And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb - Here is given the reason why the followers of Christ prevailed at this time against all their adversaries. It was because they fought against the dragon in the armor of God. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb - by proclaiming salvation to sinners through Christ crucified, and by their continual intercession at the throne of grace for the conversion of the heathen world.
And by the word of their testimony - By constantly testifying against the errors and follies of mankind.
And they loved not their lives unto the death - They regarded not their present temporal estate, but even gladly delivered up their lives to the fury of their persecutors, and thus sealed the truth of what they spake with their blood.
And they overcame him - That is, he was foiled in his attempt thus to destroy the church. The reference here, undoubtedly, is primarily to the martyr age and to the martyr spirit; and the meaning is, that religion had not become extinct by these accusations, as Satan hoped it would be, but lived and triumphed. By their holy lives, by their faithful testimony, by their patient sufferings, they showed that all these accusations were false, and that the religion which they professed Was from God, and thus in fact gained a victory over their accuser. Instead of being themselves subdued, Satan himself was vanquished, and the world was constrained to acknowledge that the persecuted religion had a heavenly origin. No design was ever more ineffectual than that of crushing the church by persecution, no victory was ever more signal than what was gained when it could be said that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”
By the blood of the Lamb - The Lord Jesus - the Lamb of God. See the notes at Revelation 5:6; compare the notes on John 1:29. The blood of Christ was that by which they were redeemed, and it was in virtue of the efficacy of the atonement that they were enabled to achieve the victory. Compare the notes on Philemon 4:13. Christ himself achieved a victory over Satan by his death (see the Colossians 2:15 note; Hebrews 2:15 note), and it is in virtue of the victory which he thus achieved that we are now able to triumph over our great foe.
“I ask them whence their victory came.
They, with united breath,
Ascribe their conquest to the Lamb,
Their triumph to his death.”
And by the word of their testimony - The faithful testimony which they bore to the truth. That is, they adhered to the truth in their sufferings, they declared their belief in it, even in the pains of martyrdom; and it was by this that they overcame the great enemy - that is, by this that the belief in the gospel was established and maintained in the world. The reference here is to the effects of persecution and to the efforts of Satan to drive religion from the world by persecution. John says that the result as he saw it in vision was, that the persecuted church bore a faithful testimony to the truth, and that the great enemy was overcome.
And they loved not their lives unto the death - They did not so love their lives that they were unwilling to die as martyrs. They did not shrink back when threatened with death, but remained firm in their attachment to their Saviour, and left their dying testimony to the truth and power of religion. It was by these means that Christianity was established in the world, and John, in the scene before us, saw it thus triumphant, and saw the angels and the redeemed in heaven celebrating the triumph. The result of the attempts to destroy the Christian religion by persecution demonstrated that it was to triumph. No more mighty power could be employed to crush it than was employed by the Roman emperors; and when it was seen that Christianity could survive those efforts to crush it it was certain that it was destined to live forever.
(2 Corinthians 5:19; Philippians 2:6.) Satan Uprooted From Affections of the Universe—In carrying out his enmity to Christ until He hung upon the cross of Calvary, with wounded, bruised body and broken heart, Satan completely uprooted himself from the affections of the universe. It was then seen that God had in His Son denied Himself, giving Himself for the sins of the world, because He loved mankind. The Creator was revealed in the Son of the infinite God. Here the question, “Can there be self-denial with God?” was forever answered. Christ was God, and condescending to be made flesh, He assumed humanity and became obedient unto death, that He might undergo infinite sacrifice (Manuscript 50, 1900). 7BC 974.1
(John 3:14-17; Galatians 6:14; Hebrews 9:22.) Accusing Power of Satan Broken—Christ on the cross, not only draws men to repentance toward God for the transgression of His law—for whom God pardons He first makes penitent—but Christ has satisfied justice; He has proffered Himself as an atonement. His gushing blood, His broken body, satisfy the claims of the broken law, and thus He bridges the gulf which sin has made. He suffered in the flesh that with His bruised and broken body He might cover the defenseless sinner. The victory gained at His death on Calvary broke forever the accusing power of Satan over the universe, and silenced his charges that self-denial was impossible with God and therefore not essential in the human family (Manuscript 50, 1900). 7BC 974.2
