REMEMBER YOUR DESTINY Psalm 87
Dr. Jerry A. Collins
Putting up and tearing down
statutes has been part of American history since the beginning. In 1776 NYC
patriots publicly read the Declaration of Independence in front of a King
George statute that they afterward tore down, melted, and used to make bullets
for the revolution. The British defeated Washington’s army in NY, then
vandalized a statute of William Pitt tearing off its head and arms. Pitt was a
pro-American British politician. Both statutes had been erected in 1770. For
believers, its important to remember our primary
allegiance is to God’s eternal kingdom. American history has nothing like the
eternal significance of this truth from Gods Word. Psalm 87 focuses on the
glorious city of God which will become the center of life for all of the
redeemed as fulfillment of God’s divine plan for Zion.
GODS FOUNDING OF HIS HOLY CITY OF ZION PORTENDS GREAT THINGS
His foundation is in the holy mountains. The Lord loves the gates of Zion. More than all the other dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken
of you, O city of God. Selah (verses
1-3). Here we have a faithful
report of many glorious aspects of the Lord’s eternal dwelling place. First, he
announces that the cities foundation is
in the holy mountains v 1. God
set the foundation of the sanctuary city amongst the hills surrounding
Jerusalem. The foundation was planted on mountains of holiness amplifying this
place as the existence of the holy tabernacle. What made this location holy was that God chose it as His
dwelling place amongst His people. Now it would forever be set apart as that
Then, the Psalmist adds the
Lord loves the gates of Zion v 2. The description loves include the idea that God chose
Jerusalem and has a fond affection for that place. We should want to know what
it is God loves. This love is intertwined with His founding of this city. His
love has remained constant. The specific object of that love is the gates of Zion. The use of Zion is
Jerusalem associated Davidic monarchy and its promises. This poetic
substitution for the entire city is meant to acknowledge the city as the center
of social, economic, and legal activity. Its
was through those gates that commerce and festivities would bring life and
vitality to the inhabitants. Gates were more than
passageways. They served as places for personal business and civic affairs (see
Gates often took their names from the distant
cities they faced, like Jaffa, Damascus, and Shechem. In Nehemiah 3 we have the
sheep gate (v 1); fish gate (v 3); old gate (v 6); valley gate (v 12); dung
gate (v 13-14); fountain gate (v 15); water gate (v 26); and horse gate (v 28).
the New Jerusalem there will be 12 gates it had a great and high wall, with twelve
gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel… and
the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl (Revelation 21:12, 21). The New Jerusalem will apparently be bustling with
activity. Jerusalem was the place of God’s choosing and affection—which made
the place special. So much so, that he loves this more than all the other dwelling places of Jacob. Those other places included Gilgal,
Bethel, and Shiloh, but God had not chosen any of those religious cultic
centers. God chose this one, this place, Jerusalem, as his eternal dwelling
place (Psalm 132:12-14).
Basking in this reality, we
read about this beloved city glorious
things are spoken of you v 3. These
glorious things would include all
exploits within its walls that attested to the divine presence there. The
worship. The sacrifices. The offerings. The rituals. Actually, the glory of the
city is that it is the center of worship of the Lord God Almighty and hence is
called city of God. Great things are
yet to come for this city as noted in verses 4-6. There will be the fulfillment
of all of the prophetic promises made for Zion. People are speaking glorious
things about Zion. So Jerusalem, Zion, is the place
where God founded the holy city. It is the place of Gods affection. It is the
center of worship in history and in the world yet to come. It is where glorious
things are witnessed and proclaimed.
is destined for eternal greatness. It does not belong to the Muslims or Christians or even the
Jews. It belongs to God. And God’s plan is to make Jerusalem the center of the worlds
life and worship.
THE GLORIOUS FUTURE OF ZION IS WHERE GOD AND ALL HIS PEOPLE LIVE
"I shall mention Rahab and Babylon among those who know Me; Behold, Philistia and Tyre with
Ethiopia: 'This one was born there.’ “But
of Zion it shall be said, "This one and that one were
born in her"; And the Most High Himself will
establish her. The Lord will count when He registers
the peoples, "This one was born
there." Selah (verses 4-6). It is the
faithful who recount how people from all nations are drawn to the Lord’s
dwelling place, Zion, and join those who are there. God makes mention [of] Rahab and Babylon among those who know Me v 4. To know the Lord like this is to believe Him and then
acknowledge, worship, and obey the Lord.
