Personal Lessons in Christ’s letters to the seven Churches – Rev. 2 & 3.
The overcomers of Ephesus are Smyrna saints. Rev. 2:8-10, “And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
What a great reward, in addition to the tree of life, they have a crown of life. They speak of the full overcomers who are faithful unto death. They shall not be judged with the world (I Cor. 11:31-32). They will not even know any of the hurts of that judgment – V. 11. So we know they judged themselves by the Word of God.
Romans 8:13, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” This mean, to die prematurely and only the Lord is judge of this. There are those who sin willfully and do not repent. They refuse to judge their own flesh by God’s Word, even when the Lord warns them. They will not receive the reward they should have gained. But those that overcome will not be hurt of such death.
Just as Smyrna speaks of the overcomers of Ephesus, the Pergamos saints picture the non-overcomers. Rev. 2:12-17, “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is (in the world): and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith…Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly…He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh 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 knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”
Their reward is “to eat of the hidden manna” – V. 17.
Ephesus overcomers were to eat of the tree of life, but here it is hidden Manna. That is food they ate in the wilderness. Manna means, “what is it?” The children of Israel didn’t know what it was. The thought here is not only what is it, but where is it? It was hidden, they didn’t know where to get the manna, speaking of the Word of God. The Lord had to give it to them, He would feed them as you would feed a little child - (Rev. 7:17).
They were also given “a white stone and in the stone a new name written.” The Greek word for stone here is the stones used in judgments (in voting for commendation or for condemnation), by a judge or jury. If they voted for a person, they put a white stone in a receptacle. If they voted against the person, they put in a black stone. So we see they had a white stone, they were accepted in the Beloved. They had a new name, they were born again. That is graceious, but not like having full fellowship with the Lord. Do you see a difference in rewards?
There is quite a difference in rewards, the reward promised to Ephesus overcomers – “to eat of the tree of life (which is Christ) in the midst of the paradise of God.”
To Smyrna overcomers a greater reward was promised. In addition to the tree of life, they would have “a crown of life” and not be judged with the world (not even know any of the hurts of that Judgment). They are full overcomers who are faithful unto death (those who go by the way of the grave).
The reward promised to Pergamos overcomers was “to eat of the hidden manna” (He will feed them like a child); also a white stone (accepted in the Beloved); with a new name written “on the stone (born again, having the name of Jesus). Now this is precious, but not like having a crown of life. So they are of a lesser rank.
More about rewards in the next issue, we will read of Thyatira and Sardis overcomers and who they represent dispensationally of the Church Age.