by John M. Riddle, England
While the word “omnipotent” occurs only once in the Authorised Version, Rev.19.6, the underlying Greek word (pantokrator) is found in the New Testament on ten occasions where, with the one exception noted above, it is translated “Almighty”. Of these ten instances, nine are found in the Apocalypse, with the one remaining reference occurring in 2 Cor.6.18. According to W. E. Vine*, the word means “almighty, or ruler of all (pas, all, krator, to hold, or to have strength)”.
* Vine, W. E. “Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words”, published in 1940 without copyright.
The Old Testament contributes richly to the subject in its use of the Divine titles Elohim and El-Shaddai, both of which are the subject of a later chapter in this book. Suffice to say for the present that the title Elohim (a plural word) makes reference to God (El) as “the Mighty One, the First Great Cause of all” (Thomas Newberry, The Newberry Study Bible). It should also be noted that while the title El Shaddai, combining the singular El with the plural Shaddai, is sometimes defined as “God all-sufficient” in the sense of imparting strength and nourishment, W. Hoste* asserts that “there seems to be no real authority for deriving Shaddai from Shad, meaning a breast”. Gesenius (Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament) has no doubt that it means “most powerful, Almighty”. Thomas Newberry points out that the title occurs in combination, “God Almighty” or, “the Almighty God” on seven occasions, and alone, “the Almighty”, on forty-one occasions. These references are found chiefly in the book of Job. The first occurrence is in the book of Genesis: “I am the Almighty God” Gen.17.1. It has been pointed out that “No one gave God His names. He chose them. Some people are remarkably named before birth – He alone chose His own names as One Who had no ‘beginning of days’.” **
* Hoste, W. “Studies in Bible Doctrine”, published by John Ritchie Ltd, 1948.
** Griffiths, E. Chapter “The Omnipotence of God” in “The Essential Attributes of God”, published by Challenger Publishing, 2001.
The omnipotence of God has been defined as “His power to do everything, consistent with His will and character”.* He states this Himself, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” Gen.18.14. Had he been asked, Job would certainly have concurred with this definition: “I know that Thou canst do everything, and that Thou canst be hindered in no thought of Thine” Job 42.2, J.N.D. Nebuchadnezzar was similarly convinced: “He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?” Dan.4.35. The Lord Jesus reminded His disciples that “with God all things are possible” Matt.19.26, and Mary was told by Gabriel that “with God nothing shall be impossible” Lk.1.37. Paul asked Agrippa the question, “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?” Acts 26.8.
* Hoste, op. cit.
It is important to remember that since He is God, His omnipotence cannot be divorced from His absolute holiness and wisdom. Lord Acton is believed to have been the originator of the saying, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”, but of the omnipotent God, Abraham rightly said, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Gen.18.25. He “cannot deny Himself” 2 Tim.2.13: He “cannot lie” Titus 1.2. In every way, including His omnipotence, He is incomparable, causing the Psalmist to say, “For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD? … O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto Thee? Or to Thy faithfulness round about Thee?” Ps.89.6,8.
David states that “power belongeth unto God” Ps.62.11, and this may be observed in the following ways:
- His power in creation declares His omnipotence
- His eternity declares His omnipotence
- His government of the nations declares His omnipotence
- His triumph over all opposition declares His omnipotence
- His provision for His people declares His omnipotence.
HIS POWER IN CREATION DECLARES HIS OMNIPOTENCE
God displays His omnipotence on the very threshold of the Bible, “In the beginning God (Elohim) created the heaven and the earth” Gen.1.1. Thomas Newberry points out that the Divine title in its singular form derives from ahlah, meaning to worship or adore, so that God reveals Himself, not only as the Creator, but “as the one supreme object of worship, the Adorable One”. Rightly understood, the omnipotence of God in creation should engender wonder and therefore worship on the part of mankind, causing the believer to say of Him, “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; Whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to Whom be honour and power everlasting, Amen” 1 Tim.6.16. Sadly, men and women have failed to respond to the revelation of God in creation, and “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven … Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” Rom.1.18-22. The late E. W. Rogers described evolution and its attendant theories as the ideas of “professors (‘professing themselves to be wise’) who had lost their wits (‘they became fools’)”.
