A Scriptural Refutation of
The Teachings of Zane Hodges,
Joseph Dillow and the
Grace Evangelical Society,
with Respect to
the Future Inheritance,
Glory, and Destiny of the Church –
Christ’s Beloved Body & Bride
Particular aspects of the nature, reign, inheritance, heavenly glory, and infinite blessing of Christ’s beloved Body & Bride (comprised exclusively of all believers saved from Pentecost to Pre-Trib Rapture) in and with her Head, Life & Bridegroom:
Section 2: The Future Reign of the Heavenly Body & Bride of Christ, His Consort-Queen.
Who Are the "Overcomers"?
(4) “And he that overcomes and he that keeps [reserves, gives heed to, takes to heart] unto the end My works [in contrast to Jezebel’s works], to him will I give authority over the nations, and he shall shepherd them with an iron rod; as vessels of pottery are they broken in pieces, as I also have received from My Father; and I will give to him the morning star.” (Rev. 2:26-28)
(5) “He that overcomes to him will I give to sit with Me in My throne; as I also have overcome, and have sat down with My Father in His throne.” (Rev. 3:21)
All Christians (i.e., genuine Church-Age believers), are “overcomers” – by the sovereign grace of God, the floodgates of which were opened by the infinitely precious blood of the God-Man shed once-for-all on the Cross. “Overcomers” are not merely some elite group of persevering saints who deserve or earn such a status by their own good works.
Scripture leaves us with no doubt as to this.
First, let us consider the eternal security-promises made to “overcomers” in Rev. 2:11 & 3:5.
“He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. He that overcomes shall in no wise be injured of the second death [the Lake of Fire, Rev. 20:14,15].” (Rev. 2:11)
“He that overcomes, he shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life [cf. Rev. 20:14,15], and will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.” (Rev. 3:5)
It is quite obvious that these promises of eternal security to “overcomers”(and eternal security is exactly what is promised, according to plain, normal interpretation) cannot possibly refer merely to some exclusive group of “perseverers” amongst the heavenly saints – as all believers have eternal salvation, and thus eternal security, in Christ Jesus. But if “overcomers” are in fact a spiritually elite group of saints in contradistinction to all other “non-overcoming” saints, then it would necessarily follow that not all saints have eternal security, but only these special “overcomers.” But this cannot be, if the Word of Truth be the Word of Truth! Thus, these promises must be for all believers in Christ and, therefore, all believers are “overcomers.” And since all believers are overcomers, then it would inescapably follow that all promises to overcomers apply equally to all believers (and are thus part of our so great future-tense salvation) – including the blessed promises that we shall all co-reign with Christ! Pure and sovereign grace!!
And this is in perfect keeping with the rest of NT revelation of Church-truth (a portion of which has been, and will be, set forth and commented on), which shows that all saints in Christ will reign with Him – as His beloved, heavenly Consort-Queen. Thus we have further evidence that the Hodges/Dillow view of the “overcomer” is completely erroneous and in direct variance with the rightly-divided Word of truth.
But there’s more! Thanks be to our God and Father through our Lord Jesus Christ for His all-sufficient Word. The Apostle John himself, the same (human) author of the Revelation gives, by divine inspiration of the same (divine) Spirit-Author of all Scripture, an explicit definition of who qualifies as an “overcomer,” which confirms all that has just been said:
“For all that has been begotten of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory which has overcome the world, our faith. Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4,5)
There can be no doubt as to who qualifies as an “overcomer” – every single believer in Christ!; all of whom comprise His one beloved Bride that will co-reign with Him in the day of His manifested power and glory.
“The church is the queen, sitting with the King on His throne and ruling over all the nations of mankind (Rev. 2:26-27; 3:21; 20:6)…. As a company of people the bride is called ‘the church of the firstborn’ (Heb. 12:23), that is, those who are higher in position than any others.” – Herman A. Hoyt (The End Times, p. 232)
“Ye are of God, children, and have overcome them, because [of being specially faithful and producing good works unto the end? no, but because] greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
“But in all these things we more than conquer through Him that has loved us [not through our personal worthiness or good works!].” (Rom. 8:37)
“These things have I spoken to you that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye have tribulation; but be of good courage: I have overcome the world [and thus do all that are in Him].” (John 16:33)
“There are those who overcome, and there are those who are overcome. These latter are lost (II Peter 2:20). They give up Christ’s words (1 Corinthians 15:2, Colossians 1:23, Mark 8:38). We note two classes – and only two – in Revelation 21:7, 8.” – William R. Newell (Revelation: A Complete Commentary, p. 42)
“And, be it noted, the only two classes seen in this final eternal order are those who overcome, and those cast into the lake of fire. The ‘overcomers,’ thus, are shown to be all God’s true children. For all had the divine gift of faith, all were begotten of God. So we read in I John 5:4: ‘Whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith.’ “ – William R. Newell (Revelation: A Complete Commentary, p. 339)
