"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. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him".
One verse, just one reading from the book of the Revelation, the last book in the New Testament, chapter 1 - Revelation chapter 1, of course if you're familiar in any way with the Scriptures you will know that the Revelation primarily speaks of things that are yet to be in the prophetic scheme of the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Chapter 1, just one verse, verse 7: "Behold, he", speaking of the Lord Jesus, "cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen".
I think many people think, certainly folk that I talk to, whether they be Christians or not, that in the day in which we live there seems to be much suffering on the side of that which is good. Everything that is evil and not good, or against the things of God or even just plain morals, is triumphing. Good is suffering, or God is suffering, and evil is triumphing - and it seems that the things of God and Christianity in the church is on the backfoot, and atheism or immorality, or whatever you want to call it: other religions, or non-religion, or just plain worldliness, seems to be on the advance. If you feel like that, even if you're not a Christian or born-again, you're not alone and you won't be the first person that's ever thought that. David, who wrote the Psalm that we're reading from tonight, also experienced that in his own day and age, and was able to give vent to it in this Psalm and many other Psalms.
In fact, one Psalm in particular is renowned for this theme right throughout it - Psalm 37, where he says: 'Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity'. Now, why would you be worried about evildoers or envious of those who are workers of iniquity? The reason why David vented that was simply because it seemed in his day that those who were doing evil were prospering, and those who were doing good were suffering for it. That is the norm, let me say that again so that you can catch it: that is the norm for this age in which we live. That is to be expected, this is the way things are to be according to the word of God - it says that the age in which we live, the day in which we live is man's day, it's man's day: the day, age, and epoch where man will have his way. That's why evil triumphs and good suffers, but the Bible also tells us of a day that is yet to come when the tables will be turned, and God will have His day, and His day will be a day of reckoning.
I would say that there's not a person here in our gathering this evening who has not been wronged at some time and place in their life's experience. Something has been done to you by an institution, or by a loved one, or by a friend - someone you counted a friend - or an enemy, and you have been wronged. You were in the right, they were in the wrong, and you've often wondered within your heart, that thing that's pierced your soul down deep and hurt you for so long: will that wrong ever be ironed out? Will there ever be a day of reckoning when wrong things that have been done will be straightened and put right?
Maybe it's when you look at the great atrocities that we see in our land, and have seen done over the years, and maybe right across the world, the disasters that we've seen and the terrorist attacks, and even the Holocaust of the second world war. We wonder will there ever be comeuppance? Will these people - Adolf Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin - will all these horrible monsters of humanity get away with these tragedies? Hitler, perhaps, shot himself - does that mean he's scot free, that he's got off with this greatest crime against all humanity? I think, wouldn't you say that there's something in all of us - even the most warped and depraved and sinful, immoral individual - that cries from the very depths of our being for justice, for righteousness, for vengeance, for fairness in the end. But because we live in man's day, it is not happening as we speak, and as we see and hear things around us, evil more often gains the upper hand than not. But my friend, what I want you to realise is that although we live in man's day, God's day of reckoning is coming, and there is a day - and I believe it's coming very soon - when the tables will be turned, and when justice will be done.
Let's first of all think of this day that we live in that is man's day, and I want you to see that this is very clear not only from the word of God, but from the things that you see going on around you. As you look at Psalm 2, he asks the question: 'Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing?'. If man's day is marked by anything, it's marked by heathen indignation towards God. If I could simplify it like this: men are angry with God. Man is venting, on a continual basis right across our globe, a rage against God and everything to do with God, and everything that comes from God. The word 'rage' literally means 'to assemble tumultuously', like a great riotous throng the whole of humanity seems to rally to the cry of raging and protesting against God. I'm led to believe the original word here means what it is for a horse to neigh, you know when you see a horse neigh when it's pulling at the bit, it's about to go into the race and it just can't wait - and it neighs and you see the steam coming out of its nostrils on a cold day like today. Or it's a horse all metalled up in armour and ready to go into the very depths of battle, bloodthirsty, and it neighs! That's the picture here: humanity is like a beast that neighs in the face of God in rebellion and arrogant pride, angry against God.
