What President Obama, his Administration, and Other Leaders of Nations Ought to Do Now (Part 3)

plan-for-the-nations

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God’s Plan for the Nations #9

TEXT: Psalm 2

Psalm 2 is a messianic psalm based on historical reality. It is divided into four three-verse stanzas. David speaks in the first stanza, God the Father speaks in the second stanza, Jesus Christ speaks in the third stanza, and the Holy Spirit speaks in the fourth stanza.

In the first message in this part of our series titled, “What President Obama, his Administration, and Other Leaders of Nations Ought to Do Now (Part 3), God’s Plan for the Nations #9,” we began looking at what God would have the nations to do in light of the punishment that will come down on them because of their disobedience to Him. David urges the leaders of the world to “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” The nations are encouraged to confess their sins, repent, and return to the laws of God. Wise leaders will lead their nations to listen to this instruction and turn back to God.

In our last message, we looked at the second part of God’s solution for the nations, and that is that the nations should turn to Jesus Christ for salvation. The world indeed needs a moral revival in which all of the nations turn back to God and begin obeying His laws. However, not only do we need a moral revival, but we need a spiritual revival. The sick and sinful hearts and souls of mankind need to be healed and made whole. And the only way that can be done is through Jesus Christ.

Today, we want to look at God’s promise to bestow blessing and favor upon the nations if they repent of their sins, begin obeying God’s laws, and turn to Jesus Christ for salvation. The Psalmist concludes this passage on a hopeful note by saying, “Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” Not only those people, but those nations, who put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ will experience God’s blessings.

Allow me to first share with you what Charles Spurgeon said about this last phrase in verse 12 from his classic Treasury of David. He said, “Note the benediction with which the Psalm closes:—”Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” Have we a share in this blessedness? Do we trust in him? Our faith may be slender as a spider’s thread; but if it be real, we are in our measure blessed. The more we trust, the more fully shall we know this blessedness. We may therefore close the Psalm with the prayer of the apostles:—”Lord, increase our faith.””

According to the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, a blessing is “the authoritative pronouncement of God’s favor.” Psalm 33:12 says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…” If the people of the Gentile nations begin following God’s laws and place their trust in Jesus Christ, they will experience God’s blessings and favor. Israel was blessed as long as its people worshiped God and followed His law in their hearts. When they ceased doing that, they were cursed and they began to suffer God’s judgment.

Every nation should strive to be in a position to receive God’s favor. Samuel Adams, an American statesman and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence said, “The name of the Lord (says the Scripture) is a strong tower; thither the righteous flee and are safe. Let us secure His favor and He will lead us through the journey of this life and at length receive us to a better [life].”

This past week, President Obama quoted Scripture to support his immigration policy. He quoted God’s command to the Israelites in Exodus 22:21 which says, “Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Although some people didn’t like him doing that, it was good that he acknowledged the Lord and His Word. However, he needs to do more than just quote Scripture. He needs to confess his sins of leading the nation down the wrong path, and he needs to lead the nation in repenting of its sins, turning back to God, and trusting in God once again.

In this passage, the phrase “trust in him” bears the meaning of taking refuge or taking shelter. Those who trust in God will find that they are under God’s protection. God will protect and provide for those nations that trust in Him. The only way to be safe from the wrath of God is to be under God’s favor.

The message of Psalm 2 is largely futuristic. It speaks of a future king and a future judgment. However, it is also a message for the nations today. While God has seen fit to declare that the rebellious nations will suffer under His wrath, He has also provided a way of hope for those who wish to turn back to Him. The question has been raised for six years: President Obama is smart but is he wise? If President Obama is wise he will confess his sins and repent, and he will lead the nation in prayer and repentance. And every wise head of state and nation will take advantage of this opportunity and turn back to God before it is too late.

What President Obama, his Administration, and Other Leaders of Nations Ought to Do Now (Part 2)

plan-for-the-nations

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God’s Plan for the Nations (Part 8)

TEXT: Psalm 2

In last week’s message, we began looking at what God would have the nations to do in light of the punishment that will come down on them because of their disobedience to Him. Like Nineveh under the preaching of Jonah, God desires for the nations to repent and begin obeying His laws. The Psalmist says, “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” Although governmental leaders spend time and money debating and implementing new plans and new laws, many of them overlook the main thing that our nation and every nation needs to have in mind — and that is to repent and return to the laws of God. David says that wise leaders will listen to instruction and will turn back to God.

