Saturday, May 27, 2017

Are These Timely or Eternal Blessings?

As a young Hardshell minister, I was always coming across scriptures that taught against some of the basic tenets of the "Primitive Baptist Church." It was a constant struggle of the mind to hold on to those tenets in the face of scriptures that seemed clearly to teach against them. One of the tenets of Hardshellism was the idea that 1) nothing regenerated people do, or don't do, is a means or condition for obtaining eternal salvation or everlasting blessings, which led to 2) the idea that perseverance could not be necessary for the obtaining of final salvation. I was taught to interpret any blessing or salvation that was based upon perseverance as being temporal. But, verses like the following could not be interpreted as denoting merely temporal blessings or temporal salvation.

Each of the letters to the seven churches of Asia, in Revelation chapters two and three, contain a promise to "him that overcometh." There is an eighth promise in the end of Revelation. Seven is the number of perfection, and these promises together give a complete picture of the eternal inheritance and destiny of saints. Eight is the number of new beginning and the eighth promise of the Apocalypse introduces us to the blessed eternal state in the New Jerusalem and in the new heavens and the new earth.

These eternal blessings are promised to "him that overcometh." As a Hardshell, I was forced to interpret these blessings to denote temporal blessings. But, I could not do it and be honest with the text of Scripture. I had to give up the Hardshell false presupposition and tenet and came to embrace the Old Baptist teaching of the perseverance of the saints. All who inherit these blessings are overcomers, people who have endured and won the victory.

The Promises to the Overcomers
Seven of them in the Ekklesia Letters

1. "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." (Rev. 2:7)

The Greek word translated "overcometh" is νικάω (nikaō) and means according to Strong:

"to conquer" or "to carry off the victory, come off victorious" and "when one is arraigned or goes to law, to win the case, maintain one's cause"

Hardshells, due to their false tenets and presuppositions, will not accept the idea that eternal salvation is the result of winning, or overcoming, or enduring and persevering, and yet such verses as this totally refute such an idea. Notice that what is promised to the overcomer is eating of the tree of life in paradise, which can only mean obtaining eternal life in the heavenly state.

2. "He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." (2:11)

To not be hurt of the second death is to escape the judgment of hell fire. (See Rev. 20: 8, 14; 21: 8)

3. "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it." (2:17)

If this is a present blessing, and one restricted to this life, then let the Hardshells come forth and tell us what it is. Let them tell us what is their new name and show us their white stone and let us have some of that hidden manna!

4. "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star." (2:26-28)

Again, to try to make these blessings a part of a supposed "time salvation" is a gross perversion of holy scripture.

5. "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels." (3:5)

There is no way that I could be honest with Scripture and make these promised blessings to be a part of the Hardshell "time salvation."

6. "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name." (3:12)

Is this what saints experience now in this life my Hardshell brethren?

7. "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." (3:21)

Notice the parallel! Christ received this blessing of "sitting down on the throne" after he overcame in his triumphant life! So too is it with his people!

The Eighth Promise

8."He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." (21:7)

How could anyone possibly make this a mere temporal blessing?

How Is The Victory Won?

"And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God." (Rev. 15:2)

In this passage the words "gotten the victory" is from the same Greek word translated "overcometh" in the verses already cited. (As a side note, why did the KJV translators decide to translate nikaō differently here? Unless one studies the original, he would not know that the Greek word means "overcometh" or "get the victory") Notice that the overcoming involves winning in the contest with the devil and with the world, and involves staying loyal to Christ.

"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." (12:11)

They won the victory or overcame! How? By the blood and by the word? They stood fast and they endured and persevered!

All The Born Again Overcome

"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (I John 5: 4-5)

Who overcomes and "wins" Christ? (Phl. 3: 8) It is the one who is born of God and believes that Jesus is the Son of God! Is that what Hardshells teach? Do they not teach than many heathens who do not believe in Jesus or in the one true God will be among those who overcome? And in teaching this are they not the worst of heretics?

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