This voice of heathen indignation has always been heard down through the ages, and I believe that it's heard in a greater extent today than it has ever been heard. If there is a sign that we are in the end times and in the last days, and it's not long for the Lord Jesus to return again, it is this heathen indignation: man's anger directed toward God. Do you ever think about this? Do you ever wonder within the depths of your soul of the lack, as maybe you see it, of religiousness? Immorality, a lack of reverential fear for anything to do with God or eternity - and you look perhaps as a God-fearing, moralistic, upstanding individual at the terrible abominations that are going on in our society and being legalised by our government, and do you not say to yourself: 'This can't go on like this, surely it must come to an end one day?'? I'll tell you dear friend, that if you're saying that, you're right! Whatever that is in the depths of your soul, maybe it's planted by God as He's written His law in your heart in conscience - I don't know what it is, maybe the Spirit of God is speaking to you, maybe you've been brought up under the word of God and you've been told about this day of judgement of God's wrath and the return of the Lord Jesus - I don't know what it is, but let me tell you this: when it rises in your bosom, 'Surely there must be and end to all this?', you're right! You're right!
What does this world want that it rages in heathen indignation towards God? I'll tell you what it wants: it wants freedom from God. That's what it wants! Freedom from God! The kings of the earth all set themselves toward God, take counsel together against the Lord and Christ, and they want to break - verse 3 - God's bands from them. They want to loose God's cords and influences and restraints from their lives! Here, friends, is the fatal mistake that humanity has made right from the very beginning of time, and it is this: freedom is not achieved by breaking the bands of God off you - you mark this - freedom is only achieved when you submit to God and His Christ's salvation.
But sadly humanity, for all time, has made this mistake and they have thrown off God's rule. They have just invited bondage and destruction, the very thing that they're trying to get away from. If I can prove this to you by illustrating what it was like in the 1960s - I obviously don't remember it, but I know enough about it from living in the overflow of it in my childhood and teenage years. It was the epoch of revolution and freedom: free love, free drugs, free drink, free morals, everything was free! The cry was to throw off the restraints of society and the institutions that were the ground and foundation of society, but what has it led to today? What is the offshoot and the fallout of it? It is a society wrecked with drug abuse, alcoholism, promiscuity, lack of morals, venereal diseases, and the demise of the marriage unity and the family bond. That's what we get from man's attempt at freedom and breaking loose from the restraints of God!
I wonder am I speaking to someone, and your whole life's experience has been a cry for freedom, getting away from the restraints of your parents, the restraints of your school, your upbringing, your society, your church. I don't know what specifically it is, but your heart genuinely yearns for freedom - and because of that you've been pushed to resist anything that smacks or smells of God! Anything to do with God! You resist your family's prayers - they've been praying for you, since you've been a child, to receive Christ as your Saviour. Your Sunday School teacher pleaded with you when you were at his knee. Your husband, your wife is saved, and they long and shed many a tear through a waking night for your soul's salvation - and you're throwing of all those restraints because you see that as hindering your freedom. My friend, you're putting yourself in bondage!
The mark of this day and age in which we live is man's anger toward God. The second thing here is vain imaginations. The kings, it says in the second part of verse 1, 'the people', the nations, 'imagine a vain thing'. In their selfish ambition they plot and plan ways of avoiding God's rule. You see this is the next step: you're angry against God, and then you decide: 'Well, I'm going to do something about this! I'm not going to be restricted by the standards of my parents, or by my church, or even by my society. I'm going to plan a way' - whether it's in the home - 'I'm not going to take part in family worship or family prayers. As long as I can I'm going to try to get out of going to church on a Sunday morning or a Sunday evening, or I don't want to go to that gospel meeting because it makes me feel uncomfortable - and I'll think of every excuse in the book not to go'. Or maybe it's the standards in the house that you live in: you've been brought up with godly parents, and you're trying to rebel and throw off these cords and these bands that you see they are putting upon you. When your parents aren't about, and people you know from the young people's in the church, you avoid the things of God, and in fact you go further: you plan ways that you can get rid of them.
That's the next stage: is that you? Do you know what the next step after that is? United opposition. Heathen indignation, vain imagination - planning ways that you can avoid God and the things of God - then there comes united opposition. It says here in verse 2 that: 'The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD', and all peoples of the nations united themselves against God's rule. Here's the downward spiral and pattern - what is it? One: you get angry with God and the things of God. Two: you plan and you plot to avoid the things of God and get the restraints away from you. And three: then eventually you unite with people who are opposed to Christ and the things of God, and you eventually find yourself agreeing with them.
