Ask of me, and I shall give thee - Here a second branch of Christ's office as Savior of the world is referred to; viz., his mediatorial office. Having died as an atoning sacrifice, and risen again from the dead, he was now to make intercession for mankind; and in virtue and on account of what he had done and suffered, he was, at his request, to have the nations for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. He was to become supreme Lord in the mediatorial kingdom; in consequence of which he sent his apostles throughout the habitable globe to preach the Gospel to every man.
Ask of me - That is, of God. This is a part of the “decree” or purpose, as mentioned in Psalm 2:7. That decree embraced not only the design to constitute him as his Son, in the sense that he was to be king in Zion, but also the purpose to give him a dominion embracing “the heathen” and “the uttermost parts of the earth.” This wide dominion was to be given him on condition that he would “ask” for it, thus keeping up the idea that Yahweh, as such, is the great source of authority and empire, and that the Messiah, as such occupies a rank subordinate to him. This relation of the Father and Son is everywhere recognized in the New Testament. As we may be sure that the Messiah will ask for this, it follows that the world will yet be brought under his scepter. It may be added that as this wide dominion is promised to the Messiah only on condition that he “asks” for it or prays for it, much more is it true that we can hope for this and for no favor from God, unless we seek it by earnest prayer.
And I shall give thee - I will give thee. That is, he would ultimately give him this possession. No time is specified when it would be done, and the prophecy will be fulfilled if it shall be accomplished in any period of the history of the world.
The heathen - The nations (notes, Psalm 2:1); that is, the world. In the time of the writer of the psalm, the world would be spoken of as divided into Hebrews and other nations; the people of God and foreigners. The same division is often referred to in the New Testament under the terms Jew and Gentile, as the Greeks divided all the world into Greeks and barbarians. The word would now embrace all the nations which are not under the influence of the true religion.
For thine inheritance - Thy heritage; thy portion as my Son. There is an allusion here to the fact that he had constituted him as his Son, and hence, it was proper to speak of him as the heir of all things. See the notes at Hebrews 1:4.
And the uttermost parts of the earth - The farthest regions of the world. This promise would properly embrace all the world as then known, as it is now known, as it shall be hereafter known.
For thy possession - That is, as king. This, on the earth, was be to his possession as the Son of Yahweh, constituted as king. It may be remarked here,
(a) that this can have its fulfillment only in the Lord Jesus Christ. It was not true of David nor of any other Hebrew monarch that he had conceded to him, in fact, any such possession. Their dominions extended, at any time, but little beyond the bounds of Palestine, and embraced a very limited part of the earth - but a small territory, even as compared with many then existing kingdoms. The phrase used here could never have been applied to the limited and narrow country of Palestine.
(b) The promise is to be understood as still in full force. It has never been cancelled or recalled, and though its fulfillment has seemed to be long delayed, yet as no time was specified, its spirit and meaning have not been disregarded. Events have shown that it was not intended that it should be speedily accomplished; and events, when no time is specified, should be allowed to be interpreters of the original meaning of the prophecy.
(c) The promise will yet be fulfilled. It is evidently supposed in the promise that the Messiah would ask for this; and it is solemnly affirmed that if he did, this wide inheritance would be granted to him. The world, then, is to be regarded as given by covenant to the Son of God, and in due time he will set up his dominion over the earth, and rule over mankind. The period is coming when the actual scepter swayed over the nations of the earth will be that of the Son of God, and when his right to give laws and to reign will be acknowledged from the rising to the setting sun. This is the only thing in the future that is certainly known to us, and this is enough to make everything in that future bright.
Christ longs to extend His sway over every human mind. He longs to stamp His image and character upon every soul. When He was on this earth, He hungered for sympathy and co-operation, that His kingdom might extend and embrace the whole world. This earth is His purchased possession, and He would have men free and pure and holy. “For the joy that was set before Him,” He “endured the cross, despising the shame.” [Hebrews 12:2.] His earthly pilgrimage was cheered by the thought that He would not have all this travail for naught, but would win man back to loyalty to God. And there are triumphs yet to be accomplished through the blood shed for the world, that will bring everlasting glory to God and to the Lamb. The heathen will be given for His inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession. Christ will see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied. [See Isaiah 53:11.] GW 28.1
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and Kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee.” “For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” [Isaiah 60:1-5; 61:11.] GW 28.2
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The Lord is at hand. Heavenly intelligences united with sanctified influences of earth are to proclaim the third angel's message and sound the warning, The end of all things is at hand. “For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37). A people are to be prepared to stand in the day of the Lord, and having done all, to stand. Those who crowd together in cities and villages are making a serious mistake. Those who thus neglect to extend their influence, by circulating wider and wider, reaching to the uttermost parts of the world are neglecting to stand at their post of duty.... TDG 170.4Read in context »