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 Revelation Chapter 2 (Part 16) (The Overcomers Part 2)

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PostSubject: Revelation Chapter 2 (Part 16) (The Overcomers Part 2)   Thu Nov 13, 2014 11:05 pm

Revelation Chapter 2 (Part 16) (The Overcomers Part 2)

The next overcomer statement is addressed to the church of Smyrna. Jesus says in Revelation 2:11, “He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.” This is the most important of all the overcomer statements. We need to be much more concerned about the second death than the first. The second death is to live an eternity in Hell. Because the spirit never dies, death means separation from the life of God. All Christians escape the second death. All overcomers are Christians, so it goes without saying that all overcomers will escape the second death. This reward or gift is the one of two overcomer statements that Jesus did for us. Recall that the church of Smyrna does not get rebuked. So Jesus is not commanding them here to overcome any particular sin. The church of Smyrna is the persecuted church. The main thing Jesus wants them to overcome is the unjust persecution that they will undergo. This takes having perseverance. (Because they are not rebuked, there is not any particular sin to overcome; therefore their overcomer reward is a general one.) Jesus is telling the persecuted church to hold out because they will not be hurt by the second death even if they are martyred for their faith. [In parenthesis is just my theory; I could be wrong.]

In Luke 12:4-5, Jesus says, “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” God not only has the power to kill the body, he also has the power to destroy the soul by throwing the person into hell. God is the one, Jesus says, to fear shaking a fist at. God wants us to come to him and become saved as a response to his love for us that he demonstrates. But, if he has to scare you into Heaven, he will do that too. Jesus says that Hell is a place to avoid at all costs. He says in Matthew 5:29-30 the following:

“If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”

Jesus uses hyperbole to make the point: avoid hell at all cost. He does not mean for you to really cut off your hand and pluck out your eyes. You can have a chopped off hand and a plucked out eye and live an eternity in Hell. When the text uses hyperbole, we must understand the point and not incorporate each word into doctrine. I say this because some misuse this text saying that it is saying if we sin, we go to hell, therefore, to refrain from sin keeps us out of hell. I stated last time that to refrain from sin is a work; and, committing to righteousness is also a work. Works do not get us to Heaven.

We don’t like to talk about Hell, but Jesus says a lot about it and strongly warns us to not go there. Hell is not the place anyone wants to be. Hell will make the hardest thug cry, weep and scream. Hell was created for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). It was not created for man. But God sends people who choose to reject Him and follow Satan to let them follow their master, Satan to the same punishment he is giving Satan. God allows people to follow whatever god they want, but that includes the punishment or reward depending on which god they choose. Satan is an angelic being. Hell was created for Satan and his demons. Angels are much more powerful than we are. If God sets aside this place to torment beings that are much more powerful than we, how much more will people, the weaker beings suffer greatly when they join Satan with a punishment intended for him and demons? Furthermore, this is an eternal punishment. Have you ever had a long day? A long week? A long year? A long decade? How about a long century? After living a billion centuries in Hell, you still have many more billions of centuries left, times billions...infinitely. This life is just a quick breath. Since the next life is much longer, it should be of immense importance to be at the right place because whatever place you choose you’re going to have to live with that for a long time. Have you ever had a bad day? How about having an extremely painful eternity with no relief?

The next overcomer statement is to the church of Pergamum in Revelation 2:17, which reads, “To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.” Overcoming here refers to overcoming the sins of verses 14-16, which we will later look at. But these sins are personal sins; and, interestingly, one of these rewards is personal: “a white stone with a name written on it, known only to him who receives it.” First, a few words about the hidden manna: God is going to reward the overcoming believer with hidden manna. In verse 14, God condemns those who eat Balaam’s food, which is food sacrificed to idols. Hidden manna is heaven’s food as opposed to Balaam’s food. You recall in the Old Testament, God fed his people manna during their wandering in the desert. Psalm 78:24 calls this manna, “the grain of heaven.” Manna was for Israel’s sustenance while they lived out their confinement in the desert for 40 years. God still fed them and cared for them even though he was angry with them. He will reward the overcomer with a secret, new heavenly food to fill the believer with satisfaction. No one knows what type of food the manna was that God was feeding his people in the Old Testament, but Jesus called it bread.

In John 6:35, Jesus says, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes will never be thirsty.” In 6:32 he says, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Jesus calls himself the true bread of Heaven. Like food, he provides sustaining life. And the overcomer will receive a new hidden bread that has not yet been revealed. I admit that I don’t know anything more about this hidden bread. But I can add a few side notes. The manna God fed the Israelites is called “the bread of angels” in Psalm 78:25. And manna is one of the items that was placed inside the Ark of the Covenant.

We will pick up next time looking closer at the white stone Jesus mentioned.
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Revelation Chapter 2 (Part 16) (The Overcomers Part 2)
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