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The End of All Things
He That Overcometh Shall Rule Them With A Rod Of Iron
And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power (Grk. exousia, authority) over the nations: 27And 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. Revelation 2:26-27.
To rule with a rod of iron suggests that not everyone is a model citizen of those kingdoms. For if they were, there would be no need for the rod, especially one of iron. With this being apparent, what dreadful images of unchecked, supreme authority that may form in our minds from reading such imposing declarations. For instance, rulers with a rod of iron could be taken as being somewhat less than Christlike. When we hear of nations that are ruled with a rod of iron, what comes to mind? The government of that nation rules with severity, cold-heartedness, and brings the people under horrendous oppression with living conditions less than what dogs are afforded under the same regime. Since this is true when men of the world rule with a rod of iron, some may form the same opinions, as erroneous as they may be, about the ones that our text verses speak.
They may see them ruling in the similar manner of unbending, legalistic hardness, and with the power of their authority being a super religious police force which would help to bring the long awaited 1000 years of worldwide "peace." This presumed peace would be instituted by imposing the strict laws of God as if such enforcement could somehow bring about paradise on earth and cause the scriptures in Isaiah 11 to become a reality:
"4...With righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
"5And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. 6The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatriceí den. 9They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea." Isaiah 11:4 -9.
We know, of course, that the enforced Law of God can never bring such a paradise. If that were possible, there would have been no need for Jesus to have left the glory He had with His Father and die on creationís behalf. Notwithstanding, although most of you know this, there are many more who have no idea as to what would bring about such peace on earth. So the carnal minds of religion, individually and corporately, continue to supply lifeless fodder to fabled scenarios.
Along with the iron rule that will institute forced peace, preaching will presumably pervade the world, and those preaching will be endowed with the boldness to speak the word of God as it had never been declared. With the militant police force of Godís Kingdom compelling people to obey the laws of God, and Christians flooding the world with Biblical truths, peace will be known by all, as believed by many who read the book of Revelation by inspiration of the carnal mind. There will be no war, no cheating, stealing, killing, dying, or lying by anyone. There will be no alcoholics, drug addicts, adultery, prostitutes, or child molesters. A pall of peace will be spread over the world; for coupled with the testimony of those who are saved is the iron rod in the hand of Godís kings who rule over the nations. They will rule with the iron rod of the dreaded KKOG (Kingdom Kops of God), as the scenario goes.
In our ever expanding illusions, we may see this Kingdom of World Peace lasting 1000 years, and then it is time for the Great White Throne Judgment. This iron-clad army of unprecedented power will sweep over the earth, compassing land and sea, streets and alleys, high-ways and by-ways, rounding up and holding captive every sinner who failed to profess Jesus as Lord. They may have not been able to live in sin or do harm to any person due to the KKOG; but if they did not confess Jesus as Lord, the hour has come for everlasting judgment. With an unbending determination for final justice, and with an uncompromising legalistic venue, the army of iron brings them to total, unconditional surrender, and ultimately squashing them beneath thundering feet like grapes in a winepress. If not that, they could be viewed as billions of Godís creation who are scorned, dejected, demoralized, downcast, and broken into countless fragments of useless shards at the command of the unforgiving kings of the nations.
These hapless sinners are brought to holding fields, along with those who had died in ages past, as some artists have painted the scene, where they await their turn to be sternly judged out of all the books of all their deeds while in the flesh. The judgment for those masses, as it has been told, is to be cast in the lake of fire that burns with an ocean of molten sulfur. Sad to say, these unrealistic views are much the same as what we hear or see on the news concerning the Islamic terrorists whose fanatical goal is to convert every man, woman, and child in the world to their "true," unbending, unforgiving religion or to be brutally killed without a shred of mercy.
I am sure most of us no longer hold to such thoughts, or may have never done so; but the natural mind of man is surely capable of creating grandiose imaginations such as this. Those same minds can assume that every person who has confessed Jesus is Lord, who has been baptized in the proper manner, or who has belonged to a church, especially the true church, will be the rulers when the Kingdom of God is manifested in the earth. Many others, however, have no thought of ruling over the nations. They know very little about the Kingdom of God, and even less about its manifestation. They just want to go to heaven when they die and strum harps throughout eternity, or better than that, but still missing the mark of truth, to live in priceless mansions of some sort. Incidently, the word mansion is mention only once in the entire Bible (John 14:2), and literally means: "1) a staying, abiding, dwelling, abode. 2) to make an (oneís) abode. 3) metaphorically of the God the Holy Spirit indwelling believers." (Thayerís Greek Definitions).
