Covenant Reformed News
February 2016 • Volume XV, Issue 22
Rewards for the Saints at Thyatira and All Overcomers
In the last two issues of the News, we saw that the church at Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-29) was commended by Jesus Christ for five virtues or gracious activities: love, service, faithfulness, perseverance and good works: “I know thy … charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first” (19). In this concluding article, we will treat the threefold reward of grace that the Son of God gives to His saints at Thyatira and to all who overcome the world, the flesh and the devil by faith (26-28).
First, our Saviour promises, “And he [or she] that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him [or her] will I give power over the nations” (26). This encourages all God’s people to serve in the body of Christ in any way that they can, no matter how small. We are tempted to be discouraged because typically in the church we are only doing little things in a small sphere: “What is my labour in the congregation worth? Surely, it is of little importance!” Perhaps, the children and the elderly are particularly prone to think this way, maybe, in part, because they and their help have been sinfully slighted by more “able” members.
We must be confident of the mind of Christ regarding all our love, service, faithfulness, perseverance and good works in His church, no matter how small or apparently insignificant. The Lord thinks so highly of them—and remember that they are His works in and through us (26)—that He will reward us with the gift of ruling the world! We sow small ecclesiastical labours and we will reap massive cosmic and “political” rewards (cf. Gal. 6:8)! Moreover, we will govern the world from heaven and in the new heavens and the new earth, together with all the glorified saints and in Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Revelation 2:26 speaks of our “power [or authority] over the nations.” This too is significant. In this life, few Christians have civil authority (I Cor. 1:26-29). Some in the church are given spiritual authority by the Lord Jesus in the offices of pastor, elder or deacon. Even then ecclesiastical officer-bearers are forbidden to lord it “over God’s heritage” (I Pet. 5:3). “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” is the calling of all believers (Eph. 5:21). Yet, in the next life, Christ Himself will give us all the authority or right to rule over all the nations. This is an authority of which the President of the United States or the leadership of the United Nations or even the Antichrist, the man of sin and son of perdition (II Thess. 2:3), who will come at the end of this age, can only dream. Truly, “the last shall be first, and the first last” (Matt. 20:16)!
The Lord Jesus describes our reward further in this second statement: “And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father” (Rev. 2:27). You will have recognized that this verse cites Psalm 2:9, which is an Old Testament prophecy of the coming Messianic king. However, the “he” in Revelation 2:27 is the individual believer, as a consideration of the verse’s last clause and a comparison between verses 26 and 27 makes clear.
The idea is that Christ receives from the Triune God the authority to smash the ungodly nations. He then shares this holy duty with His elect, redeemed, regenerated and glorified people. Thus we are speaking here of our union with the Lord Jesus, especially in His kingly office (cf. Heidelberg Catechism, Q. & A. 32). It also must be pointed out that we will be administering God’s judicial sentence upon His enemies and not our own sinful, personal vengeance during our earthly lives.
Again, the difference between our good works and our reward as God’s people is startling. In this life, we serve the body of Christ with love and faithfulness; in the next life, we are given the power to destroy the wicked! The text is very graphic. Whereas Christians are currently more used to wielding a vacuum cleaner or a pen or a spade, in the age to come God will give us “a rod of iron,” with the impenitent wicked being clay pots. We will shatter and smash them into pieces, even tiny shivers! This will happen not by political revolution nor by civil rebellion but by our spiritual glorification.
Our Lord Jesus also makes a third promise regarding our eternal inheritance: “And I will give him the morning star” (28). What is meant by “the morning star”? Christ Himself explains at the end of this book of Revelation: “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star” (22:16).
If it strikes you as strange that Christ should give Himself to us as the morning star, you should recall that the Lord Jesus, the bread of life, gives Himself to us as the bread of life (John 6). In general, what else does our Redeemer give us apart from Himself and all things in Him?
So what is the idea of Jesus Christ as “the morning star”? It is an image of beauty and light, heavenly beauty and light. Moreover, the morning star is the herald of the dawn of the new day of rich covenant fellowship with the Triune God after death and in the new heavens and the new earth for ever!
Listen to Christ’s words: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Rev. 2:29). This includes, beloved child of God, believing, remembering and drawing comfort from Christ’s rich promise of a glorious reward to all who overcome by His grace! Rev. Stewart
- Volume: 15
- Issue: 22
Rev. Angust Stewart (Wife: Mary)
Ordained - 2001
Pastorates: Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Ballymena, Northern Ireland - 2001Website: www.cprf.co.uk/
Address7 Lislunnan Road
State or ProvinceCo.Antrim
Zip CodeBT42 3NR
Telephone(01144) 28 25 891851