Archive for the ‘Psalms’ Category

Does Allah Preserve His Words?

February 7, 2012

Since I am on James White’s blogging team, and am friends with him, I was sure to carefully read an article posted with the alarming title, “Exposing James White’s Deceit and Ignorance of Islamic Scripture,” from the “Calling Christians” website.

The title wasn’t supported by the body of the piece. “Deceit and Ignorance” turned out to be, at most, a difference of opinion between the author of the piece and my friend, Dr. White. The article begins thus:

In a recent twitter exchange with James White, I found him proposing such an absurd view of Islamic ‘aqidah that I simply had to write an article to correct his misinformation. In the field of academia, we try our best to uphold certain standards, however Alpha and Omega Ministries as missionary zealots don’t have to appeal to this high standard of intellectualism. So what exactly is James’ problem this time around? Let’s see:

[twitter post images here, in which Dr. White states: “How do you explain such texts as 5:47, 5:68, and 10:94 if you affirm (as you have) tahrif il-lafzi?”]

In essence, James White is appealing to the fallacious argument of appeal to ad ignorantium. Summarily, he’s trying to expound the concept that Muslims believe in a self contradicting tenet. This being, that in Islam, while we believe God’s word cannot become corrupted, we also believe that “God’s word” did come corrupt. For example, we say the Qur’an is the word of Allaah and therefore it cannot be changed or corrupted, yet in the same voice, supposedly we claim that the Injil and Tawrah, which are also the words of Allaah, have been altered. The terms which James is trying to use are, Tahrif ul Lafzi (corruption of written words) and Tahrif ul M’anavi (corruption of meaning).

What James White and his missionary zealot friends try to assert is that Muslims have not only a contradicting belief, but because of this belief it is the Qur’an which is wrong and the Bible is the true word of God.

There is a lot of baggage mixed in there, but the author of the piece is correct that we think that it is inconsistent to hold to the ideas that (1) Allah preserves his word, (2) the Old and New Testaments are the word of Allah, and (3) the Old and New Testaments are corrupt.

We are aware that the way Muslims attempt to hold these two ideas is by limiting (1) to simply saying that Allah preserves some portion (or all) of the Qur’an and/or by denying that the Old and New Testaments correspond to the Torah and Injeel.

This particular author begins his response, following the introduction above:

The Islamic belief is that God protects His revelations from becoming corrupt, altered and interfered with. In this regard, we do not hold the belief that God’s words can succumb to corruption, alteration and human interference.

Thus, this particular author has made a more general statement, akin to our (1) above.

The author continues:

Therefore we must correct James’ assertion that we believe God’s words can be corrupted by man, the Qur’an is clear that God would not allow this. It is the belief of all Muslims and if one did not know this belief (you now kn0w) that it is impermissible for a Muslim to believe that God’s words can become corrupted.

Clearly, the author has misunderstood Dr. White’s point. Dr. White was not arguing for corruption of God’s word, but simply noting a contradiction within Islamic views.

The author proceeds:

With that in mind what about the verses in the Qur’an which mention the corruption of the previous scriptures such as the Injil, Tawrah and Zabur?

The author then sets forth the basic gist of the points about corruption:

There are many verses in the Qur’an which indicate to us that God’s wahy (revelation) has been skewered by the hands of man, both literal words changes and contextual alterations (interpretations):

يُحَرِّ‌فُونَ الْكَلِمَ عَنْ مَوَاضِعِهِ ۙ وَنَسُوا حَظًّا مِمَّا ذُكِّرُ‌وا بِهِ ۚ وَلَا تَزَالُ تَطَّلِعُ عَلَىٰ خَائِنَةٍ مِنْهُمْ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا مِنْهُمْ ۖ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاصْفَحْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِي
They distort words from their [proper] usages and have forgotten a portion of that of which they were reminded. And you will still observe deceit among them, except a few of them. But pardon them and overlook [their misdeeds]. Indeed, Allah loves the doers of good. – Qur’an : 5 : 13.

