They have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. And they did not love their lives so as to shy away from death.
I. THE PEOPLE WHO OVERCAME. Those spoken of:
1. Stand for the whole Church of God, the whole company of the redeemed. "There is no discharge in this war." Not one will be in glory by and by who has not waged, who has not won, this holy war. We, as they, must take our part. And:
2. They did as we must. We paint fancy pictures of the saints in glory, as if they were beings different from ourselves, and had never known the strain and stress of life as we know them. But they did know it all. Christ, our Lord, was "in all things made like unto his brethren," and therefore all of them have the common characteristics of this warfare upon them. Only:
3. The lot of those specially referred to here was harder than ours. Had St. John lived in our days of quiet ease, when persecution, much less death, for Christ's sake is a thing unknown or most rare, he would hardly have used imagery of so tremendous a kind as he has here. But it was because the trial was so terrible for all those "who would live godly in Christ Jesus," the foe so fierce and cruel and strong in those dreadful days during which St. John wrote, that imagery so vivid, startling, and terrific is made use of. But it would be affectation if we were to say our lot today is as theirs was in St. John's day. How much more, then, may God require from us than from them! Will he obtain it?
4. In this holy war they all fought. It was not merely appointed for all, but accepted by all of them. They did not refuse or retreat from it. That was not their way. Like as the brave little drummer-boy, when captured by the French army, was bidden sound the "retreat," he replied that he did not know how to, for the British army never retreated; so may it be said of every true soldier of Christ's army - they never retreat.
5. And they overcame. "Oh, remember the slaves of sin are not the children of God. If Satan has dominion over you, you are not in Christ Jesus. Where the ark of the Lord is, Dagon must fall upon his face and be broken. 'That which is born of God overcometh the world.' Are we, then, resisting? are we conquering? Do not let us deceive ourselves. If sin is our master, we perish. Grace must reign in us, or we are wretched indeed. Holiness is not a luxury for the few, it is a necessity for all."
II. THE POWER IN VIRTUE OF WHICH THEY OVERCAME. It is said that this was:
1. By the blood of the Lamb, i.e. in virtue of, on account of, on the ground of, that blood. Now this is so because the blood of the Lamb is:
(1) The basis of our peace. There must be steady standing ground if a man is to fight. The engineer is very careful to have firm foundation for his work. And if we are to contend in this warfare, our souls must be at peace in regard to our acceptance with God. The torture of doubt and the torment of fear will be fatal to our accomplishing aught worthy of the name. We must have peace with God; and we have this only in virtue of Christ's atoning sacrifice.
(2) The antidote of our sin. Many think the doctrine of full, free forgiveness through the blood of Christ a doctrine that encourages men in sin. They argue that what is so freely forgiven will be freely incurred. The elder son in the parable thought it was scandalous that his young ne'er do well of a brother should be so freely forgiven by his father, and so "he was angry, and would not go in." And there have ever been people who have thought this. But we appeal to the records of the Church. Who have been the most faithful, the most pure, the most Christ like? Has it not been they who have clung, like Paul did, to this blessed truth with all their hearts? And we appeal to experience. Is it not the memory of our crucified Lord that is mighty to the purification of the heart? Can the recollection of his love and the love of sin abide together? It is impossible. So does the blood of Christ cleanse us from all sin.
(3) Worketh in us patience. How this is needed, in such a warfare as that which the much tried believer has to wage, is evident. Blessed is he that endureth. But what an aid to such patient enduring is found in the example of our Lord! We think of him in all his holy meekness; how "as a sheep before her shearers is dumb," etc. And as we contemplate that perfect pattern of patient enduring of wrong, how our own trials and sorrows become little, and less and less in comparison with his!
(4) The inspiration of our love. "Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself," said Napoleon, "founded great empires; but upon what did the creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded his empire upon love, and to this very day millions would die for him." Thus does the blood of the Lamb become to us a power indeed, in virtue of which we overcome.
