Jehovah Saluting His Son: Chapter 7

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“I will declare the decree: the LORD (Jehovah) hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee” (Psa. 2:77I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. (Psalm 2:7))
IN the New Testament we read of the Son of the Father, and in the Old Testament of the Son of Jehovah. The Father is the divine Name associated with God's love displayed in His family, and Jehovah is the Name associated with God's government of the world through the nation of Israel. Let us dwell a little on this difference in the presentation of the Son, making special reference to Psa. 2
The earlier communications of God to man did not disclose that “God is love." Old Testament days were a probationary period, particularly under the law, during which God was made known as the Governor of His people, Israel. The “fullness of the time " had not then arrived for God to send forth His Son, by Whom alone the Father's name could be manifested upon the earth.
But in those early days, the prophets cheered the hearts of the pious with visions of “good things to come." They declared what were the future purposes of God with regard to the blessing of the earth where sin and its fruits were then dominant, foretelling the introduction of a world-wide kingdom of righteousness and peace. Moreover, these prophets predicted that the Messiah or Anointed One, Who would establish this reign of terrestrial bliss, would first of all endure, as a prelude to His entrance into the appointed glories of His administration, unexampled sufferings (1 Peter 1:22Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (1 Peter 1:2); Luke 24:25-2725Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:25‑27)).
There are many titles descriptive of the various kingdom-glories of Messiah the Prince used in the ancient prophecies, but they are all attached to Him Whose Name is the Son. God's eternal purpose which He purposed in Himself was to concentrate in the Christ the efficient administration of things in heaven and things on earth (Eph. 1:9, 109Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (Ephesians 1:9‑10)). This vast governmental plan, fully made known in the New Testament, was but dimly revealed to the holy men of old.
Nevertheless, though a veil hung over many of the Messianic prophecies until Christ Himself should remove it, Jehovah made His settled purpose concerning His Son clear and definite. In the face of man's opposition, Jehovah's solemn decree was that He would set His own King in Zion to subdue the rebellious princes of the earth, and this Anointed Ruler would be His Son. Such is the declaration in the second Psalm.
The Spirit's Testimony in the Second Psalm
The second Psalm supplies a remarkable witness to the Sonship of Jehovah's King Who is appointed to reign in Zion and to exercise His dominion to the ends of the earth. Again, as we have seen in John 3 and 5 and 17, the Son is the Speaker concerning Himself. To none would we listen with greater delight and confidence! None more competent than He to speak of Himself and things appertaining to the Godhead. As He said to the Pharisees, "Though. I bear record of Myself, yet My record is true; for I know whence I came, and whither I go" (John 8:1414Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. (John 8:14)).
Going back to the earlier record before the Incarnation, we find the Spirit of Christ in the Psalmist saying, "I will declare the decree: Jehovah hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son; I this day have begotten Thee." The "decree," which relates to the government of the world, is declared by the Speaker in the two verses that follow (Psa. 2:8, 98Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. (Psalm 2:8‑9)); but in the words quoted the Speaker declares (1) that Jehovah addressed Him as "My Son;" and (2) that Jehovah had "begotten" Him "this day."
Setting aside for the moment many other corroborative testimonies from Holy Writ, we learn from this precious record alone that when the world rises up in revolt against Jehovah, He, in foreknowledge or in prophecy or in fact, looks with undisturbed complacency upon His Son, saying, “Thou art My Son." In Him was Jehovah's resource for the glory of His name in the righteous government of His enemies. Accordingly, Jehovah decreed that in the appointed "day" the Son should be "begotten" for the execution of this purpose of breaking down the power of the rebellious nations with a rod of iron.
The Theme of the Second Psalm
We realize at once that the atmosphere of the second Psalm is altogether different from that of the Fourth Gospel. In John, we breathe the love and glory of God displayed by the Son in a world of death and darkness; but in David the wrath of God and His unsparing judgment of the rebellious potentates of the earth are committed to the Son. In John, we have grace and truth, in David anger and woe.
In both scriptures, God is seen acting by means of the Son, and in each of them the Son is presented in the character suited to the theme of the passage. The New Testament Gospel displays the Son given to reveal God's love to the world, and also the Father's love to those who receive His Son. But in the Old Testament Psalm, the Son is shown as the Executor of divine judgment upon the world which is in open revolt against Jehovah and His Anointed.
