“To the one who conquers…”, pt. 4: Rev. 2:26

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2:27 is clearly taken from Ps 2:8-9. In this Psalm, the most Messianic of Psalms, the Lord says to His Son (2:7) that His nations will be His heritage, the ends of earth His possession, and in His rule He will break all people with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like pottery. In this Psalm we see David being called a Son of God (2:7), the same title that Jesus applies to Himself in 2:18. While the Hebrew text is translated “break them with a rod of iron,” the LXX translates this as “rule them with a rod of iron,” which John picks up on. God’s rule, and the rule of His anointed, will be decisively authoritative, so much so that the ruler will break the holds of rebellion, resistance, and idolatry on all the nations. Appropriately enough, Psalm 2 ends with a warning for all pagan rulers to turn to the Lord and fear Him or face judgment (10-12). This same rod we see being wielded in Rev. 12:5 by the child of the woman who will also “rule all the nations”, and again in 19:15. Given the context of these three passages, we see that Jesus is the one that rules all the nations with a rod of iron. No rule comes without conquering. So if we are to rule like Jesus, we must be a conqueror like Jesus, and Jesus never once conquered through violence, but conquered through spiritual warfare, through His death and resurrection, and through the power of the Father. The pots breaking like an iron vessel also come directly from Psalm 2, yet they could also bring in the context of Isa. 30:14 and Jer. 19:11. In Isaiah’s context, the people of Israel were going to be broken for their disobedience and rebellion like a potter’s vessel and smashed “so ruthlessly”. In Jeremiah 19:11, God promises Jeremiah and the people of Israel that the “Lord of hosts” will break this people and this city (cf. 19:13, “The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah”), like a potter’s vessel beyond repair. The one who conquers in the way of the Lamb will sit with the Father on His throne (3:21; cf. 20:4, Dan. 7:18, 22).

Furthermore, the one who conquers will receive the morning star (2:28) who is Jesus (22:16). This differentiation of “morning” separates Jesus from the rest of Revelation’s use of star imagery (1:20, 3:1). The morning star is probably the sun, as the Old Testament would have seen the sun come up in the morning and quickly associated it as a star beyond comparison. Just as the sun is the brightest known star in OT times, so Jesus would stand apart from the other stars (angels, 1:20). Jesus as the morning star came directly from Balaam’s prophecy (Num 24:17). Here, Jesus is prophesied to be a star and a scepter (cf. “Rod of iron”; Psalm 2:8-9; Rev. 2:27, 12:5, 19:15) from Jacob to crush Israel’s enemies. The one who conquers receives Jesus (2:28) and will rule like Jesus (2:27).

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