2. The word of their testimony. This is joined on to that which we have but now spoken of. For the blood of the Lamb, unseen, unbelieved, unaccepted, will do no one any good, will aid no one to overcome; but it is when that blood is seen, believed, accepted, and confessed by the word of their testimony, the open avowal, the good confession - then, in virtue of this, the Father confesses them. In response to the word of their testimony goes forth the word of his power, and they become mighty through God. Committing ourselves to any course, breaking down the bridges, burning the ships that would help us to retreat - such conduct greatly strengthens purpose and resolve. And so, when by spoken word of testimony for Christ we have committed ourselves to follow and serve him, the very fact that we have done this strengthens us and gives us fresh force for his service. Both by way of Divine reward, and by way of natural consequence such word of testimony Would help to overcome.
III. THE PROOF OF THE OVERCOMING. "They loved not their lives unto the death." They went on resisting, when not only it involved much suffering and distress, but even when it involved death itself. That is the meaning. And what proof of overcoming is there comparable to this? As at Waterloo, when the English forces endured, all that long summer Sunday, the fierce and incessant cannonading of the French, together with their repeated charges, led as they were by the most famous of the marshals of France, what did such endurance show but that they were not to be conquered? And so the resistance told of in Christ's holy war - the loving "not our lives unto," etc. - this shows that we are not to be conquered, but will conquer, will overcome. If we see a man swerve, and edge back, and shift his ground, and retreat, that is not a proof of victory, but vanquishment. But he who is steadfast, immovable, even though death threaten, neither sin nor Satan will ever conquer him. Are we giving this proof of our really belonging to the number of the overcoming ones? When the adversary assails us, as we know he does, do we or does he gain the victory - which? Let us not think that there is any other proof of our being victors at last beside this one of our being, in the main, victors now. It will not do to rely on anything else, however specious, however plausible, however popular. It is in the overcoming now that we have the evidence that we shall be victors at the end. And that we may now overcome, let us draw near unto our crucified Lord, and come under the influence of his unspeakable love. And confess him. So shall our text then become true of us, as God grant it may be of us all! - S. C.
Now is come salvation.
I. THE SALVATION. It is "the salvation" that is here sung of — the salvation of Him whose name is Jesus, the Saviour. It is salvation — not consisting of one blessing or one kind of blessing, but of many; made up of everything which can be indicated by the reversal of our lost condition. It is not done at once, but in parts and at sundry times, each age bringing with it more of "salvation" in every sense; unfolding it, building it up, gathering in new objects, overcoming new enemies, occupying new ground, erecting new trophies.
II. THE POWER. This is the more common rendering of the word (not "strength"), as when Christ's miracles are spoken of, or "the powers of the world to come." As yet God's power has not been fully manifested; it has been hidden. Many trophies, no doubt, it has won; many enemies it has defeated; many brands it has plucked from the burning; but the full revelation of its greatness is yet to come. When that day arrives, earth as well as heaven shall rejoice.
III. THE KINGDOM OF OUR GOD. It is the kingdom — the kingdom of kingdoms; not of Satan or man, as now, but of God, nay, our God. Our God, says heaven; our God, re-echoes earth.
IV. THE AUTHORITY OF HIS CHRIST. "The Christ of God" is the full name for Jesus of Nazareth — God's Messiah — He in whom all royal, priestly, judicial, prophetical power is invested. To this Messiah all power has been given, all authority entrusted, in heaven, and earth, and hell.
(H. Bonar, D. D.)1. By this song of thanksgiving we see what should be our rejoicing and duty in thanking God in like manner; to wit, that Christ, His Church and cause prevails; and that Satan and his instruments are foiled.
2. When the former prevail, we see the great benefit to man that redounds thereby; to wit, salvation comes, and strength, and the kingdom of our God to reign in men's hearts, and the power of His Christ to be seen in their lives.
