“The Decree of Jehovah” Cannot Fail
“Let me refer to the decree of Jehovah; he has said to me: ‘You are my son . . . Ask of me, that I may give nations as your inheritance.’”—PSALM 2:7, 8.
1. What contrast is there between God’s purpose and that of the nations?
JEHOVAH GOD has a purpose for mankind and the earth. The nations also have a purpose. But how these purposes differ! We ought to expect this, for God says: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” God’s purpose is certain to be fulfilled, for he goes on to say: “Just as the pouring rain descends, and the snow, from the heavens and does not return to that place, unless it actually saturates the earth and makes it produce and sprout, and seed is actually given to the sower and bread to the eater, so my word that goes forth from my mouth will prove to be. It will not return to me without results, but it will certainly do that in which I have delighted, and it will have certain success in that for which I have sent it.”—Isaiah 55:9-11.
2, 3. What is made clear in the second psalm, but what questions are raised?
2 That God’s purpose regarding his Messianic King will be fulfilled is made clear in the second psalm. Its composer, King David of ancient Israel, was divinely inspired to foretell that there would be a notable time when the nations would be in tumult. Their rulers would take a stand against Jehovah God and his Anointed One. However, the psalmist also sang: “Let me refer to the decree of Jehovah; he has said to me: ‘You are my son . . . Ask of me, that I may give nations as your inheritance and the ends of the earth as your own possession.’”—Psalm 2:7, 8.
3 What does “the decree of Jehovah” portend for the nations? How does it affect mankind in general? Indeed, what do these developments mean for all God-fearing readers of the second psalm?
Nations in Tumult
4. How would you summarize the main points of Psalm 2:1, 2?
4 Referring to the actions of the nations and their rulers, the psalmist begins his composition by singing: “Why have the nations been in tumult and the national groups themselves kept muttering an empty thing? The kings of earth take their stand and high officials themselves have massed together as one against Jehovah and against his anointed one.”—Psalm 2:1, 2.a
5, 6. The national groups have “kept muttering” what “empty thing”?
5 What “empty thing” have the present-day national groups “kept muttering”? Instead of accepting God’s Anointed One—the Messiah, or Christ—the nations have “kept muttering,” or meditating on, the perpetuation of their own authority. These words of the second psalm also had an application in the first century C.E. when Jewish and Roman authorities worked together to kill God’s King-Designate, Jesus Christ. However, the major fulfillment began in 1914 when Jesus was installed as heavenly King. Since then, not one political entity on earth has acknowledged God’s enthroned King.
6 What was meant when the psalmist asked ‘why national groups were muttering an empty thing’? It is their purpose that is empty; it is futile and doomed to failure. They cannot bring peace and harmony to this globe. Yet, they carry their actions so far as to oppose divine rulership. In fact, they have unitedly taken a belligerent stand and massed themselves together against the Most High and his Anointed One. What folly!
Jehovah’s Triumphant King
7. In prayer, how did Jesus’ early followers apply Psalm 2:1, 2?
7 Jesus’ followers applied the words of Psalm 2:1, 2 to him. Persecuted for their faith, they prayed: “Sovereign Lord [Jehovah], you are the One who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all the things in them, and who through holy spirit said by the mouth of our forefather David, your servant, ‘Why did nations become tumultuous and peoples meditate upon empty things? The kings of the earth took their stand and the rulers massed together as one against Jehovah and against his anointed one.’ Even so, both Herod [Antipas] and Pontius Pilate with men of nations and with peoples of Israel were in actuality gathered together in this city against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.” (Acts 4:24-27; Luke 23:1-12)b Yes, there was a conspiracy against God’s anointed servant Jesus in the first century. However, this psalm would have another fulfillment centuries later.
8. How does Psalm 2:3 apply to present-day nations?
8 When ancient Israel had a human king, such as David, pagan nations and rulers gathered together against God and his enthroned anointed one. But what about our time? Present-day nations do not want to comply with the requirements of Jehovah and the Messiah. Therefore, they are represented as saying: “Let us tear their bands apart and cast their cords away from us!” (Psalm 2:3) Any restrictions imposed by God and his Anointed One would be opposed by rulers and nations. Of course, any efforts to tear apart such bands and cast away such cords will be futile.
Jehovah Holds Them in Derision
9, 10. Why does Jehovah hold the nations in derision?
