Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Psalm 2 - The King takes the Throne

Ok, I had typed out most of my post for Psalm 2 and somehow have lost it. How can that happen? Anyway, in God’s Providence, I am doing it again. Of course, this time it will be on the road, which is sometimes a better time to do it. My boss and I are traveling to Raleigh this morning so I should have about 3 hours or so to do it. I hope it is edifying.

As I begin, I just want to note that Psalm 2, though many would see it as being fulfilled in some future millennium, is clearly presented in the New Testament as being fulfilled in Christ’s first coming and in fact in His resurrection and ascension. With that in mind, let’s look at the text and see how the apostles interpret this incredible passage regarding the King.

1 ¶ Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
3 "Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us."
4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision.
5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure:
6 "Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion."
7 ¶ "I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.
8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’"
10 ¶ Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

The first passage that comes to mind is the words of Luke in the book of Acts. There he records the words of the church as they respond to the report of Peter and John. This is that declaration,

24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,
25 "who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things?
26 The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.’
27 "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
28 "to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.

Notice that these quote the very first few verses of this passage and in doing so thus declare it’s fulfillment. They even attribute the fact that the fulfillment of the passage is not awaiting something in the future, but are clear in pointing to the elements surrounding the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. They specifically point to Herod, Pilate, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel as all involved. Clearly we see the kings of the earth referenced here, but also the rulers, those of the Sanhedrin and High priest who sought the death of the Son of God. Also, it is clear that they are against Christ, or the Hebrew word here is xyvm, or Messiah. This is the prince who is now crowned King of kings and Lord of lords.

I don’t think too much commentary is in order here. Those first few verses are clearly taught as being fulfilled, not by some unknown little elder from a teeny tiny church in North Carolina, but by the apostles inspired by the Holy Spirit of God.

What is God’s response to this? Verse four says that He laughs at them. Now brothers, it is not a good thing for God to be laughing at you. Surely judgment is waiting in the wings with such laughter and indeed it is. We are told that He will speak to them in wrath and distress them in His deep displeasure.

Notice how all these things are mentioned in the parable that our Lord gave concerning the vineyard.

Matthew 21:33 ¶ "Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country.
34 "Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit.
35 "And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another.
36 "Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them.
37 "Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
38 "But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’
39 "So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him.
40 "Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?"
41 They said to Him, "He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons."
42 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD’S doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes’?
43 "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.
44 "And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder."
45 Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them.

Jesus is clear and becomes even clearer through the following chapters of Matthew up through of the judgment awaiting those who seek to stop the enthronement of the King. If they would not bow the knee to the King and suffered such great judgment as in 70 AD, then how can we today who live after the enthronement of the King escape such great condemnation?!

This judgment was prophesied long ago back in Deuteronomy 29:24. There was a foretelling of how the nations would respond to the judgment that would come upon Israel for their rejection of Him as their King.

"All nations would say, `Why has the LORD done so to this land? What does the heat of this great anger mean?”

Remember, and if you don’t get anything else, get this: The entire saga is about the glory of God and His sovereign Kingly rule over His creation. When Israel was not content to have Him as King and desired that they have another king just like the Gentiles, God did not move over and allow another king to take His place. No He appointed Saul as a physical head over Israel and said they would learn a hard lesson from him, but He never ever stopped being King and He never gave up His right to sit whom He chose, namely His Son, to be King over them, as well as, all the earth.

And so, for the believer, verse 6 is a great comfort. Though the men of the centuries prior to the coming of Christ sought to bring the promises of God to nothing and though the men of the first century sought to bring the death of the Son of God to completion and though men still try to break the bonds of God and cast His cord from them, God has seated His King, even His Son, upon the throne in Mt. Zion! Glory! Hallelujah!

Now that I’m all excited(, notice verses 7-9. There we are told the promise of the Father to the Son. I simply love this: everything pertaining to the New Covenant and everything pertaining to the kingdom is bound up in the word of the Father to the Son from before the foundation of the world. It is not dependent upon an ethnic people, nor is it dependent upon any man, but upon the faithful promise of the faithful and living God. We are merely graciously bestowed benefactors of that great covenant by faith.

So were verses 7-9 fulfilled? Let’s look to the New Testament. We could site numerous passages that Jesus was the Son of the Living God and that His Father on more than one occasion declared that He was well pleased with Him (Matt. 3:17: 17:5). So when we see the declaration concerning the Son, we know this is in reference to Christ. Interestingly enough, when God says in this Psalm, “Today I have begotten You”, He is not referring to Christ’s incarnation, but rather to His resurrection. Notice how the beloved apostle fits this fulfillment in His gospel message in Acts 13,

29 "Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb.
30 "But God raised Him from the dead.
31 "He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people.
32 "And we declare to you glad tidings——that promise which was made to the fathers.
33 "God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’
34 "And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: ‘I will give you the sure mercies of David.’
35 "Therefore He also says in another Psalm: ‘You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.’
36 "For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption;
37 "but He whom God raised up saw no corruption.
38 "Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins;
39 "and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.

