The first three chapters of Revelation, I believe speak to the Church. They speak to the Church throughout all time and history. Yes, they were directed specifically to the seven churches in the time inwhich they were written, but the principles, warnings, rewards, and revelations make declaration to all generations. They are a manuscript for us as with all Scripture, and are not to be dissected into supposed ages for each church listed; see Are We Living in the Laodician Church Age? by Stevie B for more about that.
Each of the churches addressed to in the letters were in a different place and faced different challenges in their walk with the Lord. Thank God that we have all seven letters today to glean from and read the promises they bring. The focus of this study are those promises and rewards mentioned by Jesus to those who overcome.
At the end of each letter, Jesus concludes by saying “To him who overcomes…” So, what I am going to do is place all of those promises together by combining sentences and using conjunctions to present to us an awesome picture of what is given to those who overcome and hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
The following paragraph is formed from these verses: Rev 1:7; 1:11; 2:17; 2:26-28; 3:5; 3:12; and 3:21.
He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches, to him who overcomes I will grant to eat at the tree of life which is in the paradise of God. [He] will not be hurt by the second death. I will give him 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 him who receives it. 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 have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. [He] will thus 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. I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name [and] 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.
Reading these verses all together is an awesome and remarkable statement. These are some of the most powerful promises in the Bible. We have the privilege of reading it all together. As an overcomer theses rewards are grounds for us to live in. The hope of a promise is the power of faith.
I believe that these promises–the things the Spirit is saying to the church[es]–not only help us to avoid the pitfalls in the six of the seven churches mentioned were facing, but also prepare us for the rest of the Book of Revelation and seven overcoming promises in general to guide us through anything. He reveals them to us to give us the strength to endure. Reading all of the promises together seem far more grand than anything we may face and overcome to “get there,” to walk in them, and to become the reality of the text and the fruit of His words.
Lives that reveal Jesus as He is, prophesying the fulfillment of the promises to himself and that translates into the testimony of Jesus to the generation the encompasses them.
For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Revelation 19:10b)
We could just as easily write down in a paragraph all the negative stuff the churches were doing as well. And then, place the two paragraphs side by side, and the promises of life would overpower the destruction of death. In fact a lot could be gleaned from a comparison like that, so that can be our homework. Through hearing with ears what the Spirit is says, we are empowered to overcome these things, to overcome the things to come, and to overcome the world.
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is the one that overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4-5)
And they overcome him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives even when faced with death. (Rev. 12:11)
The letters from Jesus to His churches contain so much. I hope this perspective, this view of studying this speaks as much to you as it has to me. Putting the verses together was not to add to, nor take away from the contextual text, but to present a paradigm into understanding the passages themselves better. My goal is to inspire us to comb over all that we discussed, the parts of the chapters that we did not, and the rest of Revelation.
And, I hope that you would be one who hears, and therefore overcomes.
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