وَإِنَّ مِنْهُمْ لَفَرِ‌يقًا يَلْوُونَ أَلْسِنَتَهُمْ بِالْكِتَابِ لِتَحْسَبُوهُ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمَا هُوَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَيَقُولُونَ هُوَ مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّـهِ وَمَا هُوَ مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّـهِ وَيَقُولُونَ عَلَى اللَّـهِ الْكَذِبَ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ
And indeed, there is among them a party who alter the Scripture with their tongues so you may think it is from the Scripture, but it is not from the Scripture. And they say, “This is from Allah,” but it is not from Allah. And they speak untruth about Allah while they know. – Qur’an : 3 : 78.

مِنَ الَّذِينَ هَادُوا يُحَرِّ‌فُونَ الْكَلِمَ عَنْ مَوَاضِعِهِ وَيَقُولُونَ سَمِعْنَا وَعَصَيْنَا وَاسْمَعْ غَيْرَ‌ مُسْمَعٍ وَرَ‌اعِنَا لَيًّا بِأَلْسِنَتِهِمْ وَطَعْنًا فِي الدِّينِ ۚ وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ قَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا وَاسْمَعْ وَانْظُرْ‌نَا لَكَانَ خَيْرً‌ا لَهُمْ وَأَقْوَمَ وَلَـٰكِنْ لَعَنَهُمُ اللَّـهُ بِكُفْرِ‌هِمْ فَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا
Among the Jews are those who distort words from their [proper] usages and say, “We hear and disobey” and “Hear but be not heard” and “Ra’ina,” twisting their tongues and defaming the religion. And if they had said [instead], “We hear and obey” and “Wait for us [to understand],” it would have been better for them and more suitable. But Allah has cursed them for their disbelief, so they believe not, except for a few. – Qur’an : 4 : 46.

We seemingly have arrived at a theological impasse. On one end, we read above that God would protect His revelations and now we’re reading that God’s revelations were altered by men, corrupted, their meanings and letters distorted. Yet, before we jump to conclusions, we have to analyse what we have attained so far:

(1) God’s words cannot become corrupted.
(2) God’s words did become corrupted.

There seems to be a clear disconnect here.

So far, the author seems to have provided a reasonable presentation of the position he is arguing against, although we would say “God’s word” rather than “God’s words.”

The author then attempts to identify a solution to the disconnect:

Something’s missing from this puzzle and we know what it is. Context. Did God’s word in itself become corrupted? And this is a question we must take seriously into consideration. What we see from the above verses is that there are two cases for God’s word apparently becoming corrupted:

(1) Interpretative alterations.
(2) Textual alterations.

With this in mind, let’s examine both cases.

We certainly have no objection to contextual consideration of the Qur’an, despite the seeming possible futility of applying a contextual method to what amounts to a posthumous topical collection of recalled sayings.

The author then posed the argument based on context:

It is true as we read from the Qur’aan: 5:13, 4:46, 3:78 that God’s revelations were reinterpreted. These interpretations followed the folly desires of men, in some areas to abrogate God’s law to suit material wants and desires, for power, even for illicit pleasures:

Their gist is that the Jews were habitually used to issuing religious edicts as desired by the people, either for the benefit of relatives or to satisfy their greed for money, property, influence, and recognition. This had become a common custom particularly in matters involving punishments that they would, if the crime was committed by an influential person, change the severe punishment of the Torah into an ordinary one. It is this behaviour, part of theirs which has been described in the first verse (41) in the following words: يُحَرِّ‌فُونَ الْكَلِمَ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَوَاضِعِهِ (They displace the words after their having been placed properly).

Now the people who were used to making the severe punishments of the Torah easy for their clients by changing them saw an opportunity for themselves whereby they could take such shady matters to the Holy Prophet {saw} and make him their judge or arbitrator. The dual advantage they saw in it was that they would reap the benefits of all easy and light rules of Islamic law, while at the same time, they would not have to commit the crime of altering the Torah. But, here too, they had their crookedness at work as they would hold on to their decision of taking their case to him until such time that they succeeded in finding out beforehand through some source or ruse as to the actual verdict which would be delivered in their case when presented. Then, if they found this verdict matching their wishes, they would make him their arbitrator and have him decide their case. If it happened to be contrary to their wishses, they would leave it at that.- Tafsir Maar’iful Qur’aan : Mufti Rafi Uthmani, pages 164- 165.

