To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations. (Rev. 2:26)
The 1980s British rock band Tears for Fears wrote the iconic song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” at the height of the Cold War. Even now, the nations appear in constant disarray as they seek for that ultimate authority. Governance of individual countries devolves into chaos or is handed over to autocratic rulers. World leaders rely on military might and economic sanctions to control the balance of power around the globe. History depicts a struggle over big ideas about how national interests are best pursued. Monarchies, oligarchies, and even democracies have been attempted, with the usual outcome of failure.
The image of a rod of iron, shattering the nations like a potter’s vessel, comes from Psalm 2:9. What is often translated as a “scepter” is actually a shepherd’s rod, continuing the psalmist’s admiration for that vocation as a symbol for national leadership. Eventually, everyone becomes the sheep of God’s fold, and all nations are brought under his authority. In Revelation, what was thought to be the prerogative of Jesus—to rule over the nations—Christ shares with those who remain faithful to the end.
We might imagine our future as corulers over the nations as a way of living now. With Christ at our side, we can find our authority in something greater than might or power—in the Spirit (see Zech. 4:6).
Let Christ mold you into a worthy, caring servant.
Rich Eckley is professor emeritus of theology at Houghton College (NY). He is an ordained Wesleyan minister and enjoys—with his wife, Lynn—entertaining four active grandchildren.
© 2022 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.