Let the heavens rejoice - The publication of the Gospel is here represented as a universal blessing; the heavens the earth, the sea, and its inhabitants, the field, the grass, and the trees of the wood, are all called to rejoice at this glorious event. This verse is well and harmoniously translated in the old Psalter: -
Fayne be hevenes - and the erth glad;
Styrde be the see, - and the fulnes of it;
Joy sal feldes, - and al that ere in thaim.
And the paraphrase is at least curious: -
Hevens, haly men. Erthe, meke men that receyves lare (learning). Feldes, that is even men, mylde and softe: they shall joy in Criste. And all that is in thaim, that es, strengh, wyttes & skill."
I shall give the remaining part of this ancient paraphrase, which is an echo of the opinion of most of the Latin fathers.
Psalm 96:13. For he coms, he coms. He coms, fyrste to be man - Sythen he comes to deme the erth.
Nothing is evener, or sothfaster, than that he geder with hym perfyte men; to deme and to deperte to the rig hande (thaim) that did mercy: - pase to the lefte hande (thaim) that did it nogt.
The psalmist here in the true spirit of poetry, gives life and intelligence to universal nature, producing them all as exulting in the reign of the Messiah, and the happiness which should take place in the earth when the Gospel should be universally preached. These predictions seem to be on the eve of complete fulfillment. Lord, hasten the time! For a fuller explanation see the following analysis.
Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad - Let all worlds be full of joy, as they are all interested in the fact here stated. The universe is one. It has been made by the same hand; it is under the control of the same mind; it is governed by the same laws. The God who reigns on earth reigns in heaven; and what affects one part of the universe affects all. Hence, in all the manifestation of the character of God, whether made in heaven or in the earth, it is proper to call on all the universe to partake in the general joy.
Let the sea roar - In praise to God. It is not uncommon in the Scriptures to call on inanimate things to praise God. Compare Psalm 148:7-9. The same thing is common in all poetry.
And the fulness thereof - Its abundance. That which fills it. All that it contains. That is, Let all that dwell in the seas praise God. His reign is an occasion for universal gladness. All in the inanimate world; all among the irrational tribes of being; all in the air, in the waters, or on the earth, have occasion for praise, and would render praise if they could appreciate the wisdom and goodness evinced in their creation. Though unconscious, the lower creatures seem to celebrate his praise; but man only can give an intelligent utterance to thanksgiving.
The coming of Christ to usher in the reign of righteousness has inspired the most sublime and impassioned utterances of the sacred writers. The poets and prophets of the Bible have dwelt upon it in words glowing with celestial fire. The psalmist sang of the power and majesty of Israel's King: “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence.... He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people.” Psalm 50:2-4. “Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad ... before the Lord: for He cometh, for He cometh to judge the earth: He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth.” Psalm 96:11-13. GC 300.1
Said the prophet Isaiah: “Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise.” “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” Isaiah 26:19; 25:8, 9. GC 300.2
And Habakkuk, rapt in holy vision, beheld His appearing. “God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise. And His brightness was as the light.” “He stood, and measured the earth: He beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hill did bow: His ways are everlasting.” “Thou didst ride upon Thine horses and Thy chariots of salvation.” “The mountains saw Thee, and they trembled: ... the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high. The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of Thine arrows they went, and at the shining of Thy glittering spear.” “Thou wentest forth for the salvation of Thy people, even for salvation with Thine anointed.” Habakkuk 3:3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13. GC 300.3Read in context »
“Oh sing unto Jehovah a new song:
Sing unto Jehovah, all the earth.
Sing unto Jehovah, bless His name;
Show forth His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His marvelous works among all the peoples. 8T 122.1
“For great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised:
He is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols;
But Jehovah made the heavens.
Honor and majesty are before Him:
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. 8T 122.2
“Ascribe unto Jehovah, ye kindreds of the peoples,
Ascribe unto Jehovah glory and strength.
Ascribe unto Jehovah the glory due unto His name:
Bring an offering, and come into His courts.
Oh worship Jehovah in holy array:
Tremble before Him, all the earth. 8T 122.3