Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 09:2 (Autumn 1996)
Article: Periodical Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Periodical Reviews

“‘To Him Who Overcomes’: A Fresh Look at What ‘Victory’ Means for the Believer According to the Book of Revelation,” Stephen L. Homcy, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, June 1995, pp. 193–201.

In Revelation 2–3, the Lord Jesus Christ exhorts the seven churches of Asia to “overcome.” What it means to be an overcoming believer is foundational to both Christian living and the doctrine of eternal rewards. This article, by an associate professor of NT and Greek at Messiah Biblical Institute and Graduate School of Theology, is a study of the meaning of “to him who overcomes” in Revelation and its implications for the believer.

Homcy believes the seven churches represent the universal church throughout the church age. He initially observes that the need to repent from both wrong doctrine and wrong actions is a common element in the message to five of the seven churches. Some JOTGES readers might find fault with his definition of repentance as “a turning to God from all else” (p. 195), preferring to view repentance as a change of mind. However, at least in this context, I believe that Homcy’s definition is accurate and, to my mind, essentially synonymous with the position that repentance is “the call to enter harmonious relations with God” (Hodges, Absolutely Free!, 145).

Homcy sees Rev 12:11 as the key to understanding what overcoming means for the believer. The foundation of the victory by tribulation believers have over Satan and his demons is the death of Christ and “the witness of their lives that the Lamb who died is the Lion who lives and rules” (p. 199). He goes on to write, “Believers are instead to pursue a passionate love for Jesus which proves itself in faithfulness to him at all costs” (p. 199).

“With faith firmly planted in the risen Lord, believers are not uprooted from their testimony even by the prospect of death (Heb 2:14–15)” (p. 199). These are principles believers do well to heed.

Although Homcy’s interpretation of Revelation 12 sheds light on the overcoming passages in Revelation 2–3, there is a lack of exegesis in the immediate context, which would have provided more insight. It seems reasonable to me that the exhortation to overcome is simply a call to

the churches to keep doing the right things and change the wrong things. For example, the Lord commends the labor, patience, and perseverance of t...

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