The Overcomer at the End-time
Chapter 1 - The Overcomer at the End-time
Reading: Revelation 12:1-17.
"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of
their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."
As to these words in the 11th verse, with which we are very
familiar, it will be well if again we remind ourselves that they are
part of an utterance by a loud voice in heaven at a time when the
heavenly hosts were watching a colossal conflict which was taking
place in the lower heavens, a conflict between celestial and
diabolical forces, Michael and his angels on one side, Satan and his
angels on the other. The occasion of the conflict was an object, a
corporate object here spoken of as a man-child, or a son; a son, a
man child, which object having been raptured to the throne
precipitates this terrific battle and its issue with Satan and his
angels cast out of the heavens - "no more place being found" for
them there - down to the earth. Then a loud voice is heard in
heaven, a great voice the revised version has it, saying "Now is
come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the
authority of His Christ for the accuser of our brethren is cast down
who accused them before our God day and night. And they (our
brethren) overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because
of the word of their testimony, and they loved not their life even
unto death. Therefore, rejoice O heavens and ye that dwell in them.
Woe for the earth and for the sea because the devil is gone down
unto you having great wrath knowing that he hath but a short time."
There is very much of detail in that with which we shall not stay
for the moment, but note the occasion of that utterance as well as
the substance of it, for that is what is before us at this time and
all that is connected therewith. Now it will be necessary for us to
just look at the Book itself for a moment or two and make a very
We note that chapter 11 brings us to the time of the end. The
seventh trumpet closes that period, that is the completeness of
things, of that phase or part of the dispensation. Chapter 12 deals
with the end time, but it is very important for us to see that
chapters 12-14 are a parenthesis. That is, they are not in the
direct line of the narrative, they are - as the word parenthesis
means - a section or clause inserted for explanation or confirmation
of what has been said. The narrative is complete in itself but
something is introduced in a parenthetical way to elucidate and
explain certain things in it, and so chapters 12-14 inclusive are a
parenthesis, an explanation of what has already been said.
Recognising that, if we are able thus to see, chapter 12 corresponds
with chapters 2 and 3, and the word which is the key, or the link,
between chapter 12 and chapters 2 and 3, is the word "overcome." We
know how all those messages in chapters 2 and 3 come to the
Overcomer, that is, they are concluded with "to him that
overcometh." The link between that section and chapter 12 is just
that word, "And they overcame," the overcomer is the key and the
Now when in chapter 12 the man-child, the son, is the group of
overcomers at the time of the end. I suppose I ought to stay here to
say that that may not be agreed to by some, I know quite well that
it is so, and if I say it with emphasis please do not think that I
want to impose upon you my own conviction or that I am trying to
make you accept that interpretation. My emphasis is the strength of
my own conviction, that is all. You are still to go to the Lord
about this thing and get from Him this witness. To me this is a
matter of unparallelled importance, and I think we may see some of
the importance of this thing as we go on. Now that also is by way of
parenthesis. Let me repeat as to what I feel myself, that the
man-child in chapter 12 is the group of overcomers at the time of
the end. I note two things; that this man-child is referred to as
"they." Verse 5, "she was delivered of a son, a man-child," verse
11, "and they overcame him..." That is not a single entity, that is
a corporate body. Another thing is that here the word "son" is the
Greek word teknon which is never used in the New Testament
of the Lord Jesus. It is frequently used of believers, but never
once of the Lord Jesus, and it is surely a straining of things to
take this one isolated use of the word teknon and apply it
to the Lord Jesus when nowhere else it is so used. Just make a note
of that. Some of you may not, of course, see the value or force of
that, others will because of a large school of interpretation that
thought this man child was the Lord Jesus and that all this took
place when He was born. But the context needs a good deal of
wrestling with to conclude finally that that is so. (See note at the
Now then, if this is so, we are able to open out into a larger realm
and see the great thing which is in view here. What is the thing
that occupies the central and supreme place in this revelation? It
is a company associated with Christ in His throne as having overcome
the great dragon, the old serpent, the devil, Satan, the deceiver of
the whole world, the accuser of the brethren. That is what is here.
A company in that throne position and union with the Lord Jesus the
first and inclusive Overcomer. Now, beloved, that ranges the whole
history of this earth or this world. It represents God's primary and
ultimate thought concerning man in union with His Son, Jesus Christ.
It represents God's original thought concerning His Son, and then
His thought concerning those whom He chose in Christ before the
world was, and His thought concerning His Son and those whom He
chose in Him from eternity was that they should reign and govern and
administrate this universe for and with God. That they should be
linked with the throne of God in universal administration and
government. That thought, that truth runs all the way through the
Word of God. On that He set His Heart. Against that this other one
presented in these various titles, representing the varied forms of
his activities and character, set himself in one great age-long
challenge and resistance. But God had had His thought, His
intention, His purpose for us in Christ in relation to His throne
and the overcomers are that.
