We have been studying the future period of time that we call the revolt against the kingdom. This period will be a most strange one on earth, yet it is a very critical one in God’s plans. It is set forth in many passages of Scripture. All the truth regarding Daniel’s seventieth week is related to this period. The entirety of the first nineteen chapters of Revelation is related to this time as well. Yet there are also many other passages that deal with this critical time of testing in the kingdom. Let us examine some of these passages and learn what we can about the revolt against the kingdom.
The first passage we will consider that has to with the revolt against the kingdom is Psalm 2.
1. Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
Psalm 2 opens with a question. It regards the nations at the time of the revolt against the kingdom. After centuries of peace and stability, something has changed, and the nations now appear as a turbulent sea. The sea is a common figure for the nations and their peoples. Consider its use in Isaiah 57:20.
20. But the wicked are like the troubled sea,
When it cannot rest,
Whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
Here it is the wicked who are like the troubled sea, waving and foaming and casting up dirt and mire. Yet in Psalm 2, it is the nations who are like this. The psalmist wonders why it is so? This question would not make sense in the world we live in now. We have not known a time when the nations were not raging and unstable. This question only makes sense if conditions on earth have changed, and the nations have long been quiet and at rest. If after this they then became turbulent, it would be a strange thing that would raise questions.
The kingdom of God which precedes the revolt against the kingdom will indeed be a time of quietness and tranquility among the nations. The peaceful conditions of the kingdom are set forth in Psalm 1.
1. Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
2. But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3. He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
4. The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
5. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
For the long ages of the kingdom of God, the blessed man has been planted like a tree by the rivers of water. He has dwelt in the congregation of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly has perished from off the earth. This is the way things will be at the height of God’s government. Yet Psalm 2 does not take place at the height of that government, but at the harvest that comes at its consummation. At this point God has turned off the kingdom controls, and the nations have learned that they are no longer required by powerful restraints to follow the laws of the kingdom. The result is that they have started to rebel from under the peaceful rule of the kingdom. They are raging and plotting a vain and empty plot: to overthrow God and begin again to rule themselves as their own gods, even as men did before the kingdom came to earth.
2. The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
3. “Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.”
These two verses of Psalm 2 set forth the conditions that brought about this tumult. The kings of the earth have set themselves for this matter. They have gotten together to take counsel with each other, and this counsel was against Yahweh and against His anointed. These kings were previously submissive to heaven’s government, for all nations and their rulers will submit to God at the beginning of God’s coming kingdom. We read of this reality in Isaiah 60:3-4.
3. The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.
4. “Lift up your eyes all around, and see:
They all gather together, they come to you;
Your sons shall come from afar,
And your daughters shall be nursed at your side.
When God’s kingdom begins and His light shines on His nation of Israel, the other nations will see it and be drawn to the light. Kings will come to the brightness of Israel’s rising. The nations will be able to watch and see as they gather together to them and come from far away. The same truth is set forth in Psalm 18:44.
44. As soon as they hear of me they obey me;
The foreigners submit to me.
This is the Anointed of Jehovah speaking. In that day, foreigners will submit to him as soon as they hear of him. This is what conditions will be like at the start of God’s kingdom. Finally, this truth is set forth in Psalm 66:3.
3. Say to God,
“How awesome are Your works!
Through the greatness of Your power
Your enemies shall submit themselves to You.
It is the awesome works of the kingdom of God that this psalm is referring to. Because of the greatness of His power displayed at that time, His enemies shall submit themselves to Him. They shall have little choice in the matter, and well they shall know it! Yet now at the time Psalm 2 speaks of there are other kings who have a much different attitude than those at the start of the kingdom. They see the cessation of the kingdom controls as an opportunity to assert their own authority, and so they have taken a stand against Jehovah, and against His anointed.
Most would probably assume that the anointed spoken of here is Jesus Christ. Certainly that is what the translators of the New King James Version thought, since they capitalized the word “Anointed” here. Yet I do not believe this to be so, for Jesus Christ IS Jehovah, and this speaks of Jehovah and His anointed. Therefore the anointed is someone other than the Lord Jesus. I believe that this means David, who will be the anointed prince over Israel at that time. David is called this same word “anointed,” Hebrew mashiyach or messiah, in II Samuel 23:1.
1. Now these are the last words of David.
Thus says David the son of Jesse;
Thus says the man raised up on high,
The anointed of the God of Jacob,
And the sweet psalmist of Israel:
David is called “the anointed of the God of Jacob” here, so it certainly is not stretching anything to claim that David is the “anointed” mentioned in Psalm 2. At that time, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is Jehovah, will be ruling over the earth from His throne in heaven, as we read in Psalm 103:19-20.
19. The LORD has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all.
20. Bless the LORD, you His angels,
Who excel in strength, who do His word,
Heeding the voice of His word.
