The opening and closing verses of Psalm 2 contrast markedly with those of Psalm 1. Psalm 1 begins by describing the blessed man; it ends with a warning to the ungodly of their eternal doom. Psalm 2 begins with an account of evil men plotting against the Messiah and ends by stating that those who put their trust in Him are blessed.
Psalm 2 is a Messianic Psalm: it is concerned with the Person and work of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Psalm, which was written by David (Acts 4:25), is quoted seven times in the New Testament, (Acts 4:25-28; 13:3; Heb 1:5; 5:5; Rev 2:27; 12:5; 19:15), and each quotation refers to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Rebellious man speaks (verses 1-3)
Sin is lawlessness (1 Jn 3:4, RV), and the first three verses reveal the consequences of the outworking of sin in men’s hearts. The man who has not been saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus is an enemy of God (Rom 5:10). His mind is hostile to God and “is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom 8:7).
In the first three verses of the Psalm we read of men raging and plotting together to overthrow all the restraints imposed by the laws of the God they hate. The “people imagine a vain thing” (v 1). The word translated “imagine” in this verse is the same as is translated “meditate” in Psalm 1:2. The godly man meditates day and night in the Word of God and prospers spiritually. The ungodly in Psalm 2 use their minds to try to devise a means of rebelling against and overcoming God.
The opening verses of Psalm 2 apply to the time at the end of the Great Tribulation when there will be a movement on earth resulting in people, kings, and rulers uniting in an attempt to prevent the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Anointed, from ruling over the world. At the crucifixion, barriers to cooperation were set aside and Jews, Gentiles, Herod, and Pilate united in a combined effort to destroy the Lord (Acts 4:26, 27). Sinful, rebellious men will yet again unite. They will “set themselves” and “take counsel together” against God and His Son.
At the present time, we see a worldwide movement among people to overthrow all forms of restraint on human behavior. When the church is removed (1 Thess 4:15-17), the Holy Spirit will no longer be here to restrain (2 Thess 2:7). The evil and terror which will then be unleashed cannot be imagined.
God the Father speaks (verses 4-6)
God is sovereign. He is omnipotent and is in control of all things (Dan 4:17). The word translated “Lord” in verse 4 is Adonaiwhich means sovereign Lord, master, ruler or owner, One Who must be obeyed, and this is the One against Whom puny men rebel. It is ludicrous and irrational for frail, mortal men to oppose Him, and God laughs the laugh of derision. God is love (1 Jn 4:8) and He loves those who rebel against Him. He loves the world and gave His Son that “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn 3:16). God’s laughter is caused by the foolishness and pride of those who oppose His infinite power and His purposes. The unavoidable and inevitable consequence of men’s rebellion against Almighty God will be the pouring out of His holy wrath on those who oppose Him (v 5). At the battle of Armageddon, the Lord will defeat all the enemies of God.
When we make plans we can never be certain that they will be fulfilled, but in verse 6 God speaks in the past tense. He says “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” God is omnipotent, His purposes will be accomplished, and He speaks as if that which He intends to do has already been done. God will establish the Lord Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Tim 6:15) in Zion, that is in Jerusalem, where He will reign over the world throughout the Millennium. Then this violent world will enjoy the peace, stability, and prosperity for which people long.
The Lord Jesus Christ speaks (verses 7-9)
The Lord Jesus Christ is the only begotten, eternal, and beloved Son of God. In verse 7 Christ states that in eternity past God the Father made a declaration of the Lord’s eternal Sonship, saying to Him “Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee.” The words are quoted in Acts 13:33 in the context of His incarnation, in Hebrews 1:5 in reference to His superiority over angels, and in Hebrews 5:5 in connection with His perpetual priesthood.
When the Lord asks of His Father, He will be given all people and the entire earth (v 8). He will be given those things He refused when Satan offered them to Him in the temptation in the wilderness (Matt 4:8-10). The Lord will exercise complete and perfect control over every aspect of this world. During the Millennium, all rebellion will be put down immediately, and He will rule with perfect justice and “with a rod of iron” (v 9; Revelation 2:27).
The Holy Spirit speaks (verses 10-12)
Now we hear a gracious appeal by the Holy Spirit to the kings and judges of the earth, asking them to be wise and serve the Lord (v 10). The Spirit is graciously warning rebellious men to serve God reverently and with godly fear (v 11). “For our God is a consuming fire” (Heb 12:28, 29). Today, men are being offered peace with God through faith in the Lord (Rom 5:1), for He “made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col 1:20).
The kiss in verse 12 is the kiss of homage, subjection, and loyalty (1 Sam 10:1). The Spirit graciously instructs men to be wise (vv 10-12), and their refusal of the Spirit’s advice shows their lack of wisdom (Prov 9:9).
Those of us who are believers can experience the blessedness of the man who delights in the Law of the Lord (Ps 1:1-3). We can rejoice in knowing that “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Rom 4:7, 8; Ps 32:1, 2), and we can praise God for the final words of Psalm 2, “Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him” (v 12).