To those who are true believers Jesus Christ gives ‘authority’ [2:26]. About this authority we are told:

It is worldwide
In Matthew 24:14 Jesus stated that the gospel of the kingdom will be preached ‘in the whole world as a testimony to all nations’. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus, on the basis of his total authority, commanded his followers to make disciples of ‘all nations’. This is the ‘authority’ given to those who are true believers.

It is described in terms that Psalm 2:8,9 refers to the power of the Christ
The authority of true believers is described in Revelation 2:27 with words from Psalm 2:8,9, a Messianic Psalm that looks forward to the Day when Jesus Christ will inherit and rule ‘the nations’.  The symbolism of these words is conflicting – if the nations are dashed to pieces like pottery there would be nothing left to rule with an iron sceptre. So we need to look beyond the symbolism to the intended meaning.

The word translated ‘rule’ in Revelation 2:27 is poimaino, which means to ‘shepherd’ or to ‘rule as a shepherd’. The ‘iron’ sceptre indicates unbreakable strength and power.  What does the Christian individually, and the Church corporately, have that can be depicted by these two concepts of shepherd and strength/power? It is Christ and his gospel.

But also in this quote from Psalm 2 is the impact of this rule and authority: the nations are dashed to pieces. What is it that the Christian and the Church has that causes this dashing to pieces? It is Christ and his Gospel. Jesus said of those who reject him, the capstone or cornerstone: ‘He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed’ [Matthew 21:24]. Paul and Peter quoted Isaiah 8:14 to describe what Jesus is for those who reject him: ‘A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.’ [Romans 9:33; 1Peter 2:8].

Wherever the Gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed by the Church, and wherever the true Church exists, its impact is judgment. This is taught by Jesus in John 16:8-11 where he spoke of the impact of the work of the indwelling Spirit through the Church as convicting the world of guilt in regards to sin, righteousness and judgment.

Wherever the true Gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed by the Church with the result that people acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, there the authority of Satan, the dominion of Satan, the hold of Satan over that nation and his power to deceive that nation is broken. People are delivered from his authority; people are delivered from his deceptions; people are delivered from his accusations.

It is ‘just as’ Jesus received authority from his Father
The authority of judgment was given by the Father to the Son. The authority of life and death was given by the Father to the Son [John 5:19-30]. Now Jesus says in Revelation 2:27 ‘I will give authority … just as I have received authority from my Father.’ To his disciples, Jesus said:

‘As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. ... If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven’ [John 20:21].

‘On this rock’ (the acknowledgement of Jesus Christ) ‘I will build my church … I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven’ [Matthew 16:18,19].

Because they bear his name and because they proclaim him every faithful believer is automatically one who stands in judgment upon the whole world. Their affirmation of Christ, their alignment with Christ exposes the unbelief of ‘the nations’.

When the witness of the Church leads the world to repentance and faith, forgiveness and redemption results.
When the witness of the Church is rejected the already existing guilt of the world is exposed and confirmed, and the world’s judgment is rendered inevitable.

By their possession and proclamation of the Gospel the redeemed, the overcomers, thus exercise authority over the nations – bringing the power of the Gospel to save all who believe in Christ, and exposing the unavoidable condemnation of all who reject Christ.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2015