However, God did guard the message (risalah) of the revelations (wahy). God sent messengers, prophets to correct the wrong interpretations by these pseudo religious scholars:

إِذْ أَرْ‌سَلْنَا إِلَيْهِمُ اثْنَيْنِ فَكَذَّبُوهُمَا فَعَزَّزْنَا بِثَالِثٍ فَقَالُوا إِنَّا إِلَيْكُمْ مُرْ‌سَلُونَ
When We sent to them two but they denied them, so We strengthened them with a third, and they said, “Indeed, we are messengers to you.” – Qur’an : Suratul Yasin (36) : 14.

In fact, the New Testament, confirms that Messengers were sent to the people who tried to alter His message through new interpretations:

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. – Bible : Matthew (23) : 37.

So as we can see, the Qur’an is correct, God did protect the meaning of His message, until newer revelation was sent. For example the Qur’an abrogates the Injil as the Injil abrogated the Tawrah, and if the case arose where persons were distorting the meaning of a scripture or Prophet’s message, we read that God sent apostles, messengers, Prophets in some instances to correct the people (see 36:14 above).

Regarding the author’s conclusion, the solution he is offering is a qualification on the protection of “until newer revelation was sent.” That solution is not actually found in the materials he has identified.  In other words, the context has not substantiated his charge.

It seems that (for part of the argument) the author is trying to argue that the Qur’an’s references to corruption relate to attempted corruption of the meaning, but that this attempted corruption was essentially ineffective.  This approach might make sense, but would imply that the meaning remains intact.  That solution implies that the Old and New Testaments are intact in their meaning (within the context of Dr. White’s criticism).

But the author of the article is not finished.  He continues:

However, now we’ve arrived at the crux of the matter, textual corruption. As Muslims we assert that God’s message is preserved by God (as seen above, contextually), but what about textually? We read earlier that God protects His message in totality, that is, textually and contextually (meanings, interpretations). However as Muslims, we also do say that we do not believe in the Old Testaments of the Jews and Christians nor do we believe in the New Testaments of the Christians as being valid, because we assert they are not the words of God. Since they are not the words of God, they can indeed become corrupted and God did not promise to guard the works of man, but only His words.

This is the approach mentioned above of denying that the Old and New Testaments correspond to the Torah and Injeel. But is this feasible? Let’s consider how the author of the article tries to defend this approach:

For example, in the case of the Old Testament, where missionary zealots such as Sam Shamoun and James White try to propose, that their Torah is the Torah from Allaah, we have to correct that appeal to ignorance. The Qur’an does not say that the Old Testament is the word of God, in fact, we read above (5:13) where the Qur’an calls the Torah/ Old Testament of the Jews and Christians as being interpolations from the tongues and minds of men. It is in this regard that the Islamic belief is not that God’s word was corrupted, but that people wrote words and then claimed them to be God’s:

فَوَيْلٌ لِلَّذِينَ يَكْتُبُونَ الْكِتَابَ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ هَـٰذَا مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّـهِ لِيَشْتَرُ‌وا بِهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا ۖ فَوَيْلٌ لَهُمْ مِمَّا كَتَبَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَوَيْلٌ لَهُمْ مِمَّا يَكْسِبُونَ
So woe to those who write the “scripture” with their own hands, then say, “This is from Allah,” in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn. – Qur’an : Suratul Baqarah (2) : 79.

With that being said, we must come to the understanding that when the Qur’an says that the message became corrupted, that is textually, it refers to those who put aside God’s revelation and in its stead, replaced the void with their own sayings, beliefs and propaganda. One example is of the Christian New Testament. The Qur’an says that a scripture (Injil) was given to Jesus (Issa, may God be pleased with him):

وَقَفَّيْنَا عَلَىٰ آثَارِ‌هِمْ بِعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْ‌يَمَ مُصَدِّقًا لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ التَّوْرَ‌اةِ ۖ وَآتَيْنَاهُ الْإِنْجِيلَ فِيهِ هُدًى وَنُورٌ‌ وَمُصَدِّقًا لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ التَّوْرَ‌اةِ وَهُدًى وَمَوْعِظَةً لِلْمُتَّقِي
And We sent, following in their footsteps, Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming that which came before him in the Torah; and We gave him the Gospel, in which was guidance and light and confirming that which preceded it of the Torah as guidance and instruction for the righteous. – Qur’an : 5: 46.

