[ Selected ]
Revelation 12:5, And she brought forth a man child,
who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her
child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
Psalm 2:1 Why do the heathen rage, and the
people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and
the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and
against his anointed, saying,
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast
away their cords from us.
4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall
laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
5 Then shall he speak unto them in his
wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill
7 I will declare the decree: the Lord hath
said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten
8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the
heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of
the earth for thy possession.
9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron;
thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
A Man Child
Both, John and Isaiah (Isaiah 66:7-8) teach
that Zion was delivered of a "man child." In Ephesians
2:13-14, Paul makes plain what the man child symbolizes: he
is the converts of the Church, especially those many
converts produced in the early days of the Church. In
Ephesians 2:11 the apostle reminded us that we were in times
past Gentiles in the flesh, uncircumcised, and without
promise, without God, without hope in the world. This was
because the first covenant was only for the Jews, Abraham's
fleshly seed. All of us Gentiles were left out completely,
until God brought a new covenant, a better: covenant, one
for all nations.
So Paul said in Ephesians 2:13-15: "But now
in Christ Jesus ye who, sometimes were far off are made nigh
by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made
both [Jew and Greek] one, and hath, broken down the middle
wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh
the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in
ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so
Here we see that God took some of the
literal Jews and some of the literal Gentiles and, through
their acceptance of Christ, He brought them both into one
body (the body of Christ), making them one new man.
In Galatians 4:22-31, Paul used the allegory
of Sarah and Hagar to, represent the two covenants. There
were two sons: one was after the flesh, or the Law, and one
was after the Spirit, or the Gospel. He taught that the son
after the Spirit represents the converts of the Church. The
mother, Sarah, who brought forth the man child, Isaac,
symbolizes the Church. Now, the Church will produce more of
herself. Whatever we are, that's what we will produce. If
we're a worldly Church, we will produce worldly Christians.
This is why we need to be careful what we are.
The question may arise in your mind, "How
can the woman and the man child both symbolize the Church?"
There is a good reason for this double symbol. In Revelation
12:5 we find that the man child who was to rule all nations
with a rod of iron was caught up to God's throne. Although
this point properly belongs to the next article, I will
briefly touch on it here: The Pagan Roman Empire killed the
Christians, and the converts were caught up to God and to
His throne, while the mother Church, the woman, stayed here
on the earth.
The vision calls for two symbols because
there were two positions to be taken by the Church. The
Church's converts were literally killed, burned, thrown to
the lions, beheaded, but their spirits were caught up to be
with God around His throne. There was a part of the Church,
however, that remained on the earth, for God had this woman
producing converts all the time. This is why Paul wrote in
Ephesians 3:15, "…the whole family [is] in heaven and
More Twin Symbols
Just as there are twin symbols to represent
the true Church, there are twin symbols in the Revelation to
symbolize the false church. Apostate religion is depicted as
a mother with harlot daughters (Rev elation 17:5). Why does
John use two symbols for false Christianity? Part of the
false church ruled one era of history as Roman Catholicism.
From her darkness and corruption came her daughters, the
many Protestant sectarian organizations, which dominated a
later historical era. There is another reason John speaks of
the true Church as a mother and a son, while he calls the
false church a mother and daughters. The reason the true,
Church's converts appear as a man child is simple: God wants
the Church to hold her position and teaching concerning her
name. Only a man child keeps his family name, so the
Church's converts are symbolized as a man child. When a man
child is born into your home, he will keep the family name,
but when a daughter is born, she will take somebody else's
family name upon marriage. In the Revelation, Catholicism is
symbolized as the mother of many daughters, every one of
them a harlot. Because they are females, they are liable to
take any name.
There is a deception that has worked on
people, making them feel that any name is alright for the
Church as long as its members are sincere. God, however, did
not leave it to any of us to name His Church -- He already
named it. Long before the first pope ever reigned in Rome,
long before any priest or preacher ministered, long before
any board of elders or council of churches ever convened,
God named the Church!
The Name of the Church
Paul said in Ephesians 3:14-15: "For this
cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, Of whom the whole family. [the whole Church] in
heaven and earth is named." A real born-again experience
doesn't make you anything but a member of God's family. It
doesn't make you a Baptist, a Presbyterian, a United
Brethren, an Episcopalian, or any other sectarian. If you
ever become 'one of them,' you must do what some man tells
you to do, but a born-again experience just makes, you a
member of the family of God, a child of God, a part of the
Church of God. When Paul said that the whole family in
heaven and earth is named after the Father, he gave us a
clue as to the name of the Church -- the Church of God. The
family name of the Church is Church of God. Some people
think the proper name of the Church is "Church of Christ,"
but "Christ" is not a family name. It is a title. When Jesus
was born, the angel told Mary, "…that holy thing which shall
be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35).
