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Trusting in Yahweh’s Divine Royal Son Pt. 2

Sam Shamoun

We continue from where we left off.

Could such things be said about David or any of the other Israelite kings?

Acts 4:25-26 identifies the author of the 2nd Psalm as David. In light of this attribution, one can legitimately raise the issue of whether this Psalm, in its historical context, was addressed to David, and whether all of God’s promises that are mentioned in it were made in relation to him.

It is true that the subject of the Psalm would have been David, and that everything stated therein was originally directed to him, i.e., he is the one whom God adopted as his son and appointed to be his anointed ruler whom all the kings of the earth were expected to submit to.

However, there are several indications that clearly show that the Psalm was also meant to go beyond David and find its ultimate fulfillment in someone else to come.

For instance, neither David nor any of his descendants ever experienced the blessings which God promised to confer upon his anointed one. None of the Israelite kings ever reigned over the nations, and their rule never extended over the entire earth. Nor did the kings of the earth or the nations ever come to bow down before the Israelite king in acknowledgement of his unique status and supremacy over them.

Moreover, kings like David and Solomon also committed heinous sins against God, resulting in discipline and judgment falling upon them (cf. 2 Samuel 11-12; 1 Kings 10-11). Hence, to have put one’s complete trust and hope in such imperfect, fallible sinners would have been misplaced and a clear violation of the scriptural prohibition of doing so. See the previous part of our discussion for the details.

And as we saw in part 1, the Psalter ascribes to Yahweh’s Anointed Son specific functions and honors, which are clearly divine in nature. This again suggests that the things said in Psalm 2 went above and beyond David, and were intended to be fulfilled by someone much greater than him or any of the other merely human Israelite kings.

In fact, the very placement of the Psalm, and others like it, suggest that the Israelites came to see that the promises found throughout the Psalms concerning Yahweh’s appointed Ruler pointed to a future figure, whom they called the Messiah. As the following commentator explains:

“The placement of Psalm 2 gives a perspective on the end of the wicked. The messianic agent is charged with the responsibility of subduing the wicked and all power structures that are subversive to God’s intents. Psalm 2 celebrates the possibility of a world without evildoers. This perspective encourages the godly in the belief that God is just (1:6).

“But the position of Psalm 2 after Psalm 1 and before Psalm 3 suggests that the inspired editor placed the idealized image of God’s care for the godly person (see Ps 1) as a model for the Davidic dynasty. The reader is not only in a position to discern his own growth in godliness; he or she can also assess the Davidides to determine to what extent they live up to or have lived up to the spiritual and social ideals, as well as how successful they have been in accomplishing their divinely appointed mission. The juxtaposition of Psalm 3 with Psalms 1 and 2 creates a sense of dissonance. Psalm 3 and the Davidic psalms of lament demonstrate that he did not succeed in his mission, as he cries out to the Lord for deliverance. He himself nearly succumbs to the adversities and to the adversaries. In addition, the psalms also witness to David’s bringing trouble on himself by his sins and rebelliousness (19:13; 25:7, 18; 31:10; 32:3-5; 38:3-4, 18; 40:12; 41:4; 51:1-2).

“The canonical understanding of the failure of David and the Davidic dynasty raises the question of the future of the Davidic dynasty. The canonical understanding of the Psalter is equally pessimistic (see Ps 89). Where does hope come from? The laments of David refocus the hope of the godly from David to the Lord, who has made the promises to David. Yahweh alone can and will deliver. This is also the focus of the NT. The Father sent the Son on the mission of accomplishing everything that he had expected from David and his sons; obedience, loyalty, integrity, justice, and righteousness. Further, Jesus walked in the footsteps of his ancestors by identifying with their adversities and laments. He saw his mission in the light of the whole Psalter, and he did not fail (see Introduction).” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Revised Edition, Tremper Longman III & David E. Garland (general editors) [Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI 2008], Volume 5: Psalms, p. 90; bold emphasis ours)


