The Messianic Psalms: The Glories of the Eternal Son—Psalm 2

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The Messianic Psalms: The Glories of the Eternal Son—Psalm 2

For those of you like myself who like good sermonic alliteration, this Psalm breaks up into an easy four-point outline:

            • The Apostates
            • The Almighty
            • The Anointed
            • The Advise


  • "Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, "Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us." (Psalm 2:1-3, ESV)
            1. the Psalmist opens his song with a lyric declaring man's rebellion against the Lord of Hosts
                1. the psalmist stands amazed at the plans—vain plans, but plans nonetheless—of the world's nations to overthrow the Lord and His Anointed One
                    1. the earth's nation-states are conspiring, and the earth's people are plotting to rebel against the Lord's anointed one
                2. in one of the most clear applications of the Psalm, the Apostle Peter quotes it shortly after he and the Apostle John have been released from custody for preaching Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem
                • "On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. "Sovereign Lord," they said, "you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:" 'Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.' Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus." (Acts 4:23-30, NIV)
                1. Peter clearly tells us that both Jew and Gentile, both worldly rulers and common people have taken a stand against God, and against God's Anointed One
                    1. the title Anointed One is a clear reference to Messiah
                    2. it is not some earthly king or potentate that the nations and people of the earth are raging and plotting against
                    3. it is the Lord Himself, and his Anointed!!


            1. the psalmist begins with a rhetorical question: "Why"?—Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? "Why"?—Why do the kings and rulers of the earth set themselves against the Lord?
            2. the picture of man's rebellion is complete
                1. the nations are in a rage
                2. the peoples of the earth are plotting
                3. the kings of the earth are setting themselves against God's authority
                4. the rulers of lesser principalities are counseling together against the Lord
                    1. in all of this, we see the complete and utter enmity that a fallen race has toward the sovereign Lord of the universe
            3. the nations rage can literally be translated as tumultuous agitation as when ocean waves are lashed to fury by the winds
                1. in this Psalm, the word implies a conspiracy to be in open defiance of a king
                • ILLUS. Charles H. Spurgeon, the great British Baptist preacher of the 19th century, said of these three verses, "We have, in these first three verses, a description of the hatred of human nature against the Christ of God."
                1. the nations of the world—then and now—want no king but Caesar
            4. in his fallen condition, man not only is not looking for God, but is in open rebellion against Him
                1. God is God
                2. man is not God, but wants to be
                    1. here is the core of the great temptation
                    • "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate." (Genesis 3:5-6, ESV)
                3. and that's the rub
                    1. our eyes were opened
                    2. we do know the difference between good and evil
                    3. but we're still not God
            5. the nations rage and the peoples plot
                1. the word plot in this massage comes from a word that means growl a vain thing
                    1. in Isaiah 31:4 the word refers to a lion growling over its prey
                2. the word came to refer to people speaking in low, hushed sounds as they plotted to take some kind of action
                    1. some translate the word as murmur murderously 1) in this Psalm, it implies that lost men open muse, but in low hushed tones, on how they might break free from God
                3. man's desire is to be the maker of his own destiny, and lord of his own life
                4. the commands of God—which are always for our good—are perceived as shackles and cords that must be loosed and discarded
                    1. according to the Psalmist, man's rage is "Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us."
                        1. the Ten Commandment are cords
                        2. the Sermon on the Mount is a cord #. mankind says we don't need such cord—they restrict our freedom, and above all, we would be free—even from God