This company embodies the original intention of God, and are God's
sphere and instrument of His success. They declare the success of
God concerning His original thought, therefore "Rejoice O ye heavens
and ye that dwell therein," for God has succeeded in spite of
everything. You might think that speaking like that represents some
great difficulty for God - not at all. If God had dealt with this
whole thing in naked infinity, it would have been like a snap of the
fingers to wipe out all that. But it is by Man that He has done it:
by Man, for man, and that represents a terrific conflict. Now you
see what is in view. The achievement of God, the success of God in
Christ, in those who are in Christ and that represented by a
company, a specific company called "Overcomers."
Over against that, then, everything else is set and with that
everything else is related. All that is in this book of the
revelation is connected with that. Chapter 12 is the key to the
whole book. Everything moves up to chapter 12 and everything else
moves from chapter 12. Perhaps one ought to keep the connection
between 12, 13 and 14 because they are so intimately bound up with
one another, but this part of chapter 12 is the pivotal point upon
which everything revolves. As you go back and traverse this book
you begin with Ephesus and see the first love left. "I have this
against thee, thou hast left thy first love." You seek for an
explanation of leaving the first love and you find the explanation
is not to be found in simply the waning of an enthusiasm, but in the
attempted quenching by the deluges of spiritual antagonism, the
object being to close down the fire of love for God in the heart.
You know that true love for the Lord does not just wane of itself,
you do not just give it up and let it go; you know it is by reason
of great pressure, great adversity, conflict, discouragement,
wearing out tactics as well as by subtle insinuations and
subterfuges and such like things. The snare of the world,
deceitfulness of sin, and the awful opposition of the enemy - why?
This is not merely a natural, temperamental thing. It is against
that ultimate object of the Lord, the throne. You have Balaam's
subterfuge leading to spiritual fornication; and the doctrine of the
Nicolaitanes: and that woman Jezebel, the false prophetess, and the
name to live, but yet dead: mere profession, the false claims of
those who say they are Jews and are not but are the synagogue of
Satan. Then the lukewarmness of Laodicea.
All these things representing different ways and means by which the
enemy has sought to get in to destroy the testimony. You see the
lampstand is the testimony. At that time and in that place it was
God's testimony in the earth, and all these things are working
against the testimony to destroy it, to quench it, to blot it out,
and God is appealing for a maintenance of His testimony and all
these things are against the issue of that testimony as maintained,
which is in the throne. And so you find they overcame because of the
blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony. They
have kept the testimony of Jesus, these Overcomers. Do you see the
link between these things? And all else you find, whether it be in
the nature of the persecutions through which the saints have passed,
which are mentioned here, or the subterfuges, the snares, the
deceptions of the serpent, or the many trials, adversities,
sufferings of the Lord's children, so many that we could never
catalogue them, all that we pass through as we seek to go on with
the Lord and be faithful, it is all directed against this ultimate
issue, the coming of this company of Overcomers to the throne. It is
the explanation of what we are passing through now. The explanation
of all trial on the one side, from the adversary's side;
sufferings, persecutions, pain, anguish, to quench the testimony
with a view to thwarting that rapture to the throne.
On the Divine side we are not protected against it because the Lord
wants us to overcome, and you will never overcome unless there is
something to overcome. The two sides, the Divine, sovereign side and
the diabolical side to thwart this. All is related to that beloved,
all is leading up to this final fury of the erect dragon waiting to
swallow up this corporate company who are to bring about the issue
of the ages. Does it not strike you as a thing of immense moment,
that a company, we do not know how many, small or great but
comparatively small we judge, a company nevertheless of the Lord's
children, are going to be the Lord's occasion for the precipitating
of the crises of the ages; that is, bringing about that time and
that condition when and where there is no more place for Satan and
his angels in the heavens. I think it is a tremendous thing to say
that, "there was found no more place..." as though the heavens said
"There is no more room for you here any more."
Now we do not want to get hilarious about it, it is too solemn - but
that is the issue, "no more place in the heavens" and that is
arrived at by this company being raptured to the throne in the face
of the fury of the dragon. They are God's instruments for winding up
the old regime which held for thousands of years contrary to God's
original thought. Supposing this is that time, supposing that we
have entered into this last phase! Only to suppose it is to explain
a great deal. But, beloved, the intention of the Lord in these days
is to show us how to overcome. We have got to know how to overcome.
We have got to come to see the means of overcoming, the ground of
overcoming, and that is what is in view as we pursue this matter in
these pages, that we shall be put in the way of understanding what
overcoming is, and how to overcome.
