There are very few people who seem to realize that the central theme of the Psalms is Jesus Christ. It was our Lord Himself Who walked with the disciples to Emmaus. He opened unto them in the Scriptures the things which were written both in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms concerning Himself (see Luke 24:44). It is our purpose to seek out the story of Christ as revealed by the Psalms.
The three Psalms which we are to consider, bring before us an epitome of the whole Book. We might speak of the 1st Psalm as the prefatory Psalm; the 2d and 3d Psalms are merely an enlargement of the first.
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
"But his delight is in the Law of the Lord; and in His Law doth he meditate day and night" (Ps. 1:1, 2).
The blessed Man of these verses primarily is Christ. He is the only One Who never walked in the counsel of the ungodly; Who never stood in the way of sinners; Who never sat in the seat of the scornful. He is the only One Who delighted perfectly in the Law of the Lord; Who brought forth fruit in its season; and Who prospered in all His ways. The first Adam walked in the counsel of the lawless one. He had a posterity that is in the way of sinners; he became a party to and took his seat with the scornful.
The first Adam refused either to delight himself in, or to obediently follow after the Law of the Lord. He was a tree with withered fruit, and certainly he did not prosper in his way. What is true of Adam is true of all his seed, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Men are certainly guilty; they are no better than their fathers were; they walk according to the counsel of the prince of the air; they stand in the lineage of sinners, and are partakers in the seat of the scornful.
We readily grant that the three verses before us may refer to the saved; but, they are true of the redeemed only, because they are true of the Redeemer. The words speak first of all of our Lord Jesus Christ, and then of those who are hid with Christ in God.
The only Blessed Man, Who came in line of Adam's race,
Yet never walk'd, or stood, or sat in sinners' way or place,
But always did delight in God, and did His Law embrace—
Was Jesus Christ, God's only Son, all filled with truth and grace.
"The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
"Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
"For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous; but the way of the ungodly shall perish" (Ps. 1:4-6).
The ungodly or the lawless one is like unto the chaff which the wind driveth away; he shall not rise or stand in the judgment, nor have part in the congregation of the righteous; his ways shall perish.
Of course, the verses under consideration speak of every man who is not in Christ, but they also speak of that supreme one, the man of sin, the antichrist. If the man of verses 1 to 3 is primarily Christ, then the man of verses 4 to 6 is pre-eminently of the antichrist. If what is true of Christ is also true of those who are in Christ, what is true of the antichrist is certainly true of those who are under the sway of the antichrist.
There is certainly a day coming when the antichrist will be revealed; and, when he is revealed, he will be such an one as described in these verses.
All the ungodly of the earth, who grace and mercy spurn,
Will pale before the wrath of God, and all His judgments learn;
Together with the lawless one, they like the chaff will burn,
When God His congregation saves, one blessed, happy morn.
"Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
"The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His Anointed, saying,
"Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us" (Ps. 2:1-3).
In the 2d Psalm we discover the antagonism between Christ, the blessed Man of the 1st Psalm, and the antichrist, the ungodly one, of the 1st Psalm.
The verses under consideration give a picture of the nations tumultuously assembling. It is the story of a federation taking counsel and sitting in collusion against the Messiah. The final fulfillment of these words will take place under the reign of the antichrist and the federated kingdom, of the restored Roman empire. The verses anticipate the battle of Armageddon. They look forward to the time when the kings of the earth, dominated by a satan-empowered man of sin, will battle against the Son of God. The "get together" spirit is already in the air. Nations are affiliating with nations. The "League" idea is more or less the same as the "Babel" idea. God saw the tower of the latter, and He said: "Nothing will be restrained from them which they have imagined to do." Therefore did God confound their language, and "scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth."
If the nations were amalgamating under Christ as King of kings, it would be different. But world nations have said: "We will not have this Man to reign over us." They have confederated against the Lord and against His Christ.
The heathen rage, the kings of earth, together all are found,
They gather and they set themselves, and by one oath are bound
To break the bands and cast away the cords God set around;
Against the Lord they counsel, and against Messiah, crowned.
"He that sitteth in the Heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
"Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and rex them in His sore displeasure.
"Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion.
"I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said onto Me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee.
"Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession" (Ps. 2:4-8).
The verses before us open with the derision which Christ manifests as He speaks forth His displeasure against the assembled and confederated nations. The Lord is sitting in the Heavens. He has not yet come to the Mount of Olives, but we believe He has come to the Heavens above.
The first stage of His Second Advent, which includes His descent into the air, and His rapture of the Church, has taken place. The day of the wrath of the Lamb has come; the day in which the Lord will save Israel and judge the nations. The verses show how Jesus Christ will break those who took counsel together against Him. He will "break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."
When the Lord comes again He comes as the little stone without hands from the mountain side, falling upon the toes of the great colossus of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and grinding it to powder. The antichrist and his combinations against the Messiah will be utterly overthrown.
The 6th verse describes Jesus Christ taking David's throne. The holy hill of Zion refers to the Great City of the King. To this city our Lord shall come and on its throne our Lord shall reign. This was the promise given by the angel to Mary: "And the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of his father David."
Verses 7 and 8 describe our Lord as He speaks to the Father and claims the fulfillment of a decree pledged to Christ concerning His inheritance of the nations and His possession of the uttermost parts of the earth. These words cannot be fulfilled until the First-begotten, the One raised from the dead, Jesus Christ the Son of God, comes and takes His throne.
