Psalm 2
Enthroned Messiah

The apostle Paul calls this the “second psalm” and Peter attributes it to David. The psalm is a powerful prophecy about Jesus the Nazarene as Christ, King, and Son. As a prediction it covers the life of Christ from the days of his ministry, through his resurrection and ascension, and into his Thousand Year reign. It paints an image quite different form the general view of many Christians. Reading this psalm carefully and meditating on it will result in what the First Psalm calls a Blessed Reader. [The version below is from the 21st Century Paraphrase of the Hebrew Scriptures of the Psalms. Blue letters indicate verses quoted in the Christian Bible.]

Why do the non-Jews gather in turmoil?
And the peoples plot an empty scheme?

Kings of the earth take their stand.
And officials meet to conspire plots.
They speak against Yehowah and His Messiah:


“Let us resist their constraints!
And cast off their restrictions!”
The One enthroned in the Celestialum will laugh.
Yehowah will mock them.
At that moment He will speak angrily to them.
And with great displeasure He will confound them:
“I install my King upon My holy mount of Zion!”
I will announce His decree:
“Yehowah told me:
‘You are my Son, today I have given birth to you!
Ask Me and I will give you the non-Jews as an inheritance.
And as your own possession the most distant parts of the earth.
You will shepherd them with an iron sceptre.
And you will smash them to pieces like a clay pot!’”

So act with wisdom, O kings!
And accept correction, you judges of the earth!
Serve Yehowah with awe and rejoice with trembling!
Bow and kiss the Son lest he becomes angry and you perish from the way!
For his anger becomes inflamed suddenly!
O how blessed those who seek refuge in him!

Jews and Non-Jews Oppose God and the Messiah

The prophetic psalm beings with questions regarding non-Jews and Jews. Peoples from both racial groups have gathered in turmoil, or rage, tumult, uproar. Both the Hebrew goy [Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #1471] and Greek ETHNOS came to mean all peoples who were not Jewish or Hebrew.

When was it that both the Jews and non-Jews assembled in a scene of an raging uproar. Peter quotes these two verses at Acts 4:25, 26 where he applies the prophecy to the Roman and Jewish rulers. Consider his inspired prayer among a Christian fellowship:

“Sovereign Lord, the One who made the heaven, the earth, and the sea and everything in them -- AC4:25 our Father, the One who by the holy Pneuma spoke by the mouth of David your servant, saying - “Why do the non-Jews rage, and the people imagine empty things? AC4:26 The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers assembled together, against the LORD and against his Christ.” [Psalm 2:1, 2 LXX] AC4:27 For in truth, in this city both Herod, Pontius Pilate, along with the non-Jews and the people of Israel, gathered together against your servant-boy, Jesus. [NCMM]

Peter names the Jewish ruler Herod and the Roman governor Pilate as particularly noted in the fulfillment of the Second Psalm. When that mixed crowd on Jews and non-Jews gathered in a riotous mob they screamed for the execution of Jesus the Nazarene. It doing so they demonstrated for all time their attitude toward God Himself.

In this prayer Peter calls YHWH DESPOTA [or Absolute Lord; Sovereign Lord] in Acts 4:24. It is clear Jehovah is not the same person as Christ or Messiah. The Hebrew here is we’al-MESHI-CHoh’ and the Greek KHRISTOU. [Compare also Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:16 where the Nazarene makes the same distinction.] This designation could only be given to the Nazarene upon his baptism in Jordan’s waters in the year 29 AD. So, There are two persons mentioned here and the nations resist the law and commandments of both Yehowah and his Christ.

