Our Psalms today are prophetic and we can imagine them being sung in the kingdom when Christ returns to reign from Jerusalem. This will result in wonderful rejoicing among the faithful when righteous living is expected of everyone. Until that time, Christ reigns in the hearts (Romans 6:6-8; John 14:23) of those who have a conviction of faith in this future. “Worship the LORD in the splendour of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! Say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns!’” (Psalm 96:9,10). The Psalm ends, “… for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness”.
Psalm 97 tells us that “righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne” (verse 2). How literal is the indication in this Psalm of the way “justice” is dealt out to those who do not want him to reign over them? (Remember Jesus’ words in Luke 19:27). If the words in this Psalm are seen as symbolic, what are they symbolic of? We read “Fire goes before him and burns up his adversaries all around … the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax … the heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory” (verses 3-6). There will be new heavens, which means, new rulers, the saints. Remember the first verses of Psalm 50.
We know of one mountain that is going to split in two – the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4). There will be trembling among all those who do not believe in the one and only God that He has created them and all that exists, and among others who, although they believe to some degree, have failed to act on that belief. Verse 10 tells us, “O you who love the LORD, hate evil. He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them …” Let us hate evil and look in faith for His deliverance.