The believer scans the celestial and terrestrial creation with wonder, particularly in view of the fact that the Creator Who, though “upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” Heb.1.3. The New Testament writer speaks for every true child of God in saying, not that there was a ‘big bang’, but that “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” Heb.11.3, and there can be little doubt that this alludes to the Old Testament statement, “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth” Ps.33.6. Whether in the celestial or terrestrial realms, “He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” Ps.33.9. Consideration should be given to:
His Omnipotence In The Celestial Creation
In pondering the testimony of creation, David wrote: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world” Ps.19.1-4.
The Magnificence of the Heavens Declares His Omnipotence
There is a feeling of awe in David’s voice as he contemplated the heavens: “When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and stars which Thou hast ordained; what is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him?” Ps.8.3,4. His reverential awe flows not only from his contemplation of the heavens, possibly at night, but also from a sense of wonder that the omnipotent Creator was so marvellously concerned for puny man. An astronomer is alleged to have said that in comparison with the vastness of the universe, the vaunted human race is like “almost invisible microbes crawling on a speck of cosmic dust!” David’s words are preferable!
The Scriptures abound with references to the “the work of Thy fingers”. For example: “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also” Gen.1.16; “Which alone speadeth out the heavens, And treadeth upon the waves of the sea. Which maketh Arcturus (said to be Ursa Major or ‘The Great Bear’), Orion (known to Orientals as ‘The Giant’) and Pleiades (evidently referring to the cluster of stars known as ‘The Seven Stars’), and the chambers of the south” Job 9.8,9; “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing … by His Spirit He hath garnished the heavens” Job 26.7,13; “That stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in” Isa.40.22; “Seek Him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night” Amos 5.8.
The Maintenance of the Heavens Declares His Omnipotence
“Canst thou bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth (probably referring to the twelve signs or constellations of the Zodiac) in his season? Or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?” Job 38.31,32. It is said of the Lord Jesus, not only that “by Him (‘in Him’, J.N.D. margin) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible” Col.1.16, but that “by Him all things consist”, literally, ‘by Him all things stand together’.* He upholds “all things by the word of His power” Heb.1.3. In the words of Isaac Newton, “This most eloquent system of sun, planets and comets, could only arise from the purpose and sovereignty of an intelligent and mighty being … He rules them all, not as a soul of the world, but as sovereign Lord of all”.**
* Vine, op. cit.
** Newton, Isaac, Principia 1687, Translated by Andrew Motte 1729.
The Magnitude of the Heavens Declares His Omnipotence
“Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them” Gen.15.5. “Our galaxy, the Milky Way, boasts at least 100 billion stars, and scientists estimate that there are 100 billion other galaxies in the universe – each having at least 100 billion stars!”* Isaiah now becomes compulsory reading: “To whom then will ye liken Me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, That bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, For that He is strong in power; Not one faileth” Isa.40.25,26.
* Surgeoner, Robert E., privately published tract “Extraterrestrial Life”.
If this were not enough, the Psalmist said, “Who is like unto the LORD our God, Who dwelleth on high, Who humbleth Himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!” Ps.113.5,6. His omnipotence in the celestial sphere causes believers to sing:
O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee,
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!
(S. K. Hine)
His Omnipotence In The Terrestrial Creation
David said, “O LORD our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth! Who hast set Thy glory above the heavens” Ps.8.1. Isaiah heard the proclamation of the seraphim, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory” Isa.6.3. Having said “Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: Praise Him in the heights”, the Psalmist continued: “Praise the LORD from the earth, Ye dragons, and all deeps: Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; Stormy wind fulfilling His word: Mountains and all hills; Fruitful trees, and all cedars: Beasts, and all cattle; Creeping things, and flying fowl” Ps.148.1,7-10.
