Monday, October 17, 2011

Psalm 2

Psalm 2
A psalm of the millenial reign of Christ

"Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and His Anointed, saying, 'Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.'" (verses 1-3)

What the psalmist is likely referring to is the end of the thousand year earthly reign of Jesus after His glorious return. It says in Revelation 20:7-10, "Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone..." This is one of the most incredible scenarios in the Bible; after literally one thousand years of peace, prosperity, and perfect government, all the earth is now repopulated with history's healthiest people, with average life spans mirroring those only of early Genesis. A hundred years old will be considered a very premature death, and those who enter into this Kingdom age having survived the great and terrible Day of the Lord will apparently live to see it's conclusion! (Isaiah 65:20-25). Jesus literally sits on the throne in Jerusalem(1) with all the Old and New Testament believers resurrected and walking the streets alongside modern day Israelites who lived through(2) the seven year Tribulation period prophesied of in Daniel, Revelation, and elsewhere. Perfect government exists across the globe(3), and the earth is being restored to beauty after the destruction of Daniel's 70th week (Daniel 9). Just as it is drawing to a close and God is preparing to recreate the earth in an entirely perfect state, bringing heaven down onto earth in the city of New Jerusalem (Revelation 21, 22), the unthinkable happens. God lets the devil out of prison. Why? He sees men's hearts and knows that, sadly, an enormous number are inwardly in rebellion towards Him, although outwardly obedient. Just as He has always given the opportunity to choose His way or our own, so too here, He offers the same privilege to this generation. And a choice is made. The kings of the earth and the rulers all discuss their situation together and unanimously decide to rebel against both the LORD in heaven and Jesus, His annointed, on earth. They see His righteous rule as too restricting and wish to be free to do their own pleasure. Perhaps they think God is keeping them from something good. At least seven millenia earlier, a woman in a garden questioned the goodness of God, having been deceived by Satan to believe she was missing out on something wonderful, and sought freedom from God's restricting law(4). Death, disease, suffering, war, and famine followed. No matter how perfect our situation or circumstance, our sinful nature will always want more. The flesh is never satisfied. It "can't get no satisfaction." If our hope is put in anything other than Jesus Christ for our joy, peace, or fulfillment, we will be disappointed. A bigger home, better furnishings, more time, more money, a better car, a more stimulating career, a healthy body, a spouse, children, friends, or even a calling in ministry can never satisfy the longings inside our souls, and we will still want more. These people probably had blessings in abundance, having lived for a thousand years in the most peaceful period in history(5). Shockingly, untold numbers leave their homeland to attack Jesus, sitting on His throne in Jerusalem, and His followers around Him.

"He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The LORD shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure: 'Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion." (verses 4-6)

The first three verses address what the leaders of the people are thinking and saying at this time in future history; the next three speak of God the Father in heaven. The following three are regarding His annointed on the earth, God the Son, and the last three verses are the psalmist's admonition to the people at this point in time... a prophetic psalm written to give wisdom and righteous counsel to a people living at least four thousand years later! So here, in verses four through six, we are given a picture of how God views these prideful kings of earth who seek to war with God Himself. A thousand years earlier, yet still future to us today, the Antichrist raised up just such an army, also with Satan's help, to fight with God. So too here, even in a near perfect world, men will make the same mistakes they have made for the past thousands. As Edmund Burke, the British statesman, famously said, "Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it." God is obviously not worried nor impressed by their great earthly might, but He is angered, deeply displeased with their faithlessness.  He has blessed them unlike any in history, since the garden of Eden. This is the first time God has dwelt among men as king, granted them every pleasure and prosperity on earth, and restored near perfect health to man, animal, and creation for 1,000 years. Imagine living 1000 years without poverty, disease, decay, or national turmoil! What you could learn, create, experience, and fulfill! What a huge family you could easily have, with children spaced even decades apart! And you could live to see generations born for hundreds of years after you conceived your first.  It would be like having been born around 1000 AD and living until today, with all the recorded discoveries, developments, and history happening in your lifetime. Incredible! Yet, the very people who had such a privilege now want to cast off the very God who gave them everything. Tragic. God answers them in verse six, declaring Who it is they are coming against... God's chosen King, the man Christ Jesus.

"I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, 'You are my Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will  give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.'" (verses 7-9) 

At this point in the psalm, the eternal Word of God, Jesus the Christ, speaks.  He finishes the sentence the Father began to speak in verse 6, so to speak, and now declares to the peoples who He is and Who gave Him His dominion. He calls Himself the "Son" of the LORD and speaks of having been begotten that day. What Jesus is referencing is not His creation, for He has existed eternally as one with the Father and Spirit in the Godhead. He speaks of His incarnation as a man through the womb of a woman named Mary. John 1:1, 14 says, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God...and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. " The eternal Word became a man eternally, and God gave Him the earth to rule, as the only perfect man, thus perfectly fulfilling the calling God gave the first man.  "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." (Genesis 1:26) Psalm 8:5,6 also says about mankind, "For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor.You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all [things] under his feet." Hebrews 2:9 declares this psalm to be perfectly fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who eventually is given the nations for an inheritance, and the ends of the earth for possession. "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone." Jesus, in this prophetic psalm, has returned in glory to fulfill all the promises given in the Word of God, and is now reigning physically over the earth. He has already came to earth as a perfect man once before, not in the form of a King, but as a servant. He came as a humble peasant, and died a criminal's death to free mankind from our sin and to destroy death. Before He was glorified above all, He humbled Himself before all. It says in Philippians 2:5-11, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of bond servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God has also highly exalted him and given him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and to those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Jesus has every right to rule the earth. He created it, Himself. He died for it, in person. He was given it by God Himself. And with that authority comes the responsibility to uphold justice; Jesus will one day rule the earth with righteousness. No lawlessness or wicked schemes will be allowed to come to pass; He will severely punish evil and uphold good.

"Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling. 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."(verses 10-12)

Here David addresses the psalm to all who will hold positions of authority on this earth over the ages: Fear God. Worship God. Trust God... or else you will experience His judgment. In essence, judge righteously lest you be judged. But there is possibly a further application of these verses. Prior to the end of the thousand year reign, those who are living will doubtless have this same psalm available to them in the eternal Word of God, which shall not pass away, and should they take this counsel, they may awaken spiritually and not become deceived by satan to rebel against "the Son."  The word kiss is the Hebrew word "nashaq", which is taken from the same root word as worship, "shakah". Worship literally mean "to stoop and kiss". It is a term conveying both subjugation and affection. While God is awesome and worthy of our respect and fear, He also is loving and merciful; He is a relational God, desiring our hearts, not our dutiful obedience. In this final hour of earth's history, many who had been good, law abiding citizens,  or even rulers, in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, although honoring God with their lips, had hearts that were far from Him. At the first opportunity to act upon their inward rebellion, they do so with vehemence. They are like an outwardly obedient child, while bound under the restrictions of their parents, who secretly cherished a defiant attitude and thus will forsake their upbringing the instant they are out on their own. God is the perfect parent, yet His children have always been rebellious. The Lord does not desire any to perish, but for all to be saved.  Here, in this very psalm, we have evidence of God's mercy, that He would warn these people of this test by which they may prove what is in their hearts, thousands of years prior to it actually occurring. His Word will be just as available then as it is now, if not more so, for He said it would never pass away. God is giving them a chance to repent. Yet, we know from Revelation that the majority will still go their own way. Of course, there is always a remnant of those whose trust is in the Lord, whose worship is genuine, whose lives reflect an inward dependence upon God. These are those who, in this psalm of defiance and warning, alone are blessed. They will enter a perfect eternity on a newly recreated world, in a state of everlasting youth, surrounded by beauty, peace, and pleasure, all because they put their trust in God (Revelation 21). God alone can give you that which satisfies your soul, and delights your very being! Don't seek after anything of this life which can never fulfill you! Seek after Jesus, and He will provide your every need. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him!

(1) Psalm 72, Isaiah 2:2-4; Isaiah 11:4-9; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Luke 1:32-33; Matthew 5:18; Luke 19:12-27
(2) Revelation 20:2-6,Matthew 25:34-36
(3) Isaiah 2:1-5
(4) Genesis 3:6
(5) Amos 9:11-15, Psalm 72,

2 comments:

  1. Oh, Heather. That was wonderful!!
    I was really encouraged by it. You see things in a way most people don't, as though you are actually there, experiencing it. I love how your mind works, your emotions invite participation, and your spirit uplifts. Though it is a warning, it also is a compelling plea. Thanks for writing!
    Love you,
    Mom

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  2. Wow, Matthew Henry, I mean Heather! That was truly an amazing exposition you delivered. I concur with Mom- thanks for writing!

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