Tuesday, 10 August 2021
He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. Revelation 21:7
In the previous words, Jesus said to John that He would give the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. The implication is that they have the Source of eternal life flowing to sustain them forever, and thus they will live forever. In this, there is an implication made that Jesus next explicitly states to John, saying, “He who overcomes shall inherit all things.”
As a side note, some manuscripts say, “shall inherit these things” instead of “shall inherit all things.” It would then be referring to those things promised in this passage (and elsewhere that are connected to the things mentioned in this passage).
Either way, one must overcome in order to receive the fountain of the water of life. This demands that we remember exactly how one overcomes. The subject was addressed in detail in Revelation 2:7, but it is now the last time that the word nikaó, or overcome, is found in Scripture. Thus, it is worth repeating again, towards the end of Revelation, to ensure the matter is properly understood. John’s letters provide the necessary detail –
The words are based on 1 John 5:5 (cited below), and which are taken in connection with John’s other words of that epistle. Look at how John weaves thoughts together in the book of 1 John in order to ensure that all ends are secure –
“…whatever is born of God overcomes the world.” (5:4)
“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” (5:1)
“He who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” overcomes the world. (5:5)
“Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.” (4:2)
“…every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. (4:3).
In this, John is obviously equating “Christ” with “Son of God.” The Christ is God incarnate (come in the flesh) – where the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily (Colossians 2:9). John is revealing that which is true and that which is false. This calls out for proper understanding because to believe otherwise is the spirit of the antichrist.
There are those who claim that Jesus is the Christ, but they do not believe He is God incarnate. Thus, verse 5:1 does not apply to them. There are those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but they do not accept that He is then fully God. Thus, verse 5:5 does not apply to them. In other words, there are sons of God recorded in both testaments – such as in Genesis 6 and Job 1. These are referring to human beings, not the divine Son of God.
There are also sons of God in the New Testament, such as in Romans 8:14 and elsewhere. These are adopted sons of God, not the Son begotten of God – meaning Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God.
One must take the words of John on a much more global scale to fully understand what he is referring to. Without doing so, a Mormon or a Jehovah’s Witness might appear to pass the test of one who overcomes the world. But such is not the case. Through evaluating the entire scope of what John is referring to, we find that such heretics do not pass muster, and have not overcome the world. As John asks, “Who is he who overcomes the world…?”
It is the person who will meet the qualifications he will state in a moment, but that person must meet the other qualifications which are directly tied to those words as well. John says that it is “he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” This is the person who overcomes. But he only does so if he believes that the Son of God (Jesus) is the Christ. And further, he only does so if he confesses that Jesus Christ has also come in the flesh.
If he does so, he is of God and has both been born of God and has overcome the world. If he does not confess the deity of Christ (having come in the flesh), he “is not of God.” In proper theology, one plus one will always equal two. However, sometimes the equation is built upon other such simple equations. When each is properly realized, then the truth of the situation is confirmed. This is why it is so important to have a larger understanding of what John is conveying when talking with people from aberrant cults.
Also, in his words, John uses present participles, each prefixed with an article when speaking of the one who overcomes. More literally, he says, “Who now is the one overcoming?” The response is, “…the one believing.” As noted, one can believe in a “Christ” who is not the Christ (see 2 Corinthians 11:4, for example). It is the one believing in the proper Christ, who is the Son of God – fully Man and yet fully God. In his belief, he is overcoming the world. For those who believe in the wrong “Christ,” they are not overcoming anything. They are still in their sins, and they belong to this world.
To sum up this most important point of doctrine, it is to the person who trusts in the Person and work of Jesus Christ, the God/Man, that overcomes. With this understood, Jesus next says of he who overcomes, “and I will be his God and he shall be My son.”
Of this, Vincent’s Word Studies notes, “This is the only place in John’s writings where υἱός son is used of the relation of man to God.” The Father/son relationship that began to be revealed in Genesis 6:2 with the “sons of God,” meaning those of the line of Seth that trusted in the promise of the coming Messiah, and that is then carefully and methodically built upon throughout Scripture, is fully realized in this verse.
The promise is that any who overcomes (placing their trust in the Messiah according to the level of understanding given in any particular dispensation) is granted this Father/son relationship. The hope of returning to paradise, and of spending eternity in the presence of God, is explicitly promised in these verses of Revelation. The thing God promised in Genesis 3:15, and which He has continued to slowly and progressively reveal since then, is realized here. God, who is ever faithful to His word, sent His Christ. He has restored all to the state it was originally intended. For His redeemed, the coming of that day is as certain as the word uttered forth by Him.
These wonderful words are the final fulfillment of what Paul hinted at for any who are already in this relationship because of faith in Christ –
“I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18
For the one who has overcome, the position is already realized. We are just waiting for the redemptive narrative to unfold, but we already possess this blessed Father/son relationship.
Life application: In the evaluation of Revelation 3:22, the promises made by Jesus to those who overcome were noted. They were made in the seven letters to the seven churches addressed in Revelation 2 & 3. That list is –
(1) Jesus will allow him to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.
(2) He shall not be hurt by the second death.
(3) He will be given some of the hidden manna to eat. Jesus will also give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.
(4) Jesus will give him power over the nations – “He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessel” – as Jesus also has received from His Father; and He will give him the morning star.
(5) He shall be clothed in white garments, and his name will not be blotted out from the Book of Life; Jesus will confess his name before His Father and before His angels.
(6) He will be made a pillar in the temple of God, and he shall go out no more. Jesus will write on him the name of His God and the name of the city of His God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from His God. And He will write on him His new name.
(7) He will be given the right to sit with Jesus on His throne, as He also overcame and sat down with His Father on His throne.
All of these things are coming to the one who overcomes. Along with that is promised the intimate Father/son relationship noted in the verse analyzed above. As noted, the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2, is a passage speaking of the chosen line that will lead to the Messiah.
From that springboard, there is a succession of adoption which leads all the way to this verse in Revelation. The promise was made to Abraham in Genesis 17:7. Israel was proclaimed the Lord’s firstborn in Exodus 4:22. They were given the promise of being His special treasure in Exodus 19:5, 6. After this was seen the confirmation of this covenant line through David in 2 Samuel 7:14. Eventually, these promises were made to the church on several occasions in the New Testament.
This Father/son relationship is made possible because of Jesus. In Hebrews 1:2, He is noted as the “heir of all things.” We are called “joint heirs” with Him in Romans 8:17. We are united to God through the work of Christ. And that is based on simple faith, with nothing else added. Jesus tells us this in John 3:16, Paul states it again and again in his epistles, and finally John gave us the great and wonderful news of how to overcome in 1 John 5:4, 5 (noted above).
To be a son of God, one must look to the work of the Son of God. To overcome and reign with Christ one must look to the One who overcame and reigns with God. To be an heir of the great promises of God, one must be adopted through the Son of God. It is the most wonderful and glorious promise ever, and it comes by simple faith. Praise God for His glorious gift! Praise God for our Lord, JESUS!
Heavenly Father, how wonderful it is to be called a son of God! We, your people, accept Jesus and we come to You in faith, knowing that only through Him can we receive Your gift of eternal life. Thank You for Jesus, thank You for His work, and thank You for the grace and faith You have granted us to come to this wonderful place. Hallelujah and Amen!