So we see that with the rapture to the throne of this man-child
company a great change takes place in the heavens as well as on the
earth. With this rapture the first thing that is seen is war in
heaven. The next, the issue of that war, "no more place" in heaven
for these forces of evil. Therefore, they are cast down out of the
heavens, and then a great voice in heaven is heard at the moment of
that casting down, saying, "Now is come" (it almost seems to say: now
at last, now at length, now, the great eternal now! This hierarchy
which has encircled the earth as "Prince of the power of the air,"
"The world rulers of this darkness, the principalities and powers,
the hosts of wickednesses in the heavenlies," now at length they are
cast down, and now is come) the salvation and the power and the
kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ.
I pause to note the distinguishing words - "Now is come the
salvation of our God." The salvation of our God is come now.
Sit down with that in this connection for a little while and see
where that will lead you. Now is come the kingdom of our
God; the kingdom of our God is come now. Now is come
the power of our God. The power of our God is come now. Here
is Divine energy, Divine force, Divine might, here it is Now. But
then note, "And the authority of His Christ." The exousia of
His Christ; the jurisdiction of the Lord Jesus has come now. How
much hangs upon this "now"! You weigh these sentences one by one and
you see that with this rapture of the man-child there synchronises
this arriving at the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our
God, and the jurisdiction of His Christ. A great point to reach,
that! To fathom all that, we need much more time than at present; we
will leave it there for the moment. There is a new phase of things
on the earth as well as a new phase of things in the heavens. Before
passing to that, note how this thing is put. There is a great voice
in heaven, and that great voice says, "Our God... our brethren." There is a company in heaven
looking on, who call this overcomer group "our brethren" and speak
of God here as "our God." Some already there have been interested in
this final overcomer conflict. There have been overcomers in every
age and they have overcome and they are interested in this thing to
its end, and they say "our God" and "our brethren" - "who accuseth
our brethren"; and notice, when you go on, "Satan is gone
down," is gone down - that is someone speaking from above,
not underneath, saying "Satan is come down." Those there are
saying "he has gone down," they are above. A new phase then
begins on the earth, and then you go on to the other two chapters 13
You have on the one side, antichrist, and on the other side linked
with that, the tribulation of those who have not been raptured, or
the tribulation on the earth into which those enter who have not
been raptured, even the Lord's people. The discrimination in the
seven letters between those who overcome and those who do not
overcome - (I cannot accept that the seven letters addressed to the
seven Churches were addressed to those who were not the Lord's
people, neither to just a few inside a merely professing Church). I
believe the messages were addressed to those who were the Lord's
people in a state of spiritual apostacy or weakness, out of the way,
in a state of declension, and there is a division between the Lord's
people who are in a state of declension and those who overcome. I
think it is J. N. Derby speaking of Philadelphia who says concerning
the Philadelphian saints, "but then there were very blessed
encouragements given to them. There was an hour of great temptation
coming upon the whole world to try those who dwell thereon; some
might be victorious in the trial, but those who kept the word of His
patience would be kept from the trial. On the whole world it
would come, but where were they? They had gone out of it." That is
the position here, and the great tribulation overtakes
non-overcoming believers. There will be those who were kept out
of the great tribulation, but there will be those who "come
up out of," others who were kept there and those who came out
of, in the midst of which they have washed their robes which had
become spotted by the world.
We see what is in God's eye, in His mind. We see that the end time
is going to have this central thing, the securing of this overcomer
group, this overcomer company. In the securing of that company
through spiritual travail, and the rapture of that company, God is
going to secure His original purpose, His pre-eminent thought.
Changes in heaven and in earth will be related to that. That company
will be raptured on a three-fold basis. "They overcame because of
the blood of the Lamb." That is one of the things we have got to
consider carefully, more fully, "because of the blood of the Lamb."
That is foundational. "And because of the word of their testimony."
The blood of the Lamb was that which was provided for them, apart
from them: the word of their testimony is their part. We
have got to know, first of all, God's basis of victory, and then our
side of the victory, what the word of testimony is by which we
overcome: and then, as to the cost, the third factor, "and they
loved not their lives (their souls) unto the death." That is the
position as I believe we have it, perhaps only at its beginnings,
just now. Maybe we are coming into it.
Some of us feel sometimes we could not stand very much more, the
spiritual conflict and pressure is so great. Beloved, do you see the
tremendous issues bound up with this conflict? Do you see the need
for us to know what the means of victory and the ground of victory
are? Therefore it is necessary that we gather together in days like
these; these are not just meetings for getting truth, God forbid!
