Sunday, 27 September 2020
And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— Revelation 2:26
This verse is the beginning verse of the fourth set of honors (this time to those in Thyatira) promised to the one who “overcomes.” Such a person, as previously noted, is the one who believes in Jesus Christ – the God/Man, calling on His name and being cleansed by the power of His shed blood. That was summed up 1 John 5:4, 5 –
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
Jesus next adds on a note of perseverance, “and keeps My works until the end.” It is a phrase found only here in the New Testament. It implies that not everyone who is saved (which is eternal) will be given this power. This is obvious, because of how the term “overcome” is defined elsewhere (including the quote from 1 John 5). There is eternal salvation, but there are also promised blessings for those who persevere in their salvation.
This then is a special blessing to those who not only call on Jesus Christ for salvation, but those who also keep His works. The promised blessing then falls under the category of “rewards” as outlined by Paul –
“If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:14, 15
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10
It is with this thought, that Jesus’ words are speaking of rewards for perseverance, that He next says, “to him I will give power over the nations.” The word “power” speaks of control or authority. It is an authority given by God to His saints. In its reception, they have authority and ability to act according to His will.
That this is speaking of a granted authority based on perseverance, and not an authority given to all who are saved, is seen in Jesus’ parable concerning the minas, found in Luke 19:11-27. There, Jesus shows that the greater the faithfulness, the greater the responsibility that will be granted to those over the cities. That parable is referring to the kingdom age.
The same idea is conveyed here. The change from “cities” to “nations” is noteworthy. The Greek word is ethnōn. It speaks of the heathen world in contrast to the nation of Israel. Those faithful in Israel during the kingdom age are given rule over cities. Those faithful in the church will be given rule over nations. Jesus will continue to explain this in the next verses.
Life application: There will actually be some who are taken up at the rapture who will be completely surprised by the event. We read this in 2 Peter 1:9 –
“For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”
Peter is speaking about a person who “was cleansed from his old sins” and yet had forgotten about it. This person won’t be the ruler of the nations, but will spend his time watching others, who were faithful in their walk, exercising authority that they will be denied. Obviously, there will be many gradations between the two as well.
The Lord will be perfectly just in His judgments, and also in the doling out of rewards to His faithful. What will be the anticipated rewards for you? Only you can set the course for them now. Make sure that you don’t fall away from the sure rewards that await those who remain steadfast in Christ!
Lord, we are all so very prone to falling away from the full attention we should give to our Christian responsibilities. Therefore, we ask that You guide us, carry us, and strengthen us as we go forth. Keep us from falling away, or even being faithful but unproductive followers of You. Help ensure our lives are properly directed to the things that You deem proper and appropriate in our Christian walk. Amen.