Threatenings against the enemies of Christ's kingdom. (1-6) Promise to Christ as the Head of this kingdom. (7-9) Counsel to all, to espouse its interests. (10-12)
Verses 1-6 We are here told who would appear as adversaries to Christ. As this world is the kingdom of Satan, unconverted men, of every rank, party, and character, are stirred up by him to oppose the cause of God. But the rulers of the earth generally have been most active. The truths and precepts of Christianity are against ambitious projects and worldly lusts. We are told what they aim at in this opposition. They would break asunder the bands of conscience, and the cords of God's commandments; they will not receive, but cast them away as far as they can. These enemies can show no good cause for opposing so just and holy a government, which, if received by all, would bring a heaven upon earth. They can hope for no success in so opposing so powerful a kingdom. The Lord Jesus has all power both in heaven and in earth, and is Head over all things to the church, notwithstanding the restless endeavours of his enemies. Christ's throne is set up in his church, that is, in the hearts of all believers.
Verses 7-9 The kingdom of the Messiah is founded upon an eternal decree of God the Father. This our Lord Jesus often referred to, as what he governed himself by. God hath said unto him, Thou art my Son, and it becomes each of us to say to him, Thou art my Lord, my Sovereign'. The Son, in asking the heathen for his inheritance, desires their happiness in him; so that he pleads for them, ever lives to do so, and is able to save to the uttermost, and he shall have multitudes of willing, loyal subjects, among them. Christians are the possession of the Lord Jesus; they are to him for a name and a praise. God the Father gives them to him, when, by his Spirit and grace, he works upon them to submit to the Lord Jesus.
Verses 10-12 Whatever we rejoice in, in this world, it must always be with trembling, because of the uncertainty of all things in it. To welcome Jesus Christ, and to submit to him, is our wisdom and interest. Let him be very dear and precious; love him above all, love him in sincerity, love him much, as she did, to whom much was forgiven, and, in token of it, kissed his feet, ( Luke 7:38 ) . And with a kiss of loyalty take this yoke upon you, and give up yourselves to be governed by his laws, disposed of by his providence, and entirely devoted to his cause. Unbelief is a sin against the remedy. It will be utter destruction to yourselves; lest ye perish in the way of your sins, and from the way of your vain hopes; lest your way perish, lest you prove to have missed the way of happiness. Christ is the way; take heed lest ye be cut off from Him as your way to God. They thought themselves in the way; but neglecting Christ, they perish from it. Blessed will those be in the day of wrath, who, by trusting in Christ, have made him their Refuge.
Psalms 2:1-12. The number and authorship of this Psalm are stated ( Acts 4:25 , 13:33 ). Though the warlike events of David's reign may have suggested its imagery, the scenes depicted and the subjects presented can only find a fulfilment in the history and character of Jesus Christ, to which, as above cited and in Hebrews 1:5 , 5:5 , the New Testament writers most distinctly testify. In a most animated and highly poetical style, the writer, in "four stanzas of three verses each," sets forth the inveterate and furious, though futile, hostility of men to God and His anointed, God's determination to carry out His purpose, that purpose as stated more fully by His Son, the establishment of the Mediatorial kingdom, and the imminent danger of all who resist, as well as the blessing of all who welcome this mighty and triumphant king.
1. Why do the heathen, &c.--Beholding, in prophetic vision, the peoples and nations, as if in a tumultuous assembly, raging with a fury like the raging of the sea, designing to resist God's government, the writer breaks forth into an exclamation in which are mingled surprise at their folly, and indignation at their rebellion.
heathen--nations generally, not as opposed to Jews.
the people--or, literally, "peoples," or races of men.
