Introduction: Psalm 48 continues the end times psalms with a description of the Messiah’s future holy reign from Mount Zion. This psalm foreshadows the future reign of Jesus Christ. You can praise Jesus because He offers to share with you at Mount Zion His: (1) Shekinah glory, (2) sovereignty, (3) faithfulness, (4) righteousness, (5) joy, (6) refuge, and (7) eternal life.
First, the psalmist wrote about a future time when mankind will be able to enjoy God’s beauty at Mount Zion. You can praise Jesus because He made it possible for you to share in His Shekinah Glory at Mount Zion. Second, the psalmist foretold that person will submit before the future King of Zion. You can also praise Jesus because He is sovereign and in full control over everything. Third, the psalmist foretold that the King of Zion will reign forever. You can also praise Jesus because His faithfulness will endure forever under His holy reign at Mount Zion. Fourth, the psalmist praised the King of Zion for reigning with goodness and righteousness. You can also praise Jesus because He will reign with righteousness from Mount Zion. Fifth, the psalmist praised the King of Zion for sharing His joy from Mount Zion. You can also praise Jesus because He will share His eternal joy at Mount Zion. Sixth, the psalmist praised the King of Zion for the refuge and protection that He will offer from His holy city. You can also praise Jesus for the refuge and protection that He will provide at Mount Zion. Finally, the psalmist praised the King of Zion for conquering death. You can also praise Jesus because He conquered death at the cross. For all who believe, He offers to share eternal life with Him at Mount Zion.
1. Shekinah Glory: Praise Jesus For Sharing His Glory at Mount Zion. Ps. 48:1-3.
Mankind will one day be blessed to experience God’s beauty at Mount Zion. The psalmist praised Yahweh’s splendor at Mount Zion: “A Song; a Psalm of the sons of Korah. 1 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, His holy mountain. 2 Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion in the far north, the city of the great King. 3 In its palaces, God has made Himself known as a stronghold.” (Ps. 48:1-3). In Hebrew, the term “Shekinah glory” referenced the visible manifestation of God’s glory. Although mankind experienced God’s Shekinah glory when He dwelt with the Jews in the tabernacle and then in the Temple, mankind will be able to experience His beautiful glory forever when Jesus reigns from His throne in Zion.
Zion will be the New Jerusalem. In the Bible, the word “Zion” is used interchangeably with God’s New Jerusalem in heaven: “Awake, awake, clothe yourself in your strength, Zion; clothe yourself with your beautiful garments, Jerusalem, the holy city; for the uncircumcised and the unclean will no longer come into you.” (Is. 52:1-2). There, Jesus will join with His bride: “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Rev. 21:2).
The Messiah will reign from the Holy Mount Zion. Psalm 48 is one of at least a dozen psalms which prophesize about the Messiah’s future reign from Mount Zion: “But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.” (Ps. 2:6). “I was crying out to the LORD with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah” (Ps. 3:4). “Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion; declare His deeds among the peoples.” (Ps. 9:11). “May He send you help from the sanctuary, and support you from Zion!” (Ps. 20:2). “Remember Your congregation, which You purchased of old, which You have redeemed to be the tribe of Your inheritance; and this Mount Zion, where You have dwelt.” (Ps. 74:2). “His tabernacle is in Salem; His dwelling place also is in Zion.” (Ps. 76:2). “The LORD will stretch out Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, ‘Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”’ (Ps. 110:2). “The LORD bless you from Zion, and may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.” (Ps. 128:5). “For the LORD has chosen Zion; He has desired it as His dwelling place.” (Ps. 132:13). “May the LORD bless you from Zion, He who made heaven and earth.” (Ps. 134:3). “Blessed be the LORD from Zion, who dwells in Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!” (Ps. 135:21).
The Messiah’s light will shine with beauty from Zion. The psalmist described Zion as a place of great “beauty” (Ps. 48:2). This description is repeated two chapters later: “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shone.” (Ps. 50:2). Isaiah further prophesied about the Messiah’s light from Mount Zion will be greater than the sun: “Then the moon will be ashamed and the sun be put to shame, for the LORD of armies will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and His glory will be before His elders.” (Is. 24:23). This will be your opportunity to live forever in the midst of Jesus’ incredible Shekinah glory.
The Messiah who will reign from Mount Zion is Jesus Christ. Isaiah prophesied all will bow before the Messiah at Mount Zion: “The sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you, and all those who despised you will bow down at the soles of your feet; and they will call you the city of the LORD, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.” (Is. 60:14). Jesus Christ came to fulfill these many Messianic prophecies: “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.” (Matt. 25:31). “18 For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, 19 and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words, which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. 20 For they could not cope with the command, ‘If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.’ 21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, ‘I am terrified and trembling.’ 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.” (Heb. 12:18-24). “Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him 144,000 who had His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.” (Rev. 14:1). Thus, Jesus is worthy of praise. He has prepared an indescribable future for you in Mount Zion in heaven.