11 (Deuteronomy 33:25; see EGW on 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12). Power to Conquer Day by Day—All who will can be overcomers. Let us strive earnestly to reach the standard set before us. Christ knows our weakness, and to Him we can go daily for help. It is not necessary for us to gain strength a month ahead. We are to conquer from day to day (Manuscript 28, 1886). 7BC 974.3
The Secret of Overcoming Sin—We become overcomers by helping others to overcome, by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. The keeping of the commandments of God will yield in us an obedient spirit, and the service that is the offspring of such a spirit, God can accept (Letter 236, 1908). 7BC 974.4
17 (ch. 14:9-12; see EGW on Isaiah 59:13-17). Satan's Masterpiece of Evil—Those who love and keep the commandments of God are most obnoxious to the synagogue of Satan, and the powers of evil will manifest their hatred toward them to the fullest extent possible. John foresaw the conflict between the remnant church and the power of evil, and said, “The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” 7BC 974.6
The forces of darkness will unite with human agents who have given themselves into the control of Satan, and the same scenes that were exhibited at the trial, rejection, and crucifixion of Christ will be revived. Through yielding to satanic influences, men will be transformed into fiends; and those who were created in the image of God, who were formed to honor and glorify their Creator, will become the habitation of dragons, and Satan will see in an apostate race his masterpiece of evil—men who reflect his own image (The Review and Herald, April 14, 1896). 7BC 974.7
Only Two Parties Upon Earth—There are only two parties upon this earth—those who stand under the bloodstained banner of Jesus Christ and those who stand under the black banner of rebellion. In the twelfth chapter of Revelation is represented the great conflict between the obedient and the disobedient [Revelation 12:17; 13:11-17 quoted] (Manuscript 16, 1900). 7BC 974.8
(Ephesians 6:10-12.) The Earth a Stage for Horrors—[Revelation 12:17 quoted.] Satanic agencies have made the earth a stage for horrors, which no language can describe. War and bloodshed are carried on by nations claiming to be Christian. A disregard for the law of God has brought its sure result. 7BC 974.9
The great conflict now being waged is not merely a strife of man against man. On one side stands the Prince of life, acting as man's substitute and surety; on the other, the prince of darkness, with the fallen angels under his command [Ephesians 6:12, 13, 10, 11 quoted] (The Review and Herald, February 6, 1900). 7BC 974.10Read in context »
Let us, then, cheerfully suffer something for Jesus’ sake, crucify self daily, and be partakers of Christ's sufferings here, that we may be made partakers with Him of His glory, and be crowned with glory, honor, immortality, and eternal life. EW 114.1
*****Read in context »
All who indulge the appetite, waste the physical energies, and weaken the moral power, will sooner or later feel the retribution that follows the transgression of physical law. MM 264.1
Christ gave His life to purchase redemption for the sinner. The world's Redeemer knew that indulgence of appetite was bringing physical debility and deadening the perceptive faculties so that sacred and eternal things could not be discerned. He knew that self-indulgence was perverting the moral powers, and that man's great need was conversion—in heart and mind and soul, from the life of self-indulgence to one of the self-denial and self-sacrifice.... MM 264.2
Christ entered upon the test upon the point of appetite, and for nearly six weeks resisted temptation in behalf of man. That long fast in the wilderness was to be a lesson to fallen man for all time. Christ was not overcome by the strong temptations of the enemy, and this is encouragement for every soul who is struggling against temptation. Christ has made it possible for every member of the human family to resist temptation. All who would live godly lives may overcome as Christ overcame, by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. That long fast of the Savior's strengthened Him to endure. He gave evidence to men that He would begin the work of overcoming just where ruin began—on the point of appetite.... MM 264.3
We need the influence of the right example of our physicians and our ministers. Let them exercise their powers for the control of appetite, that mental and moral powers may be strengthened. As far as possible, let them adopt such habits of life that the physical and mental powers shall be equally taxed. The exercise of the voice in speaking is a healthful exercise. Teach and live carefully. Hold firmly to the position that all, even our leading men, need to exercise good common sense in the care of their health, securing equal taxation of the body and the brain.—Letter 158, 1909. MM 264.4Read in context »
I am instructed to say to our ministers and to the presidents of our conferences: Your usefulness as laborers for God in the work of recovering perishing souls depends much on your success in overcoming appetite. Overcome the desire to gratify appetite, and if you do this your passions will be easily controlled. Then your mental and moral powers will be stronger. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.”—Letter 158, 1909. MM 296.1Read in context »