Recently, we posted an announcement on our NeverThirsty FaceBook page about a study series that is titled “Jesus Is God.” The series includes three studies. They are titled, “Jesus Is God In The Old Testament,” “Jesus Is God In The Gospels,” and “Jesus Is God In The New Testament.” Someone saw the announcement and left a comment about the series. Their comment was that it is a myth “Jesus is God.” Other comments were left about the series that I do not want to repeat. On another occasion, we posted a link to a presentation of the gospel. That time, we also received a number of negative, hateful comments. Those two announcements attracted more negative comments on our FaceBook page than anything else we have posted. But people love our posts about things such as prophecy, prayer, a better marriage, and angels. But it is clear that unbelievers hate the idea that God even exists, and that they must submit to Him in anyway.
That is not the only way unbelievers attack God and His saints. Recently, Christian churches have been persecuted for wanting to remain open and worship God. Christian pastors in Canada have been warned that they cannot openly preach certain Biblical truths. They must “edit” what God has said to please unbelievers. Another Christian baker has been sued in Great Britain for refusing to bake a cake for some gays. The website, Christianity Today, has reported that since the departure of the U.S. from Afghanistan, Christians are now being killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan only because they are followers of Christ. Other Christians are regularly being persecuted and murdered in Africa, China, and the Middle East. Christians are being harassed in US schools and by social networks and businesses.
The situation is tragic! All of these situations reveal the rebellious heart of unbelievers against God Almighty. Then because believers represent Him, the nations turn against us too!
The apostle Paul warned us in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 that “the apostasy” would come before the antichrist appeared. We are witnessing that today. Most people reject the deity of Jesus Christ. They do not want Jesus as Savior, Lord, or King. The intolerance and hatred for Christians is escalating. When someone accurately teaches the Word of God, the world hates it. But the world loves teachers who give sermons about how to have a happy life and hear that God loves them. Jesus prophesied this would occur in Matthew 24:9, when He said the world will persecute us, kill us, and we would be hated by all nations. Jesus gave us the reason in John 15:18. He said,
If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. John 15:18 (NASB)
Our study answers the question, “What will God do to unbelievers?”
Our Study Is Psalm 2
This Psalm, like Psalm 1, does not have a superscription. That is, we are not told who wrote the Psalm. But Acts 4:25 reveals the psalm was written by two authors—King David and the Holy Spirit. There is some evidence from the Jewish Talmud that King David wrote both Psalm 1 and Psalm 2. Psalm 1 is about the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked, but it is primarily focused on the righteous man. At the end of Psalm 1, we are told the wicked will perish. They will not escape God’s judgment. Then Psalm 2 continues discussing the wicked. It refers to wicked nations, wicked people, wicked kings, and other wicked leaders. So, Psalm 1 moves from the way of the righteous to the way of the wicked who will perish, and Psalm 2 continues discussing the wicked. It is clear that both psalms should be read together.
Psalm 2 is a royal psalm. The other royal Psalms are chapters 18, 20-21, 45, 72, 89, 101, 110, 132, and 144. Some Jewish scholars believe that Psalm 2 was read at the coronation of King David, but there is not solid proof that occurred.
Psalm 2 has four sections: verses 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. So, let’s dig in and discover why the Holy Spirit put this psalm in the pages of Scripture.
The Rebellious Nations (v 1-3)
Psalm 2:1 says,
Why are the nations in an uproar
And the peoples devising a vain thing?
Psalm 2:1 (NASB)
This verse asks a rhetorical question. The question is not one that seeks understanding. The question is expressing disbelief that they are acting like this. The Hebrew word for “uproar” has the sense of a great noise mixed with rebellion. It reminds me of the riots we have watched in recent years across our nation. The rioters screamed, shouted, fired guns, and destroyed property because they were angry. The riots were acts of rebellion. So, we could translate the first line as, “Why are the nations rebellious?” The Holy Spirit wants to draw our attention to the wicked and self-centered behavior of the nations. They are like children upset with their father.
The second line says, “And the peoples devising a vain thing?” Now we are told that this behavior did not occur just at the national level. It is actually the people who are rebellious. Next we are told they are plotting a vain or empty thing. But we are not told what vain thing they are planning in this verse.
