Don K. Preston
In one of the most intriguing prophetic texts of the Old Testament, the Psalmist said, “Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their bonds in pieces, and cast away their cords from us.’” (Psalms 2:1-3). This passage speaks of man’s attempt to thwart God’s intent to establishment of the kingdom.
In Acts 4:25f, Peter quoted this passage to speak of the crucifixion of Jesus. The thing is, though, that Peter and the church did not think the crucifixion had accomplished what the rebellious leaders had hoped! The church saw the crucifixion, and of course the resurrection, of Jesus as victory, not defeat! Why? Because that is what the prophet had taught.
Back in Psalms 2, the writer recorded Jehovah’s response to man’s attempt to thwart His purpose, “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then shall He speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure. Yet have I set my King on My Holy hill of Zion.” (Psalms 2:4-5) God laughed when man attempted to defeat Him!
Yet, many people believe that man did defeat, or at least postponed God’s purposes and that the Cross is proof positive that Satan won, and not God! John Darby said that many people supposed that the Cross signaled the victory of God. However, he said, “It was exactly the contrary. The cross was one grand demonstration…that Satan is prince and god of this world.”(J. N. Darby, Lectures on the Second Coming, 1868). Well, if the Cross is the victory of Satan, why did David say that God would laugh when man rejected His Son?
In a similar vein, in a book written to refute Covenant Eschatology (true preterism), one of the authors actually argued that God does not have to fulfill His promises at the time or in the manner predicted by the prophets! (Richard Pratt in When Shall These Things Be? Edited by Keith Mathison, Philippsburg, NJ, P and R Publishing, 2004)121-154. See my response to much of this material in my Seventy Weeks Are Determined…For the Resurrection, available from this website). It is simply stunning that anyone claiming to believe in the inspiration of scripture would affirm such a thing?
You see, the Bible says that God gave His promise to set His Son on the throne and He said He would not alter His word. He was not going to be defeated nor postpone His purpose. Not only that, the prophetic scriptures said of Jesus’ mission to establish the kingdom: “He shall not fail” (Isaiah 42:6f). Well, if Jesus came to establish the kingdom, but could not do it because of the Cross, then he failed and God altered His promises!
But you see, the Bible says God would laugh at man’s rebellious acts. He would laugh at the futile conniving of those who imagined “a vain thing,” in thinking they could prevent God’s purposes. God keeps His word and He keeps His word on time! This means that when Jesus and his disciples said that he was coming in judgment his kingdom in the first century, that he did not fail (Matthew 16:27-28; 25:31f).
What a comfort to know that God cannot be thwarted by man’s rebellious efforts! What a comfort to know that Satan is not in control, that God actually used man’s rebellion to accomplish His purpose! Instead of the Cross being “a grand demonstration” that Satan is the prince of this world, the Bible says that it was in the Cross that Jesus triumphed (Colossians 2:15f)! The Cross was God’s plan all the time! It was His means of establishing His kingdom, not the cause for postponing the kingdom!
What a great God is He! He turns man’s rebellion to His purposes! He laughs at man’s efforts to foil Him. Don’t you want to serve a God that cannot and will not be defeated?