Psalm 87:6

There shall be a Divine census, a numbering of the people by God, such as never yet has taken place. Nothing in Hezekiah's reign, the probable date of this psalm, ever fulfilled the glorious promises here given. But it shall be when Christ shall come again. Consider -


1. It shall be national. (Ver. 4.)

2. But individual also. The counting will be of this one, and that, and the other; there will be no passing in a crowd.

3. It is attested by many witnesses - Scripture, reason, history, conscience.

II. ITS PURPOSE. The gathering together of his own true people; the making up of his jewels; the manifestation of the sons of God. This is not done now, but shall be.

III. THE WRITER. The Lord himself.

1. He only can really know where to find his people; they are often found in strange places (ver. 4).

2. He only can be trusted. Bigotry, superstition, dislike, would shut many out. Partiality, fondness, love of sin, would let many in. God alone can judge.

IV. THE NAMES IN IT. Those only who have been "born" of God. Shall we be there? - S.C.

The Lord shall count, when He writeth up the people, that this man was born there.
I. When this dispensation shall come to its close, when the Lord Jesus Christ shall come in the clouds of heaven, then we believe the Lord shall write up His people. WHAT WILL THIS WRITING BE?

1. There will be written in this census nothing but personal matters. "This man was born there." They are not taken in the plural — "these men." They are not taken as a corporate body — this nation, this Church, this family — but one by one each man's name shall be found either written there or else left out. There is no truth which we need more frequently to hold up before the eyes of our people than the truth that nothing but personal godliness will ever avail.

2. Again, you will perceive that this great census deals not merely with personal matters, but with vital matters which concern a man's birth. Here you have it that this man was born there. 'Tis true the things we have thought and those we have done shall be mentioned at the last, but not for their own sakes. They shall be mentioned only as means of proving that we were born again, or else as evidence that regeneration had never taken place in us.

3. This census will be decisive — the last polling of the people, the last counting of the jewels and casting away of the counterfeits, the last bringing in of the sheep and banishment of the goats. Oh that we were wise to look into futurities!


1. The name of the hypocritical Church member will not be found there.

2. The man who is a mere hearer.

3. Those who are living in vice and open sin, and die as they live.

4. Moralists.

III. WHOSE NAME WILL BE FOUND THERE? We reply, there shall be the name of every soul that ever believed in the Lord Jesus Christ.

IV. WHO IS TO MAKE OUT THE CENSUS PAPER? "The Lord shall count when He writeth up the people." But why shall the Lord make out the census? Who else should do it? God is only wise. We will not question this man or that, this denomination or that. It is not for us to use our fingers to count the brands plucked from the burning, but to use our hands to pluck them from the fire, and we will pass the roll to the only wise God, and He shall at the last decide whether they be His or no.

V. WHY WILL THE CENSUS BE TAKEN AT ALL? The Lord counts up His people —

1. To show His value of them.

2. To show to Satan his entire defeat.

3. To let all men see that the great riddle which has distracted human intellect was no riddle but a fact. God is glorified, and man free.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THE COUNTING. A census is no new thing. Refer to the history of Jacob, the time of Pharaoh, etc. Churches have their census. This describes the final census —

1. It will. be an individual counting. "This man was born there." The question not one of reformation, but of regeneration.

2. It will be unalterable. It will be final (Revelation 22:11). It is of supreme importance to have our name written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Seek to have it registered now.

II. THE COUNTER. "The Lord shall count." What a mercy. Man might accidentally omit, or through partiality insert some name, but it is well that the Lord should be the Presiding Officer because of —

1. His intimate acquaintance with every one. "The Lord knoweth them that are His." He cannot therefore be deceived. To Him all hearts are open. We may "profess and call ourselves Christians," but our profession will be worthless unless our name be inserted in the heavenly register.

2. His unfailing accuracy. No name omitted or inserted in error. The totals will agree. Man may err, but His accuracy none can call in question.

III. THE COUNTED. Whose name will be found in the register? Only his who has been "born again," i.e. "born from above." I may be "the weakest of them that love Him," but if I have been "born there," I shall not be disowned. If we share in the bond of the covenant, we shall also share in the blessedness of the covenant. Will He count me? "Except a man be born again," etc.

(Samuel Oliver.)

