A COSMIC DECLARATION
At some point in history, Psalms 1 and 2 were lumped together as one single Psalm. This gives us a hint concerning the unity of the Book of Psalms. In fact, if we step back from disputes concerning human authorship, we will find the whole Bible to be the coherent and comprehensible Word of God.
We recognise in these two Psalms together a shift from the personal to the corporate. Psalm 1 contemplates the blessedness of the individual who delights himself in the law of God. Psalm 2 concludes with the blessedness of all those who put their trust in Him (Psalm 2:12).
Psalm 2 also introduces us to the second Person of the Godhead, “the Son” (Psalm 2:7; Psalm 2:12). This sacred song may have been used at the anointing of kings in Jerusalem (Psalm 2:6), but no Davidic king ever did perfectly fit the model of the ‘royal’ Psalms (Psalm 2; Psalm 45; Psalm 72; Psalm 89; Psalm 110; Psalm 132). The monarchy seemed all but extinct when Messiah was finally revealed.
It is unclear whether any of the kings of Israel or Judah was ever enthroned in Jerusalem amidst such universal disdain as is indicated in Psalm 2, but it is certain that God’s anointed Son has met with opposition since before He was born into this earth. Herod and Caesar, Kings and Queens, Emperors and Dictators have each had their turn at “raging” against our Lord. It could almost be speaking of our own age, when hitherto ‘Christian’ nations, along with their rulers, Governors and Presidents are rejecting the Sovereignty of God and the Lordship of Jesus Christ (Psalm 2:1-3).
Do we realise how ridiculous it is to defy God? The One seated in the heavens sees the funny side of this, and shares the joke with His Father (Psalm 2:4). This mockery may seem contemptuous, more to be expected from the fickle ‘gods’ of Mount Olympus than of our holy God in the heavenly Zion, but I am sure that it is not without the sad compassion of our loving Lord towards our folly (Mark 10:21-22).
All joking aside, the holy God must speak judgement into this rebellion. The wrath of God is a Biblical teaching, however little we may hear of it, or like to think of it these days (Psalm 2:5). It is ultimately Jesus who comes to execute the just vengeance of God (Psalm 2:9; Psalm 2:12).
It is quite evident that the judges and rulers of Israel did not defy their colonial masters by holding a coronation for Jesus in the Temple, and it was the priests who stirred up the people at His crucifixion with the words, ‘We have no king but Caesar!’ (John 19:15). The earthly Temple is only a shadow of the heavenly; the Jerusalem which is here below is but a shadow of the Jerusalem which is above. It was in the counsels of eternity, in the heavenly Zion, that the Son was installed as King (Psalm 2:6-7).
The Son-ship of Jesus was declared by God Himself at His baptism (Matthew 3:17), then again at His transfiguration (Matthew 17:5). The Holy Spirit declares that Jesus is the Son of God, as attested by His resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4). The Son-ship of Jesus is fundamental to the preaching of the gospel (John 3:16).
The kingdom of Christ is universal (Psalm 2:8). He is not only “king of the Jews” but also has authority over all the kings of the earth, and their subjects. His dominion stretches to the ends of the earth, and encompasses all nations.
In His inaugural Sermon in Nazareth (Luke 4:16-21), Jesus closed the book in the midst of His reading of Isaiah 61:1-2, thus severing the gospel era (‘the acceptable year of the LORD’) from the judgement to come (‘the day of vengeance of our God.’) The incarnation of Messiah was not initially a coming to judgement, but to usher in a dispensation of mercy (2 Peter 3:9).
Psalm 2 concludes with one final appeal for the rebels to yield, while there is still time and opportunity (Psalm 2:10-12).