Advent Sermon: Psalm 2. Georg Stoeckhardt
Why do the heathen rage, and the people talk in vain? The kings of the nations revolt, and the lords take counsel together against the Lord and His anointed: “Let us tear off their bands, and throw off their cords.” But He who lives in heaven laughs at them, and the Lord mocks them. Then He will speak to them in His wrath, and with His fury He will terrify them. “But I have set up my king on my holy mountain, Zion.”
I will preach [in such a manner?], that the Lord spoke to me: “You are my Son, today I have begotten you; ask of me, and I will give the heathen to be your inheritance, and the ends of the earth as your possession. You shall smash them to pieces with an iron scepter, as pottery you shall shatter them.”
So be wise now, you kings, and let yourselves be beaten, you judges on earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, so that He does not become angry and you die on the way, because His wrath will soon be ignited. But blessed are all those which trust in Him.
As king David stood at the height of his might and power, he received from Nathan the great revelation of a king which would arise from his seed in the distant future, and who would far outshine him, the anointed of God. God would establish the throne of His kingdom eternally.
The promise of the coming Messiah, the Seed of the Woman, the Seed of Abraham, was now bound to the house of David. David bowed immediately before this king and son of David, which Nathan put before his eyes, and thanked God for the great grace which He had directed toward his house.
What David heard and believed, he now preached also to his people. The Holy Spirit, which had opened to him a glimpse of the future, came over him and made the king of Israel to be a prophet to his people. In his psalms David highly praised the Son of David, the greater king to come, whose kingdom would have no end.
Thus we edify ourselves now with the psalms of David, which deal with Christ and His kingdom. Two [of the same, however?] in which especially the suffering and death of Christ are prophesied, belong much more to the time of the passion [Lent].
God had said through Nathan concerning the king,t he Son of David, which was promised to David: “I will be His Father, and He shall be my Son.” King David had also taken this word directly to heart. And the Holy Spirit gave him still more information about this blessed mystery of the Son of David and Son of God.
Him, David, God had granted victory over all his enemies, as well as might and glory. Princes and kings paid homage to him. Still the glory of the reign of David was only a bare shadow of the majesty of the king which would spring up in the distant future from the line of David.
Before the Messiah of Israel, the King of Zion, who likewise lives and reigns in heaven, all peoples would bow to the very ends of the earth, whether willingly or by compulsion.
David laid his crown at the feet of this God and King before the [judging?] eyes of his people. Israel should not be [deluded] [into thinking] that in him, the first David, the promise of the Father had already been fulfilled.
The prophecy of the second Psalm describes with clear, unmistakeable and powerful words the dignity and exaltation, the reign and the judgment of the Son of God. These words need no additions. Still we also here will compare the prophecy with its fulfillment.
The Holy Spirit Himself, who gave this prophecy to King David, has in many places in the new testament Scripture interpreted and explained [this Psalm.]
And in the light of the fulfillment; in the light of the interpretation, which God Himself has given, the weighty words of our text are given only more shine and splendor.
Thus, on the basis of this text we discuss
The Majesty of the Son of God.
+Jesus Christ, the Son of David, is really the Son of God and the King of Israel.
++He will judge the peoples with righteousness.
+++Therefore all shall honor the Son just as they honor the Father.
As the Lord Jesus, after He was baptized and anointed with the Holy Spirit, first of all travelled in Judea and gathered disciples, also Philip recognized in Him the promised Messiah. And he went forth, called his friend Nathanael and said: “We have found Him of whom Moses and the Prophets have written.” And Nathanael came and saw and said, “You are the Son of God and the King of Israel.” In doing so he also confessed Him as the promised Christ. Already in the Psalm at hand David pointed out the “Son of God, the King of Israel.”
The Messiah, which Israel awaited and which now is revealed in the person of Jesus, is the Son of God. Of Him David witnesses in our Psalm and said: “I will declare in such manner as the Lord said to me: ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.” V. 7. David, the prophet, shows the depths of eternity. Before the foundation of the world was laid, the eternal Father spoke to the eternal Son: ‘Today have I begotten You.’” It is the today of God, the today of eternity. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, begotten of the Father in eternity. He is true Son of God, from the Father begotten [and born?]. To which people, to which angel has God said, “You are my Son, today have I begotten you?” Heb. 1:5. It is true that also men and the angels are called children of God. But Christ is the only Son, the only-begotten Son of God, out of the substance of the Father begotten, not made or created, the only-begotten Son, who from eternity to eternity is in the Father’s bosom. The mystery is great and deep. We cannot say a single syllable more about it than the Scripture says. Every human interpretation is flattened by this blessed mystery. Christ is truly and certainly the Son of God. The Father has said to the Son: You are my Son. The Father, God, the Most High, has already witnessed to the Son in eternity. And even this witness of the Father has the eternal Son made known and revealed to us. He says: “I will preach what the Lord said to me,” etc. The only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, has made known to us what went on between Him and the Father in blessed eternity. He has made it known with His own lips when He as man walked visibly on earth, and has preached it through the mouths of the Apostles and Prophets. And supported by this witness of the Son and the Father the Christian Church now confesses: We believe in Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, God of God, Light of light, very God of very God.