“The theological significance of Psalm 2 lies in the hope that it entails. The anointed king rules by God’s appointment. The wise response of repentance is a victory for the Messiah (v.12) and a token of the final victory over his enemies, the opponents of God’s kingdom (cf. Rev 19:19-21; 20:7-10). From the perspective of typology, Jesus is the fulfillment of the psalm (cf. R. T. France, Jesus and the Old Testament [London: Tyndale, 1971], 85-86). He is born of David’s lineage (Mt 1:1; Lk 2:4, 11), has a right to David’s throne (Lk 1:32), is the Son of God in a unique way (Mt 3:17; Lk 9:35; Heb 1:5), and will ultimately subdue all enemies under his feet (1Co 15:25-27; Heb 2:5-8). The ‘ideal’ kingdom of God can best be appreciated by the kingdom in Israel, i.e., from the perspective of the development of God’s promise through David’s lineage to the coming of the Messiah.” (Ibid, p. 91; bold emphasis ours)

Hence, this failure on the part of the Davidic kings in fulfilling the promises led the people of God to interpret these Psalms in a Messianic sense, e.g., they became aware that the promises awaited the coming of the Messiah to realize them in all their fullness:

“… The positive tone of the Psalter is dashed by the subsequent ‘Davidic’ psalms with and without the ‘blessing’ formula. Psalms without the blessing formula reveal a Davidide who is not in control of his situation and is wholly dependent on the Lord for deliverance (Pss 3-7). The psalms with the blessing formula reveal a Davidide who has sinned (32:3; 40:12; 41:4), has stubbornly refused to confess his sins, is in need of divine forgiveness, receives pardon from his God (32:3-5), longs for God’s deliverance, and is subject to the Lord in bringing salvation. The powerful Davidide of Psalm 2 turns out to be subject to forces outside of his control. He is also frail by virtue of his sinfulness and mortalityTo this end, the Psalter encourages an eschatological reading. In the end, the Lord will demonstrate his justice by vindicating his saints and avenging himself against the wicked (1:6). It also encourages a christological reading by seeing that Jesus Christ is everything the Psalter expects of the Israelites and Davidides. He is without sin, lived a life of absolute loyalty to the Father, suffered the lot of the psalmists, was delivered by the Father from Sheol, and has received divine retribution via the resurrection, his ascension to glory, and his being seated at the right hand of the Father. Moreover, he is empowered to sustain all who delight themselves in the Lord. What David and the Davidides failed to accomplish, Jesus Christ will; hence the first two psalms encourage us to read the Psalter christologically and eschatologically.” (Ibid, p. 98; bold emphasis ours)

This is the perspective which Christ and his followers took since they explicitly proclaimed that all the promises which God had made through his inspired prophets were intended to find their true and complete fulfillment in the Messiah to come, namely, Jesus our risen Lord and Savior:

“And he said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and ALL THE PROPHETS, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself… Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets AND THE PSALMS must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’” Luke 24:25-27, 44-47 – cf. 20:41-44

“Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’” John 1:45

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” John 5:39-40

“And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of ALL THE PROPHETS, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ And ALL THE PROPHETS who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, ALSO PROCLAIMED THESE DAYS. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.” Acts 3:17-26

To him ALL THE PROPHETS bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Acts 10:43 – cf. 1:16-20; 2:25-36

In fact, the NT even goes as far as to say that it was actually Christ who, by his Holy Spirit, spoke to the prophets when, through them, he predicted his sufferings and glorification:

“Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.” 1 Peter 1:10-12

This means that when David in Psalm 2:7 says that Yahweh told him that he was his son, we are to understand that it was actually Christ who spoke these words, using David as his mouth-piece by the Holy Spirit:

“One could say, of course, that, indirectly, many of the psalms are about David, since so many of them are by David and in them he talks about himself. In this regard, we should notice the way in which the early church viewed the Psalter. In his work On the Flesh of Christ, the church father Tertullian had this to say about the psalms of David: ‘He sings to us about Christ, and through him Christ sings about himself.’ Tertullian’s statement is firmly rooted in what the risen Jesus himself said (Luke 24:44). Hengel points out that the most important titles given to Jesus in the New Testament ‘were already given or prefigured in the hymnbook of Israel.’ He cites ‘Son (of God)’ (Ps. 2:7), ‘firstborn’ (Ps. 89:27), ‘Lord’ (Ps. 110:1), and even ‘God’ (Ps. 45:6), to which we may add ‘Messiah’ or ‘Christ’ (Ps. 2:2) and 'Son of Man' (Ps. 8:4), although the primary Old Testament source for the Son of Man is Daniel 7:13-14.

