By  B. W. Newton


[*This writing was produced by The Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony.]


Psalm 2


1. Why have the gentiles furiously gathered together, and why do the peoples meditate a vain thing?


2. The Kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against Jehovah, and against His Anointed, saying,


3. Let us-break Their bands asunder, and cast away Their cords from us.


4. One that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; Adonai shall mock at them.


5. THEN shall he speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure.


6. And I have inaugurated My King on Zion, the mountain of My holiness (or, My holiness-mountain).


7. I will declare (make proclamation) in reference to the decree, Jehovah said unto Me, My Son art Thou; I this day have begotten Thee.


8. Ask of Me and I will give Thee the gentiles for Thine inheritance, and for Thy possession the uttermost parts of the earth.


9. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron as the vessels of a potter shall Thou shiver them.


10. Now therefore, 0 ye kings, have understanding.  Be corrected, ye judges of the earth.


11. Serve Jehovah with fear and rejoice with trembling.


12. Kiss ye the Son lest He be angered and ye perish in the way, what time His wrath shall suddenly kindle.  0 the happiness of all that are trusters in Him.*


(*Translation: B. W. Newton).



The Nations In Relation To Christ as In the Second Psalm


One of the chief objects of the Psalms is to contrast the condition of the earth, whilst under the supremacy of evil, with its future condition when 'the sovereignty of the world' shall have become 'the sovereignty of our Lord and of His Christ' (Revelation 11: 15).


At present, Satan is the Deceiver not merely of individuals but of nations and their governors.  The streams of national life are poisoned at their source.  In the Apocalypse, which treats of the close of the present dispensation [or ‘age], Satan is especially described as the Deceiver of the nations (Revelation 12: 9, and 20: 3) - as wearing the diadems of the Roman World (Revelation 12: 3) and then giving them to Antichrist (Revelation 13: 2), and as finally gathering the kings of the whole Roman World 'to that great day of the battle of the Lord God Almighty.'  Of that great gathering this Psalm treats.  It speaks of the time when not merely 'the peoples,' but their kings and rulers shall openly confederate against God.  'The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against Jehovah and against His Anointed, saying, Let us break Their bands asunder and cast away Their cords from us.'  This is the consummation of that 'lawlessness' which makes him who heads it emphatically 'the lawless one' (2 Thessalonians 2).


Armageddon (i.e., the Hill of Megiddo, in the north-west of Palestine, marked in the Roman maps as 'Legio') is to be the place of their gathering; 'the valley of Jehoshaphat' (Joel 3) under the walls of Jerusalem, the place of their destruction.  The nations will be allowed to progress to this completeness of apostasy; but when that has been fully reached, 'THEN shall He (Adonai, Christ the Lord) speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure.'  See also Zechariah 14, 'Jehovah shall go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle.  And His feet shall stand in that day on the mount of Olives which is before Jerusalem on the east; and the mount of Olives shall cleave ... and Jehovah my God shall come, and all the saints with Thee.'  See likewise Joel 3:13.


Thus the power and glory of the Lord God of Israel shall, as of old, and even far more wondrously (for heaven and earth shall be shaken) confront the proud rebellion of earth.  How would Christians cease to look to the governments of the earth and to national enlightenment and progress, as the pillar on which they rest their hopes for the earth's future, if they received the words of Joel, and Zechariah, and of this Psalm!


Past Partial Fulfilment


Many, forgetful of the well-known rule respecting the germinant fulfilment of prophecy, have virtually quenched the light of this Psalm, by regarding it as finally accomplished when Pilate, Herod, and Israel gathered together against Jesus and His disciples.  It is indeed true that the commencing verses of this Psalm received a fulfilment both then, and on every other occasion in which the powers of earth have confederated against Christ and His Truth.  The principles which are to attain their maturity at the close of the dispensation, have long been germinating.  The heads of society, secular, philosophic, and religious, had begun to exhibit when the Lord Jesus was on earth, an indifferentism, and scepticism about Truth, which was making them reckless of all its restraints.


He who has learned contemptuously to say, 'What is Truth?' will not be restrained by Truth.  If they be personally untroubled by its voice - if its testimonies reach them not so as to harass their consciences, their indifferentism may be content with despising Truth; but if its voice be heard upbraidingly, or if its power thwart any of their designs of evil, then they persecute and trample it to the dust.  Such was Pilate; and not only Pilate, but multitudes beside* both in Greece, and Rome, and Jerusalem, at the time when the Great Witness of Truth testified. 'The mystery of lawlessness,' said the apostle, 'doth already work.'


[* The words "multitudes beside," must include multitudes of A-Millennialist regenerate believers, duped by false teachers which they hold is such high esteem!]


The final development of iniquity, therefore, is only the matured form of that which has long been advancing: for what is there in the flower, or in the fruit, that is not hidden in the bud?  But the descriptions of Scripture are not limited to the embryo form.  They extend to the matured development - the description of the greater necessarily including the less.  We are not indeed to neglect premonitory fulfilments.  By means of what has been, we are taught what is to be.  But if we mistake premonitory fulfilment for final accomplishment, we deceive ourselves by the very light that is intended to be our guide.