However Christians by themselves prove the Islamic belief of textual corruption as displayed above:

(1) Muslims believe that Jesus (Issa, may God be pleased with him) was given a revelation by God called the Injil.
(2) Christians believe that inspired scripture about Jesus originated with the apostles of Christ.

Therefore the Christian argument in reality disproves itself.

As for the last argument, this argument is only relevant to the Gospels, not to the Torah or the Zabur (Psalter, book of Psalms). Moreover, this argument presupposes that it is true that the Injil was given as a revelation to Jesus. However, this assertion itself is not correct. Indeed, it is simply another error of Mohamed’s teaching.

This point is also something of a red herring. Even if there were a different book called the Injil that was allegedly given to Jesus, where has this been preserved at all? In other words, the situation is much worse for the Muslim who tries to avail himself of this particular argument. Instead of simply small textual variants in the New Testament, now the Muslim must account for the seeming complete destruction of the whole book and any record of its existence. After all, there is no record before Mohammed of any book given to Jesus.

There is a similar problem with respect to the argument about the Torah. So, the Muslim is claiming that the Torah which has been preserved is not the Torah referenced in the Qur’an. But then the lack of preservation is much worse than the Muslim has contended – the original Torah is completely gone if the one we have is not the original Torah but some new fake Torah.

Moreover, there is another problem, the Koran seems to suggest that the Torah and Injil are in the possession of the people of Mohammed’s day:

وَلَمَّا جَاءَهُمْ كِتَابٌ مِّنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ مُصَدِّقٌ لِّمَا مَعَهُمْ وَكَانُوا مِن قَبْلُ يَسْتَفْتِحُونَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَلَمَّا جَاءَهُم مَّا عَرَفُوا كَفَرُوا بِهِ ۚ فَلَعْنَةُ اللَّهِ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ And when there comes to them a Book from Allah, confirming what is with them,- although from of old they had prayed for victory against those without Faith,- when there comes to them that which they (should) have recognised, they refuse to believe in it but the curse of Allah is on those without Faith. Qur’an 2:89 (Yusuf Ali translation)

If the Torah and Injil are something that were with Christians and Jews in the 7th century, then they weren’t destroyed. Moreover, we know what the Old and New Testaments looked like in the 7th century – in fact we have even older copies than that.

So, it seems that the problem hasn’t really been addressed. But let’s consider how the author tries to wrap up this argument:

They have now failed on two fronts. Firstly, the premise that Muslims contradict themselves when they say the Bible is corrupted is proven false as we do not believe the Bible is the word of God. We don’t believe it is the word of God for namely two reasons:

(1) Christians assert it’s from the apostles and not from the Prophet Jesus (may God be pleased with him).
(2) Christians assert the revelation (wahy) isn’t revelation verbatim from God, which is what Muslims believe, but that the Bible is an inspired word from God, through the words of men.

Secondly, since they have made significant distinctions with what the Muslim concept of revelation is and what their scripture is actually comprised of, then they have shown that the Bible (New Testament) is not the Injil and as it follows, the Injil is not the Bible.

Most of this argument is already addressed above. Some people who call themselves Christians may not believe that the Bible is the very word of God, but verbal plenary inspiration is an important part of orthodox Christian belief. We do not believe that only the ideas but not the words are inspired. Our view of the mechanism of inspiration may differ from that of Muslims (we don’t believe that the words simply are spoken, as it were, in the ears of the prophets), but that difference seems to be irrelevant to this particular argument.

The author of the article then provides a section designated as “conclusion”:

Therefore, we must come to a logical conclusion. When missionary zealots such as Sam Shamoun and James White, along with their propganda team at AI, state that the Qur’an is wrong for saying the Bible is corrupted because Muslims believe the word of God can’t be corrupted, we must educate them. It is in this light, that our response should be, as such:

  • Muslims believe the word of God cannot be corrupted.
  • We believe the Bible is corrupted because it is not the word of God.