            1. the psalmist asks a rhetorical question: "Why"?—Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?
                1. all this animus and angst does not make sense to him
                2. God has poured out his blessing upon all
                • "... He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matthew 5:45, NIV)
                1. theologians call this common grace
                    1. it is "common" because its benefits are experienced by, or intended for, the whole human race without distinction between one person and another
                    2. it is "grace" because it is undeserved and sovereignly bestowed by God
            2. God's common grace is witnessed in
                1. His providential care of creation
                    1. the Bible says, for instance, that God through the Son "upholds the universe by the word of his power" (Heb. 1:2-3)
                    2. God's gracious provision for his creatures is seen in the giving of the seasons, of seedtime and harvest
                    3. we also see evidence of God's common grace in the establishment of various structures within human society
                        1. most noteworthy is marriage, and the family—both ordained by God for blessing men—whether sinner or saint
                2. His providential restraint of sin
                    1. in the Bible, Paul teaches that civil authorities have been "instituted by God" (Rom. 13:1) to maintain order and punish wrong-doing
                    2. although fallible instruments of his common grace, civil governments are called "ministers of God" (Rom. 13:6) that should not be feared by those who do good
                    3. God also sovereignly works through circumstances to limit a person's sinful behavior
                    • ILLUS. In Genesis we have the account of Abraham and Sarah journeying into the territory of the Negeb, where Abraham told everyone "this is my sister." King Abimelech takes a fancy to her and sends for Sarah, apparently to take her as one of his wives, thus cementing a covenant/treaty with Abraham. But God warns Abimelech in a dream that if he proceeds he is a dead man because Sarah is actually Abraham's wife.
                    • "Then God said to him in the dream, "Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her." (Genesis 20:6, NIV)
                    1. if we think the world is bad now, just wait until God is no longer restraining evil
                3. His providential enlightenment of human conscience
                    1. the apostle Paul says that when unbelieving Gentiles "who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves,. . . They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them" (Rom. 2:14-15, ESV)
                    2. by God's common grace fallen mankind retains a conscience indicating the differences between right and wrong
                4. His providential blessings to mankind
                    1. human advancements that come through the unredeemed are seen as outcomes of God's common grace
                    2. for example, medical and other technological advancements that improve the lives of both the redeemed and unredeemed are seen as initiated by common grace
            3. considering how benevolent God is, Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?


            1. malevolent is a word that means '/ will that wishes evil upon another
            2. the kings and rulers have taken a stand against the Lord and his Anointed One
                1. it's as though they have drawn a line in the sand and dared God to cross it
                2. Peter, in Acts 4, tells us plainly that this malevolent assault against God and His Christ was the reason for Christ's crucifixion
                • "The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed'— for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel," (Acts 4:26-27, ESV)
                1. this is a movement against God and Christ
                2. it has been snowballing as it has come down through the centuries, and it will break out finally in a worldwide revolution against God and against Christ in a period of Great Tribulation


  • "He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, "As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill." (Psalm 2:4-6, ESV)
            1. after recording the rebellion of the apostates of the world, the Psalmist reveals the response of the almighty


            1. man's futile rebellion is against He who sits in the heavens a. how stupid is that?
            2. the one who sits in the heavens holds the universe in the palm of His hand
            • "Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust." (Isaiah40:12-15, ESV)
            • "Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness." (Isaiah 40:21-23, ESV)


            1. man's futile rebellion is against He who sits in the heavens
            2. the Lord of the Heavens responds to man's futile rebellion—He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury
                1. here is the reply of the Almighty God
                    1. God does not tremble or quake in his boots
                    2. God does not hide behind a celestial rampart, counting the enemy and calculating whether or not He has sufficient force to counter a challenge to His kingdom
                    3. God does not negotiate
            3. God simply laughs at their stupid insolence
                1. here is the only place in all the Scriptures where we are told that God laughs
                    1. it is not a pleasant laugh
                    2. it is a laugh of derision
            4. God scoffs at their plans
                1. this is what the Lord holds them in derision means
                    1. God mocks their clenched fists and fiery slogans
            5. God speaks to rebuke and to terrify these rulers
            • "Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying," (Psalm 2:5, ESV)
            • ILLUS. Remember when the Magi arrive in Jerusalem? Who's the first person they seek out? It's Herod the Great. Their question is: "Where is he who is born King of the Jews? We have seen his star in the East and have come to worship him." This terrifies King Herod. This was God speaking wrath to Herod. God is announcing through the Magi that worldly kingdoms are on their way out and a heavenly kingdom is on its way in. When Jesus is on trial before the Jewish high counsel, Caiaphas, the High Priest commands Jesus, "... "I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God." And Jesus responded, saying to him, "... tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven."/ (Matthew 26:63-64, ESV). This was Jesus speaking wrath to the Jewish leaders.


