The Second Psalm

Posted in: 2005
By Tom L. Ballinger
Mar 6, 2008 - 5:07:48 PM

November 30, 2005
The setting of the Second Psalm is set during an era when, literally, “… the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men and giveth it to whomsoever He will” (Dan. 4:25). In Old Testament times, there were instances when the LORD (Yahweh) did exercise influence over certain nations when He chose to use them to correct, punish, or bless His people, Israel. However, Psalm 2 does not refer to such instances. It has a futuristic view of what will transpire when the Most High definitely is ruling over the nations and appointing their kings and rulers.
Psalm 2 points to an age in which the Lord Jesus Christ will have reigned from heaven for hundreds of years. The world will have lived in a pristine environment, on a renewed earth. Mankind will have enjoyed perfect health, and long life, as well as a Divine Government in which righteousness, justice, and equity will have been strictly enforced, and with swift punishment if there were any transgressions. Good government will be the order of the day. War will have been a thing of the past, during which time, the population of the world will have learned the right way in which they are to live. The nation of Israel has been restored and has become the model government of which all nations desire to emulate. Nations will, perennially, send delegates to Jerusalem to better learn the ways of God. The blessings of God flow to the nations through Israel. The time-frame is when the long awaited Kingdom of God has finally come. Righteousness, peace, and joy (Rom. 14:17) will be the hallmark of Divine Rule.
But, over time, the Lord will secretly relax His strict restraints upon mankind. This becomes a “field-day” for Satan who has been free to wander throughout the world seeking whom he might devour (1 Pet. 5:8). He begins to seize the moment. The “tares” of the Kingdom, that is, those who really do not have an abiding love for God in their hearts, soon discover that there is no longer a just and swift recompense of reward “for every transgression and disobedience” (Heb. 2:2) against the established code-of-conduct.
The relaxation of the laws of the Lord’s Government is purposely done in order to expose and bring to light the wickedness of the thoughts and the intents of the hearts of many; this even extends to some of the very rulers in God’s Government. Over time, men become bolder in their wickedness, as do some of the nations’ kings and rulers. Some of the kings and rulers, especially those surrounding Israel, begin to hatch a plot to overthrow God’s Government which seems to them, now, to be powerless. It is with this backdrop that we enter into Psalm 2.
“Why do the heathen (nations) rage, And the people imagine a vain thing?” (vs.1).
This is a rhetorical question. The psalmist is not making an inquiry into their rebellious activity but is expressing amazement, or more likely indignation, through the use of a question.
The word “rage” in the text is ragash which means “tumultuous” or “to conspire or plot” (KJV O.T. Hebrew Lexicon). The word “imagine” is “hagah” which means to “meditate or devise.”
It could be said; “Why do the nations conspire and plot, And the people devise a vain thing?”
The object of the verb, hagah, is “a vain thing,” or “an empty thing.” This is clearly an interpretive substitution by the writer for the actual object; probably something like “strategy,” or “a military attack,” because the rebels would not be coming together to plan “a vain thing.” But, because what they were planning was vain, the psalmist put that description in the text in the place of the expected object. He was saying their plans were vain, but the conspirators didn’t think them to be vain, or empty at all. This is, then, a figure of speech called a metonymy of adjunct, for the Psalmist has substituted a description of their plan for the actual plan.
The nations assemble in a tumultuous meeting and plot a revolt against God’s Government.
“The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and His anointed …” (vs. 2).
We should notice the parallelism in verses one and two:
The nations plot—and the people devise (vs. 1).
The kings of the earth—and the rulers take counsel (vs. 2).
The “kings” clarifies who the nations are. The “rulers” clarifies who the people are. The kings are the God-appointed kings of the nations that surround Israel during the Kingdom Age. The rulers are the God-appointed rulers of His people (see Acts 4:24-27). Yes, even many of the rulers of Israel “are ships sailing under false colors.” When given the opportunity, they turn on the One who chose them. This shouldn’t surprise us since one of the called apostles was a “turncoat”—Judas Iscariot.
“The king’s of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and His anointed, saying Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” (vs. 2-3).
The kings of certain nations “set themselves” which indicates they take a stand. The apostate rulers of Israel stand together with them. The tumultuous meeting which is to take place will be “against the LORD and His anointed.” They hatch a war strategy against the LORD Himself, and His anointed, and His Nation of Israel. What a sin of presumption! They do imagine a vain thing—overthrowing the Government of God.
This declaration points to the fact that they had been fully submissive to the long established Divine Government. But, with the Divine restraints being lifted, they become emboldened enough to believe that through force-of-arms, they could win their independence from the King of kings. Oh, how foolish they will be.
Their plot is to be against the LORD and His anointed. The LORD is Yahweh (or, as some prefer to say, Jehovah). Since Yahweh (or Jehovah) in the Old Testament is the Lord Jesus of the New Testament, the “anointed” one, here, cannot be Him. This is clearly a reference to the resurrected David who was, and will be the LORD’s anointed King of Israel.
As the plot thickens, the anti-christ makes a covenant with some of Israel’s rulers for seven years (see Daniel 9:27). However, the covenant is only with some (as Daniel says; “with many,” but not all). This refers to the outcome of the “counsel” mentioned in Psalm 2:2.
In Daniel 9:26, we read; “After threescore and two weeks (434 years) shall messiah (i.e.David) be cut-off, but not for himself.” Now, we will quote from a PWO study on Daniel written several years ago:
Notice what “cut off” means: “TO MAKE (CUT) A COVENANT - karat is used in a technical sense of "making an agreement in writing” (Vines Expository Dictionary), in plainer words, “to cut a deal.” We’ll read in the next verse that “the prince,” the Antichrist, cuts a deal (i.e. makes a covenant) with many of the Jews, but not for or with David. God’s anointed would not make a deal with Satan’s agent. David has nothing to do with it. We are not told what David does during this desolation, so we will not speculate.
