by John R Ecob
He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches
(Revelation 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13, 22)
The overcomers in the seven churches of Asia were the saved remnant in seven professing churches. The promises that Christ made to these overcomers could never apply to unsaved people. Also, the promises made to overcomers in one church actually can apply to all and so we can take these promises to ourselves. All seven promises are ours to claim as believers, for every child of God is an overcomer.
The word “overcomer” literally means “conqueror” and conveys the thought of “victory”.
Godly saints are the most conscious of their lack of victory. Paul cried “O wretched man that I am” but he was an overcomer! He had been delivered from the bondage of Pharisaism, legalism, self righteousness and violent opposition to Christians. He no longer roamed the countryside hauling Christians off to prison.
No matter how unworthy we feel, if we honestly look at what God has done in our lives we are “more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Romans 8:37). Just ask yourself, Where would I be today if Christ had not saved me?
When he spoke to overcomers in each church, the Lord identified them as those who have “ears to hear what the Spirit says to the churches”. The unsaved members of these churches were not indwelt by the Holy Spirit and were not guided by Him into all truth. They did not hear the voice of the Spirit of God as He spoke through the Word. Overcomers have ears to hear the voice of the Spirit of God.
John wrote that an overcomer is one who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and thereby has been “born again” (1 John 5:4-5).
What has God Promised to Overcomers?
First Promise: The overcomers in the church at Ephesus were promised to “eat of the tree of life in the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7). To eat of the tree of life gives immortality in resurrection. If Adam had eaten of the fruit of the tree of life in Eden he would never have died; he would have sealed his eternal destiny in an immortal body with no possiblity of redemption.
All the unsaved will receive an immortal body in the resurrection to damnation but it won’t be “in the paradise of God”. Believers, overcomers, will be raised and this “mortal shall put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53) when we are given our resurrection bodies in the “resurrection to life.” “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life…” (Revelation 22:14).
Second Promise: The overcomers in the church at Smyrna were facing persecution and martyrdom and the Lord promised, “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” (Revelation 2:11). Men might destroy the body but the saved at Smyrna would never suffer the “second death”.
The “second death” is the lake of fire into which all the unsaved will be cast for John wrote:
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:14-15).
Third Promise: The overcomers in the church at Pergamos were in a church that compromised and made friends with the world to avoid persecution, just as Israel did in the days of Balaam and 24,000 perished, but to the saved remnant, the overcomers in their midst the Lord promised:
To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it (Revelation 2:17).
Others might see no harm in feasting with the heathen but the overcomers refuse. They prefer to feast on “hidden manna”. The Lord Jesus is the “hidden manna”, “the living bread which came down from heaven” (John 6:51). The saved don’t want fellowship with the world but find their fellowship with Christ.
Also the Lord gives to His people a “white stone” and on it a new name. In the courts in John’s day, when the judge gave his verdict he would cast a black stone into a box if it wasa Guilty verdict, and a white stone if it was, Not Guilty! The name of the individual in inscribed upon it so there is no mistake.
Not only are we satisfied with heavenly sustenance but the sentence of God, our Judge, is “Not Guilty!” Our guilt has been removed by the precious blood of Christ.
Fourth Promise: The overcomers in the church at Thyatira had rejected the corrupt doctrines of their time when the prophetess Jezebel promoted immorality and idolatry. They were to “hold fast” till Jesus came and they would be rewarded with “power over the nations”.
Thyatira prophetically represents the Roman Catholic Church which has craved political power over the nations but the saved remnant would reign with Christ in His millennial kingdom when all nations would be subservient to Him.
The Catholic Church would be cast “into great tribulation” but the overcomers would escape the Tribulation for they would be given the “morning star”.
Christ is the “bright and morning star” (Revelation 22:16). He comes for His church at the Rapture as the “morning star” and as the “sun of righteousness” (Malachi 4:1-2) after the Tribulation when He comes in glory and power to begin a “new day” for his world under His righteous rule as King of kings.