Job was given a breathtaking view of God’s omnipotence in relation to the earth, and the reader is strongly advised to carefully ponder Job 38.1 – 41.34. It begins with creation: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? Or who hath stretched the line upon it?” 38.4,5, and continues with the limitation of the oceans: “Who shut up the sea with doors, When it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud the garment thereof, And thick darkness a swaddling band for it (how wonderful that the Creator who ‘swaddled’ the earth with clouds was Himself “wrapped … in swaddling clothes, and laid … in a manger”), And brake up for it My decreed place, And set bars and doors, And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: And here shall thy proud waves be stayed?” 38.8-11. The Lord then proceeds to draw Job’s attention to the wonders of daybreak, v.12, the depths of the sea, v.16, “the treasures of the snow” and “the treasures of the hail” v.22, the distribution of light, v.24, the path of the thunderbolt, v.25, the bringing of rain, v.26, and so much more, “of which we cannot now speak particularly” Heb.9.5. No small wonder that the name “Almighty” occurs so frequently in the book of Job!
But this is not all. The Lord then turns from the inanimate creation to the realm of animals and birds. G. Campbell Morgan “The Analysed Old Testament” summarises this as follows: “Still the unveiling of the Divine glory proceeded, but now in its application to the things of life. First a group of simple questions served to illustrate the impotence of man, and the omnipotence of God. The feeding of lions and young lions; the fact that the cry of the raven is prayer in the ears of God, which He answers with food; the mystery of the begetting and birth of lower animals, with the sorrows of travail and the finding of strength; the freedom and wildness and splendid untameableness of the wild ass; the uncontrolled strength of the wild ox; in all these things Jehovah compelled Job to the consciousness of his own ignorance and impotence by revealing to him His knowledge and might.” Campbell Morgan has still more to say, but having surveyed Job 38.39-39.40, he concludes, “The whole movement revealed the fact that there is nothing that happens in the lower realms of life apart from the knowledge and might of Jehovah. Even though in the economy of His universal government God has committed dominion to man, it is nevertheless dominion over facts and forces which man has not originated, neither does he sustain.” All this, and more, causes us to sing:
The earth, with its store of wonders untold,
Almighty! Thy power hath founded of old;
Hath ‘stablished it fast by a changeless decree,
And round it hath cast, like a mantle, the sea.
His Omnipotence in the Human Creation
J. Flanigan* points out that in Psalm 139, having spoken of the omniscience of God, vv.1-6 and the omnipresence of God, vv.7-12, David speaks of the omnipotence of God, vv.13-18: “I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, And curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; And in Thy book all my members were written, Which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them” vv.14-16. To illustrate the power of the Creator, David refers to the creation of the embryo and the formation of the child in the womb. Attention is drawn particularly to the words, “curiously wrought in the lowest part of the earth”. J. Flanigan explains that the phrase “curiously wrought” is taken from embroidery or needlework, and continues: “Such is the human form, flesh and bones, sinews and muscles, arteries, veins, and nerves, skilfully woven together by the Divine hand, and all this in the silence of the womb, as secret and dark as the lowest parts of the earth. The Psalmist knew that the embryo, as yet imperfect and unformed, was known to Jehovah, since He was its Maker. The final condition and state of the body is known to Him from conception, long before its various members are fully developed. These limbs, organs and facial features increase in strength and size daily, but He already knows the destined form of every one of them. The Omnipotent has created them!”
* Flanigan, J. M. “Psalms”, in What The Bible Teaches”, published by John Ritchie Ltd., 2001.
In summary it should be said again that the omnipotence of God in creation, whether in the celestial, terrestrial or human realms, should be a source of wonder and worship for every child of God. The “four beasts” (‘living creatures’, J.N.D.) associated with the throne in heaven cry, “Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come”, to which the “four and twenty elders” respond, “Thou art worthy, O LORD, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created” Rev.4.8-11. Whether or not the “four and twenty elders” are figurative and describe the church (not all are agreed on their identity), it remains that every believer should swell the chorus of adoring wonder at His creatorial power, and if so, how much more on account of the redemptive work of the Lamb, Rev.5.8-12. The fact that God is described as “LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” brings us to a further consideration:
HIS ETERNITY DECLARES HIS OMNIPOTENCE
In the words of W. Hoste, “As we look out on the universe we are struck with its vastness and complexity … As it could not have brought itself into being, it must have been caused by some adequate free force, and it is not difficult to believe that the force that produced it could not have been less than, and must have emanated from, the omnipotent Creator. His eternal power and Godhead are become visible in His works” Rom.1.20.*
* Hoste, op. cit.
