This Psalm begins with the words: ‘Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us.’ This Psalm begins with the nations and peoples conspiring together against God, and against His ‘anointed’ – Hebrew ‘mishicho’, = his anointed or Messiah.
This verse is quoted in Acts 4.24-5 in relation to the first coming of Jesus as Messiah and His crucifixion. It is followed by the most comprehensive statement in the New Testament answering the question, ‘Who was responsible for the death of Jesus?’: ‘For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.’ Acts 4.26-27. In other words humanity (Jews and Gentiles) conspired together, but in the end what happened was the will of God in order that the Lord Jesus should be the sacrifice for the sins of the world. In this light there is absolutely no justification for successive generations of Christians to persecute Jewish people as ‘Christ killers’. For more on this subject see our article ‘Who killed Jesus?’ at http://messiahfactor.com/page26.html
The main focus of the Psalm is on the end of days, and it speaks of a future time when the nations will unite against God and ‘His Messiah’. Another way to say being ‘against Messiah’ is ‘antichrist.’ So here we are seeing the expression of the spirit of antichrist which the New Testament says will be ruling world in the last days of this age.
This last days’ rebellion of the world rulers against God has been prophesied in both the Old and New Testaments. In Daniel 9.23-27 we read of ‘the fourth beast’ and ‘the ten horns’ which are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. Out of these will come one identified in the book of Revelation as the Antichrist who ‘will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints.’ (Daniel 9.25) In the book of Revelation the same ten kings give their power to the beast and make war against the Lamb (Jesus Christ). Revelation 17:12-14 ‘The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. They will make war against the Lamb.’
In Psalm 2 these kings seek to ‘break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us.’ This speaks of a lawless spirit which will reject God’s commands and do what they think is right. The NIV translates it ‘Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.’ All over the world today we see nations in rebellion against God and seeking to throw off his commandments. In the western world we have the casting off of God’s moral values ‘as in the days of Noah and Lot’ with sexual immorality, alcohol and drug abuse, violence, greed and dishonesty everywhere. Under Communism nations have been ruled by an atheistic government which mocks God, the Bible and Jesus Christ and persecutes those follow the Lord. In the Islamic nations many people say ‘Allah Akbar’ – Allah is great – but their actions are filled with violence, murder and oppression, as many countries in the Muslim world are either brutal dictatorships or are descending into lawlessness and chaos, with constant bloodshed on their streets. Behind Islam there is a powerful spirit of antichrist that rejects the true God revealed in Jesus the Messiah and persecutes those who follow Him. In much of the church today there is also a spirit of antichrist in operation, rejecting the authority of the Bible, the commandments of God, the need for repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. The ecumenical and interfaith movements have caused nominal Christians to make alliances with religious systems like Roman Catholicism, Islam, New Age, yoga and Hinduism.
In this Psalm the Lord is going to set His king on the hill of Zion. This means that this King is going to rule as David ruled over Israel from restored Jerusalem, which is the Jewish hope of the coming Messiah. Since the nations are opposed to this we should not be surprised to find that behind this antichrist spirit gripping the nations, there is also an anti-Semitic spirit and a hatred of Israel being manifested. These nations will also seek to destroy the Jews and Israel. Ultimately the prophetic scriptures reveal that their aim will be to try to prevent the Messiah from ruling from Zion.
In a number of passages in the Bible we have prophecies of antichrist forces gathering the nations together against Israel and Jerusalem in the last days (see Joel 2-3, Zechariah 12-14). In Revelation 16.13-14 we read how the forces of antichrist will prepare the way for the final battle at Armageddon. This event precedes the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to the earth: ‘And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. ‘Behold I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches and keeps his garments lest he walk naked and they see his shame.’ And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew Armageddon.’ Armageddon means the mount of Megiddo in the Jezreel valley in the north of Israel.
God’s response to this final rebellion of mankind against Him is found in verse 4: ‘He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure.’ While today many people scoff at God and the Bible (as the prophecies say they will in the last days – see 2 Peter 3.3-7), God will have the last word. When He acts to show His wrath and displeasure, the wicked will cease their mockery and flee in terror. According to Revelation 6.15-17 men will flee for the terror of the Lord at this time.