We also looked at three specific things that President Obama should lead our nation in repenting of:

1. Seeking to suppress and certainly not doing enough to stop people from suppressing the first amendment rights of Christians to live according to Biblical principles, to worship as they please, and to speak as they please.

2. The sin of abortion — the murder of innocent babies.

3. The sanctioning and promoting of homosexuality, the homosexual agenda, and homosexual marriage on the federal government level.

Not only does America need to repent of these and other sins, but many nations need to repent of these sins. The first part of the solution to the problems that the world faces today is for the nations to turn back to God and to begin obeying His laws.

Today, we want to look at the second part of that solution, and that is that the nations should turn to Jesus Christ for salvation. The Psalmist says, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.” This verse may seem a bit difficult to understand at first. What does it mean to “kiss the son?” Well, commentators have noted that while the rest of the psalm is written in Hebrew, the phrase, “Kiss the Son,” is written in Aramaic. Clearly, when this psalm was written, David was speaking directly to the foreign nations surrounding Israel.

As we have seen in our previous messages, not only does “son” refer to David himself as God’s anointed, but it also refers to Jesus Christ, the descendant of David and the Son of God. During the Old Testament period, the nations were encouraged to show respect and reverence for God’s people and God’s anointed king. As we look forward to the second coming of Jesus Christ, the phrase, “kiss the Son”, is an invitation for the Gentile nations to come and join in the reverence of God’s Son who is Israel’s Messiah and the Savior of the world. The Bible Knowledge Commentary states that “it is clear that the psalmist is telling the earth’s kings to submit to the Lord and to His anointed son, Israel’s king.”

The term connotes the paying of homage as one would do to a king — to bow down to the king, to kiss his scepter, or to kiss the ring on his hand. Paying homage is an act of surrender; it is a way of saying, ‘You are Lord and I am not.’ That is what the nations are encouraged to do.

As we have already discussed, the world needs a moral revival in which all of the nations turn back to God and begin obeying His laws. However, not only do we need a moral revival, but we need a spiritual revival. The sick and sinful hearts and souls of mankind need to be healed and made whole. And the only way that can be done is through Jesus Christ.

Not only must the nations turn back to obeying God and doing good, but they must also turn to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is more than just a moral change or a shift in our behavior. As Dr. Harry Ironside explained, “The Gospel is not a call to repentance, or to amendment of our ways, to make restitution for past sins, or to promise to do better in the future. These things are proper in their place, but they do not constitute the Gospel; for the Gospel is not good advice to be obeyed, it is good news to be believed. Do not make the mistake then of thinking that the Gospel is a call to duty or a call to reformation, a call to better your condition, to behave yourself in a more perfect way than you have been doing in the past… Nor is the Gospel a demand that you… give up your sins, that you break off bad habits, and try to cultivate good ones. You may do all these things, and yet never believe the Gospel and consequently never be saved at all.”

You’ve probably heard the song, “Jesus is the answer.” Well, that is more than just a saying. Jesus truly is the answer for the world today. It is fine for us as Christians to hold rallies and demonstrations against the various issues of moral decline in our country, but we ought to spend even more time going out and telling people about Jesus Christ. A law can change people’s behavior, but only the Lord can change their hearts. This nation and every nation needs the Lord Jesus Christ.

As the song says:

Jesus is the answer, for the world today,
Above Him there’s no other,
Jesus is the way.

If you have some questions
In the corners of your mind,
Traces of discouragement,
The peace you cannot find,
Reflections of your past,
Seem to face you everyday,
But this one thing I do know,
That Jesus is the way.

Jesus is the answer, for the world today,
Above Him there’s no other,
Jesus is the way.

Once again, David applies a sense of urgency to this command for the people of the Gentile nations to bow down, to surrender their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. He says, do it now “lest he [the king] be angry and ye perish from the way.” If our nation or any nation is to survive and flourish in these tumultuous times, we must as a people turn to Jesus Christ now while there is still time, while the judgment spoken of in this passage is still a thing of the future.

