What does Psalm 2.12 mean when it talks about kissing the Son, “lest he be angry”?
The whole verse reads, “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.”
Psalm 1 gives us the two distinct classes of people on this earth: the righteous and the unrighteous, or the godly and the ungodly. The rebellion of the ungodly (“heathen”) carries into Psalm 2. Some have appropriately termed it the Acts 16:30 and 31 (“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved”) passage of the Old Testament.
Psalm 2 is the first of the so-called “messianic” psalms. These particular psalms show forth the character, Person, and work of the Lord Jesus. Other psalms might allude to Jesus Christ to some degree, but the messianic psalms are unique in this respect. Psalm 2 distinctly refers to Christ’s Sonship and resurrection. Verse 7 states, “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” We find this specific passage repeated in Acts 13:32–34:
And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, 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.
We find Psalm 2:7 in the book of Hebrews as well:
Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee? (Heb. 1:4, 5a).
In Hebrews 5:5 and 6 we read,
So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Therefore, we conclude that the word “Son” in Psalm 2 is looking undeniably ahead to the Lord Jesus Christ, anticipating Him. Quotes of this psalm in specific passages in the New Testament confirm this conclusion.
A rebellious people need to come face-to-face with an all-powerful, holy, and righteous God. They need to acknowledge God for Who He is and to realize the futility of their revolt against Him. They need to accept His way of salvation. Salvation is through His Son; thus he gave the admonition of verse 12. The word “kiss” speaks of recognizing Christ as the only Lord and Savior. Kissing also expresses relationship.
In the spiritual realm, the analogy displays believing and loving union with Christ. Just as earthly kings in David’s day needed to recognize God as the sovereign King over them all and over all the earth, so individuals today need to recognize Jesus as the Savior and trust Him personally. The Holy Spirit in this present dispensation is yet moving among people and saying to them, “Kiss the Son before it is eternally too late.” In other words, “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2b). Just as God in His wrath and displeasure can dash an evil nation to pieces like a vase of pottery (Ps. 2:9), so Christ is coming someday not only to deal with the nations of the earth but to judge righteously each individual: who has not become one of His own.
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