between them. And this seems to be the state of this Psalm, which is understood of the Messias by the Hebrew doctors themselves, and by Christ himself, and by his apostles, as we shall see. And there are many passages in it, which are most literally accomplished in him, and cannot in a tolerable sense be understood of any other, as we shall see in the particular verses. And therefore I doubt not that David, though he had an eye to his own condition in divers passages here used, yet was carried forth by the Spirit of prophecy beyond himself, and unto Christ, to whom alone it truly and fully agrees.

Thus, David is portrayed here as a type of Christ (as often occurs) and other Psalms also speak of Jesus as well such as Ps 2 and Ps 110, etc. Jewish interpreters also recognize Ps 22 as Messianic. For example,

http://www.halakhah.com/pdf/moed/Sukkah.pdf, “The Holy One, blessed be He, will say to the Messiah, the son of David (May he reveal himself speedily in our days!), ‘Ask of me anything, and I will give it to thee’, as it is said, I will tell of the decree etc. this day have I begotten thee, ask of me and I will give the nations for thy inheritance,” (Sukkah 52a).

Also, Rabbi H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, Midrash Rabbah: Translated into English with Notes, Glossary, and Indices: Volume 1 – Rabba Genesis (Stephen Austin and Sons, LTD 1939) 365-366 http://archive.org/stream/RabbaGenesis/midrashrabbahgen027557mbp#page/n357/mode/2up

“Three persons were bidden ‘ask’, viz.: Solomon, Ahaz, and the King Messiah. Solomon: Ask what I shall give thee (1 Kings III, 5). Ahaz: Ask thee a sign (Isa. VII, 11). The King Messiah: Ask of Me, etc. (Ps. II, 8),” (Midrash Rabbah Genesis, Chapter XLIV, Section 8

APPENDIX - Prophecies with Dual Fulfillment

  1. Matt 24:3 - While Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will (a) these things happen, and (b) what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” Thus, Jesus combined the destruction of Jerusalem with the end of the world when He would return. This includes the “abomination of desolation”.
  2. Isa 7:14 - Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel. This was a prophecy about Isaiah's wife but was also applied to Mary and Jesus as per Matt 1:23.
  3. Joel 2:28-32 is an example of a prophecy that was fulfilled at Pentecost in Acts 2 but which appears to be capable of eschatological fulfillment again in the period before Jesus returns
  4. Hos 10:8 is about the wicked asking to be destroyed by rocks and mountains is a prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem; but it also receives a dual application by Rev 6:15-17 at the end of time when Jesus returns.
  5. The prophecy about Gog and Magog in Eze 38 concerns the punishment meted out to these pagan nations in OT times. However, it is given a second impetus in Rev 20:8 in the time after the 1000 years.
  6. Mal 4:5 predicts the arrival of Elijah the prophet before the “Day of the Lord” and the NT claims fulfilment in places like Matt 17:11-14, Mark 9:12, 13, Luke 1:17 as John the Baptist. However, the “great and terrible day of the Lord” (Mal 4:5) clearly also has eschatological fulfilment and confirmed by the indirect allusions to Elijah in the book of Revelation.
  7. Ps 22 is about the loneliness and isolation of David as many of his psalms were. However, it has been correctly understood by many, including Jesus Himself as Messianic, as conformed by Matt 27:43, 46, Mark 15:34.

Note that in all of these cases (this is not an exhaustive list), the second application can only be claimed where such is explicit in the Bible text itself and NOT simply due to the over-active imagination of the exegete.

1
  • Thanks for this great answer, both for its insights about Messiah in the Psalms, and for the appendix on examples of dual fulfillment. I believe your Olivet example could be a touch more reticulated than you outline here.. but would need to give it some more thought and attention before justifying that statement… Oct 27 at 0:49
0

Some of the verses can be applied to the Messiah but not all of them, after all it is "A Psalm of David."

I believe Jesus at Matthew 27:46 and at Mark 27:46 was quoting Psalm 22 to show the spectators that His crucifixion had been prophesied by David. Demonstrating that He was in fact the "suffering Servant" that had been promised by the Old Testament prophets.

It's also important to note that David's immediate reason for writing Psalm 22 was to describe his own feelings of forsakenness while he was being hunted down and persecuted by King Saul.

Like many of the Davidic Psalms, he began by complaining that God had left him. He says at vs11, "Be not far from me, for trouble is near; For there is none to help. Vs12, "Many bulls have surrounded me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me."

I am poured out like water, and my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax. It is melted within me. My tongue cleaves to my jaws; And Thou does lay me in the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded me; They pierced my hands and my feet.

Then at vs19, "But Thou O Lord be not far off; O Thou my help, hasten to my assistance. Verse 21, "Save me from the lion's mouth; and from the horns of the wild oxen Thou dost answer me."

At vs22 David begins to give exultation of God's goodness when he realized that He never really did forsake him at all. This is made clear at verses 23-24, "You who fear the Lord, praise Him; All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him etc. Vs24, "For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted.; Neither has He hidden His face for help, He heard."

Now, here is what Jesus said at John 16:32, "Behold, an hour is coming and has already come for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; AND YET I AM NOT ALONE, BECAUSE THE FATHER IS WITH ME."

Also at 2 Corinthians 5:19, "namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation."

It is without a doubt that all of us at times feel that God is not there whether in a "dire" situation or during everyday living.

In years past I have heard others say, "The Father abandoned His Son.' Or "the Father cannot look at sin so He turned away from His Son." At Luke 22:42 Jesus' prayer is quite intense and shows His humanity. "Father; if Thou are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done." Jesus is praying for His death to be averted, but only if it is the Father's will. We know the Father did not alleviate His suffering and in my opinion His Father did not forsake Him nor did He forsake David.

0

The entire Psalm is Messianic, though David is also drawing from personal experiences. It makes reference to different periods of Jesus' ministry from Suffering Servant to Conquering King and is interspersed with the psalmist’s commentary. Psalm 22:1-21 refers to Jesus as reproached and despised and who died on the cross for the sins of humanity. He prayed that God would let his cup of suffering pass, but accepted the Father’s will.

20Deliver my soul from the sword, My only life from the power of the dog. 21Save me from the lion’s mouth From the horns of the wild oxen...;

The second stage refers to Jesus’ resurrection. God did not spare him from dying, but he did raise him from the dead.

21...You answer me. 22I will tell of Your name to my brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You. 23You who fear the LORD, praise Him; All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel. 24For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard…. 26The afflicted will eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever!

The next stage is the millennial reign.

27All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations will worship before You. 28For the kingdom is the LORD’S And He rules over the nations. 29All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship...,

The last stage refers to the final judgment where every knee will bow.

29...All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep his soul alive.

The last two verses recount the greatest story of salvation with the Messiah’s role and righteous reign being described to future generations.

30Posterity will serve Him; It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation. 31They will come and will declare His righteousness To a people who will be born, that He has performed it.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.