Future Accomplishment


The word 'Then' proves that this passage is yet to receive its full accomplishment. 'THEN shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure.'  He has never yet done this.  On the contrary, His longsuffering mercy has waited, and permitted violence to prosper.  He has allowed Truth and its servants to be trampled down. The cry has yet to be heard and answered, 'Lord, how long wilt thou not judge and avenge our blood on those that dwell on the earth?'


The sixth verse, 'Yet have I inaugurated My king, upon My holy hill of Zion,' stands intermediately between the two divisions of the Psalm.  In contrast with the vain purpose of the raging nations, this verse reveals Jehovah's purpose of establishing the government of Christ as Lord of Israel and the earth, on Mount Zion. 'Yet have I inaugurated' - the past tense is used; for future events are spoken of as past, in order to denote their certainty.  Thus it is said of Israel, when as yet they had reached but the edge of the wilderness: 'Thou hast guided them in Thy strength unto Thy holy habitation;' and again, 'Whom He justified, them He also glorified.'


The Inauguration of Christ on Zion will doubtless be an event marked as visibly and as solemnly as the descent of Jehovah on Sinai, when He there introduced the First Covenant.  With no less solemnity, but with increased and more blessed (because more peaceful) manifestations of glory, will the government of Christ under the Second Covenant be installed on Mount Zion.  The miraculous exaltation of Zion above the hills is prophesied both by Isaiah and by Micah.  'It shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the house of Jehovah shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it' (Isaiah 2 and Micah 4).


It is mentioned also as the place where divine glory will be manifestly present in protective power: 'And Jehovah will create upon every dwelling-place of Mount Zion, and on her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence.'  And in Psalm 68 we read, 'The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan; an high hill as the hill of Bashan.  Why leap ye, ye high hills?  This is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, Jehovah will dwell in it for ever.  The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord (Adonai) is among them as in Sinai, in the holy place.'  This passage sufficiently indicates the glory that will be connected with Zion as the centre of the Divine government in the earth.


But as there was an interval between the destruction of Pharaoh and his hosts at the Red Sea, and the descent of Jehovah on Sinai, so there will be an interval between the destruction of Antichrist with his hosts, and the inauguration of Christ on Zion.  This inauguration will be a result, but not an immediate result, of Christ’s manifesting Himself in the way described in Revelation 19 as 'King of kings and Lord of lords.'


In Earth’s Darkest Hour


The morning star arises at the moment of the earth's deepest darkness.  So when the Lord Jesus returns, evil will be dominant in the earth in a way in which it never yet has been, and never will be again.  Antichrist will be in the plenitude of power at the head of all the Ten Kingdoms of the Roman World.  Christendom, that is, those parts of the earth which will be neither heathen, nor subjected to the power of Antichrist, will teem, even as they already do, with corruption.  As a general description, 'darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the- peoples.'


Accordingly, the avowed object for which Christ assumes His millennial power is that He may put down this giant strength of evil and subdue every enemy.  'He must reign,' says the apostle, 'until He hath put all enemies under His feet' (1 Corinthians 15).  Indeed so much is the subjugation of enemies characteristic of the millennial reign that it terminates as soon as the last enemy has been subdued.


We must beware, therefore, of supposing that every enemy is suddenly and effectually subdued by the judgments which Christ inflicts at the moment of His appearing in glory.  His first act will be to remove (changed and glorified) from the earthly into the heavenly branch of His kingdom, all those who are sanctified by faith in Him; and to remove, by means of angels, into the unseen place of torment, all who merely profess His name - all who come under the name of 'Tares.'  See Matthew 13.  Christendom will thus end.


On the day of His appearing also, after having been joined by His saints in the air, He will come with them to the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14), and will utterly destroy all the armies that have been gathered under Antichrist with the view of blotting out Jerusalem.  See Psalm 83.  At the same time will perish all the unrepentant in Israel who are found in Jerusalem, or the land.  But the judgments that will be inflicted upon the nations that have either been reigned over by Antichrist, or have been associated with him in his last evil enterprise against Jerusalem (see Psalm already quoted), will be administered more gradually.  They will fall with especial weight upon Edom, Moab, Ammon, Egypt, Arabia, and Tyre.  Indeed it would not appear that any except those of irresponsible age are spared, either in those regions, or in any part of the Roman World.


The distant heathen, however who have not heard His fame nor seen His glory (Isaiah 66:19) will be for the most part spared as individuals, although they may be broken up as nations.


The Glory of Christ Manifested


These overwhelming and destroying judgments, however, will not continue after the glory of Christ has been fixed on Zion and after Israel has been fully gathered under its shelter.  After the inauguration of Christ's glory on Zion the order of the millennial government, both in heaven and earth, will be fully established.  Israel will begin to 'blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit,' and evil will hide its head until for a brief moment it raises it again, without result, save in its own extinction, at the close of the millennial age.


