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Christ Versus the Antichrist
Psalms 1:1-6 ; Psalms 2:1-9
1. Satan an adept at counterfeits. As we enter into our study in the Psalms, we must first get the great message of the Psalms before us. The Lord Himself began with Moses and with all the Prophets and expounded in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. He also affirmed that all things written in Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Himself, must be fulfilled.
Christ therefore is the center of the Psalms as He is of the other Old Testament Books. However, as Christ appears on the scene in the Psalms, so also does the antichrist appear as the chief adversary of Christ.
If Christ is the "blessed Man" of Psalms 1:1-6 , so is the antichrist the "ungodly man." It is because of this conflict between Christ and the antichrist that we have placed as the head of our first thought, Satan an adept at counterfeits.
If God has His churches; Satan will have his churches. If Christ and His preachers proclaim righteousness by faith, Satan and his preachers will proclaim righteousness by self-effort both, however, proclaim righteousness. If God has His Christ; Satan will have his antichrist. If God is light, Satan will transform himself as an angel of light.
2. The devilish trinity. From the beginning the Bible presents the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Three in One, and One in Three. Satan will also consummate a devilish trinity in the last times. The devilish trinity, as an imitation of the real Trinity, will be Satan, the antichrist and the false prophet.
Here is a mystery of iniquity that has already begun to work It was being sown in Paul's day; it will ripen in the last days. Satan offered to Christ the kingdoms of this world and the glory of them if He would fall down and worship him. Christ refused. The man of sin, however, will do exactly what Christ would not do. He "will accept the place of a devil worshiper, and because of this he will be clothed with all of Satan's power and cunning. The false prophet will be added to the satanic combine, and thus the evil trinity will be formed. This trinity will operate among men during the last half of the Great Tribulation.
3. The conflict of the ages. From the beginning of earth's history Satan has dared to fight against God. The conflict, so far as man is concerned, started in the Garden of Eden, and has continued with ever-increasing fury until this hour.
Anything that God approves, is Satan-despised. Individuals from Eden to Jacob were attacked by "the devil. Then, when Israel became a people in Jacob's day, the enemy turned his strategies against the nation. When the Church was born, she became at once the butt of Satan's attack.
Remember that Satan is, in truth, fighting against God. He does not hate men as such, but hates them because God loves them. He likewise despises the regenerate because they are sent forth to carry God's Gospel of redemption to every creature.
The Book of Ephesians, in Ephesians 6:1-24 , tells us plainly that we wrestle against principalities and powers in the Heavenlies. How necessary therefore is it that we should go forth panoplied with the whole armor of God.
Ours is no small and insignificant conflict Nevertheless we need not fear nor become discouraged, because our Lord has already conquered the wicked one, and in Him we are more than conquerers.
I. THE THREEFOLD MARKS OF THE BLESSED MAN (Psalms 1:1 )
1. He walks not in the counsel of the ungodly.
2. He standeth not in the way of sinners.
3. He sitteth not in the seat of the scornful.
1. The blessed Man walks not in the counsel of the ungodly. It was Augustine, in the third century, who wrote, "The Blessed Man of the first Psalm is none other than the adorable Person of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ."
That Blessed Man, even our Lord, never had His ear opened to Satan's wiles. He was ready to cast an "It is written" over against every subtle attack of the devil. Hunger and thirst could not move Him one iota from His fidelity to God.
Would that we who are His, and are in Him, would ever prove impregnable to Satan's counsels. Eve accepted the tempter's words, and walked in his counsels, so also did Adam. Not so did Christ the Second Man, and the Last Adam.
2. The blessed Man standeth not in the way of sinners. Perhaps the first meaning in this is that Christ came not as sinners come. All others among men were born under sin, with a sinful nature; Christ was born without sin; with no sin in Him. He was man, but sinless man. He was not human in the sense that we are human; for "human nature" means a nature partaking of the sins of the flesh, He was begotten of the Holy Ghost, and is Scripturally affirmed to be "that Holy Thing."
He was man, because He had a body like ours, and because He came of the line of David after the flesh; He also was God.
3. The blessed Man sitteth not in the seat of the scornful. He sat with sinners and ate with them, but He did not fellowship with them in their sins. He neither entered into their ways, nor into their scornful sayings. Jude speaks in the Spirit of the hard sayings or speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him; in all such things the Blessed Man, and saved and blessed men, have no part.
II. THE THREEFOLD MARKS OF THE BLESSED MAN POSITIVELY STATED (Psalms 1:2-3 )
1. He delights in the Law of the Lord.
2. He meditates in the Law day and night.
3. He is like a fruitful tree.
1. The blessed Man delights in the Law of the Lord. Here is an affirmation concerning the Lord Jesus Christ which is distinctively true. He who is the Word, certainly delights in the Word. He who gave the Law, beyond doubt is pleased with the Law.
The Lord however delighted in the Law in that He placed Himself under the Law, and fulfilled it. He went so far as to bear the curse of the Law, which fell upon us who broke it, and who delighted not in it. While we are not under Law for redemption, let us, as the saved, delight in its demands. We keep the Law because it was written for our good.