The Lord Jesus will be on His throne in heaven, ruling over the whole earth in His kingdom. His messengers will do His word and heed His voice. One of those messengers will be the man David, who will be sitting on the throne over Israel on earth. We read of this in many passages.
Jeremiah 30:9. But they shall serve the LORD their God,
And David their king,
Whom I will raise up for them.
Along with Yahweh their God, the Israelites will serve David their king. How can this be? Is it because the Bible is just calling the Lord Jesus Christ David? This is what some commentators try to do to the passage. Yet I do not believe that this can be true, for David is referred to no differently here than he is in the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles when the historical David is spoken of. Moreover, Yahweh explains how they will serve David their king right in this passage, so there is no need for us to guess. It is not because He is calling Someone else David. It is because He will raise up David for them. Resurrection is the reason David will again be present to reign over Israel under Yahweh their God. Yet many show how little faith they really have in God’s resurrection power when they display an inability to believe this!
Ezekiel 34:23. I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.
We see that it is not at the mouth of one single witness, the mouth of Jeremiah only, that we learn of David’s future reign over Israel. The mouth of Ezekiel confirms it, and he speaks of Jehovah’s servant David who will shepherd Israel in the future. This is another word that David was called already in the past, just like the word “anointed.”
II Samuel 5:2. Also, in time past, when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and brought them in; and the LORD said to you, ‘You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over Israel.’”
This verse, along with the parallel passage in I Chronicles 11:2, tells us that David was chosen by the LORD in the past to shepherd His people Israel. It should not surprise us if the same LORD Who chose him then will choose him again in the future. He will again be the LORD’s chosen shepherd. Jehovah will be their God, and His servant David a prince among them. How do we know this? Because He has said so!
Ezekiel 37:24. “David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. 25. Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever.
In these two verses, Ezekiel reiterates what he said earlier. David shall be king over Israel, which will mean they all have one shepherd. This will result in them walking in His determinations and observing His statutes. This will further result in them dwelling in the land that Yahweh gave to Jacob His servant, where their ancestors dwelt long ago. They and their descendent will live there for the olam, and His servant David shall be their prince for the olam. This means he will remain in that position throughout the kingdom of God.
Hosea 3:4. For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. 5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.
The mouth of Hosea is our third witness, so that the truth of this might be established. After many days without a ruler, the sons of Israel shall return and seek Jehovah their God and David their king. How shall they seek David if he remains dead and buried? We have already learned the answer to this from Jeremiah. They will seek him because he will no longer be dead and buried. He will have risen to reign over them as their anointed shepherd and prince.
The Scripture clearly establishes that David will be upon the throne over Israel on earth. God’s mercies towards him are sure, as Acts 13:34 points out, quoting the book of Isaiah. So all nations will one day submit themselves to David, as he himself writes in Psalm 18:44 as we saw above. All nations were walking in their own ways when David wrote this, and so were not submitting themselves to him or to the God Whom he represented. This is still true today. Yet Psalm 2 speaks of a time when the nations will decide to break the bonds of Yahweh and His anointed in pieces, and to cast away their cords from off them. Thus, this Psalm follows a time when the nations were under God’s control. This Psalm follows the kingdom of God.
4. He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.
The rest of the Psalm tells how this rebellion is dealt with. He Who sits in the heavens, the LORD Himself, laughs at them. What a pitiful, small, pathetic thing a nation is to rebel against the mighty God Who made heaven and earth! Yet His laugh is one of derision more than one of amusement. He does not look lightly on this rebellion formed out of hatred against Himself.
5. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:
He speaks to these nations in His wrath. No, He did not find their revolt amusing! He is deeply displeased, for He knows the heart and the spirit of sin that is behind anyone who would actually wish to rebel against His perfect, loving, and glorious government.
6. “Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.”
In spite of their defiance, reality has not changed. His King is still set on His holy hill of Zion, the true government over Israel. These rebels and usurpers may drive him away for a time, but ultimately the decree of Yahweh cannot be overturned. His king is established over His government, and these rebels cannot change that.
7. “I will declare the decree:
The LORD has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
Now, Jehovah goes back in time and declares the decree by which His king was first set up on the throne over His government. I believe that the king He is speaking of is David, the prince over Israel while the Lord Jesus Christ is on the throne.
Now in saying this, I am well aware that this passage is quoted of the Lord Jesus Christ multiple times in the New Testament. First is in Acts 13:33.
33. 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.’
Clearly, Paul means to relate this passage to Jesus Christ in this context. The same is true of the author of Hebrews in Hebrews 1:5.
5. For to which of the angels did He ever say:
“You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You”?
“I will be to Him a Father,
And He shall be to Me a Son”?
The writer of Hebrews is exalting Jesus Christ by pointing out that what God says to Him is never said to messengers, but it is said of our Lord Jesus Christ. He quotes the passage again of Christ in Hebrews 5:5.
5. So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him:
“You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.”
