By: Scott Morton
The second Psalm does not include an introduction. Normally this would mean that there is not a lot of information that can be found about the text. There is some information that can be found by using other verses to figure out some things. By looking at Acts 4:25, we see that Luke identifies David as the author of this Psalm. This means this is the first of the Psalms that is attributed to David, the author of more of the Psalms than anyone else. There is also something interesting that can be seen in Acts 13:33. This verse states that it is quoting the second Psalm. This means that while the chapter divisions may not have existed for other books of the Bible, they clearly did for the book of Psalms.
Some people state there is a direction connection between the first two Psalms and they are really just one text. While the first Psalm dealt with some issues related to the true followers of God and those who were not, this Psalm has a different purpose. This Psalm is looking at the outright rebellion against God by both the Gentiles and Israel. It deals with the outright rejection of the prophetic program, the establishment of the kingdom on earth and how God is going to deal with their rejection.
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
David deals with the fact that there are two different groups of people in the eyes of God. There are the people (Israel and the Gentiles that had become proselytes) and the heathen (the unbelieving Gentiles). There are some distinctions in how God views these two groups of people.
The heathen are not looked at in a good light. God never has anything good to say about how He will deal with those that are in unbelief. There is a rage that comes from the heathen because they are not part of the chosen people of God:
Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;  That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
The heathen did not have any of the advantages that the nation of Israel had. This often led to anger (rage) about the position of Israel and has been used to explain the hatred that has been directed at the nation of Israel over the years. The only hope that they had was to try to join themselves to the nation by becoming a proselyte. This would mean that they had given up their former position (heathen) in order to become a believer and to take part in the blessings that Israel has been given. We can see an example of this kind of confederacy against the true nation of Israel (the believing remnant) in Psalm 83:4-8.
The nation of Israel truly had the blessings of God. This is why they were referred to as being "my people".In fact, look what God refers to Israel as:
And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:
Israel is called the son of God. They are held in such a high standing before God that they are called His son. No other nation or group of people has ever been held in this standing to where they could be called God�s son. Because of the position Israel had in the eyes of God, they were able to have some of the blessing that Ephesians 2 talked about poured out on them.
God was able to give them the covenants. In fact, He gives them one right after they have been brought out of Egypt (Exodus 19:5-6). They were also separated from the other nations (Exodus 33:16, Leviticus 20:24), meaning there was a clear division in the eyes of God. They were also looked at as special (Deuteronomy 7:6), above all the nations (Deuteronomy 26:19), and established as a holy people (Deuteronomy 28:9). These blessings caused them to not be reckoned among the other nations and set up a clear distinction that motivated the rage (Numbers 23:9).
With all of these advantages, it is a struggle to see why Israel would imagine a vain thing. They wanted over and over to be like the other nations of the world, even though God considered them to be separate. This led to them asking for a king (1 Samuel 8), even though God had instructed them they were not to be like the other nations and would not have a king. This caused them to be vain, because there was nothing in their thinking. They were turning their back on all the blessings that God had given to them.
A picture of their rejection can be seen in Acts 4:26-28. This passage talks about the nation of Israel and the nations of the earth joining together in their rejection. At this time, it was their rejection of Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry.
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
The kings and rulers, based on what we had seen in verse 1, have decided to make the rebellion an open conflict. We can see from the following verses the fact that this is going to occur.
Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.  For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
There will be nations that are gathered against Jerusalem during the Day of the Lord. This can be seen in the latter part of Revelation as the nations of the world are influenced. Several of those nations raise up armies to stand against God (Revelation 16:12-16). These armies go to the place known as Armageddon and a battle takes place there (Revelation 19:17-21). Even after this event and the defeat that occurs, the nations are not done rebelling against God. Satan raises up nations to stand against God when he is loosed from his 1000 year imprisonment (Revelation 20:7-9). It is clear that this is not all of the nations of the world that are being talked about as being against God. If it was all nations, there would not be any sheep nations for God to pour out the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant upon.
David talks about the fact that they are going against the anointed of God. This is Jesus Christ that is being spoken of. The term Christ means anointed (John 1:41, Acts 4:26). They were going to try to turn their backs on the king that had been promised to them (2 Samuel 7:1-17), that would fulfill the conditions of the Davidic Covenant. This is the open rebellion against God that not only is present today, but will be present as well when these events are taking place.
The following verse should be a truth that everyone should follow. If they did, there would never be the rebellion:
There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.
Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
The statement that is made by these Gentile nations is this verse. Their goal is to break out of the control that they feel God has upon them. The Gentiles who are saying this do not want God to have any control over them in their lives. This is one of the reasons that the judgment is going to be poured out on them (Jeremiah 5:5). They have known some things of God, but have made choices that have prevented themselves from taking part in these things.