God announces that even large
numbers of Israel’s enticers like Rahab,
a poetic name for Egypt as a proud one, the meaning of Rahab (Psalm 89:10; Isaiah 30:7) will enter and reside in Zion.
Israel’s oppressors like Babylon or
other troublers like Philistia and Tyre with Ethiopia will take their place amongst its
inhabitants. They will all participate by faith in the worship of the Lord
(Isaiah 19:19-25). Physically they may have been born abroad but as converts
they became citizens of Zion as if native born 'this one was born there.’ These are not Jews returning from the
diaspora, but gentiles included in the faith—even hostile enemies in the past.
The Psalmist tells us that this
city will have its own reputation “but of
Zion it shall be said” v 5. Ever increasing numbers of people will
then be birthed in the city from every nation who then become incorporated as
her children "this one and that one were born in her". In other words,
people would take pride in having been born in Zion as they did in having been
born in one of these other great nations. That will be true in the Millennium
when Christ rules. The city will be the global capital and its population
bustles. Not all birthed there will be believers, of course, but the reputation
of the city will be such that it will encourage its citizens to proclaim this.
Eventually in the eternal city of Zion, that New Jerusalem, all redeemed will
pronounce it as the eternal city of God due to their faith in Christ when the Most High Himself will establish her forever (Isaiah
The Psalmist provides another image of the Lord
taking a census of the people in His city the Lord will count when He registers
the people’s v 6. The most glorious thing that
God can record about people is not their contribution to history or culture as
only the world can today of its icons. God will record the fact that "this one was born there." Born into the family of God and are citizens
of the eternal Zion, the city where God has placed his greatest affection. As
God takes this census these words "his
one was born there" is repeated again and again as He enters each
convert into the registry of His city (Malachi 3:16; Exodus 32:32-33). This is
the glory of Zion. In history many Gentiles came to faith in Israel’s God and
many became proselytes. They came from a variety of places and from many
ethnicities. In this day, they will also be born there as citizens.
Application: Since our destiny is Gods
eternal holy city, we should then stay focused on that eventual destination as
our only secure home and residence. We have no business meddling within the
affairs of this world.
GODS PEOPLE WILL
PERPETUALLY CELEBRATE IN HIS HOLY CITY
Then those who sing as well as those who play the flutes shall say, "All my springs of joy are in you." (verse 7). It will be a place where both those who sing as well as those who play the will reside. Joy and singing in
the future city of Zion. All those who rejoice will trace the
of their joy to this city because it is the habitation of God. God is associated with joy and joyfulness. The
image of festivity, abundance and sustenance is articulated by, "All my springs of joy are in you." Springs were a source of life
in the desert areas. Jerusalem had no bodies of water, but a natural spring
that sustained the populace. The idea seems to
be that in the city will be joyfulness due to the fact that provision for life,
both physically and spiritually, will be abundant. God is the source of both
and believers will be nurtured and nourished upon Gods gracious provisions
forever. As a result, in the city of God they sing and dance in celebration of
the gift of life!
Revelation 21-22 John receives a vision of this glorious city in Gods eternal
kingdom coming down from heaven in glorious brilliance of every precious stone.
The main street pure gold like transparent glass. A river of water clear as crystal originating from Gods throne through the
middle of the city with the tree of life constantly producing. The city of lit
by the glory of God. The one who testifies to these
things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen!
Come, Lord Jesus! So this is our
destiny. Remember it. Revel in it. Focus upon it.
From the very beginning it was Gods
plan to make his holy city the spiritual center of the faith and worship. Satan has antagonized Jerusalem knowing
of Gods plan.
There is only one God and one dwelling place. The only way
into it is through faith in Jesus
for the gift of eternal life.
For those who are citizens of this eternal destiny, the
prospects of celebration and joy are
everlasting for us.