Here you are, is it not you? I don't know why you're angry against God, I don't know how you're plotting to avoid the things of God, but I'll tell you this: I wonder are you on the next step of actually opposing, opposition united with the world? Are you united? Are you united in a wrong relationship that's pulling you down spiritually? Are you united studying something that is not profitable for your soul? Are you united with some type of entertainment or occupation, or leisure habit - I don't know what it is, but it has driven you into a position where you have found yourself starting to agree with those who are against Christ? That's what happens! Do you know what the step is after that? In fact, I would say that you've qualified if you have heathen indignation, and you have this vain imagination, and this united opposition - do you know it means? You're a gospel rebel! Gospel rebellion! You have become a rebel to the gospel.
These kings of the earth and nations were rebellious against all divine influence, and do you know what that is? It is the spirit of the age in which we live, man's age, it has always been from the beginning when the men of Babel built a great tower that they said would reach unto heaven, and they would worship God in their own way, and they would unite together on their own terms - and God said 'No!', and He scattered them into different languages right across the earth into confusion - that's why you've got languages today. It happened in Babylon, we read there of Nebuchadnezzar. He exalted himself against the face of God, and said: 'Look at my great kingdom that I have brought to myself, and that I have built', and God had to teach him a lesson: that the only reason that he was on Babylon's throne and that he was successful as an emperor, was because God had let him. Do you know what God did? He made him like a beast of the field, to crawl on all fours, and he had fur on him like feathers of ravens, and he ate of the grass, and the dew of the morning came upon his flesh, and he was out in the field like a wild beast until he admitted, and lifted his beastly head heavenward, that there was a God in heaven who alone ruleth in the kingdoms of men!
He had the spirit of the age in him, and I'll tell you: when you get to the cross of Calvary and you see all these old worldly sinners judging the Lord Jesus - imagine them standing in judgement! Men like Pilate, men like Herod, men like Caiaphas the high priest - and it's amazing that they're fighting the bit out, the Roman Emperor against the Jews, all the nations of the world against one another ready to slay one another and takeover one another - yet when it comes to opposing God and His Christ they all unite together to crucify the Son of God! It's the spirit of the age! Then, when the church of Jesus Christ was formed, it was no different - and we have in Acts chapter 4 the apostle preaching, and do you know what he preaches on? Psalm 2, and he talks about how the wicked age of man took the holy child Jesus, God's Son, and crucified Him! And Herod, and Pilate, Rome and Judaism, united together to oppose God and His Christ, and nailed Him to a cross!
Oh, this is nothing new, and I'll tell you this: it's happening, you can see it with your own eyes, and the Bible says it will happen in the end times - and I believe very firmly that we are living in the last days. In the last days the Scriptures teach that there will be a full fulfilment of Psalm 2, when the kings of the earth will gather together and unite to fight against God. There will rise up a vast federation of rulers and nations that will unite in one passion: a determination to prevent Christ from taking the reins of government in this earth. Now, my simple personal question to you this night is: which crowd do you belong to? Are you one of the men that could be said there is the characteristics of man's day, and you're angry against God, and you've plotted and planned to avoid the things of God, the salvation of God, and even find yourself uniting with people who are opposed to everything that God is and gives? You find you're rebelling against the Gospel and the word of God: my friend, you're among those who crucified the Lord Jesus Christ Himself! I warn you that you have your innings at the moment, and although you have opposed Him all through your life and gotten away with it, there is a day coming when the tables will be turned and the day will turn to God's day! That will be a day of reckoning, and that's why it's futile for you to run away from God. That's why the Psalmist says: 'Why do the heathen rage?' - why are they doing it? If the Psalmist was here tonight in this pulpit he'd be saying: 'Why do they not get saved? Why do they think they can rebel against God forever, because very soon the tables are turning!'.