Why should the Lord make out the census? The reason is — who else could do it? Imagine for a moment that the pen could be given to the Pope of Rome. I am sure he would omit yours and mine, because we are not obedient to the Pontifical See; and even if he were under authority and command, I am sure he would make a great splutter in trying to write the name "Martin Luther," and he would throw down his pen and utterly refuse to obey if he had to write the glorious name of John Calvin. Suppose, now, we put the pen into the hand of Bigotry — Bigotry who lives not quite so far off as Italy, but takes up her residence in our own land, and hard by our abode. I think I see her, with her face bitter as wormwood, and with her eyes full of darkness, and she, having written all the names down, reads, "There be few that shall be saved; they be so few that a child can count them."... God, and God only — God the only wise — shall have the writing up of the people, for there is no one to be found but God who could do it.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Heman, Jacob, Korah, Mahalath, Psalmist, Rahab
Birth, Born, Count, Describing, Inscribeth, Mind, Peoples, Records, Recount, Register, Registers, Selah, Writes, Writeth, Writing, Zion
1. The nature and glory of the church
4. The increase, honor, and comfort of the members thereof.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Psalm 87:6

     5638   writing

Psalm 87:1-7

     7468   temple, rebuilding

Psalm 87:4-6

     5655   birth

Whether Pain is a Passion of the Soul?
Objection 1: It would seem that pain is not a passion of the soul. Because no passion of the soul is in the body. But pain can be in the body, since Augustine says (De Vera Relig. xii), that "bodily pain is a sudden corruption of the well-being of that thing which the soul, by making evil use of it, made subject to corruption." Therefore pain is not a passion of the soul. Objection 2: Further, every passion of the soul belongs to the appetitive faculty. But pain does not belong to the appetitive,
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

The Ancient Church
THE ANCIENT CHURCH: Its History, Doctrine, Worship, and Constitution, Traced for the First Three Hundred Years. BY W.D. KILLEN, D.D. Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Pastoral Theology to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. "Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God." PSALM lxxxvii. 3. NEW YORK: MDCCC.LIX.
William Dool Killen—The Ancient Church

Our Status.
"And he believed in the Lord: and he counted it to him for righteousness." --Gen. xv. 6. The right touches a man's status. So long as the law has not proven him guilty, has not convicted and sentenced him, his legal status is that of a free and law-abiding citizen. But as soon as his guilt is proven in court and the jury has convicted him, he passes from that into the status of the bound and law-breaking citizen. The same applies to our relation to God. Our status before God is that either of the
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

The Golden Calf
'And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 2. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. 3. And all the people brake off the golden
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Vehicles of Revelation; Scripture, the Church, Tradition.
(a) The supreme and unique revelation of God to man is in the Person of the Incarnate Son. But though unique the Incarnation is not solitary. Before it there was the divine institution of the Law and the Prophets, the former a typical anticipation (de Incarn. 40. 2) of the destined reality, and along with the latter (ib. 12. 2 and 5) for all the world a holy school of the knowledge of God and the conduct of the soul.' After it there is the history of the life and teaching of Christ and the writings
Athanasius—Select Works and Letters or Athanasius

The Hindrances to Mourning
What shall we do to get our heart into this mourning frame? Do two things. Take heed of those things which will stop these channels of mourning; put yourselves upon the use of all means that will help forward holy mourning. Take heed of those things which will stop the current of tears. There are nine hindrances of mourning. 1 The love of sin. The love of sin is like a stone in the pipe which hinders the current of water. The love of sin makes sin taste sweet and this sweetness in sin bewitches the
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

The Worst Things Work for Good to the Godly
DO not mistake me, I do not say that of their own nature the worst things are good, for they are a fruit of the curse; but though they are naturally evil, yet the wise overruling hand of God disposing and sanctifying them, they are morally good. As the elements, though of contrary qualities, yet God has so tempered them, that they all work in a harmonious manner for the good of the universe. Or as in a watch, the wheels seem to move contrary one to another, but all carry on the motions of the watch:
Thomas Watson—A Divine Cordial

The Foundation of the Church among the Jews
A.D. 33-A.D. 38 Before entering upon an account of the Foundation and After-History of the Christian Church, it may be well to consider what that Church really is. Section 1. Definition of the Church. [Sidenote: Twofold nature of the Church.] The Church may be regarded in a twofold aspect, as an external Corporation, and as a spiritual Body. [Sidenote: 1. An external Kingdom.] In the first light it is a Kingdom, in the world, though not of the world, extending through different and widely-separated
John Henry Blunt—A Key to the Knowledge of Church History

The piety of the Old Testament Church is reflected with more clearness and variety in the Psalter than in any other book of the Old Testament. It constitutes the response of the Church to the divine demands of prophecy, and, in a less degree, of law; or, rather, it expresses those emotions and aspirations of the universal heart which lie deeper than any formal demand. It is the speech of the soul face to face with God. Its words are as simple and unaffected as human words can be, for it is the genius
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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