The Refrain of the Rightful Ruler

Lloyd Cain

The Second Psalm has to be considered as one of the greatest Psalms in that it is quoted seven times in the New Testament. Because it is specifically referred to in the New Testament as applying to the Lord Jesus, it is called a Messianic Psalm. It is closely associated with the first psalm and putting them together we see the moral glories of the Perfect Man and the majestic greatness of the Princely Man in His future, Messianic, millennial reign.

Is there a title that we can give it that will summarize its content and import? Could we call it The Refrain of the Rightful Ruler? Or is it more succinctly expressed in the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Behold A King Shall Reign in Righteousness?"

The Psalm divides into two parts, each with two divisions. The first division, (2:1-6) could be called, The Rightful Ruler Rejected. Its two parts, 1-3, and 4-6 would then be entitled, The Rebellion Against The Messiah and The Response of the Messiah. The second division, (2:7-12), could be called, The Rightful Ruler Restored. Its two parts would then be; verses 7-9, The Rule of the Messiah, and verses 10-12, The Reaction to the Messiah.

The Psalm opens with an exhibition of the enmity of the human heart against God and His right to rule. This is seen especially in the way that the heart is controlled by the god of the world, the Devil, in his determined desire to usurp the throne and capture the worship that belongs to the Lord. This enmity gives rise to the confederacy of the nations as they take counsel together and form a conspiracy to cast off the cords of the Creator’s control. A partial fulfillment of the Psalm is shown in the opposition to the message of the Gospel in Acts 4:24-30, for Peter sees in the events of Calvary that "against God’s Holy Servant Jesus, Herod, and Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel were gathered together." A more complete fulfillment will be seen in the days described in the Book of Revelation. Satan, through his emissary spirits, will gather together the kings of the whole world for "the battle of the great day of God Almighty" (Rev. 13-16). The actual battle is described in 19:11-21 and the defeat of man’s military might is described as the Great Supper of God. The Satanic influence that brought about this pre-millennial Battle of Armageddon is again seen when the nations from the four corners of the earth gather for their final attempt at dethroning God in the post-millennial battle of Revelation 20:7-10.

Because of man’s persistent refusal to acknowledge God, the sympathies of the Creator are replaced by the scorn of that Creator as Heaven laughs at man’s attempts to assert his sovereignty. God speaks and announces prophetically "I have set My King upon My holy hill of Zion." Indeed a King shall reign in righteousness over the entire earth. That King will be Jesus Christ for the kingdoms of this world will "become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ" (Rev. 11:15).

The character of the rule of the Sovereign Son is seen in verses seven through nine. The sphere of His rule will be the entire world when the "nations become His inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth His possession." No part of the globe will be excluded from His dominion. The righteous character of His rule will result in swift and decisive judgment on the violators of the Divine standards of holiness and righteousness.

The final three verses of the Psalm show us the behavior that is enjoined on the kings of the earth in the Millennial Reign of the Lord Jesus. Those possessed of wisdom will submit to the rightful King and serve Him. The reverential fear will be accompanied by the rejoicing of the subjects. The kiss, the sign of repentance and the seal of reconciliation, will establish the relationship and ensure that retribution, swift and severe, will be avoided.

The theme of the Psalm, refusal of the One whom God has established to rule, is prefigured in Joseph and again in Moses. It is significant that a beatitude began the first Psalm and that similarly, a beatitude ends the second Psalm. Trusting Him, always the only theme when justification is proclaimed, is the means to the blessing.