Moses exclaimed, “LORD, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God” Ps.90.1,2. In saying, “Thou art God”, Moses uses the title El indicating, the mighty One, the first great cause of all. If God is not eternal, He cannot be omnipotent. It has been pointed out that the very concept of time implies that something precedes and succeeds it, but that the concept of eternity implies that there is nothing either before or after it. If it was otherwise it could not be eternity. God could not be omnipotent if His existence depended on something that preceded Him, or if His continuance depended on something outside of Himself. As Creator, He not only stands outside His own creation, as “the eternal God” Deut.33.27, and “the everlasting God” Isa.40.28, He is unoriginated and underived. In His own words, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” Rev.1.8. He is “the Mighty God” Isa.9.6.
HIS GOVERNMENT OF THE NATIONS DECLARES HIS OMNIPOTENCE
In interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, Daniel told the Babylonian monarch “the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will” Dan.4.25. Nebuchadnezzar came to recognise that God’s dominion is “an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation” Dan.4.34. In the New Testament it is stated that “the powers that be are ordained of God” Rom.13.1.
The government of God in national and international affairs is emphasised throughout the Word of God, beginning with repopulation of the earth after the Flood by the families of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Gen.10.1-32. Edward Griffiths* points out that “this was by no means haphazard” and draws attention to the words of Moses, “The Most High divided to the nations their inheritance” and that “When He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people According to the number of the children of Israel” Deut.32.8. In his address at Athens, Paul declares that “God that made the world and all things therein … hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation” Acts 17.24,26. God’s control of national affairs has never been relaxed, and even at the end-time, when the world will be subject to satanic rule, and dominated by the trinity of evil comprising the Dragon, the Beast and the False Prophet, the duration of their awful reign will be limited by God: “and power was given unto him [the beast] to continue forty and two months” Rev.13.5.
* Griffiths, op. cit.
The prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Amos each include a ‘foreign nations’ section: Isaiah chapters 13-23; Jeremiah chapters 46-51; Ezekiel chapters 25-32; Amos chapters 1-2. Jeremiah was “set … over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant” Jer.1.10. These chapters in the prophetical books emphasise that the Lord is not a mere tribal deity. He is “the Judge of all the earth” Gen.18.25. All men are accountable to Him. He will judge all nations. The passages stress that the Lord remains in perfect control of national and international affairs; no nation is permitted to exceed the allotted place in His purpose or to avoid payment for its wickedness. It should also be remembered that nations rise and fall with reference to their treatment of God’s earthly people: “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee” Gen.12.3.
The Lord’s universal supremacy is frequently stressed in the Old Testament, and the following examples should be noted: “For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and He is the governor among the nations” Ps.22.28; “For the LORD Most High is terrible; He is a great King over all the earth” Ps.47.2. Jehoshaphat was very aware of this; it was in connection with an invasion by an alliance including “the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon” 2 Chr.20.1, that he said “O LORD God of our fathers, art not Thou God in heaven? and rulest not Thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen?” 2 Chr.20.6. Hezekiah “prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel … Thou art the God, even Thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; Thou hast made heaven and earth” 2 Kgs.19.15. The New Testament describes God’s “two witnesses” at the end-time as “the two olive trees and the two candlesticks [lampstands] standing before the Lord of the earth” Rev.11.4, R.V.
As Edward Griffiths rightly observes, God’s “omnipotence among the nations has been manifested in the overrule of the duration of governments at an international level, particularly during ‘the times of the Gentiles’ Lk.21.24; a period of Gentile supremacy commencing with the rise of Nebuchadnezzar and terminating with the dawn of the millennial reign of Christ.”* The image seen by Nebuchadnezzar, Dan.2.31-35, emphasises, not only God’s foreknowledge, but His directive will: “He changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings” Dan.2.21.
