I have heard you speak at our SBS [YWAM's School of Biblical Studies] a few times and am now preparing some of my own teachings. I am currently preparing for a Psalms teaching. To start preparing I listened to your introduction to psalms teaching. I was very interested when you said that alot of the psalms point to Jesus. I was hoping you could help me understand that. I have done some research and find a few lists of messianic psalms, but when I read them I don't see the connection right away.
What are some things that you think I should look for, do you have any other resources that could help me understand this better?
Again I hope you are well you continue to be an inspiration for me and push me to continue to teach and learn!
The idea behind Messianic Psalms is that certain Old Testament people (David especially) were "types" of Christ. Such types of Christ include Isaac, Moses, Aaron, Israel, Joshua, David, and others (apparently Isaiah also). What this means is that some features of their histories foreshadow or prefigure corresponding features in Christ's life. Because of this, certain things that are said by these people, or about them, are said to be reflective of analogous things that could have been said by, or about, Jesus.
Israel's departure from Egypt (Hos.11:1) thus becomes a type of Christ's departure from Egypt (Matthew 2:15). Isaiah's words about his children (Isaiah 8:18) become words of Christ about His children (Heb.2:13).
On the same principle, words spoken by or about David are often recognized as reflective of what Christ would say, or what would be said about Him. Most famously, Psalms 2, 16, 22, 40, 45, 110 are quoted by New Testament authors as being of this nature. There are others, not quoted in the New Testament, which are commonly regarded as "Messianic" in the same sense (e.g., Ps.72).
I have to assume that the New Testament writers made these connections as a result of Jesus having opened the apostles' understanding, allowing them to comprehend the scriptures (Luke 24:45).
How might we recognize similar phenomena in the Old Testament in instances that are not identified for us by New testament citations? It may not be possible to do so with certainty. However, as we study the instances in which the New Testament writers took Old Testament statements in this manner, we can, no doubt, discern patterns that give us a good idea how they were applying this principle. By doing so, we can reach a degree of confidence about certain cases in the Old Testament, even without specific citations from the apostles (e.g., seeing Joseph as a probable type of Christ).
An example of this process would be in seeing that the Old Testament prophets contain many descriptions of the time of the messiah's reign. Such passages, in Isaiah alone, would include (but not be limited to) chapters 2, 4, 11, 25-27, 32, 35, 40, 54-56, etc. These are only a handful of the dozens of similar passages in the prophets. Not all of these passages are cited by New Testament authors (e.g., Isaiah 2 and 4 are not). Yet a great many of them are. We can thus see, by examining the use of such passages in the cases of their being quoted in the New Testament, precisely how the others should be applied as well, since they all describe the same era.
To some extent, similar methods can be used in identifying messianic statements in Psalms, even when the specific verses may not be cited in the New Testament books.
One resource that you might find helpful in dealing with specific cases is called, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, edited by Beale and Carson. I have not made much use of it personally, but in glancing through it, it seems that it would address these questions in a scholarly, evangelical manner.