You see my friends, Christ is not only Savior and Lord, He is the eternal King. Our King does not reside in the tomb as David did, but was not allowed to see corruption. He came forth from the grave on the third day and lives forevermore and rules the universe from His Father’s throne.

29 "Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Peter knew of the same promises, though these are not specific to the second chapter of the Psalms, it seems clear that Peter has in mind many of God’s promises concerning His Son, the resurrection and His ascension to the throne.
Acts 2:30 "Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,
31 "he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.
32 "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.
33 "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
34 "For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand,
35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."’
36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

In verse eight we have the promise that the nations would be Christ’s inheritance. Obviously as we go to the New Testament we can see the inclusion of the Gentile nations being included in the kingdom, for Christ did not come only for the Jews, but for the Gentiles. He came that He might redeem a people unto God from every nation, tribe, and tongue and that His glory might be reflected in the redemption of the whole world. Again, this is so obvious that it really does boggle my mind when there are those who do not see the fulfillment of these things in Christ.

Many still say that verse 9 awaits a future fulfillment. Hear the words of the inspired apostle while in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day,

Rev. 2:26 "And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations——
27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ ——as I also have received from My Father;

In this passage where Jesus expressly addresses the fulfillment of this passage by linking overcomers with Him in His rule over the nations, He clearly states at the end of verse 27 “as I also have received from My Father”. The word used here for “have received” is didwmi. The word is in the perfect tense and indicates that is has been enacted in the past once and for all with no need to have it occur again in the future. Clearly Christ declares that this text has also been fulfilled at the time of the writing of Revelation. So obviously we are not waiting for that to occur……. It already has!

Finally, the last three verses of the passage are wise counsel from the Father. His command is that the kings and judges of the earth serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. They should seek to find peace with the Son. They should be aware of His right to the throne and to rule over them. They should take to heart the great duty that is theirs to serve as a representative of the living God. Specifically, it seems that this prophecy is more directed towards those of the days of Christ, though I would affirm that there is a practical aspect to all rulers of all times, including our own. They have been given their authority from the Lord Himself. They have not attained it on their own.

We recall Christ’s words before Pilate when He stated, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above (Jn. 19:11).” Any and all authority must recognize the authority that gave them theirs whether it be king, governor, mayor, pastor, or father. They must kiss the Son, lest He be angry. They must love Him and seek to glorify Him with the proper use of the power given to them. Their trust must be in Him and Him alone for the governing of their jurisdictions.

Sadly for those in the time of Christ, they failed to love and honor the Son and instead chose to murder Him and found themselves under His wrath, not only in time but for all eternity. Sinners would do well to heed the cry of the Psalmist, “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.”

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tim,

This is a most excellent post, well worth the wait:)

I got excited about it right along with you. Our God reigns!

Sounds a bit like a sermon: this wouldn't happen to be a transcript would it?

Tim said...

LOL,

I try to control myself when doing a sermon, if you can even call my sermons that. But I must admit there are times, even for this reforming baptist, which is almost every Lord's Day, that I am just about to bust with a big shout of praise:) I acutally had to rewrite it on the road yesterday and it is probably whittled down from the first version.

Hank said...

Tim

First of all, AMEN and amen!

I think you would agree that the most neglected yet comforting doctrine is the enthronement and kingship of Christ. It is inescapable.

Also, in context of what you have written, our notorious passage in Rev 20 of Satan being bound from deceiving the nations no more, makes a whole lot more sense.

Thanks for the post it has indeed made my day!

Pel Sammy said...

Regarding that last paragraph -- when Jesus prayed on the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," is it your position that He was making a vain utterance there? Is it possible that the Christ ever prayed a prayer that went unanswered (Even His "take this cup from Me" prayer in garden ultimately ended with a "Nevertheless, do Your will")

This question has bothered me for a while. We don't know for certain exactly who was included in Jesus' prayer on the cross, though it appears to be (at least possibly) everyone involved in His death.

Whatever the case, it strikes me as overstepping to confidently assert that those who killed Him definitely "found themselves under His wrath, not only in time but for all eternity." Perhaps our Savior's prayer over the cruel multitude there -- though uttered in great anguish and mind-altering pain -- was a sovereignly calculated, purposeful, and sincere prayer for everyone there.

Hank said...

Sammy

Who among those present didnt know what they were actually doing?

Pel Sammy said...

Hank,

I'd say the answer to that is probably all of them. That is, none of them really "knew" Who they were doing this to (Judas: now, the son of perdition, I'd say knew, but he probably wasn't present). I don't say this because of my own all-wise speculation, but because of what Jesus said.

Jesus didn't pray "Father, forgive anyone among these people who doesn't know what he's doing." He said "for they know not what they do." Pretty definitive statement. I don't think it's valid to say Jesus was making an inaccurate statement there.