2. The blessed Man meditates in the Law day and night. Here is a command, several times given to Joshua in the 1st chapter of the Book bearing his name. Mark the words of Joshua 1:8 : "This Book of the Law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein." Christ, who gave this injunction to Joshua, Himself perfectly kept the Law which He asked others to keep.
Let us, as Christians, seek to know His will and to do it, then we shall make our way prosperous and have good success. The commands of the Lord are to be memorized, but they are, above that, to be obeyed.
3. The blessed Man is like a fruitful tree. This is the promise relative to Christ He was indeed a fruitful Tree. He went about doing good, and He was blessed in His deeds. The Shulamite of the Song of Songs says, "My Beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi." Then Christ, the Shepherd Lover, says, "A garden inclosed is My sister, My spouse."
Thus we rejoice in the words of Christ, "Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit."
III. THE UNGODLY DESCRIBED (Psalms 1:4-6 )
1. They are like chaff driven away.
2. They shall not stand in the judgment.
3. They shall perish in their way.
1. The ungodly one is like chaff which is driven away. The ungodly one preeminently is the antichrist, just as the Blessed One is Christ. That the ungodly one will arise only to be swept away as chaff is clearly taught in many Scriptures. For a while, Daniel tells us, he will practice and prosper. After but a few fleeting years have passed, however, the Lord will come and destroy him with the breath of His lips and with the brightness of His Coming.
So also shall all of the ungodly, who follow after the ungodly one, perish. The wicked are more than once described as the chaff of the field which the wind driveth away. They are like the grass which withereth away.
2. The ungodly one shall not stand in the judgment. Many deny the fact that there will ever be a judgment of any kind. There are, nevertheless, several judgments. The one that will sweep down the antichrist is the one that follows upon Christ's Second Advent into this inhabited earth. Note the Word of God, in Revelation, on this, line: "And (they) said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"
Truly the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment.
3. The ungodly one shall perish in his way. One might think of it thus: "The way of the ungodly shall perish." This is true. Asaph was troubled when he saw the prosperity of the wicked until he went into the House of the Lord, and understood their latter end. Then he said, "Surely Thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction."
Thus it is that in life the wicked often lose their possessions, which perish in an evil day, or, in death they are taken away from all that they call good.
IV. THE NATIONS GATHER AGAINST THE BLESSED MAN (Psalms 2:1-3 )
1. The heathen rage.
2. The kings set themselves against the Lord.
3. The nations seek to cast away their subjection to the Lord.
We now come into the Second Psalm where the Blessed Man and the Ungodly Man, Christ and the antichrist, come together in the great final conflict of the ages, commonly known as "Armageddon."
1. The heathen rage. Where there is rage there is uncontrollable wrath. The word carries with it the thought of madness, gone wild. It describes a people moving to and fro, with their pent-up wrath breaking loose upon them. The word "rage" suggests that the nations have broken loose from all the tie's that bind them to God, and are ready to rush against the Almighty in order to pour out their vengeance against Him.
The language of verse one shows that a climax in sin has been reached, All restraint is thrown to the winds, caution is gone. We are reminded of the time, in the days of Stephen, when the people put their fingers into their ears and rushed against him like mad, stoning him to death.
2. The kings of the earth set themselves against the Lord. Back of the rage of the populace, is the planning and the intrigue of the kings and the rulers of the earth. These kings "set themselves"; they, as it were, clench their fists, set their teeth in a dogmatic purpose to overthrow the Son of God.
Just this is what happened at the crucifixion. The populace raged against Christ, they surged like dogs and bulls around His Cross, wagging their heads. Back of them was the Sanhedrin, nagging them on.
3. The kings and rulers seek to cast away their subjection to Christ. They say, in effect, "We will not have this Man to rule over us." They sought to reject Christ, and to enthrone another as their king. Here is a matter of daily occurrence. Men everywhere are refusing the Lordship of Jesus Christ and are placing their own will, or that of their chief enemy, as their sovereign.
V. THE LORD'S DISPLEASURE (Psalms 2:4-5 )
1. The Lord laughs at them.
2. The Lord derides them.
3. The Lord speaks to them.
4. The Lord vexes them.
1. The Lord laughs at them. There was a time when Christ met the madness of the mob in another manner. He went "as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth." Now, however, it is all different. His substitutionary work is over. He is no longer to be made sin for us. The One whom they crucified is now risen, exalted and acclaimed.
The people "imagine a vain thing." They think that they can once again cast the Son of God, the Lover of man, beneath their feet. They think they can tear Him from the Heavens, that they can overwhelm Him by their combined power.
Perhaps the day of grace, which followed the Cross and hovered over men during two thousand years, caused them to think that there was no power, or, perhaps, no desire in Christ to judge them.
We know that during His earth life, a bruised reed He did not break, and a smoking flax He did not quench. As the centuries had passed, He refrained His wrath. Now, however, He laughs at them in His sore displeasure.
