This is Part 3 of a 4-part series on Psalm 2. It is a prophecy of Christ, that He would suffer and become King of the whole world.
“1 Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
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 burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.’ ”
In Part 1, we examined how the suffering and death of Jesus fulfilled verses 1-3, as confirmed by the testimony of the apostles in Acts 4:24-28.
“4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6 ‘As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.’ ”
In Part 2, we read how God held the whole world in derision by raising Jesus from the dead, setting Him on His holy hill, and subjecting all kingdoms of the earth to Him.
This week, we continue in Psalm 2, beginning at verse 7:
“7 I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, ‘You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ”
Christ will tell of His Father’s decree – that Christ is the Son of God. Bringing in the authority of the Father when speaking of His divinity is Jesus’ manner of speaking throughout the Gospel of John, for example: “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.” (John 7:16); and “The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.” (John 14:10).
It is the will of God that we believe His decree that Jesus is the Son of God: “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:40). That Jesus is the Son of God is, in compact form, the scope of the whole Gospel, as it is written: Jesus “said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ ” (Matt 16:15-16). Faith in the divinity of Jesus, that He is the Son of God, is the rock upon which the Church is built!
This decree, that Jesus is the Son of God, is a teaching of eternal life, as it is written: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36); and “For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” (John 12:49-50)
“The Lord said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you.” (Ps 2:7)
Christ is God’s “only Son” [KJV: “only begotten Son;” ISV: “unique Son”] (John 3:16). He is begotten of the Father, yet is co-eternal, co-equal, and of one substance with the Father, as it is written: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3); and “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9b); and “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Col 2:9).
The doctrine of Christ’s two natures, that He is fully God and fully man, is summarized well in the Nicene Creed:
“Jesus Christ, the only‐begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and was made man”.
God exists outside of time, and Christ’s divine sonship is eternal. Therefore, where Psalm 2:7 speaks of “today”, it speaks neither of a yesterday nor of a tomorrow, but always a present, time, today. In other words, Christ is eternally begotten of the Father, as He says in John 8:58: “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58).
“Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage” (Ps 2:8)
In verse 6 we are taught that Christ has been set as King over Zion. Here in verse 8 God adds the nations, that is, the Gentiles, to Christ’s kingdom as an inheritance. Thus Paul taught: “that he [i.e., Christ] might create in himself one new man in place of the two” (Eph 2:15).
Therefore, Christ is King over a worldwide kingdom, not conferred on Him by men, nor in any human way, but by God, that is, spiritually. Thus Jesus spoke to Pilate: “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36); also Paul: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (John 14:17)
“You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (Ps 2:9)
Christ builds His Church with His Word, which God here calls “a rod of iron.” Although the Gospel is a sweet and consoling Word to faith, it is most galling to the flesh. Luther explains this: “For it lays on all the desires of the flesh the cross and death, and imposes on us poverty, humility, and patience. These are the three horns of the cross. For poverty breaks in pieces the lust of the eyes and avarice; humility, the pride of life and ambition; and patience, the lust of the flesh and pleasure.”
Therefore, we are like a “potter’s vessel.” First, because, as a potter’s vessel is most easily broken; so conscience-stricken men, not rendered obstinate by unbelief, easily believe the Word of God and neither resist nor contradict it; whereas, those who are of a hardened mind remain in unbelief and yet will be broken in pieces in the final judgment.
Second, because, when an earthen vessel is broken in pieces it becomes unfit for its former use. Thus when the Gospel converts a man or women to Christ, he or she is rendered useless for his or her former manner of life, agreeing with Paul: “the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Gal 6:14) Amen.
Thank you for reading. Next week we will pick up Psalm 2 at verse 10, in which the psalmist exhorts the powerful of the earth to humble themselves and believe in Christ. Amen.