What President Obama, his Administration, and Other Leaders of Nations Ought to Do Now

plan-for-the-nations

God’s Plan for the Nations (Part 7)

TEXT: Psalm 2

Throughout this series, we have looked at two major aspects of God’s plan for the nations. The first aspect, which we covered in the first three messages, was an overview of what is wrong with the nations. We asked and answered the question of the Psalmist: Why do the heathen rage against God? From that question, we talked about the sinfulness of the nations, their rejection of God, and the reason the world is in the state that it is in today.

The second aspect of God’s plan for the nations, which we covered over the last three weeks, was God’s reaction to the nations that have rebelled against His authority. We learned that God will indeed judge the nations and that His Son, Jesus Christ, will sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem. Even though the devil will stir up the Gentile nations to oppose Christ’s return, he and his cohorts will be defeated and Jesus Christ will rule in the earth with all of the nations being subject to Him.

Today, we are going to begin answering the question: What should the nations do in this present day in light of what we have already learned? In light of what God has already stated will happen to rebellious nations, what should the people of earth concern themselves with right now?

The nations should repent and begin obeying God’s laws. The Psalmist says, “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” David is calling on the heathen nations surrounding Israel to voluntarily submit to the laws of God. He tells them that this is the “wise” thing to do. The nations are advised to abandon their foolish rebellion and begin serving the Lord.

This week, due to the outcome of the recent election, Americans experienced a shift in the political direction of the country. New senators, new representatives, and governors will be taking over from old ones in about two months’ time. These new leaders will attempt to correct what they consider is wrong in the country. They will attempt to implement new plans, new agendas, and new laws that they believe will help the country or their state or the people in the districts that they represent. Sadly, however, while I am sure that their ideas are noble and well-intentioned, many of these leaders will overlook the main thing that our nation and every nation needs to have in mind — and that is to repent and return to the laws of God.

Recently, Billy Graham said, “Even though America is just as wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah ever were, and as deserving of the judgment of God, God would spare us if we were earnestly praying, with hearts that had been cleansed and washed by the blood of Christ. The problems of the world will never be settled unless our national leaders go to God in prayer. If only they would discover the power and wisdom that there is in reliance upon God, we could soon see the solution to the grave problems that face the world!”

Tony Evans said, “America is in trouble. From sea to shining sea we are witnessing the devolution of a nation. The United States is quickly becoming the divided states. Disunity and conflict abound. Family breakdown, the immigration crisis, the threat of terrorism, an abiding racial divide and political dysfunction all point to a deeper problem. Regardless of which side of the political aisle you sit on, it is clear: Things are unraveling at warp speed. Like never before, we must pray for our nation and her leaders.”

A few weeks ago, an admitted Satanist drove a car into the Ten Commandments monument on the property of the Oklahoma State Capitol, smashing it to pieces. Symbolically speaking, many in our nation have done the very same thing — trampled the Word of God and the laws of God underfoot. And it is not just the people — it is the government also. The governments of America and many other nations have sanctioned, promoted, and defended activities such as homosexuality, the killing of innocent babies, and the suppression of people who hold Biblical views. They have endorsed acts of rebellion against God, and because of it, as we have seen, judgment is coming. God will judge the nations.

But, right now, that judgment is still future, and David says that a wise ruler, a wise king, a wise judge (or president, or prime minister) will listen to instruction, will repent, and will begin serving the Lord and obeying His laws.

In light of that, I would like to say that if America is to avoid God’s judgment, President Obama must repent of his pride and arrogance, as shown this past week in his response to the election results which showed that voters had repudiated him and his policies. With a humble spirit and attitude before God and man, President Obama should also lead the nation in repenting of the following three things:

1. Either seeking to suppress and certainly not doing enough to stop people from suppressing the first amendment rights of Christians to live according to Biblical principles, to worship as they please, and to speak as they please. Within the past two years, we have seen Christian churches, schools, and business owners sued, fined, and denounced because they refuse to go along with providing contraception for their employees or they refuse to go along with the homosexual agenda. As you might recall, Hobby Lobby went to the Supreme Court to defend their right to refuse to offer contraception coverage in health care plans for employees due to religious objections. More recently, the lesbian mayor of Houston, TX, subpoenaed the sermons and other communications of pastors who opposed a city ordinance that would allow men who feel like they are women to use female bathrooms and women who feel like they are men to use male bathrooms. Situations like that are happening all across this country and President Obama should lead the nation in repenting of such behavior.

2. President Obama should lead the nation in repenting of the sin of abortion — the murder of innocent babies. According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Guttmacher Institute, there are approximately 1.21 million abortions in America each year. How can God bless a nation where innocent blood is shed so frequently? How can God bless a nation where so many people decide they have the right to kill an innocent baby that they had nothing to do with creating? President Obama ought to lead the nation in repenting of this atrocity.

3. President Obama should lead the nation in repenting of sanctioning and promoting homosexuality, the homosexual agenda, and homosexual marriage on the federal government level. God condemned homosexuality as an abomination in His Word, and He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of the homosexuality that went on in those cities. America is on the same path of destruction if she does not repent while she has a chance. Billy Graham related this story: He said, “Some years ago, my wife, Ruth, was reading the draft of a book I was writing. When she finished a section describing the terrible downward spiral of our nation’s moral standards and the idolatry of worshiping false gods such as technology and sex, she startled me by exclaiming, ‘If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.'”

If President Obama is wise, if our other governmental leaders are wise, if the leaders of countries around the world are wise, we will repent of our sins, and do as King David said — “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.”

There are two key words involved in this verse.

The first one is “serve”. According to the Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, the Hebrew word for “serve” combines two ideas — action and obedience. It means obedience in action. We need people in this country who will not just talk about obeying the Lord, but who will be about obeying the Lord.

The second key word is “fear.” This word involves “emotional foreboding or dread of impending misfortune.” David wants the heathen nations to use the previous decree of God’s coming judgment as an incentive that would spur them on to obedience. According to John Calvin’s Commentary on the Book of Psalms, by opening this verse with the adverb “now”, David “signifies the necessity of their speedy repentance, since they will not always be favoured with such an opportunity. Meanwhile, he tacitly leads them to understand that it was for their advantage that he warned them, as there was yet room for repentance, provided they made haste.” In other words, the fear of coming judgment should be a motivating factor in our repentance.

If you were to ask the man on the street, what is the solution to the world’s problems, you would get varying answers. Some would say we need equal distribution of wealth, others would say we need more education, still others would say we need less government or more government. However, the truth of the matter is that all of those suggestions are merely bandages; they will bind up the wound and stop the bleeding for a little while, but they will never heal the infection.

In 1863, while the nation was in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation for a national day of fasting. He said, “It is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions yet with [the] assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”

Psalm 33:12 says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.”

The solution to the world’s problems is for the nations to repent of their rebellion against God, to turn back to God, and to begin obeying His law.

God’s Plan for the Nations, Part 6

plan-for-the-nations

TEXT: Psalm 2

Over the past few weeks, everything that we have studied from Psalm 2 can be boiled down to one simple phrase: God is in control. J.I. Packer said, “God controls all that happens in His world, every meal, every pleasure, every possession, every bit of sun, every night’s sleep, every moment of health and safety, and everything that sustains and enriches life.” If we can really get a hold of that fact, we have no reason to be fearful about what the future holds because we know that God is in control and He has given us repeated assurances in His Word that remind us to place our faith and trust in Him.

Some of those assurances have to do with how God will deal with the nations of the world who have, for the most part, turned their backs on Him. On last week, we looked at the assurance that God’s Son will take ownership of the earth. Psalm 2:8 says, “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” In this verse, God the Father is speaking, and He promises to give the entire earth to the Son for His possession. Jesus Christ will not only rule over the earth, but the entire earth will belong to Him. Revelation 11:15 describes this wonderful occurrence when it says, “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” With the crime, chaos, and confusion that goes on in the world, it may seem like the devil is in control. But, the Bible assures us that, behind the scenes, God is still working out His plan to bring many sinners to repentance and to one day bring about in His world the peace, justice, and righteousness that the Bible promises. As we were reminded through the hymn, “this is my Father’s world.” And one day, the Father will give the ownership and control of the world over to His Son who will rule and administrate with the help of His saints.

Today, we are going to look at the assurance that God’s Son will punish the rebellious nations. God the Father is still speaking in verse 9 when He says to the Son, “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” The writers of the Bible Knowledge Commentary state, “This imagery is probably drawn from Egyptian execration customs in which the Pharaoh used his scepter to smash jars (pottery) that represented rebellious cities or nations.”

When the Son of God rules on the earth, He will deal a crushing blow to the rebel nations and to their alliance with Satan. All of those who lifted up themselves in rebellion against God will be brought down. When Jesus Christ sits on the throne in Jerusalem, there will be no such thing as an uprising against His authority. And those nations and people who opposed His rule will get the judgment that they deserve.

Albert Barnes states, “That dominion which is to be conceded to him [Christ] would be not only one of protection to his friends, but also of punishment on his enemies; and the statement here is made prominent because the former part of the psalm had respect to rebels, and the Messiah is here represented as being invested with power sufficient to punish and restrain them.”

Perhaps you have experienced the frustration of dealing with law enforcement officials who seem to be unable to bring justice to a situation where a crime has been committed. In our nation today, hundreds of children go missing for weeks, months, and years. Murders go unsolved. Thieves go uncaptured. Rapists walk the streets prowling for their next victim.

I am reminded of the families of the four men who were beheaded in recent weeks by the militants of the Islamic State. Can you imagine how those parents, brothers, sisters, wives, or children are feeling right now. Of course, no one can do anything to undo the beheadings. But, you would think that the governments of the world would have by now hunted down and brought justice to the evil men who carried out such a heinous crime. Yet, the hands of our governments seem tied. They seem unable to punish the evil in this world. But, when God’s Son reigns on the earth, He will have no difficulty finding and punishing those who rebelled against Him and caused pain and suffering to others while doing so.

God has given us these assurances so that our hearts might not be troubled in this present age. We know that one day, God’s Son will rule, God’s Son will take ownership of the earth, and God’s Son will punish those nations which have rebelled against Him. “Vengeance is mine,” saith the Lord. “I will repay.”

Because of these assurances, no matter what happens in our lives or in the world, we can choose to have the perspective expressed in the words of the old hymn —

This is my Father’s world,
should my heart be ever sad?
The lord is King—let the heavens ring.
God reigns—let the earth be glad.

God’s Plan for the Nations, Part 5

TEXT: Psalm 2

Over the past few weeks, we have been looking at God’s dealings with the nations through the lens of the Old Testament prophetic and messianic passage of Psalm 2. In our last message, we began looking at three assurances that God gives to His people in light of the fact that it seems as though the world is spinning out of control. In fact, a recent survey found that 58% of Americans agree with the statement that the “world is going to Hell in a handbasket.” However, we find that God’s Word paints a slightly different picture, at least for those of us who are believers. Indeed, it may seem like the world is going to Hell, but we also have assurances from God’s Word that God is in control and that He has a plan for dealing with the nations.

On last week, we looked at the first assurance we have, and that is: that God’s Son will rule. Verse 7 of our passage reads, “I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” God assures us that despite the raging of the heathen and the rebelliousness of the Gentile nations, Jesus Christ, His Son, will sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem one day. The struggle between God and the nations will culminate at the end of the seven-year tribulation period when Christ will defeat the antichrist and Satan’s forces. But, all the way back here in the Old Testament, we find Jesus speaking to us through David as he was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ assures us that He will rule in the earth. No matter what happens, we can have confidence in this assurance.

We have the assurance that God’s Son will take ownership of the earth. Verse 8 says, “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” Here, the person speaking in the psalm shifts again. Now, God the Father is speaking, and He promises to give the entire earth to the Son for His possession. Jesus Christ will not only rule over the earth, but the entire earth will belong to Him.

Just as the Father passes his kingship down to His Son, He also passes the inheritance down to His Son. The inheritance is all that belongs to the Father. Since God the Father made the world, the entire world belongs to Him, and He does with it as He wills. One day, the inheritance will be in the hands of the Son, and He will do with it as He wills. Revelation 11:15 describes this moment when the ownership of the world is handed over to Jesus Christ. It reads, “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!'”