3. Whereas it is said that the accuser of the brethren is cast down; then as it is said (Isaiah 1:9; Romans 8:33), who is it that can condemn, or lay anything to the charge of the Lord's elect? It is He that helps and justifies us, and has cast down the accuser of the brethren.
4. Here is a great comfort likewise, that there is such a sweet communion between the glorious saints in heaven and the Church militant on earth; that when they speak of God they say, "our God," and when of the Church on earth, "our brethren."
(Wm. Guild, D. D.)
The accuser of our brethren is cast downI. THE ACCUSER. The accuser, in this instance, is the enemy of our souls. An accuser need not necessarily be a foe — a friend may accuse; but his relationship to us depends upon the object he has in view by accusing us. If his intention be to harass and vex the accused, then he is an enemy; but if his design be to reform, then, indeed, he is a friend. Though the law accuses, the law is not our enemy. The law is our "schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ." But the design of Satan in accusing the saints is to afflict them, and not that he may induce them to amend their ways; it is not zeal for the glory of God that urges him to blame them for their remissness; he merely takes advantage of their failings to molest them.
II. THE ACCUSED. "The brethren." He does not accuse his own subjects. He commends in them the works which in the children of God he censures. It is better for us that he should be our censor than that he should be our vindicator; preferable that he should impeach us than that he should be our advocate.
III. THE ACCUSATION. The impeachments of Satan, however fictitious they may be found to be in the aggregate, always have a sprinkling of the truth in them; just so much as will give an air of justness to the whole; for our arch-enemy is well aware that falsehood in and of itself cannot injure. Were they charged with neglecting God's house the accusation would be false, and consequently would not affect them; but when they are accused of alienating their affections from God, they feel the justness of the charges and are grieved — there is sufficient force in the accusation to afflict their conscience. A slander was never known to be either wholly true or entirely false. Satan is incapable of telling the truth as truth. It were as impossible for him to confine himself wholly to it as that the sun should shed showers of rain, or that water should burn. He is "the father of lies"; but he makes use of the truth to keep his inventions together. It is difficult to detect his devices and contrivances — he is capable of transforming himself into an angel of light. Yea, he usurps even the functions of the Holy Spirit; he approaches the Christian while he is meditating upon his performances, and insidiously breathes his charges of lukewarmness and worldliness, causing his heart to bleed thereby. Neither is he to be recognised by the doctrines he inculcates. What measures does the Holy Spirit make use of in convincing the sinner of his wickedness? Does He show the evil of sin? Satan also does this. Does He point to the stringency and rigour of the law? So does Satan. But although he is not recognisable in his doctrines, he may be easily detected in the inferences which he draws from those doctrines. The conclusions which he invariably draws from his teachings are couched in such language as the following: Firstly, thy sins are too great to be forgiven. Secondly, thou mayest as well suffer punishment for much as for little. Thirdly, God is very unrelenting.
IV. THE TRIBUNAL. It is not to be imagined that Satan gains admittance into heaven, there to lay his charges against the saints, because he has been eternally banished thence. Neither is it by any means probable that, were permission granted him to enter there, he would avail himself of it. And the reason of this is quite plain. He that bruised his head sits triumphant there. His design is to create enmity between God and His children; his purpose is to effect a breach between the saints and their heavenly Father. He endeavours to embitter their spirits when they approach God in meditation and prayer. He strives to weaken their power in prayer, and so to crush their faith as to render it powerless to bear the blessing they came to seek.
V. THE VICTORY. "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb."
(D. Roberts, D. D.)1. The accuser charges the servants of God with guilt. They are not worthy, as he alleges, to stand in the Holy Presence. To this, however, they have a triumphant reply. They do not deny that they have sinned and are unworthy; but they have God's free gift of pardon since Jesus has died. There is a Rabbinic tradition to the effect that Satan is compelled to refrain from accusations against Israel, and keep silence, on one day of the year — the great Day of Atonement. Though it be a mere legend, it indicates some true perception of the only ground on which the charge of guilt before God can be successfully met. But let us extend the statement. There is no respect of days. The peace of conscience which rests on "the blood of the Lamb" is not for one day, but for all the days of the year. There is a continual and unfaltering answer of the Satanic accusation.