2. Sovereignty: Praise Jesus For His Sovereign Reign From Mount Zion. Ps. 48:4-7.
Mankind will one day be blessed to experience God’s sovereignty at Mount Zion. The psalmist praised Yahweh for conquering all those who have rebelled against His reign: “4 For, behold, the kings arrived, they passed by together. 5 They saw it, then they were amazed; they were terrified, they fled in a hurry. 6 Panic seized them there, anguish, as that of a woman in childbirth. 7 With the east wind You smash the ships of Tarshish.” (Ps. 48:4-7). If you are a believer, this means that you will never have to again endure evil while you live under Jesus’ holy reign. Everyone will submit to His authority.
Mankind will one day unite to rebel against the Messiah. The psalmist described a time when the nations would gather together against God (Ps. 48:4). David also foretold of a future day when the world’s leaders would unite against God’s Anointed: “1 Why are the nations restless and the peoples plotting in vain? 2 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers conspire together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 3 ‘Let’s tear their shackles apart and throw their ropes away from us!”’ (Ps. 2:1-3). “How long, God, will the enemy taunt You? Shall the enemy treat Your name disrespectfully forever? . . . Remember this, LORD, that the enemy has taunted You, and a foolish people has treated Your name disrespectfully.” (Ps. 74:10, 18). The New Testament makes clear that these events recorded in the psalms foreshadow mankind’s rebellion against Jesus, the Messiah: ‘“The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.’” (Acts 4:26).
Mankind’s rebellion against the Messiah will be futile. Because Jesus is all-powerful, mankind’s rebellion against Him will fail and result in terror for all who rebel: “Panic seized them there, anguish, as that of a woman in childbirth.” (Ps. 48:6). “They will be terrified, pains and anguish will take hold of them; they will writhe like a woman in labor, they will look at one another in astonishment, their faces aflame.” (Is. 13:8). “The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth quaked.” (Ps. 46:6). “Those who contend with the LORD will be terrified; against them He will thunder in the heavens, the LORD will judge the ends of the earth; and He will give strength to His king, and will exalt the horn of His anointed.” (1 Sam. 2:10). The psalmist prophesized that the Messiah would shatter the nations who oppose Him: “You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.” (Ps. 2:9). This again foreshadows Jesus: “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every person according to his deeds.” (Matt. 16:27). The Bible warns that we are living in the end times: “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.” (1 Jo. 2:18). Thus, every believer should be prepared for both mankind’s rebellion and Jesus’ return where He will judge the nations. Those who fail to submit to Him face judgment: “Who understands the power of Your anger and Your fury, according to the fear that is due You?” (Ps. 90:11). “The Lord is at Your right hand; He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath.” (Ps. 110:5; Rev. 6:17).
Jesus will reign with full authority over the nations. At Zion, Jesus will reign with full authority over all, including those who rebel against Him: “Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord . . .” (Rev. 11:15a). “ . . . I will give him authority over the nations;” (Rev. 2:26b). Thus, He has full authority to judge all forms of evil: “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son.” (Jo. 5:22). Thus, Jesus is worthy of praise. You will never again have to endure conflict or evil.
God gives us these warnings because He does not want any to perish. Some may find the many prophecies of judgment to be troubling. But God gives us these prophecies to warn everyone. He does not want any to perish: “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9). Are you warning others (Matt. 28:16-20)?
3. Faithfulness: Praise Jesus for His Eternal Faithfulness at Mount Zion. Ps. 48:8.
Mankind will be blessed to experience God’s eternal faithfulness at Mount Zion. The psalmist also praised Yahweh because what He offers at Mount Zion will last forever: “8 Just as we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of armies, in the city of our God; God will establish her forever. Selah” (Ps. 48:8). Jesus is faithful to keep His Word, and His promises will last forever. Thus, Jesus is again worthy of your praise.
God will be faithful forever. You can trust that the promises God offers at Mount Zion will last forever: “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His faithfulness to a thousand generations for those who love Him and keep His commandments;” (Dt. 7:9). Jesus has called you to live in eternal fellowship with Him, and He will be faithful to keep His promises to you: “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:9). “Forever, LORD, Your word stands in heaven.” (Ps. 119:89). “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” (Matt. 24:35).
