Monday, 28 September 2020
‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—
as I also have received from My Father; Revelation 2:27
The words of this verse are in the middle of the honors bestowed upon those who “overcome” in Christ. Here, He will now note that they will share in His triumph and will – together with Him – rule the nations. It is based on a promise made to Christ from Psalm 2:7-9 –
“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.’”
Understanding the context, Jesus begins the words of this verse with, “He shall rule them with a rod of iron.” The word translated as “rule” actually means “to shepherd.” It is used, for example, of the coming Christ in Matthew 2:6 –
“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.”
The word translated as “rod” carries with it the sense of authority, and thus it is a scepter. That is the intent of the word here. It is found in that same manner in Hebrews 1:8 –
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.”
This rod, or scepter, being iron has its own meaning. In the Bible, iron represents strength, be it in binding together, in government, in hard service, in bondage, etc. For this reason, Albert Barnes rightly notes –
“To rule with a scepter of iron, is not to rule with a harsh and tyrannical sway, but with power that is firm and invincible. It denotes a government of strength, or one that cannot be successfully opposed; one in which the subjects are effectually subdued.”
Understanding this, Jesus next says, “They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels.” The verb in the Greek is present tense, and thus it should read “as the vessels of the potter are broken.” It gives the vivid sense of watching the nations collapse from their previous states of exaltation, and being reduced to a homogenous blend of nations, subjugated before the rule of Christ. This will begin with the judgment of the nations, as spoken of by the Lord in Matthew 25:31-46. Of that, here are verses 32 & 33 –
“All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.”
The sheep are the nations who will support and protect Israel during the Tribulation period. The goats are those who will be belligerent to her. How do we know this? It is because Jesus was speaking under the Old Covenant and about the Kingdom Age, not the Church Age (which was still a mystery according to Paul’s later writings).
In His discourse in Matthew 25, Jesus refers to those needing help and comfort as “my brethren.” Therefore, He is speaking of the Jews and is referring to the Tribulation as described in the book of Revelation. Jesus was, is, and always will be, a Jew. His brethren are the Jewish people. Those who are on Christ’s side during the Tribulation will likewise support the nation of Israel. Take this note for understanding from Ezekiel 36:22 –
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went.”’”
A new order lies ahead during the millennial reign of Christ, to which these words are referring. This then is a temporal grant to those who not only overcome, but who keep Christ’s work until the end (2:26). During the millennium, the anticipation of the prophets for a world ruled by Messiah from Jerusalem will come about. This is foretold many times in the prophets, but one example is –
“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
3 Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 He shall judge between the nations,
And rebuke many people;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruninghooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.” Isaiah 2:2-4
This right to rule is then acknowledged by Jesus as the way it was intended. As He says, “as I also have received from My Father.” This is what was promised to the coming Christ in Psalm 2. Jesus here acknowledges that it will be so, and He offers that right to rule to those who both overcome and who are faithful to keep His works now.
Life application: Despite their unfaithfulness, God’s name is upon the Jewish people and He still has a plan and purpose for them. The Kingdom Age is coming, and Christ will rule from Jerusalem in the midst of His people Israel.
Lord God, help us to be faithful through the times of trouble. But also, Lord, help us to be faithful through the times of blessing. In either time, we can lose sight of what is most important, getting misdirected from our walk with You. Be with us, guide us, and keep us on the right path at all times. To Your glory alone. Amen.