Examining Psalm 2

The Following article was originally published on Facebook on December 19, 2021.


Hello brothers and sisters. I hope you had a wonderful Sabbath. Today I would like to share some thoughts on Psalm 2. I believe this chapter of Scripture is greatly misunderstood by many. Please take a moment to open your Bibles, pray for God to grant you understanding by His Spirit, and read this beautiful chapter in His Word. Now, what that accomplished what do you think? Any thoughts? Here are a few of mine.

The first point is that it is a Psalm of David.

How do we know this? The New Testament actually attributes it to the “mouth of Thy servant David” (Acts 4:25). What this means is that this Psalm has an historical application. It is from the life experience of David, the king of Israel.

However we also know from the New Testament’s application that it speaks of the Messiah, King Jesus. This means we are most certainly dealing with a type/antitype here.

Let’s briefly address the points applicable to David.

1) In Psalm 2 we see the heathen nations plotting to break asunder from the LORD and His anointed (vs. 1, 2). We know from a later Psalm that God made David “the head of the heathen.”

Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; and thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me. 44 As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me. 45 The strangers shall fade away, and be afraid out of their close places (Psalm 18:43-45)

2) David was the Lord’s anointed king of Zion (vs 6)

Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah” (1 Samuel 16:13)

“Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David. (2 Samuel 5:7)

3) David was made into God’s firstborn, thus he became higher than any of the kings of the earth

I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him: 21 With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him. 22 The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him. 23 And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him. 24 But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted. 25 I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. 26 He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.27 Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. (Psalm 89:20-27)

Thus we see that Psalm 2 has an historical application to king David. Now there is likely also an application to king Solomon as well. In fact some scholars suggest that David composed this Psalm late in his life when his reign was about to transfer to Solomon (2 Sam 7:14) who ends up reigning over the largest territory that Israel had ever experienced (see Psalm 72:8-11). The salient point here for our brief study is that the first application of this Psalm is historical.

Now before we move on to king Jesus and its application to Him as God’s Messiah in the New Testament let’s look at an often overlooked fact.

This Psalm actually point backwards!

Several types in the Bible do this. For example the Passover looked back to Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and, at the same time, it looked forward to Messiah’s death and even after that aspect was fulfilled by Jesus’ death it still looks forward to spiritual Israel’s ultimate deliverance from the bondage of this world of sin. Thus Jesus said He would not eat of it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God (see Luke 22:16). Another example is the 7th day Sabbath. It looks back to creation, it has current meaning as the sign of God’s rest, and it also points forward to the rest of a world restored in totality back to God.

So then what of Psalm 2? How does it look back?

If you study the language a connection between Proverbs 8 and Psalm 2 can be seen.

Yet I have set my king on My holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” (Psalm 2:6, 7)

The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.” (Prov 8:22-24)

The Hebrew word for “set up” is “nasak” and it is the same in both passages and conceptually the two passages are similar as well. However the timing is different.

In Psalm 2 David is the king who is “set up” and he tells us of a decree that God spoke unto him saying “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” The Hebrew for “this day have I begotten thee” is “Hayyom Yelidtiyka.” That is the definite article followed by the noun “day” and then the verb “yalad” which is “to beget.” This begetting is clearly within linear time, occurring on a certain day and its mechanism is by decree.

In Proverbs 8:22 we are dealing with YHWH’s Wisdom (aka: the Son of God) and we have the verb “qanah” which is translated as “possessed” in the KJV but I believe the Andrews Study Bible has correctly noted “is best rendered as ‘begot me (Andrews Study Bible pg 799). Then comes “nasak” which means “set up” to “to anoint” and please note that the timing is “from everlasting, from the beginning or ever the earth was.” This means this is an action accomplished by God apart from time that impacts the fulness of eternity. And finally we see the verb “holaleti” which means “to be brought forth.” This begetting or bringing forth is something that happened “from everlasting, from the beginning or ever the earth was.” It occurred before the first day was created. And notice that there is no reference to this being by decree. It’s an actual occurrence not a statement.

As as interesting point we also see a parallel between the heathen raging and imagining to overthrow YHWH and His anointed in Psalm 2 with what Lucifer and the rebellious angels did in heaven above against YHWH and His anointed. And Mrs. White uses the language of Proverbs 8 when describing the pre-incarnate Son, the anointed of God.