* Griffiths, op. cit.
The rise, course, and passing of kings and kingdoms are directed by Him. Belshazzar was told, “God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it” Dan.5.26. In God’s purpose, the Babylonian kingdom had a determined span of existence. God is never haphazard. He calculates. “The duration of an empire is not left to chance … it is reckoned out by God.”* He “hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their [the nations of men] habitation” Acts 17.26. Compare Dan.9.26,27 where, speaking of events at the end-time, we read, “desolations are determined … that determined shall be poured upon the desolate”. God is in complete control of world events. Belshazzar was personally “weighed in the balances, and … found wanting” Dan.5.27. Whilst it is perfectly true, as a general principle, that God measures men’s lives and works by His standard, and that all men, left to themselves, are “found wanting”, it is also true that “He weighs the value of actions, and measures out judgment with exactness. There is no rough and ready action in His court. The Judge ponders, weighs up the various considerations that affect each case”.* We ought to remember that “the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed” 1 Sam.2.3, and that “Thou, Most upright, dost weigh the path of the just” Isa.26.7.
* Lang, G. H. “The histories and prophecies of Daniel”, published by Paternoster, 1950.
In his dream, Nebuchadnezzar saw Divine omnipotence in action: Daniel explained to him that “in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed … Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter” Dan.2.44,45.
HIS TRIUMPH OVER ALL OPPOSITION DECLARES HIS OMNIPOTENCE
The “Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” Rev.4.8; 11.17; is also described as “King of nations” Rev.15.3, J.N.D: “Great and wonderful are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; righteous and true are Thy ways, King of nations”. Speaking of Him as “King of nations”, it will be said, “We give Thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because Thou hast taken to Thee Thy great power, and hast reigned” Rev.11.17.
In order to bring this wicked and rebellious world into subjection to God, the Lord Jesus will return at the head of the armies of heaven to “smite the nations”, to “rule them with a rod of iron” and to tread “the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” Rev.19.15. At first glance, the word “almighty” might almost seem appropriate in describing the vast army armed and ready to confront the returning Christ: “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army” Rev.19.19, but only the Lord is “Almighty!”
David describes this vast assembly of nations: “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, saying, Let us break Their bands asunder, and cast away Their cords from us” Ps.2.1-3. Little do “the kings” and “the rulers” know that they have been gathered together by the very God they think they can overthrow! The Scriptures are perfectly clear in confirming that this is the case: “I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle” Zech.14.2. Moreover, they will be gathered by means of demon power. God will use the powers of darkness to accomplish His purpose: “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils [demons], working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty … and He [God] gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” Rev.16.13,14,16.
After consultation, “the rulers take counsel together”, national leaders, all subject to one ultimate authority, Rev.17.12,13, decide on united action: “Let us break Their bands asunder”. The rebellion will be in the name of ‘liberty’. God’s Word and God’s laws must be completely overthrown. There must be total freedom from all Divinely appointed restrictions and restraint. This will be the full-flowering of what is already happening in the world, and has been happening for centuries. In the words of Paul, “the mystery of iniquity [lawlessness] doth already work” 2 Thess.2.7. The abolition of the death penalty, the disregard for the sanctity of marriage, the licensing of homosexual relationships between consenting adults (the sin of Sodom), the increasing disregard for law and order, to name but four examples, are nothing less than the blatant and deliberate rejection of Divine law. These trends will reach their zenith when men and women will publicly and unitedly wave their fists at God and Christ. Tragically, men forget that God gave those “bands and cords” in love for the maintenance of order and seemliness in the human race, and we witness today the awful outcome when these restraints are cast aside. The wholesale adoption of the theory of evolution has robbed men of their sense of accountability to God, with fearful results.