Verse 2 describes the kings and lower-level leaders of the nations. The verse says,
The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
Psalm 2:2 (NASB)
So, verse 1 was about the nations and the peoples. Now Scripture is revealing the heart attitude of the leaders from the greatest to the lowest. The last line tells us that various leaders of the nations actively stood together against the Lord and His Anointed. The Hebrew word for “take their stand” is very colorful. It was used to describe Goliath taking his stand against King David. So, the picture for us is that national leaders will stand like Goliath did against the Lord and His Anointed. Unbelievers do not realize God sees them as wicked and rebellious who are ready to fight.
Next, we are then told the rulers take counsel with each other against the Lord and also against His Anointed. Now, who is the Lord and who is His Anointed? The answer is that the word “Lord” comes from the Hebrew that is translated as Yahweh. Yahweh also appears in verse 7. The word for Anointed is also translated as Messiah in the Hebrew. In the Greek, it is translated as “Christ.” So, here is the picture. The nations, the people, and all those who rule, from the top down, are in full rebellion against Yahweh and the Christ.
Verse 3 reveals their plan. It says,
Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!
Psalm 2:3 (NASB)
The Hebrew word for “fetters” can also be translated as “chains,” or bonds. That is, they do not like being controlled by Yahweh and Jesus Christ. Notice the word “their.”
What is verse 3 describing? When did the nations, the people, and all of those who rule do this? Acts 4:24-28 gives us the answer. The passage tells us that Psalm 2:1-2 is a prophecy that was fulfilled when Christ was opposed by the religious leaders and crucified. Acts 4:24-28 records the words of the friends of Peter and John, just after the two disciples were ordered to not preach about Jesus. We are told they said,
O Lord, it is You who MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM,
who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said,
‘WHY DID THE GENTILES RAGE,
AND THE PEOPLES DEVISE FUTILE THINGS?
THE KINGS OF THE EARTH TOOK THEIR STAND,
AND THE RULERS WERE GATHERED TOGETHER
AGAINST THE LORD AND AGAINST HIS CHRIST.’
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, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. Acts 4:24-28 (NASB)
There are several important facts here. First, notice this passage quotes Psalm 2:1-2. Second, we are told that David and the Holy Spirit wrote Psalm 2. That is a clear example of the inspiration of Scripture. Third, Psalm 2:1-2 was fulfilled in Christ. We are told the Gentiles, the people, and the religious leaders were against Christ—the Anointed, the Messiah. Notice Christ is the Lord’s Anointed. Then we are told they opposed Christ and murdered Yahweh’s Anointed. Remember, when Pilate asked the crowd whom he should crucify? What did they say? They shouted, “Crucify Him!” John 19:14-15 records what happened when Pilate asked,
. . . “Behold, your King!” So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate *said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified. John 19:14b-15 (NASB)
So, the opening verse of Psalm 2:1 asks, why were they rebellious? Why did they devise empty plans? Why did they plot against Yahweh and Christ? Who was in the crowd? Acts 2:1-13 reveals that there were people from many nations of the world. So, the nations, people, and all in ruling positions did this. Why? Verse 3 says they did not want to be controlled. “Cast away their cords.” That is, unbelievers are rebellious!
Today, we still experience the same rebellious attitude. In the days of King David, he wrote that both the fool and the wicked say there is “no God” (Psalm 10:4; 14:1; 53:1). That attitude exists today. People want freedom from God and His commands. Many of the people and the rulers of the world do not like, for example, the Ten Commandments, the laws about capital punishment, warnings about sexual sins, warnings against injustice, warnings against abusive government, commands to love God with all our hearts, and commands to be holy. Unbelievers do not like to attend church on Sundays. Many hate crosses and Christian websites. They do not want to hear us talk about God or Christ. They do not want to hear that salvation is found only in the name of Jesus Christ. They are rebels at heart. Now, I hope it is obvious that the introduction to our study helped to prepare us for the problem described in verses 1-3. Man has always been rebellious and he will not change. Verses 1-3 are a prophecy of the rebellion that will occur against Yahweh and Jesus Christ. It also anticipated the future rebellion that we are experiencing today.
Response of Righteous Yahweh (v 4-6)
Next, Psalm 2:4 reveals the response of our righteous God to the rejection and the crucifixion of Christ. It says,
He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
Psalm 2:4 (NASB)
The scene described is as though a movie camera stopped recording what was happening on the earth, and now we see and hear God’s reaction in heaven. We are told that Yahweh is laughing and scoffing at the rebellious people and rulers of the world. Now, did someone tell God a funny joke? The answer is, “No!” God is laughing at the fact that the plans of the Gentiles and Jews were futile. Their rejection of Christ as their King would not be successful. The religious leaders failed to realize they could not frustrate Yahweh’s plan. For Isaiah 14:27 declares,
For the LORD of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it?
And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?
Isaiah 14:27 (NASB)
Then verses 5-6 announce Yahweh’s plan. It reads,
Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury, saying,
“But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”
Psalm 2:5-6 (NASB)
We will skip verse 6 and then return to verse 5, because verse 6 helps us understand verse 5. Verse 6 makes an amazing statement.
It says that Yahweh has already installed His King upon Zion. Notice that Yahweh is not afraid of rebellious men. He did not counsel with them or ask for their opinions. He just installed His King. Zion is Mount Zion. It is Yahweh’s holy mountain. Isaiah 52:1 teaches us that Zion is another term for the city of Jerusalem. So, the first important truth from verse 6 is that Jerusalem is where Yahweh’s King will be installed. But now you must ask, “What does it mean that Yahweh has already installed My King?” Christ is not reigning as king today here on earth! The answer is that the Hebrew word for “installed” is in the perfect tense. The perfect tense refers to a past event with continuing effect. That means Yahweh had already decreed that the Anointed One, the Messiah, or Christ is King and will reign as king someday. Yahweh had already planned, and His plan cannot be frustrated. In Acts 5:30-31, Peter and John told the Sanhedrin Council that Yahweh had raised up Christ to reign as a prince and a Savior. Listen to their words,
The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. Acts 5:30-31 (NASB)
Joel 3:17 is another passage that refers to Christ reigning as king. But this verse describes God as reigning after the tribulation, and during the millennial kingdom from the city of Jerusalem. It says,
Then you will know that I am the LORD your God,
Dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain.
So Jerusalem will be holy,
And strangers will pass through it no more.
Joel 3:17 (NASB)
Verse 6 is a prophecy that Yahweh’s king will reign in Jerusalem in the kingdom. The Pharisees heard Jesus announce “For the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” But in their rebellion, they did not believe Him and rejected Christ. They thought they were in control. But they did not realize that they would not be successful. They missed the message of Matthew 25:34 which teaches us that the Father had already planned the kingdom from the foundation of the world. That included Christ reigning as king from Jerusalem. That means they crucified their king! They murdered their Savior and King.
Now what is the meaning of verse 5? It says that someday Yahweh will terrify the nations, people, kings, and religious leaders of the world. When will He do that? While the verse does not give us much information, the best answer seems to be that Yahweh will do this in the tribulation. There are two reasons why I believe this is the correct answer. The first is that during the tribulation, the Father pours out His wrath on the earth. The second reason is that the tribulation will occur just before the millennial kingdom and that fits the timeline of verses 5 and 6. It also fits the statement that the wrath and fury of righteous God will be unleashed on the rebellious unbelievers on the earth. Read Matthew 24:15-31. It provides an overview for the horrors that will occur during the tribulation. For more detail, read Revelation chapters 6-19.
Christ Will Reign As King (v 7-9)
The next three verses confirm the identity of the Anointed or the King and announce the reign of Christ in the future millennial kingdom. Verse 7 says,
I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to Me, “You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.” Psalm 2:7 (NASB)
The Hebrew word for Lord is Yahweh. That is, the King is speaking and He tells us what Yahweh had told Him. He reports that Yahweh, or God the Father, had said, “You are My Son, today I have begotten You.” Psalm 2:7 is quoted three times in the New Testament (Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:5; 5:5). Every time “My Son” is quoted in the New Testament, it refers to Jesus Christ. It refers to the eternal Sonship of Jesus Christ. This plan was put in place before the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34).
In my younger years, I struggled with Psalm 2:7 and John 3:16. John 3:16 says,
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NASB)
That word “begotten” really troubled me for a while. The same idea that Christ is begotten appears multiple times in the New Testament (John 1:18; 3:16, 18; Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:5; 5:5; 1 John 4:9). Every time the words begotten or beget seem to imply that Jesus was born. It seemed to indicate that Yahweh created Him. That would mean Christ was not and is not God.
The cults and unbelievers also quote these verses and claim Jesus was created. I eventually discovered another rebellious act of rejection of the Anointed One prophesied in Psalm 2:2. So, what does “Today I have begotten You” mean? We will start with John 1:1-2 which teaches that the Word has always existed. The verse says,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 (NASB)
Notice that we are told, “In the beginning was the Word.” The little word “was” is important. It is translated from the Greek verb “to be.” It is in the imperfect tense. That means, the Word was always existing in the past. The Word has always existed and so was present from the beginning. Who is the Word? John 1:14-17 reveals the Word to be Christ. That is, Christ has always existed in eternity past. That gives us the first important fact about Christ. He has always existed. John 5:26 teaches us the same thing. It says that Jesus has life in Himself. He does not need air, water, food, sleep, or anything to keep Him alive. Christ has always existed.
Secondly, we need to know that Psalm 2:7 is the first reference to the relationship of the Father and Son in the Trinity that can be found in Scripture. But since the Holy Spirit is missing in Psalm 2:7, I want to give you a solid proof of the Trinity in the Bible. I think it is the best proof of the Trinity in the Bible. We will start with Isaiah 43:10b-11a which says,
And understand that I am He.
Before Me there was no God formed,
And there will be none after Me.
I, even I, am the LORD,
And there is no savior besides Me.
Isaiah 43:10b-11a (NASB)
This passage says that before Yahweh there was no other God, and there will not be another God after Him. That is, there never has been and there never will be another God. Yahweh is the only God. Verses 10-13 repeat the same message, but verse 13 adds this,
Even from eternity I am He,
And there is none who can deliver out of My hand;
I act and who can reverse it?
Isaiah 43:13 (NASB)
The message is that even if there was another God, Yahweh is more powerful. Isaiah 44:6b-7a says,
I am the first and I am the last,
And there is no God besides Me.
Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it;
Yes, let him recount it to Me in order,
Isaiah 44:6b-7a (NASB)
The message here is that Yahweh is eternal. There are no other gods. No one is even like Him. In Isaiah 44:8b, Yahweh declares,
Is there any God besides Me,
Or is there any other Rock?
I know of none.
Isaiah 44:8b (NASB)
Isaiah 45:5 reports again that Yahweh says,
I am the LORD, and there is no other;
Besides Me there is no God.
Isaiah 45:5 (NASB)
Isaiah 45:21b-22 also reports Yahweh as saying,
And there is no other God besides Me,
A righteous God and a Savior;
There is none except Me.
Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth;
For I am God, and there is no other.
Isaiah 45:21b-22 (NASB)
About now you are thinking, we have had enough of these verses! I understand the message. I understand that there is only one God and He is Yahweh. Yes, that is the message but stay with me now! Another important passage is Isaiah 46:9b. It says,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me.
Isaiah 46:9b (NASB)
Notice that Yahweh declares there is no one like Him. No one even comes close to Him! The next verse is Isaiah 48:12. It repeats Isaiah 44:6.
I am He, I am the first, I am also the last.
Isaiah 48:12b (NASB)
Now I read this verse so that you can understand that Yahweh has been speaking in every verse since Isaiah 43:10. So, now go to verse 16 and read it. Here is the verse,
Come near to Me, listen to this:
From the first I have not spoken in secret,
From the time it took place, I was there.
And now the Lord GOD has sent Me, and His Spirit.
Isaiah 48:16 (NASB)
What did the last line say? It says, “the Lord GOD has sent Me.” Now, who has been speaking since Isaiah 43:10? The answer is “Me,” correct? Who does “Me” say sent Him? He says that the Lord God sent Him. So, who is the Lord God? The Hebrew word for “God” is Yahweh. That is, Yahweh sent Him. That means Yahweh sent Yahweh. What an incredible statement. Yahweh sent Yahweh. Who has been speaking since Isaiah 43:10? The answer is Yahweh. Yahweh has been saying that there is no other God. There is not anyone even like Him. So, how can Yahweh send Yahweh? Then we read Yahweh sent “His Spirit.” The only answer is that Yahweh is triune! Yahweh is a Trinity. Yes, the word, trinity, does not appear in the Bible, but the concept is here. If you do not like the word “trinity,” then chose another word for “trinity.” We have a triune or plural God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. They are one!