Jesus will reign forever. God promised David an eternal dynasty: “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”’ (2 Sam. 7:16). Daniel repeated this promise: “But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and take possession of the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.’” (Dan. 7:18). But David revealed that it would be God who would rule over the nations: “28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s and He rules over the nations.” (Ps. 22:28). Jesus was born into the line of David (Matt. 1:1). He came to fulfill God’s covenant with David as the eternal King of Kings, and His reign will have no end: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Lk. 1:33). “Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”’ (Rev. 11:15; 19:16). You can trust God’s promises. Jesus is therefore worthy of your praise, thanksgiving, and worship.
4. Righteousness: Praise Jesus For Reigning in Righteousness From Zion. Ps. 48:9-10.
Mankind will be blessed to experience God’s eternal righteousness at Mount Zion. The psalmist further praised Yahweh because His reign from Mount Zion will be righteous: “9 We have thought over Your goodness, God, in the midst of Your temple. 10 As is Your name, God, so is Your praise to the ends of the earth; Your right hand is full of righteousness.” (Ps. 48:9-10). “For Your goodness is before my eyes, and I have walked in Your truth.” (Ps. 26:3). Under Jesus’ holy reign, all injustice will come to an end.
Jesus will reign with justice and righteousness. Jesus will rule as the Prince of Peace with justice and righteousness: “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore.” (Is. 9:6-7; 16:5). ‘“Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land.”’ (Jer. 23:5; Is. 24:15; 42:4; Zech. 9:9-10). The end to all injustice and evil is another reason to praise and worship Him.
5. Joy: Praise Jesus For Sharing His Eternal Joy at Mount Zion. Ps. 48:11.
Mankind will one day be blessed to experience God’s eternal joy at Mount Zion. The psalmist also praised Yahweh because of the joy that He will create at Mount Zion: “11 Mount Zion shall be glad, the daughters of Judah shall rejoice because of Your judgments.” (Ps. 48:11). The joy that Jesus offers has no parallel from living on Earth.
Those who submit in faith to Jesus will rejoice in joy. Those who believe in faith in Jesus will rejoice in His righteousness: “Zion heard this and was joyful, and the daughters of Judah have rejoiced because of Your judgments, LORD.” (Ps. 97:8). “Say to God, ‘How awesome are Your works! Because of the greatness of Your power Your enemies will pretend to obey You’ ... By awesome deeds You answer us in righteousness, God of our salvation, You who are the trust of all the ends of the earth and the farthest sea;” (Ps. 65:3, 5). “He is the LORD our God; His judgments are in all the earth.” (1 Chr. 16:14). For those who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, David promises an eternity of great rejoicing: “So that I may tell of all Your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in Your salvation.” (Ps. 9:14). “But I have trusted in Your faithfulness; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.” (Ps. 13:5). “So my soul shall rejoice in the LORD; it shall rejoice in His salvation.” (Ps. 35:9). “This will be written for the generation to come, that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD:” (Ps. 102:18). In heaven, you can also look forward to an eternity of rejoicing: “Then I looked, and I heard the voices of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands,” (Rev. 5:11). This is yet another reason to thank Jesus.
Jesus offers every believer eternal joy in His presence. Even though the Jews did not have a clear understanding of heaven and hell, the Psalms clearly speak of the blessing of eternal joy in God’s presence: “You will make known to me the way of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” (Ps. 16:1). “For You make him most blessed forever; You make him joyful with the joy of Your presence.” (Ps. 21:6). Jesus came to fulfill the promise of this blessing. Through faith in His atoning death, you can enjoy an eternal life of joy in His presence (Jo. 3:16).
The joy of the Spirit is the down payment on Jesus’ promises. As proof of Jesus’ faithfulness, He has left us with the Holy Spirit “a first installment of our inheritance, in regard to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Eph. 1:14). As part of Jesus’ down payment, the Spirit offers you joy (Gal. 5:22-23).
Praise Jesus for the love that is evidence through His plan for mankind. Regarding these verses, one commentator observes: “Being at the temple led the psalmist to consider the lovingkindness of God. In many ways the temple itself testified to the covenant love of God to His people. · God’s covenant love was shown in providing a place to meet with Him. · God’s covenant love was shown in providing even the nations a place to meet with Him. · God’s covenant love was shown in providing an atoning sacrifice of a substitute. · God’s covenant love was shown in providing a sacrifice to give thanks. · God’s covenant love was shown in providing a place to receive prayer as sweet-smelling incense unto Him. · God’s covenant love was shown in providing a place for Him to be enthroned among His people.” (David Guzik on Ps. 48).3
6. Refuge: Praise Jesus For the Refuge that He Provides at Mount Zion. Ps. 48:12-13a.
Mankind will one day be blessed to experience God’s refuge at Mount Zion. The psalmist further praised Yahweh because the protection that He offers at Mount Zion: “12 Walk around Zion and encircle her; count her towers; 13 consider her ramparts; go through her palaces, . . .” (Ps. 48:12-13a). In Hebrew, the word Zion literally means “fortification.” At Zion, you will be free from all threats and any form of worry.
