AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH February 25, 2007 Psalm 2
A CONTINUATION OF THE THRUST AND BASE OF THE
OF AUSTRALIA ON BIBLICAL LINES …
The Sequence of the Psalm,
and the Splendour, Sovereignty and Second Coming of Christ
Psalm 2 is a delicious exposition with minimal words, of maximal divine dealings.
In sequence, it reveals to meditation, the full force of its words. In Sovereignty, it shows the rule of Christ, contested, triumphant and to come. In His return to reign, it shows an end of dreamy thoughts of an oozing outcome, and brings the mind to contemplate that the Second Coming is as precise, powerful and personal as the first, and comes to a world as little ready, though as much to be influenced, as in the First.
I THE SEQUENCE OF THE PSALM in itself and from Psalm 1
First, consider the sequence from Psalm 1 to Psalm 2. In the first Psalm, there is an eminently personal meditation. We see the godly man who neither WALKS in the wisdom of the ungodly, foolish though it be, STANDS in the ways where sinners spread their squalor of life, nor SITS with those who SCORN the truth of God, such as evolutionists, humanists, theological liberals, secular governmentalists or sexual privateers who seize what they will as if the Designer had failed to leave a note. In fact, the construction of man is so specialised, adept, remarkable and astute in reproduction as in all else, that it is but one more evidence of an integrated function for an integral body with integrity his calling. You might as well put your brain on the rocks, as dabble in sexual innovations. From all this, the man of God turns his back. It is negated.
To WALK is to make it your way of life, and ungodliness has its own tone, commerce and aspirations. To STAND in sinners' ways, is to be evident in their escapades and to move freely as one of them. To SIT with the scornful is to have your natural habitat where Christ is demeaned, God is deleted or blasphemed and His Gospel is not ruling. This is no place to sit!
Those who so fail, are like the chaff; but those who follow the ways of the Lord in His word, these He knows, their ways are from Him. Now we come to the next Psalm.
In Psalm 2, after this individual introduction to the way of truth and that of error, and to their practical contrast in every phase of life, we come to the public and indeed international. It is not, after all, a mere matter of inward thought or desire. There is far more, but not less. WHY, asks the Psalmist, do the nations rage ? This is not about their continual wrangling and torment towards and for each other. It is about a more united phase of their activities, as in the UN, which knows not Christ, and continually moves into its own realm of morals, territorial perspective and action, and out of much that is needed, being carnal, unchristian and selective in its bias. It is a raging against the Messiah that is in view, a reject from Islam and Judaism alike.
First, note that when Christ first came, they did rage. Rome and Israel alike, in their courts of justice and appeal, were adamant. Christ must die. Rome ruled the world, and when God appeared, it wanted to rule Him too! The world is now taking more and more to the idea! However, in the end, Rome through Constantine the Emperor, fell to Christ, despite all its earlier rampant persecutions of Christians, and eventually in mad endeavours as with Justin the Apostate, and princely powers sought by 'popes', it became a vassal to human glory, so that the nations raged yet, and were not satisfied.
This world continues to rage, moving from Christ as if He were death, only to find death; and enraged from the very devil, as in Revelation 12, continues to rampage against Christians. "Let us break their bonds asunder," they chanted and chant yet, of the Lord and His Christ. The situation has not changed; only the lateness of the day, and much of the first love has fallen into the last ditch.
2 THE SPLENDOUR OF THE SOVEREIGNTY
Thus the world spat on Christ and sought to remove Him. Despite this, He who "sits in the heavens shall laugh" says Psalm 2. "Yet have I set My king on My holy hill of Zion." There is indeed a divine "decree" - "this day have I begotten you. Ask of Me and I will give you the nations for Your inheritance and the ends of the earth for Your possession." This is the word to the Messiah (Psalm 2:2,6).
Now we have been seeing the nations rage against the Lord and His Messiah in v. 1, their rampaging and scheming, and the divine response. How then is the Son, the Messiah, to be "begotten" this day as part of the divine response to the assaults on Him ? Clearly it is a 'begetting' from the results of the assault which, as in Psalm 22, is His agonising and slow death, a fitting reminder of the heart of unconverted man, when the final equation is found. The 'birth' is coming into being in a human form of what did not have that form in life. In this case, since the Lord HAD HAD human form, and in fact was even raged against by the nations, the begetting is the resurrection, like a birth from the dead. The tomb becomes a womb; and so it was.
It is then the resurrection of this same Christ from the dead, which is the divine decree: and that is a most satisfactory confirmation of who He is! (Romans 1:4).
This is precisely what Paul calls it (Colossians 1:18), "the first born from the dead, that in all things He might have the pre-eminence", in this manner explaining Psalm 2:7, as we find in the record of his speech in Acts 13:33.
King David a millenium earlier prophetically describes this same arising again of the body of the Messiah in Psalm 16: it is there foretold that this body will be restored without rotting, as by the power of the Spirit of God.
It was Peter who made the application of this Psalm to the resurrection of Christ, which had occurred some 40 days earlier, when addressing the international crowds gathered in Jerusalem, as shown in Acts 2, at Pentecost.