In verse 31 he had said, "Thou ... shalt call his name
JESUS." Jesus was His given name; Christ was His office; His
natural, family name, however, was God; so, His name is
Jesus God. He was the Son of God when He was born, and He
bore His Father's name. In one sense, there is no difference
between the Church and the kingdom, and the kingdom is
called "the kingdom of God." Did you ever read in the Bible
about the "kingdom of Baptists" or the "kingdom of
Methodists"? No, it is the kingdom of God because everyone
who repents and is born again, becomes a little child of
God. He enters the kingdom of God, the Church of God, or if
you'd rather, the church that Jesus built.
Jesus taught this same truth. John 17
contains His high-priestly prayer. In verse 11b, He prayed,
"Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou
hast given me, that they may be one, [even] as we are
[one]." This is a family relationship, and since the Church
is the bride of Christ, she has taken her Husband's family
Name, not His given Name. You see, my father's family name
is Wilson, but my given name is Emerson. When I took a
bride, she did not become Mrs. Emerson; she became Mrs.
Wilson. She took my father's name. Now, I have four sons,
and they all have my father's, name, Wilson. I also have two
daughters, but they are married, so they traded their family
name for their husband's family names. My sons kept their
father's name, and every one of them has taken a wife, each
wife becoming Mrs. Wilson. In the same manner, the name of
the Church is the Church of God, not the Church of Christ.
This is not a bit more narrow than the Bible.
A Practical Application of Revelation
Let me address the Church, now, from the
fifth verse. I am interested in more than a mere
understanding of the symbols of the Revelation, for unless
the Revelation challenges us, we miss the whole purpose of
the Book. I believe every true pastor must honestly confess
that he is not satisfied with the progress the Church is
making today. Perhaps our dissatisfaction is not too
important, but what is important is that God is not
Revelation 12:5, says, "And she brought
forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of
iron." To reign is why the Church is here, why she makes
converts. It so happened, however, in this first period of
Church history, that God allowed the Roman Empire to kill
the Christians. So, the newborn babes were caught up to God
and His throne. The point I want to emphasize concerns the
purpose of making converts.
Why were you saved? John said you were saved
to rule all nations with a rod of iron. This applies to us
later converts of the Church, too. If you are a Christian,
you are a convert of this same mother. God has kept the
mother seed: He took her through the wilderness condition of
1260 years, when the saints hid in the dens and the caves of
the earth. He produced the seed and He kept the mother, so
it was no accident that you and I are saved. Somebody
carried a burden for us; somebody did much praying for us.
This ruling of all nations with a rod of
iron is as symbolic as the rest of the vision. We later
converts of the Church need to reconsider our position in
Christ. When John said the man child was to rule with a rod
of iron, he was comparing the Word of God to a rod of iron.
It cannot be bent or twisted, but it is solid and brings
victory. John said the Church's converts were to rule all
nations with a rod of iron, meaning that the Church is to
rule all nations by the Word of God. The word rule means
"have dominion over, have power over." The Word of God is
called a rod of iron because it is strong and irresistible.
The Word of God is an iron scepter that cannot be broken,
and when it is handled properly, it cannot be resisted.
I don't mean to find fault, but I ask God to
challenge us to have more effect on the nations of the lost
around us. Too many people regard such a statement as "rule
all nations with a rod of iron" as a literal sitting on a
throne with civil authority to say, "You'd better line up or
I'll punish you." This, however, is a figurative expression.
Bible students recognize that the "rod of iron" is the Word
of God, which is solid, which men cannot change, twist,
bend, or break. The Word of God forever remains the same.
Power Over the Nations
What does it mean to rule over all nations
by the Word of God? This phrase appears in Revelation in the
context of the letter written to Thyatira. Christ criticized
her because she tolerated as a teacher Jezebel, an unclean
person. Just as old Jezebel, King Ahab's wife, seduced God's
servants in the Old Testament, Thyatira allowed teachers in
the Church to promote things that were contrary to truth,
things that caused God's people to commit spiritual
fornication. To this Church Jesus said: "And he that
overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I
give power over the nations: 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" (Revelation
When He said He would give them power over
the nations, He said they would be just like a potter who
can break his vessel to shivers. The potter only breaks one
kind of vessel to shivers -- a vessel that is not formed
right; that doesn't come out as the potter wants it to come
out. Too many people's lives are coming short of the glory
of God, for they are not really being the vessels they ought
to be for God.
