And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me, Luke 24:44. (Thanks Pete)
Psalm 18 has a lot to reveal. but it will only reveal itself to those who have not wedged God into some tiny theological box wherein he is hailed as sovereign as long as he obeys the pat little theologies of his captors. I don't have a theology, I have a King James Bible. Up until verse 4, Psalm 18 can easily be ascribed to King David's personal experience. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid, vs.4. Death compassed David many times in his life, and there are records of him fearing men. It is the following verses that carry us beyond the scope of David's life.
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 2:30, 31. God showed David the entire passion of Christ including his time in hell. What David is about to tell us starts on the cross and ends with the reuniting of the soul and spirit of Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ's crossing over the gulf between hell and Abraham's bosom.
The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me, Vs.5. When was David surrounded by the sorrows of hell, and when was he prevented from doing anything by the snares of death? He never was. This is a messianic psalm. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire vss. 6-12.
This is the passion of Jesus Christ upon the cross. The reader will note two things, there is an earthquake and there is darkness. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah is in trouble. He has called to his Father and the Father has heard his voice. In this Psalm, David reveals for us the working of heaven when the Father hears the cry of Jesus Christ. The very foundations of the earth are moved and with good reason. The Father has harnessed a cherub and in the darkness he will come for Jesus Christ.
To understand the next verse we need to understand that the soul of Jesus Christ and his spirit have been cut asunder. This was done by the sword spoken of in Luke 2:35, (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. This is the sword of the word of God which is wielded in conversion but was first wielded at the cross. The Holy Ghost wields that sword at conversion to reveal the secrets of the heart. And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth, I Corinthians 14:25; and John 4:29, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, Hebrews 4:12. Jesus Christ had his soul and his spirit divided. It's the circumcision of Christ given to every believer. In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ, Colossians 2:11. Jesus Christ's spirit was yielded back to the Father. It was pure and clean. His soul was made an offering for sin. It carried our sins. It went into the flames just like every sin offering in the Old Testament.
Back to Psalm 18; The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.Psa 18:14 Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.Psa 18:15 Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.Psa 18:16 He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters, vss. 13-16. We see two members of the trinity here. We see the Lord because his spirit is with the Father, and we see the Father (the Highest). The Father is about to pierce into the bowels of the earth to reunite the spirit of Jesus Christ with the soul of Jesus Christ.
Let's take a moment to look at the earth from a bible perspective. All of the waters of the earth eventually seep their way deep into the earth where they make contact with hell. We see the results of this in the geysers which spring up as the water is superheated. Hell and Abraham's bosom are separated by a gulf which by definition is an expanse of water. If the Father was to return the spirit of Jesus Christ to his soul in hell, he would need to discover the foundations of the earth, restore the soul of Jesus Christ to life by reuniting his spirit, and then take him across that gulf to Abraham's bosom.
He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me, Psalm 18:17-19. As a an offering for sin, and as sin itself (For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, II Corinthians 5:21) the soul of Jesus Christ was tormented by his enemies, the devils of hell. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion, Psalm 22:11-13. When the Father restored his soul, he brought him across that uncrossable gulf. He put him in that large place.
Jesus Christ died two deaths because Adam died two deaths. Adam was told; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die, Genesis 2:17. Yet we see that Adam lived 900 years and clearly lived physically for a long time after he sinned. Death in the bible is never oblivion or unconsciousness. It is separation. When Adam sinned he became separate from God, he became spiritually dead. Many years later, he was made separate from his body. For Jesus Christ to have only suffered one of those deaths would have left the work of atonement half completed.
Jesus was made separate from the Father, then separate from his body. He died spiritually and he died physically. In Psalm 18 we see the spiritual resurrection of Jesus Christ from the flames of hell. This happened before 6:00 PM on the day he died. We know that because Jesus told the thief on the cross, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise, Luke 23:43. Meditate upon the 23rd Psalm for a while and see if you can't envision the restored soul of Jesus Christ at a banquet table in Paradise with the denizens of hell gnashing their teeth from across the gulf.
A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever, Psalm 23.
David saw these things and he wrote of them. How blind and how foolish to think that the events of Psalm 18: 6-19 could apply to any man other than Jesus Christ!