The kings and rulers of Psalm 2 think they are no longer bound by the laws of the Kingdom because there are, now, no immediate consequences to the breaking of the law. In this way, God’s plan to make manifest the true beliefs of the rebellious leaders will be successful.
“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh, the Lord shall have them in derision” (vs. 4).
“Lord” is Adonia (a title) spoken instead of Yahweh as a Jewish display of reverence
Therefore, the One who sits in the heavens and shall laugh is Yahweh, that is to say, the Lord Jesus. If we can not distinguish between the pre-millennial Kingdom of God, and the earthly millennial reign of Christ, then no place in the interpretation can be found for the Lord to sit in the heavens and laugh. Ponder this thought!
The Hebrew word for “laugh” is sachaq (OT:7832) which can mean “laugh to scorn.” The word for “derision” is la`ag (OT:3932), which has a similar meaning as sachag in as much as it means “to mock.”
So the idea is; He who sits in the heavens shall laugh to scorn the rebels, and He shall mock them. It is not that the Lord will actually laugh to scorn and mock those that turn against Him, but that a figure of speech is applied here in verse 4—ascribing human attributes to Him so that man can understand the disgust the Lord will have for those who do such things. Condescension is the figure of speech.
The Lord is depicted, by the psalmist, as making a mockery of their foolish antics, their puffed-up pride, and arrogance to even conceive of overthrowing His Government “which shall never be destroyed” (Dan. 2:44)—a Kingdom which is an everlasting Kingdom.
“Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure” (vs. 5).
After the chiding, as it were, He then “rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath,” as the NIV puts it. It seems, as the rest of this Psalm is read, that through His rebuke, anger, and threatened wrath, that many of these rebels will come to their senses, and re-submit themselves to His authority.
In following verses the psalmist portrays the LORD speaking:
“Yet have I set My king upon My holy hill of Zion” (vs. 6).
Here, in verse 6, the psalmist switches from David, the king, to “My king” Who is My Son, as we shall see in the next verse. Hills and mountains in Scripture often refer to the center of government activities. “My holy hill of Zion” is symbolic or figurative language for God’s Government which is set (firmly established) in the heavens. This does not refer to the holly hill of Zion, in which David reigns as King of Israel.
“I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto Me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee” (vs. 7).
Now the Psalm has the Son speaking, “the LORD (Yahweh) has said unto Me …” The decree that the Son proclaims is “this day have I (Yahweh) have begotten You,” not in the sense of His actual birth or creation, but, in the sense of becoming the qualified Son, as the absolute representative of the Father in all things. This is in the sense of the Hebrew idea of Sonship. Since Jesus Christ, as the Son, was obedient (to the Father) unto to death, even the death of the cross (Phil. 2:8), that Jesus was officially declared to be “the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4). The resurrection was the proof the Jesus qualified as the Son, that is, the official representative of the Father,
“Ask of Me, and I shall give thee the heathen (the nations) for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession” (vs. 8).
As of today, our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Son, has not yet asked for this inheritance. He can ask of the Father at any time. There are no prophecies waiting to be fulfilled before He can ask! All He has to do is ask the Father for His inheritance, and it will be granted immediately. All of the nations of the world will be His, and He will put all things in proper order. What a day of rejoicing that will be! Frankly, I am sick and weary of this wicked, old world system.
When the Son asks for His inheritance, every square inch of this earth will fall under His jurisdiction.
“Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel” (vs. 9).
This will be addressed to the deceived kings and rulers who will plot against the Government of Jesus Christ. It will be a warning to them. It seems that some will heed this warning in that future day and come to repentance. However, we know from Daniel, 2 Thessalonians, and Revelation, that the anti-christ and his cohorts rush head-long into war against Christ, and His Government, and Israel; all of them being energized by the Devil.
The following verses appear to give the deceived rebels “one more last chance” to escape the actual fury of that which will surely come.
“Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth” (vs. 10).
This is addressed to the kings of the rebelling nations and to the judges of the earth, as well as, the judges of Israel who will have entered into a covenant with the “king of fierce countenance.” To be “wise” is not to be deceived.
The antidote to this deception will be to:
“Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling” (vs. 11).
If the lukewarm rulers and judges will renounce the conspiracy and serve the LORD with fear, they can rejoice in the promised deliverance. Perhaps some will. Verse 11 provides a way of escape.
“Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him” (vs. 11).
To kiss was always a sign, in oriental lands, to show fidelity to one’s lord, or master. If these kings and judges were to reconfirm their allegiance to the Son of God, it would be considered as kissing the Son. Failure to do so in that future day will result in not only losing their positions as governors and leaders, but their lives.
In that coming dark day of the Kingdom of God, those who put their trust in the Lord will be blessed for so doing.
The truths set forth in the Second Psalm will find their fulfillment in the closing days of the next dispensation. The Scripture gives a number of titles to this mostly overlooked dispensation—the Kingdom of God (or Heaven, in Matthew), the Last Day (John’s Gospel), and the Day of Jesus Christ (mentioned in Paul’s Acts Epistles and his Prison Epistle of Philippians).
It is sad to say that so many Bible students have an indifferent complacency concerning the next dispensation—the indifference is shown by relegating it to the time Christ is on earth ruling for one-thousand years. The pre-millennial dispensationalists have no place of prominence for Psalm 2 in their theology.
Tom L. Ballinger