Evangelist Perkins and Dr. McCall at the 5th Annual Pre-Trib Research Study Group Meeting


by: Dr. Tom McCall

Psalm 16 contains the most important prophecy of the resurrection of Christ in the Old Testament. It is one of the three passages (together with Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53) that predict more about the death and resurrection of the Messiah than anywhere else in the Hebrew Scriptures. The significance of Psalm 16 becomes apparent in light of the fact that the two major apostles, Peter and Paul, both utilized this passage in their messages to Jewish audiences in Acts 2 and 13 to prove that the Messiah had to rise from the dead. In fact, this is the main passage the apostles use from the Old Testament to prove the resurrection of the Messiah. It is difficult, then, to overestimate the importance of this Psalm in the original proclamation of the Gospel.

The argument by Peter in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost was that King David prophesied that the "Holy One" (Chasid, the sanctified one) would not see corruption.

Acts 2:24-32

24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:

26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:

27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

29 Men [and] brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. {let me: or, I may}

30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Since David had been dead for a thousand years, his body had long since been corrupted, and the memorial of the tomb of David was visible to Peter's listeners, it was clear that David could not have been prophesying about himself. Rather, David must have been prophesying about his future descendant, the Messiah. On the basis of this reasoning, Peter argued that the Messiah would die and would be buried. His soul would be in Sheol and His body would be in the grave. However, before the body of the Holy One corrupted, He would "see the path of life." Thus, not only would the Messiah be raised from the dead, the event would have to take place before the corruption of the body, or within a few days after entombment. This argument was so powerful, that 3,000 Jews received Christ that day, in part, because of the force of this fulfilled prophecy.

The Apostle Paul used Psalm 16 in a similar manner when he presented his evangelistic sermon in the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch:

Acts 13:35-37

35 Wherefore he saith also in another [psalm], Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: {after...: or, after he had in his own page served the will of God}.

37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. King David, he reasoned, long ago went to "sleep" (died) in his own generation, and his body saw corruption. But the Holy One, whom God would raise from the dead, would see no corruption. Thus, the Messiah had to rise from the dead before His body saw corruption, and this was fulfilled in Jesus, who arose on the third day.

It is eminently clear, then, that the apostles considered Psalm 16 absolutely central to the Biblical proof that the Messiah had to be raised from the dead within days after His death, and that Jesus Christ fulfilled this prophecy precisely.


The passage the apostles concentrate on in Psalm 16 is the section from verses 8-11, the last four verses of the Psalm:

8. I have set the LORD always before me: because [he is] at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

9. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

10. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

11. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.

There are several key words in this segment of Psalm 16 that are essential to the understanding of the prophecy, and how both Peter and Paul applied it to Christ.

My Flesh. The speaker is speaking as one who has died, and the flesh of the speaker rests in hope in the grave. What hope does the flesh have after physical death? Our natural senses only see the corruption of the flesh into the dust of the earth. There is not much hope in that. However, the Word of God promises a resurrection of the flesh from the dead. This is the basis of hope. The reason the speaker's flesh rests in hope is because the speaker believed in the promise of the Word of God that there would be a resurrection of the body (Job 19:26 and Daniel 12:1-2). This is true of any believer, but the prophecy becomes more particular as it goes on because of the time factor of the resurrection specified.

My Soul in Hell. Not only is the flesh of the speaker seen to be in the grave, but the soul is described to be in Hell, or, more particularly, in Sheol. Hell is a poor translation of Sheol, because it has the connotation of being the abode only of the wicked dead souls. However, in the Old Testament circumstances, Sheol was the abode of the souls of both the righteous and the wicked dead. This is intimated in the Old Testament, but is clarified in the account given by the Lord in Luke 16. There, He describes both the righteous and the wicked dead as being in Hades (the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Sheol, but separated by a Great Gulf fixed between them. The righteous poor man was on the Bosom of Abraham side, while the wicked rich man was on the side where there was perpetual torment. The speaker rejoices that his soul will not be left in Sheol.

Corruption. The key phrase in the entire passage is the declaration by the speaker that God would not allow the Holy One (Chasid) to see corruption (shachath). While some translations render this as some kind of pit or grave, this does not fit the context, and the Septuagint translation of diaphthoran, which is reflected in the New Testament quotations, connotes the concept of physical corruption. Here, the reality that King David, the writer, is speaking prophetically of his great descendant, the Messiah, is driven home.

The Messiah, the Chasid, or Sanctified One of the Lord, as the passage states, would die. His body would be laid in the grave, but his flesh would rest in hope of the resurrection. His soul would descend to Sheol, but would not be left there. In fact, his body would remain so little a time in the grave that it would not see corruption, would not decay.

