Psalm 2, Part Four
UNIVERSAL LAW OF GOD
The law of sowing and reaping— The word of God says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). All men—saved or lost, are subject to this law. David said, “The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me” (2Samuel 22:21), David also said, “…the LORD shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness” (2Samuel 3:39). David summed up this law by saying to the LORD, “With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward” (Psalm 18:25-26).
Obadiah prophesied and warned the heathen: “For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head” (Obadiah 1:15). By taking vain and foolish counsel against the LORD, the heathen demonstrate that they “know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor… [and the LORD will] execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard” (Micah 4:11-13; 5:15).
Habakkuk recorded his vision of the second coming of Jesus Christ, and said: “Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger…” (Habakkuk 3:12-16). The Lord Jesus said that when he comes back in glory, “then he shall reward every man according to his works” (Matthew 16:27). “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12).
The apostle Paul instructed the church at Corinth that “every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour” (1Corinthians 3:8).
Psalm 2:4-5 “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.”
The LORD is a terrible God— Terrible means: ‘Frightful; adapted to excite terror; dreadful; formidable’ (Noah Webster, 1828). In other words, when the scripture declares that God is terrible, it certainly does not mean that he is not good and merciful, but that he is terrifying and frightening. Moses told Israel that they should not fear their enemies, “for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible” (Deuteronomy 7:21). “For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward.” (Deuteronomy 10:17; Judges 13:6; Nehemiah 1:5; Psalm 66:3-5, 68:35; Job 31:23; Ezekiel 32:32).
The apostle wrote: “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God…” (Romans 11:22). The apostle Paul told the church of God at Corinth: “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences” (2Corinthians 5:11). It is good for men to fear the Lord, for “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10); “the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7); and is “a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death” (Proverbs 14:27). The fear of the LORD is also the treasure of a righteous man (Isaiah 33:6).
True faith against imagination— A lady once said to me that she simply could not imagine how the God of the Old Testament could be the same as the Jesus of the New Testament. The good news for us all is that we don’t have to imagine anything about God, for the entire Holy Bible is “the record that God gave of his Son” (1John 5:10), who was God manifest in the flesh (John 1:1, 14; 1Timothy 3:16). Before he was “made flesh” (John 1:14) he declared: “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Malachi 3:6).
And now, after his glorious resurrection from the dead, his word declares plainly: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8). And because he is “alive for evermore” (Revelation 1:18), he “hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:24-25).
ONE PROPITIATION FOR ALL HEATHEN
PROPITIATION: ‘In theology, the atonement or atoning sacrifice offered to God to assuage his wrath and render him propitious to sinners. Christ is the propitiation for the sins of men’ (Noah Webster, 1828).
PROPITIOUS: ‘Disposed to be gracious or merciful; ready to forgive sins and bestow blessings; applied to God’ (Noah Webster, 1828).
God’s Son is the propitiation for all— “For God so loved the world [all heathen], that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). And “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1John 4:10). “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1John 2:2).
The propitiation is received by faith— God has set forth his only begotten Son Jesus Christ “to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:23-26).
The LORD forewarns the heathen— Unbelieving heathen are on the broad way, “that leadeth to destruction” (Matthew 7:13-14). Although God wills for “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1Timothy 2:4), nevertheless many of the heathen are “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2Timothy 3:7). They even deny “the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2Peter 2:1).
God desires to spare the heathen— When the wickedness of the people of Nineveh came up before God, he sent Jonah to warn them (Jonah 1:1-2). When Jonah finally entered Nineveh, he cried, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them” (Jonah 3:4-5; Matthew 12:41). “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not” (Jonah 3:5-10).
When Jonah expressed anger, because God showed them mercy, God replied, “And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?” (Jonah 4:11).
The LORD commands repentance— Except the unbelieving heathen man repents and believes (Mark 1:15) on the Lord Jesus Christ, he will perish at God’s hand (Luke 13:3, 5). The same Lord Jesus Christ, who came first to die for all the heathen that they might be saved through faith (1Corinthians 15:3-4; Ephesians 2:8-9), will come the second time “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2Thessalonians 1:7-9).
But according to the scriptures, we know that it is not God’s will that the heathen be destroyed, but that they might be saved.
Through his prophet Ezekiel the Lord said, “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11; 18:30-31). The prophet Isaiah commanded: “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD [repent], and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7).
Paul’s commission— The apostle Paul told king Agrippa that the Lord Jesus had said unto him that he would be sent to the Gentiles, “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me… that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance” (Acts 26:18-20). The Lord is “longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2Peter 3:9)! Therefore God “now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30).
God’s gift for the heathen— The free gift of eternal life is offered to all who will receive it by faith. When the Lord Jesus said, “It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:30) on the cross, he finished the work the Father gave him to do (John 4:34; 17:4). And now the free gift of eternal life by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, has come upon all men unto justification of life: “by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Romans 5:15-21; 6:23).
Many heathen limit God’s will— Even the children of Israel “turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel” (Psalm 78:41). God has given men free will by which they may choose whether to receive or to reject the Lord Jesus Christ (John 12:48): for God will not save any one against their will! Speaking of the cross upon which he was nailed and lifted up to die “for the sins of the whole world,” (1John 2:2; 1Corinthians 15:3-4), Jesus prophesied: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die” (John 12:32-33).
Draw can mean: ‘To bring by compulsion; to cause to come.’ But draw can also mean: ‘To attract; to cause to move or tend towards itself; as a magnet or other attracting body is said to draw it… as, a beauty or a popular speaker draws the eyes of an assembly, or draws their attention’ (Noah Webster, 1828).
Since God never forces repentance and faith upon any man, the second definition is the one that applies to John 12:32. God calls men by the gospel (2Thessalonians 2:14), but he never saves anyone who does not repent of their unbelief and believe the gospel (Ephesians 1:12-14): who does not believe in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 10:9; Acts 8:37)!
Unbelieving heathen are forewarned—The LORD says: “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them” (Proverbs 1:24-32).
And again, to those heathen who reject the counsel of God and choose their own ways, the LORD said: “I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not” (Isaiah 66:3-4; Joel 3:9-17).
The psalmist David, speaking of the day when the wicked heathen will be destroyed, said: “The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming” (Psalm 37:10-13). David also wrote: “But thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision [the act of laughing at in contempt]” (Psalm 59:8).
Easily identified— David wrote: “The transgression of the wicked [heathen] saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes” (Psalm 36:1).
The heathen openly demonstrate their hatred for God when they disobey the words of God (Exodus 20:4-6) by making and by serving idols (Psalm 135:15; 2Kings 17:12, 16:13; 2Chronicles 28:1-3); when they use enchantments and deal with familiar spirits and wizards (2Kings 21:1-7); when they pray using “vain repetitions” (Matthew 6:7); when they sacrifice their children to false gods [Heathen women in our days have their children aborted so that they will not be burdened with caring for and raising them!]; when they pray to anyone other than the “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1Timothy 2:5-6), Who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).