Notice that in this passage the quotation is related to Jesus Christ as the Anointed Priest, not as the Anointed King, yet we cannot doubt that in this place the verse is quoted of Him. If we were to stop our examination here, we might conclude that Psalm 2 clearly has Jesus Christ in mind, and not the man David, prince over Israel in the future. Yet we should not stop quite so quickly. For if we will continue our examination, we will find that many things that are true of Christ can also become true of His people. For example, consider II Samuel 7:12-16.
12. “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. 15. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”’”
There can be no doubt upon examining this passage carefully that when it was given to David this passage first had to do with Solomon, his own son who took over the throne of Israel after him. Yet verse 14 is the other verse quoted in Hebrews 1:5 of Jesus Christ!
5. For to which of the angels did He ever say:
“You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You”?
“I will be to Him a Father,
And He shall be to Me a Son”?
If one quotation in Hebrews 1:5 clearly referred to Solomon originally but is quoted as also referring to Jesus Christ, why could not the other verse which is quoted of Jesus Christ have referred to David originally? Moreover, II Samuel 7:14 is quoted again of yet another party in the book of Revelation!
Revelation 21:7. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.
This time, the quotation that originally referred to King Solomon in the past is made to refer to the overcomers in the future revolt against the kingdom! Therefore, just because a passage is quoted as referring to Jesus Christ somewhere in the New Testament does not mean that that passage always had Him exclusively in mind, either when it was first given or when it is quoted later. Psalm 2:7 as originally given referred to David, God’s anointed prince in the kingdom of God.
8. Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
Returning to Psalm 2, the LORD promises David that He will give him the nations around him for his inheritance-that is, his portion. This is the same truth that we have already noted in Psalm 18:44: as soon as these nations hear of David, God’s anointed prince, they shall submit themselves to him. All David has to do is ask and he shall receive them at the hands of the LORD.
9. You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”
This verse sounds grim, but we would suggest that it actually refers to the complete subjection of these nations to God and His representatives, like David. Particularly after they have revolted during the rebellion period, it will be necessary to treat them with a very heavy hand indeed. That is why David shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
Psalm 2:9 speaks of David, Yahweh’s anointed. Yet again this passage is quoted of others than whom it was originally spoken of.
Revelation 2:26. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—
27. ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—
Revelation 2 quotes this verse, but applies it to the overcomers. This was clearly not who was originally in mind, yet it is true of them nevertheless. In Revelation 19:15, it is referenced again, but this time it speaks of Christ.
15. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Once again, we would point out that this must be true of Him before it can be true of His people! If He is not ruling with a rod of iron, then they cannot. It is only as He gives them the authority to rule this way that they are able to do so.
Even though this passage is quoted of others in the New Testament, I believe it was originally referring to David and the exalted position he will hold in the kingdom of God. To understand more about that exalted position, consider Psalm 89:20-27.
20. I have found My servant David;
With My holy oil I have anointed him,
21. With whom My hand shall be established;
Also My arm shall strengthen him.
22. The enemy shall not outwit him,
Nor the son of wickedness afflict him.
23. I will beat down his foes before his face,
And plague those who hate him.
24. “But My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him,
And in My name his horn shall be exalted.
25. Also I will set his hand over the sea,
And his right hand over the rivers.
26. He shall cry to Me, ‘You are my Father,
My God, and the rock of my salvation.’
27. Also I will make him My firstborn,
The highest of the kings of the earth.
This psalm has great things to say of David and God’s future plans for him. He will be His firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth. Surely this must be a most exalted position! We have not gone astray then, I believe, if we assign to David the highest of positions in God’s future plans for this earth.
10. Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
In light of Jehovah’s exaltation of His anointed one, the kings and judges of the earth are urged to be wise and instructed. This revolt that they have started to carry out is a foolish one, and it would be much better for them if they would reconsider and return to wisdom and instruction.
11. Serve the LORD with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
This is what they should be doing instead of revolting. They should serve the LORD and rejoice in Him, putting aside these foolish thoughts of revolt and going their own way.
12. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.
To kiss the Son here means that they should do so in fealty to Him. They need to do this, for if He is angry with them but a little when the revolt is put down, then they will perish in the way. II Thessalonians 1 tells us of this great destruction of those who have rebelled against the King of kings.
7. and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8. in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,
These verses are speaking of the punishment that will come upon those who utterly fail the kingdom test. The Lord Jesus Christ will take vengeance in flaming fire on them, and they will be punished with everlasting destruction. That is the sad fate Psalm 2:12 is warning these judges and kings away from. Yet we cannot help but note that the psalm ends on a note of mercy. These kings who so boldly stated their intentions to rebel against the duly constituted authority of God’s kingdom are invited to resubmit to God. He wants them to do so. He would rather they turn back to Him than perish. Yet He warns them that if they fail to submit to Him again, they will perish. Yet blessed are those who put their trust in Him! This is always true, and will be true during the revolt against the kingdom as well.