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.
Usually just the first part of this verse is used almost like an incantation, invoking a Christ on the cross as protection, if you say His name enough and “testify” of him. Straight out of the prosperity gospel that preaches and teaches another Jesus. One who can be used in certain phrases and misquoted verses such as this.
- This verse is completely and wholly eschatological (future/end-times) in that who the verse is referring to are the martyrs, those who will lose their lives because they won’t deny Christ.
- Again not only is it misused badly by us quoting it, thinking we are going to overcome whatever immediate crisis is in our life at the moment, we also lose the correct instructions and implication of what the end-times are about.
Funny how most churches/preachers won’t teach or preach end-time messages but they are more than willing to use verses from Revelation out of context and misquote them. Other verses used as an incantation and grossly miss used are:
1 John 4:4
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”
We will touch on this verses in later articles, the point is that most use Jesus as their own personal lucky charm and just like Revelation 12:11, the only part of 1 John 4:4 you ever hear uttered from people’s mouths and partially quoted to boot is “greater is He who is in me than He who is in the world.”
Scripture is not a candy store where we can just pick a flavor that pleases us. Not only are these verses partially quoted, miss quoted, and miss used, but the context is never in consideration. The entire context of Revelation 12:11 centers on what Jesus called “The Great Tribulation,” a time such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be (Matt 24:21). Needless to say, Rev. 12:11 should not be taken lightly and used in such a way that diminishes what our Lord warned and taught would come.
The “they” who overcame him “the Devil” are the brethren mentioned in verse 10. It is the elect, the church who will suffer the wrath of Satan at the hand of his minion antichrist during a period of time within the 70th week of Daniel beginning at the middle of the week. This is the time when the church in general will be put to the test, separating the genuine bond servants of Christ from the counterfeit professors, or the wheat from the tares so to speak. This is further confirmed when we read Revelation 13:7-8;
“It was granted to him (the beast/antichrist) to make war with the saints (the elect/church) and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.”
The genuine church has always been promised persecution. “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22b). God will permit the church in general to undergo testing by persecution because the church of the last days will have become severely compromised and testing will reveal who the genuine bond-servants of Christ really are, before the faithful are delivered, i.e. rescued by rapture. Just look at the warnings of Christ given to the seven churches outlining the consequences for continued compromise, they are numerous and compelling. It will be they, the genuine bond-servants of Christ who will overcome him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony.
It must be understood that overcoming the persecution of the Great Tribulation doesn’t mean one will not face and even suffer death. In fact, millions of true believers will lose their lives. At the heart of our text, “the word of their testimony” concerns Christ which is based upon an intimate knowledge of Him specifically vouchsafed and is spoken of as the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 12:17; 19:10). That martyria (testimony) is used in the New Testament to denote martyrdom is an untenable inference from Revelation 11:7 and 12:11. “To made war,” Revelation 11:7 and 13:7 is an appropriate description of the church militant, not of just the two prophets. They (The Church, elect, martyr’s) overcame him by appropriating the victory of the finished work of Christ, by the public confession of their faith and patient endurance, even in the face of martyrdom.
Revelation 12:11 is not a verse to sight whenever we fall into unpleasant circumstances, or when we are uncomfortable with times that are just generally difficult. It is reserved solely for those who find themselves entering the baptism of fire.