But this Son of God, who in eternity, in heaven, lives and reigns, even this one David sees now in the midst of time, in the world, on the throne of David, on the Holy Mount Zion sitting and reigning. The Father has witnessed further of the Son: “I have my king set up on my Holy Mountain, Zion.” V. 5. The Son of God is the King of Israel. The Father has already from eternity given the heathen, the peoples to the end of the world, to His Son to be His possession. “Ask of me, and I will give you the heathen as your inheritance, and the end of the world as your possession.” V. 8. Before the world, before time, the Father had already given the Son the world, humanity, yes, the lost world, the sinful humanity, as a present. As in heaven, so shall He also on earth reign and rule. [Even to this purpose, that He might take a possession out of his inheritance, the Son of God, the Lord Jehovah, immediately elected a people out of all peoples, the people of Israel.?] And when the time was fulfilled, He came into His own [possession]. God sent His Son, born of a woman, the daughter of David. But His own would not receive Him. The rulers of the Jews, even worse, nailed the Lord of glory to a cross. Still directly through His own blood the Son of God has now won and purchased Israel and the people of the heathen as His own. And through His resurrection He has been mightily made known as the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Even this Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified, the King of the Jews, sits now at the right hand of God, and because He is exalted, therefore is he present to all creatures to the end of the world, and He lives and reigns on His holy Mount Zion, in His people, His church. He gathers a people to be His own out of all heathen and peoples from the ends of the earth. We also have become His inheritance and His own [possession]. And as many as receive Him, He has given them power to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. WE are all God’s children through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We are all through Him participants in the divine nature. And He will give us His glory, which He had with the Father before the world’s foundation was laid.
Christ is the Son of God and the King of Israel, to whom all the peoples to the ends of the earth belong. And He will therefore judge the peoples with righteousness. So says the Scripture. And in our Psalm this word of Scripture will be explained [interpreted?]. Alas, the majority of people will not recognize this God and King, their God and King! They want to rob Him of His divine majesty, and to raise up strife and war against Him. Of this speaks the Psalmist: “Why do heathen rage, and the people talk in vain? The kings of the nations revolt, and the lords take counsel with each other against the Lord and against His anointed. Let us tear off their bands, and throw their cords away from us.” V. 1-3. The people on earth, and especially the great ones and princes among the peoples, rage and are indignant against God and His Christ. They take counsel with one another how they might hurl the anointed, the eternal Son, from His throne. They tear the bands and cords, which the Son of God has wrapped around them, the bands and cords of love, with which He has bound them to Himself, that He has reconciled humanity with God and redeemed them from sin, death, and the devil. They do not want to let the easy yoke and the light burden of Christ be laid on their neck, or they throw it off again after they have carried it a little while. The whole history of the world can be filed away under this uproar of humanity against God and the witness of His Holy Spirit. In the time of the Old Covenant the kings of the heathen bound themselves together against the inheritance of Jehovah, the people of Israel, in order to destroy the throne of David. And as the rulers of the Jews had crucified Christ, the son of God, their King, and now also laid their hands upon the apostles of Jesus Christ, who openly bore witness to this Lord and King, there was fulfilled in turn the word of the Psalmist. There came the Christians together and prayed in unity of heart to God and said, “Lord, you who are the God who made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that is therein; You who through the mouth of David, your servant, have said, “Why are the heathen indignant, and the peoples carry out what is vain? The kings of the earth walk together, and the princes gather themselves in a heap against the Lord, and against His Christ. Truly, yes, they have gathered themselves over Your holy Child, Jesus, which You have anointed, Herod with Pontius Pilate, the heathen and the people of Israel; to do, what Your hand and Your counsel had considered before, that it should happen. And now, Lord, look on their threats, and give to your servants with all joy to speak your word.” Acts 4:24-29. For three centuries the heathen Caesar tried hard to eradicate the kingdom, the church of this Christ with sword and fire, and to wipe out this hated name. Later the Antichrist rose up and stole from Christ His honor and majesty and laid it upon himself and gave himself out to be the anointed of God and bound the peoples with iron bands to his commandments and rules. Still today the people and the princes on earth rage, fume, and take counsel together against the Lord and His anointed. The peoples who have been at least outwardly subject to the scepter and name of Christ for centuries, have in the present times torn this band and do not want Christ to reign over them. The most poisonous, most horrible blasphemies are vomited from these scoffers in these last days against the King on the throne of God. The world, the cultivated together with the uncultivated, is enraged and angered with Christ, the Son of God, who truly has done nothing to harm them. The world loves its lusts and spurns therefore the glory of Christ, His grace and truth. The world loves its honor and therefore takes from the Son of God his honor. The world loves its wisdom and knowledge and spurns therefore the heavenly, eternal wisdom. Certainly, the mind, the soul of the world is enmity, wrath, hatred against Christ and His reign. And it takes only a small disagreement for this secret fury to burst forth into bright flames.
But the Son of God will still this boiling, waving sea in his time, command the rage and wrath of His enemies to stop and judge the peoples with righteousness. Now for awhile He holds it back. But already now he laughs and mocks the foolishness and madness of his enemies. “But He who lives in heaven laughs at them, and the Lord mocks them.” V. 4. And so may and should we also confidently laugh at, mock, and defy the wisdom, greatness, power, pleasure and glory of this world. The Son of God sits on David’s throne, and the enemies of his kingdom may not go a step further than He allows them. They may and cannot wholly destroy and eradicate His Israel. “And He will speak with them once in His wrath, and with His fury will He terrify them.” V. 5. When the king will come in His glory and his holy angels with Him, when the last trumpet sounds, when the judge begins to reckon with the lords and kings on earth and with the frivolous, impudent sinners, then they will all turn pale and be frightened, and their rage and wrath will turn into wailing and gnashing of teeth. The Father has said to the Son: “You shall smash them with an iron scepter, as pottery shall you shatter them.” V. 9. So also prophesies St. John in the Revelation: “And He shall shepherd them with an iron rod, and as a potters vessel shall he smash them.” Rev. 2:27. He saw in Spirit a Son, a little boy, who would “rule all the heathen with an iron rod.” Rev. 12:5. Christ, God’s Son, will on that day, on the day of fury and wrath, strike the whole world as an earthen vessel and all his enemies shatter and break. Oh, that the people on earth would leave off from their foolish, mad business in time, make peace with the future judge, and give glory to the Son of the Highest!
Yes, all shall honor the Son as they honor the Father. That the eternal Son Himself has commanded. And the Psalmist explains this instruction and admonition. “So be wise, you kings, and let yourselves be defeated, you judges on earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, that He not be angry, and you perish in the way; because his wrath will soon be ignited.” V. 10-12. Thus we exhort the sinners on earth, the rebellious: be wise! Let yourself be chastised! Leave off from your [bad] beginning! Consider whom you go against: against the highest King and judge, who holds heaven and earth and everything in them in His hand. Serve the Lord with fear, rejoice with trembling. Fear the Lord, who has power to damn body and soul in hell. Tremble before the almighty, who will repay everyone according to what he has done. Serve Him, subject yourself to His word and will, His Gospel. Yes, rejoice in Him, his Salvation, His grace. With Him is much forgiveness. Kiss the Son, do homage to Him, kiss the Son of Love, the beloved Son of the Father. God has not sent His beloved Son into the world, that He might judge the world, rather instead that the world through Him might become saved and blessed. Whoever believes in Him will not be lost, but instead have eternal life. Whoever does not believe, he will be damned. Who does not believe, whoever is angry with the king, the same remains under wrath, he goes on the way that leads to eternal lostness. Therefore kiss the son, that he not be angry and you perish on the way, because his wrath will soon be kindled. [?]
“But blessed are those who trust in Him.” V. 12. That is the comfort of the believers, who the world, its lust and its pride renounce and to the God and King of Israel have sworn faithfulness (allegiance?). It is well with all those who trust in Him, who set their confidence on the Lord of Lords. They have it good. They already have help here in all distress. They have protection and shielding against the devil and his gang. They have peace and joy and righteousness in the God of their Salvation. And when the wrath of the Son of God burns over the whole world that is at enmity with Him, when the King casts those at His left into eternal fire, then will He say to those at His right: “Come here, you blessed of my Father, and inherit the Kingdom, that is prepared for you from the beginning of the world!’ Then we will receive the heavenly, eternal inheritance and will see the King in His beauty, the Son of God in His majesty. And we will give praise and Honor to the Lord and His anointed, God and His Christ, in all eternity. To this end help us, Christ, the Son of God! Amen.