Calvary Road Baptist Church

“THOU SHALT BREAK THEM”

Psalm 2.9

 

Turn in your Bible to the second Psalm, and stand for the reading of God’s Word:

 

1      Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

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 bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

4      He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

5      Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

6      Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

7      I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

8      Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

9      Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

10     Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

11     Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

12     Kiss 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.

 

I mentioned last week that this Messianic Psalm shows the great conflict in which the LORD and His Anointed are opposed by the kings of the earth and the rulers. Of course, the conflict is not confined to these who are identified, but also includes all those who follow them, the Christians on the side of God and on the other side the vast multitudes that follow the kings of the earth and the rulers. No one is neutral in this conflict.

To be sure, this warfare entered the human realm when the serpent tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden and took root when Adam sinned and mankind suffered the catastrophe of the Fall. Since that time, we can read the headlines of the conflict. Cain slew Abel. Lamech took two wives. God sent the Flood. Nimrod started his empire and built the tower of Babel. God confounded their language. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. So you see, throughout human history the battles have continued.

When all is said and done, however, the two pinnacles of the great conflict will be seen to have corresponded to the first and second advents of our Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, His first coming has already occurred, with His second coming on God’s agenda.

The psalmist’s prediction can be seen in verses 2 and 3:

 

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 bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

 

Consider the attempt by Herod the Great to slay the Christ child by having all the children in Bethlehem slaughtered.[1] Then there was our Lord’s trial before Herod Antipas, in Luke 23, and His arraignment before Pontius Pilate. That is two kings, and the personal representative of the emperor, who set themselves against the Lord Jesus Christ. As for the rulers taking counsel together, the Sanhedrin under the leadership of the high priests, Annas and Caiaphas, accomplished that.[2] At the time of our Lord’s second coming it will happen all over again. The antichrist and the false prophet, along with the kings of the earth and the ecumenical religious leaders who have led most of the living population to worship the beast, will be adamantly opposed to the returning King of kings and Lord of lords. These will be the ones our great God and King will in righteousness both judge and make war against.[3]

Whereas last week’s exposition focused on Psalm 2.1-3, direct your attention this morning to verses 4-9:

 

4      He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

5      Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

6      Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

7      I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

8      Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

9      Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

 

Verse 4: “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” Whether He was looking down on Pilate and the Sanhedrin two thousand years ago, in their futile attempt to defeat the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary, or in the near future beholding the combined armies assembled at Armageddon who will oppose Christ’s second coming in power and great glory, God will laugh at puny man’s attempts from heaven, and He will have all the enemies of Christ in derision.

 

Verse 5: “Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.” Commentators frequently speculate that the Romans fulfilled this verse with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, or by the spread of the gospel despite efforts to stifle its advance. But my own opinion is that while such providential dealings certainly would vex God’s enemies, it will be at the Great White Throne judgment that the enemies of God and of His Anointed will be spoken to in wrath, and it will be when they are then cast into the lake of fire that they will truly be vexed in His sore displeasure.

 

Verse 6: “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” Despite thinking they succeeded when they crucified the Lord Jesus Christ, and despite thinking the combined armies of all the kingdoms of the earth will succeed in opposing Him at His future second coming, the King of the Jews will sit on the throne of His father, David, and His throne will be established in Jerusalem and upon the holy hill of Zion. This promise the Father made to His only begotten Son will be fulfilled.

 

Verse 7: “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” This is far too important a verse to make a few passing remarks about. Suffice it to say for now that the day referred to here by God the Father was not the day of Christ’s incarnation. Neither was it the day of His birth or the occasion of His baptism. It was not the day of His resurrection or the time of His exaltation. The day referred to here is eternity. More on the important topic of the eternal sonship of Jesus Christ in the weeks to come.

Before moving on to the next verse, let me read a supporting comment the 19th century English Baptist pastor, Charles H. Spurgeon, wrote on this topic: “In the mysterious ages of the past the Lord Jesus was his Father’s first elect, and in his election he gave us an interest, for we were chosen in him from before the foundation of the world. He had from all eternity the prerogatives of Sonship, as his Father’s only-begotten and well-beloved Son, and he has, in the riches of his grace, by adoption and regeneration, elevated us to sonship also, so that to us he has given ‘power to become the sons of God.’”[4]

 

Verse 8: “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” Again, God the Father speaking to His Son, in the counsel chamber of heaven’s throne room in eternity past. The eternal Son of God is exhorted to ask for the heathen to be His inheritance and for the far reaches of the earth to be His possession. Those desires shall be fulfilled by means of the advance of the gospel among the Gentile nations, first, and then by the reclaiming of this whole earth when His millennial kingdom is set up here on earth at His second coming, second.

 

Finally, verse 9: “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” This verse does not speak of the same individuals spoken of in verse 8. Those referred to in verse 8 are elect according to the foreknowledge of God, people who end up being saved because the eternal Son of God has asked His Father for them. This verse refers to the others, to those not asked for by the Lord Jesus Christ, and is the text of my sermon this morning.

 

SERMON:

 

Psalm 2.9 is most recognizable to people as part of the lyrics of Handel’s Messiah. The sound technician will play that track for you to listen to at this time.

 

Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

 

Though the author of this psalm is not specifically named, most commentators are of the opinion that the psalmist was David, king of Israel. If that be true, the words were penned 1,000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, more than 3,000 years ago. Even so, this verse predicts an important aspect of the Messiah’s future dealings with His enemies.

Loraine Boettner wrote, “. . . revelation concerning all of the great doctrines of the Bible has been progressive, that what was only vaguely intimated at first is set forth clearly and fully as time goes on. This we find to be particularly true in regard to the person and work of the Messiah. In the very nature of the case men could have no adequate comprehension of His person and work until He actually came and lived among them; and yet since the whole system of redemption was so vitally and necessarily tied up with Him it was only reasonable to suspect that some intimations of His person and work would have been given in the Old Testament. In the providence of God this wonderful personality of the Messiah was not flashed before our eyes like the sun rising at midnight to dazzle and blind us, but was revealed gradually by the succession of the prophets until our understanding was prepared to receive the whole truth.[5]

It seems so long ago. David had been anointed the second king of Israel, succeeding Saul, who had died in the seemingly never-ending war against the Philistines. As the shepherd king ruled God’s people and fought God’s enemies, he was inspired to write poetry.

Did he know the psalms he felt compelled to write were inspired scripture? We do not know. Was he aware of the incredible parallels that existed between his own role as God’s anointed king and the coming Messiah? Again, we cannot be sure.

However, whether or not David knew the precise nature and meaning of the words of this poem that flowed from his heart, we know that the result of the process was God-breathed scripture.

This morning I want to focus your attention on this one verse, the ninth verse, of the second of the Psalms. What do we learn about the Messiah, the king of the Jews, who would be born 1,000 years later?

Three things are learned about Him in this verse:

 

First, HE IS THE SUBJECT OF THIS VERSE

 

This verse speaks to someone. The words are shown in the context of the psalm to be spoken by Jehovah to His Anointed. However, the Anointed Who is spoken to in this verse is the Son of God. How can we be sure the subject of this verse, the one who is spoken to, is the Son of God?

In Psalm 2.2, we see the LORD’s Anointed referred to. Anointed means Messiah, the same as Christ, and Jesus Christ the Son of God is, therefore, the Anointed.

In Psalm 2.6, the psalmist refers to God’s king. Who is the King of kings and Lord of lords mentioned in Revelation 19.16? The Lord Jesus Christ.

In Psalm 2.7, the LORD is seen to be speaking to Another, saying these words to Him: “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” Yet Hebrews 1.5 clearly identifies this statement as being uttered by God the Father to His Son.

Why is it so important for us to identify Jesus Christ as the subject of this verse? Because the mental picture most people have of the Lord Jesus Christ these days is terribly warped and one-dimensional. This verse is crucial to a right understanding of Who Jesus Christ really is and what He is really like.

 

Next, THIS VERSE CITES THE SYMBOL OF HIS AUTHORITY AND JUDGMENT

 

The phrase describing His symbol of authority and judgment is “a rod of iron.” If a rod is frequently taken to be a symbol of authority in the Bible, then a rod of iron is likely a reference to somewhat more than mere authority. It is likely an indication of severity, as well as an indication of authority. Interestingly, the only other places where reference is made in the Bible to a “rod of iron” are three verses in the Revelation:

In Revelation 2.27, the Lord Jesus Christ promises believers who are overcomers who keep His works to the end will be given power over nations: “And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.”

In Revelation 12.5, we see the Lord Jesus Christ described as a man-child: “And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.”

In Revelation 19.15, the Lord Jesus Christ is described at His second coming in power and great glory: “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”

No wonder David Pitcairn, regarding this rod of iron, came to “prefer the opinion that it also ought to be regarded as a weapon of war.”[6] I wonder how many people, in the mental picture they have of the Lord Jesus Christ, envision Him wielding a rod of iron?

 

Finally, THIS VERSE SHOWS THE SEVERITY OF HIS WRATH

 

What will the LORD’s Anointed do with His rod of iron? Jehovah declares, “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” The “them” are obviously those who are not His Own. The “them” are obviously those who oppose His plan and the purpose of His coming. The “them” are obviously those who refuse the gospel and reject His lordship over their lives. The “them” are obviously those who are not Christians.

Those people, people you know, will be broken by the LORD’s Anointed. Perhaps you will be broken by the LORD’s Anointed. But that is not all. If you, or if those you know, die without Christ you will be “dashed in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

Romans 9.21: “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”

There can be little doubt that the imagery here is of the Messiah taking His iron rod and shattering dishonorable vessels in judgment and in wrath.

 

It surprises many people when they are first confronted with the eternity of the LORD’s Anointed. For some reason, people can live out their lives without grasping the significance that this One Who was born in Bethlehem and then laid in a manger was not only Mary’s baby boy, but also the everlasting Father and the Ancient of Days. As well, when we think of the good news, those wonderful and glorious details immediately surrounding His death for sins on the cross of Calvary, His burial in a rich man’s tomb, and His subsequent resurrection from the dead three days later and His eventual exaltation to His Father’s right hand on high, we never seem to get past the fact that sinners can get saved from their sins as a result of Christ’s saving work.

To be sure, when someone is convicted of his sins and turns to Jesus Christ for salvation full and free, his sins are washed in the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ and he is given the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. However, my friends, that is only part of the glory surrounding Christ’s coming to earth the first time. The other part has to do with what else His victory over sin, death, Hell, and the grave accomplishes. You see, the first time Jesus left heaven’s glory to come to this earth He came clothed in humility. However, when He comes again He will be clothed in majesty.

In addition, when He comes clothed in majesty, we are told in Revelation chapter 19 that He will ride a white horse, that His eyes will be as a flame of fire, and that His clothes will be dripping with the blood He shed on Calvary’s cross. We are told that He will judge and make war, that He will be followed by the armies which are in heaven, but that He will smite the nations Himself and will rule them with a rod of iron, the same rod of iron David wrote about 3,000 years ago in Psalm 2.9.

Can we be sure it is the Lord Jesus Christ? Oh, yes, there will be no mistaking Him. You see, on His clothes and on His thigh will be written these words: “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Listen to the words of the Hallelujah chorus in Handel’s Messiah, which I think is the closest thing to the angelic choir we will hear this side of heaven.

 

Hallelujah Chorus

 

Jesus Christ is the LORD’s Anointed. When He leaves heaven to come to back to this old earth for the second time, some will be happy and some will be distraught. Some will be blessed by His appearing, while some will be dashed like a potter’s vessel, shattered like an old clay vase.

What will your response at that time be? It greatly depends upon what your response now is. We here at Calvary Road Baptist Church seek to echo the words of Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, when he observed John the Baptist identify the Lord Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God. He found Peter and said, “We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus.”[7]

My friends, we, too, have found the Messiah. His name is Jesus. May we take you to where He is?



[1] Matthew 2.16

[2] John 18.12ff

[3] Revelation 19.11

[4] Cited from Charles H. Spurgeon’s “Mornings and Evenings: Daily Readings,” morning, May 9, comments on Ephesians 1.3 at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/spurgeon/morneve.may.d0509am.html?highlight=eternal,sonship,of,jesus,christ#highlight  11/17/2006

[5] Loraine Boettner, Studies In Theology, (Philadelphia, PA: The Presbyterian And Reformed Publishing Company, 1947), page 217.

[6] Cited by Charles H. Spurgeon, The Treasury Of David, Volume I, (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers), page 18.

[7] John 1.41-42

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org