Ancient Psalm, Applicable Prophecy
“I will declare the decree: The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; This day have I begotten thee” (Psalm 2:7).
The Psalms are known as the songbook of the Bible and rightfully so. They are uplifting and encouraging, but there are times when we see that the Psalmist was also prophetic. This paper will explore one of the prophetic utterances of David and attempt to determine the meaning of his prophecy. We will examine the verse in the context of the Old Testament, New Testament, Pentecostal worldview, and daily living. The aim of the paper is to determine not only the meaning of the verse but also the application of the verse. In our pursuit of God is it possible to become sons of God and enter into the kingdom of God in a single moment, but there is a lifetime afterward where we must become continuers and obey the laws of God’s kingdom.
Psalm 2:7 in Old Testament Context
When one aims to understand the meaning of a particular verse, it is imperative first to examine the context of the verse in the passage. The search for the meaning of Psalm 2:7 is no different. “In a most animated and highly poetical style, the writer, in ‘four stanzas of three verses each,’ sets forth the inveterate and furious, though futile, hostility of men to God and His anointed, God’s determination to carry out His purpose…” (Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown, 1997). The second Psalm, while it is without a doubt prophetic, contains a beautiful poetic style of ebb and flow. The Psalmist begins the Psalm with the question, “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” Connecting this to the rest of the Old Testament we see time and time again where ancient individuals and civilizations purposefully came against both God’s people and against God Himself.
When sin entered the world at the fall of man in Genesis 3 the perfect creation of mankind became corrupted. “The earth was still good. But an insidious new evil (not from man’s realm) was injected and, since then, has constantly worked to undermine and destroy God’s creation (in general) and man (in particular). It was not good” (Wilson, 2015, p. 2). Man was good but fell, and that is the heart of the beginning of the second Psalm.
Psalm 2:2 and 2:6 show an interesting contrast. “The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord, and against his anointed… Yet have I set my king Upon my holy hill of Zion” (Psalm 2:2,6). David, a king, is making an interesting connection here between earthly kingdoms who have set themselves against God and God’s kingdom of which he has made paramount in his life.
Examining the second Psalm in the context of the Old Testament far extends the depth and scope of this article. However, being that Psalm 2:7 is without a doubt prophetic in nature, one cannot properly understand its meaning without examining the verse in the context of the New Testament, seeing the fulfillment of the prophecy.
Psalm 2:7 in New Testament Context
“God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David” (Acts 13:33-34). The Apostle Paul articulates that Psalm 2:7 applies not to the birth of Jesus, but to the resurrection of Jesus. “Something happened in Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and glorification that caused God to say, ‘Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee’… What actually happened is that God was not only speaking to Christ, the Son of God, but through Him to all who would accept Christ’s work and appropriate to themselves what Christ accomplished. When God saw Christ, He saw the ‘last Adam,’ the ‘second man’” (Wilson, 1990, p. 14).
The death, burial, resurrection, and glorification, as Nathaniel Wilson states, was the direct fulfillment of the prophecy David scribed. However, as Wilson suggests, the application of the verse is still continuing to this day.
1 John 3:2 says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” The verse indicates that those in the early church had become the “sons of God.” The understanding then begs the question, how does one become a “son of God?” How does one apply Psalm 2:7 and the discussion of the paper to their lives today? To examine the idea in further detail, we must turn to the Pentecostal worldview.
Psalm 2:7 in the Context of a Pentecostal Worldview
The Pentecostal worldview basis its core understanding in the upper room experience that took place on the day of Pentecost. While gather in the upper room the Holy Ghost fell, and everybody in attendance received the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:1-4).
Immediately following the event, there were those who mocked the infilling claiming those who were speaking in other tongues were drunk. Peter, one of the disciples, stood up and preached. The culmination of his message is as follows: “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:37-38). Notice that the people listening to the message were convicted they asked Peter what they must do to be free from the sin they had committed. Peter responded with what has become the core of apostolic theology today. They had to repent, be baptized in the name of Jesus, and they would receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Repentance, baptism in Jesus name, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost are the literal application of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in our lives. It is by this process that one then comes under the “second Adam,” being Jesus Christ.
Peter laid out the plan of salvation to those who were convicted on the day of Pentecost, and it has not changed to this day. In order to become a “son of God” and apply the understanding of Psalm 2:7 as discussed in the previous section, one must follow the message that Peter proclaimed.
Psalm 2:7 in the Context of Daily Living
“Jesus spoke to believers of His day, presenting to them the choice of moving from the status of believers to that of continuers” (Mumford, 1974, p. 73). The rest of Mumford’s book advances the idea of becoming a continuer; that is advancing and applying the kingdom of God. We discussed David’s connection in Psalm 2:2,6 of secular kingdoms and God’s kingdom previously. It is imperative to know that when one has been saved by the grace of God and become sons of God they are now citizens of the kingdom of God.
Applying kingdom laws and principles to one’s life is a process that involves commitment and faith in God. An in-depth discussion far exceeds the scope of this paper, but it is necessary to mention succinctly a few. Mumford (1974) notes that just as a secular kingdom or country has laws so does God’s kingdom (pg. 18, 36). He goes on to discuss a few of these laws; they are the law of anger, purity, fidelity, flexibility, impartiality, pure motives, and liberality just to name a few. The key to understanding here is that the kingdom of God, while it is not natural or tangible, it is applicable to one’s life.
Our principles of morality and application of ethics are also foundational to understanding the vast meaning of Psalm 2:7. If we have now become the sons of God then, in short, we now represent God. We are to draw our moral values from Scripture and are accountable to the application of our ethics.
In conclusion, we can determine that Psalm 2:7 means when we adhere to the message of Peter on the day of Pentecost, in repenting, being baptized in Jesus name, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, we become the sons of God. At that moment, we are made citizens of the kingdom of God but must live by the principles Scripture teaches us. The application stems to all areas of our lives as we pursue to be more like Christ. As Scripture says, “For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy…” (Leviticus 11:44).
Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Mumford, B. (1974). The King and you. Old Tappan, N.J.: Revell.
Wilson, N. (1990). The two men of history Adam and Christ.
Wilson, N. (2015). Ethical implications of man as the temple of God.