            1. after speaking rebuke, God announces that / have set my King on Zion, my holy hill
                1. this is God's unalterable purpose, and nothing on earth or in hell can thwart it
                    1. in the first section of the psalm, He is the Anointed One,
                    2. but here He is King
            2. nothing can keep God from establishing His Kingdom
            • ILLUS. In the late 3rd and early 4th centuries, the great foe of Christianity was the Roman Emperor Diocletian. He struck at the heart of the faith by killing the its leaders and burning its sacred books. Diocletian thought he had succeeded. In Spain, he had a monument (actually two) erected, boasting of his success. The monument reads: Diocletian Jovian Maximian Herculeus Caesares August! for having everywhere abolished the superstition of Christ for having extended the worship of the gods But Diocletian had not abolished Christianity. On the contrary, at the time Christianity was growing stronger than ever, and eventually it triumphed over Caesar's throne.
            1. and God sit's on His throne and laughs


  • " will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."/ (Psalm 2:7-9, ESV)
            1. the third section of the Psalm contains the words of God's Anointed, the Lord Jesus Christ
                1. in the New Testament, the words in this passage are always applied to Jesus and never to anyone else
            2. the Christ is the only begotten of the Father
                1. it is a decree of the Godhead in eternity past, here revealed for the first time by the Son Himself
                    1. at the baptism of Jesus a voice from heaven says, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am wall pleased" (Mat. 3:17)
                    2. at the transfiguration the disciples hear a voice from heaven say, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" (Mat. 17:5)
                    3. it is also quoted by the author of the Book of Hebrews in connection with Jesus' exaltation as our High Priest
                    • "So aso Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, "You are my Son, today I have begotten you"/ (Hebrews 5:5, ESV)


            1. in these verses God the Son, is speaking to the Psalmist of what God the Father has declared concerning His the Anointed One's relationship to the Father and the scope of His eternal reign
                1. what has God declared?
                    1. that the Anointed One—the Messiah—is not just Israel's Deliverer, but is God's own Son
                2. this passage gives us a glimpse of perhaps the most important of Biblical doctrine—the ETERNAL Sonship of Christ
                3. it is a doctrine denied by many pseudo-Christian sects such as the Mormons and the Jehovah Witnesses
                4. it's a doctrine that should be held and valued by all those who know and love our Lord Jesus
            2. God the Son has always existed as the Second Person of the Trinity
                1. there was never a time when He 'wasn't and He is equal to the Father
                • ILLUS. In attempting to define the relationship of God the Son to God the Father, the early church, at the Council of Nicea developed the Nicene Creed. Here is what they said about the eternal sonship of the Christ: We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in being with the Father.
                    1. though it has been tweaked over the centuries, that is still the orthodox position to this day
            3. the doctrine of the trinity is the distinctively Christian conception of God
                1. it's our theological understanding of how the One God, is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
                2. perhaps no other Church Father helps us understand the doctrine better than Augustine
                3. Augustine wrote that the logic of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity can be stated fairly simply in seven statements
                    1. the Father is God
                    2. the Son is God
                    3. the Holy Spirit is God
                        1. each is fully God, containing all the attributes that of the other
                    4. the Father is not the Son
                    5. the Son is not the Holy Spirit
                    6. the Holy Spirit is not the Father
                4. to cap it off, the seventh statement says ...
                    1. there is only one God
            4. the Anointed One is the one and only Eternal Son who became flesh and dwelt among us
            • ILLUS. I like the way the Gregory ofNaziansen one of the Church Fathers, describes the incarnation. Speaking of Jesus, Gregory wrote: "Remaining what he was, he assumed what he was not."
                1. he means by that, the Jesus retained all the divine attributes of the Godhead, even while he takes up human attributes
                2. and that's the Doctrine of the Incarnation which is the second most important of Christian doctrines


            1. another of God's decrees concerns the Son's inheritance
                1. God the Father has declared that all God the Son has to do is ask and God the Father will give Him the nations as his heritage and make the ends of the earth his possess/on
            2. the author of Hebrews reminds us, that though Jesus has not yet received his inheritance, he will
            • "Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere, "What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet." Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone." (Hebrews 2:5-9, ESV)

IV. THE ADVICE (2:10-12)

  • "Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him." (Psalm 2:10-12, ESV)
            1. in the final section of this Psalm, the narrator speaks again
                1. he utters words of warning and entreaty to those who have not yet bowed before God's Son
            2. what does this voice of repentance call us to do?
                1. to be wise
                2. to be warned
                3. to serve the Lord with fear
                4. to rejoice with trembling
                5. to (most importantly) kiss the Son which implies grateful, loving submission
                    1. "Kiss the Son" is the Old Testament way of saying, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved"
            3. that is what these rules will not do, which is why they are in danger of a final fierce destruction
                1. they will perish in the way but blessed are all who take refuge in him
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