Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.
What should I learn from this chapter?
- God never, ever, never will forget His people.
The Rooted Word
A Plea for Relief from Oppressors – A Contemplation (Heb. Maschil) of Asaph.
A prophecy of the seven year tribulation: A forecast of destruction.
As is often in other parts of scripture, the events of the past reflect prophetic events of the future.
The most outstanding example of this is the history of Antiochus IV who committed atrocities to the Jews and swore to make Jerusalem a graveyard of Jews. He is known for desecrating the holy of holies by sacrificing a pig on the altar, setting up a statue of Zeus (as himself) and declaring that he is god.
He fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel when he betrayed the Jews with flattery and then provided the desecration that causes desolation. And yet Jesus said such another man would come who would be the fulfillment of this prophecy.
Matthew 24:15 [The Great Tribulation] “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),
Even though Antiochus IV fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy, according to Matthew 24:15, there is another yet to come who will be exactly like Antiochus.
Such desecration and persecution prompts the identification of Antiochus as a prototype of the Antichrist to come.
Likewise, Psalm 74 describes historical events (the Babylonian Captivity) while forecasting future events; specifically the upcoming seven year tribulation.
Psalm 74:1 O God, why have You cast us off forever?
- To the Jews, it seems like forever. However, God promised He would not cast them off forever:
- Jeremiah 31:35-36 Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for a light by day, The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, Who disturbs the sea, And its waves roar (The Lord of hosts is His name):
- “[ONLY] If those ordinances depart From before Me, says the Lord, Then the seed of Israel shall also cease From being a nation before Me forever.” (IN OTHER WORDS…NEVER, EVER, NEVER)
Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?
- In the Old Testament, sheep are symbolic of the Jews.
Psalm 74:2 Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old,
The tribe of Your inheritance, which You have redeemed—
This Mount Zion where You have dwelt.
- Mount Zion is Jerusalem.
Psalm 74:3 Lift up Your feet to the perpetual desolation
- Feet and sandals are symbolic of authority. The writer is making a plea to God to lift his authority over the circumstances of their desolate conditions.
- When Moses saw the burning bush he was told to remove his sandals because the place he stood was holy. The inference being that Moses was to humble himself before God by removing his own authority.
The enemy has damaged everything in the sanctuary.
Psalm 74:4 Your enemies roar in the midst of Your meeting place;
They set up their banners for signs.
- A banner is a flag of identification. For a personal application, you or your class can make their own banners of identification. To the left is mine:
Psalm 74:5 They seem like men who lift up axes among the thick trees.
- Thick trees are those who have achieved high positions among their peers. They would be difficult to “cut down”.
Psalm 74:6 And now they break down its carved work, all at once,
With axes and hammers.
Psalm 74:7 They have set fire to Your sanctuary;
They have defiled the dwelling place of Your name to the ground.
Psalm 74:8 They said in their hearts,
“Let us destroy (oppress) them altogether.”
They have burned up all the meeting places of God in the land.
Psalm 74:9 We do not see our signs;
There is no longer any prophet;
Nor is there any among us who knows how long.
- Revelation 6:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
Psalm 74:10 O God, how long will the adversary reproach (revile)? Will the enemy blaspheme Your name forever?
Psalm 74:11 Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand?
Take it out of Your bosom and destroy them.
- God’s right hand is the Son, Jesus who is in the bosom of the Father.
Psalm 74:12 For God is my King from of old,
Working salvation in the midst of the earth.
- The literal meaning of salvation is “Jesus” (in Greek) or “Yeshua” (in Hebrew).
Psalm 74:13 You divided the sea by Your strength;
You broke the heads of the sea serpent (Leviathan, Dragon) in the waters.
- This alludes to the dragon with seven heads in Daniel and Revelation.
- Rev 12:3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.
- Rev 13:1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.
- The waters are a reference to a sea of people.
- For a detailed understanding of the sea monster with seven heads SEE: Topic: Leviathan
Psalm 74:14 You broke the heads of Leviathan (literally dragon) in pieces,
And gave him as food to the people inhabiting the wilderness.
- Leviathan is a sea monster. throughout scripture he is Satan who swims in a sea of people.
- Satan is always referred to as a reptile. He is called a serpent, a crocodile, a sea monster, a dragon, Leviathan, a reptilian “beast”.
A sample of examples:
- Ezekiel 32:2 “Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say to him: ‘You are like a young lion among the nations, And you are like a monster in the seas (sometimes translated as a crocodile), Bursting forth in your rivers, Troubling the waters (the people) with your feet, And fouling their rivers.
- Job 26:13 By His Spirit He adorned the heavens; His hand pierced the fleeing serpent.
- Isaiah 27:1 [Israel Will Be Restored] In that day the Lord with His severe sword, great and strong, Will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan that twisted serpent; And He will slay the reptile that is in the sea (of people).
- Isaiah 51:9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord! Awake as in the ancient days, In the generations of old. Are You not the arm that cut Rahab (Leviathan or Sea Monster) apart, And wounded the serpent?
- Job 41:1, 22, 24-25, 30-31, 34 “Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook, Or snare his tongue with a line which you lower? Strength dwells in his neck, and sorrow (despair) dances before him. His heart is as hard as stone, even as hard as the lower millstone. 25 When he raises himself up, the mighty are afraid; Because of his crashings they are beside themselves. 30 His undersides are like sharp potsherds; He spreads pointed marks in the mire. 31 He makes the deep boil like a pot; He makes the sea like a pot of ointment. He beholds every high thing; He is king over all the children of pride.”
- Revelation 12:9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
- Revelation 20:2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;
- What are these verses saying?
- When Jesus returns to earth, bringing the armies of the angels and the saints with Him, His destination is to destroy the Antichrist who is indwelt by Satan and who has controlled the world with his twisted (coiled) polices. It will be a time of trouble for the Jews unlike any other.
- Matthew 24:21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
- What are these verses saying?
- At the end of the time of tribulation, the Antichrist, who is fleeing, (see Job 26:13 and Isaiah 27:1) will be chased and wounded. (Isaiah 51:9) It appears he will be delivered to the Jews whom he tormented and destroyed who had been hidden in the wilderness for his trial. There will be a court hearing, (as there was after the holocaust), and he will be given “as food” to be devoured (to pay for his horrible deeds). He is executed (slayed) (Isaiah 27:1).
- Isaiah 14:9 “Hell from beneath is excited about you, To meet you at your coming; It stirs up the dead for you, All the chief ones of the earth; It has raised up from their thrones All the kings of the nations.
- In the book of Revelation, He is called a Beast, like Satan who indwells him.
Psalm 74:15 You broke open the fountain and the flood;
You dried up mighty rivers.
Psalm 74:16 The day is Yours, the night also is Yours;
You have prepared the light and the sun.
Psalm 74:17 You have set all the borders of the earth;
You have made summer and winter.
Psalm 74:18 Remember this, that the enemy has reproached, O Lord,
And that a foolish people has blasphemed Your name.
Psalm 74:19 Oh, do not deliver the life of Your turtledove to the wild beast!
Do not forget the life of Your poor forever.
Psalm 74:20 Have respect to the covenant;
For the dark places (hiding places) of the earth are full of the haunts (homes) of cruelty (violence).
Psalm 74:21 Oh, do not let the oppressed return ashamed!
Let the poor and needy praise Your name.
Psalm 74:22 Arise, O God, plead Your own cause;
Remember how the foolish man reproaches (reviles or taunts ) You daily.
- Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.