In Psalm 2:7 when we read that Yahweh told Christ that He was His son, it does not refer to the creation of My Son, the second person of the Trinity. The second person of the Trinity has always existed and He is Yahweh Himself. So, the word “begotten” or “beget” refers to the incarnation and resurrection of Christ. The Father’s plan included the birth of Christ, when He took on human flesh so that He could die for our sins, be resurrected, and ascend back to heaven. When He was resurrected, He also obtained an immortal body. So, when you read John 1:18 and Acts 13:33, you will discover that both passages refer to Christ as begotten. Each time they are connected to the mystery of the incarnation and resurrection of Christ. When I finally understood this, I was rejoicing.
Now back to Psalm 2. The next verses are verses 8-9.
Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron,
You shall shatter them like earthenware.
Psalm 2:8-9 (NASB)
Christ said that the Father promised Him the nations of the world. That promise is repeated in Philippians 2:9-11. It says,
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11 (NASB)
When Christ comes again, He will break the nations with a rod of iron and shatter them like earthenware. He will rule the nations who mocked Him and were against Him.
Response Required of Unbelievers (v 10-12)
The final three verses provide the response required of unbelievers in order to escape judgment. Here are the final three verses,
Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
Worship the LORD with reverence
And rejoice with trembling.
Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!
Psalm 2:10-12 (NASB)
There are four applications for us from this psalm. The first is that unbelievers have always been enemies against God and refuse to submit to Christ. Romans 5:10 reminds us that unbelievers are enemies of God. This psalm paints that picture. If you are an unbeliever, be warned. God is no fool.
The second application is that Yahweh, the Master Planner, has already planned the millennial kingdom and His plan will not be frustrated. He promised Christ that the nations of the world are His to rule. Revelation 19:16 says that when Christ comes, He will have the name “King of kings, and Lord of lords” written on His robe and thigh. He will conquer the nations and rule forever at His second coming! The decision has already been made. It will happen! This gives us great comfort. God the Father’s plans will not be frustrated.
The third application is that every rebellious person has been warned. Everyone who does not gladly worship God and believe in Christ will perish. As someone has said, “Sin is fun, but payday comes!” The rebels will perish in eternal flames. Pastor Tony Evans has said,
If a man drinks Jack Daniels and comes to my house, Jack has to stay outside. In my kingdom, where I am king, Jack is not welcome. In fact, if you smoke, I don’t have ashtrays available for you because you can’t smoke in my kingdom. If you cuss, in my kingdom you are going to have to control your tongue ‘cause I don’t allow profanity in my house.
If you don’t like my rules, well, there’s a simple solution to that. You just don’t come to my house. I pay the note, I pay the utilities, and I bought the furniture. People may think that’s cold. No, I’m just head of my own kingdom. If you’re under my rule, you’ve got to respect my guidelines.
In the same way, God is the head of His kingdom. If we want to live in, be a part of, and benefit from His kingdom, we must operate by His rules.
This leads to the fourth and last application which is: Blessed are you if you make Christ your King! The psalm calls unbelievers and you and I to do homage to the Son, or ‘kiss the Son’. The psalm is a call for everyone to worship Yahweh with the correct heart attitude, to rejoice with fear, and to kiss the Son, or kiss Christ. It is a call for everyone to believe in Christ and submit to Him. It is a call for every man, woman, and child to worship the King! It is a call to give God glory! Let’s worship Him!
1. Olivia Cavallaro. “Christians In Afghanistan Are Now Being Killed By Taliban, Religious Freedom Expert Reveals.” Christianity Today. Aug. 31, 2021.
2. Berakhot 9b-10a. Talmud states, “The Gemara answers: “Happy is the man,” the first chapter of Psalms, and “Why are the nations in an uproar,” the second chapter, constitute a single chapter, so the nineteen chapters are actually eighteen.”
3. Tony Evans. Tony Evan’s Book of Illustrations. Moody Publishers. 2009, p. 180.
Suggested Links:Book of Psalms
The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked