Heaven’s Message to All Us Rebels (Ps 2:4-12)

Posted by R. Fowler White

It’s crucial that we in the church see our lives, history, and culture in terms of the conflict between the heavenly city of God and the earthly cities of man. When we turn to Psalm 2, that’s the way, in sum, that David views the world. His lyrics tell us of heaven’s message to all us rebels on earth. In words of warning and pardon in Ps 2:4-12, we’re told to realize what God’s response is to our rebellion and what our duty is to Him.

David gets right to the point in the second stanza of Psalm 2 (2:4-6): God the Father has responded to our revolt with scorn and ridicule, and He has taken measures to counter our rebellion. As Father of the King, He has put His Son, Christ Jesus, on the heavenly throne in heavenly Jerusalem on heavenly Mt Zion. From heaven Christ the Son now reigns as King of kings and Ruler of the nations, and He is commanding rebels everywhere to repent and believe in Him as their only hope of salvation from the wrath to come. We—especially those of us in pulpits and pews—need to recover the too-long-ignored truth of God the Father’s response to our rebellion: He declares, “There is a King. He is King of kings. His name is Jesus. His capital city is heavenly Jerusalem, and everyone must do whatever is right in His eyes.” Note to self: wise up and realize how the Father of the Anointed King has responded to your insurgency.

Not only that: wise up and realize how the Father’s Son Himself, the Anointed King, has responded to your rebellion. David gives us the headline in stanza 3 (Ps 2:7-9). The Son tells us in 2:7 about the proclamation that His Father published about Him. It reads, Today I have begotten You. The Father looks on His resurrected Son Jesus and declares: “By resurrection, I have made You ‘the Firstborn from the Dead.’” And there’s more. In 2:8-9 the ascended Son tells us about the promises made to Him by His Father. Those promises include victory over His enemies, the nations as His inheritance, the ends of the earth as His possession. As others have said, there is not one inch of this world on which His Royal Highness Jesus doesn’t look out and declare, “Mine!” The present days of salvation and grace will give way to the day of judgment and justice, and then all of us rebels will give an account to God’s Anointed King. Until He comes again, we do well to remember: “the Lord neither negotiates with rebels, nor adjusts himself to suit their demands, but simply reaffirms his royal plan: His king is installed and that is the end of the matter.”[i] Another note to self: wise up and realize how Jesus, the Anointed King Himself, has responded to your rebellion.

One more thing, and it’s big too: wise up and do your duty to God and His King as described in stanza 4 (Ps 2:10-12). His demands are simple and direct. To us, to our fellow citizens, and to our government officials in all branches at all levels, He says, “Wise up! Stop your foolishness! Show discernment! Take all necessary precautions! Open the Bible and believe the gospel of Christ; obey the commandments of Christ. Worship the LORD, the God of heaven and earth. Rejoice with trembling. Pay homage to the Son. Repent of your rebellion. Find refuge in God’s Anointed King, Jesus. To the ruling class and the ruled classes, Christ Jesus, the Son of the Father, is both just and merciful. He is just in that He rewards and punishes according to His law. He is merciful in that He pardons all who forsake their sins and take refuge in Him alone. Heed these words of warning and pardon!”

The faithless want to live life not on God’s terms, but on their own terms, in pursuit of rights, privileges, and “cancel culture.” It’s crucial that we in the church see our lives, history, and culture in terms of the conflict between heaven and earth. So, are you in the ruled classes? Are you in the ruling class? David reminds every one of us: on the authority of God’s written word, heed His warnings of wrath, embrace His promises of pardon. Wise up, repent, and take refuge in God’s Anointed King, Jesus, the Lord!

[i] D. A. Carson et al., eds., New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, 489.