2. The accuser rails against the servants of God as mere self-seekers. In this respect, wicked men are very like their father the devil. Their base instinct is to suspect and jibe at goodness. All virtue is in their eyes humbug. All who seem to be in earnest for any moral or religious object are seeking praise for themselves, and perhaps money also. Disinterestedness is a dream, and holiness a fraud. So says the devil; and so say his followers. Now it may be impracticable in many instances to meet this odious charge with a complete refutation. A good man cannot prove his inward motives to all the outside world, least of all to those who wish to think the worst. To some, however, both in early and in later times of the Church, opportunity and power have been given to make a triumphant answer to the unworthy accusation of selfishness. They were exposed to cruel persecution, and obliged to show whether their hearts were so knit to Christ that they would lay down their lives for His sake. These overcame "because of the word of their testimony." Far from shirking the ordeal, they conquered by their firm endurance. What then could Satan allege?
3. We are not of "the noble army of martyrs." But all Christians are called to be martyrs in the sense of witnesses, and all are subjected to some test of fidelity. Yet every one in his own order, and according to the measure of grace which he has received; not the least effective being the little ones that honour the Lord Jesus.
(D. Fraser, D. D.)
They overcame him by the blood of the LambI. ALL THE BLESSED ONES WHO ARE REJOICING IN HEAVEN WERE ONCE WARRIORS AND VICTORS HERE BELOW. We too often think of the saints that have gone before as if they were men of another race from ourselves, capable of nobler things, endowed with graces which we cannot reach, and adorned with holiness impossible to us. The mediaeval artists were wont to paint the saints with rings of glory about their heads, but indeed they had no such halos; their brows were furrowed with care even as ours, and their hair grew grey with grief. Their light was within, and we may have it; their glory was by grace, and the same grace is available for us.
1. It is clear from our text that every one of the saints in heaven was assailed by Satan. How could there be a victory without a battle?
2. The glorified, in addition to having been attacked, were led to resist the evil one, for nobody overcomes an antagonist without fighting.
3. We find that these warriors all overcame, for heaven is not for those who fight merely, but for those who overcome. "I do fight against my sin," says one. Brother, do you overcome it? Attack, resistance, and victory must be yours.
4. So, then, in heaven they all rejoice because they have overcome, for the next verse to our text puts it, "Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them." It is a theme for gladness in heaven that they did fight and resist and overcome. There is joy among the angels, for they had their conflict when they stood firm against temptation; but ours will be a victory peculiarly sweet, a song especially melodious, because our battle has been peculiarly severe.
II. THE VICTORS ALL FOUGHT WITH THE SAME WEAPONS.
1. First, the blood of the Lamb: it was theirs. The blood of the Lamb will not help us until it becomes our own. It is the blood of the covenant, and it secures all the covenant gifts of God to us. It is the life of our life. So, then, they had the blood of the Lamb, and they possessed the privilege which the blood brings with it.
2. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. Now, what is the testimony of the saints? It is a testimony concerning the blood of the Lamb. If ever we are to conquer Satan in the world, we must preach the atoning blood.
III. While they all fought with the same weapons THEY ALL FOUGHT WITH THE SAME SPIRIT; for the text says, "they loved not their lives unto the death."
1. The expression indicates dauntless courage. They were never afraid of the doctrine of a bleeding Saviour. Let us never be ashamed of our hope.
2. These men, in addition to dauntless courage, had unanswering fidelity. They "loved not their lives unto the death." They thought it better to die than deny the faith.
