1.) Note the presupposition of the Psalmist
The presupposition of the Psalmist is that it is unnatural for the nations to rage, plot, and conspire against the Lord. The operating assumed premise throughout is that the nations ought to know better. They ought not to take up against the Lord and His anointed. The fact that they have seems to strike the psalmist as a great oddity. Do you hear it in his voice?
Why do the nations rage?
It’s almost as if he is asking, ‘why whatever has gotten into them. Don’t they know better?’ His presupposition is that what is going on here is something that is altogether contrary to nature. What is true of the nations was true of Israel at one time,
“The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.”
2. Why do the nations rage?
b.) Note NationS
We’ve spoken many times on the idea of ‘nations’ in Scripture so we won’t take a great deal of time here. Suffice it to say, once again, that throughout the Scripture, it is the nations as nations God deals with.
Dutch American Theologian Geerhardus Vos offered this insight as it relates to God’s dealing with Nations,
“God’s decree is not exclusively concerned with individuals but also comprises nations and establishes the bond between generations. The destiny of a nation is weighed by Him, as is the destiny of a person. There is not the slightest interest, indeed is completely impossible on Reformed grounds, to deny national election or whatever it may be called.”
Dogmatic Theology Vol 1. — pg. 111
This reality that God deals with nations clearly prohibits the New World Order agenda of erasing the Nations and turning the world into a vast melting pot. If God elects nations then nations are God’s means whereby he elects persons from those nations. To advocate positions that would destroy nations is to resist God.
As it was the Nations that mocked God and His anointed in Psalm 2 so it was the Nations that Christ commissioned His disciples to gather in Matthew 28 and so it is those Nations which come into the new Jerusalem (Rev. 21:24). Everywhere in the Bible, it is nations as nations that are dealt with.
We mention this again only to note that the modern impulse to erase all distinctions from national distinctions to racial distinctions to gender distinctions is an anti-Christ agenda.
Rage … conspire,
in an uproar
The Hebrew word here is ragash (raw-gash) and means
1. (Qal) to be in a tumult or commotion
2. (TWOT) to conspire, plot
Here what seems to be communicated is that the nations have as their rallying p0int a rage against God that is channeled into a joint effort to conspire and plot Revolution against God and His authority. The way the Psalmist speaks you almost get the sense of a mob scene as the nations are gathered for the purpose of dethroning God and His anointed.
Of course, this has been the motif of fallen man since the fall. He will not have God rule over him. For God’s order fallen man would replace a utopian order. So man rages, plots and conspires against God and His anointed.
We should note here that from this Scripture we can assert that conspiracy theory is true. Fallen man conspires and plots. And we see that testified to throughout Scripture.
I Kings 21 … the conspiracy of Ahab against Naboth
II Samuel 11 … The conspiracy of David against Uriah
Acts 23 … Paul’s nephew uncovered a plot to assassinate Paul, and his knowledge foiled the attempt
John 11:47-49 … Conspiracy to kill Jesus
Matthew 28 … Conspiracy to lie about what happened to the body of Jesus
And fallen man continues to conspire against God.
Much that we see around us is the consequent of men conspiring against God seeking to implement their order over God’s order? You really don’t think, for example, that Sodomite marriage, or gender blenders, or the flourishing of transhumanism, or the Robots for intimacy craze have at its roots the reality that men are conspiring against God and His anointed?
Conspiracy is one mark of fallen man and the Christian who refuses to entertain conspiracy theory as revisionist explanation for any number of historical events is not wise.
Alexander MacLaren rightly said here,
a.) There is a little humor about this Scripture. Here you have all these rum rulers running around plotting and conniving against God and His anointed and their rule. And all the while they are meeting in secret to cast off God’s rule, God is omniscient. No wonder God holds them in derision and laughs.
That vain thing they plot is the dethroning of God and the enthroning of themselves.
Many have envisioned the soon success of this plotting.
“Before the beginning of the 19th century, Christianity will have disappeared from the earth.”
Some years later, in the same space where Voltaire uttered this prophecy, a depository of Bibles existed.
Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue with that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first – rock and roll or Christianity.
So the plotting and predictions continue and will continue until the already present p0stmillennial kingdom expands to the point of exposing the fools who plotted in vain.
And this plotting happens in every field.
a.) In the area of Law men like Christopher Columbus Langdell, Roscoe Pound, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and Benjamin Cardozo moved the discipline of law away from its Biblical moorings evinced in Puritan Commonwealth documents like “Abstract of the Laws of New England,” towards standards that evinced a humanistic, evolutionary, naturalistic and Statist paradigm. In the late 1800’s Langdell did yeoman’s work moving law training away from a century of Lawyers in America concentrating on what the Constitution said to Darwinian inspired notions of where the law was perceived to be moving (case law training). By Langdell’s work, the Constitution came to be seen to be evolving under the guidance of an imperial judiciary. Legal positivism, being rooted in an evolutionary basis thus was part of the vain plot to overthrow God.
b.) In sociology, the Father of Sociology plotted in vain against God.
August Comte spent his life seeking to abolish Christian worship and the Christian religion and when he was finished he established a new religion and proposed a hierarchy with himself at the top of the food chain and the soul of his deceased mistress as a sort of Queen of Heaven, and not being satisfied with that he created a liturgical humanist calendar by which to mark days and seasons.
c.) In politics
you have a variety of plotting. Ultimately all versions of Marxism, whether Fabianism, Syndicalism, Fascism, National Socialism, Communism, Trotskyism, Cultural Marxism, etc. are all just so many political plottings against the Lord and His anointed. They are ways by which the plotters seek to overthrow God and His order in favor of their utopian order where the State is God.
Having said that, there is good news here also that points to the rest of the Psalm. All this plotting is in vain. All this energy … all the time spent … all the anxious energy is in vain. The Christ hater spends his life in vain because consciously or unconsciously he has spent his life plotting in vain against the Lord and His anointed.
Well, this takes us from vs. 1 to vs 2-3 where the Psalmist is a little more detailed in his ponderings.
a. The kings of the earth set themselves
First note that this text is taken from a time when the King of the Hebrew people was seen as God’s regent over the earth. So closely was the King identified with the Lord that opposition to the King was opposed to God.
Now, we know that the anointed mentioned here as a higher and fuller meaning than just the King of Israel at this time. We know this because this Psalm is quoted in Acts 4:25-26 and applied directly to Christ. Jesus Christ is the greater King than any of Israel’s Old covenant Kings. He is the one whom the nations and rulers rage and plot against.
He is called the anointed
But the focus of this passage is of Jesus Christ as the great King to whom the loyalty of all other Kings must be given.
A great deal of time and energy has been spent on Christ anointed as our high priest and that rightly so. But Jesus Christ is also our great King and as King His command must be adhered to.
Presbyterian A. A. Hodge understood a Kingship of Christ that has been lost in much of the Reformed Church today,
“A Christian has no right to separate his life into two realms… to say the Bible is good for Sunday, but this is a week-day question, or the Scriptures are right in matters of religion, but this is a matter of business or politics. God reigns over all, everywhere. His will is the supreme law. His inspired Word, loyally read will inform us of His will in every relation and act of life, secular as well as religious; and the man is a traitor who refuses to walk therein with scrupulous care. The Kingdom of God includes all sides of human life, and it is a Kingdom of absolute righteousness. You are either a loyal subject, or a traitor. When the King comes, how will He find you doing?”
Indeed, if a candidate for the ministry took Hodge’s words into his ordination service I wonder how many Presbyteries around the country might refuse to ordain him for that conviction?
But, Presbyteries notwithstanding Christ is anointed King and He rules all things as the Lord’s appointed man.
a. “Let us break Their bonds in pieces”
What else can these bonds and cords be except God’s law?
The Hebrew word for “break” here carries the idea of snapping a chain apart. Here it would have to do with the intent of snapping the chain of God’s purpose or plan as expressed in God’s Law.
H. Rondel Rumburg offers in his work in this Psalm,
“There is no respect for the Anointed King whose truth challenges their desires. They evidence this by rejecting His role for men, by rejecting His role for women, by rejecting His role for nations, by rejection His role for families, by rejecting His role for the unborn, by rejecting His role for the Church, by rejecting His role for justice, by rejecting His role for the ministry, by rejecting His role for the Lord’s Day.”
How bizarre is this mindset? The one who provides breath and life is revolted against in favor of death. The only one who can provide meaning is tossed in favor of irrationality.
This is the culture we live in and these are the times we have been given. We live in a culture enraged against God and His anointed. But we are not to despair. We are to recognize they are involved in vanity. They can no more successfully pull down God than you can pull yourself up while standing in a bucket.
Here is the conclusion of the matter. The more these people are successful in their plotting the more they will fail.“Just as all truth rests upon the truth that is from God, so the common foundation of all rights and duties lies in the sovereignty of God. When that sovereignty is denied or (what amounts to the same thing) banished to heaven because His kingdom is not of this world, what becomes then of the fountain of authority, of law, of every sacred and dutiful relation in state, society and family? What sanction remains for the distinctions of rank and station in life? What reason can there be that I obey another’s commands, that the one is needy, the other rich? All this is custom, routine, abuse, injustice, oppression. Eliminate God, and it can no longer be denied that all men are, in the revolutionary sense of the words, free and equal. State and society disintegrate, for there is a principle of dissolution at work that does not cease to operate until all further division is frustrated by that indivisible unit, that isolated human being, the individual—a term of the Revolution – naively expressive of its all-destructive character.”
– Guillaume Groen Van Prinsterer
Mentor of Abraham Kuyper