“And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers.” Revelation 2:27
This strange warning was given to the Christians in Thyatira. It was not the first time God had said this. He was actually quoting himself, for in Psalms it says: “You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Psalm 2:9
These serious warnings were to warn people of the terrible results of idolatry. Idolatry always separates us from God and his perfect love and care. Idolatry also includes being attached and devoted to something more than God.
A little story from the Old Testament may help us understand this passage a little better. I’ve adapted it from Jeremiah 18-19.
Hundreds of years before John wrote Revelation, God told the prophet Jeremiah to go to the potter’s house where a potter was working at his wheel. The pot he was turning was ugly, so the potter smushed it up and reworked it into a beautiful pot. God wanted to do this for his people Israel. But the people said, “We will follow our own plans, and will act according to our hearts.” However, their hearts were evil. They had not let God give them new pure hearts.
God then told Jeremiah to take a clay pot out into the valley along with some of the elders and priests. He threw down the pot and it broke into jagged pieces. It could never be mended. He told the people, “This is what happens when you are not faithful to God and worship other gods.”
God gives us warnings in love. He knows that eternal life and happiness are impossible apart from Him, the source of life. He also knows that holiness and unholiness cannot exist together. God is holy. He wants us to be holy by humbly receiving Christ’s righteousness. Then when God looks at us, he will see Jesus’ perfect life. What a kind and loving God! If we refuse this free gift called salvation, then there is nothing God can do to protect us from the destruction to come.
God’s wants to mold you into a beautiful vessel of gold. He wants to change your heart and help you overcome any sin in your life. Will you be stubborn like most of the Christians in Thyatira, or surrender your heart to Jesus?