This Week's Focus Passage

Revelation 2-3 ‘He [or him] that overcometh.’

Revelation 2-3
‘He [or him] that overcometh.’

In his proverb, 20:12, Solomon has told us in unmistakable terms, The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, Jehovah hath made even both of them. Natural ears and natural eyes are gifts common to all mankind whereby the psalmist has declared in memorable terms, I will give thanks unto thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. While the natural senses are gifts common to all, Charles Bridges has contended that “it was left for man to make the ear that cannot hear, and the eye that cannot see.” This was accomplished through that spiritual death that Adam brought upon himself and all his posterity. It is for this reason that Christ was only agreeing with the prophets in saying, Matthew 13:13, Therefore speak I to them in parables; because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. God is the giver of the natural ear and the natural eye, and He must also be the giver of the spiritual ear and the spiritual eye. Jehovah hath made even both of them. Charles Bridges once more, “His [man’s] moral disabilities can only be removed by that Almighty power, which on earth gave ears to the deaf, and sight to the blind. As soon could we create our natural, as new-create our spiritual self.”

The relevance of this truth is set before us in practical terms in the letters which Christ has communicated to the churches, Revelation 2-3. We note that each of these letters share a number of common phrases. In all seven letters we read that promise is given to he that overcometh. These that overcome are to be recipients of marvelous spiritual gifts. It will be given them to eat of the tree of life; they shall not be hurt of the second death. They will be given of the hidden manna, and authority over the nations; they shall be arrayed in white garments. They will be made pillars in the temple of God and given the privilege to sit down with Christ in His throne. This brings forward in serious tones the obvious interrogatory, ‘who are they that overcome?’ For it is only they that shall receive these glorious amenities. The answer is close at hand. In each of these letters there is yet another phrase common to each. Beside he that overcometh, we read in each epistle these words of Him that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand; who is the first and the last; that hath the sharp two-edged sword; the Son of God, who hath his eyes like a flame of fire, He that hath the seven Spirits of God; he that hath the key of David; He that is the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God, and these words are; He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.

It is most important here to note the plural for church; that is, to the churches. While each epistle is firstly written to a specific assembly, they are equally written to all the churches. Let everyone hear what the Spirit saith to the churches; not only in Asia Minor but throughout the world; not only in the first century but for all time until the Lord returns. These rebukes, exhortations, remonstrances, corrections, along with the commendations, the encouragements, and the promises are written to every individual body of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of His Church; His body; His bride. They are written for every congregation; every assembly, and yes, every individual believer that has overcome; that is overcoming; that shall overcome. But who are these individuals? Who indeed shall overcome?

John, the human instrument employed in the penning of the Revelation, wrote beforehand in his first epistle the following in 1 John 5:4-7:

For whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith. And who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and the blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is the truth.

John has clearly spoken. It is faith that overcomes the world. Faith in what? According to John, it is faith in Jesus as the Son of God. It is he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God that overcomes the world. And what else does the apostle put forward about those overcoming the world; those having faith in the Son of God? He has referred to them as those who have been begotten of God. They, and they alone are those believing that Jesus is the Son God. They, and they alone, are those having faith in this Son of God. They, and they alone, are those that shall overcome the world. Who shall overcome the world, John asked. What is the victory that overcometh the world? Even our faith. Our faith in the Son of God. Our faith that He is precisely who He said that He is, even the Son of God. Those believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God are they that overcome the world. It is just that simple.

We would ask additionally, who are they having faith? John has clearly informed us of this reality as well; whatsoever is begotten of God. Yea, those that are begotten of God; those that are born again; those that are regenerated; they are those that overcome the world. Faith is the gift of God that comes to His people through regeneration:

And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them.—Ezekiel 36:26ff.

These are they that shall overcome, even they having been given a new heart. It is through that gift which includes faith whereby any are able to hear the truth of the gospel and receive it. These only are they that have ears to hear. These alone are they being made willing to come to God through the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. These alone will savingly hear the salvation offered through the Cross. These are the only ones who shall truly overcome the world, and the prince of the world.

David Farmer, elder
Fellowship Bible Church


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