3. More than that, they were perfect in their consecration. "They loved not their lives unto the death." They gave themselves up, body soul, and spirit, to the cause of which the precious blood is the symbol, and that consecration led them to perfect self-sacrifice. No Christian of the true type counts anything to be his own.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)I. WHAT IS THIS CONQUERING WEAPON?
1. The blood of the Lamb signifies, first, the death of the Son of God. The sufferings of Jesus Christ might be set forth by some other figure, but His death on the Cross requires the mention of blood. The death of Christ is the death of sin and the defeat of Satan, and hence it is the life of our hope, and the assurance of His victory. Because He poured out His soul unto the death, He divided the spoil with the strong.
2. Next, by "the blood of the Lamb" we understand our Lord's death as a substitutionary sacrifice. It is not said that they overcame the arch-enemy by the blood of Jesus, or the blood of Christ, but by the blood of the Lamb; and the words are expressly chosen because, under the figure of a lamb, we have set before us a sacrifice. Sin must be punished; it is punished in Christ's death. Here is the hope of men.
3. Furthermore, I understand by the expression, "The blood of the Lamb," that our Lord's death was effective for the taking away of sin. When John the Baptist first pointed to Jesus, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Our Lord Jesus has actually taken away sin by His death.
II. I have shown you the sword; now I come to speak to the question, HOW DO YOU USE IT? "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb." When a man gets a sword, you cannot be quite certain how he' will use it. A gentleman has purchased a very expensive sword with a golden hilt and an elaborate scabbard; he hangs it up in his hall, and exhibits it to his friends. Occasionally he draws it out from the sheath, and he says, "Feel how keen is the edge!" The precious blood of Jesus is not meant for us merely to admire and exhibit. We must not be content to talk about it, and extol it, and do nothing with it; but we are to use it in the great crusade against unholiness and unrighteousness, till it is said of us, "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb." Let me show you your battle-field. Our first place of conflict is in the heavenlies, and the second is down below on earth.
1. First, then, you who believe in the blood of Jesus, have to do battle with Satan in the heavenlies; and there you must overcome him "by the blood of the Lamb." "How?" say you. First, you are to regard Satan this day as being already literally and truly overcome through the death of the Lord Jesus. Satan is already a vanquished enemy. By faith grasp your Lord's victory as your own, since He triumphed in your nature and on your behalf. I would have you overcome Satan in the heavenlies in another sense: you must overcome him as the accuser. At times you hear in your heart a voice arousing memory and startling conscience; a voice which seems in heaven to be a remembrance of your guilt. All comfort drawn from inward feelings or outward works will fall short; but the bleeding wounds of Jesus will plead with overwhelming argument, and answer all. Still further, the believer will have need to overcome the enemy in the heavenly places in reference to access to God. The sacred name of Jesus is one before which he flees. This will drive away his blasphemous suggestions and foul insinuations better than anything that you can invent. We next must overcome the enemy in prayer.
2. It is time that I now showed you how this same fight is carried on on earth. Amongst men in these lower places of conflict saints overcome through the blood of the Lamb by their testimony to that blood. Every believer is to bear witness to the atoning sacrifice and its power to save. He is to tell out the doctrine; he is to emphasise it by earnest faith in it; and he is to support it and prove it by his experience of the effect of it. You can bear witness to the power of the blood of Jesus in your own soul. If you do this, you will overcome men in many ways. First, you will arouse them out of apathy. This age is more indifferent to true religion than almost any other. The sight of the bleeding Saviour overcomes obduracy and carelessness. The doctrine of the blood of the Lamb prevents or scatters error. I do not think that by reason we often confute error to any practical purpose. We may confute it rhetorically and doctrinally, but men still stick to it. But the doctrine of the precious blood, when it once gets into the heart, drives error out of it, and sets up the throne of truth. We also overcome men in this way, by softening rebellious hearts. Men stand out against the law of God, and defy the vengeance of God; but the love of God in Christ Jesus disarms them. The Holy Spirit causes men to yield through the softening influence of the Cross. How wonderfully this same blood of the Lamb overcomes despair. Glory be to God, the blood is a universal solvent, and it has dissolved the iron bars of despair, until the poor captive conscience has been able to escape. There is nothing, indeed, which the blood of the Lamb will not overcome; for see how it overcomes vice, and every form of sin. The world is foul with evil. What can cleanse it? What but this matchless stream? Satan makes sin seem pleasure, but the Cross reveals its bitterness. This blood overcomes the natural lethargy of men towards obedience; it stimulates them to holiness. If anything can make a man holy it is a firm faith in the atoning sacrifice. When a man knows that Jesus died for him, he feels that he is not his own, but bought with a price, and therefore he must live unto Him that died for him and rose again.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)I. THE CHURCH'S VICTORY. The Church is here set before us in a state of triumph, having conquered all its enemies and received its reward.