2. The kings and rulers lead on their subjects.
set themselves--take a stand.
take counsel--literally, "sit together," denoting their deliberation.
anointed--Hebrew, "Messiah"; Greek, "Christ" ( John 1:41 ). Anointing, as an emblem of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, was conferred on prophets ( Isaiah 6:1 ); priests ( Exodus 30:30 ); and kings ( 1 Samuel 10:1 , 16:13 , 1 Kings 1:39 ). Hence this title well suited Him who holds all these offices, and was generally used by the Jews before His coming, to denote Him ( Daniel 9:26 ). While the prophet has in view men's opposition generally, he here depicts it in its culminating aspect as seen in the events of Christ's great trial. Pilate and Herod, and the rulers of the Jews ( Matthew 27:1 , Luke 23:1-25 ), with the furious mob, are vividly portrayed.
3. The rebellious purposes of men are more distinctly announced by this representation of their avowal in words, as well as actions.
bands . . . and . . . cords--denote the restraints of government.
4. By a figure whose boldness is only allowable to an inspired writer, God's conduct and language in view of this opposition are now related.
He that sitteth in the heavens--enthroned in quiet dignities (compare Psalms 29:10 , Isaiah 40:22 ).
shall laugh--in supreme contempt; their vain rage excites His derision. He is still the Lord, literally, "Sovereign," though they rebel.
5. Then shall he speak--His righteous indignation as well as contempt is roused. For God to speak is for Him to act, for what He resolves He will do ( Genesis 1:3 , Psalms 33:9 ).
vex them--agitate or terrify them ( Psalms 83:15 ).
6. The purpose here declared, in its execution, involves their overthrow.
Yet--literally, "and," in an adversative sense.
I have set--anointed, or firmly placed, with allusion in the Hebrew to "casting an image in a mould." The sense is not materially varied in either case.
my king--appointed by Me and for Me ( Numbers 27:18 ).
upon my holy hill of Zion--Zion, selected by David as the abode of the ark and the seat of God's visible residence ( 1 Kings 8:1 ); as also David, the head of the Church and nation, and type of Christ, was called holy, and the Church itself came to be thus named ( Psalms 9:11 , 51:18 , 99:2 , Isaiah 8:18 , 18:7 , &c.).
7. The king thus constituted declares the fundamental law of His kingdom, in the avowal of His Sonship, a relation involving His universal dominion.
this day have I begotten thee--as 2 Samuel 7:14 , "he shall be My son," is a solemn recognition of this relation. The interpretation of this passage to describe the inauguration of Christ as Mediatorial King, by no means impugns the Eternal Sonship of His divine nature. In Acts 13:33 , Paul's quotation does not imply an application of this passage to the resurrection; for "raised up" in Acts 13:32 is used as in Acts 2:30 , 3:22 , &c., to denote bringing Him into being as a man; and not that of resurrection, which it has only when, as in Acts 2:34 , allusion is made to His death ( Romans 1:4 ). That passage says He was declared as to His divine nature to be the Son of God, by the resurrection, and only teaches that that event manifested a truth already existing. A similar recognition of His Sonship is introduced in Hebrews 5:5 , by these ends, and by others in Matthew 3:17 , 17:5 .
8. The hopes of the rebels are thus overthrown, and not only so; the kingdom they opposed is destined to be coextensive with the earth.
heathen--or, "nations" ( Psalms 2:1 ).
and the uttermost parts of the earth--( Psalms 22:27 ); denotes universality.
9. His enemies shall be subject to His terrible power ( Job 4:9 , 2 Thessalonians 2:8 ), as His people to His grace ( Psalms 110:2 Psalms 110:3 ).
rod of iron--denotes severity ( Revelation 2:27 ).
a potter's vessel--when shivered cannot be mended, which will describe utter destruction.
10-12. kings . . . judges--For rulers generally ( Psalms 148:11 ), who have been leaders in rebellion, should be examples of penitent submission, and with fear for His terrible judgments, mingled with trust in His mercy, acknowledge--
12. Kiss the Son--the authority of the Son.
perish from the way--that is, suddenly and hopelessly.
kindled but a little--or, "in a little time."
put their trust in him--or take refuge in Him ( Psalms 5:11 ). Men still cherish opposition to Christ in their hearts and evince it in their lives. Their ruin, without such trust, is inevitable ( Hebrews 10:29 ), while their happiness in His favor is equally sure.