9 Jehovah is not concerned about any efforts of national rulers to establish their own sovereignty. The second psalm continues: “The very One sitting in the heavens will laugh; Jehovah himself will hold them in derision.” (Psalm 2:4) God goes ahead with his purpose as though these rulers are nothing. He laughs at their impudence and holds them in derision. Let them boast about what they intend to do. To Jehovah they are a laughingstock. He laughs at their futile opposition.
10 Elsewhere in his psalms, David refers to enemy men and nations and sings: “You, O Jehovah God of armies, are the God of Israel. Do wake up to turn your attention to all the nations. Do not show favor to any hurtful traitors. They keep returning at evening time; they keep barking like a dog and go all around the city. Look! They make a bubbling forth with their mouth; swords are on their lips, for who is listening? But you yourself, O Jehovah, will laugh at them; you will hold all the nations in derision.” (Psalm 59:5-8) Jehovah laughs at the boasting and confusion of the nations in their foolish course against him.
11. What happens when the nations try to counteract God’s purpose?
11 The words of Psalm 2 strengthen our faith that God can meet any challenge. We can have the conviction that he always accomplishes his will and never forsakes his loyal servants. (Psalm 94:14) So, then, what happens when the nations make efforts to counteract Jehovah’s purpose? According to this psalm, God “will speak to them in his anger,” as though with the sound of a terrible roll of thunder. Moreover, “in his hot displeasure,” as if with a great stroke of lightning, “he will disturb them.”—Psalm 2:5.
God’s King Installed
12. Psalm 2:6 applies to what enthronement?
12 What Jehovah next says through the psalmist undoubtedly upsets the nations. God declares: “I, even I, have installed my king upon Zion, my holy mountain.” (Psalm 2:6) Mount Zion was a hill in Jerusalem where David was installed as king over all Israel. But the Messianic King will not sit on a throne in that city or elsewhere on earth. In fact, Jehovah has already installed Jesus Christ as his chosen Messianic King on heavenly Mount Zion.—Revelation 14:1.
13. What covenant did Jehovah make with his Son?
13 The Messianic King now speaks. He says: “Let me refer to the decree of Jehovah [who has made with his Son a covenant for the Kingdom]; he [Jehovah God] has said to me: ‘You are my son; I, today, I have become your father.’” (Psalm 2:7) Christ referred to the Kingdom covenant when he told his apostles: “You are the ones that have stuck with me in my trials; and I make a covenant with you, just as my Father has made a covenant with me, for a kingdom.”—Luke 22:28, 29.
14. Why can it be said that Jesus holds incontestable title to kingship?
14 As foretold at Psalm 2:7, Jehovah acknowledged Jesus as His Son at his baptism and by resurrecting him to spirit life. (Mark 1:9-11; Romans 1:4; Hebrews 1:5; 5:5) Yes, the King of the heavenly Kingdom is God’s only-begotten Son. (John 3:16) As the royal descendant of King David, Jesus holds incontestable title to kingship. (2 Samuel 7:4-17; Matthew 1:6, 16) According to this psalm, God tells his Son: “Ask of me, that I may give nations as your inheritance and the ends of the earth as your own possession.”—Psalm 2:8.
15. Why does Jesus request the nations as his inheritance?
15 The King—God’s own Son—holds the position closest to Jehovah. Jesus is Jehovah’s tried, loyal, and reliable one. Moreover, Jesus has the inheritance as God’s Firstborn. Indeed, Jesus Christ “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” (Colossians 1:15) All he has to do is ask and God ‘gives him nations as his inheritance and the ends of the earth as his possession.’ Jesus makes this request as one ‘fond of things relating to the sons of men’ and because of his keen desire to carry out his heavenly Father’s will toward the earth and mankind.—Proverbs 8:30, 31.
Jehovah’s Decree Against the Nations
16, 17. According to Psalm 2:9, what is in store for the nations?
16 Since the second psalm is undergoing fulfillment now, during Jesus Christ’s invisible presence, what is in store for the nations? The King will soon carry out God’s declaration: “You will break them [the nations] with an iron scepter, as though a potter’s vessel you will dash them to pieces.”—Psalm 2:9.
17 The scepters of kings of ancient times were symbols of royal authority. Some scepters were made of iron, like the one spoken of in this psalm. The imagery here used indicates the ease with which Christ the King will destroy the nations. A powerful blow with an iron scepter would shatter a potter’s earthenware vessel, smashing it beyond recovery.
18, 19. To gain God’s approval, what would the kings of the earth need to do?