We do not believe it is the word of God because:

  • Christians do not believe the Bible is the verbatim word of God, but inspired ideas from God through the words of men.

In conclusion:

  • Therefore the Bible is corrupted because it is not the word of God and as such Muslims do not believe in it.

What was wrong with James White’s missionary belief, is that they think the Bible is the word of God and therefore we should accept this belief and as a consequence adhere to it, however as displayed above they don’t believe in the kind of scripture we do, they make a clear distinction between the Injil which we believe God revealed to Isa (Jesus, may God be pleased with him), while they believe in a scripture inspired by God, worded by the minds of men, which manifested after Jesus had walked the earth.

May God guide those who appeal to the fallacy of ad ignorantium.

As noted above, however, this doesn’t really solve the problem – it just makes it worse. The Torah and Injil are now not merely somehow obscured through textual variation, but instead are completely destroyed. Under this theory, they are preserved much worse than if the Old and New Testaments are the Torah and Injil.

Moreover, there is no good argument provided for the assertion that the Torah and Injil do not correspond to Old and New Testament. Regarding the Injil, the argument that it cannot be the New Testament because of the mode of transmission (a) makes the problem even worse for the Muslim and (b) assumes both the reliability of the Qur’an on this point and the reliability of Christian accounts of how the gospels were given.

As for the fallacy of ad ignorantium, it has not been substantiated by the author of the article, and so we may leave our response at that.

-TurretinFan

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Introduction to God from the Psalms

October 15, 2009

Thanks for reading this short discussion of the amazing God whom we worship.

Of Him we say:

Psalm 8:9 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

Psalm 9:11 Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.

Why do we say this?

Psalm 90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

Psalm 33:6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.

Psalm 95:5 The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.

Psalm 94:9 He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?

God made the world from nothing. He spoke and it came to be. He even made us human beings.

Psalm 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

But that’s not all:

Psalm 74:17 Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter.

Psalm 104:19 He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down.

God made time itself, and the measurements of time. God is not only powerful, having created the earth, but holy as well:

Psalm 22:3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

Psalm 145:17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.

One of the aspects of God being holy is that God judges between righteousness and wickedness:

Psalm 1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Psalm 138:6 Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.

God is not only able to see what people do, but God even knows what is in man’s heart:

Psalm 44:21 Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

Psalm 94:11 The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.

Indeed, sin is the state of all men by nature:

Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Psalm 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

And the anger of God is powerful against sin and those who do sin:

Psalm 38:3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.

Psalm 90:7 For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled.

Psalm 90:11 Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.

Psalm 56:7 Shall they escape by iniquity? in thine anger cast down the people, O God.

Psalm 69:24 Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them.

Psalm 21:9 Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.

God is not all anger, however. There is mercy in God as well:

Psalm 103:8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.

Psalm 145:8 The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.

Psalm 78:38 But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.

Psalm 30:5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Psalm 25:8 Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.

What then is necessary for one to receive mercy from God rather than anger? The first answer is obvious. Ask for mercy.

Psalm 130:7 Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.

In hope, then, one must repent of sin or face destruction:

Psalm 90:3 Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.

Psalm 119:79 Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies.

Psalm 78:34 When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and enquired early after God.

How does one seek for mercy? Here are some example:

Psalm 85:4 Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.

Psalm 27:9 Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.

Psalm 6:1 O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

Psalm 25:7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD.

Psalm 26:11 But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.

Psalm 44:26 Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies’ sake.

Psalm 86:16 O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid.

Psalm 6:4 Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies’ sake.

Psalm 80:3 Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

Psalm 85:4 Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.

More mechanically speaking the way is sacrifice:

Psalm 50:5 Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.

But that sacrifice is the sacrifice that God himself made in the person of Jesus Christ. Accordingly, we do not any longer offer those burnt offerings of former times:

Psalm 40:6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.

Psalm 51:16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

Instead, we offer sacrifices of joy:

Psalm 27:6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.

Sacrifices of thanksgiving:

Psalm 107:22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.

Psalm 116:17 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.

Sacrifices of Repentance and Contrition:

Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

and Sacrifices of Righteousness:

Psalm 4:5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.

