The Conqueror's Reward!
William Nicholson, 1862
"He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of Heaven from My God, and My new name!" Revelation 3:12
Though many parts of the book of Revelation are exceedingly mysterious — yet those portions referring to the mediation of Jesus Christ, and the happiness of the saints when they shall reign with him in Heaven, are plainly — yet beautifully stated, and can be easily understood.
The text is part of the epistle addressed to the Church in Philadelphia. The language of the Savior is commendatory of their fidelity to his truth and cause; he enjoins upon them inviolable attachment to the end, "that no man take their crown," and promises them everlasting aggrandizement in the heavenly temple, if faithful to death. "He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore."
How animating is this announcement! It is the voice of the Almighty Conqueror, to all the soldiers of his cross. It calls upon them not to faint in the day of adversity, not to be daunted by their foes, not to be discouraged on account of the way. It calls upon them to gird up the loins of their minds, to be sober and hope to the end.
I. The Character to Whom the Promise is Made."He who overcomes."
This promise is not made indiscriminately to all people. All the promises of God are associated with Christian character. This promise is made to Christian warriors. He who fights and overcomes, shall win. He who is indifferent to the conflict, shall lose the victor's crown and joy.
1. Every Christian soldier has been called from the service of sin and Satan — to the service of Christ and his cause. He has been enlisted under the banner of the cross.
2. The term, "He who overcomes" implies contest with enemies. The contest of the Christian soldier consists in:
a. the subjugation of evil propensities — pride, envy, resentment, carnality, indolence, hardness of heart, despondency, love of the world, lust, love of money, etc., etc.
b. opposing the artful cunning and malevolent designs of the Prince of darkness;
c. the maintenance of faith, hope, patience, and resignation in seasons of adversity;
d. maintaining a courageous profession in the face of persecution, calumny, and contempt;
e. opposing error, and spreading and defending the truth;
f. rising superior to the fear of death and everlasting perdition.
3. In this conflict the Christian draws all his supplies of strength from Christ.
4. In this warfare he is animated by the conflict and victory of his Lord, Hebrews 12:2, 3, and by the reward which he has promised to every faithful soldier.
5. The Christian soldier will overcome. Victory is promised, and victory is sure. Jehovah is on his side.
II. The Import of the Promise."He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of Heaven from My God, and My new name!" Revelation 3:12
This figure represents the happiness of a glorified saint.
1. The scene of his happiness. "In the temple of my God." The Book of Revelation constantly refers to the temple-service of the Jews, which furnishes some of its most striking symbols. Thus we have a temple, an altar, incense, priests clothed in white, cherubim, and the sacred presence of God. The temple prefigures Heaven, the glorious and fixed residence of the Most High God, where he is served by multitudes of angels and men, and honored with endless anthems of praise. Psalm 11:4; Revelation 7:15.
"And I saw no temple therein." The preparative means of grace are wanted no more. "That which is perfect will be come." Soar to the city, and you will find "no temple therein." The whole is a temple, set apart for the noblest exercises of the intellect and the heart, the exercises of religion. "The Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb are the temple of it!"
Heaven as the temple of the Deity implies:
(1.) Magnificence and Purity. Such was the ancient temple. The place where God dwells must be pure. It is "the habitation of his holiness."
(2.) The Divine presence, as enjoyed by all his people. As God dwelt in the ancient temple, so he dwells in the midst of his Church in Heaven. Glorious was the Shekinah, which was the visible manifestation of God's presence, but infinitely more glorious the displays of the Divine Majesty which enrapture the Church triumphant in Heaven. "We shall see him as he is." "Absent from the body, and present with the Lord."
(3.) Worship. The earthly temple was for the worship of God. And this in a perfect and exalted degree, shall be the case in the heavenly temple. The worship there shall be all praise. No prayer of supplication shall be there, for there shall be no sense of need. All is praise, for all is manifestation and light; all is praise, for all is triumph; all is praise, for all is rapturous enjoyment. Whatever the feeling — praise, eternal praise, is the expression of it, from the breathing whisper of adoring love, which flits through the prostrate ranks of the redeemed, to the full chorus of praise — the universal shout of glory, and honor, and blessing to Him who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb forever!
2. The figurative promise intimates that the Christian conqueror shall be a monumental pillar in the celestial temple. "He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God!"
OBSERVE: In the celestial temple: The saints will be:
(1.) The saints will be monuments of Christ's saving power. They appear there, having been rescued by his Omnipotent arm from Satan's bondage — washed in his precious blood, and justified from all condemnation.
(2.) They will be monuments of Christ's purifying and beautifying influence. Having carried on his work in their souls, and presented them to God as a "glorified Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing," but "holy and without blemish."
In his image they shine;
in his righteousness they appear,
and his glory they display.
The vile body is changed and made like Christ's glorious body, and united to the sanctified soul. "As we have borne the image of the earthly — so shall we bear the image of the heavenly."
The grace of God displayed in their conversion, progress in holiness, and accession to Heaven — will redound to the honor of God forever and ever! Look then at those shining and beauteous pillars in the temple above! See how they reflect his glory! As a building shows the skill of the architect, etc. etc. — so do those polished, adorned, beautified, and immortal pillars, reflect the Divine skill and power. "He is glorified in them that believe."
3. These pillars shall be inscribed with delightful intimations.
(1.) With the name of God. "I will write upon him the name of my God," that all may know that he is an adopted and glorified child of God — a king and a priest unto him forever. The name of God, to denote that he is his property, and his eternal design, as the Great Architect. The Jewish high-priest had written on his forehead, "Holiness to the Lord!"
(2.) The name of the city of God, "New Jerusalem," etc. This language declares the spiritual conqueror to be a citizen of the new Jerusalem, which is said to come down from Heaven.
Every believer, therefore, is of heavenly origin. That power which leads him to the Church militant and to the Church triumphant, comes down from Heaven. He is the blood royal of Heaven. He can boast of a more ancient, honorable, and glorious heraldry than any of the princes of the earth. "He is born again, not of blood, nor of the will of man, but of God!" He therefore has a title to heavenly citizenship.
(3.) A new name. "My new name." Even that of Emmanuel, Jesus, the Redeemer of sinners, which he has assumed in addition to his former titles of Creator, Upholder, and Lord of all worlds. Thus he would own him, and proclaim him, as one of his chosen people, and a trophy of his victory over the world, sin, Satan, and death. A monument erected to the power of his arm and the truth of his word.
"My new name!"
Am I the Savior? He who believes on me, and conquers, is a saved one.
Am I the Redeemer? He is a redeemed one.
Am I the Ransomer? He is a ransomed captive.
He is . . .
the blessed of my Father,
the chosen of my heart,
the purchase of my blood,
the champion of my cause,
the object of my care, and
the sharer of my joy!
4. These pillars shall be eternally fixed in the temple of God. "And he will not go out from it anymore." The pillars in Solomon's porch were removed and carried away by the Chaldeans — but these pillars shall be perpetual. "He who does the will of God abides forever!" How soon do the high-sounding titles of men pass away! Engrave them ever so deep on the lofty pillar — how soon are they defaced! Scarcely has fame fixed one favorite on her slippery place, and sounded his name from her trumpet — before she thrusts him down to make way for another!
But those who stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion shall never be moved!