Messiah Enthroned on Heavenly Zion

Yehowah reacts to this attack against his Messiah from his own realm - heaven, or the Celestialum. He promises to speak to these Jews and non-Jews in anger, or wrath and indignation. He says, “I install my King!” By “install” God means to established [NEB], or “enthrone a king of my choice.” [KNX] Though this verse is not quoted by Peter or Paul, the context is sandwiched between their inspired interpretations. [Acts 13:33] This would lead to the conclusion that verse 6 is fulfilled upon the ascension of Christ to heaven. [For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Ephesians 1:10-22.] Daniel 7:13 also foretells Messiah will ascend to his royal appointment in clouds. The Risen Lord states the same at Revelation 3:21. Note he is already king when Revelation 1:5 was written.

Regarding this placement or establishment as King in heavenly Zion the King now speaks. When the King says, “I will announce His decree,” he speaks here BEFORE he is installed as King. Thus, the Second Psalm points to the pre-existence of Christ. He says - over one thousand years before it came true - that Yehowah told him something. Though he may have existed among “all the sons of God” at creation [Job 38:7], the Christ is to become something more. The Anointed reports what is to be said at him on that day of heavenly enthronement: “You are my Son, today I have given birth to you.” On what day did this process of re-birth occur?

Paul also quotes these words before a Jewish synagogue:

AC13:32 “And now we are proclaiming to you [Jews] the coming of the promise to the forefathers, AC13:33 that all these things the God fulfilled to their children - to us - by raising Jesus, just as it has been written in the Second Psalm: “You are My son! Today I have begotten you!” [Psalm 2:7] AC13:34 That [Christ] would be raised from the dead never to return to corruption, He has said: “I give to you [people of Israel] the reliable covenant-loyalty of David.” [Isaiah 55:3 LXX] AC13:35 Also in another psalm, He says: “You will not permit your Saint to experience decay.” [Psalm 16:10 LXX] AC13:36 For surely David, having served on behalf of God’s counsel in his own generation, fell asleep and was added to those of his forefathers and did experience decay. [1 Kings 2:10] AC13:37 However, that One the God raised did not experience decay. [NCMM]

Thus Psalm 2:6, 7 were fulfilled upon the resurrection and ascension of Christ. This was upon Christ’s resurrection and ascension. Paul says something similar at Romans 1:4, “[Jesus] was declared God’s Son … by a resurrection from the dead.” [Romans 1:4 NCMM] Paul quotes this psalm again when he writes to the Jews. [Hebrews 1:5]

Daniel 7:13, 14 foretold, “I continued to observe in my night visions, and, look! with the clouds of the Sky someone like a Son of Humankind was arriving. He was brought to the Ancient of Days. The angels brought him into the Presence of the One. And to this Son of Humankind there were given government and dignity and a realm, so that peoples, nations and languages should all serve him. His government is an everlasting government that will never pass away, and his realm one that will never be brought to ruin.” [NCMM] Thus, it would be on the occasion of this coronation that God’s Son the Messiah would receive the nations living on the earthly globe as an inheritance. These would become his subjects. [Psalm 72:8]

All those who wish to dwell on earth forever will have to continually submit to Christ’s reign. [Philippians 2:9-12] Ultimately the earth will be returned to an Edenic paradise peopled by those who will obey God’s law and submit to his Christ. [Revelation 11:15-17] But, what kind of reign will this be?

It will surprise some that Messiah’s rule will be with an iron sceptre, or a “rod of iron.” Psalm 2:9 is a verse paraphrased and referenced at Revelation 2:27 where the Saints share in this reign during the Thousand Years. [Revelation 20:4] The verse is also referenced at Revelation 12:5. Messiah’s reign will include the subjugation of the nations and all God’s enemies. [1 Corinthians 15:24-28] During the Thousand Years this iron sceptre will still be used against sinners.

