Pentecost: Based Upon Christ’s Work Part 7 of 13
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
“Thou shalt make known to me the ways of life,”
The body of Christ lay in the grave for only a little while: NEITHER WILT THOU SUFFER THINE HOLY ONE TO SEE CORRUPTION. It does not take long for a body in the grave to begin to decompose; and therefore it must return to life on or before the third day after its death. Christ was God’s Holy One, sanctified and set apart to serve Him in the work of redemption. He must die in order to fulfill prophesy and to give His body as a sacrifice for sin; but he must not see corruption, because his death was to be unto God of a sweet smelling savor. This was epitomized by the law concerning the sacrifice that no part of the flesh of the sacrifice which was to be eaten should be kept until the third day, for fear it would see corruption and begin to become rancid—“The flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offering for thanksgiving shall be eaten the same day it is offered. He shall not leave any of it until morning. But if the sacrifice of his offering is a vow or a voluntary offering, it shall be eaten the same day that he offers his sacrifice; but on the next day the remainder of it also may be eaten; the remainder of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day must be burned with fire. And if any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offering is eaten at all on the third day, it shall not be accepted, nor shall it be imputed to him; it shall be an abomination to him who offers it, and the person who eats of it shall bear guilt” (Lev 7:15-18; NKJV).
The sentence pronounced on man after the fall was, “Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.” But Jesus, since He was conceived without sin, and never involved Himself in human corruption, or in the condemnation of fallen human nature; it was impossible for His body to see corruption; and it could not have undergone temporary death, if it had not been for the purpose of making an atonement for sin. It was therefore impossible that the human nature of our Lord could be subject to corruption: and although it was possible that His soul and body might be separated for a time, it would never undergo termination, because it had not sinned, and its immortality was the necessary consequence of its being pure from transgression.
28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
Thou hast made known to me the ways of life;
In Psalm 16 David is talking about the resurrection of Christ—“For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalms 16:10, 11; KJV). This is the psalm of the resurrection of Jesus Christ—it has now been gloriously fulfilled. The interpretation of this psalm is given by Simon Peter, who is filled with the Holy Spirit. This was the heart of Peter’s message on the day of Pentecost. “For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell sheol was the Hebrew word, meaning “the unseen world”, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day from where Peter was preaching in the temple area, they could see the tomb of David, and Peter undoubtedly pointed to it. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption” (Acts 2:25–31). Peter said clearly that Psalm 16:8–10 spoke of the resurrection of Christ. There are several liberal expositors who say that Psalm 16 has no reference to the resurrection of Christ. When a liberal makes that statement, I have to consider what Simon Peter said. When Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, several thousand people turned to Christ and were saved, which brought about a revolution in the Roman Empire. With this in mind, I feel like saying to the liberals, “How many are coming to the Lord through your ministry?” That is the real test. Simon Peter said that Psalm 16 refers to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and I am taking his word for it.
Peter also said this on the day of Pentecost: “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:32–36). Obviously, Psalm 16 refers to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul also quoted from this psalm. In Acts 13:35–37 he says, “Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.” You see, Paul also said it was the psalm of Jesus’ resurrection.
What we have in this psalm is quite remarkable. In verse 8 we have the life of Christ. “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” That, my friend, was the pathway He followed down here, and it is the pathway I want to follow.
Then in verse 9, we have the death of Christ: “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.” He died there upon the cross, knowing that God would raise Him from the dead.
Then we have the resurrection of Christ in verse 10: “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell that is, the grave; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”
Next, we have the ascension of Christ in verse 11: THOU WILT SHEW ME THE PATH OF LIFE: IN THY PRESENCE IS FULNESS OF JOY; AT THY RIGHT HAND THERE ARE PLEASURES FOR EVERMORE. As you can see, this is a wonderful resurrection Psalm, and it is used as such in the New Testament. The resurrection of Christ is definitely prophesied in this great Messianic Psalm.
THE WAYS OF LIFE is what David called THE PATH TO LIFE; it is what we call, the road to advancement or honor; the path to happiness. But for many men today it is the highway to ruin. Proverbs 7:25-27 has this to say, “Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.” This warning is to be taken literally, and there is also a spiritual application for you and me today. The Scriptures have a great deal to say about spiritual adultery. God called it that when His people left Him and went after idols. They were snared by idolatry, and they were brought into subjection. They departed from the living and true God. They were to be joined to Him, but they had separated from Him. They were actually playing the harlot; they were being unfaithful and untrue to Him. That is spiritual adultery.
Today we have many cults and “isms” and all types of false religions around us. For example, one says, “You don’t need any longer to follow Christ as you are following Him. You don’t need to trust Him alone as your Savior. What you need to do is join our group and do certain things.”
In my opinion, the best picture we have of cults, “isms,” and all false religions is the prostitute that is all dressed up—attractive, alluring, offering something to man that will actually destroy him and send him down to hell, and take him away from Jesus Christ, the lover of our souls.
Peter was under the power of the Holy Spirit and He preached the first great sermon on the Day of Pentecost. At one point he was talking about the resurrection of Christ, and he said, THOU HAST MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE. It means, Thou wilt make known to me life itself, that is, thou wilt restore me to life. The expressions in the Psalm are capable of this interpretation without doing any harm to the text; and if the preceding verses refer to the death and burial of the Messiah, then the natural and proper meaning of this is that he would be restored to life again.
Christ’s death and sufferings should be, not to Him only, but to all of His, an inlet to a blessed immortality: "THOU HAS MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE, and by me made them known to the world, and laid them open.’’ When the Father gave to the Son to have life in himself, a power to lay down his life and to take it again, then he showed him THE WAY OF LIFE, both to and from; the gates of death were open to him and the doors of the shadow of death (Job 38:17), to pass and go through them, as his sacrifice for man’s redemption led Him to do.
The words, “Thou shalt make known to me the ways of life,” constitute the affirmative assertion of a restoration to life, which had been negatively expressed, “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hades, neither wilt thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption” The words “Thou wilt make me full of joy with thy countenance,” no doubt refer to that joy set before Jesus, for which “he endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”