In the book of Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, we find that the Holy Spirit gives recognition to a group of wholehearted and faithful believers whom He calls "Overcomers", in the midst of a church. These are the ones who overcome sin and worldliness and who stand faithfully for the Lord in the midst of the spiritual decline around them. The Lord is primarily interested in the overcomers and there are seven promises for the overcomers.
First Promise: Rev. 2:7 - "To the Angel of the church in Ephesus write: To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God". The Lord promises a reward to those who overcome. It is the privilege of eating from the tree of life - the privilege that Adam missed. The tree of life is a symbol of the Divine life, the Divine nature. The greatest reward that God can ever give a human being is to partake of His nature. Here on earth, even most believers don't think too highly of this. But in the clearer light of eternity, we shall discover that this is indeed the greatest of all rewards that God can ever give a human being.
Second Promise: Rev. 2:11 - "To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death". The second death is eternal death - being cast away from the presence of God for all eternity, into a lake of fire. It is significant that the promise of escaping the second death is made only to the overcomers. That’s why it is so important to overcome sin – for death is the end-result of sin (James 1:15). The fundamental message of the Spirit throughout the New Testament is that we should overcome sin in every form.
Third Promise: Rev. 2: 17 - "To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it". The hidden precious stone with the overcomer's name written on it. Speaks of an intimate relationship with the Lord such as a bride has with her bridegroom. This is the spiritual equivalent of the engagement ring (with an expensive precious stone and a name engraved on it) that worldly men give their fiancées. The bridegroom calls the bride by an intimate name that no-one else knows (Rev. 2:17). Bridal intimacy with the Lord is a reward that is promised to all who overcome. The average believer has a dry and boring relationship with Christ, because he is not radical in his hatred of sin and worldliness. But the true overcomer enters into a spiritually ecstatic relationship with his Lord such as a bride has with her bridegroom with whom she is deeply in love. This is the type of relationship described in the “Song of Solomon” and only an overcomer can understand it fully and experience the reality of it.
Fourth Promise: Rev. 2:26 - "To the Angel of the church in Thyatira write: And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end to him I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star". The overcomer is described by the Lord here as one who keeps His deeds until the end (Rev. 2: 26). Jesus' deeds are His victories over temptation, in the days of His flesh. The overcomer is one who overcomes temptation, even as Jesus overcame, and who endures in this path until the end. The Lord promises the overcomer the reward of authority over the nations in the future (Rev. 2: 26). The expression "He shall rule them" (Rev. 2:27). Actually means "He shall shepherd them. The overcomer is also promised "the morning star" (Rev. 2: 28). The morning star is Jesus Himself (See Revelation 22:16). Jesus is also called the Sun of righteousness Who will burn the evildoers and bring healing to the nations (Malachi 4:1, 2). The world can see Him only as the Sun of righteousness, but the overcomers will see Him as the morning star. The morning star is seen just before the rising of the sun. In the last moments of this age, at the end of the great tribulation, while the world is lying in darkness, the last trumpet will sound, and the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout. The overcomers of all generations will then be taken up to meet Him in the air to welcome Him back to earth. Then they will see Him as the morning star.
Fifth Promise: Rev. 3:5 - "To the Angel of the church in Sardis write: He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life and I will confess his name before my Father and before His Angels". God has a list of names of those who have kept their hearts pure. This purity refers not only to freedom from the sins of the flesh, but also to freedom from the sin of seeking the honour of men and other sins of the spirit. This is the remnant of the overcomers who lived before God's face in Sardis. All overcomers are promised the reward of being clothed in white garments. This indicates clearly that only overcomers will form the Bride of Christ. Overcomers are also promised that their names will not be erased from the Lamb’s book of life. The Lord also promises to confess the overcomer's name before the Father and before His angels. This is a reward promised to those who unashamedly confess His Name before men (Matthew 10:32; Luke 12:8). The Lord places great value on our publicly confessing His name before our relatives, friends, neighbours and colleagues at work.
Sixth Promise: Rev. 3:12 - "To the Angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God". The overcomer will be made a permanent pillar in the church. What that means is that he will be a support to others in the church, bearing their burdens. He will be a spiritual "father" to others. In every church there is a great need for such pillars. The overcomer will have the name of God, the name of the New Jerusalem and the Lord’s new name written on his forehead. In other words, he will be publicly identified as a wholehearted disciple of Jesus wherever he goes.
Seventh Promise: Rev. 3:21 - "To the Angel of the church in Laodicea write: He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on my throne as I also overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne. The Lord specifies that we can overcome EVEN AS HE ALSO OVERCAME in the days when He was on earth". Jesus was the first Overcomer. He is our Forerunner, Who has already overcome the world and the Devil. Thus He was exalted to sit down with the Father on His throne. Now we can overcome all of these just as He did. If we do, we too can sit with Him on His throne one day, as His Bride.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon