A Promised Messiah, Prophetic Revelation, Literal Fulfillment

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.” (Luke 24:44).

In concluding his Gospel Luke confirms the truth that there was to be a literal fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophesies concerning the Promised Messiah. Luke reveals that Jesus Himself made it clear that everything written about the Messiah in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. He made clear that He was the fulfillment of those promises. There are approximately 20 Psalms that are Messianic – that is, they speak of the Messiah Jesus. As we study prophecy we see how faithful God was in not only informing His people of His plan of Salvation through a Messiah, but how faithful He was in fulfilling all aspects of those promises in Jesus the Christ. Let’s concentrate on Psalm 2.

The Reign of the Lord‘s Anointed

1 Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
    and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
    and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
    on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
    today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
    and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
    and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
    be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
    lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
    for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

I was teaching a class on the first 10 Psalms once. When we came to Psalm 2 someone asked if this Psalm was truly Messianic. Did the Jews view this as Messianic or did they see it referring to King David. Though some say that Psalm 2 is not considered messianic by the rabbis or Jewish sages, the Jewish messianic understanding of Psalm 2 has a long history. To answer him I decided to take time to study Jewish understanding of this Psalm. Some of the rabbinic sources which take a messianic interpretation of Psalm 2 are as follows:

Babylonian Talmud, Sukkah 52a [1]
“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”. [Psalms 2:7-8]. Soncino Talmud edition.

Maimonides [2] (11th c.), introduction to Sanhedrin, chapter 10
The prophets and the saints have longed for the days of the Messiah, and great has been their desire towards him, for there will be with him the gathering together of the righteous and the administration of good, and wisdom, and royal righteousness, with the abundance of his uprightness and the spread of his wisdom, and his approach to God, as it is said: The Lord said unto me, Thou art my son, to-day have I begotten thee.

Midrash [3] on Psalms (11th c.)
This day have I begotten thee [Psalm 2:7]. R. Huna said: Suffering is divided into three portions: one, the Patriarchs and all the generations of men took; one, the generation that lived in the time of [Hadrian’s] persecution took; and one, the generation of the lord Messiah will take. When the time comes, the Holy One, blessed be He, will say: “I must create the Messiah — a new creation.” As Scripture says, This day have I begotten thee — that is, on the very day of redemption, God will create the Messiah.

Ask of Me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth for thy possession (Ps. 2:8). God, speaking to the Messiah, says: If thou dost ask for dominion over the nations, already they are thine inheritance; if for the ends of the earth, already they are thy possession.

This list is by no means exhaustive and certainly there is much Jewish apologetics which argue that this Psalm was not Messianic, however when Messianic prophecy is take as a whole we can be assured that Jesus is the Son referred to. Psalm 2 is The Coronation of King Messiah!! Psalm 2:8 shows that this King will rule over the entire earth. Neither King David nor any of the kings of Israel that followed him were ever promised to rule over all the earth. Only King Messiah would reign over all the earth. The following verses show that only King Messiah, the Lord Jesus was promised to rule over all the nations:

Jeremiah 23:5
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.

Daniel 7:14
“And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”

Psalm 72:17
“May his name endure forever, his fame continue as long as the sun! May people be blessed in him, all nations call him blessed!”

Zechariah 9:10
“I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.”

Psalm 2 is quoted 7 times in the New Testament and each quote concerns the Lord Jesus. As we see above, Psalm 2 doesn’t give attribution as to who wrote it, but when Peter quotes from it in Acts 4:25-27 he says it was a Psalm of David’s. Peter again quotes this Psalm in Acts 4 concerning the uprising and rejection/crucifixion of Jesus at His first coming to show how both Jews and Gentiles combined to conspire against Jesus just as it was told of in Psalm 2. This was in fulfillment of “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed.”

The New Testament discloses that at the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus, He will fulfill the above verses about reigning over all nations. He will fulfill the prophecies about Israel ’s King Messiah at His Second Coming, just as He fulfilled all the Scriptures about Messiah that was prophesied. What God revealed in Old Testament about Messiah has been and will be literally fulfilled in Jesus.

“Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15).

[1] The Babylonian Talmud (Talmud Bavli) consists of documents compiled over the period of Late Antiquity (3rd to 5th centuries)

[2] Moses Maimonides (1135-1204), a preeminent medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher and astronomer, became one of the most prolific and influential Torah scholars of the Middle Ages.

[3] An ancient commentary on part of the Hebrew scriptures, attached to the biblical text. The earliest Midrashim come from the 2nd century AD, although much of their content is older.

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