Revelation 2:26-27, refers to Psalm 2:1-9.
According to verse one, the first thing a man should do when
he considers taking counsel against God's plan, is to
remember he is wasting time and indulging in vain
imaginations. Right while the heathen raged and men imagined
vain things, right while they took counsel against Him, God
set His King right on the throne in Zion!
God's plan will be fulfilled. And God's plan
for us is, to get the 'lost around us,' saved -- brought
into the kingdom! Why do such men rise up against the Lord?
Why do they break their bands and cast away their cords?
When the truth of God's Word goes forth, it binds men. It
puts cords on them. Where the truth is preached, men don't
operate as freely as they do in other places. You see, there
is more power in this "rod of iron" than we often credit it
After men have risen up, then God says, "Yet
have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare
the decree…" It is not what man says he is going to do, but
what God says He will do that is accomplished. Then, God
says to us, "Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen
[or, 'I will give you the unbelieving'] for thine
inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy
possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou
shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." Now, He
isn't talking about literally beating someone up. But He
means, that, if we truly abide by the Word of God, we reign
with Christ with power over the nations.
A Lost Vision
Here is a vision too many have lost: the
vision of the power of God's Word. Revelation 19, which
concerns our day, further clarifies this rod of iron.
Revelation 19:11-15: "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a
white horse; and he that, sat upon him was called Faithful
and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many
crowns [symbolizing His many victories]; and he had a name
written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was
clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is
called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven
followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white
and clean. 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."
This is a symbolic picture of Christ in our
day and He still has the rod of iron. In this passage, it is
coming out of Christ's mouth, and when the Word of God comes
forth, it is like a rod of iron.
The man child was to rule all nations with a
rod of iron. Revelation 2 said God gave us dominion over all
nations, enabling us to reign, or rule, over them. Psalm
2:8, tells us what nation he is talking about: "Ask of me,
and I shall give thee the heathen…" The Hebrew word
translated heathen here, merely means "unbeliever" or the
lost. God will give you the lost ones around you, if you
will meet the proper conditions. God will not save people
against their will, but He can make them willing to be
saved. No one can resist God when the Church becomes serious
about 'soul winning.'
As soon as the Church travails, she brings
forth converts. In our day, we can have hundreds listen to
us preach, but only have a dozen come to a prayer service.
We may have 'other things' to do, but we won't be reaching
many lost and our life will not be very effective for God.
Too large a segment of the Church has been living below the
standard, so the only power she has is enough power to keep
her own members through temptation, safe from sin. She has
'not too often' experienced 'this power' that God gives over
the lost -- power to win them.
Power Over the Nations
Psalm 149:1-9, expands this idea of "power
over the nations." "Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a
new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints. Let
Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of
Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise his name in
the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel
and harp. For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he
will beautify the meek with salvation.
"Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them
sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be
in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; To
execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the
people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles
with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment
written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the
Verse 2b says, "Let the children of Zion be
joyful in their King." Too often the world sees the Church
as a people over whom their King reigns, but who find life
so hard they can barely make it. They get that image from
the attitude too many saints, have: "I'm having such a
struggle…" That tells the world, "You may be better if you
don't try this way, because you might not make it, and I
would rather you wouldn't start if you can't make it." David
cried, "Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King."
If you are where God wants you to be, there will be a joy
bubbling up and running over in you because you are
privileged to have such a King, one you can lean on, one Who
has 'all-power,' both in Heaven and earth. We have a King,
Who says no one can touch a hair on your head unless He says
so. We have a King, Who is able to make us able to do
anything that He wants us to do. What a King!
There is a way that we can have greater
power over the nations, but this power isn't the mere
ability to tell them what they need to do. It is the power
to affect men and women when you talk to them about their
I don't appreciate preachers, who get in the
pulpit to say, "This is a hard day to work in. When you
speak to people about their souls, it just runs off like
water off a duck's back." We all need to work on this area,
for none of us, perhaps, is as fruitful as God desires us to
be. God will likely not 'put up with' our gathering together
to have a wonderful time praising God and singing, while
people are dying and going to hell. He has given us power
over them, so let us exercise that power!
The Psalmist said, in verse 4, "For the Lord
taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek
with salvation." Now, if God takes pleasure in the, Church,
then if we are Christians, we must take pleasure in the
Church. More people are not attending Church, because they
live such substandard lives that church attendance is just a
duty. They find no real pleasure in praying, in reading
their Bibles, and in the services of the Church. God does!
