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Rewards of the 7 Churches in Revelation

  Rewards of Seven Churches in Revelation

1)        Ephesus- “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life which is in the paradise of God.”(2:7)

2)        Smyrna- “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (2:10) “He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.” (2:11, as in “the fiery lake of burning sulfur” from 21:8)

3)        Pergamum- “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.” (2:17)

4)        Thyatira- “To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—’He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery.’  just as I have received authority from my Father.  I will also give him the morning star.” (2:26-28)

5)        Sardis- “He who overcomes will like them be dressed in white.  I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.” (3:5)

6)        Philadelphia- “Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God.  Never again will he leave it.  I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God, and I will also write on him my new name.” (3:12)

7)        Laodicea- “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.” (3:21)



Who are those who “Overcome”?

“To him who overcomes. . .” Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21

“Overcomes” is from the Greek word developed from nikh “nika” which means “conquest, victory” and is used once in the NT in 1 Jn. 5:4.  The word in Revelation for “overcome” is the word nikaw “nikao” and means “to subdue.”  It is translated 24x as “overcome”, 2x as “conquer”, 1x as “prevail” and 1x as “get the victory,”  It is used in reference to God in Romans 3:4 and to Christ in John 16:33, Rev. 3:21, 5:5 and 17:4.  In reference to the believer it is used in Romans 12:21; 1 John 2:13-14; 4:4; 5:4-5; and Rev. 12:11; 15:2; 21:7.  In Rev. 2:7 “overcome” means “to be the victor, to gain a victory, to be victorious.”  This seems to be a term applicable to all believers rather than to a limited or special group When we study John’s use of it and the promises here in Revelation 2 and 3. 

John uses it 7x in John and First John and 16x in Revelation.  To John faith manifested itself in victory.  The Believer/Conqueror prevails over evil through his faithfulness to Christ.  In Revelation the victor is the martyr. 

“To him who overcomes. . .” could then be translated “To the victor. . .” or “To the conqueror. . .”

1 John 5:1, 4,  “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. . .Everyone born of God overcomes the world.  This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world?  Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

To believe in Christ means you have overcome the unbelief and sin of the world.

The overcomers are not a special group of believers who surpass others in performance.  This is a general description of normal believers. 

John uses the word “overcomes” for the believer/conqueror because he expects a believer in Christ to have victory  over the world.

The victory we achieve is like the victory Jesus achieved: “Just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.” (Rev. 3:21)

In the use of “overcome” in John’s writing there is a tension between positional truth and achieved rewards.  Even the white clothes are:   a)  a result of being washed in the blood of the lamb, (Rev. 7:13,14)  b)  described as being “the righteous acts of the saints.” (Rev. 19:8)   So, all believers have all the rewards mentioned to the seven churches, though some believers will expand and increase the victory from this position as an overcomer.

Those who do not overcome:  “He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.  But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.  This will be the second death.”


 The Promises from Revelation 2 and 3:

Each promise:  a)  Is the victors reward  b)  Are spoke metaphorically and symbolically  c)  Are difficult to clearly interpret  d)  Correlate with the last two chapters of Revelation  - tree of life in 2:7 and 22:2  -second death 2:11 and 21:4

 Tree of Life       One of many trees given to Adam and Eve in Paradise. (Gn.2:9)  Made off limits to man after fall (Gn.3:22,24)  The age of Messiah will restore this tree and Paradise to man (Is.51:3; Ez.36:35; Rev.22:1-4,14)  Man will eat of this tree and live forever.  Consider John 5:51, “If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever.”    Right to eat of this tree is removed in Rev.22:19.

Second Death  No promise of deliverance from natural death or martyrdom.  The overcomer will not face the second death.  Rev. 21:8 says, “Their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.  This is the second death.  Rev. 20:6, “Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection.  The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.”   Rev. 20:14, “the lake of fire is the second death.”

Hidden Manna  The emphasis is on “hidden.”  Legend records that Jeremiah hid the jar of manna and it will be restored to mankind in the millennium.  This is probably referring to our eternal relation with Jesus who is the manna from heaven.  He will be the source that sustains us for all time in his kingdom.

White Stone  Possibly a brilliant diamond.  In courts of law the accused received a white stone on acquittal and a black tone if guilty.  Special stones were used as invitations to social events to the select guests.  Stones with inscriptions were used which may mean the value of the stone was the name inscribed on it.