“He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. There is a double negative in the Greek – ‘not at all be injured.’ The saints may have to bow their heads to those who execute the first death – who ‘kill the body’; but over these, we read, ‘the second death hath no authority’ (Revelation 20:6). No real believer is coming into judgment. See John 5:24, R.V. Believers’ works will be examined, but not as sin: that is gone forever, borne on the cross! Hebrews 9:28: ‘so Christ...shall appear...apart from sin.’” – William R. Newell (Revelation: A Complete Commentary, p. 47)
“He that overcometh, I will give to him to sit down with me in my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father in his throne. Christ’s throne is the throne of His father David at Jerusalem (II Samuel 7:12, 13, 16; I Chronicles 29:3; Jeremiah 3:17; Luke 1:32; Acts 15:14-18). But our Lord’s royal inheritance by the Davidic covenant extends to His heavenly Bride, the Church, as Eve shared the dominion that God gave the first Adam…. Here, in [Rev.] 3:21, at the close of the unfaithful corporate testimony of the Church, we are again overwhelmed at this infinite grace of Christ…. Let not the most wretched, defeated believer despair – if only there be the least yearning for Christ. The most tender plea of all the seven is made to a lukewarm assembly. And the most distinct promise of actually sitting down with Christ upon His throne is given at the very close of the Church’s testimony. Note that our Lord speaks as one who Himself overcame, and is therefore now sitting upon His Father’s throne.* [Author’s Footnote: *Our Lord is not now on His own throne, the throne of David. He is at the Father’s right hand, on the Father’s throne….] As a Victor He calls to you and to me. It is only in sharing by faith His victory that any saint ever overcame! As Christ warned in the upper room, ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33). He also triumphed over Satan and all his hosts at Calvary, and gives us the benefit (Colossians 2:14, 15; Hebrews 2:14, 15). ‘And this is the victory that overcometh – even our faith’ (I John 5:4).” – William R. Newell (Revelation: A Complete Commentary, p. 81,82)
“The overcomer here [Rev. 21:7], as in chapters 2 and 3, is the believer, the one who has drunk of the water of life [21:6]. For him there is sonship with God forever.” – Charles L. Feinberg (A Commentary on Revelation: The Grand Finale, p. 155,156)
Before moving on, allow me to cite some comments by Hodges on the promises made to the “overcomers” of Revelation chapters 2 & 3, and Rev. 2:11 & 3:5 in particular – to serve as an example of the strained and tortuous lengths to which one goes, and what happens when one goes AWOL from the plain, normal, literal interpretation of Scripture in an effort to force his distorted system of theology on Scripture:
“Two of them [i.e., two of the promises to the ‘overcomers,’ referring specifically to those of Rev. 2:11 & 3:5 – the very two promises that completely undercuts and refutes his position!] at least seem to employ a well-known figure of speech called litotes. In litotes an affirmative idea is expressed through the negation of its opposite. Vagueness is often the intended result of this kind of speech [which thus conveniently leaves plenty of room for your own ideas]. Thus I may say, ‘If you do me this favor, I will not forget you.’ ‘I will not forget you’ is a litotes for something like, ‘I will repay you well.’ The two promises to ‘overcomers’ which can most readily be interpreted as involving a litotes are these [i.e., Rev. 2:11 & 3:5, of course]…. there is absolutely nothing in these letters to suggest that all Christians are ‘overcomers’ [your conclusion wouldn’t have anything to do with your injection of the litotes, would it?]…. The promises of Revelation 2:11 and 3:5 are best understood as litotes [i.e., your theology demands a departure from the plain, normal, literal interpretation of the text]. John and all his intelligent Christian readers knew that a believer would never experience the second death. But the promise of 2:11 claims that this death will not even do him any damage. The Greek verb rendered ‘hurt’ might easily be translated ‘injured’ [so?]. The Smyrnan Christians who are ‘faithful until death’ (2:10) will not even be injured by it. By litotes [i.e., by spiritual alchemy] this intimates a superlative triumph over the second death. But since the second death is actual banishment from the presence and life of God (Rev. 20:14, 15), the litotes [alakazam!] also intimates a splendid experience of the divine life and presence [what you really mean is joint-heirship and co-reigning with Christ; but I guess even your litotes cannot embolden you enough to be so blatant in transmuting the words of our Lord]. The litotes in 3:5 is equally easy [!] to understand. Again John and his readers know that no Christian can have his name blotted out of the Book of Life. They also know that there is great honor in having one’s name inscribed there (see Luke 10:20). The litotes here is something like saying, ‘Your honored name will never be erased.’ But this suggests, ‘Your name will be glorious forever,’ [but not so for the names of the poor ‘unpersevering’ and unworthy saints] or something similar. The fact that honor is the basic issue in this particular promise is clearly [?] shown by the other [distinct!] elements of the promise. Special white garments (a mark of dignity in ancient thought) are to be granted the ‘overcomer’ [i.e., the deserving one] and his enduringly honored name is to be openly acknowledged before God and the holy angels.” – Zane C. Hodges (The Gospel Under Siege: A Study on Faith and Works, p. 118,119)
Does this sad display of hermeneutical gymnastics fare any better than the spiritualizing method of interpretation employed by anti-Dispensational/Covenant theologians? How much sweeter and honoring to the Lord to allow His Word to interpret itself (even where genuine symbols or figures of speech are evident) and to accept it at face value!
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