Right now, it may seem as though the devil is in control of the earth. History has seen the rise of numerous evil leaders who appeared to be unstoppable in their day. When Hitler waged his lightning war across Europe, he appeared to be unstoppable. When Japan’s kamikaze fighters screamed over the Pacific and attacked Pearl Harbor, they appeared to be unstoppable. Right now, with all of the firepower and resources at the disposal of America and her allies, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria appears to be unstoppable. Yes, sometimes, it seems as though this world is ruled by evil men whose crimes and atrocities cannot be abated. Such leaders are inspired and driven by Satan. Second Corinthians 4:4 informs us that Satan is the “god of this world” who seeks to deceive and lead mankind astray. Jesus Christ called Satan the “prince of this world.”

But history also tells us that the evil rulers of years gone by are now dead, and nothing of their bodies but ashes remain. One day, the one who inspired those evil rulers will be crushed forever and will suffer his own eternal punishment. At that time, the rightful Owner of the world will bring peace and justice to the earth.

During these difficult times of conflict, distress, and evil, let us never forget the words of this hymn:

This is my Father’s world.
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world:
the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.

This is indeed our Father’s world, and one day, the Father will give the ownership and control of the world over to His Son who will rule and administrate with the help of His saints.

God’s Plan for the Nations (Part 4)

plan-for-the-nations

TEXT: Psalm 2

Down through the centuries, Christianity has had many enemies. Many people have thought that they could
contain, control and crush, the movement begun by the humble Preacher from Nazareth who is actually the Son of
God. One of the most famous examples of such an opponent was the Roman Emperor Diocletian. He was such a
determined foe of the Christians of his day that he persecuted the church mercilessly, and truly believed that he
had eradicated the Christian phenomenon.

He had a medal made in his honor with this inscription: “The name of Christianity [is] being extinguished.” He later
set up two monuments on the frontier of the Roman Empire. One monument was inscribed with the words, ‘[In
honor of] Diocletian Jovian Maximian Herculeus Caesar Augustus for having extended the Roman Empire in the
east and the west and for having extinguished the name of Christians who brought the Republic to ruin.’ The other
monument read, ‘[in honor of Diocletian Caesar Augustus for having everywhere abolished the superstition of Christ
for having extended the worship of the [pagan] gods.’

This man really thought he had accomplished that task. But, today, Diocletian is dead, Rome proper is destroyed,
and Christianity is marching on.

Over the past few weeks, we have been looking at God’s dealings with the nations through the lens of the Old
Testament prophetic and messianic passage of Psalm 2. Through this passage, we have asked and answered
three questions.

1. We asked, why is the world the way it is? Why do we see so much pain, suffering, war, and grief in the world?
The answer to that question is simply that the heathen (the nations, the Gentiles) rage against God. They have
rejected God’s laws and are living in sin. Billy Graham said this past week that America is ‘worse than Sodom and
Gomorrah’, and that, my friend, is the reason why the world is in the awful state that it is in.

2. We asked, what will man do about his condition? The answer is that man’s solution is to band together and
stand in opposition to God. Not only has the world turned its back on God, but it opposes the work that God is
doing in the world.

3. We asked, what is God’s response to the rebellious nations? The answer to that question is two-fold. First,
Scripture informs us that God laughs. God looks down on puny rebellious men and their pompous attempts to
stand in opposition to Him, and He laughs. It is that absurd. Second, God sends judgment on the nations for their
rebellion. He vexes them because of their sins.

Today, we are continuing our discussion of God’s response to the rebellious nations. In Psalm 2, we find three
assurances from God that give us as Christians hope as we live in this sin-cursed world.

We have the assurance that God’s Son will rule. Verse 7 reads, “I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto
me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” As I explained previously, this passage has a two-fold
implication. First, this is one of the coronation psalms, in that it was recited as one of the Jewish kings from the
line of David was ascending the throne of Israel. However, it is also a messianic psalm, in that it looks to the future
reign of Jesus Christ, who is not only God’s Son, but David’s descendant.

God assures us that despite the raging of the heathen and the rebelliousness of the Gentile nations, Jesus Christ
will sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem one day.

