Promises to Victors
Peter J. Leithart
November 10, 2011
Category: Bible - NT - Revelation
Each of Jesus’ seven letters to the churches in Revelation 1-3 ends with a promise to the “victors” (ho nikon). The blessings form a progression in various ways – they link up with different stages of the OT, and they also form a progression toward enthronement with Jesus. To whit:
To Ephesians: Tree of life.
To Smyreans: Having eaten from the tree of life, they are delivered from the second death.
To Pergamumeans: Having eaten life and having been delivered from the second death, they receive manna, a stone, and a name.
The progression of the last four letters is clearer:
To Thyatirans: Authority and a rod.
To Sardians: Having received authority and a rod (like David, also like Aaron), they are given white robes and a place in the book of life.
To Philadelphians: Having received authority and a rod, they are given an open door and entry into the temple, where they stand as pillars.
To Laodiceans: Having received authority, a rod, an open door and entry into God’s palace, they are allowed to sit with Jesus on His throne.
The progression of the last four letters seems to be a priestly/kingly progression from the outer courts of the Lord through the temple nave with its pillars, to the Most Holy Place, where Jesus sits on the throne with His Father. Perhaps the first three letters are blessings of the outer court. More generally, the progression is from the tree of life to the tree of knowledge and rule.
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