18 Do national rulers have to witness such a destructive shattering? No, for the psalmist appeals to them with these words: “Now, O kings, exercise insight; let yourselves be corrected, O judges of the earth.” (Psalm 2:10) Kings are called on to take heed, to exercise insight. They should consider the emptiness of their plans, in contrast with what God’s Kingdom will do for the benefit of mankind.
19 To gain God’s approval, the kings of the earth would need to change their course. They are admonished to “serve Jehovah with fear and be joyful with trembling.” (Psalm 2:11) What if they were to take such action? Instead of being in tumult, or disorderly agitation of mind, they could rejoice at the prospects that the Messianic King would set before them. It would be necessary for earth’s rulers to abandon the pride and haughtiness they demonstrate in their rulership. Moreover, they would have to change without delay and exercise insight regarding the unequaled superiority of Jehovah’s sovereignty and the irresistible power of God and his Messianic King.
“Kiss the Son”
20, 21. What does it mean to “kiss the son”?
20 Psalm 2 now extends a merciful invitation to the rulers of the nations. Instead of massing together in opposition, they are advised: “Kiss the son, that He [Jehovah God] may not become incensed and you may not perish from the way, for his anger flares up easily.” (Psalm 2:12a) The Sovereign Lord Jehovah should be heeded when he issues a decree. When God set his Son upon the throne, the rulers of the earth should have quit “muttering an empty thing.” They should have acknowledged the King immediately and rendered him full obedience.
21 Why “kiss the son”? When this psalm was composed, kissing was an expression of friendship and was used to welcome guests into one’s home, where they could enjoy hospitality. Kissing could also be an act of fidelity, or faithfulness. (1 Samuel 10:1) In this verse of the second psalm, God is commanding the nations to kiss, or welcome, his Son as anointed King.
22. Rulers of the nations ought to heed what warning?
22 Those refusing to recognize the authority of God’s chosen King insult Jehovah. They deny Jehovah God’s universal sovereignty and his authority and ability to select the King that is the best ruler for mankind. The rulers of the nations will find that God’s fury will overtake them suddenly, when they are trying to implement their own plans. “His anger flares up easily,” or blazes quickly and irresistibly. The national rulers ought to accept this warning gratefully and act in harmony with it. Doing so means life.
23. There is still time for individuals to do what?
23 This dramatic psalm concludes: “Happy are all those taking refuge in him [Jehovah].” (Psalm 2:12b) There is still time for individuals to find safety. That is true even of individual rulers who have been going along with the plans of the nations. They can flee to Jehovah, who provides refuge under Kingdom rule. But they must act before the Messianic Kingdom smashes the opposing nations.
24. How can we live a more satisfying life even in this troubled world?
24 If we diligently study the Scriptures and apply their counsel in life, we can live a more satisfying life even now in this troubled world. Applying Scriptural counsel results in happier family relations and freedom from many of the worries and fears that beset this world. Following Bible guidelines imparts confidence that we are pleasing the Creator. No one other than the Universal Sovereign can give a guarantee of “the life now and that which is to come” after he clears the earth of those who oppose what is right by rejecting Kingdom rule.—1 Timothy 4:8.
25. Since “the decree of Jehovah” cannot fail, what can we expect to occur in our time?
25 “The decree of Jehovah” cannot fail. As our Creator, God knows what is best for mankind and will accomplish his purpose to bless obedient humans with peace, contentment, and lasting security under the Kingdom of his dear Son. Regarding our time, the prophet Daniel wrote: “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. . . . It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.” (Daniel 2:44) Surely, then, it is high time to “kiss the Son” and serve the Sovereign Lord, Jehovah!
a Initially, King David was the “anointed one,” and “the kings of earth” were Philistine rulers who massed their armies against him.
b Other texts of the Christian Greek Scriptures also show that Jesus is God’s Anointed One referred to in the second psalm. This is evident from a comparison of Psalm 2:7 with Acts 13:32, 33 and Hebrews 1:5; 5:5. See also Psalm 2:9 and Revelation 2:27.
How Would You Answer?
• What “empty thing” have national groups “kept muttering”?
• Why does Jehovah hold the nations in derision?
• What is God’s decree against the nations?
• What does it mean to “kiss the son”?
[Picture on page 16]
David sang about the triumphant Messianic King
[Picture on page 17]
Rulers and the people of Israel conspired against Jesus Christ
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Christ has been installed as King on heavenly Mount Zion