A perfect picture of this is the parable that Jesus states in Luke 19:12-17. In this parable, He is dealing with the return to the kingdom. The statement that is made by the people being ruled is that they do not want the nobleman (Christ) to rule over them. This is the statement that is being made here. This type of thinking can also be seen in several other parables Christ gave while on earth.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
God responds to what the Gentiles have said. His response is to laugh at their foolishness. It is God that sits in heaven (His holy temple- Habbakuk 2:20, throne- Isaiah 66:1) and He will try men (Psalm 11:4). He will also do whatever he pleases (Psalm 115:3). This can be seen in the book of Proverbs:
I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;
Wisdom had been personified in Proverbs 1:19. There is only one source of wisdom and that is from the Word of God. There is no other way to gain true wisdom. This means that God, who is the source of wisdom, is being spoken of in this text. The reason why God laughs is given in Psalm 37:13. He knows what is going to transpire because of their failures.
Because of the failures of the Gentiles and their rebellion against Him, He is going to hold them in derision. This can be seen in Psalm 59:8, where the Gentiles are held in derision for not following God. The failure can ultimately be seen in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 where the man of sin is revealed.
Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
This is God�s response to everything that they have done. There is wrath poured out on those that do not know God (2 Thessalonians 1:8). As a result of their folly, He is going to pour His wrath out upon them that have turned their back on Him. It is truly something that no person should want to face. This is what the Pharisees and Sadducees were asked if they had been warned about (Matthew 3:7). This is what is being spoken of:
Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
This is the day of the Lord. There are some today that do not have an understanding of what is meant by this time. It is the period of time where God is pouring out His wrath. There is no time of blessing that will occur during the day of the Lord. It can be seen in Psalm 110:5-6 that there will be judgment and wrath poured out on those that have rejected the program of God. There is further instructions on this time in Isaiah 2:1-4, where the nations flow onto Israel for their instruction. This is after the judgment has been poured out. Before this will be what is described in Malachi 4:1, as God is pouring out the promised wrath. For a brief picture of what this may start to look like, consider what Jeremiah wrote in the book of Lamentations. We see from Lamentations 2:1 that the reference is to God pouring out His anger. There will be no peace for those that are going to face this wrath (Isaiah 57:19-21).
A question that some ask is why would Israel have to face this wrath?. Matthew 23:33-36 shows the reason. They were guilty of killing the prophets of God. They could not follow the simple instructions that had been given to them and God is going to punish them for their transgressions.
There is power in what is said. In the creation, it is seen that God spoke and something came into existence. In the same manner, the branch (Christ) will speak out of the rod of His mouth and will pour out His wrath (Isaiah 11:1-4).
Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
God has placed a little restriction on what is going on. Even though He is pouring out His wrath, He has made some preparations. There will be a king that is going to sit on the throne. This is the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:11-17), which is what the Psalms are dealing with. This covenant states that the seed of David will sit on the throne forever (Psalm 45:6, 89:27, 36-37). There is only one person that this could describe and that is the Lord Jesus Christ (Isaiah 2:3).
The throne will be established in Zion (Psalm 132:13-14). This is seen in 2 Samuel 5:7 to be a city of David. This is the city where David is buried (1 Kings 2:10). We also know that this is where Solomon had them bring the ark of the covenant from (1 Kings 8:1). The city of David is Jerusalem. The seat of authority on earth will be the New Jerusalem that descends from heaven (Revelation 21:1-2, Isaiah 9:6-7, Daniel 7:13-14). This is where the throne will be set and where Christ will be ruling the earth from. This can be seen in many passages, such as Psalm 48:1-2, 50:2,78:68, and Zechariah 9:9.
I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
There is a switch in speakers at this point. It is now Jesus Christ speaking, and He is repeating the information that had been said of Him. He is now going to deal with some things related to His role in this.
A declaration shows the power of the speaker. For example, in Romans 1:4 Paul shows the power of Jesus being declared the son of God. This proclamation was also made in the book of Matthew when God the Father stated this (Matthew 3:17). We also see this as politicians use their power to make declarations.
There is some confusion about the fact that Christ is referred to as being begotten. This is taken by many people to refer to the birth of Christ. This is not the case, as Acts 13:33 (which quotes this verse) points out. It is at the resurrection that Jesus becomes the begotten.
This is making a reference to the reality of what the resurrection accomplished. Jesus Christ is the firstborn from the dead. This truth is true for the nation of Israel and for the Body of Christ. The picture of what was accomplished shows what will happen for us when we are resurrected. This is why Jesus is referred to as the firstfruits (1 Corinthians 15:23). He is identified as this for both the Body of Christ (Colossians 1:18) and for Israel (Revelation 1:5).
There is a recognition that He is God. This is something that the devils knew (Matthew 8:29). It is something that Peter knew and proclaimed (Matthew 16:16). This truth is something the believers were teaching after the cross (for example Acts 8:37). It is something that they knew, but there are many people today that have no knowledge of this. This shows the importance of evangelizing and bringing the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) to the lost.
Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
There is an inheritance that has been given. This inheritance is rulership over the world. This is something that the apostles knew as a result of what had been said to them in Acts 1:8. They were told to take the message that Christ had given to them and to preach this to people. Jesus gave a very specific order of how this was to be done. The apostles were to start in Jerusalem and convert this. Then they were to go to Judaea (the two southern tribes), then to Samaria (the 10 northern tribes), and finally to the uttermost parts of the earth. The eventual goal would be for the conversion of the entire world. However, the primary focus was to convert Israel first, in order for them to receive the promised blessings.