Right now, the world is engaged in a struggle between the forces of good and evil that began in the Garden of
Eden. The devil was cast out of Heaven for trying to dethrone God. Since he was unsuccessful in that first
attempted rebellion, he is now trying to prevent the rule of God in the earth. When he introduced sin into
humanity’s bloodstream, he did so to get man to choose self over God, and by choosing self, man chooses Satan.
The devil is working hard to keep billions of people enslaved in the muck and mire of sin and false religion. He does
not want Jesus Christ to rule in our hearts or in the earth.

This struggle will culminate during the seven-year tribulation period in which Satan will present his antichrist to the
world. He will gather the nations together under his control in order to crush all those who refuse to worship him
and to oppose the return of Jesus Christ. But, no matter how many troops Satan can muster against the armies of
Heaven, God gives us the assurance that His Son will rule over the earth.

Albert Barnes notes in his commentary that there is a change in the person speaking in verse 7 of our passage.
He says, this “statement of the purpose of Yahweh is introduced by the declaration of the Messiah himself. The
change of the persons speaking gives a dramatic interest to the whole psalm. There can be no doubt that the word
‘I’ here refers to the Messiah.” So, all the way back here in the Old Testament, we find Jesus speaking to us
through David as he was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ simply assures us that, as the Son of God, as
the descendant of David, He will rule in the earth.

God’s Plan for the Nations (Part 3)

Psalm 2

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. Continue reading “God’s Plan for the Nations (Part 3)”

God’s Plan for the Nations (Part 2)

plan-for-the-nations

TEXT: Psalm 2

During our last message, we asked the question, why is the world the way it is? The psalmist asks, “Why do the heathen rage? Why do the people imagine a vain thing?” The answer to that question is simply because the nations 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.

2. The second thing we want to know is what will man do about his condition? Continuing his speech, the Psalmist says, “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed.” The nations are already in a state of rebellion against God. They recognize the desperate straits that they are in. What is their solution to their problem? Their solution is not to humble themselves and to repent before God. Their solution is to band together and stand in opposition to God. Not only have they turned their backs on God, but they seek to oppose God.

The Bible says the rulers of the nations “take counsel against the Lord and against his anointed.” The word Messiah simply means “the anointed one.” The kings of Israel were anointed with oil by prophets or priests before they began their rule. Thus, they were known as “anointed ones.” Historically speaking, the heathen nations that surrounded Israel were foolish for trying to oppose the kings of Israel who were also God’s anointed ones. However, prophetically speaking, the ultimate “anointed one” is Jesus Christ himself — who is the Messiah and the King of kings who will sit on the throne of David for a thousand years in Jerusalem.

Just as heathen nations opposed the Jewish kings, heathen nations (led by the antichrist) will oppose the return of the King of kings in the last days. Man’s desire to rebel against God has always led it to band together. Somehow, rebellious man thinks that if he unites against God he will eventually be able to defeat God. Remember the Tower of Babel: God told man to scatter across the face of the earth after the Flood, but man did not want to do that. So they banded together in defiance against God. They set out to build a tower that would reach to Heaven as a monument to their own strength. Perhaps they thought that they would be able to build a tower so tall that it would reach the throne of God and enable them to overthrow their Creator.

Just as man united against God at Babel, man will unite against God, led by Satan and the antichrist, at Armageddon. They will attempt once and for all to throw off the rule of God and prevent the return of Jesus Christ to the earth.

Look at what the heathen nations say to each other about God and His anointed one: “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” Instead of realizing that the laws which God has set up for us to live by are for our own good, rebellious man — like Eve in the Garden — thinks that God is trying to hold them back, that God is trying to keep them in bondage. And, so, they try to get out from under the authority of God.

That is what is happening in our world today with the increase in what has been called “militant atheism”. Charles Spurgeon said, “I am persuaded that men think there is no God because they wish there were none. They find it hard to believe in God, and to go on in sin, so they try to get an easy conscience by denying his existence.”

Based on Scripture and historical evidence, we see that man’s sin and rebellion against God is what has put the world in the condition it is in today. Sadly, we see that rebellious man will not turn to God for the solution to his problems. Instead, the nations will band together to oppose God and continue their opposition to His authority.

God’s Plan for the Nations (Part 1)

plan-for-the-nations

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.