1 “Why do the heathen rage, And the people imagine 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 bands asunder, And cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: The Lord shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, And vex them in his sore displeasure. 6 Yet have I set my king Upon my holy hill of Zion. 7 I will declare the decree: The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; This day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, And I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, And the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. 10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: Be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear, And rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, And ye perish from the way, When his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” (Psalm 2)
A four point outline may be derived from Psalm 2. Take note of the following.
- The Arrogant. 2:1-3. The psalmist gives an accurate description of sinful, human rebellion against the One, True God.
- The Almighty 2:4-6. The psalmist then presents the LORD’s divine reaction to arrogant, sinful rebellion.
- The Anointed 2:7-9. The psalmist depicts the anointed One’s divine rule.
- The Advice. 2:10-12. The psalmist cautions all humans in all levels of life to not only serve the LORD with fear but also to rejoice with trembling.
Psalm 2 describes the Messiah’s incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection. The psalm is quoted in four New Testament passages.
Acts 4:23–28 (ESV) says, “23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, “ ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’— 27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.”
Luke attributes Psalm 2 to King David. The setting is when the Jewish leadership released the Apostle Peter and John following their arrest for healing a lame beggar and for preaching the Gospel in the Temple (Acts 3:1-4:22). The early church saw obvious parallels in what King David wrote and the persecution they were experiencing.
Secondly, Acts 13:32-33 (ESV) says “32 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “ ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.”
Luke records Paul and Barnabas’ preaching the Gospel in Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:13-52). Paul cited Psalm 2 to his Jewish audience in the synagogue (Acts 13:14-16) as being fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Thirdly, Hebrews 1:1–5 (ESV) says , “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. 5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”?”
The writer of Hebrews expressed the truth of the eternality, incarnation, crucifixion and exaltation of the Son, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 2:9). The text also describes the unique relationship between God the Father and God the Son.
Finally, Hebrews 5:5 (ESV) says, “5 So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you.”
By quoting Psalm 2:7, the writer further explains that Jesus Christ’s incarnation, and His priesthood were both by God the Father’s divine appointment (cf. John 8:54). Jesus’ humanity does not in any way diminish His eternal deity. or alter the essential equality within the Trinity (cf. John 10:30; 14:9–11). Psalm 2 acknowledges the Son of God, Jesus Christ, as both King and Messiah. Jesus Christ is the King-Priest.
May Psalm 2, and each of the New Testament references to the same, enrich your Advent season this year. May each of us have a greater understanding that Jesus Christ is the Anointed Son of God who came to earth to fulfill the Father’s sovereign will for our salvation.
Soli deo Gloria!