The prophets make this clear when they speak of matters during the Thousand Years. Consider how Messiah’s “rod of iron” will be used against sinners at that time: “Look at me! I am creating new heavens and a new earth. … From that time there will never be a nursing baby who only lives a few days. Nor an elderly man who does not finish all his days. Though dying at one-hundred years of age - he will be a mere youth. Though a sinner who lives to be one-hundred will be cursed.” [Isaiah 65:17, 20] Zechariah 14:16-19 also speaks of this period under Messiah’s reign with “a rod of iron” - “And so it will occur regarding every survivor from among the non-Jews who came against Jerusalem, they will approach from year to year to bow down to the King Yehowah of armies. However, it will occur that any of those from all the families of the earth who refuse to approach … and bow down to the King Yehowah of armies - no rain will ever fall upon them. And if Egyptian families refuse to enter then the same plague Yehowah plagued the non-Jews will smite them.” [NCMM]

This period of reigning with “a rod of iron” will continue until “the last enemy is destroyed” at the end of the Thousand Years. [1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Revelation 20:12-14]

How Should All Respond to God’s Son the Messiah?

The second psalm ends with the powerful admonition for Jews and non-Jews to “act with wisdom” and “accept correction.” Not only should these repent but they also must “serve Yehowah with awe and rejoice with trembling.” They should also “kiss the Son.” What does this mean? The Aramaic is nash-shequ-var’ and suggests the image of approaching the Messiah, King-Son, and “bow to the ground before him.” [HAR]

That this will occur is also stated elsewhere. Note Philippians 2:9-11, “Because of this the God highly exalted him, and graciously gave to him the name over every name. So that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend - of those in heaven and those on earth and those [buried] underground, and every tongue should make a confession that Jesus Christ is Lord unto God’s glory - [the] Father.” [NCMM] Revelation 5:13 describes something similar: “Then I heard every creature in ‘Heaven and on earth, and under the ground and on the sea’, [Philippians 2:10] and all that is in them, saying: “To the One enthroned and to the Lamb: the blessing and the honor and the ‘glory and the might into the Ages of the Ages’.” [NCMM]

But why take this action, either now as Christians, or humankind in general in the future? David gives his inspired reasons: “… lest [the Son] becomes angry and you perish from the way! For his anger becomes inflamed suddenly.” Neither Yehowah or his Messiah are all-forgiving and both are pictured in this psalm as angry and wrathful against those in opposition to them, particularly the rulers and judges. The Son is not a passive, effeminate person who is only loving to anyone all the time. No, David says he can become “inflamed suddenly” or “quickly provoked.” This image of the Son can be seen in Revelation 1:12-17 and it is not the picture most Christians want to hear:

RV1:12 And I turned around to look at the Voice that was speaking to me. And having turned around I saw 7 golden lamp-stands, RV1:13 and among the lamp-stands ‘someone like a Son of Humankind’, clothed in a garment reaching his feet and girded around the chest with a golden girdle. RV1:14 ‘His head and hair were white as white-wool like snow’ [Daniel 7:9] - and his eyes like a flame of fire -- RV1:15 and his feet like fine copper as though in a fiery furnace. And his Voice was like the sound of great waters. RV1:16 Now in his right hand he had 7 stars, and ‘out of his mouth protruded a sharp double-edged sword’. [Isaiah 49:2] His countenance was as the sun shining in its power. RV1:17 And when I saw him I collapsed at his feet like a dead body. [NCMM]

This journey through the “second psalm” has enlightened us on a prophecy referenced in the Christian Bible. We do not have to speculate about its fulfillment for we have the inspired interpretations of Peter, Paul, and John on what the psalm means. We learn from them that the “second psalm” of David was initially fulfilled when both Jews and non-Jews in a riotous mob screamed for the death of Yehowah’s Anointed. We learn when Jesus the Nazarene became messianic King and Son. We learn that Yehowah does not take lightly to those who oppose His Son. We learn that even the Son can rule with “a rod of iron” against those who refuse to submit to his reign. Are we not glad we have already “kissed the Son”? We have already showed our willingness to bow to the ground before the Son so that his anger is not kindled toward us. Are we not glad we have already begun to “accept correction” from Yehowah’s Anointed, King, and Son? May we all continue to submit to the Messiah and be blessed during his coming Thousand Year rule.

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Nazarene Commentary 2000© by Mark Heber Miller

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