POSTED 03 NOVEMBER, 2017
“Of old You founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. Even they will perish, but You endure; and all of them will wear out like a garment; like clothing You will change them and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end.”
reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume I
A cursory reading of Psalm 102 reveals the character of not only a God who will respond to those who cry out to Him for help (Psalm 102:1-2ff), but a God who is everlasting and constant, in contrast to mortals which are not (Psalm 102:11). Messianic readers are naturally drawn to the word, “You will arise and take pity on Tziyon, for the time has come to have mercy on her; the time determined has come” (Psalm 102:14, CJB/CJSB), as we will certainly make this appeal regarding the end-times and anticipated salvation of the Jewish people. Within the Psalmist’s declarations, it is anticipated that the Lord God of Israel will indeed look down from Heaven, offer redemption to His own, and be acknowledged as the Eternal One with absolute mastery over the universe:
“But You, O LORD, abide forever, and Your name to all generations. You will arise and have compassion on Zion; for it is time to be gracious to her, for the appointed time has come. Surely Your servants find pleasure in her stones and feel pity for her dust. So the nations will fear the name of the LORD and all the kings of the earth Your glory. For the LORD has built up Zion; He has appeared in His glory. He has regarded the prayer of the destitute and has not despised their prayer. This will be written for the generation to come, that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD. For He looked down from His holy height; from heaven the LORD gazed upon the earth, to hear the groaning of the prisoner, to set free those who were doomed to death, that men may tell of the name of the LORD in Zion and His praise in Jerusalem, when the peoples are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD. He has weakened my strength in the way; He has shortened my days. I say, ‘O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days, Your years are throughout all generations. Of old You founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. Even they will perish, but You endure; and all of them will wear out like a garment; like clothing You will change them and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end. The children of Your servants will continue, and their descendants will be established before You’” (Psalm 102:12-28).
There are some slight differences between Psalm 102:12-28 as translated from the Hebrew Masoretic Text quoted above in the NASU, and as translated from the Greek Septuagint quoted below in the NETS:
“But you, O Lord, remain forever, and the mention of you to generation and generation. When you rise up you will have compassion on Sion, because it is the appointed time to have compassion on it, because the appointed time has come, because your slaves held its stones dear and on its dust they will have compassion. And the nations will fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth your glory, because the Lord will build up Sion, and he will be seen in his glory. He regarded the prayer of the lowly and did not despise their petition. Let this be recorded for another generation, and a people, which is being created, will praise the Lord, because he peered down from his holy height, the Lord from heaven looked at the earth, to hear the groaning of the prisoners, to set free the sons of those put to death, to declare the name of the Lord in Sion, and his praise in Ierousalem, when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to be subject to the Lord. He answered him in the way of his strength, ‘Tell me the paucity of my days. Do not take me away at the mid-point of my days, while your years are in generation of generations!’ At the beginning it was you, O Lord, who founded the earth, and the heavens are the works of your hands. They will perish, but you will endure, and they will all become old like a garment. Like clothing you will change them, and they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will not fail. The sons of your slaves shall encamp, and their offspring shall prosper forever” (Psalm 102:12-28, NETS).
The differences that exist between the two versions of Psalm 102:12-28 are mostly stylistic, although a few interpretive value judgments are made here and there. One notable difference that needs to be recognized, is how the Hebrew of Psalm 102:25 says, l’fanim ha’eretz yasadta, “Of old You established the earth” (NJPS). Rather than only employing the personal pronoun “You,” seen in the Qal perfect 2nd person masculine singular verb yasadta, the Greek LXX adds some vocabulary: kat’ archas su Kurie tēn gēn ethemeliōsas, “In the beginning thou, O Lord, didst lay the foundation of the earth” (LXE). The LXX is more specific by employing su Kurie. There is no reason to contest, though, that when the wider cotext of Psalm 102:12-28 is read, that the Kurios being referred to, is in fact the One designated by the Hebrew as YHWH/YHVH (Psalm 102:22): “when the people are gathered together, and the kings, to serve the Lord” (Psalm 102:22, LXE).
The Septuagint version of Psalm 102:25-27 is notably applied by the author of Hebrews to Yeshua the Messiah:
“And, ‘YOU, LORD, IN THE BEGINNING LAID THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH, AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS; THEY WILL PERISH, BUT YOU REMAIN; AND THEY ALL WILL BECOME OLD LIKE A GARMENT, AND LIKE A MANTLE YOU WILL ROLL THEM UP; LIKE A GARMENT THEY WILL ALSO BE CHANGED. BUT YOU ARE THE SAME, AND YOUR YEARS WILL NOT COME TO AN END’” (Hebrews 1:10-12).
Hebrews 1:12, quoting from Psalm 102:27—“like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end” (ESV)—is a statement rightly recognized to emphasize the timelessness and changelessness of the nature of God, now applied to Yeshua the Messiah. It is inescapable that Hebrews 1:10-12 applying Psalm 102:25-27 to Yeshua the Messiah, affirms a high Christology of Yeshua being integrated into the Divine Identity. Yeshua is the same “Lord” or Kurios to which the wider text of Psalm 102:12-28 speaks, which the original Hebrew identifies as YHWH/YHVH.