Contrary to what may be thought, not one person in Godís creation will be given authority over the nations to rule them with the rod of iron, or otherwise. This royal charge has been given to those who overcome. This, of course, is not a thing that instills the overcomers with the spirit of pride. Neither would it cause them to take on a feeling of elitism to where they think of themselves privileged, more worthy, and esteemed greater by God than everyone else. If pride happens to be resident with some, itís a sure sign that they have embraced the doctrine but have not been touched by the Spirit of Sonship. Frankly, the awesomeness of the whole scope of ruling over the nations is very sobering. For certain, David, the apple of Godís eye and a type of the Lord Jesus was not lifted in pride after having slain the lion, the bear, and the giant, but went about humbly tending his sheep or running from Saul until he was set upon the throne and crowned as the king of Israel, and he still wasnít proud.
David killed the enemies of his flock and his nation before he was crowned king. But the children and the fearful wore no crowns that day of coronation, and neither will they in the great day of the Kingdom of God. Believing in the heart that God raised Jesus from the dead is good and necessary for the initial measures of salvation, but the bear is yet to be slain. Confessing Him as Lord is the next step the believer takes; but the lion still roams about. And following through to being baptized in the Holy Spirit brings the believer to a closer walk with his Lord, and as wonderful as these things are, Goliath continues to tower overhead in boasting ridicule of the puniness of Godís children. (Ref. 1 Samuel 17:34-37).
With the truth of this being as clear as it is, one would think that we would hear no more about the jewels set in golden crowns once people find themselves in heaven, but we do. And there is good cause for this. Even though people have been born of and baptized in the Holy Spirit, their minds have not necessarily been renewed, so it is, therefore, natural to think as before ó naturally. In the earlier days, it was easy to flow with the norm and assume that the crowns the twenty-four elders cast before the throne represented crowns for every born again Christian, and those crowns were supposedly crafted of at least 24 karat gold, with Jesusí crown more than likely being solid gold. Such thinking, of course, is the product of the carnal mind, and this is to be expected of the young and immature; but when childish thinking is carried into adulthood, it is sad. It is delightful to see children singing nursery rhymes and playing ring around the roses; but it would be sad to see the more mature continuing in those kindergarten activities, much more so the adults. Frankly, if there were spiritual minded men and women in the churches, the young, untried Christians would be taught better and would never embrace these natural concepts in the first place. They would grow up with the understanding that the ones who wear symbolic crowns are the overcomers as the following verses so clearly state:
"10Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. 11He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." Revelation 2:10-11.
"11Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name." Revelation 3:11-12.
These references speak of the overcomers, those who endure temptation (testing). As precious and loved as the immature are, crowns are not given to them. Neither babies nor the ignorant are crowned kings in Godís Kingdom. This is no great mystery, but some have missed it, nonetheless.
The meaning of the Greek word for crown (stephanos) speaks of that which is reserved for overcomers. Stephanos means:"...(to twine or wreath); a chaplet (as a badge of royalty, a prize in the public games or a symbol of honor...; but more conspicuous and elaborate than the simple fillet, G1238), literally or figuratively" (Strongís Exhaustive Concordance). The wreath-like crowns are emblems that declare the victory of the bearers over their enemies. The crown is a recognition, a royal declaration, an official fiat telling the grand story of winning the battle for not only the victor, but on behalf of every citizen of the kingdom. Even though the large majority of the people do not participate in the battle, they reap the harvest of that victory. The crown comes only by overcoming hell and high water, every vestige of sin and death itself, creationís last enemy. And although the children enjoy the glories of those blessings, they do not wear the crowns that declare it.
