Who’s The Man in Psalm 2? (and Psalm 1?)

Most scholars would immediately think of Psalm 2 and Psalm 110 when using the term “Messianic Psalm”. Instead of using the term “Messianic”, I have used the term “Prophetic Apocalypse” and we have seen the Messiah in some psalms which aren’t always considered Messianic.  In examining the revelation of the person of God, we have seen the revelation of the person of Messiah/Christ, who is God in person, or God in the flesh.


Now I would like to turn my attention to Psalm 2, which is very well known, but I have a little different angle.  I have postulated some psalms as being one continuous psalm because there are no divisions in the original Hebrew which show there begins a new psalm where the translators have separated them.  Psalm 42 – 43 are the most obvious.  42:5, 42:11, and 43:5 is the thrice repeated refrain in this psalm of three sections.  The two psalms must be joined together otherwise the end of psalm 42 leaves the psalmist without the answer of light, truth, and joy from God as expressed in Psalm 43, and in the midst of his sorrow, depression, oppression, and turmoil as expressed in Psalm 42.  Now in Psalm 2, I am going to present an idea that perhaps it is supposed to be joined to Psalm 1.  It had never occurred to me before since the two psalms at first seem to be discussing two completely different subjects.  Glen Scrivener at Christ the Truth set forth this idea in a post a while back, and I can’t shake the idea of what he was setting forth.




Psalm 1 starts out, “Blessed is the man”.  This very easily could have been written, “Blessed is any person”, but it is quite specific.  “The Man” is the correct translation.  “The Man” has a number of characteristics.  He will not take advice from the wicked, He delights in God’s law, and He is like a tree planted by streams of water.  If we join these thoughts with Psalm 2, we can see that the Messiah (Anointed One) of Psalm 2 is a further description of “The Man” of Psalm 1.  “The Man” who will not take advice from the wicked, will have the wicked gather against Him.  “The Man” who delights in God’s law will be installed by God as the King on the holy hill of Zion.  “The Man” who is like a tree planted by the streams of water will also rule the nations with a rod of iron.  The imagery of the Messiah in Psalm 2 is a continuation of the imagery of “The Man” in Psalm 1.


So when we read “Blessed is the man”, we see that it is Christ who is the ultimate Man fulfilling this psalm.  Christ is the one who delights in the law of the LORD.  Some might say that I’m limiting this psalm and not allowing it to be an encouragement to anyone who wishes to meditate on the law.  Not so.  The psalm is meant to encourage anyone to meditate on God’s law, but it will only happen “in Christ”.  Christ is the one who is the ultimate Man and we are encouraged to be like Him.


Psalm 2 is certainly focused on Christ.  The word for anointed in verse 2 is messiah, which is translated Christ, see Acts 4:24-27 to see that this is Jesus.  If we back up to Psalm 1, we should be able to see Christ there as well.  The Man, The Messiah, will not take ungodly advice, but instead will get His advice from the law of the LORD, or God’s Word.  Back in the law, God had instructed Israel to only set a certain type of king over them.  In Deuteronomy 17:14-20, the type of king who may be set over them will be someone that God specifically chooses.  Once they are on the throne, the king must make a copy of the law to be with him that he may read it all the days of his life.  This also is a picture of the ultimate king, The Man, The Messiah.  For David to be writing about The Man who will meditate in the law of the LORD would be to invoke this image of the ideal king from Deuteronomy.


Also by way of continuity, the ungodly are like the chaff which the wind drives away in Psalm 1:4, and are the same ungodly in Psalm 2 who will be judged by the Messiah.  In Psalm 1, the ungodly will not be able to stand up under judgement, 1:5, because the ungodly will perish, 1:6.  In Psalm 2, it is explained exactly how The Man will deal with these ungodly, wicked people.  Messiah endures like a tree by the water, but the ungodly are a momentary transience.  Further, Psalm 2 will bear out how the congregation of the righteous will be established.


Now let’s look solely at Psalm 2.  The kings of the nations of the earth are destined to gather together in a confederacy against the Messiah, 2:1-3.  God is going to get a huge laugh out of this, 2:4.  When the nations gather against the Messiah, God will speak unto them in His wrath.  The following is the voice of God speaking about His Messiah:


As for Me, I have set my King

On Zion, My holy hill.


In the face of nations gathering against the Messiah, God from heaven confirms that “His King” is on His holy hill in Zion.  Nations can rage, people groups can plot and scheme, and the kings of these nations can even gather together.  God is not phased by this.  He puts all confidence in the Messiah-King who will rule from Mount Zion.  Now the following is the voice of the Messiah, but He mainly tells what the LORD has said to Him.  Here we discover a Father-Son relationship between the LORD and the Messiah.


I will tell of the decree:

The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;

Today I have begotten you.

Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,

And the ends of the earth your possession.

You shall break them with a rod of iron

And dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”


The Messiah needs only say the word and all the nations of the earth will belong to Him.  This is not a case where they will simply become His inheritance, but He will have to force many of them to submit.  Remember that the nations have gathered together against the Messiah.  Now God (The Father) is saying, “Just ask Me and I will give all these wicked nations to You.”  These nations and kings that have gathered will be broken in pieces like a rod of iron smashing clay pots on a windowsill. 


