“To all who are victorious, who obey Me to the very end, to them I will give authority over all the nations. They will rule the nations with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots. They will have the same authority I received from My Father, and I will also give them the morning star! “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches.”
Revelation 2:26-29 NLT
These are difficult verses to get our minds around. We understand the need to be victorious, to be able to come to the end of our journeys through life, intact but triumphant, perhaps a bit bruised and battered, but able to stand before Jesus, saying, like the Apostle Paul, “As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” (2 Tim 4:6-7). An obedient and faithful end to our lives ticks the “victorious” box.
But Jesus then goes on to say we victors will have authority over all the nations. But wait a minute! We’ve just crossed the Great Divide into our new life in Heaven and Jesus gives us a new assignment. We’re told we will have authority over all the nations. What about the rest we read about in Hebrews 4, “So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labours, just as God did after creating the world.” What about the wonderful fictional stories of getting to Heaven where we will be kitted out with a pair of wings and given a harp to play while sitting on a cloud?
But Jesus goes on to say that the “victorious” will be ruling the nations with an iron rod. Someone who rules with an iron rod brings to mind a person who is maintaining strong discipline, if necessary using physical force and punishment. Nothing wishy-washy here. No democratic shenanigans. And we read that the iron rod approach will smash the nations like clay pots. Why is Jesus proposing such a hard line? We must bear in mind two events portrayed in the Bible. In Psalm 2 we read that there will come a time when the nations of the world will conspire to destroy the Kingdom of God. Verse 2 reads, “The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against His Anointed One“. Such arrogance! And in verse 9 we read again, “You will break them with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots“. There will come a time when God’s righteous judgement will prevail, and from today’s verses in Revelation, it looks as though we will have a role to play. You see, as Christian we have picked the winning side. There will one day be a pay back time for rebellious and sinful nations and generations, and Jesus has delegated to us His authority over them. However, how that will all pan out in practice is still hidden from us.
The second event prophesised in the Bible concerns Jesus Himself. We are told unequivocally in several places in Scripture that one day Jesus will come again. In some ways we are living between two major events – Jesus’ first coming as a baby, born to a young peasant girl in Bethlehem, and His second coming, with power and glory. Matthew 24:30, “And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory“.
So what do we make of this revelation that we will be ruling the nations? These verses today give us a tiny glimpse of what may be coming. We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future. That’s good enough for me. And as we stay close to our wonderful Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus, we are assured of our future. His love and grace will cover us like a cloak, and one day we will be in His presence.
As well as His authority, Jesus promised to give the Thyatiraeans “the morning star“. In astronomical terms, the morning star is the planet Venus, reflecting the light of the sun, giving a hint of the coming day. So those who will be ruling and reigning with Jesus will perhaps reflect the glory of God in the life to come. And in our time here and now in 21st Century planet earth we have the opportunity to show the glory of God to the people in our families and our communities. In our schools and workplaces. In the supermarkets and gyms. How do other people see us? As a God-reflection or as a misery? As a morning star or a black hole? Hmmm…
Dear Lord, we thank You for Your revelation of our future in Your presence. And we thank You that You have entrusted to us Your mission to the communities and families around us. Please helps us to be as effective in this life as we will be in the life to come. In Jesus’ name. Amen.