God’s promised sanctuary will provide a refuge from all evil. The psalmist repeatedly promised protection from all evil for all those who place their trust in God: “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but remains forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people from this time and forever.” (Ps. 125:1-2). “Zion heard this and was joyful, and the daughters of Judah have rejoiced because of Your judgments, LORD.” (Ps. 97:8). “For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the faithfulness of the Most High he will not be shaken.” (Ps. 21:7). “Look at Zion, the city of our appointed feasts; Your eyes will see Jerusalem, an undisturbed settlement, a tent which will not be folded; its stakes will never be pulled up, nor any of its ropes be torn apart.” (Is. 33:20). “And he said to him, ‘Run, speak to that young man there, saying, ‘Jerusalem will be inhabited as open country because of the multitude of people and cattle within it. But I,’ declares the LORD, ‘will be a wall of fire to her on all sides, and I will be the glory in her midst.’” (Zech. 2:4-5).
Praise Jesus for His protection. Jesus is your rock. He deserves your praise for His protection from your enemies: “The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock; and exalted be God, the rock of my salvation,” (2 Sam. 22:47). “My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my savior, You save me from violence.” (2 Sam. 22:3). “The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He.” (Dt. 32:4). “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Ps. 18:2, 31, 46; 19:14). Do you praise Jesus for His protection in your life?
You don’t need to wait until you get to heaven to receive Jesus’ protection. “This is a song of celebration; it proclaims the glorious news that God’s presence is among His people. He is to be praised for His greatness; but He is also to be praised for His mighty works, defending His sanctuary, and guiding His people by His faithful love and righteousness. The psalm focused on Zion, the place where God made His presence known to Israel. But God’s presence is always powerful and beneficial to His faithful people. And this provides reason enough for them to offer Him praise.” (Allen Ross, A Commentary of the Psalms: Volume 2 (42-89), Kregel Academic (2013) p. 136).
7. Eternal Life: Praise Jesus For the Eternal Life that He Offers at Zion. Ps. 48:13b-14.
Mankind is blessed because God offers all who believe eternal life at Mount Zion. Finally, the psalmist commanded believers to tell future generations that Yahweh will lead them even in the face of death: “13b so that you may tell of her to the next generation. 14 For such is God, our God forever and ever; He will lead us until death.” (Ps. 48:13b-14). This was a command for the Jews to faithfully teach future generations about God’s promises. This promise also foreshadowed Jesus’ deliverance at the cross.
Jesus’ power transcends death. In the NASB, the last phrase is translated as “He will lead us until death.” (Ps. 48:14). One commentator observes that this can also be translated as ‘“He will lead us over death’ . . . God’s power will not be stymied by old age, nor will death bring it to an end.” (James M. Hamilton Jr., Evangelical Bible Theology Commentary Psalms (Vol. I: Psalms 1-72) (Lexham Academic 2021) p. 487). For Jesus, it was a “joy” for Him to suffer a painful death because it meant that we could be reconciled to Him: “looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2). Out of love, His desire is to be reconciled to you: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (Jo. 3:16). “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (Jo. 10:11). “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (Jo. 15:13). “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Ro. 5:8). Jesus does not merely want to save you. He also wants to delight in your fellowship with Him (Rev. 3:20). Are you sharing this good news with others?
Zion will be powerful and beautiful only because of God. It is tempting to dwell upon the place of Zion. But Zion would be nothing without Jesus: “In these last two verses the city itself fades from view and we see God alone. All these marks of Jerusalem’s glory and strength come from God, and this should be told to the generation following. The same God that builds and beautifies Jerusalem is our God forever and ever and will be our guide even to death. We can say ‘forever and ever’ about God in a way that we cannot say it about anything else.” (David Guzik on Ps. 48) (Emphasis original).
Share Jesus’ Good News. The psalmist urged believers to share the promise of God’s blessings with “the next generation.” (Ps. 49:13b). David also prophesied that a future generation would “come and will declare His righteousness” (Ps. 22:31). These prophecies foreshadowed Jesus’ Great Commission: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18-20). Are you fulfilling Jesus’ calling?