Now, in view of the segments written to each church (Revelation 2 and 3), did you notice that each passage not only refers to
he who overcomesRevelation 2:7,11,17,26;3:5,12,21
but also to
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. ...Revelation 2:7,11,17,29;3:6,13,22
This is of utmost importance, and it ties right in with what he wrote in 1 John 5. Also, (as a side note) realize that even though John wrote much differently than Paul, the two are not in conflict in any way.
WHO are those who can hear what the Spirit says? They are those who are born of God. It comes with the territory. He was not referring to some kind of extra insight that only SOME believers might attain to who try real hard to listen. Remember how Jesus often said this? He would speak in parables and then say,
He who has ears, let him hear.Revelation 2:7,11,17,29;3:6,13,22
When the disciples asked,
Why do you speak to them in parables?Matthew 13:10
To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him shall more be given, and he shall have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.Matthew 13:11-13
Now, Jesus did tell the disciples,
But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.Matthew 13:16
but the fact is that AT THE TIME they simply did not understand it. It was something planted there within them until the time should come that the Spirit would
teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance ALL THAT I SAID TO YOU.John 14:26
This remembrance was not a Holy Spirit playback of Jesus' words, such as a tape recorder does, but it was a remembrance of INSIGHT as in what happened to the two guys who walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus
And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him ... and they said to one another, 'Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?'Luke 24:31-32
Everything Jesus had said would come back in a NEW way. Couldn't you just hear them? "Oh! THAT'S what He was saying!!" "I GET it, I GET it!!" :) This is the same sense that Paul wrote of:
Therefore from NOW ON we recognize (estimate) no man according to the flesh; even though we HAVE KNOWN Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.2 Corinthians 5:16
What is my point in all of this? This "HEARING" was miraculous. The disciples (including John, who wrote 1 John and Revelation) were taught the difference by being given the words without understanding and then having been given understanding through the Spirit. They KNEW the impossibility of understanding without the Spirit in such a real way because here they had been with Jesus Himself and had "listened" to Him and yet did not understand until the Spirit had been given. That was the impact they knew by the words, "He who has ears, let him hear". It was not a mystery to them as to WHY some people heard and others did not. When someone "heard" them they KNEW that it was ONLY because that person had passed from death unto life and had been given the Spirit. They KNEW that one who "heard" the good news of Christ (as preached by themselves) could have only received it because he was on the same "wavelength" as God. The understanding becomes OBVIOUS in view of the difference.
Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:5
"He who overcomes the world" is a DESCRIPTION of those who have passed from death into life, and he asks ... Who are these but those who believe?
... as HE (Christ) is, so also are WE in this world1 John 4:17
"He who overcomes" is a reference to those who are born of God because in REALITY we have passed out of the realm of this world (though still walking through it) and have been reborn into the kingdom of God's Son. John wrote to the churches knowing full well that many had crept in under the pretense of being "righteous". John addressed them so that they would KNOW that he was speaking to the MIRACLE OF CHRIST WITHIN THEM.
"He who overcomes". Overcomes WHAT?
For whatever is born of God OVERCOMES THE WORLD; and this is the victory that has OVERCOME THE WORLD - our FAITH.1 John 5:4
How did we overcome the world? NOT by what we have done, but through Christ. Faith is NOT something we have done, or something that we do, but is a description of the ACTUAL (not ATTEMPTED) dependency of those who have been inserted into the vine (Christ). Our faith is the "victory" ... the VICTORY ... not the thing required. Just the mention of "faith" INSISTS that this whole thing is miraculous and NOT something found within the recipient but found within the one depended upon. "He who believes" defines WHO has overcome, not WHAT CAN BE DONE to achieve it.
We "overcome" the world because of our miraculous inclusion in Christ ... and are as He is in this world. Every step we take is taken in Christ so that we are overcoming in each step. This may sound like a denial of reality in view of what you and I see happening in ourselves and would call it anything but "walking in Christ", but it is the denial of this reality of our life being in Christ that hurts so many believers and has them reflecting anything but Christ! When we forget who we are, we act and think as insane men, as men of this world. What we need is to be snapped out of the insanity!!! And the ONLY reality by which this can happen is through the miraculous "hearing" whereby we KNOW who we really are.
All of the things mentioned to "he who overcomes" are the REALITIES of our inheritance in Christ. These are not "rewards" such as may be missed out on ...
FOR ALL THINGS BELONG TO YOU, AND YOU BELONG TO CHRIST; AND CHRIST BELONGS TO GOD.1 Corinthians 3:22-23
...these are "rewards" in the sense of realities yet to be realized!! John did not speak of these things in such a way as to throw them a bone, or carrot on a stick, but he spoke to the INNERMOST BEING OF THOSE BORN OF GOD.
It was just as Jesus spoke to the needy heart,
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.Matthew 5:3-4
The heart of the hungry man is lifted by the reality that he will be SATISFIED. The things John wrote to each group touched them in a real way to "BRING TO THEIR REMEMBRANCE" the SATISFACTION OF CHRIST THAT WAS THEIRS. The mention of these "rewards" did not stir them to think, "What must I do to get these things?", but instead were the very answers their hearts NEEDED TO HEAR. These "rewards" were nothing less than JESUS to their ears for HE was (and is) the actual satisfaction to their hearts ... and OURS!
Bible verses asked about and commented on:
(All quotes are from the New American Standard Bible)
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.Revelation 2:7
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.Revelation 2:11
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. 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.Revelation 2:17
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 have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churchesRevelation 2:26-29
He who overcomes 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. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.Revelation 3:5-6
He who overcomes, 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, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.Revelation 3:12-13
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. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 3:21-22
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 who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-5