This is shown in several other passages where the nations turn and follow God. This is promised in Psalm 22:27 by David as he states this is going to happen. It is also stated in Psalm 72:7-8, as this Psalm states that God will have dominion over all the earth. This was also prophesied by Daniel in Daniel 7:13-14. These are just a couple of examples to show how this would happen. Hebrews 1:8 shows that the throne of Christ is an eternal throne.
There is a clear time that this is going to occur. There is going to be a reconciliation of both the heaven and the earth (Colossians 1:16-20). This is going to happen at the dispensation of the fulness of times, as is shown by the following passage:
Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
Jesus Christ is going to rule these nations with a rod of iron. This means there will not be any sort of dissension away from the will of God once the kingdom is set up. This is because the New Covenant dictates the law will be written inside of the believers (Jeremiah 31:31-34). With the law inside of them, it becomes impossible for a person to attempt to break away from what God would have them to do.
The rod of iron can be seen in several passages. Iron shows the unbending authority that Jesus Christ will have as He establishes His kingdom. Psalm 89:23 states that the foes will be beaten down. This concept is also seen in several passages in the book of Revelation. This makes sense, as this book deals with the setting up of this kingdom on earth. The verse we are looking at is quoted in Revelation 2:27. In Revelation 12:1-5, there is a discussion about the woman and the man-child she brings forth. This child is stated to rule the nations with a rod of iron. This can only be Jesus Christ, based on what we have seen. Revelation 19 depicts the return of Christ to the earth. It also states in verse 15 of this chapter that Christ is coming to rule with a rod of iron.
The passage also discussed the idea of the potter�s vessel. A potter takes a lump of clay and molds it into the image that he or she wants. They have control over what shape it is going to take through their skill and manipulation. In terms of man, God is referred to as the potter (Isaiah 64:8). This is something that God had also said to Israel in Jeremiah 18:6. The description of being broken like the potter�s vessel can be seen in passages like Isaiah 30:14 and Jeremiah 19:11.
Romans 9 also has a lengthy passage related to this concept. God is the one who determines the program of how He is going to deal with man. All of mankind comes from the same lump of clay. It is up to the individual if they are going to follow what God says for them to do in their dispensation (vessel of honor) or to ignore what God�s instructions are and attempt to come up with a way to save themselves (vessel of dishonor).
Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
This verse begins the final thought process that David gives in this Psalm. He has established the fact that Christ will be coming back to rule the earth. He has also dealt with the rebellion of mankind and how they were going to turn their back on God. David has decided it is time to give a warning to those who would read or hear this Psalm. His goal is to prevent people from being on the wrong side of Jesus when He returns to the earth to set up His kingdom. It is the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). Kings will need to shut their mouths (Isaiah 52:15). The kings of this world will come to God (Isaiah 60:3). Eventually the world will see what is described in this verse:
Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
The issue becomes service to God. They are to serve God in fear and rejoice in trembling. God is to be feared by Israel (Psalm 89:7, 119:120), but they are also to rejoice in God (Psalm 95:1-8, 97:1). The issue comes with the establishment of the kingdom. The Bible teaches that Israel had to keep the law (Hebrews 12:28-29).
One thing to keep in mind is that there are no second chances for people at this time. This can be seen through the following text:
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,  And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,  If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
The writer of Hebrews states a person who had been made a partaker of the Holy Ghost (had salvation) and had seen the benefits of this in their life, if they were to fall away, they cannot get this back. This is a hard concept for some to believe, as they feel people can keep losing and gaining their salvation. A picture to help see this concept is Acts 5. We see Annanias and Sapphira conspire to keep money from God, breaking part of the program established. The punishment for this was not a �slap on the wrist� or something temporary. The punishment was death. They had tasted of the gift, but could not partake again when they fell away.
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.
David closes with the last concept he has. He brings up the idea of kiss the Son, or have fellowship with Him. John 5:23 show the idea of honoring Jesus, which was what David is making a reference to. Another example can be seen in 1 Samuel 10:1. This is where Saul has been chosen to be king and it shows reverence, which is how they could start to have fellowship with God. There are also those preserved that had not shown this respect to Baal (1 Kings 19:18).
The wrath is going to be poured out. This is the end of the prophetic program and has been established in this Psalm that this was going to occur. Revelation 6:16-17 shows the concept of the wrath of God. Those who are in this time are asking about when this wrath is going to be poured out. They see that the time has come and they know what is going to happen. There is a wrath poured out on those that are not following what God has commanded (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).
The Psalm closes with the idea that every man is blessed that puts their trust in Him. This can also be seen in Psalm 34:8, 40:4, 84:12, and Jeremiah 17:7. Proverbs 16:20 states that those who have put their trust in God are happy. Isaiah 30:18 states that the blessed are those that wait for Him. Paul states in Romans 9:33 that those who have put their trust in Christ will not be ashamed. It does not matter what dispensation is being dealt with. Every man is blessed if they put their trust in the Word (Christ) that has been committed unto them.