Recently, in my theology class, we discussed the Messianic Psalms. Within that discussion, I realized that only a few of them had an idea of what these Psalms were.
Having studied these Psalms extensively while I was a student in theology school, I borrowed from my knowledge and gave my students a comprehensive teaching about the topic.
But inspired by their initial lack of understanding, I thought it was a good idea to also write this article for a wider audience, and address the question, “What are the messianic psalms?”
According to Christian scholars and teachers of the scripture, messianic psalms are psalms that talk about Jesus Christ. Others imply that messianic psalms include psalms that give prophecies about Jesus Christ, his birth, his crucifixion, and his resurrection.
In this article, I have highlighted the characteristics of messianic psalms and mentioned how you can use them in prayer among other lessons Christians get from these psalms.
Read on to learn more.
How many messianic psalms are there?
Different Christian scholars give contradicting assumptions about the number of messianic psalms. Some report that there are 16, whereas others suggest 25.
Hence, the assumption is that there are 14-25 messianic psalms. Those who give a lesser number pick out psalms that strongly mention Jesus Christ.
Some of the Psalms do not categorically talk about Jesus Christ, as they only refer to Christ.
In addition, people have different understandings and interpretations of the scripture, which explains why people have various counts of the messianic psalms.
Why are they called messianic psalms?
People refer to these psalms as messianic because they talk about the Messiah. In Luke 24:44, Jesus acknowledges the written prophecies about him in the book of Psalms: “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.”
Most of these Messianic Psalms largely talk about Jesus Christ. Let’s have a look at some of them below:
Christian scholars consider Psalm 2 as a messianic psalm since it describes the nature of Christ. In verse 2, it mentions his anointed’ and verses 6 and 7 mention king and son.
Christians regard Psalm 118 as a messianic psalm as it describes the Messiah’s rejection. For instance, Psalm 118:22-23 says the stone that the builders rejected becomes the head of the corner.
People consider Psalm 22:16 as a messianic psalm as it mentions Jesus’s suffering, stating the piercing of Christ’s hands and feet.
The New Testament in John 20:25 talks about the same thing when it mentions the piercings on Jesus Christ’s hands and feet.
People regard Psalm 22:1 as a messianic psalm since it gives a prophecy of Jesus’ crucifixion where he calls out, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
When you compare the writing in Mathew 27:46, during Christ’s crucifixion, He cried out to the heavens with the same words: “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
What are the characteristics of messianic psalms?
Christians suggest certain characteristics of messianic psalms. First, they explain that the messianic psalm primarily talks about Jesus Christ.
The verses include prophecies about Jesus’s nature, rejection, his work, betrayal, resurrection, suffering, and death.
Second, the messianic psalms guide the writing in the New Testament. In that, most of the New Testament cites verses from the messianic psalms.
Hence, the messianic psalms act as prophecies that come to pass in the New Testament.
What can Christians learn from the messianic psalms?
There are different things a Christian can learn from the messianic Psalms.
To love Jesus better
Through the messianic psalms, we learn about Jesus’ inner life and details that are not present in the gospels. This way, we can appreciate His nature more.
As Christians, we learn about Jesus’s sacrifices, tribulations, and suffering. Through this, Christians appreciate and honor Christ’s sacrificial ways.
Looking forward to the Messiah’s coming
People believe messianic psalms prepare Christians for the Messiah’s coming.
How do you use messianic psalms in prayer?
There are different ways you can use messianic psalms in prayer. Since most of the psalms are prayers, some Christians suggest reading the messianic psalms as prayers, saying word for word.
Others suggest meditating and then using imagery as written in the messianic psalms during prayer.
Some propose quoting verses from the messianic psalms, which you can use while saying your prayer. You can pick out verses that relate to your intended request to God.
Are messianic psalms the same as royal psalms?
According to Christian scholars’ teachings, messianic psalms are different from royal psalms. Teachers of the scripture suggest Messianic psalms primarily talk about the MessiahMessiah.
In that, they talk about prophecies, nature, suffering, and other details about Jesus Christ. In addition, people refer to them as Messianic Psalms since they inspired writing in the New Testament.
On the other hand, Christian scholars imply royal psalms are psalms that talk about anointed kingship; for instance, Psalm 110 talks about God’s anointing of David’s monarchy.
Some Christian scholars divide the royal psalms into two: those that focus on an earthly king and those that focus on God as king.
As a theologian, I have always been curious to learn more about the Christian Faith. That is why I pursued a Certificate in Christian Studies, Certificate in Christian Foundations and a Masters in Theology. I also have an immersive experience in editing for numerous websites. I have worked as an editor for over a decade and am currently the editor-in-chief at Christian Faith Guide. I enjoy working as an editor and feel privileged to share my expertise and help spread God’s word. You can read more about me on the about us page.