The Divine answer follows: “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” Ps.2.4-6. We should notice the following:
The Tranquillity In Heaven, v.4
God does not even rise from His throne. The “winds of change” do not blow in heaven. There is no panic there. God is in perfect and absolute control. The first thing that the apostle John saw when he was shown “the things which shall be hereafter” was “a throne … set in heaven, and one sat on the throne” Rev.4.2. Unlike thrones on earth which can be swept away by war and political change, this throne is “set in heaven”, indicating its stability and immutability. Moreover, while it is true that “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” (Wm. Shakespeare), the Almighty sits in perfect tranquillity. The same tranquillity is observed later in the book when John beheld “a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man” Rev.14.14.
God not only sits, He laughs. The reason is clear: puny man on earth is attempting to overthrow Almighty God in heaven. It is not a laugh of joy, but of scorn, reminding us that “The wicked plotteth against the just, And gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The LORD shall laugh at him: For He seeth that his day is coming” Ps.37.12,13; “Behold, they belch out with their mouth: Swords are in their lips: For Who, say they, doth hear? But Thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them; Thou shalt have all the heathen in derision” Ps.59.7,8. Men derided the Lord Jesus at Calvary. Now God mocks them.
The Terror on Earth, v.5.
God will “vex them in His sore displeasure”. The word “vex” means to ‘trouble’ or ‘terrify’. The apostle John gives us some idea of the terror on earth: “And 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, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said 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” Rev.6.15,16. It must be said that there will be no inequity in Divine judgment: John “heard the altar saying, Yea, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments” Rev.16.7, J.N.D. The wrath of the omnipotent God will be fearful. The Lord Jesus, “The Word of God” Rev.19.13, will speak, and the united military powers of the world will be destroyed. The sword is not in its scabbard, and not even in His hand, but in His mouth: “And the remnant were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth” Rev.19.21. He will consume and destroy “that Wicked” [‘lawless one’, J.N.D.] with “the spirit of His mouth, and … with the brightness of His coming” 2 Thess.2.8.
The Triumph of the King, v.6.
Psalm 2 commences with rebel kings, v.2: God now introduces His King. “Yet have I set My king upon My holy hill of Zion”. God’s King is on earth, and since this is so, the apostle John hears “as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” Rev.19.6.
Psalm 2 emphasises that at the end-time, mankind will challenge the omnipotence of God, only to find themselves utterly defeated. The Bible concludes by describing “that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God” Rev.21.10. Amongst other things, the apostle John “saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it” Rev.21.22. The omnipotence of God – He is “the Lord God Almighty” – will never again be disputed. It will be acknowledged and recognised for ever by the innumerable and adoring hosts of saints and angels.
But the omnipotence of God is relevant to the lives of His people now. This brings us, finally, to:
HIS PROVISION FOR HIS PEOPLE DECLARES HIS OMNIPOTENCE
Having said that separation is not so much no contact with evil, but rather no contract with evil, Paul exhorts the believers at Corinth to “come out from among them [the idol-worshippers at Corinth], and be ye separate, saith the LORD, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the LORD Almighty” 2 Cor.6.17,18. The use of the Divine title here “LORD Almighty” is significant. “The one who utters the promise is God, the Sovereign Lord of all, whose word is creative and cannot fail to perform what it promises.”* The believer of today can rightly use Old Testament language in saying of the omnipotent God, “this God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death” Ps.48.14.
* Hughes, Philip, E. “Second Epistle to the Corinthians” (New International Commentary on the New Testament) published by Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1995.
With this in mind, attention is drawn to the following passages in the New Testament which emphasise that we have a God of tremendous ability: He “is able to establish” His people, Rom.16.25, J.N.D.; He “is able to make all grace abound” to His people, 2 Cor.9.8; He “is able to do exceeding abundantly” above all that His people ask or think, Eph.3.20; He “is able to keep” all that His people commit to Him, 2 Tim.1.12; He “is able to keep” His people from falling, Jude 24. When Darius asked the question, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?”, Daniel answered, “My God hath sent His angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me” Dan.6.20-22.
The Lord’s people can have every confidence in their omnipotent God: “Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it” 1 Thess.5.24. They can say to each other with great joy: “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” Jude vv.24,25.