Bible Studies on the Messianic Psalms
Psalm 2: The Current Rebellion & The Coming King
by I Gordon
The more I've studied the Messianic Psalms the more I've been amazed at
the revelation given within them. Hopefully we shall see some of that.
There are approximately 20 Psalms that are Messianic - that is, they
speak of the Messiah Jesus. I'll be picking and choosing a bit with the
ones that speak to me but they are all awesome when you start to dig.
So let's start where any half decent study of the Messianic Psalms
needs to start. That is, in the book of... Luke!
Like the two on the road to Emmaus, the disciples were in a state of
shock and confusion following the crucifixion. The Messiah had been
killed! 'We followed Him' they would have thought. 'We placed all our
hope in Him? How was it that He could die?' Then there were the reports
that the tomb was empty! 'Empty? What does all that mean?' And then
Jesus entered the room... Alive from the dead! And listen to what He
Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I
was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the
Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." Then
He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to
them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again
from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of
sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from
He told them that everything that has happened was all according to
plan. His life, death and resurrection are foretold in the Law, the
Prophets and the Psalms! So we see here that the Psalms can be
prophetic in nature and speak of the Lord Jesus as well. So with this
in mind, let's start with the first Messianic Psalm... Psalm 2.
The first Messianic Psalm: Psalm 2 - An overview
Psalm 2 is quoted 7 times in the New Testament
and each quote concerns the Lord Jesus. It doesn't say who wrote Psalm
2, but when Peter quotes from it in
he says it was a Psalm of David's. Peter quoted this Psalm in Acts 4
concerning the uprising and rejection/crucifixion of Jesus at His first
coming to show how both Jews and Gentiles combined to conspire against
Jesus. And if you know about the travesty of justice that was the trial
of Jesus, you would absolutely agree that this Psalm has a fulfilment
in the events leading up to the death of Jesus Christ. But it is more
than that. When you read it all you see that it extends much further
out and you find that what started with His rejection at the first
coming has its ultimate fulfilment at the end of the age leading up to
His second coming.
Now, it is remarkable for many reasons. Not least of which is that it
speaks of the Messiah, giving Him three titles:
'The Anointed' - same Hebrew word as used in
where it translated as 'Messiah'.
'My King' - In verse 6 Yahweh, God the Father, calls Him 'My King'.
This is not surprising for the Messiah was always to rule and
reign! But here is something surprising...
'My Son' - In verse 7 Yahweh calls Him 'My Son'. God has a Son? Now
this shouldn't be new revelation for us but this is a 3000 year old
Psalm of David! Even today Islam totally rejects the fact that God
has a Son yet here we are, as far back as 3000 years ago where the
Almighty God talks about My Son, My King, the Anointed One, the
Another remarkable aspect is that the 12 verses of this Psalm are split
evenly into 4 sections of 3 verses each and each section has a
different speaker! So by the end of this Psalm we will have heard from
the world, God the Father, the Messiah Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Not
bad for 12 verses!
The World speaks and shows their true colours (vs. 1-3)
'Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain
In the first three verses we see and hear from the world. The Psalm
starts with an earthly scene. It is a scene of uproar. The word for
uproar gives the image of a mob, raging, ready to throw off all
authority and take control themselves. And they are 'devising'
something - that is, they are imagining, meditating on and plotting
something. They are imagining some kind of scheme, meditating on how
they can achieve it, and then plotting and devising ways in which they
can action this scheme and pull it off. At this stage we don't know
what this scheme involves. All we know is that the Heavenly decree upon
this plotting is that it is 'a vain thing'. In other words, it is
completely, utterly and hopelessly futile. The NIV translates this
passage slightly differently saying 'Why do the nations conspire?' They
conspire. That sums up the same thought we have with 'devising' and
'plotting' schemes. There is a conspiracy afoot!
The rulers and nations do conspire and they do rage. But raging at what
exactly? Conspiring against whom exactly?
Little 'kings' conspire against the true King!
''he kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel
together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, "Let us
tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!"
