Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Nike Overcomer

We have been studying through Revelation Chapter 1-3 so far.

We find the uniformity of literary structure in Revelation 2-3, which delivers the Words of the Lord to the seven churches with praise, admonition, warning and promise of reward in the message.

The promise of reward was given to “To him who overcomes.” Who is this individual?


τ νικντι : To him who overcomes

Νικάω nikáō (from níkē, “victory”) – properly, conquer (overcome);  to carry off the victory, come off victorious.'The verb implies a battle. English word nike which means ‘to conquer’ came from this Greek word.

Νικάω can refer in a metaphorical sense to either an athletic contest or military battle.

One can be an overcomer in two ways in the New Testament:

(1) salvific (power to save or redeem) and

(2) sanctification.

The difference is one of conditionality.

John states in I John 5:4-5,

“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?”

This is clearly salvific in nature. Our salvation is not conditional. 1 John 5:1 indicates that to be born of God, one must believe. Belief is not mere intellectual assent, but life transforming commitment to Jesus Christ. The result is eternal life.

However, the overcomer in Revelation is vastly different. The overcomer in Revelation is one who perseveres to the end. He remains faithful under difficult circumstances.

The overcomer in Revelation can lose his reward. It is not eternal.

The apostle Paul states in 2 Corinthians 5:10,

“For we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

Paul indicates a “pay back” for the “bad” done in the body. What the “pay back” is for bad deeds is not indicated, but there is a “pay back.”

Revelation 2-3 lists thirteen rewards for the overcomer:

(1) Authority over nations (2:26)
(2) Name not erased from book of life (3:5)
(3) Inherits the earth (21:7)
(4) New name on a white stone (2:17)
(5) Eat of hidden manna (2:17)
(6) Pillar in temple (3:12)
(7) Sits on Christ’s throne (3:21)
(8) Tree of life (2:7)
(9) Not hurt by second death (2:11)
(10) Morning star (2:28)
(11) White Garments (3:5)
(12) Name of God, city, and Christ written on him (3:12)
(13) Name confessed before the Father and His angels (3:5)

The rewards and the warnings make no sense unless some believers will not receive them because of their unfaithfulness. Why warn a person about something he cannot lose? We can debate what is lost, but there is no debate that something is lost with grave consequences to follow (See I Cor. 3:16 and I John 2:28).

Those individuals in the seven churches who are not overcomers are promised:

(1) War with the sword from the Lord’s month (2:16)
(2) To be thrown into the great tribulation (2:22)
(3) Children killed with the pestilence (2:23)
(4) To receive according to their deeds (2:23)
(5) Come like a thief (3:3)
(6) Spit out of the Lord’s mouth (3:16)
(7) Reproof and discipline (3:19)

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