II. THE MEDIUM THROUGH WHICH THIS VICTORY IS OBTAINED, "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb."
III. THE CONNECTION THAT SUBSISTS BETWEEN THE MEANS AND THE END OF THE CONFLICT.
1. The blood of the Lamb is the source of the disposition which regenerated men feel when entering upon this spiritual warfare.
2. It is the blood of the sacrifice that perpetuates the conflict, by carrying on the sanctification of the soul.
3. The blood of the Lamb alone can inspire fortitude and courage for this conflict.
4. The blood of the Lamb is the only source of spiritual life, and therefore they conquer by it. It was not spilt as water upon the ground, it was the opening of the fountain of immortality for the soul of man.
5. By the blood of the Lamb they learned the example of conflicting to the death, and gathered the assurance of a glorious triumph beyond it. Two things will tend to make a man a good soldier — a readiness to leave his body a corpse on the battlefield, and a thorough conviction that ultimately his cause must succeed. Both are requisite in the spiritual strife.
(John Aldis.)I. We shall never be aroused to magnanimous efforts till we have a clear apprehension of THE INVISIBLE ENEMY WHO FOMENTS ALL THE OPPOSITION AGAINST CHRIST AND HIS GOSPEL.
1. In the general description, mark, first, his deadly hatred to God and goodness, implied in the names Satan, the Enemy, the Adversary, the Wicked One. Next, his rage and fury, as the great Red Dragon, the Apollyon or Destroyer. Further, his craft and subtilty, as the Old Serpent, in allusion to the form under which he seduced our first parents. Next, the extent of his dominion, the whole world lying in wickedness, or, in the wicked one.
2. And what is the general method of Satan's opposition to Christ, and the salvation of men? His grand vantage-ground is the tendency in human corruption to listen to all his suggestions. He thus works his way unperceived into our hearts.
3. The place where Satan carries on this opposition is set forth in this symbolical passage as his heaven, from the popular notion of heaven as a place of eminence, of ease, safety, and enjoyment. It imports, here, the visible kingdom of Satan in its full pride and power; from which, when he is dispossessed, he is said to be cast down unto the earth.
II. THE MEANS OF RESISTING THIS GREAT ADVERSARY.
1. The faithful overcame by the blood of the Lamb; and in. what manner did they do this?(1) By trusting to it for their own salvation;(2) By proclaiming it to others, as men touched with the love of Him who shed it;(3) By seeing all the purposes of Almighty God centre in it.
III. THE ISSUE OF THE CONFLICT. "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb."
(Bp. Daniel Wilson.)I. LET US CONSIDER MISSIONS UNDER THE ASPECT OF A VICTORY GAINED.
1. Of course the word implies conflict. The Revelation, resonant with sounds of battle, exhibits the King of Heaven upon earth as engaged in a, struggle. This mode of representation only displays in pictures ideas common to the whole of the New Testament. The Church under the present dispensation is church militant. Let us not despise or underestimate our foe. To follow Christ and to take up His cause anywhere is to challenge the world, the flesh, and the devil.
