Four churches down, three to go. I’ve been reading in the second chapter of Revelation over the past couple of mornings and, so far, have sought to have “ears to hear” what the Spirit says to the churches at Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, and Thyatira.
I’m a pattern guy and the color on the page of my Bible indicates there’s a pattern in these short exhortations from the One who stands in the midst of the seven churches. He addresses the angel of the church and then He gives a short bio concerning Himself. He then declares He “knows their works.” Where commendation is due, commendation is then given. And where rebuke or reproof is appropriate He calls them also to repent and return to their first love and first works. And then, then there’s the promise. Not gonna lie, that’s kind of my favorite part.
To “the one who conquers” (ESV) . . to him who overcomes (all other translations) . . . to such a one there is reward to be anticipated. For the person who holds fast their faith, . . . for the one who victoriously responds to the Masters call to remain clean and remain focused, . . . to those who, by God’s grace and the Spirit’s power, obediently keep on keepin’ on . . . there is reward promised.
So far it has entailed a promise of eating of the tree of life in paradise (2:7); of receiving a crown of life (2:10); of a white stone with a new name written on it (2:17); and, the one that has me noodling this morning, of being presented with the Risen, Glorious, Christ Himself.
“The one who conquers and who keeps My works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I Myself have received authority from my Father. And I will give him the Morning Star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ~ Jesus
(Revelation 2:26-29 ESV)
Written to the church at Thyatira, but written for us.
Written for our instruction. What does the Head of the church value in His people? Love, faith, service, patient endurance, and works that continually bear greater and greater fruit (2:19). Written for our correction. What grieves our risen Head? Members of His body who tolerate the spirit and influence of “that woman Jezebel”–who practice sexual immorality and participate in idolatrous activity (2:20-23). And what does He promise those who conquer such temptation and remain faithful, holding fast until He comes? Himself!
Sure, He also promises that there are those who will rule the nations under His authority. And as cool as the thought of that might be, its part two of the promise that I’m chewin’ on.
And I will give him the Morning Star.
The Morning Star. That’s how Jesus describes Himself later in the revelation:
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the Root and the Descendant of David, the Bright Morning Star.
(Revelation 22:16 ESV)
And to him who conquers, to her who overcomes, He will give them the Morning Star. He will give them Himself.
The Bridegroom will finally take His Bride, presenting “the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27). And the Bride will forever behold her Bridegroom whispering to herself, as foreshadowed by the Shulammite, “I am my Beloveds and my Beloved is mine” (Song of Solomon 6:3).
What will it be to be given the Morning Star? What manner of relationship will be ours when we are absent from the body and present with the LORD? How will heaven, in it’s eternal vastness, still accommodate intimate communion when He gathers us to His banqueting table for the marriage supper of the Lamb?
He is the bedrock foundation of our faith, the Rock upon which we stand. He is also the height of heights of our aspiration, the Morning Star who has promised to give even more fully of Himself. He is our foundation and He is our future. He is the First and the Last. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. And to him who overcomes, says the eternal Christ, I will give the Morning Star. I will give Myself.
Now that’s awesome! That’s beyond comprehension. But that’s the promise. (Did I mention the promise is kinda’ my favorite part?)
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!.
Abiding by grace. Awaiting His glory.