God will then install His King, the Messiah, on Zion, the holy hill. This is the beginning of the Messianic Kingdom on earth in Jerusalem, the fulfilment of many prophecies in the Bible. It will be the day when righteousness shall reign and justice will prevail and the glory of God will shine upon the earth. Many scriptures speak of that great day and specifically about Jerusalem being raised high above the other mountains, from which the glory of the King and His city shall shine. The main examples are Joel 3.16-18, Isaiah 2.1-4, Zechariah 14.
In these passages the Messianic King is identified as the Lord (i.e. a divine person), using the unique name for God – YHVH – found in the Hebrew scriptures. ’He (the LORD) will judge the nations’ in Isaiah 2.3, ‘the LORD your God will dwell in Zion, my holy hill’ in Joel 3.18 and the ‘The LORD will be king over the whole earth’ in Zechariah 14.9. According to Psalm 2 this One is described as ‘the Son:’ ‘I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’
The Hebrew word for ‘begotten’ is YALAD meaning ‘to bear, beget, or bring forth.’ In the New Testament Jesus is described as the ‘only begotten Son’ from the Greek ‘monogenes’. This word implies a unique birth, single of its own kind. Jesus would be uniquely given as a Son to the human race becoming a man in a unique way (by virgin birth).
Psalm 2 is quoted in the New Testament to speak of the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 13.32), another unique event through which Jesus conquered death to bring eternal life to those who accept the salvation he is offering. The passage in Acts goes on to speak of Him receiving the ‘holy and sure blessings promised to David.’ The promise given to David is of a Messianic King who be one of his descendants and would have an eternal throne, kingdom and house (1 Chronicles 17.11-14).
This would also be something unique, since every natural descendant of David was mortal and could never have an eternal throne. Only God is eternal therefore this shows that the one spoken of here is a divine being, the Son, only begotten of God in the person of the Messiah Yeshua. This ties in with the promise of Isaiah 9:6-7 of a son being given who is at the same time ‘the Mighty God’ quoted in the earlier article on the Messiah.
The Psalm goes on: ‘Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’’
This means that in the coming kingdom the entire earth and all the nations upon it will come under the authority of the Son of God. The Book of Revelation also tells us that this will come to pass: ‘Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He shall reign forever and ever!’ Revelation 11:15. Daniel also saw that the Son of Man will one day rule over the nations: ‘I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.’
Daniel was also given a revelation of the Father (the ‘Ancient of Days’) handing all authority and sovereign power over the nations into the hands of the one ‘like a son of man’. Jesus quoted this verse at his trial in Matthew 26.64 as a coming event, causing the high priest to condemn him for blasphemy. Nevertheless it will come to pass when Jesus returns in power and is given authority over the nations.
According to Psalm 2 the Messiah will have dominion over the whole earth, ruling with a rod of iron. This may sound like a cruel dictatorship, but the rod of iron will be used to crush the wicked and create righteousness and peace in the government of the earth. In Isaiah 11.4 we read: ‘But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.’ The ‘rod of iron’ is used three times in the book of Revelation – Revelation 2.27, 12.5 and 19.15. In the last of these passages we read of the second coming of Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords with all the power of God at His disposal to destroy the Antichrist and his forces and bring in the 1000 year reign of Messiah on earth which Psalm 2 prophesies: ‘Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.’ Revelation 19.15. The last three verses are an exhortation to the kings of the earth to humble themselves before the Lord in repentance and faith in the ‘Son’, before He comes to judge them in His wrath. The phrase ‘Kiss the Son’ speaks of worship and allegiance to the Son, the Messiah Yeshua who has been once and who is coming again in power and glory. There is a pronounced blessing on those who trust in Him now. They will be caught up to meet Him as He comes in the air and will be safe from His wrath (1 Thessalonians 4.13- 5.11). Maranatha – Come Lord Jesus!