Now lest we think that every single nation will be forced into submission unwillingly, let me clarify.  Only nations that gather together against the Messiah will have their armies and kings smashed.  Those meek of the earth that have not gone into battle will be liberated from their oppressors when their [previous] leaders are obliterated by the Messiah.  They will rejoice to have a new King who really loves them.  This last section shows that there is an alternative to forced submission.  It is willing submission.  The text is not talking about individuals, it is talking about nations as people groups.  The alternative to having your nation forced into submission is for the nation to willingly submit to Messiah’s rule thereby avoiding a judgement which smashes its military might.


Now therefore, O kings, be wise;

Be warned, O rulers of the earth.

Serve the LORD with fear,

And rejoice with trembling.

Kiss the Son,

Lest he be angry, and your perish in the way,

For his wrath is quickly kindled.

Blessed are all who take refuge in him.


This proclamation is like the warning shot across the bow.  There is only one future reality at this point.  Messiah (Jesus) will be King over all the earth.  Submit to Him or suffer His wrath.  Take refuge in the Messiah or you will perish.  We as the church have the special privilege of repenting in advance of this judgement, and warning others to repent as well.  The nations are deceived by Satan which explains why they will gather together against Him.  Many nations will gather together against the Messiah just as He is revealed from Zion as the rightful King.  There may be some who will heed the warning and be spared that judgement of being smashed, but it seems that most will not.


When the Messiah is revealed as the rightful King over all the earth, it will be from Mount Zion, which is in Israel.  There will be nations for the Messiah to rule over in His Kingdom.  While the Messiah will forcefully take authority over the nations, or governmental structures of this world, He will not take authority over anyone’s free will.  Each person on earth will still have the ability to demonstrate faith in God or to reject Him.  This does not change the Kingdom that He will establish.  Again, we get a glimpse into the Messianic Kingdom by examining Psalm 2 (and 1!).


I’d like to close this post by devoting a short section examining certain facets of our Saviour.


The Man ~ Jesus is the ultimate Man.  In Genesis 3:15 it was prophesied that a Man would come to crush the serpent’s head.  This stands in opposition to Adam’s failure and the forfeiture of his title as king over the earth.  The Man who will come will take Adam’s place as ruler over earth.  Psalm 1 pictures The Man who constantly meditates in the Word of God.  It was common to speak of the Law as the Word of God at that time since the only words of God they had was the Law of Moses.  In David’s day, they may have had the books of Job and Joshua as well, but Judges/Ruth (as one book) does not seem that it was formulated until sometime during David’s reign.  The Man, in all that He does, He prospers.


The Anointed One ~ This title is so full of imagery.  There are three anointed offices in the Old Testament: prophet, priest, and king.  Each of these is a picture of Jesus.  Jesus is a prophet after the order of Moses, a priest after the order of Melchizedek, and a king after the order of David.  Messiah and Christ are words which literally mean The Anointed One.  The Messiah of the OT is the Christ of the NT.  There is no difference at all. 


The King ~ Many psalms depict a King of the line of David ruling from Zion over the nations of the earth.  Since He is a King, He must have a kingdom.  The nature of His kingdom is not uni-racial, but multi-racial.  His kingdom consists of many different nations all serving Him.  The frequent mention of nations being under His rule gives testimony to the all encompassing nature of His dynamic reign.  Since Jesus is a king after the order of David, we should understand that David went through a rejection by his own people before being crowned king by them.  The psalms have prophecies which depict the Messiah going through rejection, even death.  They also have prophecies of a King ruling over Israel and the rest of the nations.  Death has already been fulfilled for the King.  He has yet to be crowned King by His own people.


The Son of God ~ Here in Psalm 2, we get a blatant statement that The Man, The Messiah, The King is also the Son of God.  While the incarnation remained somewhat of a mystery until God took on human flesh, this concept was not entirely unknown in the Old Testament.  The LORD clearly speaks to the Messiah and calls Him “My Son”.  Since a man will beget a man, what God begets is God.  God created Adam, but He begat His Son, who is God in the flesh, since He is also The Man.


So our Jesus is Man, Messiah, King, and the Son of God.  All of this could be seen from Psalm 1 and 2.  We have a more sure word of prophecy from our point of view.  Jesus has appeared and validated the writings of David.  We can trust the portions yet to be fulfilled that they will be fulfilled in their entirety, and I must mention, literally.


Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13


-The Orange Mailman

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3 Responses to Who’s The Man in Psalm 2? (and Psalm 1?)

  1. Kathy says:

    Wonderful insights Darrin. I\’m never disappointed when I visit your blog. It looks like I\’ll be teaching Psalm 18-20 at our ladies Bible study at my church. Would love any insights on those that you might have.

  2. Darrin says:

    Hey Kathy-I blogged on Psalm 18 in Feb. of 2008. I was covering the salvation of the Gentiles in Romans 15:8-12 and why Paul quotes Psalm 18 there. I\’d like to revisit Psalm 18 again with this current series I\’m doing, but who knows? This link should get you there.http://theorangemailman.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!FD6CC4005A27EADA!546.entryAnd just for kicks, hit "next" after reading this post. It\’s a doozy.Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13-The Orange Mailman

  3. Pingback: Links for the Series on Prophetic Apocalypse in the Psalms | The Orange Mailman

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