I am fully aware that it is commonly taught, or at least implied and/or assumed, that all those who are considered to be saved are overcomers, and that every promise applies to all. A closer look at the Scriptures gives a different picture, however.
About 20 years ago, as I began studying the Scriptures for myself, going deeper into The Word, developing a higher level of understanding through the integration of the whole of God’s Word (OT/NT), I began to grapple with previous/current teachings received, and they just did not line up with the previous teachings. It has taken several years to discover a more Scripture-friendly interpretation of God’s Word. For the most part, Messianics tend to be more observant of the totality of Scripture, integrating the Torah/Tanakh with the New Covenant Scriptures. It is from this perspective that I proceed with all my writings/teachings, and this topic is especially needful of this perspective.
Review the following passages and determine, from references made to “the one who overcomes”, if all the so-called “saved” are necessarily “overcomers”:
Rev.2:24-26: “But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold to this teaching and have not learned the so-called ‘deep things’ of satan—I place on you no other burden. Only hold firm to what you have until I come. To the one who overcomes and guards My deeds until the end.”
Rev.3:21: “To the one who overcomes I will grant the right to sit with Me on My throne.”
Rev.21:7: “The one who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.”
Rev.2:17: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities. To the one who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone—and written on the stone a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.”
Rev.3:5,6: “The one who overcomes thus will be dressed in white clothes; I will never blot his name out of the Book of Life, and will confess his name before My Father and His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities.”
Rev.3:11,12: “I am coming soon—hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown. The one who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the Temple of My God, and he will never leave it. And on him I will write 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 own new Name.”
Rev.12:11: “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives even in the
face of death.”
1 John 5:4,5: “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
Rev.2:7-11: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities. To the one who overcomes, I will grant the right to eat from the Tree of Life, which is in the Paradise of God.” To the angel of Messiah’s community in Smyrna write: “Thus says the First and Last, who was dead and came to life. I know your tribulation and your poverty (yet you are rich), as well as the slander of those who say they are Jewish and are not, but are a synagogue of satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, so that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities. The one who overcomes shall never be harmed by the second death.”
Steve Berkson has much to teach us on this topic:
“We all must come into alignment with the Father’s plan; we can’t just do whatever we want; and there is no obligation on His part to come into line with our vision,” explains Berkson. Coming into that alignment requires action on our part; it will not occur by some automated form. And there are things such as sitting on the fence, and double mindedness that severely hinder such alignment. ”To the angel of Messiah’s community in Laodicea write: “Thus says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Originator of God’s creation: I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. Oh, that you were either cold or hot! So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spew you out of My mouth” (Rev. 3:14-16). We need to overcome any form of lukewarmness and complacency; it is a dangerous place to be, because one thinks they have arrived, and needn’t participate or take responsibility for anything. “In the spiritual world, we need to be always seeking more . … not getting too comfortable . ….. Because you are still waiting to hear those words, Well done, thou good and faithful servant . . ..” (Rabbi Berkson, Part 4, “He Who Overcomes”). When we fool ourselves into thinking we’ve got it all together, we are being double-minded (James 1:6,7), and entirely foolish. Complacency sets in and a nonchalant frivolous attitude sets in when the flightiness/flakiness of lukewarmness has its way.
1 Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers.
2 And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to
know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
3 So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.
The above set of OT passages complement the previous set from the NT in Revelation. Notice how they stress the condition of the heart – i.e., Yahweh clarifies that the affliction they had to endure was to: (a) humble (b) test if they would really keep all His laws © teach them the importance of His Word. So His testing to see if their hearts were hot, cold or lukewarm, was intended to sift out any lukewarm fence-sitting, double-mindedness, and to rule out disobedience. What was important under the Old Covenant remained constant within the New Covenant.
“This is not only talking to this group of people; it also applies to us getting ready to go into the Millennium. …” (Berkson, Part 4); “what is important to Yahweh is that it is in our hearts to keep the commandments. . . .. there are a lot of people who did not come into the land because it was not in their heart.” Being an overcomer requires a heart that is truly surrendered to doing things Yahweh’s Way. “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded! Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of Adonai, and He shall lift you up,” (James 4:8-10), links the New with the Old. “Draw near to Him, cleanse yourself of double-mindedness, lament and mourn, and weep – get it out of your system – and then humble yourself before the Lord, so He can lift you up. . .,” elaborates Berkson. Yahweh cannot lift you up, as long as you are striving to have your own way. So neither can you overcome as long as you are hanging onto self/flesh.
He who overcomes will need to understand, and consider relevant and binding, all of God’s laws and principles, integrating the OT with the NT, for they are not separate; nor does one out-rule the other; rather they are entwined, integrated, and build upon one another.
1 John 5:4,5
Scriptures taken from Tree of Life (TLV) and NKJV.
Rabbi Steve Berkson, Beth Shalom, Messianic Torah Observant Israel, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSA5IIL8q68&feature=youtu.be,
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