King of Kings
While the 1st Psalm presents Christ as the “Blessed Man” (or ‘the happy, peaceful man who is pure in all his ways’) the 2nd Psalm introduces our Saviour as the King.
Old Testament scholars have conjectured that this was a song composed for the coronation of a Jewish King, perhaps David or Solomon. Historically this may well have been the case. Coronations were occasions of worship and thanksgiving to God. In David’s case the spirituality of his ceremony was represented by the holy anointing oil which was poured over his head (2nd Samuel 5:3). When Solomon was crowned the spiritual celebrations were more pronounced (1st Kings 1:39-40) as the words were first employed, which have been been passed down to the British royal house, “God save King Solomon.” Therefore it is easy to conceive of this Psalm being employed on the joyous ascension of a new King.
It is also evident, however, that this song transports the worshipper beyond the earthly kingdom to a a spiritual domain. The key word is “anointed” (v2). This is literally the name Messiah; the only occasion in the Hebrew Scriptures where the the term is employed. This is highly significant. The Messiah is Christ; indeed the name Christ is the Greek version of the Hebrew Messiah, meaning anointed one. Therefore this is the only place in the Old Testament where the name “Christ” is employed.
The Apostles, as they were moved by the Holy Spirit quoted from this Psalm, more than any other, obviously recognising the Messianic nature of the words.
In Acts 4:24-27 this Psalm was quoted as the apostles cried unto God at a time of persecution. In Hebrews 1:5 this portion is appealed to, enforcing the deity of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. The same point is made by Paul again in Hebrews 5:5.
The most prolific place where this Psalm is referred to, however, is Revelation. This is hardly surprising because John depicts Christ reigning supreme over his Kingdom, in the Apocalypse. In 1:5 Christ is described as “the prince of the kings of the earth”, a clear allusion to the theme of this Psalm. The picture of the King breaking his foes with a rod of iron is presented in Revelation 2:27. This same image is employed in 12:5 where he is the child born of a woman who “would rule all nations with a rod of iron.” The identity of this King in Psalm 2 cannot be clearer; Jesus Christ – not only King of his Church, but King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Technically there are a number of voices in this Psalm.
In verses 1 – 5 the narrator is speaking. He describes the world rising up against God and his anointed one while God laughs at their futile efforts.
In verse 6 Jehovah is speaking as he addresses his Son, proclaiming him to be King.
In verse 7, however, Christ himself speaks testifying that he is the begotten Son of God.
Jehovah, responds in verses 8 and 9 promising the Messiah victory over every foe.
The psalm concludes, v10-12, with a with an evangelical call, from the narrator, to obey the Son of God, love him or face his wrath. In this there is a note of hope for a rebellious world.
1: The Coronation
Christ is crowned as King upon the holy hill of Sion. The Old Testament image is of the mount where the temple sits. This was the holiest place in Judaism. Mount Zion in the New Testament represents heaven and the Church of Christ (Hebrews 12:22). The two are linked. The Church is the Kingdom of Heaven; a two dimensional kingdom separated now by death (Grace and Glory) but in eternity all will be united. Christ is has been anointed as King over his Church. The one who is crowned King, however, is also the Son of God, begotten in eternity. The phrase “this day” transports us into the realm beyond the incarnation and before time into eternity. There never was a time when Christ was not the Son of God. He was been eternally proceeding from the Father, sharing his essence and substance as his begotten Son. Yet he was crowned King over his Church at a specific time, when he rose triumphant over death.
Today he presides over his Church. This emphasises his authority and our duty to be subject to him. Implied in this Psalm is the concept of two Kingdoms; one of darkness presided over by Satan and one of grace over which which Christ is supreme.
2: The Conspiracy
The conflict between Satan and Christ, between the Church and the world, is the story of this New Testament age. The Psalmist depicts the Kings of the world elevating themselves over Christ endeavouring to destroy his Kingdom. When the church is persecuted this principle is being worked out. When Governments pass unrighteous laws this principle is applied. Where God’s law is mocked and ignored the Kings of the earth are foolishly objecting to Christ’s reign. The reason for this is that the world wants freedom, v3. Satan dupes his followers into believing that Christianity is restrictive whereas he offers free will. Therefore there is a clamour for freedom to choose a promiscuous lifestyle, abortion, euthanasia and every sin other under heaven.
Ultimately this activity of the world in seeking to overthrow Christ will fail. God’s response is to laugh, v4. This is the only place in the bible where God is described as laughing. Yet he gives the victory over his enemies to Christ as King over the Church. He is presented with a rod of iron with which to break his foes. Christ does this in two ways. He breaks the hearts of men and women and translates them into his Kingdom. On other occasions he acts as judge eking retribution upon those who have foolishly defied his authority.
Many ungodly Governments have attempted to break Christ’s power but they themselves have been broken. A striking example of this was the Roman Emperor Diocletian (245 – 313 A.D.). He was responsible for one of the most bloody and cruel purges against Christians in Roman history. He had the audacity to strike a medal bearing the inscription:
“The name of Christianity being extinguished”
In Spain he had two monuments erected with the engravings:
“Diocletian Jovain Maximian Hercules Caesares Augusti for having exteended the Roman Empire in the east and the west and for having extinguished the name of Christians who brought the Republic to ruin”
“Diocletian Jovain Maximian Hercules Caesares Augusti for having everywhere abolished the superstition of Christ for having extended the worship of the gods.”
Needless to say, Diocletian’s name and the paganism he espoused have passed away into the dust of time, with the Roman Empire itself, but Christianity continues to thrive and Jesus Christ continues to be preached, followed and discussed.
The last Roman Emperor who was officially a non-christian, was Julian (361 – 363 A.D.). He was nicknamed Julian the Apostate by the Church because the period of persecution he presided over. He derisively called Jesus ‘The Galilean’ and on one occasion dared to point his dagger heavenward as a public act of defiance. His reign was cut short by battle injuries and it is recorded that he he realised he was dying he gathered up his clotted blood, threw it into the air and exclaimed, “Th0u hast conquered, O thou Galilean.”
Atheistic dictators, Islamic radicals and the secular west may endeavour to undermine Christianity, and have done, but ultimately the King of Kings will triumph. Christ’s Kingdom is the most most potent force on earth. The Church has no airforce, no armies and no navy. She has neither parliament nor administration. Yet she is Christ’s Kingdom, which he continues to build according to his promise. The Church is the greatest of all Kingdoms, the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, which breaks in pieces all other Kingdoms. This is the Kingdom which will stand forever and shall never be destroyed (Daniel 2:44-45).
3: The Command
The Psalm concludes with both an encouragement and a command. The central part of this command are the words, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry…”. The kiss implies devotion and obedience. We must embrace Jesus Christ as our Saviour. Failure to do will incur his wrath. As with the Psalm 1, we are presented here with two ways and two destinies. Christ is one who divides mankind. There are those who embrace him and there are those reject him. The message is clear and uncompromising. Christ is the only way to peace with God and eternal life.