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Psalm 2:1-12 the Reign of the Sovereign Son


Down through the silent passing of time you can hear the faint chant growing louder and louder, "Crucify Him!" "Crucify Him!" "Crucify Him!"

Psalm 2 opens with the enemies of the LORD God in open rebellion against Him and His Anointed One. It also describes the ultimate victory of the Lord's anointed over His rebellious enemies. It reaches beyond King David to the glorious reign of the one who can fulfill every aspect of the eternal kingdom as promised to David in 2 Samuel 7:13, 16. "He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of His Kingdom forever. . . and your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever: your throne shall be established forever."

It is only when the Davidic family is viewed as centering in Christ, that the words can acquire their full truth. In this Psalm the Lord's Anointed comes forward with the divine power and glory that is attributed to the Messiah in the writings of the prophets. It reaches its climax in verse 11, "Worship the LORD with reverence, and rejoice with trembling."

There is no internal evidence in this Psalm to tell us who the author is. However, Acts 4:25 tells us that King David under the power of the Holy Spirit was the author of the Psalm.


The Psalm has four speakers. The first voices we hear are the enemies speaking against the LORD God and His Anointed One. The second strophe records the calm words of assurance of Adonai, the Sovereign Lord of all in the thick of the opposition. Then the Anointed King speaks. Finally, the Psalmist speaks with exultation because the Lord's anointed comes forth with divine power and glory.

Our Psalm opens with the Gentiles in an uproar. Perhaps 2 Samuel 8 or 10 would fit the occasion under the reign of King David. The hostility of neighboring nations had displayed itself. However, the rebellion is not just against David. "Nations" and "peoples" refers to Gentile nations who are in an "uproar" against the Lord God and His Anointed One (v. 1). It is a "noisy riot that seethes in antagonism" against God. The common bond among the nations is hatred against the Lord. They meditate on how they might overthrow God (2:1, 2).

History is full of opposition to God. However, the plot to overthrow God is empty. Adam first tired it in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). Before the Deluge the man's heart was only continuously full of rebellion (Genesis 6:5). Even after the flood men plotted in their selfishness (Genesis 11:4). Pharaoh tried genocide and infanticide. Finally, "Jesus came to His own and His own received Him not." Cf. Matthew 21:33-42. The pulsating chant gets louder and louder. "Crucify Him!" "Crucify Him!" The vain thing was the crucifixion of Christ (Matthew 26:3-5; 27:1).

Their goal had come to nothing. Peter stood and preached his finest sermon using passages from the Old Testament including Psalm two.

"Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know––this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power (Acts 2:22-24).

Man is still in his rebellion (2 Peter 3:3-4; Isaiah 1:18; Romans 3:23; 6:23). He still toots the same horn, and sing the same song, "Let us tear their fetters apart, and cast away their cords from us!" (Psalm 2:3).

The Lord God is sovereign and He is in complete control. The Lord "laughs" (v. 4) in unbelief at their powerless threats. He "scoffs" at them. Someone said, "He who sits is the Sitter in the heavens." All attitudes toward Him are absurd and ridiculous.

However, God will not always be patient with their rebellion. "Anger" in vv. 5, 12 describes God's righteous indignation.

God's plan will not be defeated. Listen to the emphatic firm voice of God (v. 6). "But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain." The anointed King is set firmly in place (Cf. 2 Samuel 7:13, 16). Cf. Hebrews 1:3-5. Zion is the hill of God's holiness. He holds his office by direct appointment of God. History makes no mention of a king of Israel being anointed on Zion. Zion is mentioned as the royal seat of the Anointed One. It is there He will be installed, and He may reign and rule from there.

The Sonship implies world dominion (v. 7). These words find their full truth only when the Davidic family is viewed as centering in Christ. The Lord's Anointed comes forward with the divine power and glory, with which the messiah appears in the prophets. The Old Testament knows no other kingship to which is promised the dominion of world power. Revelation 19:15 describes Christ when He returns. Only with the words of Revelation 11:15-18 does it find resolution. "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Messiah); and He will reign forever and ever."


Where is the evidence that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of this passage?

On three occasions, the Gospel records these words from heaven, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." It is not "one of my sons," but "My Son, My only one."

The proof of that declaration is the resurrection of Christ from the dead (Hebrews 1:5; cf. Acts 13:33-37; Romans 1:3-4).

Psalm two is cited more frequently in the New Testament than any other. The Apostles saw it as fulfilled in Jesus Christ and in no other person. Jesus appears exactly as this Psalm presents Him.

The LORD God has appointed the dominion of the world to His Son (v. 9). No other king has been promised world dominion. It is fulfilled only in Christ.

At His Second Coming of Christ will manifest His sovereign authority and power. At a point in time in the future He will demonstrate His sovereign control for the entire world to see. He will return in judgment and will establish righteousness in the earth. Cf. Revelation 11:15-17; 19:11-16. He will return and reign as King of Kings. Calvin said: "The meaning is that the Father denies the Son nothing that bears upon the extension of His kingdom even unto the uttermost parts of the earth."

Jesus came the first time as the suffering servant of God, He will return as the sovereign God to reign in triumph over His enemies (Philippians 2:10, 11). Luther reminds us, "For He slays our will in order to establish His own will in us. He puts to death the flesh and its lusts in order to make alive in us the Spirit and the things that He desires."

Applications in the Psalm go beyond David or possibly Solomon. Verses 7, 8, 12 can not possibly be fulfilled by an earthly king and must refer to the Messiah King, Jesus Christ. King David looks to one who is greater than himself.

"Show discernment" (v. 10). "Take warning" is the highest form of wisdom. Turn from your self-will and put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

"Rejoice with trembling" (v. 11) is the exulting shouts of jubilation in worship. It is rapturous manifestation of joy at the happiness and honor of being permitted to be the servants of Yahweh. Do you get excited about the prospect of His coming? Oh, Lord Jesus will I see you today? Even so, come Lord Jesus come!

"Do homage to the Son" is literally, "kiss." Cf. Hebrews 10:12, 13; 1 Corinthians 15:25. "Blessed are they that put their trust in Him." That is the true kiss. It is the kiss of reconciliation. It is no kiss of Judas. We were all by nature rebels of God. The message of the Gospel is the message of reconciliation. Cast down your weapons of rebellion and trust Him, rely upon Him, depend upon Him. Trust in the finished work of Jesus. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved." There is no other way.

However, there is also a serious warning in v. 12. The office of the Messiah is not only that of the Savior, but also of divine Judge. Our God is also "a consuming fire." (Cf. Revelation 6:16-17).

Moreover, there is also the greater picture of people gathered from all over the world worshipping the Son of God in Revelation 7:9-12. Oh to be a part of that great throng who bow in humble submission to the King of Kings!

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Title:  Psalm 2:1-12 The Reign of the Sovereign Son

Series:  Christ in the Old Testament


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Christ in the Old Testament

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    Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2018. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

    Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from theNEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (

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    Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry heard in over 100 countries from 1972 until 2005, and a weekly radio program until 2016. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist missionary, and teaches seminary extension courses and Evangelism in Depth conferences in Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, India and Ecuador. Wil also serves as the International Coordinator and visiting professor of Bible and Theology at Peniel Theological Seminary in Riobamba, Ecuador.