TEXT: Psalm 2:1-5
“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. 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 vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.”
Last week was one in which the world barely missed seeing history made. After a long period of campaigning and debate, the people of Scotland went to the polls to decide whether or not they would separate from England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, shattering a union that has held for over 300 years since 1707. Well, despite a historic voter turnout — nearly 90% in some places — the vote was a resounding, ‘No, old chap!’ Scotland still belongs to the Queen.
In our study of the end times, we have seen that several nations feature prominently: Israel, Babylon, and the Roman Empire (which likely corresponds to the European Union of our day). However, the Bible reveals that just as God has a plan for the Jews, He also has a plan for all nations — the people of Earth spoken of in the Bible as Gentiles.
Many people today are concerned about the state of the world. Why is there so much turmoil? Why is there so much war? Why is there so much unrest, crime, and strife? People are dissatisfied with their governments and they are rising up, seeking to overthrow their rulers. It seems as though man is either incapable or unwilling to live in peace with his fellowman.
As we turn our attention to God’s dealings with the nations, we are going to look briefly at some background matter that will set us up to understand God’s future dealings with the world.
The first thing we want to know is why is the world the way it is? Almost in a tone of amazement or shock, the psalmist asks, “Why do the heathen rage? Why do the people imagine a vain thing?” The Hebrew word used for “heathen” simply means “nations” or “peoples”, — the gentiles.
Psalm 2 is classified as a “royal psalm,” and as such it was used by the kings of Israel during their coronations. This psalm is also well-known because of its messianic and millennial undertones. As we read this psalm, we cannot help but apply it to the coming of Jesus Christ and our modern context. We ask, why do the nations rage against God and against what God has commanded?
Today, more than ever, we see a flaunting of society turning its back on God and God’s laws — not just the laws laid down in the Bible, but the inner law which God has put in every man’s heart. Some of the things that are happening today would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.
America has moved beyond the increase in atheism. We now have Satanists, loudly and publicly advocating their desire to worship the devil and satan. In Oklahoma City, Satanists held a Black Mass on government property, and there was seemingly nothing anybody could do to stop them. The Satanic Temple in New York City is opening a chapter in Detroit. Satanists are also pushing to have a statue of a demonic symbol erected at the Oklahoma State Capitol alongside a monument of the Ten Commandments. And the Satanic Temple has announced that it will be launching 15 more chapters across the United States in the coming weeks. The leader of the Detroit chapter said their group is not so much about worshipping Satan like Christians worship God and Jesus, but rather they embrace the “metaphorical, literary construct of Satan [because] he’s a symbol for rebellion, a symbol of human nature…”
We all know what Satan did. He rebelled against God. And that brings us back to our question: Why is the world the way it is? It is simply because the nations, the heathens, have raged against God. They have rebelled against God. They have turned their backs on God’s goodness, His mercy, His grace, His law, and His justice. That is why we have war, poverty, disease, crime, violence, death, and despair in our world. That is why it seems as though people cannot get along with each other — because the nations have rebelled against God.