“….And the Son of God declares concerning Himself: ‘The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before the works of old. I was set up from everlasting. … When He appointed the foundations of the earth, then was I with Him, as one brought up with Him; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him.’ [Proverbs 8:22, 23, 29, 30.] {21LtMs, Lt 256, 1906, par. 8}

The Father wrought by His Son in the creation of all heavenly beings. ‘By Him were all things created, … whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers. All things were created by Him, and for Him.’ [Colossians 1:16.] Angels are God’s ministers, radiant with the light ever flowing from His presence, and speeding on rapid wing to execute His will. But the Son, the anointed of God, the ‘express image of His person,’ ‘the brightness of His glory,’ ‘upholding all things by the word of His power,’ holds supremacy over them all. [Hebrews 1:3.] ‘A glorious high throne from the beginning,’ was the place of His sanctuary; ‘a scepter of righteousness,’ the scepter of His kingdom. [Jeremiah 17:12; Hebrews 1:8.] ‘Honor and majesty are before Him. Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.’ [Psalm 96:6.] Mercy and truth go before His face.… {21LtMs, Lt 256, 1906, par. 9}

God’s anointed, His only begotten Son, is the One who Lucifer began his war against. The rebellious cherub is the originator of the very first war against YHWH and His Son, the anointed One.

What we see happening in Psalm 2, with king David and the heathen, is a microcosm of the universal warfare that began long ago in the heavenly courts and is still ongoing even as we speak.

Before the fall of Lucifer, he aspired for the supremacy that had been given to Christ, who was one with the Father in the government of heaven. There was war in heaven, and Satan and all the rebellious angels he had deceived were overcome. Those who had opposed the will of God in appointing Christ as the chief ruler were cast out of the heavenly courts, and since that time they have been warring against the Most High.{Lt24-1910.4}

Satan worked in every possible way to come out victorious in standing in the highest place in the heavenly courts. How artful were his contrivances to win the game! He employed every artful intrigue and device to carry his science against God and His Son Jesus Christ. {Lt311-1905.33}

Lucifer carefully concealed from the angels his real sentiments and purposes; and when he had succeeded in turning them from their loyalty, and the terrible results of his work were manifest, he tried to make it appear that he had not been the originator of the evil. He led the ones he had deceived to engage in warfare against Christ and the loyal angels, urging them on with the hope that they could overcome Christ and dethrone God. With Lucifer on the throne, as ruler in heaven, he told them that a better order of things would be brought in. {Lt356-1907.12}

It is the spirit of satan, the spirit of antichrist, that is behind the war against YHWH and His anointed in Psalm 2. Satan, the rebellious angels, and all of mankind who follow them, will not serve YHWH by submitting to His Son.

Satan was warring against the government of God, because ambitious to exalt himself and unwilling to submit to the authority of God’s Son, Heaven’s great commander. {3SG 37.1}

While some of the angels joined Satan in his rebellion, others reasoned with him to dissuade him from his purposes, contending for the honor and wisdom of God in giving authority to his Son. Satan urged, for what reason was Christ endowed with unlimited power and such high command above himself! He stood up proudly, and urged that he should be equal with God. He makes his boasts to his sympathizers that he will not submit to the authority of Christ. {3SG 37.2}

At length all the angels are summoned to appear before the Father, to have each case decided. Satan unblushingly makes known to all the heavenly family, his discontent, that Christ should be preferred before him, to be in such close conference with God, and he be uninformed as to the result of their frequent consultations. God informs Satan that this he can never know. That to his Son will he reveal his secret purposes, and that all the family of Heaven, Satan not excepted, were required to yield implicit obedience. Satan boldly speaks out his rebellion, and points to a large company who think God is unjust in not exalting him to be equal with God, and in not giving him command above Christ. He declares he cannot submit to be under Christ’s command, that God’s commands alone will he obey. Good angels weep to hear the words of Satan, and to see how he despises to follow the direction of Christ, their exalted and loving commander {3SG 37.3}

…Satan and his sympathizers were striving to reform the government of God. They were discontented and unhappy because they could not look into his unsearchable wisdom and ascertain his purposes in exalting his Son Jesus, and endowing him with such unlimited power and command. They rebelled against the authority of the Son. {1SP 18.2}

I hope you can see how the Testimony of Jesus reveals a past application to Psalm 2.