These are times when we are in solemn convocation. The ends of the
ages are coming upon us and there is a very, very, very big
explanation to the pressure and the suffering, the spiritual
intensity through which we are passing now. Some of you are feeling
that pressing in, that intense spiritual pressure, it is becoming
almost unbearable. There is an explanation, a big explanation, the
biggest explanation to anything that ever existed. God is about to
accomplish His end and change the aspect of the universe. Oh
wonderful thing, all that beloved, has its operation in saints. We
are in that. That is taking place in us. Perhaps we might sometimes
think it might be very much easier if we saw an erect dragon, if
these figurative things were literal, we would know where we were
and what we had got to do. But it is this spiritual pressure, this
thing that comes to us, not in the bare, naked, devilish antagonism
of the enemy, but that which is coming in very often along what we
call ordinary every day things, the domestic things, the business
things; yes, all that, coming in that way, it is all the conflict,
it is there. But again, we see there is a marvellous
explanation to it, and we need grace, much grace, we need a mighty
instrengthening of the Lord. Oh, unto this, doctrine is not enough,
teaching will not do, light merely as a matter of light, beloved, is
not always power. No, power is the capacity for going through, and
light does not take you through; light may help you to see your way,
but you want energy as well as light, and we need in these days the
mighty instrengthening of God to get through. May He make the hours
we spend together, not hours of getting knowledge, but of mighty
energising by His Spirit.
The "Man-child" of Rev. 12.
Inasmuch as many have sought to interpret this Scripture as
historical in the past, that is, as having been fulfilled before
John wrote at Patmos, and as applying to the birth of Christ, Israel
being the woman, it will be well if certain very clear points are
afresh taken into consideration and honestly faced.
1. "The pangs of travail" (verse 2).
Where were the birth-pains in Israel when Christ was born?
Israel has never yet travailed unto the birth of Christ.
Isaiah 66:8, 24 shows Christ's birth out of the nation without
any travail. That Scripture does not refer to Rev. 12.
2. "Clothed with the sun" (verse 1).
The Lord Jesus is Himself the sun; "Light of the World," and it is
the Church which has been invested with that Light; the revelation
of Jesus Christ, the whole Truth of God. The Jewish nation has never
stood so robed.
3. "'The moon under her feet" (verse 1).
The moon is an object which has no light of its own, but borrows its
light from the sun.
This is exactly what the whole Jewish system of Law and Types did.
The Law, the Prophets, the Types, all reflected the Christ, and
shone with borrowed light. These are all fulfilled in Christ and
realised in the Church, and all are under the feet of - in a subject
relation to - the Church. This cannot apply to the Jewish
4. "On her head a crown of twelve stars" (verse 1).
Stars are heavenly living bodies in a ruling capacity. Twelve is the
number of governmental power or order.
The twelve Apostles may be seen to fulfil this part of the
symbolism. They come in several times in the "Revelation" as in a
place of special honour. What is here, we believe, is that, in the
mind of God, the Church is seen in the position of heavenly
authority, according to Luke 10:19, Ephesians, etc.. But, while this
is God's thought concerning the whole Church as in Ephesians, only a
company out of her actually and experimentally come
to know the throne union in the first instance. Undoubtedly, this is
the position today, as it has always been, and this is the occasion
for the great amount of exhortation and admonition in the New
Testament. And this also is the place and condition which gives rise
to the many provisional "Ifs" of the New Testament.
5. "As soon as it was born," or "When she was delivered" (R.V.,
There is no gap here. Christ was not caught up to the throne when He
was born, there was a considerable interval.
6. "A great red dragon."
"Ten horns" (not crowned).
"Seven heads" (crowned) (verse 3).
No such power existed when Christ was born. John was writing nearly
a hundred years later than the birth of Christ, and in the
seventeenth chapter of this book he shows that only five of these
powers had been overthrown, and one was in existence; the seventh
was yet to be (17:10). The ten horns as ten kings obtain power at
the same time as the Beast (17:12). Daniel 7:20.
All these come into view when the Gentile
Dominion is at its close.
The Beast and the False Prophet (Political and Religious) are the
two aspects of the Dragon which persecute the true Church at the
end, and the very removal of the "Man-child" is a main cause for
this assault and of the commencement of the tribulation.
7. "War in heaven," "The dragon cast down."
("The old serpent, the devil, Satan, the deceiver"), "No more place
This did not take place either at the birth or the ascension of
"Ephesians" still sees conflict in the heavenlies (6:12).
Satan is still "The prince of the power of the air."
True Christ is far above all principality and power, etc., and we
are seated in Him there, but the clearing of the lower heavens with
the result that the Church administers and governs the world
therefrom is something yet to be, and the "Man-child" is the
fulfilment of Rev. 3:21,22, unto this end.
We have not incorporated these notes into the body of the message
because it is our aim not to allow the messages to be of a
controversial character, but always straightforward spiritual
teaching. The notes are added that it might be seen that we are not
saying things without very good ground in the Word, and careful
meditation and study therein.
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