A Warning for the "Kings of the Earth"

The world's leaders are in rebellion against God. The time to repent is dwindling.

A 2017 global study estimated that there are around 500 million atheists and agnostics worldwide. That’s close to 7 percent of the world’s population. Amazingly, around 200 million of these unbelievers live in China!

And those are just people who claim not to be religious. There are far more people who follow other religions and do not believe in the God of the Bible or in Jesus Christ. One estimate indicates the world’s population of Christians is around 2.4 billion. That’s only 30 percent of the world.

Two-thirds of humanity has rejected God’s authority. How does God respond to a world set against Him?

Set against His Anointed

Psalm 2 gives us a good idea of His response:

Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.”—Psalm 2:1-3

This passage speaks of a time when the world will rebel against “the Lord and against His Anointed.” That is Old Testament language for God the Father and Jesus. It’s a vivid description of what is happening around the world right now. We are witnessing an unprecedented rebellion against God and His Word.

God’s deep displeasure

But note how God responds to this rebellion:

He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.
5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:
6 “Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.”—Psalm 2:4-6

As the nations rage against God’s authority and the presence of an antichrist spirit continues to grow, God sits in Heaven laughing at them. He holds them “in derision.” God is speaking to an end-times world, but He is not worried about the rebellion of humanity.

Why? Because those kings pale in comparison to the King of Kings, Jesus, whom God has established as their authority. Watching the world try to defy God’s authority is like watching a group of five-year-olds in a kindergarten class plotting to take over the school.

Dashed to pieces

The latter half of this psalm reminds us that God is still in control:

“I will declare the decree:
The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
8 Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ”—Psalm 2:7-9

He knew all of this was coming and He has a plan to handle this rebellion. He actually warns the “kings of the earth” of what is going to happen. They will be broken and defeated.

Revelation 19:15 calls back to this passage, describing how Jesus will bring judgment in the last days: “Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron.”

An exit ramp for the rebellious

But then God, in His great mercy, gives these rebellious kings a way out. They can avoid His wrath. Here’s how:

Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.—Psalm 2:10-12

The way out of their predicament is humility before God. They can repent from their rebellion and turn toward the Lord. They can “kiss the Son.” All they have to do is bow down to Jesus, and they will be spared God’s wrath.

Asking for death

Revelation 6 describes this wrath, and how the world’s leaders respond to it, when the Sixth Seal is opened during the Tribulation:

And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”—Revelation 6:15-17

These kings and “great men” are the same group of people God was addressing in Psalm 2. As they raged against the Lord and refused His authority, He warned them of what would happen.

Now, in Revelation 6, it is happening. This is part of the Tribulation, the worst seven years of human history. Things are so bad that these rulers and mighty men are crying out for rocks to fall on them—they are asking for death—because that seems like their only escape against the “wrath of the Lamb.”

But even though they are hoping to avoid God’s wrath, there’s no hope for them at this point:

In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them.—Revelation 9:6

Could it get any worse than that? They will be attempting suicide but will be unsuccessful, because God will supernaturally prevent them from dying. This is God’s punishment upon them for refusing to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and to receive salvation as an act of grace.

That’s the bad news. But there is good news…

God is waiting patiently

We are not yet out of time. If you are a believer and have “kissed the Son,” you will avoid this wrath. You won’t experience it. As the world is being judged for its rebellion here on earth, you will be receiving your eternal reward. The world will be experiencing the seven-year Tribulation of God’s wrath, but you will be in God’s presence. You will be at the Father’s house.

So I want to leave you with a word of encouragement. I know, at times, it can feel like Christians are at a disadvantage in today’s world. We may feel our political beliefs are in the minority or our moral beliefs run counter to everything else in the world. We may feel like the whole world has become atheist or agnostic. We may seem like a small remnant of believers who refuse to rebel against God.

But we must stand strong. This is not the time to envy those who are in rebellion. We must remember the warnings of Psalm 2—as well as its promises. God is still being patient with us. He is offering a time for the world to kiss His Son.

His patience will not last forever. Very soon we will be raptured to be with the Lord. We will avoid the wrath of the Lamb, but that wrath will overwhelm those who thought they could cast God aside.

As the Psalmist wrote, it is time to serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.