So what is the point here?

The point is that Psalm 2, an event from the life of David in linear time, actually points back to the actual begetting and establishment of the Son of God, an event that is from everlasting. And we have seen, thanks to some insight from the Testimony of Jesus, where the opposition is truly s
tems from.

Now despite the clear parallel language between Proverbs 8 and Psalm 2 along with the explicit timing attached to each some folks will yet object to Psalm 2 pointing backward to the pre-incarnate begetting of the Son of God. As best as I can tell this objection does not appear to be based on an actually exegesis of Proverbs 8 but it is coming from the theological bias of unbegottenism. They do not want the pre-incarnate Son of God to be begotten so they try to turn the birth language of Proverbs 8 into a decree via Psalm 2. Yet we note there is no language of decree in Proverbs 8! I believe their view is an error and God has not left us without a witness to help secure the case that His pre-incarnate Son really is begotten.

Again when He bringeth the firstbegotten into the world, He says: Let all the angels of God worship Him” (Heb 1:6)

Here we see that God’s Son was already “the firstbegotten” when He was brought into the world.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16)

The natural reading of this text indicates that God’s Son was already His only-begotten when He was given to the world. And, again, turning to the Testimony of Jesus we see who first got up a warfare over this matter and who originated the idea of denying that He was the only begotten Son.

This fact the [fallen] angels would obscure, that CHRIST WAS THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD, and they came to consider that they were not to consult Christ.” {TDG 128.2}

Christ was THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD, and Lucifer, that glorious angel, got up a warfare over THE MATTER, until he had to be thrust down to the earth. (MS 86, 1910)

The devil would not admit that Christ was the only begotten Son. He would not accept this and warred against it until he had to be cast out of heaven! There are some who will follow in his footsteps all the way till hell fire. I say that with sadness because it is such a pointless warfare to fight against YHWH and His Son.

Numerous other quotes from the SOP indicate that the Son of God was the firstbegotten and only-begotten back up in heaven and the angels all knew it. These evidences (and there are more that I could give) support what Proverbs 8 is teaching us that God’s Son was begotten, set up, brought forth from everlasting.

So Psalm 2 pointed back to the original begetting and establishment of God’s Son. Proverbs 8 explains the Son’s original Divine Rulership. This is what the coronation of the David as king and God’s son has its historic root in. And at the same time Psalm 2, the establishment of the Davidic kingdom and throne, pointed forward to Jesus’ incarnation as the Son of David and restoration of His kingdom here on earth! Jesus is the root and offspring when it comes to the David as God’s firstborn son and anointed king. It points back and forward at the same time. This is marvelous in our eyes!

Now Psalm 2 pointing forward to the incarnated Jesus is very easy to see if we read the New Testament’s application of Psalm 2 to Christ. And there is a point in linear time when this verse applied to Christ too. It is the day of His resurrection. We read in holy Scripture:

God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’ (Acts 13:33)

And while we are on the subject we can also see an another application of the rebellion in Psalm 2 in Acts 4:27. That was not the total fulfillment though because that rebellion will not reach its climax until Gog and Magog are gathered in Revelation 20. Then, at that time, YHWH will roar from Zion and His Son Jesus will put down their rebellion. After the death of His enemies He will have complete dominion over all the earth thus fulfilling the Psalm 2 completely. The point here is that the application to Christ is easily seen.

For king David there really was a day when he received a decree from God. And for King Jesus there really was a day when He was resurrected from the dead in fulfillment of this Psalm. However, when it comes to His pre-incarnate begetting we understand that this did not happen on any day but it is “from everlasting.” He was brought forth before this world’s first day. Personally, I believe before time itself. We know, from inspiration that God devised the plan of salvation “prior to the commencement of time” {7LtMs, Lt 27, 1892, par. 20} and this is also called “from all eternity” {ST February 5, 1894, par. 6}. Look both of those quotes up. They are both talking about the same plan. So also then the pre-incarnate begetting.

