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Overcomers

Revelation 12:11

 "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death."

        If we have been around enough Christians, we have probably heard someone quote Revelation 12:11- “And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony….” This is all that is usually quoted- but that is not the entire verse! The verse in its entirety goes like this:

“And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and the word of the testimony, and they did not love their lives to death.

    The problem with quoting half of the verse is that it can lead us into deception. For instance, when we face a situation that threatens to steal from us, then we remember Revelation 12:11 and we “plea the blood of Jesus” over the situation and we confess some scripture from the Word of God, and nothing changes, then what? Then  we make a very fatal mistake and say in our hearts- usually unconsciously- that the Word of God does not work. Then the next time we want to rely on His Word, we will not trust it enough to step out onto it. The answer then is that we must also employ the last half of Revelation 12:11 for it to be useful. We must not love our lives to death. Now, this verse carries in it all extremes of loving our own lives, from being ready to die for the Word to being ready to change whatever we need to for the Word. 

    The tension comes when we face a situation that threatens us in any way, and we are unwilling to stand long enough to see God’s word come to pass- no matter the outcome. Generally, we give up fairly easily because it seems like death to us to wait. When this is our attitude, all that the wicked one has to do is out wait us! He can just oppose the answer to our prayer long enough for us to give up and then once we have, he has won, and we are one step farther from trusting God and one step closer to loving our own live so much that it kills us. 

    I know of a woman who was attempting to grow in her walk with Jesus. She had been taught about divine healing and decided to begin practicing it. The first time she felt a headache after she made this decision, she bled the blood of Jesus and confessed the truth over her body - that by Jesus’ stripes she was healed. But the pain remained. Then she finally broke down and took an Ibuprofen and no more did she swallow that pill, then the headache went away… This was a clear sign that the wicked one was holding her answer and wanted her to back off first. It was a supernatural game of chicken! This is what it means to love your life to death in very practical terms. 

    In terms of the time of the end, this concept takes on a deeper, more impactful meaning. It means that no matter what they are threatened with, those who DO NOT love their lives to death will not give in- even if they are killed. This has to be our attitude in the last days, we expect to overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony and see our answer in the land of the living, but if they kill us, they kill us, for we will not be hurt by the second death. 

    Throughout Revelation chapters 2 & 3, we see Jesus use this term “overcome” repeatedly. In fact He uses it 7 times each when he is finalizing His message to the angel of each church. In particular, He gives the promise that if the people in that church “overcome” then He has certain rewards for them. Each result of overcoming is exactly what it is that they are seeking, except they are seeking these results in a natural instead of a supernatural way. Hitherto, with the exception of two, each church has loved their own lives so much that they have defied the commands of God in the times of the end. Below is a brief synopsis of what each church was facing and the result if they overcame. 

Revelation 2

Ephesus- Judgmentalism, Un-lovingness - Overcomers can eat tree of life

Smyrna-Threat of death for not taking mark of the beast - Overcomers will not be hurt by the second death

Pergamos- Selling out to cause people to stumble sexually and in idol worship- Overcome will eat hidden manna and have a victory stone that represents innocence 

Thyatira- Yielding power and authority to a controlling spirit- Overcomers will have power over nations

Revelation 3

Sardis- Dead works- Overcomers will receive white garments and will not be blotted out of the book of life

Philadelphia-Hypocrites abound around them - Overcomers will be pillars in the temple with the names of God, Jesus, and New Jerusalem on his body

Laodicea- Being lukewarm and deceived into thinking they are effective- Overcomers will be able to sit with Jesus on His throne

Each church represented displays the church as a whole both when this was written and as a cross section of the church now in these times of the end. Moreover, each church reflects those shortcomings in the hearts of individual men. The most important thing to remember is that Jesus gave us an answer, a way out, a door in that He said that to overcome, we have three things; Blood of the Lamb, Word of Our Testimony, and not loving our lives to death. If you find yourself in any of these situations or if you find that sometimes when you pray you don’t receive the answer, examine your own heart and see if the problem is that you love your life to death!


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