The overcomers will be raptured BEFORE the Day of the Lord.
Fifth Promise: The overcomers in the church at Sardis are prophetically the saved in the Reformation church which has a name to live but is dead. Many at Sardis had stained their garments with dead orthodoxy but the saved remnant, the overcomers in their midst, are promised rewards at the judgment seat of Christ, “white raiment”, and when Christ returns in glory they will be on display as the Bride of Christ in wedding garments of “white raiment” (Revelation 3:5). She is seen in Revelation 19:8 “arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” When Christ comes in glory and power, He “shall return from the wedding” (Luke 12:36) where the Bride of Christ has received her rewards and Christ “will be glorified in His saints” and “admired in all them that believe” (2 Thessalonians 1:10).
But that is not all. Overcomers will not be blotted out of “the book of life!” All names are in the Book of Life and only those who reject God’s mercy are blotted out. Overcomers will never be blotted out for they believe that Jesus is the Son of God and have been born again of His Spirit of God.
The unsaved at Sardis will stand before the Great White throne to hear the sentence passed on all whose names are not found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life but the overcomers stand before the Bema Seat of Christ to receive rewards and be clothed in linen white and clean so they can display those rewards to the glory of Christ. What a contrast!
Sixth Promise: The overcomers in the church at Philadelphia are promised to be made a pillar in the Temple of God and be given a new name, “New Jerusalem”. Prophetically, Philadelphia represents the great missionary church from 1700 to 1900.
Paul wrote that the true church was “the pillar and ground (stay) of the truth”. Just as the posts around the Tabernacle were held up by stay ropes to keep the post upright to resist the desert winds, so the Church is the pillar and stay of the truth in the world.
In addition, there were two brass pillars about 60 feet high and five feet diameter at the porch of Solomon’s Temple. These were named Jachin and Boaz, meaning “establishment” and “strength”.
Overcomers were established and strong for God to maintain the truth. The name “New Jerusalem” is the name given to “the bride the Lamb’s wife” (Revelation 21:9-10). Overcomers in the Philadephian Church broke free from denominational State church tags and simply took Christ’s name. That movement continues today in “house churches” and “independent Bible congregations” who refuse to subscribe to apostate systems of men. They simply see themselves as the Bride of Christ.
Seventh Promise: The overcomers in the Church at Laodicea which prophetically is the last days apostate, secular, charismatic and contemporary church, are promise to share Christ’s throne. The Church is the Body of Christ and He is the Head. Christ is the Bridegroom and head over His Bride, the Church. Christ is the Chief cornerstone of the Church which is a holy Temple in the Lord, but Laodicea means, “people rule”.
When Christ ascended He sat on the throne of heaven with the Father; at the “right hand of the majesty on high.” The promise to overcomers at Laodicea is that they will reign with Him on His throne. Just as the Catholic Church strives for power over the nations and her overcomers will be given that power, so at Laodicea the overcomers from the church that has robbed Christ of His headship will share Christ’s headship on His throne in the Kingdom.
When Christ comes in glory and power He will sit upon “the throne of His glory” on earth to judge the living nations (Matthew 25:31; 19:28).
The blessings to overcomers, the saved within Christendom in every phase of church history, equally apply to ALL believers in this Church age. We can take each promise to ourselves if we are born-again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ:
- We are guaranteed immortality (resurrection) in Paradise.
- We will not be hurt by the second death i.e. the lake of fire.
- We are justified and declared righteous in Christ’s righteousness. Will never be found guilty.
- We will reign with Christ over the nations and be caught up at the Rapture to Christ, “the morning star” before the Tribulation
- We will receive rewards at the Bema Seat, “white raiment” to display and will never have our name blotted out of the Book of life.
- We will be kept from the HOUR of Tribulation and be established as the Bride of Christ in our heavenly home; “the New Jerusalem”.
- We will share Christ’s throne when He takes up His power and reigns in His Kingdom on earth.