The successful businessman is the one who
finds pleasure in doing business, the one who enjoys it.
Now, God finds pleasure in His people, in His Church. You
and I must find pleasure in it, too, or we will not win the
world. Too often, all, the world can see in the Church, is a
liability. They feel no need for more commitments, for they
already are committed to their cars, houses, and material
things. They are not looking for another liability, but if
they can see the Church as an asset, they want it!
When the Lord takes pleasure in His people,
David said, "He will beautify the meek with salvation."
Since God beautifies the meek with salvation, every one of
us ought to cultivate the trait of meekness. Too many saints
have lost their beauty, for God only puts 'this beauty' on
the meek. Whenever we cease to be meek, we lose all real
beauty, and we cease to be an attraction to the lost. As the
man child, as the Church, we can have a greater power and do
a more effective work among the nations. The devil has
caused us to lean to our own understanding and to rely on
our own strength for so long that our witness is almost a
failure, when it comes to reaching sinners. Where is that
power over the nations that causes them, when you talk to
them, to become broken like a potter's vessel, broken to
shivers and shaking? Where is that power? It's for us. The
primitive Church had it. Their efforts didn't run off people
like 'water off a duck's back.' When they dealt with people,
the people were broken and shivered; they trembled and
"He will beautify the meek with salvation,"
David said. The character trait to cultivate is meekness.
The word meek means "submissive." We must be submissive to
God, submissive to His truth, submissive to His dealings,
and submissive to His leadership. To be meek, is to be
gentle toward others, bearing things with patience,
forgiving heartily. People sometimes say, "I forgive you,"
but their forgiveness doesn't come from the heart, and five
minutes later their attitude reverts to its previous grudge.
A meek person forgives from the heart, and when he for-
gives, he forgets it (as an offence). Here is the virtue to
aim for -- meekness. Here is the favor to be enjoyed -- real
beauty. He beautifies the meek with the beauty of peace, the
beauty of contentment, the beauty of joy, the beauty of
holiness, the beauty of respect, and the beauty of
influence. Those, whose actions are not meek, are fruitless
as Christians. Does the world see any real beauty in your
life? God only beautifies the meek.
Joyful in Glory
This will give us 'power over the nations.'
If we ever win the nations to God, we must have power over
them. We know that the world is lost, that it is under the
power of Satan. The Bible says they are in a prison house
and that the enemy of souls has blinded them. How pitiful
that they cannot understand spiritual things! God, however,
wants to give us power over the nations, and if we will
allow Him, He will make our lives so effective, that, when
we speak for Him, we will see results.
The good results expected, will be: God will
be glorified in our lives, Christ will be manifested, men
will be attracted, and Heaven will be anticipated. Verses
5-6 say: "Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing
aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in
their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand."
To sing aloud on your bed indicates
genuineness in your experience. Some time ago I asked a man,
"What's wrong?" He said, "Nothing's wrong with me, brother."
Looking at his countenance made me think something was
wrong, but he denied it. Several months later, he confessed
that he had lied to me. He was in deep trouble. He said,
"Brother Wilson, I have just been putting on a show in front
of the people. I don't have anything." You may put on a show
in church to make others think you are spiritual, you may
put on a show, while you are in other public places with the
people, but when you are alone on your bed in the dark,
there is no one to put a show on for. Then you are just what
you are before God, and if you can't shout hallelujah then,
it will be better for you to be silent in the Church! These
are some of the things that hinder us from having power over
the nations, as we ought.
Verse 6 tells us how to win the nations:
"Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a
two-edged sword in their hand." Let the high praises of God
be in your mouth as you bring forth the words of God. You
see, praising God with the high praises, will shake them to
the degree that they will want to know how to find this.
Then, we just have to preach the Word to them, the two-edged
sword. Even when the economy is bad, even when it is income
tax time, we ought to be able to sing the high praises of
Too often, we think the world will make fun
of us, but God knows exactly what it takes to win the world.
Too many people are living a "down-in-the-mouth" experience.
Let the high praises of God be in your mouth and a two-edged
sword in your hand!
The Strength of This Rod
Verses 7-8 continue: "To execute vengeance
[judgment] upon the heathen, and punishments upon the
people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles
with fetters of iron."
These verses do not mean the Word will
actually hurt people, but if they are living in sin, the
Word of God spoken will bring punishment on them. These
verses show that praise and power go together. They are ever
hand in hand. The high praises of God should be in your
mouth, and the Word of God should be in your hand. Verse 8
tells us how strong this power is: The Word of God, the rod
of iron, is so strong that it will bind kings and fasten
nobles with fetters.