In both the earlier and the later revelations the Son enters the sphere of man's sin, but while in the later, man's darkness and evil are met by the brazen serpent of grace (John in the earlier, man's enmity against God is subdued by the iron rod of righteousness (Psa. 2).
The theme, then, of the second Psalm is the subjugation of man's hostility to Jehovah and His Anointed by the crushing judgments of divine power. In connection with this scheme of government, it is revealed that the One Whom Jehovah salutes as His Son will possess the whole earth, and that the foes of the Lord will by Him be broken to shivers. The Son is here seen on the throne of Jehovah rather than in the bosom of the Father, as He is revealed in the Fourth Gospel.
The Structure of the Second Psalm
This Psalm is readily divisible, according to its subject, into four stanzas of three verses each, as follows:—
The World Alliance
(1) The first stanza (Psa. 2:1-31Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, 3Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. (Psalm 2:1‑3)) predicts the coalition of Israel  and the nations in defiant resistance to the claims of Jehovah and His Anointed. The united counsel of the earthly powers is to break Their bands and cast away Their cords. This prediction had its fulfillment in the union of Jews and Gentiles to crucify the Messiah, Jehovah's Anointed, and was so quoted in the apostles' prayer to the Lord (Acts 4:24-2824And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: 25Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? 26The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 27For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. (Acts 4:24‑28)). The evil alliance against Jehovah and His Christ foretold in this Psalm will have a further fulfillment in the future agreement between the apostate Jews and the head of the resuscitated fourth Gentile empire (Rev. 13).
The King on Zion's Hill
(2) This confederation of worldly powers to renounce all allegiance to Jehovah and His Christ is regarded with contempt (Psa. 2:4-64He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. (Psalm 2:4‑6)) by Adonai (Jehovah's title as “Lord of all the earth”). He will speak unto them in His wrath from heaven (see Heb. 12:25, 2625See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: 26Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. (Hebrews 12:25‑26)), and in face of their organized hostility to Jehovah and His Anointed He will establish His King upon Zion, His mountain of holiness. Thus the "counsel" of man's might and wisdom comes to naught; and " the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:2222Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: (Acts 2:22)) in the face of man's concerted insurrection against Him and His Christ has its fulfillment in both the humiliation and the exaltation of Jehovah's King.
Sonship and Begetting
(3) In the third stanza (Psa. 2:7-97I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. (Psalm 2:7‑9)), the Holy Spirit makes us privy to the deliberations of the divine council-chamber in respect of world-wide human evil. The Son declares the “decree “made for quelling the insurgents. No date is affixed to this solemn edict. Nor need we inquire When? and Where? The finite factors of time and locality do not apply to the decrees of God, which are formulated in eternity, whenever He may be pleased to reveal them to men: “known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world." Does any scripture deny that this utterance came to the Son “before the foundation of the world"? Did it not come to the Son before it came to David by the prophetic Spirit?
But whenever this decree was enunciated, the Son sets forth its terms in the words of Jehovah addressed to Himself. First, the dignity and competency of the Person to Whom the decree is committed are expressed in His Name; “Thou art My Son.” The Son is the Name of Him appointed to execute judgment in the earth. It is ever the primary concern of the Holy Spirit that the essential glory of the Son should not seem to be diminished by the service He voluntarily undertakes.
In like manner, when the Lord Jesus is seen in New Testament vision about to "judge and make war," it is recorded by the Spirit amid the recital of His many governmental glories that "His Name is called The Word of God" (Rev. 19:1313And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. (Revelation 19:13)). What He becomes mediatorially is not allowed to conceal what He is essentially; unexpectedly, as it were, the Holy Spirit in the vision recalls our hearts to remember the personal glory of the Son, when He shall tread the winepress of the fury and wrath of God Almighty.
At the forefront of the “decree," then, is the solemn affirmation of Sonship made by Jehovah to the Son Himself-the recognition of the Son as the absolute Interpreter of Jehovah's counsel and the consummate Doer of His will in the government of the earth.
Secondly. We pass in the next sentence from eternity to time, for “day” is a measure of time, not of eternity: " this day have I begotten Thee." Now we undoubtedly have the incarnation of the Son of Jehovah. It is the Old Testament description corresponding with the New Testament ones; “The Word became flesh "; the " Son made of a woman ": " that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
Taking the two sentences in their sequence (" Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee "), their joint import seems to be that He Whom Jehovah, m timeless eternity, called His Son abode in that Filial relationship when begotten of Him in time: the Son then became incarnate, but maintained all that He had ever been as Son in the Godhead. If the truth had been otherwise, would not the order of the sentence have been inverted? Would not the act of begetting have preceded the salutation as Son, if He had become the Son by His incarnation? The order as it stands is highly significant.
