In the previous part of this study on Psalm 2, we looked at verses 7-9 and Jesus' glorious proclamation. Today I'll look at the first promise of Psalm 2 concerning the future reign of Christ.
The Roles of Jesus
The first time Jesus came, He came as our Suffering Savior (Isaiah 53). After His resurrection, He became our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16). He continues in that capacity today, ministering as the mediator of our prayers before the throne of God (Hebrews 8:1-2). But one day very soon He will return, and when He does so, He will return as our Glorious King to reign over all the nations of the world (Revelation 19:16).
Jesus is not serving as a king now. He is never pictured as currently being the king of this world or the king of the church. His relationship to the church is portrayed as being like the head to the body (Ephesians 5:23) or a bridegroom to a bride (Revelation 19:6-9).
Jesus is a king-in-waiting. The situation is like that which prevailed in the life of David for many years. David was anointed the King of Israel by Samuel. But David had to wait many years before he was coronated. Likewise, Jesus has been anointed King of kings and Lord of lords, but He will not be crowned as such in history until He returns to earth.
An Incredible Inheritance
When Jesus does return, the promises of Psalm 2 will be fulfilled to Him. The first of those promises is that He will inherit the earth — "the very ends of the earth" will become His possession (Psalm 2:8).
There is a popular myth that when Jesus returns the earth will burn up and cease to exist. That can't be true because the Bible affirms that the earth is "eternal" (Psalm 148:6, Psalm 78:69, and Ecclesiastes 1:4).
It is true that the earth will be radically changed when the Lord returns. The change agents will be earthquakes and supernatural phenomena in the heavens (Revelation 6:12-13). We are told that every island will be moved and that every mountain will be lowered and every valley raised (Revelation 6:14 and Isaiah 40:4). The image that is portrayed is one of the earth's surface being smoothed out, with Jerusalem being lifted up to become the highest point on the face of the planet (Micah 4:1).
The earth will also be refreshed. The deserts will bloom (Isaiah 35:1,6-7). The hills will "drip with sweet wine" and "flow with milk" (Joel 3:18). The abundance of agriculture will be so great that "the plowman will overtake the reaper" in the sense that a new crop will be planted as fast as the old crop can be harvested (Amos 9:13). Even the Dead Sea will come alive and teem with fish (Ezekiel 47:8-9).
The animal kingdom will also be restored. We are told that the carnivorous animals will become herbivorous. Thus, "the lion will eat straw like the ox" (Isaiah 11:7). This change will enable the animals to live together in peace with each other and with Man. "The wolf will dwell with the lamb" (Isaiah 11:6), and a "nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra" because the cobra will no longer be poisonous (Isaiah 11:8).
The Eternal Earth
Even when the Millennium ends, the earth will not cease to exist. Instead, its fundamental nature will be changed once again. This time the change agent will be fire.
God will take the redeemed off this planet and put us in the New Jerusalem. From that vantage point we will watch as the Lord superheats the earth and burns away the pollution of Satan's last revolt.
Then, working with the earth like a hot ball of wax, the Lord will reshape it, and out of that flaming inferno will come a new earth, a perfected earth, an earth which will serve as our home eternally (Revelation 21:1).
God has promised to give that redeemed planet to His Son and to His joint heirs — namely, those who have received Jesus as their Lord and Savior. In Psalm 2, He promises the earth to His Son. In Psalm 37:11, He extends that promise to the redeemed: "The humble will inherit the earth." That promise is repeated in verses 22, 29, and 34.
These promises are the ones that Jesus referred to in His Sermon on the Mount when He said: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5). Paul recognized that the same promise was inferred in the Abrahamic Covenant when he wrote that God's promise to Abraham and his descendants (by faith) is that they would "inherit the world" (Romans 4:13).
In the next part of this study on Psalm 2, I'll look at the second promise of Psalm 2 concerning the future reign of Christ.