We may see this illustrated in Acts 16 in
the primitive church. Paul and Silas had cast the devil out
of a woman and stirred up some religious folks. The apostles
were put in jail, and at midnight they began to sing aloud
on their beds. When they sang aloud, God shook the jail.
They had power over the nations! God shook the jail, and the
jailer was about to commit suicide because he thought all
the prisoners had run away. Paul said, "Do thyself no harm:
for we are all here." Luke said he came in trembling, broken
up, saying, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (verses
Acts chapters 24-26, shows the binding of
rulers. Paul was brought before Felix, a governor in all his
splendor. Paul reasoned with him from the Word of God, and
he had the high praises of God in his mouth. Felix forgot
(all) his honor, as he trembled and shook. He was broken
like a clay vessel. On another occasion, Festus, Bernice and
King Agrippa came to hear him. Paul reasoned with them about
temperance and judgment to come, and the Bible said Paul,
the prisoner, made Agrippa a prisoner, for Paul had his
attention. When the apostle finished his message, King
Agrippa was so bound and so broken that he trembled and
cried before a crowd of royalty, "Almost thou persuadest me
to be a Christian" (Acts 26:28).
This is 'a power over the nations,' that we
seldom see today. Because of the lack of this power, many
are knocking on doors and presenting some "Roman Road" plan,
to trick people into believing in Christ. We need to get
back where the power is. God still gives the Church power
over the nations. It makes no difference how hard the man's
heart, how deep in sin he is, if God is leading you in your
dealings with him, you can break him in shivers. This is the
power that he is talking about.
Who Has This Power?
Psalm 149:9 says, "this honour have all his
saints…" All the saints, need this power over the nations.
We need to see the majesty and force of the Word of God --
when it is lived, obeyed, enjoyed, and spoken. Anyone who is
not living it, enjoying it, and obeying it, needs to keep
silent, for he will not win anybody. Such a professing
Christian, is an enemy to the cause of Christ. He hinders
the Church. All the Church's true converts have received
from the Holy Spirit, this power over the nations. The
reason God wanted the disciples to tarry until the Day of
Pentecost, was so they could receive this power from on
high. Although the power of the Holy Ghost included the
power to live right and to be right, it also brought power
into their lives to bind kings and to break people down.
Where is this power?
Psalm 149, gives step-by-step conditions to
meet, to have this power. If you find a loophole somewhere
in your life, a place where you have made too much room for
yourself or where you have failed to measure to God's
eternal Word, you will find you are short on this power.
Since the world is waxing worse and worse, humanly speaking,
it is harder to reach them. As far as God's power is
concerned, however, He can break our world in its depth of
corruption, as easily as ever He broke any culture in any
day. We can't win the world, if God does not give us power
over the nations.
The Power Is in the Spirit
Our later study in Revelation will concern
the battle between two powers, the powers of evil and the
powers of righteousness, and God's message to us is, "I give
you power to rule over the nations." God is still able
through the power of His Holy Spirit to break down the
hardest sinner there is, but if we are not careful we will
settle for less. Too often we are content to live short of
the glory of God, too often satisfied with only a nominal
prayer life, too frequently complacent to Witness, only once
a week or once a month. Church, there will be a judgment
day, and the group that finds approval at the judgment is
the Church in her pristine glory, those who were willing to
lay down their lives. Those who are approved, will be those
who lived for God, worked for God, and died for God; those
who sowed seed and brought forth many other converts. Do we
think we can stand with that number and give excuses for not
If you are, a Christian, you are 'with
child,' for Christ is formed in you (Galatians 4:19). Christ
is formed in you so that you may take Him to others. Every
lost person around us needs Jesus, but they will fuss with
us unless we have this power to break them, as a potter's
vessel is broken with a rod of iron.
God did not send us to fight the battle to
win souls in our own strength, to pit our wisdom against
their wisdom, to challenge their strength with our strength.
The devil has them, and he is greater than any one of us,
but if we can realize that He that is in us is greater than
he that is in the world, we will have power over the
nations. Every defense the devil tries to raise against us,
the power of the Holy Ghost can break down. This, power, I
repeat, will bind kings and nobles. To the Holy Ghost,
prestige, high positions, and low positions make no
difference. When the Holy Ghost works on a person, whether
he is a king or a 'man on the street,' he is just another
lost soul who needs Jesus.
Jesus said in Matthew 16:19, whatsoever thou
shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven…" The first
thing the Word of God does is 'bind men.' Then, if they
believe it, it will loose them. If they don't believe it, it
will leave them bound. [ The End ]