The Son of God prayed for His Father to forgive them, and He included a "reason" for the forgiveness, not a condition for it.

I'm taking your question as rhetorical; asked as if the obvious answer is that everyone fully knew what they were doing, therefore, none ended up forgiven (making Jesus' prayer a vain and inaccurate utterance). Sorry if I misinterpreted your point.

Tim said...

Sammy,

Thanks for stopping by. I tend to think those questions are tough questions. However, let's not read too much into Christ's prayer. First, we are not told who that prayer is directed on behalf of. We are not told that it is specifically for any of those there. Nor are we told that it is for anyone other than those He had just prayed for earlier in the garden, which clearly are those given to Him by the Father.

One thing is for sure, the Jewish leaders there certainly knew what they were doing. They saw Christ's miracles, heard his words and above all saw Him taking away their power and their flocks. Their sin drove them to crucify the Son of God. The trial Christ went through was not to determine truth, but to acquire a verdict and sentence.

Many of the Romans no doubt had heard of Christ as well. After all, He is the Messiah and the things He was doing and teaching had not been done before, so sure there was word going around about Him.

With all that said, it seems that there were some there that day that at least seemed to be called such as the centurion who declared "surely this was the Son of God". Certainly Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were among the elect as well. However, you cannot from the text draw out that Jesus lumped everyone there standing at the cross in the same prayer. We must understand this prayer in light of His teaching and of His High priestly work.

BTW, on several occasions in Jesus' words against the Pharisees He specifically told them they were to receive judgment, not be able to go where He was going, and would find themselves outside the kingdom, while Gentiles went in. Also, in the fulfillment passages of the NT, there is no indication from the inspired apostles that these who put Christ to death ever repented. I hope this helps.

pel sammy said...

Yeah, I think of the centurion, and I tend to see his pre-faith situation as typical of just about everyone there. Certainly he had heard of the miracles and Jesus' claims as well. So in one sense he "knew," yes - but then again, not really. Not until that recorded moment when he KNEW. He was blind by God's will until God decided he would see.

When Jesus said "they don't know," surely He wasn't talking about them not having enough dry information about Him to arrive at the right conclusion. Surely He was referring to their Providentially preserved spiritual blindness.

You're right that we have no idea who repented in addition to the soldier. You're also right that we don't technically know the group He was praying for (but the context of the passage makes the case for His murderers pretty compelling, you have to admit. Why would that prayer incident even be recorded in Scripture if the "them" who needed forgiveness isn't the people currently in the process of torturing and killing Him? If "them" is some other group, then it seems that the prayer is there simply to confuse the reader.)

Like I say, I agree that the whole thing is ultimately ambiguous. Which was really my point from the beginning. What if Jesus really was praying for everyone there to be forgiven (as the passage most naturally suggests)? That's why it has become hard for me to confidently assert anything about that murderous mob, and the "hottest fires of Hell" being reserved for them due to what they did that Day (as I sometimes hear in Christian circles).

Which leads to this angle:
Maybe at least that DAY was forgiven of everyone involved, as a result of Jesus' prayer; exceptionally glorious Day in the course of history that it was? This angle allows Jesus' prayer to be answered, and still allows all those "forgiven" to not necessarily be saved.

Okay, I suppose this now officially qualifies as major fruitless over-speculation. Sorry to throw this tangential wrench into your comments section. I do agree with the first few comments (good post).

Tim said...

Sammy,

Comments are always welcome. I appreciate the input.

DOGpreacher said...

Hey Tim,

I enjoyed your post as usual, but I believe Sammy had very good arguments for His point.

Tim said...

Gregg,

Great to see you're still around! Yeah, I think though in all honesty, seeing who was there and also taking into account some of the judgment pronouncments of our Lord upon many of those who were around the cross sort of puts a damper in the "all at the cross" scenario. However, one thing we know for sure, His prayer was clearly for His elect and not for any others and it was indeed heard and answered.

Chad Thompson said...

Tim,

have you considered the parallel prayer made by Stephen at his death?

Luke records:
Acts 7:54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him.
Act 7:55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
Act 7:56 And he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."
Act 7:57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him.
Act 7:58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.
Act 7:59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
Act 7:60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Act 8:1 And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Act 8:2 Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him.
Act 8:3 But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.

And then consider just the next chapter:

Act 9:1 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest
Act 9:2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
Act 9:3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.

A brother in my assembly made this connection he other week and shared it with the church.
It seems that Stephen's prayer was answered in the conversion of Saul.

could we say that Lord's prayer had in mind the following: crucifying him was a crime of such an order that without his prayer those men would not have been forgiven. In other words, his prayer was the means that spared some of them from being swept up in the judgment of Psalm 2 - God's response to the nations raging against his son?

Tim said...

Chad,

I think that is an excellent comment. That's what I was trying to say about the crucifixion that Sammy was pointing out, that not every single person there was in view in that prayer, but that obviously there were those who were among God's elect there. I think that is your point. When we pray, isn't that our hope as well?