Indeed, the full truth and beauty of the Son's own communication of this celestial purpose for the tumultuous earth will be entirely missed unless we mark its ordered steps.
(1) First, we must note the sublime satisfaction of Jehovah beholding the Son in His changeless fullness: "Thou art My Son": He was His ineffable delight, His efficient resource, His eternal Fellow (Zech. 13:77Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. (Zechariah 13:7)). This expression of complacent regard by Jehovah for His Son is the basis of what follows in the next stanza concerning the divine government of the world.
The construction in Psa. 2:77I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. (Psalm 2:7) seems to be analogous to many other verses in the Psalms, though usually the speaker in those parallel cases is a pious saint. For example, the psalmist exclaims, “Thou art my God”; by faith he recognizes the power and goodness of God. Encouraged by the sight, he then resolves, “early will I seek Thee” (Psa. 63:11<<A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.>> O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; (Psalm 63:1)). His purpose to seek God was formed on the basis of what God was to him already.
(2) Here, too in Psa. 2:7, the order of thought is that the second clause (His begetting) arises out of, or on the basis of the first (His Sonship). Because He was the Son, He was able to subdue the evil of man and establish the glory of Jehovah; therefore, to this end, He was, in the appointed day or season, “begotten” among men: “this day have I begotten Thee.” Moreover, when become flesh, the Blessed One was still the Son, as the voice from heaven declared, not once only but twice (Matt. 3:17; 17:517And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Matthew 3:17)
5While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. (Matthew 17:5)
). This voice at Jordan and on the Mount was witness of His Sonship after incarnation, as the Psalm gives the divine testimony of His Sonship before incarnation. Jehovah speaks to His Son in Psa. 2, as He also does to His Servant in Isa. 49
The denial of the pre-incarnate Sonship of our beloved Lord is an effort to place shutters upon the windows of revelation, which look on His glory in the eternal past. But "no prophecy of scripture is of its own interpretation" (2 Peter 1:2020Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (2 Peter 1:20), W.K.), and having in mind the revelation of the Absolute Deity of the Son made in other parts of scripture, we believe that the concurrent truth conveyed in this stanza of the Psalm is that the Speaker did not begin to be the Son at His incarnation, but that His Sonship was unimpaired by His humiliation. The Eternal Sonship, blessed be God, was true in the beginning, is now, and ever will be. The Son is the revealed Name expressive of His essential nature in the Deity and not only of His mediatorial office between God and man.
Begetting or generation is associated in scripture with incarnation of the Son, but is never attributed to the Holy Spirit, Who did not “become flesh.” The much-used term, “eternal generation,” applied to the Son is without scriptural warrant, for how could the Deity of the Son be derived from Another? or, how could the Eternal Sonship be bestowed by generation? But being the Son from all eternity, when born of the Virgin Mary, He could be called the Son of the Highest (Luke 1:3232He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: (Luke 1:32)).
Begetting in this Psalm is descriptive of the manner of the introduction into this world of Jehovah's Son Who came as the legitimate King in Zion to possess the ends of the earth. Jehovah's Anointed One would be David's Son and David's Lord. Yet when Jesus asked the Pharisees, “What think ye of Christ? whose Son is He? " (Matt. 22:4242Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. (Matthew 22:42)) not one of them had faith to refer back to Jehovah's words to Him, "Thou art My Son," recorded in this Psalm. His Sonship and His lowliness awakened their hatred, not their homage, and in consequence, their eyes were blinded (John 12:37-4137But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: 38That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? 39Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, 40He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. 41These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him. (John 12:37‑41)).
The Request
(3) Jehovah invites His Son to ask for the heirship of the world: "Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the nations for an inheritance, and for Thy possession the ends of the earth " (Psa. 2:88Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. (Psalm 2:8)).
This invitation contains a description of the decreed office of universal supremacy assigned to Him as Jehovah's Anointed in answer to the tumultuous raging of mankind against His claims when He comes into the world (Psa. 2:1-31Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, 3Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. (Psalm 2:1‑3)). Jehovah would give His Son all nations and all lands.
A comparison of this verse with the Lord's words to the Father (in John 17:99I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. (John 17:9)) shows the difference already noted between the two dispensations of love and of righteousness in connection with the Son. In the Psalm the world is in view; in the Gospel, those whom the Father has given to the Son "out of the world"; and the ways of God in government with the world were to be set aside for a while, and after the crucifixion of Christ and His ascension, the heavenly calling was to be proclaimed by the apostles, especially by Paul.
Consequently, at that point the Son does not prefer the request of Psa. 2 His heart is now set upon those to whom He will make known the Father's love. He says, "I request for them: not for the world do I request, but for those whom Thou hast given Me, for they are Thine (and all My things are Thine, and Thy things Mine), and I am glorified in them" (John 17:9, 109I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. 10And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. (John 17:9‑10), W.K.).
We cannot forbear quoting the following remarks on this instructive petition. “It is concerning the disciples He [the Son] makes request, not for Israel nor the nations, not for the land nor the earth at large. It is no question of taking up the world for government or blessing now: He is occupied with the joint-heirs, not with the inheritance as yet. By and by, as Psa. 2 lets us know, Jehovah will say, Ask of Me, and I will give [Thee] the heathen for Thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession.
“But then the Son will reign on His holy hill of Zion, instead of being rejected on earth and received up on high. Then, instead of sustaining the suffering family of God who bear His reproach here below and wait for heavenly glory with Him, He will break the nations with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. It will be, not the interval of the gospel as now, but the day of the kingdom in power and glory.
"Here the Lord is praying for His own as the precious gift of the Father to Himself, while cut off and having nothing that was promised Him here below; and He asks the more, because they were the Father's.
“But it may be well to say that this gives occasion for a parenthetic statement which lets out much of the light of His personal glory: 'and all My things are Thine, and Thy things Mine.' As the Son of David, the Messiah, could this reciprocity have been so expressed? Is it not evidently and only in virtue of His being the Eternal Son, one with the Father, that They have rights and interests no less boundless than common?" (Exposition of the Gospel of John, by W. Kelly).
The Warning, “Kiss the Son "
But in view of the infallible precision of scripture in its jots and fifties, the question arises why this exceptional term, bar, is employed in the address to the nations (Psa. 2:1212Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. (Psalm 2:12)), while the more regular term, ben, is used by Jehovah in addressing His Son (Psa. 2:77I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. (Psalm 2:7)). The inspired variation must be due to an important distinction between the two terms. And the explanation seems to be that the latter, ben, correctly expresses the Son in the glory of His essential Being in the eyes of Jehovah, while the former, bar, expresses with equal correctness His Sonship as it will be seen by the world when He, the Son of man, is manifested in the glory of His kingdom.
If elsewhere we find bar applied to the Lord as the Governor of the nations, this interpretation of it will be corroborated. And we do find it so applied in Daniel's vision of the Messianic kingdom which will eventually suppress and supersede the four great Gentile kingdoms. The prophet sees the Son of man come to the Ancient of days to receive an everlasting kingdom over all peoples, and bar is the word for Son in the passage describing what Daniel saw (Dan. 7:13,1413I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13‑14)). As the subject of the prophecy agrees with that of the Psalm, the occurrence of bar in both scriptures is highly significant.
Once again we find the word in Daniel. The One walking in the fiery furnace with the three Hebrews is described as “like the Son of God” (Dan. 3:2525He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. (Daniel 3:25)). Here also bar is the word rendered “Son.” In all three cases, the special word, bar, is connected with the times of Gentile supremacy. How gracious then is this solemn admonition to the nations. “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way”! For when the Son of man shall come in His glory, all nations shall be gathered before the throne of His glory for judgment (Matt. 25:31-4631When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Matthew 25:31‑46)). And who shall escape “when His wrath is kindled but a little”?
We find then in this Psalm a testimony by Jehovah to the Absolute Sonship of Him Who was begotten in time that He might as the Son of man inherit the earth, ruling the riotous peoples with a rod of iron and blessing all those that put their trust in Him.
“Hosanna to the King of kings,
The great Incarnate Word,
Ten thousand songs and glories wait
The coining of our Lord.

“Thy victories and Thine endless fame
Through the wide world shall run;
And everlasting ages sing
The triumphs Thou past won."