Let me share a couple of things with you about God's day and how it's marked. Do you know how it's marked? It's marked the exact opposite of man's day. There's not man's anger against God, this time Psalm 2 tells us there's God's anger against man. It says that God will laugh at these kings in the world and the nations that oppose Him and rage against Him - He will have them in derision! God doesn't worry about the opposition of the nations and this world's establishments. Their noise and threats don't bother Him! Their clenched fists up into His holy face, and their arrogant slogans and boasts are nothing to Him - they're like the squeaks of a mouse to a lion! They mean nothing! He can't even arouse Himself to fight with them, He just laughs at them!
I'll tell you, this is the picture of God as He is: God on His throne. And although today He's a God of grace and offers you salvation where you sit in this meeting, there's a day coming when He will have the last laugh. My friend, I heard a sermon preached recently on tape of a man of God from years ago, and do you know what the subject of the preaching was? The title was this: 'The God Sinners Never Want to Meet', the God sinners never want to meet - who is He? He is this God that laughs at our calamity, who says: 'I've called unto you and you did not answer, and now I will laugh at your calamity'. I'll tell you, if God laughs at you friend, you've had it, it's over, you're finished!
Let me give you an illustration of it: John the Baptist was said to be a voice crying in the wilderness, and that simply meant that he was a prophet. He was the voice of God, and one day he stood before King Herod - the same one as the Lord stood before later, before His crucifixion. Because King Herod was living with another man's wife, John the Baptist told him his sin, that he was an adulterer, and Herod threw him into prison. One night it was Herod's birthday, and they were having a great party. The daughter of this woman that he was committing adultery with came before Herod to dance before him, and he was so pleased that he said to her: 'What would you like? What can I give you?'. And it says within the word of God that her mother, before, instructed her: 'Say, 'Give me the head of John the Baptist on a charger'', and she asked for John's head! The voice of God that cried in the wilderness through the prophet was cut off! Herod lived for a little while after that, and then came the day when Jesus, the Son of God, stood before him. And I'll tell you this, listen carefully: there's not a word in this book, not one word, that Jesus Christ spoke to Herod the king - why? Because he'd silenced the voice of God!
My friend, there's a day coming when God will laugh, and if by some diabolical move you have silenced God's voice, you will meet a silent God and He will laugh and mock at your calamity. I don't have time to go into all the judgements that will take place upon this earth when Jesus comes, but I'll tell you it is an awful day of wrath that this world has not seen hitherto neither will ever see. Revelation calls it 'the wrath of the Lamb', but I'll tell you this much: the book of Revelation says that on that day those kings of the earth that raged and protested, and arrogantly vented their anger against God, on that day they will be terrified and run! The kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, will hide themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and say 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!
There'll be no heathen indignation and vain imaginations and united oppositions and Gospel rebellions on that day! My friend, don't you tell me that you will be any different, for if you're not washed in the blood of the Lamb - just think about it for one moment this evening: what if, as you're listening to the sound of my voice in this building this evening, you heard the trumpet sound, and that beautiful resplendent light that will transcend and be like an aura around the Judge of God, Jesus Christ, coming into the world, came through that window this moment? Would there be one here without Christ that wouldn't tremble and go to pieces and buckle underneath the guilt of your sin? Don't tell me you wouldn't!
Can you doubt that there would be many in this congregation who would be distracted with guilty fear and remorse? Do you not think that all the sinners who had ever rejected Christ would behave in such a way? Of course they would! There will be holy wrath on that day - and what did Revelation chapter 1 and verse 7 say? That verse terrifies me...people will wail! I can't wait to see the Lord, can you? Some people will wail on that day because they don't want to see Him, because they're not ready for Him. Holy wrath, no longer heathen indignation. There will be accomplished plans, no more vain imaginations - God will have His plans and see them through, His sovereign will will be done. It doesn't matter how many plots and plans will be made by kings and great men, and the ordinary Joe Bloggs, they will come to naught, for He will put His righteous Ruler on the throne. There will be no more united opposition against the Lord and His Christ, but Christ will reign, the Anointed King upon His holy hill! Of His government there will be no end, and He will reign in perfect righteousness. I tell you: at His crucifixion, when He was dying for your sins and mine, Christ was given to the heathen - but Psalm 2 tells us that on that day the heathen will be given to Christ. What about that!