Birth from death! was announced and then wrought by the Father of mankind! What a concept, what a testimony and what a delight for man! If it were otherwise, said Paul, Christianity and the Gospel itself would be mere words (I Cor. 15:17); but "now is Christ risen from the dead" - I Corinthians 15:15-20; for He was buried and rose the third day (I Cor. 15:4). So soon was the arising from that burial, a trio of days, and only one of them a full 24 hours! There is power and there is assurance, and in this rest (I Thessalonians 4).
His power as noted by Peter in I Peter 1:16ff., is as clear in all His works on earth, in healing as raising the dead; and in that He Himself was raised, lifted from destruction by the Almighty arm of His Father, so is the Church to be lifted from this world by that same arm. Of this, Christ's resurrection was both the key and prelude, and the criterion (I Corinthians 15:50ff.). Then, as Isaiah foretold in Isaiah 26:19, His people who are long since buried, will arise: "Your dead shall live, My dead body will they arise … and the earth shall cast out her dead". In this way, Christ is the "first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep" (I Corinthians 15:20), arising in HIS time, while we who are His as one arise when the curtain falls on this world's vaunting pride, and Christ returns with us (I Thessalonians 3:13). “We shall not all sleep,” says Paul, “but we all shall be changed," I Corinthians 15; and then “this mortal shall put on immortality.” It is then that "the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."
The Gospel has proceeded into this clamorous and clashing world, in riot incensed against itself as well as against its Christ, just as Christ foretold (Matthew 24:12) that it must do, before the end comes. It is then that there comes a divine sovereignty through that same Messiah, that same Jesus (Acts 1:7ff.), for which millenia both of crusading and crushing have long prepared. If the truth is to be scorned, it is not forever; and thus in Psalm 2:8, we have first the giving of the nations as an inheritance to Him, as many as come freely to the Lord through the Gospel, and then the eventual rebuke of lies and evil, force and self-interest, as in Psalm 2:9, in Revelation 19 and in II Thessalonians 1:8ff., where Jesus Christ is revealed "in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, even those who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Set against Christ, they yet cannot forever evacuate from this earth its Maker! At the planned time, He comes, test concluded, and crucial information is given to all the world. It is a day of judgment which comes (Acts 17:31, Matthew 25).
The criterion of judgment from first to last is ONE, and it is stated by Christ who knowing all things, has declared it; and how it warms the heart to hear it. It is not tyrannical or aristocratic judgment on those who please or displease Him, but tender truth on its other side, when all that could be done, being done, those averse find what it is of which darkness is composed, since they preferred it! In John 3:19. PREFERRING darkness to light in the very face of the revelation of that light to which John 1-3 had been the outline, is the core of judgment. God would have all to be reconciled to Him (John 3:16, I Timothy 2:1ff., Ezekiel 33:11, Colossians 1:19ff.); but man as a fallen race would have man and his engines of production as his preference. Give us a leader who will hold the allegiance of the people and, be it god or devil, as Henri Spaak, former President of the Council of Europe, declared it, we will follow him!
That is not just swashbuckling noise; it is as with countless rulers, Mao, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Brezhnev, Idi Amin, Mugabe, the way it has gone for so long; and even in democracy, leaders gaining popularity where Christianity like a tide going out, begins to recede, similar engines of evil can begin their appalling throb.
Where the heart lies, there the destiny looms! It is as in Proverbs 1, where the appeal of tenderness at last, rejected, becomes the incidence of judgment. Truth CANNOT be suppressed, being truth: and what it is, cannot be quashed. Be it resurrection or redemption, what God has in mind, is what man finds. The interim test does nothing to alter the ultimate result. That is an application.
3 THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
Small wonder then, is it that David by the Spirit of God in Psalm 2:10-11, warns the powers of this earth, the judges, to "be instructed" and to "serve the Lord with fear"! The fear of the Lord, as Psalm 19 tells us, is "clean, enduring forever", and is “the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10): it is an awesome respect, an adoring trembling, a depth of delight and a height of surrender to a sovereignty divine and a grace superb. Indeed, therefore, the challenge that now comes in Psalm 2 is this: "Kiss the Son lest He be angry, and you perish in the way".
Here is not the kiss of a Judas, which had no 'fear' in it, but mere pretext to isolate Christ in the minds of the captors sent to seize Him! Here, instead, is the love in which Peter first so singularly failed, and on which Christ later questioned him, three times, just as He had failed three times (John 21:15-22). This kiss is that of one who strives with the heart to keep His commandments, because they are His! whose love, aroused by the vast love of Christ, impels to serving Him (I John 4:18-19) and nestles in His security by faith.
"Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him," (Psalm 2:12). They shall never be ashamed (Isaiah 28:16, 49:23, Psalm 34:22, Isaiah 51:11, I Thessalonians 5:9-10, John 10:27-28). Where there is power, where there is the eternal Prince of peace, and the Counsellor Himself (Isaiah 9:6-7), there is safety sublime, eternity for life and the King of significance, who gives to man his meaning, and adoption as child of God. In Him, is satisfied the eternal longing, and there is ended the drab and shabby day of unbelief in the wilderness of wandering, just where it began, at the door of God. It is this which has been opened once more as Jesus Christ. Small wonder then that Paul declares, "For me to live is Christ."
Indeed, when the time comes, “this Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11); and then “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye … the dead in Christ will be raised incorruptible” (I Cor. 15:52). What a moment! Take time for that moment.