2. The Lord derides them, and speaks unto them in His wrath. The time for judgment is come. He who has so long endured, and so patiently borne the enmity of those who despise Him, has, at last, come to the end of the seventy times seven. Because Christ has for so long patiently endured, does not mean that He will forever wink at the wickedness of men.
3. The Lord vexes them. He sets His bow full of arrows, and they "are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies." Even now we hear the Father saying: "Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O Most Mighty." "Thy right hand shall teach Thee terrible things." "The people fall under Thee." Again we hear the words: "The Lord at Thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of His wrath, * * He shall fill the places with the dead bodies; He shall wound the heads over many countries."
VI. THE FATHER ADDRESSES THE SON (Psalms 2:6-9 )
1. He acknowledges His Son.
2. He pledges the nations as His inheritance.
3. He describes how the Son's Lordship shall be obtained.
1. He acknowledges His Son. Psalms 2:6 says: "Yet have I set My Son upon My Holy Hill of Zion." Then He adds: "I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son."
He whom the kings of the earth set themselves against is the One whom the Father calls, "My Son," and "My King." The One whom the heathen reject, the Father accepts.
First of all, God acknowledges Christ as His only begotten Son.
Secondly, God acknowledges Christ as the predestined King upon David's throne, in the Holy Hill of Zion.
There are many today who would join with the enemy in refusing Christ His Heirship and His reign. The little word "yet," still rings out, however. "Yet have I set My King upon My Holy Hill of Zion."
2. He pledges the nations as the inheritance of the Son. In Psalms 2:8 , the Father says to the Son, "Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen (nations) for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession." We should learn that the investiture of the Kingdom is made in the Heavens. Let us forever cease to prate about the Church bringing in the Kingdom, through the preaching of the Gospel of Truth. The Father gives the Son the keys to the throne.
3. He describes how the Son's Lordship shall be obtained. The Father 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 Gospel message cannot bring in the Kingdom, because the nations rage, and the kings of earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord of Glory. It is for this cause that the Kingdom will be set up by the dashing and the clashing of swords, at the overthrow of world governments. Every picture of Christ's Coming as King of kings, and Lord of lords is a picture of terrific judgments under which the enemy falls.
VII. THE FATHER ADVISES THE PEOPLES OF THE EARTH (Psalms 2:10-12 )
1. "Serve the Lord with fear."
2. "Kiss the Son."
3. "Trust" in the Son.
1. "Serve the Lord with fear." Before the wrath of God falls, the Lord stands forth and cries unto the nations saying: "Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear."
The wise nations and their rulers will not join their armies with the armies of the king's who set themselves together against the Lord. They will stand apart as they behold the ragings of the world. They will bend the knee unto the Son of God, and tremble before His presence.
2. "Kiss the Son." It is not merely a service of fear, nor a joy of trembling, but it is the kiss of affection which the Father advises to the kings and judges of the earth. Not the kiss of a Judas, but the kiss of the Shulamite. The nations should see in the exalted Christ their salvation, their help, their sustenance.
3. "Trust" in the son. Our chapter concludes with the words, "Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him." Psalms 2:12 tells us of the anger of the Son, of how the people will perish when His wrath is kindled but a little. The same verse, however, shows that the Son will prove a Covert from the storm to all who put their trust in Him.
Let no one criticize God because of His wrath. God is a just God. but He is also a God of love. God is not willing that any should perish but that all should be saved. When, however, men rage against Him, set themselves against Him, take counsel together against Him, what else can a just God do but laugh at their madness, and to vex them in His sore displeasure? The same God, however, in the midst of His wrath pronounces blessing upon those who trust Him. It is John 3:16 over again; they who believe shall not perish, but they who believe not, the wrath of God abides upon them.
As the power of the antichrist grows more intense, the persecution against saints will deepen. What then? Shall we run for pity and commiserate ourselves on our trials? God forbid, A. B. Simpson says some things apropos just here:
The Apostle Peter tells us some very comforting things about our trials. They are "for a season." There is a "need be," which we shall some time understand. The trial itself is "much more precious than of gold that perisheth." And it will "be found unto praise and honour and glory at the Appearing of Jesus Christ." These three words are not repetitions. "Praise" expresses the thankfulness with which we ourselves will look back on all the things that once seemed so hard, and praise Him for the inexorable love that let us suffer to gain such blessing. The "honour" refers to the bearing of our victorious suffering for the glory of God. It reflects honor on Christ. And the "glory" looks forward to the recompense when our "light affliction, which is but for a moment," will have worked out for us yonder "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
The only way we can win the crown is by suffering and sacrifice. Some day our teardrops will be transformed to jewels of unfading luster. * * Trial is our business, suffering our occupation. Suppose a soldier were to complain to his captain that the enemy had been firing on him, and that he did not enlist for any such purpose, and was unwilling to submit to that kind of treatment. We can imagine his commander saying, "My boy, the business of a soldier is to be fired at." Shall we cease to complain about the wrongs of men or murmur against the chastenings of our Father and say, "The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?"
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Psalms 1". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/