Jewish burial custom did not then, nor does it now, utilize any embalming procedures in preparation of the dead. Therefore, physical corruption sets in very quickly, and the body begins to decay within a few days following death. For this prophecy to be fulfilled, then, the body of the Speaker would have to be raised from the dead within a few days after His death, so that His body would not see corruption.

While all believers rest in the assurance that their bodies will be reunited with their souls in the resurrection of the dead, only the Messiah had the promise that His body would not be in the grave long enough to see corruption.

Path of life. In thy presence. Not only would the Messiah's dead body not see corruption, and not only would His soul be reunited with His body in resurrection by leaving Sheol and finding the path of life, but He would then be transferred from Sheol to the presence of the Lord forever. Thus, the Messiah is the first human promised access to the presence of God in a resurrection body.

Before the death and resurrection of Christ, human souls were somewhat restricted in Sheol, away from the direct presence of the Almighty in Heaven. Their sins were covered, but had not actually been paid for by the blood of the Messiah. After the Lord died for our sins, and the one true sacrifice was "finished," then He could "take captivity captive" (Eph. 4:8; Psalm 68:18), and carry the souls of the righteous from Sheol to the Third Heaven, the abode of God.

Therefore, no human before Christ was permitted access into the presence of the Lord in Heaven after death. However, when Christ died, accomplishing the complete atonement, then He as the first resurrected human, could Himself ascend to the Father, and transfer Paradise from Sheol to Heaven. Now, when believers die, their souls do not go to Sheol, but rather directly to Heaven, "to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8). The wicked dead, though, still go to Sheol, the place of torment, awaiting the Great White Throne judgment described in Rev. 20.

No wonder the apostles considered Psalm 16 so crucial to the presentation of the Gospel. In it are contained the promises related to the specific and unique resurrection of the Messiah Himself, and its implications with regard to the resurrection of believers of all ages.



Th.D. Degree, Dallas Theological Seminary / 1965
Th.M. Degree, Talbot Theological Seminary, Los Angeles / 1962
B. A. Degree, The University of Texas at Austin / 1957
Diploma, Highland Park High School, Dallas / 1953
Real Estate Appraisal Professional Education



Elected President of:
Student Body, Talbot Theological Seminary
Alumni Association, Dallas Theological Seminary
Dallas Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution


Taught College level courses in Biblical Studies, Prophecy and Archaeology in Dallas Baptist University and Dallas Bible College; served as guest lecturer at Dallas Theological Seminary and Biola College; taught adult classes at First Baptist Church of Dallas, Northwest Bible Church (Dallas), Prestonwood Baptist Church (Dallas), and Grace Community Church (Tyler).

Authored or co-authored eight books published by various publishers, including Moody Press, Bantam Books, Harvest House and Levitt Ministries: SATAN IN THE SANCTUARY, THE COMING RUSSIAN INVASION OF ISRAEL, RAPTURED, THE BIBLE JESUS READ IS EXCITING, ONCE THROUGH THE NEW TESTAMENT, CHRIST IN THE FEASTS AND THE FUTURE, MESSIAH, and COMING: THE END.
Also authored numerous articles in theological journals and magazines, and scripts for documentary films and television programs.

Southwest Regional Director of the American Board of Missions to the Jews (Chosen People Ministries), with a ministry in Jewish missions in California and Texas spanning over twenty-five years.

Organized, conducted and lectured for several tours to Israel, the Middle East and Europe, with as many as 120 people each in the various tour groups.

Founded and organized the Living Programs Foundation, a non-profit educational, lecturing and writing ministry.

Served as Director of Development at Dallas Bible College, successfully conducting a campaign raising over $600,000 for an expansion program.

Organized and spoke in conferences in churches and conference centers throughout the United States and Canada, and spoke in over 500 churches during the course of over thirty-five years of ministry.

Appeared on various television and radio programs, including the Zola Levitt series, and participated in the production of several series of television programs on location at Biblical sites in Israel.


Designated SRA (Senior Residential Appraiser) by the Appraisal Institute, and State Certified Residential Appraiser. Prepares residential appraisals throughout East Texas.
Appeared in State and Federal Courts as an expert Appraiser witness in civil and bankruptcy cases.

Licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Texas since 1974. Served as broker in negotiating contracts for residences and apartment complexes.

Directed and managed an investment program of over One Million Dollars in residential property during a period of three years.

Appointed as a bonded Receiver by a Harris County (Houston) Court to manage and dispose of over one hundred and fifty acres of Real Estate in Harris County.


Married Carolyn Wilson in 1958. She is listed in WHO'S WHO OF AMERICAN WOMEN. They have a son, Kevin and a daughter, Carol, and two grandchildren, Laura and John.

Your comments and suggestions are welcomed.
Please send your Email to: Dr. Tom McCall

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