2. But the point now is that a victory has been won, and this victory is distinguished by two features, celebrated in the song heard by John, which render it extremely interesting and important for those on the threshold of life, whose privilege it is to look forward to service.(1) The accuser has been cast down, and in his casting down certain practical problems have been solved and doubts swept out of the way. No great and good movement has ever been inaugurated that did not stir up an accuser. He was maliciously busy at the outset of the missionary enterprise, and tried to raise obstacles to harass the timid.(2) Then, too, in the gospel victories is to be included a beautiful, delightful social revolution, for "now is come the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ."
II. THE PRINCIPLES AND INSTRUMENTALITIES WHEREBY THIS VICTORY WAS GAINED.
1. We would not lose sight of the fact that "there was war in heaven." We have always had the supernatural support of a leader of invisible legions, whose name, "Michael," suggests the question, "Who is like unto God? " and whose guarantee, conveyed along with the marching orders, is, "Lo! I am with you alway unto the consummation of the age."
2. Looking at these words as a whole, we say they intimate conquests gained through dependence on spiritual forces. It was so, we may remind ourselves, in the conflict with the paganism of the ancient Roman world. It would be a mistake to suppose that the triumph of Christianity followed the so-called conversion of Constantine. On the contrary, he gave in his adhesion because Christianity was already on the march, firm and triumphant. The victory had been won, and it was won with the weapons of faith, hope, love, patience, forgiveness, and prayer. So also has it been in the conflict with the paganism of the modern world. God in nature, God in history, and God in grace is one God, and we may expect Him to be making each department of His rule dovetail in some way into the other, in order to the accomplishment of His purposes.
3. Three things are, we take it, specially necessary to meet the fundamental spiritual requirements of the human heart — viz., redemption; revelation; and these mediated and ministered by messengers of intense self-sacrificing sympathies. These are the very elements which are here displayed aa grounds of success.(1) "They overcame because of the blood of the Lamb." Readers must note that in this book, in which the general outlines of Church history are exhibited in symbolic pictures, the blood of the Lamb holds a most prominent place. It precisely forecasts what has happened in the actual event. By the atoning sacrifice of Calvary were the missionaries' hearts first set on fire. The provision made in the death of God's dear Son for meeting their condition as sinners was what deeply agitated, and, like the touch of the "live coal from off the altar," flamed through them into the offer and entreaty, "Here are we, send us." By the same sacrifice they were sustained in their surrender. The Saviour's blood was their life. His dying wounds were not only fountains of expiation and cleansing, but also springs out of which pulsated the streams of life through the lips of faith into their thrilled hearts. Advancing with this experience, it turned out that the "story of redemption through His blood" was just the good news the heathen needed, and leaped excitedly to welcome.(2) To meet the cry for light, the ministers of grace delivered "the word of their testimony." Observe, "testimony." Not an argument, but a testimony; not a denunciation, but a testimony; not a destructive attack, but a testimony; not a "peradventure," but a testimony. This testimony, originally received by apostles from Christ and His Spirit, was by them embodied in "a word." This "word," again tasted and tested through the Spirit of Christ by believers, became in their lips and lives a "testimony." They marched to the field with this testimony, a Pentecostal glory mitring their brows and firing their tongues, and breaking out in "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." They knew whom they believed, and, Philip-like, joining themselves unto the chariot of heathendom, they just preached and explained Him of whom every voice of truth in the Vedas also spoke to those in the darkness feeling after "an unknown God" to be their Shepherd and King.