The conspiracy going on in the world is against Almighty God and
against His Messiah. This reminds me of the parable Jesus told
concerning Himself saying
"A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for
himself, and then return... But his citizens hated him
and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We do not want this man
to reign over us.' (
So remember that these first three verses in Psalm 2 are the views of
the world at Jesus' first coming and progressively increasing leading
up to His second coming. Here we have their words that express their
heart. Here is what is behind the rage and conspiring -
"Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from
In a nutshell, they don't want restraints. They don't want rights and
wrongs. God has given moral laws in His word for the benefit of
humanity. He has given marriage between a man and a woman for the
welfare of society. Yet God's rules are seen here as "fetters" and
"cords" to the world. A fetter is a chain or manacle used to restrain a
prisoner, typically placed around the ankles. This is how the commands
of God are seen to this world. The world simply wants to do what they
want to do. 'Stop questioning whether I should be doing that!', 'Why
should I listen to your old fashioned ideas about laws and morality
dictated by some magic man in the sky'. They don't want to have to
answer or be accountable to any higher power. 'Let us tear these
fetters apart!' Listen to what an Atheist, wrote in his book:
'We no longer feel ourselves to be 'a guest in someone else's home
and therefore obliged to make our behaviour conform to a set of
pre-existing cosmic rules. It is our creation now. We make the
rules. We establish the parameters of reality. We create the world,
and because we do, we no longer feel beholden to outside forces. We
no longer have to justify our behaviour, for we are now the
architects of the universe. We are responsible to nothing outside
ourselves, for we are the kingdom, the power, and the glory for
ever and ever.' Atheist Jeremy Rifkin, Algeny, p. 244.
Hmmm.... well, good luck with that!
Real reason for the rejection of God
What is behind this move to break free and rebel against God? Is it
based on some new wisdom or intelligence? Is it based on a recent
scientific discovery? No. Even a simple man can understand that
creation demands a creator and design demands a designer. No, the
rejection and rebellion against God
is not intellectually motivated. It is moral. It is the heart of man.
"This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and
men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were
evil.' For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not
come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. (
As Ray Comfort has said (probably commentating on this verse)
'The more a nation gets into darkness, the more it's going to hate
the light. The more it's going to run from the light. And we have a
generation of people who have given themselves to darkness, and
they've embraced atheism, because it gets them away from moral
responsibility to God.'
As has also been well said,
'An atheist can't find God for the same reason that a thief can't
find a policeman.'
Almighty God Speaks (vs. 4-6)
'He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them.'
Verses 4-6 introduce a new speaker. We've heard from the world. More
than enough! Now we hear from Almighty God and see His reaction.
Firstly, this united opposition is, to God, laughably pathetic! And
here is the reason why - The word 'Lord' in verse 4 is the Hebrew name
'Adonai' - This designation points to the supreme authority and power
of God. It portrays the one who controls and works out all things
according to His will. (
) This is the one that mankind, like little ants, are trying to oppose
and break free from.
The Bible Believers commentary sums it up nicely when it says of this
He will mock their clenched fists and fiery slogans. Their boasts
and threats are the squeaks of a mouse against a lion!'
This rebellion is about on that level to God. But it doesn't continue
with just laughter however.
"But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain."
We've heard from the world that they want to throw off all
accountability to God. They want to call the shots. Well, we see here
that God's laughter will eventually be replaced with anger. The lamb
will be replaced with a lion and the cross replaced with a crown.
Mankind may want to be the kings and masters of their own destiny but
God reminds them here, in His anger, that He has His King. And no other
King will do!
'Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him! We have no king but
was the cry 2000 years ago. It's a similar cry today in the Western
world and it will, unfortunately, only increase as we approach the
return of Jesus Christ. But God has His King! And He will install this
King, the Messiah Jesus, upon Zion in Israel.
Where are we in human history now? We are in verses 1-4. We have not
hit verse 5 in human history yet. The wrath of God currently is the
wrath of abandonment. God withdraws. He removes His hand of protection
and restraint and allows people, societies and nations to reap what
they oh so love to sow. Verse 5, with the fury of God, is not upon us
yet. But it will follow as sure as night follows day. And verse 6 will
The Messiah Speaks (vs 7-9)
"I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are
My Son, Today I have begotten You.'
In the last verse we saw the declaration of the Father that He would
install His Son upon Zion. Here we see the response and testimony of
Jesus Christ as He proclaims that which His Father has spoken to Him.
Namely, that He is the Son of God. This decree is spoken of in the New
Testament as it relates to Jesus' resurrection (
) but the open manifestation of this awaits His return. It is
(finally!) on that day that the nations will see the Son of God
manifested in all His glory. The One that they thought they had done
away with 2000 years ago... He is alive and will show Himself! This is
the Son of God that even death could not hold! This is the Son of God
that was prophesied thousands of years ago to rule and reign over
'For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the
government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of
Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no
end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from
that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will
accomplish this. '
'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And
the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 'You shall break them
with a rod of iron; you shall shatter them like earthenware.'
