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  "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;"
 . . .  Colossians 1:10  . . .
Psalm 2 -- The Heathen Rage

Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 2/16/03


The Geneva Bible notes give a succinct overview of this Psalm 2. It reveals "the conspiracy of the Gentiles, the murmuring of the Jews and power of kings cannot prevail against Christ." Clearly the focus of this Psalm is rebellion against God and the Messiah.

  • Outline
    • The Identity of The Author
    • The Opposition of Against God & His Messiah (1-3)
    • The Heathen Opposition Mocked By God (4-5)
    • The Kingdom of Christ Established Despite The Opposition (7-9)
    • The Opposition Called Submit To and Honor Christ (10-12)

Let’s examine this Psalm more closely.

  • The Identity of The Author

The author of this Psalm is not identified in the context, however, we do know the identity of the author because of what we read in Acts 4:25 "Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?"

It is clear that David is the author of Psalm 2. Further, this Psalm is a very popular one to quote in the New Testament we see portions of it in Acts 4:25; 13:33; Hebrews 1:5 & 5:5.

  • The Opposition of Against God & His Messiah (1-3)

The first three verses describe the hatred the unsaved human race has for God and Christ the Savior. Let’s read the passage –

Psalms 2:1-3 "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us."

The first three verses focus on the rebellion the non-Jewish nations, the Jews and world leaders of all the nations against God and His Son, the Messiah-Savior. Here’s why I say that. First, let’s look at the word heathen. The Hebrew word is ywg gowy (go’-ee;1471) which means the nations, usually non-Hebrew peoples. Next we look at the word people. This is the Hebrew word Mal leom (leh-ome’; 03816) which means people or nation, and as Gill says, "the people" are the people of Israel, who were once God’s peculiar people, and who were distinguished by him with distinctive blessings above all other nations. Finally, we come to the phrase the kings of the earth. This is a reference to the leaders of nations, whether Gentile or Jew.

What are these nations doing? They are raging. The Hebrew word is vgr ragash (raw-gash’; 7283), which means to cause a commotion, or to riot, coupled with the idea of conspiring together in rebellion against someone or something. Simply stated, the nations collectively and openly are revolting against the LORD.

Now, let’s see what the people (Jews) are doing. "The people imagine a vain thing." Imagine, means to devise a plan in your mind. That’s exactly what the Hebrew word hgh hagah (daw-gaw’; 01897) means, to devise plot or plan. However, God characterizes this scheming as vain (futile, useless). Further, the political leaders (kings and rulers) set themselves, that is stand up against and conspire together, take counsel together against God and Jesus Christ. And what is their plot? That is clarified in verse 3 – "Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us."

What does that mean? The word bands means fetters or restraints. The word cords means ropes. Now, put that in the context. The political leaders refuse to acknowledge the authority of God and Christ over them. They rebel against them. They plot to destroy the mandates of God and revolt against the decrees of the most High! They will not acknowledge their rightful sovereign, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. They are resolved to riot as lawless and aweless against the Omnipotent God and His Christ.

This mad resolution to revolt against God is one in which man has persevered ever since his creation, and he continues in it to this day.

Before we move on, let me answer the question posed in verse 1, "Why do the heathen rage?" They rage, they rebel, they revolt because they balk at Christ ruling over them.

The best example of this given to us in Acts 4:25-28 "Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? 26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together…"

Israel, the nations, kings and peoples are still rebelling against the Lord and his rules today. Christians are being persecuted and killed in many nations today. Our own nation is rebelling against many God laws and ordinances. What I am saying is this. The world is still rebelling agains Godt and his Messiah.

  • The Heathen Opposition Mocked By God (4-5)

Psalms 2:4-5 "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure."

Many people and nations are so smug in their rebellion against the Lord. Some deny His existence. Some lie about His laws and precepts and manipulate them to their own liking. Still others claim deity for themselves. How does God respond to the paltry, pathetic efforts of mankind to repudiate Him? Does the Creator worry about being maligned by his creation? I should say not. I turn you attention to verse 4a. "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh…" The word laugh means to laugh mockingly. Verse 4b means the same thing; "the Lord shall have them in derision." Derision means to laugh to scorn.

After he laughs at them, He speaks to them in His anger and He will vex them, which will cause them to tremble inwardly. They have mocked the blessed and only Potentate! This is pay day (see Jude 14-15).

This section reminds me of Proverbs 1:26-31 "I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; 27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: 30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices."

  • The Kingdom of Christ Established Despite The Opposition (7-9)

Psalms 2:7-9 "I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."

The decrees of God outweigh those of any political leader, organization, or individual! Jesus Christ is the Son of God and therefore heir to all the kingdoms of the world. Then we will see fulfilled Isaiah 9:6-7 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."

Christ is coming again to set up His earthly kingdom. It WILL happen despite the best efforts of the nations of the world to stop it. When our Lord returns those who refuse to cooperate, what will happen to them? Psalm 2:9 makes that clear… "Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."

  • The Opposition Called Submit To and Honor Christ (10-12)

Psalms 2:10-12 "Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."

Charles H. Spurgeon said, "As Jesus is King of kings and Judge of judges, so the gospel is the teacher of the greatest and wisest. If any are so great as to spurn its admonitions, God will make little of them; and if they are so wise as to despise its teachings, their fancied wisdom shall make fools of them. The gospel takes a high tone before the rulers of the earth, and they who preach it should, like Knox and Melvill, magnify their office by bold rebukes and manly utterances even in the royal presence. A clerical sycophant (a preacher who flatters of kings or political leaders) is only fit to be a scullion (dishwasher) in the devil’s kitchen."

It makes sense to "Kiss the Son" and "put [your] trust in him." Have you done that?


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First Baptist Church of Oak Creek

10550 S. Howell Ave. - Oak Creek, WI 53154

Phone: 414-762-7575

Pastor: David L. Brown, Ph.D.

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