Kingdom Truth - What is the Kingdom of Heaven in the Bible?
Chapter 7, Part 1
God's Calling and Promise to the Overcomers
By carefully reading Revelation chapters 2 and 3 on the Lord's call to the overcomers, we will discover that the call to the first three churches is different from that to the last four. For the churches at Ephesus, Smyrna and Pergamum, His call to the overcomers was made after He had spoken to the church congregations. As for the churches at Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea, the call to the overcomers was made before He spoke to the congregations. The reversal in the sequence is a hint to us that in the early days of the church, He desired that the entire church would be overcomers. This is just like His expectations for the Israelites in Old Testament times. Unfortunately, the New Testament church imitated the congregation of the Old Testament and followed the footsteps of the Israelites. He was greatly disappointed and could only tum to call the overcomers in the church. This fulfilled His prophecy: "Many are called, but few are chosen."
"Overcomer" is a name that causes so much excitement and envy! There are many overcomers in the Old Testament. The heroes of faith listed in Hebrews chapter 11 are none other but the cream of the overcomers. Other than these, there are Abram's 318 trained men who were born in his house, Gideon's 300 who lapped water from their hand, the brave men who followed David and helped him establish his kingdom, and even the 7,000 that God kept for Himself in King Ahab's time. These should all be on the list of overcomers. Their determined endurance, faith and love for God and man are woven with their blood, sweat and tears into a glorious crown, illuminating the believers through the ages.
The greater the price the overcomers pay, the greater is their enjoyment in the Lord. Revelation chapters 2 and 3 tell us that they shall enjoy the bountiful salvation prepared by God. This salvation began in the Garden of Eden but only those who are part of the Kingdom of God can enjoy it abundantly as they desire (Rev. 2:7; Prov.13:12). They shall not be hurt by the second death. The word "hurt" is the opposite of "crown of life" mentioned in Revelation 2:10. "Crown" and "life" are genitives in apposition. They refer to the overcomer's enjoyment of the glorious crown which is a symbol of the glorious life in heaven. It is the direct opposite of "eternal death" (Rev.2:10, 11). Praise the Lord! The overcomers can enjoy not only all the richness in the ascended Christ (hidden manna). they will also receive the white stone with a new name. The white stone is the award in the ancient Olympic Games and is equivalent to the present day gold medal. It is reserved only for the champion (Rev. 2:17). The overcomers are also those who hold fast to the end, they then can receive authority like the Lord who receives authority from the Father to subdue the nations. Also, they shall receive the "morning star' as a reward (Rev.2:25-28). The overcomers shall be confessed to the Father in His Kingdom and their names shall remain permanently in the Book of Life (Rev. 3:5). The overcomers shall be the core and key members of the Kingdom of God (pillars in the temple of My God). Special titles shall be bestowed upon them (Rev. 3:11,12). The gracious Lord clearly said that the overcomers shall be granted to sit down with Him on His throne (Rev. 3:21). Oh, how great is the glory possessed by the overcomers in the universe! Isn't this what the Scriptures said: "What is the hope of His calling and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints"? Thank God, He "has prepared for those who love Him things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and which has not entered the heart of man, but to us God revealed them through the Holy Spirit".