Verse 8 is sometimes popular with mission societies. 'Ask of me and I will give the nations as your inheritance.'
It's often quoted and used for Christians to ask the Lord to give us
the nations. But in its context, and when you examine who is speaking
to whom, we see it's the Lord Jesus telling what the Father had told
Him. The entire earth and all the nations upon it will come under the
authority of the Son of God. On earth, a son has an inheritance from
his father and this is the inheritance of God the Father to His Son
Jesus: The entire earth and the nations thereof. What is it that Jesus
has to do for this to be accomplished? Only this - He simply needs to
ask the Father! This event is described in Daniel chapter 7:
'In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a
son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the
Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given
authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men
of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting
dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will
never be destroyed. '
The timing of this event brings us to the seventh and last trumpet in
the Book of Revelation.
'the seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices
in heaven, which said: 'The kingdom of the world has become the
kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever
and ever.' '
The coming shattering
'You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like
Here we have a picture of rule of Christ having crushed man's earthly
kingdoms. This thought is brought out in Nebuchadnezzar's dream which
Daniel relates to the king saying:
"You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and
it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them,
then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were
crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer
threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a
trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue
became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. (
The Call of the Holy Spirit (vs. 10-12)
We have heard from the world. We have heard from the Father. We have
heard from the Son. Here, we hear from the Holy Spirit through the
Psalmist. And what is the message? It is a call for repentance and
'Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of
the earth. (11) Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with
trembling. (12) Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry and you
perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are
all who take refuge in Him!'
In reading these final verses from the Holy Spirit, it is worth
pondering some of the practical points that we can take from this
passage and chapter.
1. We should not give up speaking and praying
In light of all that has been said, the Holy Spirit's call is to come,
bow down, and take your position at the feet of the King. Worship the
Lord with reverence. Do homage to the Son lest you perish in the way.
Despite all the rebellion of mankind that this Psalm has spoken of...
despite all the conspiring to break free from God and do things their
own way... despite all the rage in the heart of man that continually
shakes it fist at God... Despite it all, God has not given up on them
yet. He desires that no one should perish. Thus we see the Holy Spirit
still calling out to them in this passage as He still does to the
hearts of men today. He calls to mankind to repent, to return to the
true way and be reconciled to God. Therefore, we should not give up
We also have a huge need for discernment
'Therefore, O kings, show discernment...' As the world tries to cut
free from God, so goes its ability to discern right from wrong. As
Christians, we too need discernment to distinguish the thoughts and
desires of the world from the thoughts and desires of God. That's a
whole message in itself, but we are to be people of the word of God,
not people of the world. There is a lot of pressure on the 'Church' to
start changing what it believes, what it teaches, to make it more
acceptable to the latest fashions of thought in this world. This verse
could just as easily be a reminder to us today saying 'Therefore, O my
people, show discernment!'
Make sure the Lord Jesus is in His rightful place in your life
'Do homage to the Son' or 'Kiss the Son'... This follows on from the
previous point. Homage means 'reverence, respect, honour'. It shows the
need to have the Lord Jesus in His right place in your life. He is the
Son of God. The Messiah. The King of Kings. Your Creator and Redeemer.
Have reverence, respect and honour for the Son despite living in a
world that hates and largely rejects Him.
Hope. How blessed are all those who take refuge in Him!
Despite all the craziness that is, despite all the craziness that will
come, never give up hope! It has all been foretold and there is a
glorious future for the people of God. Can you remember when the 2 men
on the road to Emmaus lost hope? Jesus came along side them and asked
what they were talking about. They said: '
The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to
death, and they crucified him;
but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem
They were really sad. Their dreams had been crushed. The one they
thought was the Messiah had been killed! What did Jesus do? He said to
"How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the
prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these
things and then enter his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all
the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the
Scriptures concerning himself. (
Though the situation looked hopeless, it was still part of the plan of
'Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, and
he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.'
To those who stubbornly will not believe, Jesus is a rock and stone
that causes them to stumble. But to those who do believe, God is
preparing His Kingdom, and, most certainly, we 'will not be