The Expository Files

 


Authority and the Morning Star

Revelation 2:26-28

(Fourth of seven in series)

“'And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will 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; and I will give him the morning star.” (Revelation 2:26-28)

    When it comes to pleasing God with our lives, those who failed did so for a reason. Those that succeeded did so for a reason. Success or failure do not happen in a vacuum. Neither “just happens.”

    The problems are often caused by a lack of dedication or love as some try to simply do as little as possible. Others simply put off needful changes or obligations. Sometimes it is a matter of ego. Some have failed because they have allowed themselves to be deceived by others into believing something false. Some have simply not taken the time to prepare for a successful life of true faith.

    Jesus makes seven promises, beginning each with the words:  “To him who overcomes I will…”.  We seek to understand what Jesus is picturing for us as He uses various descriptions of the blessings for those who overcome. We will now look at the fourth of seven such statements.

Continuing Faith
    This message of hope is given to the church at Thyatira. You might recall that Paul's first convert in Europe was at Philippi but the convert herself was a business woman by the name of Lydia from Thyatira. Jesus knew and knows all about the church there, as well as every other church, and each individual member of  each church. He knows of their good  qualities (Revelation 2:19). It is through the Scriptures that we are given all we need to live acceptable lives of faith before God (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Overcoming and obedience are related (1 John 5:2-4).

    Also commended is the fact that they are increasing in their endeavors in the kingdom.  Growth was evident - they were not stagnant! (1 Corinthians  15:58; 1 Thessalonians 4:1,2). No settling here for mediocrity! Jesus is the author of salvation for those that obey Him (Hebrews 5:9; Romans 15:18).

    Discipleship is a life long commitment. To be successful, we must be faithful to the end. If we quit because of fear, or greed, or immorality, or pride then we will be lost! (Hebrews 6:9-12). Jesus' promises of victory are for those who have lasting faith. (Matthew 10:22;  24:13; Revelation 2:10). In        the Greek language, the construction is strong and emphasized (achri telious). Jesus means for you to know you must continue to faithfully obey through everything, even to the end, if you are to overcome.

    As we saw at Pergamum, here at Thyatira there were some suggesting compromise. The leader of the compromisers was a false prophetess who Jesus refers to as “Jezebel”. In the Old Testament, Jezebel was an evil queen who worshipped Baal, set up altars to idols and commanded Israel worship them,  and ordered the deaths of the prophets of God and sought Elijah's life. 

    Jesus also condemns the immorality of Jezebel and her followers. It might have been spiritual immorality (being unfaithful to the true God and Creator  by engaging in idolatry and therefore “spiritual adultery” against God).  Jezebel was encouraging idolatry on the part of Christians, perhaps to escape persecution. Perhaps she reasoned, “we know they're not really gods so what would it hurt?”  Guild membership often entailed sacrificing to the god or goddess of that particular trade. Today, they call it “networking.”  Good for business, but bad for the soul. The Lord knows the deeds of the unfaithful just as He does the faithful (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Authority Over the Nations
     The way to truly and eternally overcome is not compromise, but with a steadfast faith.  This part of the promise is closely associated with a  Psalm which foretells how the world will react to God's Son by killing Him but how God will raise Him up and set Him as king, and how the evil intentions of men cannot thwart the plan of God. (Revelation 2:27 and Psalm 2:1-9). This refers to the eternal victory of the faithful over evil. We also read of reigning with Christ which refers to the abundance of grace and hope and joy and peace  which the world cannot know (Revelation 5:9-10; Romans 5:17; Ephesians 2:6; 1 Corinthians 15:25-26). The nations of history come and go; godless leaders; cruelty and unrighteousness abound in the world. Jesus overcame the world, and we do as well with Him. The leaders die; nations and governments fall; but the one who does the will of God abides forever (1 John 2:17). He is not talking of a millennial reign here, but rather referring to our spiritual state with Christ.

The Morning Star
    The morning star is the brightest of  the “stars”  (it is actually the planet Venus). Jesus later is Himself referred to as “the Morning Star” (Revelation  22:16). He is our light through His words which direct us. (John 1:9-12; 8:12; 12:46). Through Him, we become light  (Ephesians 5:8,9; Colossians 1:12,13).

    The morning star heralds the end of night and the dawning of a new day The Christians of Thyatira had gone through some dark times. But a new day would come. Problems, even the worse of them, are only temporary for the faithful Christian, but the victory is forever (Reveation 22:5).
 
Conclusion
    Paul said, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Jesus has shown us the way. But this is not something to be casual about. Overcoming by faith means being steadfast, diligent and dedicated. I hope your reaction to the light has been what it should be, and if not, why not begin today?  (John 3:19-21). It is to those who overcome that Jesus promises access to the tree of life and that the second death will not hurt them.  He also promises hidden manna and a white stone. And He promises authority over the nations, and the morning star. A new day is coming! Be ready for it. 

 

By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 18.4; April 2011 

 

 

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