This verse continues Jesus’ words about His kingdom, given to John to send to the church at Thyatira (Revelation 2:18). This continues His reference, in verse 26, to one who “overcomes,” by faithfully enduring. Jesus announces that He will give the conqueror the authority to rule the nations with a rod of iron.
This ruling action will be in cooperation with Jesus. Psalm 2:9 predicts that Jesus will rule the nations with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. The word “rod” refers to a shepherd’s staff. Jesus will be not only King over all the nations but also their Shepherd. The fact that He and the conquerors use a staff of iron indicates that not everyone will voluntarily submit to Jesus’ rule, but everyone will have to submit to it. At the end of Jesus’ earthly reign, those who submitted unwillingly will rebel. They will marshal themselves against Jesus but fall dead when He strikes them with a sharp sword that proceeds from His mouth (Revelation 19:15–21).
The authority to rule the nations follows an order. The father grants it to Jesus, and in turn Jesus grants it to His faithful followers.
Revelation 2:18–29 reveals what Jesus instructed John to write to the church at Thyatira. Although the church exhibited commendable virtues, it allowed an evil woman—here referred to as Jezebel—to lead its members into immorality and idolatry. Jesus predicted strict punishment for her and her followers. The churches would know by Jesus’ action that He searches the mind and heart and deals with everyone according to his or her works. Those who did not follow Jezebel’s teachings would not be punished, but Jesus encouraged them to stay loyal to Him until His return, when He will rule the nations and permit the faithful to rule with Him.
The contents of Revelation 2 are miniature letters to four churches, dictated by Jesus to John. Ephesus and Smyrna were coastal cities, whereas Pergamum and Thyatira were inland cities. Three more such letters are in Revelation 3. Each of these messages contains a unique description of Jesus, a command, a promise. All but one—the church in Laodicea—receive some commendation. All but two of the seven letters—those to the churches in Smyrna and Philadelphia—also contain a critical rebuke. Like churches today, most of the congregations addressed by Jesus had both good characteristics and at least one point which needed correction.