A couple of weeks ago I embarked on an expositional journey through Revelation with John MacArthur. I discovered his sermon volumes by book of Scripture on the Grace to You Android app and was excited to dig in to this most glorious book of the Bible revealing the exalted and glorified Christ Jesus. Last week I listened through the second part of Thyatira: The Church That Tolerates Sin, and was greatly encouraged in MacArthur’s teaching of Revelation 2:26-27 on the faithful overcomers of this church and how they, we, will rule the nations with Christ during the Millennium Kingdom.
I understand some of the readers of this blog may not hold to a pre-Millennial view of the Kingdom, but I hope a careful study of this verse will give you something to consider. The text reads:
He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; 27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father
Who will Christians have authority over, why would they need to rule them with a rod of iron, and shatter them as earthen vessels?
You can listen to the message in its entirety here. Here’s MacArthur:
Then finally, the counsel. And now He turns to the good folks there. I guess I kind of feel they must have been in the minority or they would have overruled the rest. Certainly if it was a Baptist church they could have voted the woman out. Verse 26, “And he who overcomes and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to Him I’ll give authority over the nations and he’ll shall rule them with a rod of iron as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces as I also have received authority from My Father and I will give him the morning star.”
There’s so much here, it’s so wonderful. As in the other letters, John closes with a word to the true Christians and it’s a word of promise. “And he who overcomes,” and I’m not going to reinterpret that every time, that just means a Christian, 1 John 5:5…1 John 5:5, “He that overcomes is the Christian.” “To the true Christian who overcomes the evil, who overcomes Satan, enduring to the end, John says our faith is that which overcomes, the one who believes is the overcome [sic]…1 John 5:5…and he who keeps My deeds, that means who obeys,” there’s two evidences of saving faith. Saving faith triumphs, it never abandons, you never lose it, you never give it up, you always overcome. No matter what comes against you, you never lose your faith, you continue to believe. Who is the one who overcomes the world? But he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. Whatever is born of God overcomes the world, and you overcome by believing, constant faith.
So, the true Christian has an unending faith and has a pattern of obedience. His faith is made manifest in his works. So to the true believer, He says, “I want to give you two things. First, to him I will give authority over the nations.” If you endure in constant faith and a pattern of obedience, to the end whatever end, the end of your life, or the time when Jesus comes, to the end, “I’ll give you authority over the nations.” Wow, what does that mean? I believe that that clearly can be understood one way, you’re going to reign with Christ in an earthly millennial kingdom. If you don’t have a millennium, this promise makes no sense. If you don’t believe in a thousand-year millennial kingdom, what in the world is He talking about? Because this is taken right out of Psalm 2. And Psalm 2 verse 7, “I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord, He said to me, `Thou art My son, today I have begotten thee. Ask of Me and I’ll surely give the nations as thine inheritance and the very ends of the earth as thy possession.” You say, “Oh yeah, that’s in heaven, that’s in heaven…when we all get to heaven, when we all get to heaven.”
No it isn’t. The next verse, “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, thou shalt shatter them like earthenware.” And there isn’t going to be any nation full of people getting bashed around with a rod of iron or broken like a pot in heaven. It’s got to be on earth. It has to be a millennial kingdom, there isn’t any other explanation. And the first thing He says to them is, “You’ve had a lot of problem here and you’ve been beaten up, but when you get to the Kingdom you’re going to get to do some of the beating.” That’s what He’s saying. You’ve been hammered so get ready for your time to take your own hammer and sit on a throne and rule with Me.
You say, “Who gets…who gets hit with the rod of iron during the millennial kingdom?” The nations that come against God, the nations that fight against Christ, the rebellious wicked nations, the ones that would attack the sheep. You see, you even have here…you see that word there, “rule,” it’s the word poimaino, from poimen which is a shepherd. And what He is saying is I will shepherd them with a rod of iron. A shepherd has a rod but he always had a wooden rod, but Jesus says when I get to My kingdom My rod is going to be made out of iron. And what did the shepherd use the rod for? Many times the sheep would be being attacked by wolves or whatever wild animals and he would use the rod to smash that animal and fight that animal off who came to attack his sheep. And He says there’s coming a time in the kingdom when the nations of the world are going to move against Me and My people and I’m going to wield a rod of iron and I’m going to use that rod and I’m going to smash them like clay pots and you’re going to be there with Me, you’re going to be ruling with Me, protecting My people in the kingdom, protecting holiness and righteousness.
That’s the first promise, millennial participation. You’re going to be in My kingdom. You’re going to share that great time when the nations of the world are forced to bow the knee to Jesus Christ and He rules as King of kings and Lord and lords, when the whole curse is reversed, when the lion lies down the lamb, and the children can play with the poisonous snakes because they’re not longer poisonous, when the desert blossoms like a rose. In that great time when peace fills the earth and wisdom and knowledge of Christ and whatever rebel raises his ugly head, the rod of iron comes out and you’re going to be there shepherding with Me and using with Me that authority. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know how true Christians are going to do that but we’re going to be there as co-shepherds, in a sense, co-disciplinarians with our Lord.
And He took it right out of Psalm 2, this quote, “I’ll give authority over the nations and He shall rule them with a rod of iron as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father.” Jesus said, you remember, back in John 5 the Father has committed all judgment unto Me and He’s now saying to us…And I’m going to share that judgment with you as together we rule the nations of the world. There is no explanation for that other than a millennial kingdom. And we’ll be there….