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Psalm 2

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Messiah’s Triumph and Future Reign

This is a powerful psalm depicting the future reign of Jesus on the earth – with dramatic implications for believers today. This reign is signified not only by the mention of Messiah[1] but also by references in the New Testament.[2] In fact, the New Testament ascribes this psalm to King David.[3] It is closely parallel to Psalm 110 in which David is also speaking of this rule.[4]

The Futile Plot of the Wicked (vs. 1-3)

This is not a local, but a worldwide plot - which includes all Gentile rulers and kings.[5] And though, down through history rulers have railed against Christianity, the scene here described belongs properly to the end times.[6] This is demonstrated by the fact that the remainder of this psalm actually describes Messianic rule. But even further, these events are also depicted in the book of Revelation.[7] The unbelieving world of that time will be convinced that they can “break the bonds of YAHWEH and His Messiah by which They have for centuries sought to enslave the human race.”[8]

YAHWEH’S Response (vs. 4-6)

These verses describe the folly of trying to rebel against the Maker of Heaven and Earth. These Hebrew verbs express graphically the wrath of Almighty God.[9] The truth is that YAHWEH has already installed His own King on His heavenly hill.[10]

The Declaration of the King (vs. 7-9)

In this section YAHWEH “adopts” the Davidic King as His “Son”.[11] As the Davidic Heir, He is entitled to ask God for dominion over the entire earth. And YAHWEH will indeed give Him the nations [Gentiles] as His inheritance and the entire earth as His possession.[12] The Messiah will implement an iron fisted rule – like a potter who shatters his useless vessels.[13] But the extraordinary fact is that Jesus Christ will share his inheritance [rule] with faithful believers![14] This privilege is conditioned upon perseverance in holiness.[15]

Instructions for Kingdom Living (vs. 10-12)

When Messiah reigns, it will be a worldwide rule with authority over all nations and peoples.[16] Then all will be subject to His sovereign commands from kings to ordinary people.[17] All will have a choice to submit to the divine Ruler[18] - and experience His blessing - or rebel - and experience His [soon kindled] wrath.[19] But Jesus Himself gives instructions to us [the potential co-heirs] as we live in anticipation of His Kingdom.[20] And the writer of Hebrews also speaks in this regard.[21] There he exhorts us …since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire”.[22] May we live in wise anticipation of that Day!


[1] Verse 2. This is the Hebrew word מָשִׁיחַ  Mishiach = Anointed One.

[2] For example, note Acts 13:33, Heb. 1:5-6, 5:5; Rev. 2:26-27; 12:5.

[3] Acts 4:24-26.

[4] The writer of Hebrews also links these two psalms [Cf. Heb. 5:5-6]. But this psalm is also parallel to Psalm 72 in which David’s son Solomon describes the future reign of the Messiah. It was apparently David’s prayer that such a reign should eventually take place (Ps. 72:20).

[5] Vs. 1-2. The Hebrew word הָגָה hagah translated plot in verse 1 is translated meditate in Psalm 1:2.

[6] The Apostles recognized a preliminary fulfillment during the crucifixion and after the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Cf. Acts. 4:23-28). But the ultimate fulfillment will be Armageddon. (Rev. 19:11-21).

[7] See Rev. 16:12-14, 16; 19:19 [and context]. Rev. 6:15 is probably relevant here also. The phrase “kings of the earth” occurs 9 times in the book of Revelation. The kings of the earth will actual gather in Jerusalem to fight against the King of Kings. They have been satanically deluded that He is merely a local deity [“god of the sky”] who can be defeated by human capability (Cf. 2 Thess. 2:11, Rev. 11:13, 13:6).

[8] Vs. 3. It is interesting that present day atheists are talking about the “sky god of Christianity” and equating Christianity with “slavery” [see Atheists Challenge the Religious Right Jan. 2007 issue of The Christian Science Monitor].

[9] In verse 5, אַף aph = wrath [Cf. Isa. 13:9, Zeph. 2:2, Rev. 6:16, 17; 11:18, 19:15; in fact, wrath is mentioned 13 times in Revelation], חָרוֹן charon = deep displeasure = burning [Isa. 13:9; this same verb is used in Rev. 14:10, 19; 15:1, 7. In fact, it is used 10 times in Revelation], and בהל bahal = distress = terrify [Isa. 13:8; this verb is used in Mark 13:8 of this same time period in the last times. These references are based on the Greek words used in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the O.T) of this passage. These words are ὀργή, θυμός, and ταράσσω.] Isa. 13:8-9 uses all three of these Hebrew words [Cf. Ps. 110:2, 5-7].

[10] Although Jesus will rule on earthly Mount Zion (Ps. 48:2; 50:2), today He sits on heavenly Mount Zion [Cf. Ps. 2:4 , Heb. 12:22, Ps. 110:2].

