The Advance & Consummation of the Kingdom of Christ

a brief study of Psalm 98, adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on 29 Jan 2010

Psalm 98 is another one of the self-designated ‘new songs’ in the Psalter. This is a Spirit-inspired song that is designed to stir our hearts to extraordinary praise and thanksgiving. It is a Psalm. It is the only Psalm that has “A Psalm” as a title! Some say that psalms are not good enough for New Testament worship because Christ is omitted in them. But this Psalm amongst the Psalms is clearly a hymn of praise about Christ, for the LORD, Jehovah in this Psalm is clearly Christ!

As Luther puts it, “This again is a prophecy concerning the preaching of Christ and the spread of His kingdom.” Or as Matthew Henry has it, this “is a prophecy of the kingdom of the Messiah, the settling of it up in the world, and the bringing of the Gentiles into it.”

We may entitle it: “The Advance & Consummation of the Kingdom of Christ.”

It has two parts:

·   In the first part, we are called to rejoice that the LORD has made His salvation known in the advance of the Kingdom.

·   In the second part, we are called to praise the LORD for He is coming to Judge the earth at the consummation of His kingdom.


1. The Advance of the LORD’s Kingdom

1  O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. 2 The LORD hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen.  3 He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

When David wrote this psalm under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Christ had not yet come. But notice the past tense. Well, it could be that David was writing this psalm on the occasion of a great victory over Israel’s enemies, perhaps the Philistines.

But a Christian reading and singing this psalm with grace in the heart will no doubt sense that this psalm celebrates more than an ancient battle between Israel and her enemies. Rather, it is about the LORD’s victory and dominion over the world. And this victory is most clearly displayed at the Cross and the resurrection, and in the advance of the Gospel.

This victory of the conquering King of king so sure and certain that the saints throughout the ages may rightly sing about it in the past tense.

The LORD “hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.” By His great power exercise in holiness and justice, the LORD has won the ancient war against the Serpent. Though the serpent bruised his heel, He crushed its head, and He rose victorious over Satan, sin and death.

In this way, he has made known His salvation known to the world, and openly displayed his righteousness in the sight of the heathen. “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” says the Lord (Jn 12:32).

By the Cross, the LORD showed both his righteousness and His salvation at the same time to all the world (v. 2).

The Cross shows His righteousness partly as Christ was punished for sin none of his own, and partly as it shows that God will not overlook sin, but will require sin to be paid for. Our Lord paid for our sin so that it cannot be charged that God is unjust or unrighteous to overlook the sin of his people while requiring it of others. No, no, God did require that the sin of his people be paid for. It was paid for in Christ.

In this way, the LORD showed his salvation to the world. All who are united to him by faith will be saved. “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21) for “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

But the Cross is also a display of the mercy and truth, or covenant-lovingkindness and faithfulness of the LORD towards Israel. The Lord will not allow the Israel of God, His people, to continue to fight a futile fight, thinking that they might be saved by keeping the law or by mere obedience to the Lord.

Christ, by His life and death showed to His people and to the world that “salvation of our God” alone.

3 He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Let us as those who have been saved from sin, darkness and the wrath to come rejoice in the Cross for there in is our salvation so rich and free.

But the Cross, though it is the pinnacle of God’s salvation plan for his people, is not the end of it. Thus the psalm turns our attention to…

2. The Consummation of the LORD’s Kingdom

4 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.

The Lord is already victorious in the kingdom of grace and we know that his victory will be final and complete in the kingdom of glory. If so, what should our response be? Should we not shout for joy and rejoice?

This is what the psalmist call upon us to do.

But let us not just shout meaninglessly with whoops of joy. Rather let us sing aloud with psalms.

5 Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. 6 With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.

No no; this is no warrant for us to use harps and trumpet and cornets in our worship of the King. These words rather teaches us to lift up our voice and countenance to express our great of joy and hope in the Lord.

We know that this is correct because in the next verse the psalmist calls upon the sea to roar, the floods or rivers to clap their hands and the hill to be joyful together. These are all inanimate things. They cannot do as commanded. But the children of God beholding God’s wonderful creation can easily understand how the sea and rivers and hill can indeed make a display of the Lord mighty and His wondrous reign.

You know how it is when you stand by the seaside and hear the waves crashing against the rocks and when your heart is filled with praise and thanksgiving, you can almost hear the waves roaring with triumphant joy. And you are by the river where there is a rapid, listen. When your heart is fill with joy in the Lord, do you not hear the rivers clapping?

Yes, the thought that Christ will come again to deliver us from this sin drenched world of disappointment, pain and sorrow ought to fill our hearts with joy and hope that makes the world of sin and carnal pleasure strangely dim. On the other hand, the same thought fill our hearts with awe and wonder and hope as we see how great our Lord is who made the world and all things to redound to the glory of His name.

Let us therefore beloved brethren and children, shout for joy in our hearts and in our lips; and let us sing cheerfully and confidently, the praises of our Lord. Let us do so, verse 9…

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

The Lord is coming! Blessed be the LORD! There is a sense in which He came in judgement in his incarnation, for he judged Israel and cut away all the unbelieving branches from the Olive Tree.

But He came also to prepare the heart of His people, both Jews and Gentiles, for the final judgement to come.

Yes, He will come again. And when he comes this time, he will “judge the world, and the people with equity.”

He will put away evil completely. He will wipe away all tears. He will heal every wound. He will correct every injustice. He will soothe every heartache. He will give his people joy unspeakable, peace that the world has never known and hope realised in its fullest.


Beloved brethren and children, what shall we say to these things, but rejoice and praise the Lord. He has made His salvation known to us and to in the advance of the Kingdom. He is coming to judge the earth and to vindicate His people at the consummation of His kingdom.
Beloved brethren and children, chin up! Con't let your present struggles and sorrows drag down your soul. Look unto the Lord Jesus Christ you King. Behold, He cometh! Amen. Ω