The Lord Jesus Christ, who now sits at the Father's right-hand, there's a day coming when He will enter into the world and He will judge the nations and separate the sheep from the goats - the saved from the unsaved. Revelation says that out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations, and He shall rule them with a rod of iron, and He will tread the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God, and He will rule with a rod of iron and He will dash the potters vessel in pieces! Then the books will be opened, the works will be declared, and the judgement will be executed. Then rebels will be broken and bowed, there'll be no Gospel rebellion, but Philippians says every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess the Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
My friend, in this Psalm that you have looked at, the Spirit of God in the closing verses gives you an invitation appeal to come to your senses and come to Christ now, the wise. He appears to the three parts of your personality: your mind, your heart, and your will. To your mind He says: 'Will you wise up, be instructed, the way that you've been going is not the way to happiness and holiness and heaven'. The wisdom of this world is foolish as with God. In verse 11 He appeals to your heart, and He says: 'Serve the Lord with fear, submit yourself and you will rejoice in God even with trembling'. Then He applies and addresses your will, and He says: 'Kiss the Son, lest He be angry with you. This great Judge, who's coming to judge the world, the One who was crucified for your sins and died for your iniquities and bore all your judgement on the cross at Calvary - He's coming back again, and you should take His hand now as He is the Sovereign of the universe, and bow at His foot, and kiss the nailprint!'.
Submit to Him, David is saying, pay homage and show loving surrender to Him. Yet maybe you're in our gathering tonight, and you've said it all your life and you're saying it this very moment: 'We will not have this Man to reign over us!'. If you're saying that, soon, very soon, as the disciples stood on Bethany's hill and watched the Lord Jesus ascend after His resurrection, and they watched as that resplendent glory and brightness began to disappear as a speck on the horizon in the sky - very soon on that same geographical spot, some men will be gathered, and they will see that speck return again, and the reverse happen as that resplendent brightness begins to appear, and gradually comes out of the sky, and Christ gather as they watch and debate as to what this is - all it is is the fulfilment of the word of Christ: 'As ye have seen Me go, so I will come again in like manner'. To their horror they will wail as they see the shadow of their being change, because the light of Christ eclipses the very light of the sun as He comes to judge the world - and it's too late!
Oh, my friend, today whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved - today, but not on that day.
'Ye sinners seek His face,
Whose wrath ye cannot bear.
Fly to the shelter of the cross,
And find salvation there'.
Let us pray: I don't know how many times you've heard the Gospel before. I don't know what situation you find yourself in, but I'll tell you this: you don't need to be some theologian, or even a preacher in a pulpit, to realise that things are getting swiftly worse in our land, and it's got to end somewhere. I'm telling you that one day shall end, and Jesus shall reign from shore to shore. But my friend, it is only those who bow the knee in time, bow the knee in the day of grace, bow the knee when the Gospel call is heralded, who will enjoy that day and reign with Christ, and dwell for all eternity in glory. Will you bow the knee? Will you do it voluntarily now? One day you will do it, and be forced to do it - why be forced to do it for someone who loves you so much? Someone who went to Calvary and shed His blood on your behalf, someone who bore your sin, took your sorrow, went through your hell - is it too much to ask to bow the knee before the King of kings, and kiss His nail pierced hand? Will you not take Him as your Saviour tonight? Confess your sins, trust His cross work, take His gift of eternal life. I'll be here after the meeting to speak to anyone who wants some guidance or help, I've got some literature free of charge for anyone who would like it. You can be saved right where you are if you just call on the name of the Lord. If you are saved, do tell us, and let us know so that we can rejoice and help you.
Don't be counting on tomorrow or even tonight, no man knoweth the day or the hour - and the reason for that is that we might be sure today, and be prepared today, 'er Christ should come before this night is even over. Father, we pray that there may not be one in this place gathered who is not in time. Lord, we pray that there would be none that would endure the wrath of God that will be poured out upon this planet. We pray that there'll be none that will lift up their eyes in the lake of fire, being in torment - for Lord, Thou hast given them every opportunity to trust the bleeding Lamb, and we pray that they will hide for refuge tonight from the wrath to come in His riven side, and be saved for time and for eternity to the glory of His name who is worthy, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the tape, titled "God's Day Of Reckoning" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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