Let us break their bands - These are the words of the confederate heathen powers; and here, as Bishop Horne well remarks, "we may see the ground of opposition; namely, the unwillingness of rebellious nature to submit to the obligations of Divine laws, which cross the interests, and lay a restraint on the desires of men. Corrupt affections are the most inveterate enemies of Christ, and their language is, We will not have this man to reign over us. Doctrines would be readily believed if they involved in them no precepts; and the Church may be tolerated in the world if she will only give up her discipline."
Let us break their bands asunder - The bands of Yahweh and of his Anointed. They who are engaged in this combination or conspiracy regard Yahweh and his Anointed as one, and as having one object - to set up a dominion over the world. Hence, they take counsel against both; and, with the same purpose and design, endeavor to cast off the authority of each. The word “bands” here refers to the restraints imposed by their authority. The figure is probably taken from fastening a yoke on oxen, or the bands or cords which were used in plowing - the bands of the yoke being significant of their subjection to the authority or will of another. The same figure is used by the Saviour in Matthew 11:29: “Take my yoke upon you.” The idea here is, that it was the purpose of Yahweh and his Anointed to establish a dominion over men, and that it was equally the purpose of the kings and rulers here referred to that it should not be done.
And cast away their cords from us - The same idea under another form - the cords referring not to that which would bind them as prisoners, but to the ropes or thongs which bound oxen to the plow; and, hence, to that which would bind men to the service of God. The word translated “cords” is a stronger word than that which is rendered bands. It means properly what is twisted or interlaced, and refers to the usual manner in which ropes are made. Perhaps, also, in the words “let us cast away” there is the expression of an idea that it could be easily done: that they had only to will it, and it would be done. Together, the expressions refer to the purpose among men to cast off the government of God, and especially that part of his administration which refers to his purpose to establish a kingdom under the Messiah. It thus indicates a prevalent state of the human mind as being impatient of the restraints and authority of God, and especially of the dominion of his Son, anointed as King.
The passage Psalm 2:1-3 proves:
(1) that the government of Yahweh, the true God, and the Messiah or Christ, is the same;
(2) that opposition to the Messiah, or to Christ, is in fact opposition to the purposes of the true God;
(3) that it may be expected that men will oppose that government, and there will be agitation and commotion in endeavoring to throw it off.
The passage, considered as referring to the Messiah, had an ample fulfillment
(a) in the purposes of the high priests, of Herod, and of Pilate, to put him to death, and in the general rejection of him by his own countrymen;
(b) in the general conduct of mankind - in their impatience of the restraints of the law of God, and especially of that law as promulgated by the Saviour, demanding submission and obedience to him; and
(c) in the conduct of individual sinners - in the opposition of the human heart to the authority of the Lord Jesus.
The passage before us is just as applicable to the world now as it was to the time when the Saviour personally appeared on the earth.
The priests gave directions for securing the sepulcher. A great stone had been placed before the opening. Across this stone they placed cords, securing the ends to the solid rock, and sealing them with the Roman seal. The stone could not be moved without breaking the seal. A guard of one hundred soldiers was then stationed around the sepulcher to prevent it from being tampered with. The priests did all they could to keep Christ's body where it had been laid. He was sealed as securely in His tomb as if He were to remain there through all time. DA 778.1
So weak men counseled and planned. Little did these murderers realize the uselessness of their efforts. But by their action God was glorified. The very efforts made to prevent Christ's resurrection are the most convincing arguments in its proof. The greater the number of soldiers placed around the tomb, the stronger would be the testimony that He had risen. Hundreds of years before the death of Christ, the Holy Spirit had declared through the psalmist, “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His anointed.... He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” Psalm 2:1-4. Roman guards and Roman arms were powerless to confine the Lord of life within the tomb. The hour of His release was near. DA 778.2Read in context »