While this conception may be objectionable to those who make God and time coeval it will not be for those who believe that God made the ages through His Son. The Greek in Hebrews 1 tells us that God made the ages through His Son. I believe this means that time itself was created by God through His Son. Therefore to try to date the Son of God, to try to figure out when He was begotten using time (days, weeks, months, years) is an exercise in futility. That would be bringing a finite tool to try to measure an infinite problem but I digress. I believe the Son of God is truly begotten of God [He is from God and that is why He is said to be the Father’s express image] yet He is also from all eternity. This is an infinite mystery, one that we cannot solve conclusively, but isn’t that more of a reason to believe it rather than reject it? Eternity has been placed by God in our hearts and functions like a barrier that prevents us from fully figuring out His work from beginning to end.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end (Eccl 3:11)

And if this is true for finding out God’s work then how much more is it also true for finding out His Son?

The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from eternity, a distinct person, yet one with the Father. He was the surpassing glory of heaven. He was the commander of the heavenly intelligences, and the adoring homage of the angels was received by him as his right. This was no robbery of God. “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way,” he declares, “before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mounta
ins were settled, before the hills
was I brought forth; while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth.” {RH April 5, 1906, par. 7}

There are light and glory in the truth that Christ was one with the Father before the foundation of the world was laid. This is the light shining in a dark place, making it resplendent with divine, original glory. This truth, infinitely mysterious in itself, explains other mysterious and otherwise unexplainable truths, while it is enshrined in light, unapproachable and incomprehensible {RH April 5, 1906, par. 8}

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  • Jason Smith

    Jason Smith is a valued contributor to As It Reads but he is not directly involved with the operation of the website. Any enquiries to Jason through our contact will be forwarded to him. You may support Jason Smith by purchasing his manuscript, "Unaccounted Factor-How Criticism Motivated The Adoption of Trinitarian Theology Within Seventh-day Adventism" in our shop.

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3 Responses

  1. Do you believe Jesus was begotten in eternity past? Eternal generation (came out/brought forth from God)

    “ 451 He was begotten from the Father before all ages as to his divinity and in these last days, for us and for our salvation, was born as to his humanity of the virgin Mary, the Mother of God. 91 We confess that one and the same Christ, Lord, and only-begotten Son, is to be acknowledged in two natures without confusion, change, division or separation. ~Catheism of the Catholic Church

    And the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son?

    246 The Latin tradition of the Creed confesses that the Spirit "proceeds from the Father and the Son (filioque)". The Council of Florence in 1438 explains: "The Holy Spirit is eternally from Father and Son; He has his nature and subsistence at once (simul) from the Father and the Son. He proceeds eternally from both as from one principle and through one spiration. . . . And, since the Father has through generation given to the only-begotten Son everything that belongs to the Father, except being Father, the Son has also eternally from the Father, from whom he is eternally born, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son."75 ~ Catheism of the Catholic Church

    Because that is what the Catholics also believe in their Trinity dogma. please elaborate.
    Thanks.

    1. Hello “I would like answers.”

      Please accept my apology for such a late reply. I did not see your question until today (08/23/22). While I do believe in a Son begotten prior to the commencement of time I do not believe in the doctrine of eternal generation. As best as I understand it those who believe in eternal generation hold to the idea that God, in His true nature, is one Divine being or essence who subsists as 3 persons. It is held that the inner life of this one Divine being/essence is that of one person actively and eternally (has always been, currently is, and will always be) generating another person. This generation constitutes the foundation of Father and Son relationship that supposedly exists within the one Divine being/essence. These two persons together are then supposedly actively spirating a 3rd person within the Father/Son relationship. This spiration somehow constitutes the person of the Spirit yet simultaneously means that the Spirit is not in a familial relationship like how Father/Son are. As best as I can gather the spiration of the third person is held to be a byproduct of the continual reciprocal love between Father and Son occuring within the One Divine being/essence. Honestly, this is all quite inexplicable and seems like philosophical smoke and mirrors to me. Anyhow, the eternal generation of the Son and the eternal procession of the Spirit is said to to be happening within the inner life of the one Divine being or essence and so the 3 persons are held to be indivisible and inseparable. This is held to be an immutable truth, it is the great and central mystery of the Catholic faith, with all of her other teachings based upon it. This is the conception that many have of God in His true nature. As I see it though, if you take this conception through to its logical conclusion, it makes God into a non-entity and negates the risk factor that the Son of God took when He became one of us.

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