It is folly for a missionary to pray this prayer. It is an impossibility for any missionary, let him labor ever so faithfully, and preach ever so diligently, to take the world for Christ. He may indeed take out of the nations a people for Christ's name; but Christ alone, and Christ alone enthroned, can pray unto God and receive from God the nations for an inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for a possession. The Lord Himself will make good the investure of His Father, through a series of judgments. It can never be accomplished by the preaching of the Gospel of Peace by the Church.
The Lord Who sitteth in the air, shall laugh and them deride,
And in His wrath He'll vex them sore, and in His anger chide;
And God the Father will declare—all His decrees abide—
That Christ the Son shall e'er possess the earth, both far and wide.
"Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.
"Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah" (Ps. 3:1, 2).
The 3d Psalm gives us, in picture, what the 2d Psalm gives us in prophecy. The 3d Psalm is a prayer of David as he fled from Absalom his son.
It is most interesting to study this Psalm from the viewpoint of history, but it is marvelously instructive to behold in this story of Absalom's rebellion and David's prayer, the illuminating type of the conflict between Christ and the antichrist.
The first two verses open with the words, "Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me." Absalom sought the kingdom. It was not his by right. The kingdom after David belonged to Solomon. Absalom sought to steal the hearts of the children of Israel; he said, "Oh that I were made judge in the land."
On this manner did Absalom: "It was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him." Thus "did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment." So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
After a time Absalom, under pretension of going to Hebron to worship, raised an insurrection against his father. The news was brought to David, and, with breaking heart he and those who were true to him, passed, in flight, over the brook Kedron, and camped for the night. It was during the night that the king prayed this prayer: "How are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God." All of this is a striking picture of the antichrist, and the methods he will employ against the rightful King of kings, and Lord of lords.
Another king 'gainst Christ shall rise,
And seek to rob Him of the prize
Of David's throne;
But not for long his reign shall be,
Before the coming Christ he'll flee—
"But Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
"I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and He heard me out of His holy hill. Selah.
"I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.
"I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.
"Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God: for Thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; Thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly" (Ps. 3:3-7).
The above verses show how David found victory in the darkest moment of his life. When everything, humanly speaking, was against him; when the cloud's were lowering above him; then his faith pierced through it all. He saw Absalom overthrown; his enemies put down, and himself sustained. The triumph of his faith caused him to cry: "I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about." Then with his eyes fixed on Jehovah, he said, "Thou hast smitten all my enemies upon the cheek bone; Thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly."
This victory of David was fully achieved when Absalom hung by his head from the oak, and when his armies were routed. King David was victorious. Afterward, the people who had turned against him said, "Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back?" All of this is a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ, of His victory over the antichrist, and of His people, Israel, being restored to His confidence and love.
Satan is a usurper. He will give his power over to the man of sin. This man of sin, will come in his own name. The Jews will receive him. They will make a league with him. But, the Lord Jesus Who sits in the Heavens shall laugh, He will not fail nor be discouraged, until He hath set judgment in the earth.
The Lord Jesus Christ, in that hour when all the world set their faces against Him, and Calvary's Cross was immediately before Him, prophesied of His resurrection (see Matt. 16:21). He, like David was not afraid. He saw and understood His final victory.
When, once again, the world is arrayed against the Lord, He will shout the shout of victory; He will see Himself a conqueror and His Kingdom restored. Jesus Christ will see satan overthrown, the antichrist and the false prophet cast into the lake of fire, and He will see the kingdoms of the world becoming the Kingdom of our Lord and His Christ.
Let antichrist select his hordes,
And all the armies earth affords,
Christ knows no fear.
The Lord will come in victory,
As God foretold in prophecy,
The time is near.
"For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish" (Ps. 1:6).
"Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth
"Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
"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" (Ps. 2:10-12).
"Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: Thy blessing is upon Thy people. Selah" (Ps. 3:8).
The first three chapters of the Psalms are all intimately connected.
The 1st Psalm describes Christ over against the antichrist.
The 2d Psalm describes the nations banded together under the antichrist and Christ overthrowing them, and setting up His Kingdom.
The 3d Psalm describes the antichrist under the figure of Absalom, and the Christ under the figure of David, with Christ's shout of victory.
It is our purpose now, to notice the closing words of admonition revealed in each of these Psalms.
1. In Psalm 1:6, we read, "For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish."
This admonition clearly establishes the fact that it is better in the end, to be under the Blood and in the way with Christ, than to be in sin, and under the sway of the antichrist. The wicked may have a temporary prosperity, but ultimately they shall perish.
2. The closing admonition of the 2d Psalm is an exhortation to the kings and judges of the earth, to "serve the Lord with fear," to "kiss the Son" in view of the fact that the wicked shall perish when the wrath of God is made manifest.
The concluding word of Psalm 2 is, "Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him." Therefore, the people of the earth must receive instruction, and trust in the Lord, or else they shall perish in the way.
3. The closing order of the 3d Psalm describes the same results as the 1st and the 2d Psalms. The 3d Psalm presents the picture of the enemy smitten upon the cheek bone—the teeth of the ungodly are broken. On the other hand, salvation belongeth unto the Lord, and His blessing is upon His people.
With this threefold admonition before us, it behooves every one to make their choice between Christ and Belial. We must choose this day whom we will serve. It will not be long until the lines will be drawn, and those who have followed satan and satan's superman, will be cast into great tribulation. But those who have followed God and God's holy Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, will be blest in Him. Moses in his last days said, "I have set before you life and death; blessing and cursing; therefore, choose life." So also say we.
This one loud note let all sound forth,
Through east and west, through south and north,
The Lord will come.
The wicked will be overthrown,
The righteous ones the Lord will own,
When He comes home.