[11] This is underscored by Heb. 1:5 where a quotation from either 2 Sam 7:14 or 1 Chron. 17:13 is added. “Son” is the superior name which Jesus “inherited” (Heb. 1:4) which occurred (“today”) when He was seated at the right hand of God the Father. Though He is the eternal Son of God, this is referring to His adoption as the Davidic King.

[12] Ps. 2:8b. In the Scriptures, to “inherit” is to “possess” or “own”. [Cf. Lev 25:46, Deut. 19:14,  1 Chron 28:8, Isa 57:13 etc.]. The kingdom is not owned by those who are only citizens there. [Citizens are subjects of a kingdom, not its owners.] It is the King to whom a kingdom really belongs.  The future kingdom of God is seen here as belonging to the King - God’s “Son”.  See Ps. 89:27, Luke 1:32-33, Deut. 21:17.  Jesus is indeed theheir of all things[Heb. 1:2]. He is presenting waiting [on the heavenly Mount Zion] until God makes His enemies His “footstool” [Ps. 110:1, Heb. 10:12-13, Ps. 45:3-5]. Then He will “ask” for His inheritance [Ps. 2:8a].

[13] Ps. 2:9. Cf Ps. 22:27-28; 72:8-11. This rule is also spoken of in the New Testament [Cf. Luke 1:32-33, Rev; 2:24-29, 12:5, 19:15].

[14] Cf. Rev. 2:26-27; 3:21; 20:4-6. Victorious believers receive precisely from Christ what God promised Him in Psalm 2:7-9. See also Luke 22:28-30.

[15] See Rev. 2:26; 3:21; Rom. 8:17b, 2 Tim. 2:12. Notice that in Jesus’ end times parables, the productive servants receive responsibility but the unproductive servants received nothing [Cf. Luke 19:11-26, Matt. 25:14-30; Matt. 22:11-14]. They were thus excluded from reigning.

[16] That the Psalmist is referring to the time of Christ’s rule is made clear by the first word in this passage: ]the Hebrew word וְ֭עַתָּה  w’atah = from now on]. These are instructions for the Millennial Age. [Verses 10-12 follow immediately upon verses 8&9].

[17] Cf. Vs. 10-11 (Cf. Ps. 72:8-11). They are to serve with fear [Prov. 1:7, Ps. 72:5] and rejoice [this will be a day of great rejoicing (Isa 9:3, 25:9, 51:11; 65:18-19; Rev. 19:7)] with trembling [because of the holiness of the divine King (Ps. 96:9, 99:1; Jer 5:22)].

[18] “kiss” in this context means “kiss on the feet” [vs. 12a] or submit to.

[19] Vs. 12. The same wrath which destroyed the Gentiles (vs. 5) could be quickly demonstrated also during His righteous reign (vs. 12c). [This is the same Hebrew word.] Also note Isa. 11:3-5, Ps. 45:6-7, Ps. 72:1-4 , Matt. 5:21-32 as examples of Messiah’s righteous rule. “Unregenerate inhabitants of the Kingdom will be very numerous, as the final rebellion proves (Rev. 20:7-10). But at any time, during the thousand years, the King may send any of them away to this abode of torment to await the judgment of the Great White Throne (Rev. 20:11-15).” Ps. 1 begins with “blessed” and Ps. 2 ends with “blessed”. In comparison with the wicked (Rev. 6:15-16), the righteous take refuge in [Heb חסה chasah] in YAHWEH (vs. 12).

[20] These are found in the Sermon on Mount [Matt 5-7]. We are to develop kingly character.

[21] In fact, in very similar terms to Ps. 2:10-12. We [who desire to be co-heirs] must develop in our lives the spirit of obedience as those who will be blessed during the Millennial reign [Cf. Matt. 5:3-10, Rev. 1:3, 16:15, 19:9; 22:7, 14]

[22] Heb. 12:28-29. Those not prepared will lose [eternally] the opportunity to reign with the coming King [Cf. Luke 19:20-26, Matt. 24:48-51; 25: 24-30, 1 Cor. 3:15, Heb. 3:14 and many others].  “Believers need to rely on God’s grace to keep on serving Him well, aware that His awesome holiness could reduce their pretensions and hypocrisy to ashes. We will someday meet our God in the person of His Son, who will submit our lives to the fiery trial of His all-knowing gaze [1 Cor. 3:11-15].” Zane Hodges in Grace in Eclipse [Grace Evangelical Society, 2007].

Related Hymns:

Jesus Shall Reign Where'er the Sun

Therefore the Redeemed of the Lord Shall Return

Therefore with Joy Shall We Draw Water

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