Psalm 51:19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

Another way to characterize the mechanism is by redemption. After all, there is a sense in which sacrifice can be a payment for sins. We cannot, however, do this for ourselves or for one another:

Psalm 49:7 None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:

Instead, God – through Christ – redeems:

Psalm 49:15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.

Psalm 72:14 He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.

Psalm 130:8 And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Specifically, the Lord Jesus Christ is the redeemer:

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Psalm 31:5 Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.

So, the most particular way to seek mercy through the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus is to place your trust in Jesus Christ, the Son of God:

Psalm 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

Jesus is the only-begotten Son of God:

Psalm 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

Yet for the salvation of His people God turned the hand of his power upon the Son, Jesus Christ:

Psalm 80:17 Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself.

This was done for us, his people:

Psalm 68:28 Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us.

Psalm 126:3 The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.

God did this because the redemption of His people is precious to Him:

Psalm 49:8 (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)

Psalm 111:9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.

Psalm 78:35 And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.

If you trust in Jesus Christ, you may find mercy, as others have:

Psalm 34:22 The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

Psalm 85:3 Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger.

Psalm 36:7 How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.

Psalm 13:6 I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 71:23 My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed.

This has just been a small sampling of what the Psalms tell us about God and about Jesus Christ, and the Psalms are just a part of the whole Bible, which provides much more information about not only the greatness of God who created and governs all things, who is holy and before whom sinners cannot stand on the day of judgment, but also about the way of escape through repentance of sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. So hear this now, while there is time, for judgment is coming:

Psalm 9:8 And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.

Psalm 96:10 Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.

Psalm 96:13 Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.

Psalm 98:9 Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.

Praise be to His Glorious name, both now and forever,

-TurretinFan

William Binnie on The Pslams: Their Teaching, History, and Use

December 16, 2008

I was happy to learn (I cannot recall from where) that Binnie’s classic work on the Psalms is now available freely at Archive.org (link).

-TurretinFan

Calvin on the Psalms

October 15, 2008

I found an interesting jewel from Calvin on the Psalms at Adiophora(link) I’d love to follow my usual path here, and quote something similar from John Wesley, but of course Wesley was one of the main promoters of “Protestant” abandonment of Psalmody. Still, even Wesley wrote:

WE have now before us one of the choicest parts of the Old Testament, wherein there is so much of Christ and his gospel, as well as of God and his law, that it has been called the summary of both Testaments. The history of Israel; which we were long upon, instructed us in the knowledge of God. The book of Job gave us profitable disputations, concerning God and his providence. But this book brings us into the sanctuary, draws us off from converse with men, with the philosophers or disputers of this world, and directs us into communion with God. It is called, the Psalms, in Hebrew Tehillim, which properly signifies Psalms of praise, because many of them are such; but Psalms is a more general word, meaning all poetical compositions, fitted to be sung. St. Peter styles it, The book of Psalms. It is a collection of Psalms, of all the Psalms that were divinely inspired, composed at several times, on several occasions, and here put together, without any dependence on each other. Thus they were preserved from being scattered and lost, and kept in readiness for the service of the church. One of these is expressly said to be the prayer of Moses. That some of them were penned by Asaph, is intimated, 2 Chron. xxix, 30, where they are said to praise the Lord, in the words of David and Asaph, who is there called a seer or prophet. And some of the Psalms seem to have been penned long after, at the time of the captivity in Babylon. But the far greater part were wrote by David, who was raised up for establishing the ordinance of singing Psalms in the church of God, as Moses and Aaron were for settling the ordinance of sacrifice. Theirs indeed is superseded, but this will remain, ’till it be swallowed up in the songs of eternity. There is little in the book of Psalms of the ceremonial law. But the moral law is all along magnified, and made honourable. And Christ the foundation, corner and top-stone of all religion, is here clearly spoken of; both his sufferings, with the glory that should follow, and the, kingdom he would set up in the world.

– John Wesley, “Introduction to the Psalms,” from his Commentary on the Whole Bible.

H.T. to R. Scott Clark at the Heidelblog for bringing the Calvin selection to my attention.

-TurretinFan


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