The Ruler of the earth
by Anton Stier
When we compare Psalm 1 with Psalm 2 we find several similarities. For instance: ‘the Man’ of Psalm 1 is God’s anointed (God’s King), ‘God’s Son and the Heir of all the earth of Psalm 2.
First and second coming
Psalm 1 speaks about His first coming to the world in obedience and faithfulness in order to be the ‘Author of eternal salvation’ (Heb. 5:8,9).
Psalm 2 speaks about His second coming in glory, to subject the whole earth under His feet. However even then His grace will still be available for those who trust in Him, as we read in verse 12: “blessed are all they that trust in Him.”
Notice that Psalm 1 begins with “Blessed is the Man …” In Psalm 2 we see that all are blessed, that trust in Him; the Man of Psalm 1.
In Philippians 2:8-11 we find the connection between His obedience and sufferings (during His first coming on earth) and His exaltation and submission of the universe (during His second coming):
“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Notice that the Messiah, Who in future will exercise God’s judgements on earth, qualified Himself for this position by His obedience, even to the death of the cross!
A religious war
Psalm 2 begins with the question: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” Are there political reasons for their agitation? Is the ‘heating up of the earth’ causing a worldwide disaster? No, the answer is: “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His Anointed (Hebr.: ‘mashiyach’)”.
So it is not a clash of civilisations, neither a clash between human military powers, but a religious war against the God of Israel and His Messiah.
With the worldwide rise of Islam we already see the contours of this future battle!
This hostility against the Lord is described in Psalm 1 as the counsel of the ungodly, the way of sinners and the seat of the scornful. But in the same time, they all “are like the chaff which the wind driveth away”, because “they shall not stand in the judgment” (vs. 4,5).
The literal execution of this divine judgement is the subject of Psalm 2. Heaven’s answer to man’s opposition against the worldwide rulership of Israel’s Messiah is:
“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee1” (vs. 4-7).
God’s laugh has always to do with His judgement (compare Ps. 37:13; 59:8). You find one of the best examples of His laugh and mockery at His enemies in the book of Esther. Haman thought he could destroy the Jews, but the real message was: “If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him” (Esther 6:13).
Meditate and imagine
The Hebrew word for ‘mediate’ in Psalm 1 (the Man, Who mediates day and night in God’s law), is the same word in Psalm 2 translated as imagine (the people imagine a vain thing). Notice the contrast concerning the consequences of meditating in God’s law: “he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water..” and meditating a vain thing: “they take counsel against the LORD, and against His Anointed”.
Both are the result of meditation, but the difference is found in the source of their meditation, either the Word of God, or ‘vain things’! We all know for example that the Holocaust was the result of spreading lies and wrong imaginations, even among Christians, concerning God’s people Israel. The result was the fierce battle against the people of Israel. However beyond the battle against the people of Israel was the battle against the God of Israel. Having said that, we now understand what anti-Semitism actually means. It is ‘anti’ (against) ‘shem’ (Hebrew for ‘the Name’). Remember that the Lord laid His Name on His people, as we read in Numbers 6:27 “And they (the sons of Aaron) shall put My name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.”
So Anti-Semitism is first of all the severe resistance to the (the name of the) LORD and His Messiah!
When will this take place?
We believe the things described in this Psalm have to do with the beginning of Messiah’s reign on earth. The Bible says: “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet” (1 Cor. 15:25). This ‘put all enemies under his feet’ will be an ongoing process, during 1000 years, when satan is under arrest (Rev. 20). But don’t think that He won’t succeed! For He “shall break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel”.
That is why the serious warning to the nations will be: “Kiss the Son2, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little” (vs. 12). Meanwhile above this warning of His wrath remain the comforting words: “Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.”
1. The expression ‘begotten Son’ in verse 7 has to do with His resurrection from the death (compare Acts 13: 32, 33; Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5).
2. ‘Kiss the Son’ means ‘to submit oneself to the Son’ (compare 1 Kings 19:18)