“In short, the New Testament does not contain a songbook, but that is because from a Christian perspective they already had one: the book of Psalms. For the early Christians, the Psalms were about their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Any songs or hymns or psalms that the early Christians might have composed about Christ or to Christ merely supplemented the inspired hymnbook of Israel, now appropriated by the church as its own collection of hymns about Christ. Then, as now, Jesus Christ was the center of the religious music of the church–yet in a way that never detracted from the glory of God or compromised biblical monotheism.” (Robert M. Bowman Jr. & J. Ed Komoszewski, Putting Jesus In His Place: The Case For The Deity Of Christ [Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI 2007], Part 1: The Devotion Revolution: Jesus Shares the Honors Due to God, Chapter 4. Sing to the Lord, p. 60; bold emphasis ours)

Jewish Exegesis of Psalm 2

Now lest we be accused of reading our Christian theology into the text of Psalm 2 in order to make it to fit in with the teaching of the NT, we have decided to cite some Jewish sources in order to show that even disbelieving Jews have interpreted Psalms such as this one in respect to the coming Messiah.

The Jews that produced the Dead Sea Scrolls believed that Psalm 2 refers to the time when the Messiah would come. They even cite 2 Samuel 7:12-14 and Amos 9:11 as prophecies which the Messiah would fulfill when he arrives:

10 And 2Sam 7:12-14 <<YHWH de[clares] to you that he will build you a house. I will raise up your seed after you and establish the throne of his kingdom 11 [for ev]er. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to me.>> This (refers to the) <<branch of David>>, who will arise with the Interpreter of the law who 12 [will rise up] in Zi[on in] the last days, as it is written: Amos 9:11 <<I will raise up the hut of David which has fallen>>, This (refers to) <<the hut of 13 David which has fallen>>, who will arise to save Israel.… 18Ps2:1 [<<Why do] the nations [become agitated] and the peoples plo[t] nonsense? [The kings of the earth [ag]ree [and the ru]lers conspire together against YHWH and against 19 [his anointed>>. Inter]pretation of the saying: [the kings of the na]tions [become agitated and conspire against] the elect of Israel in the last days. (Florentino García Martínez, The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The Qumran Texts in English [Brill Academic Pub., Second Edition 1997], 4QFlorilegium (4Q174 [4QFlor]), p. 136)

Rabbinic sources also understood Psalm 2 messianicly:

Our Rabbis taught, The Holy One, blessed be He, will say to the Messiah, the son of David (May he reveal himself speedily in our days!), ‘Ask of me anything, and I will give it to thee’, as it is said, I will tell of the decree etc. this day have I begotten thee, ask of me and I will give the nations for thy inheritance.14 But when he will see that the Messiah the son of Joseph is slain, he will say to Him, ‘Lord of the Universe, I ask of Thee only the gift of life’. As to life’, He would answer him, ‘Your father David has already prophesied this concerning you’, as it is said, He asked life of thee, thou gavest it him, [even length of days for ever and ever].15

(14) Ps. II, 7 and 8.
(15) Ps. XXI, 5. (Babylonian Talmud, Sukkah 52a)

The following reference is rather remarkable:

9. I will declare of the decree of the Lord. He said unto me: ‘Thou art My son’ (Ps. 2:7): The children of Israel are declared to be sons in the decree of the Law, in the decree of the Prophets, and in the decree of the Writings: In the decree of the Law it is written Thus saith the Lord: Israel is My son, My first-born (Ex. 4:22). In the decree of the Prophets it is written Behold My servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high (Isa. 52:13), and it is also written Behold My servant, whom I uphold: Mine elect, in whom My soul delighteth (Isa. 42:1). In the decree of the Writings it is written, “Sit thou at My right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Ps. 110:1), and it is also written I saw in the night visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man, and he came even to the Ancient of days, and he was brought near before Him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him (Dan. 7:13, 14).

In another comment, the verse is read I will tell of the decree: The Lord said unto me: Thou art My son… Ask of Me, and I will give the nations for thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth for thy possession (Ps. 2:7, 8). R. Yudan said: All these goodly promises are in the decree of the King, the King of kings, who will fulfill them for the lord Messiah. (The Midrash on Psalms, William G. Braude (translator) [Yale University Press, New Haven 1959], Yale Judaica Series, Volume XIII, Leon Nemoy (editor), Book One, Psalm 2:9; bold emphasis ours)

In this citation, Psalm 2:7-8 is combined with Psalm 110:1, Isaiah 42:1, 52:13 and Daniel 7:13-14, all in reference to the Messiah!

The reason why we say remarkable is because these are some of the very texts which the NT writers (and Christians in general) appeal or allude to in order to provide prophetic evidence that the Messiah is God Incarnate who will be worshiped by all the nations as he reigns over the entire creation forever (cf. Matthew 12:15-21; 28:16-18; Mark 12:35-37; 14:62; John 5:27; Acts 2:29-36; 5:31; 7:55-56; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Ephesians 1:19-23; Hebrews 1:1-14; 5:5-6; 8:1-2; 10:12-13; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22; Revelation 1:12-18; 14:14-16; 22:1-3).

The above rabbinic interpretation caused renowned Jewish Christian scholar and apologist Dr. Michael L. Brown to exclaim:

“What an exalted figure!

“Now let’s put this all together: According to this Midrash, the justification for calling the king the son of God is based on: (1) God calling Israel his firstborn son; (2) prophecies from Isaiah referring to the faithful servant of the Lord, clearly Messianic references; (3) a royal psalm in which God says to the king, ‘Sit at my right hand,’ and the glorious ‘son of man’ prophecy from Daniel. If I didn’t read this myself in the Hebrew Midrash Tehillim, I would have thought that a Messianic Jew put these verses together. They are some of the most common texts that we quote, all with reference to Jesus the Messiah. And here the rabbis tie them in with the Davidic king as son of God. In fact, Rabbi Yudan states explicitly that the words ‘you are my son’ refer to the Messiah.

“There were a number of Davidic kings in our history, some of whom were great, like David, Solomon, Hezekiah, and Josiah, and each of whom would have been called ‘God’s son.’ But none of them sat down at God’s right hand (Psalm 110), none of them were (or are) worshiped and adored by people of every nation and tongue (Daniel 7), and only Yeshua, who called himself both ‘Son of man’ and ‘Son of God,’ will return in the clouds of heaven (again, Daniel 7). He fulfills that which was prophetically spoken of the Davidic king, the anointed (mashiach) of the Lord, in the Prophets and the Psalms.

“In fact, according to Psalm 45 and Isaiah 9, this anointed king was even called ‘God.’…” (Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus [Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI 2000], Volume Two: Theological Objections, 3.3. God doesn’t have a son, p. 42; bold emphasis ours)

What an exalted figure indeed! The Messiah is truly an amazing figure to say the least.

Concluding Remarks

According to Psalm 2, Yahweh has commanded all the kings of the nations to submit to the rule of his Anointed One. Yahweh further commands them to worship and place their trust in his appointed Ruler lest God’s King destroy them in his wrath and anger.

Psalm 2 further has Yahweh embracing the Messiah as his unique Son and Heir whom he has granted all the nations, in fact the entire earth, as his possession and inheritance.

The NT proclaims that this King, which Psalm 2 speaks of, is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. He is God’s unique Son and Heir whom all the nations must worship and submit to. The NT writings further warn against rejecting the Son of God since Christ is the appointed Judge who shall descend from heaven to save his people and destroy all those who refuse to place their trust in him.

This is another time where the Old and New Testaments perfectly agree with each concerning the nature and work of the Messiah, while contradicting the message of the Quran which, although confirming that Jesus is the Messiah, denies that Christ is God’s unique Son and eternal King whom all nations must worship since they are his eternal possession.

Muslims must, therefore, accept the fact that the message of God’s true prophets and apostles directly oppose the teachings of Muhammad. They need to make a conscious decision of whether they will continue believing in a false prophet, or obey the words of Yahweh by turning to and trusting in his unique beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Our prayer is that they will choose the latter since this is the only hope of salvation that they have:

“So Jesus again said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.’” John 10:7-10

“‘Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” John 14:1-6

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

“I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.”1 Timothy 1:12-16

“And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:27-28

Amen! Come Lord Jesus, come! By God’s grace we have put our complete faith and trust in you, believing that you are the unique Son of God and sovereign Lord of creation who reigns forever. We pray and hope that we will always love and worship you, O risen Lord of glory! Amen!

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