The Conspiracy

The Second Psalm is a key Messianic passage applied to Jesus in the New Testament. But precisely when were its predictions fulfilled, and is the Messiah reigning on David’s Throne now? Is the Church waiting for a future date for his accession to the Throne? What about the “revolt” of nations and kings against Yahweh’s “Anointed One”? Was it a prediction of a future conflict between Jesus and the governments of the Earth, perhaps ‘Armageddon’?

We do not have to search far for answers. For example, in both his gospel account and the Book of Acts, Luke applies the predictions of the Second Psalm to the arrest, trial, and execution of Jesus.

Stormy Road Ahead - Photo by Raychel Sanner on Unsplash
[Photo by Raychel Sanner on Unsplash]

When the Temple authorities attempted to suppress the fledgling church, Peter and his congregants prayed for “
boldness” to proclaim the Gospel. In his prayer, he declared that the same authorities who vented their rage against the young Assembly also plotted to kill Jesus, and he applied words from the Second Psalm to make the point:

  • (Acts 4:23-28) – “O Sovereign! You are he that made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all things that are therein, Who, by our father, through means of the Holy Spirit, even by the mouth of David your servant, said, Unto what end did THE nations revolt, and peoples busy themselves with empty things? The kings of the earth stationed themselves, and the rulers were gathered together with one intent against the Lord and against his Christ. For they were gathered, of a truth, in this city against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate with them of the nations and peoples of Israel; to do whatsoever your hand and your counsel marked out beforehand to come to pass.”

In his appeal, Peter followed the Greek text of the Septuagint version of the Second Psalm in which the verb rendered “gathered together” is sunagō, the same term used by the Book of Acts when describing how the Temple authorities hauled the Apostles before their “gathering” for examination - “And it came to pass upon the morrow, that there were gathered together of them the rulers and the elders and the scribes in Jerusalem” - (Acts 4:5-7).

Thus, the same leaders in Jerusalem who conspired to destroy Jesus “came together” to stop the newly formed congregation dead in its tracks. In doing so, they continued their “revolt against the Lord and his anointed one.”

Peter attributed responsibility for the death of Jesus to Herod, Pontius Pilate, and the nations. They all “gathered together” against the “holy child” and the “Messiah” when they rejected Yahweh’s Anointed One and became complicit in his death at the hands of the Roman government.

AGAINST CHRIST


In the synoptic gospels, the passage is applied to the conspiracy by the priestly authorities to destroy the messianic upstart, namely, Jesus of Nazareth. For example, in Matthew, “all the High Priests and Elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death” - (Matthew 27:1-2).

On the Day of Pentecost, Peter preached to the crowd about “Jesus, the Nazarene” whom they slew, but God raised him from the dead and exalted him to rule from His Throne, having made him “both Lord and Christ,” the same one whom “you crucified” - (Acts 2:23-39).

Similarly, at the synagogue of Antioch of Pisidia, Paul declared, “They who were dwelling in Jerusalem and their rulers,” though they found Jesus guilty of no crime, delivered him to Pontius Pilate for execution. However:

  • God raised him from among the dead,” and thereby fulfilled the “promise made to our fathers by raising up Jesus: as also in the second psalm it is written — My son you are, I, this day, have begotten you.”

In the Second Psalm, the enthronement of the Son is linked to the declaration by Yahweh: “I, this day, have begotten you” - (Acts 13:23-36, Psalm 2:7-9, 110:1).

  • (Psalm 2:6-9) – “Yet I have installed my king on Zion my holy mountain. Let me tell of a decree, Yahweh said to me, My son You arE. I, THIS day, have begotten YOU. Ask of me and let me give nations as your inheritance and as your possession the ends of the Earth. You will shepherd them with a scepter of iron, as a potter’s vessel, you will dash them in pieces.

The same promise features prominently in the Letter to the Hebrews. Its opening paragraph describes how God spoke with fullness in His “Son,” who, “having achieved the purification of sins, sat down on the right hand” of God. The exaltation of Jesus is connected to his resurrection, citing the Psalm to substantiate the claim:

  • (Hebrews 1:3-5) – “Who, being an eradiated brightness of his glory, and an exact representation of his very being, also bearing up all things by the utterance of his power, purification of sins having achieved, sat down on the right hand of the majesty in high places, by so much becoming superior to the angels, by as much as, going beyond them, he inherited a more distinguished name. For to which of the angels said he ever, My Son arE You. I, this day, have begotten YOUR?” – (also, Hebrews 5:5-8).

Finally, the Book of Revelation declares Jesus to be the “Faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the Dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.” Again, his present reign is linked to his past death and resurrection. This verse alludes to the Second Psalm when “The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers took counsel together against Yahweh and his Messiah” - (Revelation 1:4-6).

God promised to give his Son the “nations for your inheritance and the uttermost parts of the Earth for your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron.” Revelation applies this language to Jesus in his present position - (see, also, Revelation 2:26-27, 12:5).

Storm over city - Photo by Tobias Rademacher on Unsplash
[Photo by Tobias Rademacher on Unsplash]

The New Testament applies the
Second Psalm to the plot of the Temple leaders to destroy Jesus. However, God was not taken by surprise. He raised Jesus from the dead and installed him as the absolute Sovereign over all things. His reign is a present reality.

The “revolt” against him occurred not only when Jesus was tried and executed, but also today whenever his Assembly is persecuted by outside forces.



RELATED POSTS:
  • The Anointed Son - (Jesus is the anointed Son of God. From the start, his life was characterized by the empowering presence of the Spirit)
  • Opposition and Proclamation - (Jesus began to proclaim the Gospel following the arrest of John, which represented the opposition that came to plague his ministry – Mark 1:14-15)
  • Cost of Discipleship - (To be the disciple of Jesus means taking up the cross and following in his footsteps, even if it results in impoverishment or death - Mark 6:7-30)

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