The sixth verse, which thus reveals the fixed purpose of Jehovah in establishing the glory and power of Christ 'Upon Zion, His holy mountain,' is appropriately followed by the address of Christ, as King, to those kings and governors who are spared after the termination of those judgments which usher in the millennium, and under which Antichrist will perish.


From the seventh verse onward, the words are the words of Christ as the Messiah-King.  He first recites what Jehovah had said unto Him at the time of His resurrection from the dead.  'Jehovah SAID unto Me, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee.  Ask of Me and I will give Thee the Gentiles for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession.  Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron: Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.'  Such were the words addressed unto the Son by the Father at the time of His resurrection.  See Acts 13: 33.


As yet, seeing that the time of longsuffering and grace towards the nations is not past, He hath not 'asked' to be invested with this power.  But when the time shall come for Christ to use the words of this Psalm, He will have 'asked,' and He will have been brought before the Ancient of Days as described in Daniel 7 and have been invested with the power of earth, and have begun to exercise it.


On the fact of His having assumed this power, is grounded His exhortation to the kings and rulers that will have been spared.  'NOW, therefore, 0 ye kings, be wise; be instructed ye judges of the earth; serve Jehovah with fear and rejoice with reverence.  Do homage to the Son, lest ye perish from the way when His wrath is kindled yea, but a little.'  They to whom these words will he addressed, will have seen how Antichrist and others who have rebelled against Jehovah and His Christ have perished; and at last they will learn wisdom.  'The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents; the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.  Yea, all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him' (Psalm. 72:10-11).  Universal outward homage will thus be paid to the King Whom Jehovah has inaugurated on Zion.


Yet it is not said that all who render this outward homage are blessed.  That word 'blessed' is confined to those who trust in Him.  'Blessed are all they who trust in Him.'  All in Israel, and very many among the gentiles shall truly trust in Him in that day; but there are others who will render only a feigned obedience.  See Psalm 18: 44. 'The sons of the stranger shall dissemble to me.' 'Filii alieni mentientur mihi' (Jerome).  'The strange children shall dissemble with me' (Prayer Book Version).


Mendelssohn's comment is, 'They seem to be willing and trusty servants; yet in truth, in their heart they hate Me, but the fear of Me hath fallen on them.'  From these 'strange children' will finally spring the last great apostasy, when for a little season Satan is unbound.


Perfect Legislation


But although Christ does not at the present moment legislate for and direct 'the nations,' as He will when the words of this Psalm shall be fulfilled, yet its prophetic voice might be heard and ought to be heard, even now, by nations and their governors.  Shall they at present despise and dishonour Him Who is already made Lord and Christ - to Whom Jehovah hath already said, 'Thou art my Son, ... Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the Nations.'?


Christ although not yet seated on His Own millennial throne, is seated on His Father's throne and administers all its power.  See Revelation 5.  He hath all power in heaven and in earth.  It is vain, therefore, for nations to deceive themselves with the thought that they can do homage to God as the Governor of all, if they refuse to own Christ as the Person, even now, invested with all the glory and power of the throne of the Majesty of the heavens.  To deny the fact of Christ's present exaltation and authority, is virtual atheism.  It is true indeed that the acknowledgment of this fact does not make men real Christians; but the denial of it makes them Infidels.


A nation that by its official organs governmentally acknowledges the Lordship and Mediatorship of Christ as a fact, does not thereby become Christian in the sense of being brought into the Church of God, but it is Christian in another, and not unimportant sense.  It is Christian as contrasted with nations that governmentally refuse to acknowledge Christ, but acknowledge Mahomet, or Buddha, or any other false prophet, or false god; or who, like the Jews, pretend to acknowledge Jehovah, and at the same time reject Him Whom Jehovah hath anointed as Lord of all.


The natural blessings that have for many centuries flowed down upon our own unworthy country, as a consequence of having outwardly owned the name of Christ and His one Mediatorship, must be obvious to all whose hearts are not judicially blinded.  But of late years the recognition of Christ has begun to be relinquished.  Whether governors own, or do not own Him 'by whom kings rule, and princes decree judgment,' has been thought a matter of indifference.  It has been thought immaterial whether men own Christ alone as the 'one Lord,' and the 'one Mediator;' or whether they bow down idolatrously to Mary and seek the mediation of 'the queen of heaven,' or despise mediatorship altogether.


Even in this our own favoured land it is beginning to be deemed immaterial whether governors, and even authorised religious teachers own the supreme authority of the Word of God, or whether they give themselves over to philosophic Pantheism and trample under foot the Blood of atonement and every other distinctive truth revealed in the Scripture.  That ear must indeed be deaf (shall I say, judicially deafened?) that hears not already the cry, 'Let us break Their bands asunder, and cast away Their cords from us.’