(3) The third reason does not occupy precisely the same level as the other two. It is not joined to them with "because." The proposal to surrender life, standing by itself, would be impotent and fruitless. It is when united with "the blood of the Lamb and the word of testimony" that it is energised into an important factor in the product. The mode of expression seems based upon a common course in human affairs. A man takes a stand from which it is sought to divert him by threats of poverty, want, and hardship. There are some in whom the love of life is so near the surface, and so sensitive and ready to take alarm, that the above threat would be enough to make it leap to its feet instantly and shriek out, "You shall not." Others, however, are not conscious of this love at that point, and the threat does not move them. Then it is represented they will lose caste, be boycotted in society, be shut out of the road which leads to applause and power, and condemned to calumny, reprobation, scorn — or, what is worse, neglect. Some who resisted in the first stage would be sifted out here, whilst a remnant would continue yet untouched and resolute. But now I imagine the ghastly king of terrors drawing nigh to these and compelling them at close quarters to look into his cavernous, cruel face. Proud is this grisly monarch, and omnipotent in his own conceit. But many think that Death's bark is worse than his bite. I know the prospect is under some conditions appalling, and yet I can fancy those who had stood the first two tests contemplating this almost with contempt. There is, however, another deeper, darker possibility suggested. It is not merely hardship; it is not merely shame; it is not merely physical extinction; it is the sacrifice of the opportunity of self-cultivation for what seems a grander destiny in this world, and even a better, higher standing in the world to come. Many missionaries, like, e.g., Carey and Livingstone, possessed surpassing powers. They would succeed splendidly anywhere. Had they stayed in this country no one can predict the distinction to which they might have risen. To go away, say into the wilds of Africa, as evangelists is to renounce magnificent chances. Nay more. They who feel the loss most will leave the stimulus of Christian society; the bracing impulse of Christian atmosphere; the sweet help of the first day of the week, with its sacred hush and uplifting worship; the very continuance of the life of piety will be imperilled. That education and development of the faculties and qualities of mind and spirit which in itself is so delightful must be relinquished, and, so far as this world is concerned, relinquished for ever. They must cease to love their own soul, and that unto death. I believe that scores of witnesses in all ages, and, thank God, in ours also, have risen to this height; and it is in this way and by this means they have gained the victory. If you want to capture others, you must abandon self.
(R. H. Roberts, B. A.)
They loved not their lives unto the death
(J. Priestley, LL. D.)
TopicsBlood, Borne, Cheap, Conquered, Death, Didn't, Faced, Freely, Gained, Held, Lamb, Lamb's, Love, Loved, Loving, Overcame, Overcome, Reason, Shrink, Testimony, Themselves, Victory, Witness
Outline1. A woman clothed with the sun travails.
4. The great red dragon stands before her, ready to devour her child;
6. when she is delivered she flees into the desert.
7. Michael and his angels fight with the dragon, and prevail.
13. The dragon, being cast down into the earth, persecutes the woman.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesRevelation 12:11
2315 Christ, as Lamb
5598 victory, over spiritual forces
4113 angels, agents of judgment
Text.--The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.--James v. 16. THE last lecture referred principally to the confession of sin. To-night my remarks will be chiefly confined to the subject of intercession, or prayer. There are two kinds of means requisite to promote a revival; one to influence men, the other to influence God. The truth is employed to influence men, and prayer to move God. When I speak of moving God, I do not mean that God's mind is changed by prayer, or that his …
Charles Grandison Finney—Lectures on Revivals of Religion
The Glory of Jesus and Mary.
The Work of Christ.
A Discourse of the House and Forest of Lebanon
The Fourth vision "In Heaven"
The Poor in Spirit are Enriched with a Kingdom
The Work of Jesus Christ as an Advocate,
A Discourse of Mercifulness
Jesus Tempted in the Wilderness.
A Preliminary Discourse to Catechising
An Appendix to the Beatitudes
LinksRevelation 12:11 NIV
Revelation 12:11 NLT
Revelation 12:11 ESV
Revelation 12:11 NASB
Revelation 12:11 KJV
Revelation 12:11 Bible Apps
Revelation 12:11 Parallel
Revelation 12:11 Biblia Paralela
Revelation 12:11 Chinese Bible
Revelation 12:11 French Bible
Revelation 12:11 German Bible
Revelation 12:11 Commentaries