To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame….


Genuine holiness of life and spirit can be put into the place of testing without fear! Whenever there is a breakdown of holiness, that is proof there never was any real degree of holiness in the first place.

Whenever Satan has reason to fear a truth very gravely, he produces a counterfeit. He will try to put that truth in such a bad light that the very persons who are most eager to obey it are frightened away from it. Satan is very sly and very experienced in the forming of parodies of truth which he fears the most, and then pawns off his parody as the real thing and soon frightens away the serious-minded saints.

I regret to say that some who have called themselves by a kind of copyrighted name of holiness have allowed the doctrine to harden into a formula which has become a hindrance to repentance, for this doctrine has been invoked to cover up frivolity and covetousness, pride and worldliness.

I have seen the results. Serious, honest persons have turned away from the whole idea of holiness because of those who have claimed it and then lived selfish and conceited lives.

But, brethren, men of God have reminded us in the Word that God does ask and expect us to be holy men and women of God, because we are the children of God! The provision of God by His pure and gentle and loving Spirit is still the positive answer for those who hunger and thirst for the life well pleasing to God![1]

3:21 The overcomer is promised that he will share the glory of Christ’s throne and reign with Him over the millennial earth. Those who follow Him in humility, rejection, and suffering will also follow Him in glory.[2]

21. “To the one who overcomes, I will grant [the privilege] of sitting with me on my throne, just as I myself overcame and sat with my Father on his throne. 22. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.”

John wrote the familiar words “the one who overcomes” as a repetition of the preceding letters and then writes the promise that Jesus gives to the overcomer. It indicates that Jesus gives this promise in the first place to the Laodiceans and then to all believers. What an astounding grace and mercy extended to a church that receives from the Lord no praise at all! Yet these people, provided they repent and overcome, will be given the privilege of being seated with Christ on the Father’s throne (Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:28–30).

The language must be understood to convey a symbolical message. We are unable to comprehend the significance of the privilege to sit next to Jesus on the throne. Therefore, to ask whether the throne is large enough to accommodate Christ’s followers is futile. The message supported by other passages in Scripture is that glorified believers have the honor and duty to judge the twelve tribes of Israel, the world, and angels (Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:30; 1 Cor. 6:2–3); and they will rule with Christ (2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 5:10; 20:4, 6; 22:5). Jesus’ promise is based on the vision that Daniel received: “Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him” (Dan. 7:27). Jesus looks backward to his suffering, death, and resurrection when he says that he too overcame. He remarks that he took a place on the throne at the right hand of the Father (Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 12:2; see also Mark 16:19; Eph. 1:20). Yet the difference is that Christ performed his mediatorial work on our behalf and has been given the honor of occupying the seat next to the Father. On the other hand, Jesus looks forward and tells us that when we overcome, we will take a place next to him at his invitation. That will be glory indeed.

The chapter concludes with the well-known refrain to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. And that means the entire church receives Christ’s message of praise, reproof, and promise. Note also that at the end of the seven letters to the seven churches there is an indirect reference to the Judgment Day.[3]

The Counsel

He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (3:21–22)

The wonderful promise to he who overcomes (all believers; 2:7, 11, 26; 3:5, 12; 1 John 5:5) is that Christ will grant to him to sit down with Him on His throne, as He also overcame and sat down with the Father on His throne. To enjoy fellowship with Christ in the kingdom and throughout eternity is sufficient blessing beyond all comprehension. But Christ offers more, promising to seat believers on the throne He shares with the Father (cf. Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:29–30). That symbolizes the truth that we will reign with Him (2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 5:10; 20:6; cf. 1 Cor. 6:3).

The right to sit with Christ on His heavenly throne is but one of the many promises made to overcomers in the letters to the seven churches. Overcomers are also promised the privilege of eating from the tree of life (2:7), the crown of life (2:10), protection from the second death (2:11), the hidden manna (2:17), a white stone with a new name written on it (2:17), authority to rule the nations (2:26–27), the morning star (2:28), white garments, symbolizing purity and holiness (3:5), the honor of having Christ confess their names before God the Father and the holy angels in heaven (3:5), to be made a pillar in God’s temple (3:12), and to have written on them the name of God, of the new Jerusalem, and of Christ (3:12).

As did the other six letters, the letter to the Laodiceans closed with Christ’s exhortation, He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The message to the apostate church is obvious: repent, and open up to Christ before the night of judgment falls. The implication for true believers is that, like Christ, we must compassionately call those in the apostate church to repent and receive salvation in Jesus Christ (cf. Jude 23).[4]

21 The promise to the overcomers concerns the sharing in Christ’s future reign in the eschatological kingdom: “I will give the right to sit with me on my throne.” Such a joint reign with Christ has already been referred to earlier in the book (1:6, 9; 2:26–27) and also appears later (5:10; 20:4–6). The kingdom reign is also a theme in other NT writings (Lk 22:28–30; Ro 8:17; 2 Ti 2:12). As Christ overcame through his suffering and death (Jn 16:33) and entered into the highest honor God could bestow—that of being seated at his “right hand” of sovereignty (Mk 16:19; Ac 2:22–36; Rev 22:1)—so believers who suffer with Christ, even to the point of death, will share in the honor of Christ’s exalted position. The distinction between the Father’s throne and Christ’s throne is no mere rhetoric. On the contrary, it differentiates aspects of God’s program in history (1 Co 15:24–28). Christ is reigning now, for there is a sense in which the eschatological or messianic kingdom of God was inaugurated in Christ’s earthly ministry, death, and resurrection. But the promise here, as elsewhere in the NT, foresees a final earthly consummation of the kingdom that awaits Christ’s return.[5]

[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2360). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Book of Revelation (Vol. 20, pp. 175–176). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1999). Revelation 1–11 (p. 141). Chicago: Moody Press.

[5] Johnson, A. F. (2006). Revelation. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 638). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

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