Children were simply never given such prestigious authority, as nature dictates. They were never sent into battle. They didnít compete in the public games, such as the Olympics, and they were not handed the scepter of the King. In the days of old, in many cultures, especially the Greeks', as soon as boys could walk and talk they were encouraged to be very competitive in all that they did: running, wrestling, poetry and even drinking! But they could not officially compete until they became of age and were well trained. They most likely competed on the sidelines amongst themselves and would make believe that they were victors like the true contenders; but their crowns, or wreaths, were not recognized symbols of victory and honor. Likewise with Godís children who believe they will wear crowns of gold some day in heaven. If they do not qualify, it wonít happen.
It is easily seen that the golden crowns of the twenty-four elders, and especially the one upon the head of Jesus in Revelation 14:14, signifies that they are overcomers, as well as possessing unprecedented authority. The gold symbolizes, of course, the nature of God as seen manifested by godly men and women. Jesus conquered every king, power, and dominion in every realm. His crown speaks of Him as being the Lord of lords and the King of kings. The fact is, He is the only one worthy to wear a golden crown. You see, although the twenty-four elders were conquerors, and with crowns (stephanos) of gold to prove it, they did not hold them as their own after the four beasts, rather, living creators according to the Greek, spoke and made it plain who it was that sat upon the throne in the midst of them. Revelation has a way of making mighty changes, inwardly and outwardly. The voice of these heralds made it clear that the eldersí victory was not due to their own power and authority; but rather, it was the power and authority that came from the one who abode in the midst of them. He was the worthy one:
"8And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. 9And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, 10The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power...." Revelation 4:9-11.
Glory and honor and power are directly related to the crowns that are cast before the throne. The twenty-four elders, the kings of the two-fold divine government of God, give back to the only One who is worthy to have them. Many scriptures refer to the glory that is for us; but a time will come when we fully know who truly merits it.
These four living creatures, being synonymous to the seraphim (Heb. saraph, burning) and the living creatures of burning coals of fire in Isaiah 6:2-6, as well as Ezekiel 1:13-14 are phenomenal manifestations of Godís flaming glory. When they speak, menís lives and kingdoms are shaken and come to naught. The words from these creatures of fire were as lightning bolts in Isaiahís heart which caused him to exclaim, "Woe is me! for I am undone." At their piercing sound, Isaiah, and now John, saw the whole earth swept over with the glory of the LORD who is a consuming fire. Ezekiel and Isaiah wrote about these creatures of fire, but neither of them saw or declared Godís finished work. John, however, was given vision enough to continue from where they had left off, and that which he wrote brings into focus Godís immutable purpose for His creation, that all who came from Him will return to Him, and they who rule with a rod of iron are instrumental parts of that purpose.
Therefore, it would behoove us to discard ideas that every born again Christian will be wearing jewel-studded crowns of gold as they sit sternly upon thrones while ruling the nations.. And I am confident that most all who read these words have laid aside those old notions. However, if some havenít, I have no contention with you; for we all see according to what our Father opens to us, no more and no less. Each of us have been called to a certain place and walk in Christ and His Kingdom, and we will all fill that calling, whatever that might be. Moreover, we cannot walk in anotherís shoes, so we should be satisfied wherever we find ourselves. Some will not wear the symbolic crowns of gold and rule with a rod of iron while others will, as John wrote:
"And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." Revelation 19:15.
Isnít it wonderful to know that to rule with a rod of iron simply means that due to the wrath of God, the intense passion of His incomprehensible love for His creation, He will supply what is necessary for every soulís need. For some, it will be hellfire, I am sure, and their rejoicing will come afterwards, while with others it will be heavenís rain. The shepherding rod in the hands of the Sons of God will furnish some with the rod of correction (of fire and hail, of lightning and thunder, of earthquakes and blood). Others will be shepherded with the blessings of heavenís rain, the wind of the Holy Spirit, and green pastures whereby to be nourished. The iron rulers of the nations will relentlessly tend to their Lordís flocks with unwavering, unbending diligence, this is sure, and it will be with the love of the Shepherd whose name they have written in their foreheads. They will rule unto death, unto life, unto destruction, unto rebuilding, unto health, unto salvation, and finally unto complete deliverance that ushers them into the ultimate life of the ages which is found only in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Elwin R. Roach
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