New Name  Their new eternal world and society includes a new name.  To know a person’s or a god’s  name meant to have power and authority over them.  These overcomes have an eternal source, an honored position and are above dominion.

Authority over the nations  “to the end” means “completely”, not to the end of life.   A place of responsibility in His kingdom.  “Rule” is “poimanei”, “to shepherd.”  It is not just judging, but leadership and guidance.  “Iron scepter” is wooden staff of shepherd with an iron point.  “Dashing pottery” refers to ancient kings smashing clay vessels with enemies names inscribed on them.  This means absolute, sovereign power from God.

The Morning Star  Jesus is the morning star in Rev. 22:16.  This refers to the rulership that arrives at the dawning of a new age just like a morning star arrives before a new day.

Dressed in White  White garments are the attire appropriate for the heavenly society.  Rev. 3:18, 6:11; 4:4; 7:9, 13; 19:14.  Where do the white garments come from?  Rev. 7:13-14 says, “ ‘These in white robes—who are they. . . ?  They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb.’ ”  These are believers.  A believer has the acceptable clothing for the New Jerusalem.  An inscription found in Asia Minor says: “Soiled clothes disqualifies the worshipper and dishonors the god.”  Rev. 19:8 says, “Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.  Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.”   Believers will have unpolluted glory.

Never Blot Out His Name  The ancient world had the custom of keeping a list of citizens but striking out the names of people who had died.  To be blotted out meant to forfeit the privileges of the kingdom.  The believers of this time period risked losing their earthly citizenship by confessing Christ.  What counts is our acceptance in the courts of heaven and the society there.  This world’s registry of the living is passing away.  Verses concerning the Book of Life:  Ps.69:28; Ex. 32:33; Ps. 109:13; Dn. 12:1; Rev. 13:8; 17:8; 20:15; 21:27; Phil.4:3; Isaiah 4:3; Ezekiel 13:9; Lk.10:20; Heb.12:22-23.  Believers will never lose their heavenly citizenship.


Confess His Name  Matthew 10:32,33 says, “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.  But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.”  The word “acknowledge” in Mt. 19:32 is the same as “confess” here in Rev. 3:5 (also Luke 12:8)  It is “homologeo” in Greek from two words “homo” meaning “same” and “lego” meaning “to speak.”  “Homolegeo” means “to speak the same thing.”  In the Greek it appears like this:

  omoleghsei            en                   emoi   

 shall confess      (untranslated “in”)      me         (dative case of this personal   pronoun indicates the

                                                                       one to or for who   an action occurs.  In this case the                                                                        confessing occurs for the personal     

                                                                        interest of “me” (Jesus)

Matt. 10:32 literally says, “Everyone who shall confess in Me for my case, or for me before men, in him for his case, or for him, will I confess before my Father.”  The confession will be determined by the context of the circumstances we find ourselves in.  It appears to be in reference to a public confession of some sort.  We confess allegiance to Christ in what we say, in what we do and in the choices we make.  He will acknowledge us as his faithful servants.  If you have placed faith in Christ you have confessed him in this world and are called an overcomer by John.

Pillar in the Temple  Pillars are for structural support and a picture of stability.  We will not simply be in the kingdom taking up space, but will be useful, even necessary, for we will be part of the structural security of the kingdom.  Peter writes, “You also, as living stones are being built up as a spiritual house. .  .” (1 Peter 2:5)

Will write on him  Three things are written on each believer. 1—The name of God which will indicate ownership and sworn allegiance of a two way covenant.  2—The name of the city of God, “New Jerusalem.”  This indicates citizenship at a very committed level.  Your address, or proof of citizenship in this incredible city, will be tattooed on your resurrection body.  3—Jesus’ new name which is known only to him (Rv.19:12) shows the depth of relationship we have with him as a member of his royal family.

Sit on Jesus throne       Even Ephesians 2:6 says we are seated with him in heavenly realms.


Many of these promises are found in Jesus’ teachings and the NT epistles. 

None of these teachings are radically new here. 

They are identified here in these seven letters from Jesus to the churches to encourage the believer/conqueror to fight the good fight and continue to overcome the world.  

We are to know that we are already eternal citizens of an eternal society. 

Our names will never be removed. 

Do not allow yourself to misrepresent your eternal home.

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