At the mention of overcomers, we will think of the prophecies in the Book of Revelation, “And I looked, and, see, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads” (Revelation 14:1), “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). Here, the 144,000 prophesied in the scripture are the overcomers whom God wishes to make. They are the ones who stand testimony during the great tribulation, and who are approved by God and qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven. Becoming an overcomer is something that every believer in the Lord longs for, and it is the goal we seek. Many brothers and sisters believe this: We’ve followed the Lord for many years, during which we’ve toiled, given things up, expended ourselves, preached and shepherded the church and, throughout this time, we have suffered mockery and slander from worldly people and the misunderstanding of our relatives; and despite being persecuted and arrested by our own government, we never retreat. As long as we follow the Lord in this way to the end, we will be the overcomers.
Actually, our faith and will to suffer hardships are admirable, but is the viewpoint “As long as we keep the Lord’s name, give up everything, expend ourselves, and work hard for the Lord, we will become overcomers in the end,” really right, according to our understanding? To answer this question, we should look at what God’s words say. It is prophesied in the Book of Revelation, “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God” (Revelation 14:4-5), “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). God’s words say, “Those who God refers to as overcomers are those who are still able to stand witness, maintain their confidence, and their devotion to God when under the influence of Satan and under siege by Satan, that is, when within the forces of darkness. If you are still able to maintain a heart of purity and your genuine love for God no matter what, you stand witness in front of God, and this is what God refers to as being an overcomer.” “Those who are made complete before the disaster are obedient to God. They live reliant on Christ, witness Christ, and exalt Him. They are the victorious male children and the good soldiers of Christ.” From these prophecies and God’s words, we can know that the true overcomers are those who speak no lies and harbor no treachery in their hearts, and whose corrupt dispositions are cleansed. Moreover, they are the ones who closely follow the footsteps of the Lamb, who understand the truth and know God. No matter what Christ says or in what ways He works, they follow and obey Him, exalt God and bear witness to God in all things, and their loyalty to God is absolute and undivided. Faced with the terrible circumstances of Satan’s ruthless persecution, pursuit and capture of people, they are able to continue to put the truth into practice, perform their duty as a creature of God, and obey God unto death, bearing a beautiful and resounding testimony to God. Only by attaining to these criteria can someone be an overcomer in the true sense of the word; it does not just refer to those who toil, give things up and expend themselves for the Lord, and who do not retreat during persecution and tribulations.
At this point, let’s take a look at ourselves: Though we’ve followed the Lord for many years, during which we’ve given up many things and expended ourselves, suffered and paid a price for the Lord, it’s undeniable that we still haven’t escaped our corrupt dispositions and have yet to be cleansed. For example, while we are toiling and working for the Lord, we can often commit sins, disobey and resist God, we do not pay attention to practicing the Lord’s words but do things in accordance with our own whims and desires; sometimes we covet fame, fortune and status, exalt and bear witness to ourselves so that brothers and sisters hold us in high esteem and look up to us, and we bring believers before ourselves; when interacting with others, we are unable to stop ourselves from telling lies and deceiving them in order to protect our personal interests, and when our own fame, fortune and status are involved, we can even go so far as to envy and scheme against our brothers and sisters; our working and suffering are not for loving God and satisfying God, but for obtaining crowns and rewards, so after having done some work and endured some suffering, we flaunt our seniority, self-righteously asking God for a share in the heavenly kingdom in return; when God’s trials come upon us, we can misunderstand and blame God, and even betray Him; when someone bears witness to God’s work of the last days for us, misconceptions can arise in us and we can carelessly judge and condemn His work … We are still capable of committing frequent sins, being controlled and dominated by our sinful natures, and we are capable of resisting God and betraying Him. How can someone like this who has not been changed or purified be called an overcomer?
Then someone may ask, “In the light of our behaviors, it’s true that we do not measure up to the criteria of being an overcomer. So, what exactly do we have to do to become overcomers?” It is said in the Bible, “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried” (Zechariah 13:9). In 1 Peter 4:17 it says, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.” God’s words say, “I have previously said that a group of overcomers are gained from the East, overcomers who come from amid the great tribulation. What is the meaning of such words? They mean that these people who have been gained only truly obeyed after undergoing judgment and chastisement, and dealing and pruning, and all kinds of refinement. The belief of such people is not vague and abstract, but real. They have not seen any signs and wonders, or any miracles; they do not speak of abstruse letters and doctrines, or profound insights; instead they have reality, and the words of God, and a true knowledge of the reality of God.”
From God’s words we can know that, the true overcomers are those who have gone through God’s judgment and chastisement, as well as all manner of trials and refinement, and who have some knowledge of God. They also have some knowledge of their own corrupt nature, they have attained true obedience, and no matter what trials or tribulations befall them, they are able to obey God and accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words and, ultimately, their satanic corrupt dispositions are changed and purified. When Satan’s temptations come to them, they can stand witness for God, overcome Satan’s leaguer and break free of its influence. They then no longer live by their corrupt dispositions, their actions and comportment are all founded on God’s words and they live out the reality of God’s words. Only such people are the true overcomers. When experiencing God’s work, they gradually gain some knowledge of their satanic corrupt nature, such as arrogance and conceitedness, selfishness and baseness, and lying and cheating, and they see the truth of how they have been corrupted to the core by Satan and that they may resist and betray God at any moment. They see that they are living entirely in the image of Satan and that they don’t deserve to live before God. Simultaneously, they also appreciate that God’s disposition does not tolerate any offense, and thus they develop a heart that reveres God and they become able to obey God and live by His words. What’s more, because they understand the truth and know God, they come to have discernment about negative things, and are able to see through Satan’s schemes and stand witness for God when encountering all manner of temptations from Satan. They become the ones who truly love, obey and revere God, their satanic corrupt dispositions are thoroughly purified and changed, and they are completely gained by God—only these people are the ones who reach the criteria of being overcomers. Just like Job, as recorded in the Bible: No matter how cruel the methods Satan adopted to torment Job, be it making him lose a mountain of sheep and cattle as well as his great fortune, having his body covered with sores, using his friends to harass him, or attacking his integrity through his wife, Job didn’t submit to Satan or speak even a word of complaint against God, but instead he said, “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21), and “shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). Faced with these trials, Job could stand witness for God, and follow God’s way of fearing God and shunning evil, and so he was an overcomer who emerged from tribulation and trials. Peter is another example: He followed the all his life, took Jesus as his example, pursued the supreme love of God and was crucified upside down for God, obedient to God unto death, thus bearing a resounding and beautiful witness. He was also a true overcomer who came through tribulation, a first fruit made complete by God, and one who entered the kingdom of God and gained .
The Book of Revelation also prophesies, “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown. Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God: and I will write on him My new name” (Revelation 3:11-12).
“He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows saving he that receives it” (Revelation 2:17).
“For the Lamb which is in the middle of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them to living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Revelation 7:17).
From these verses, it is easy to see that perfecting a group of overcomers is the work that the Lord Jesus has come again to perform. So, if we want to become one of those overcomers, we need to accept the of the Lord, follow the footsteps of God and experience the work of judgment and chastisement by His word, for God will personally speak His utterances to perform the work of purifying and saving us. If we can be the wise virgins who listen to God’s voice, we’ll then be able to attend the wedding feast of the Lamb and obtain the truth and life from Him. In the end, because we will have experienced God’s work of the last days, we will not only have true knowledge of God, but our corrupt dispositions will also be cleansed to different degrees. Only then will we be, in the true sense, a group of overcomers who have passed through great tribulation.
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