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.
As a people, we need to reform, and especially do ministers and teachers of the word need to reform. 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 ... by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.”—Letter 158, 1909 CD 162.1
252. The Lord has chosen you to do His work, and if you work carefully, prudently, and bring your habits of eating in strict control to knowledge and reason, you would have many more pleasant, comfortable hours than if you acted unwisely. Put on the brakes, hold your appetite under strict charge, and then leave yourself in the hands of God. Prolong your life by careful supervision of yourself.—Letter 49, 1892 CD 162.2Read in context »
296. 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 Saviour strengthened Him to endure. He gave evidence to man that He would begin the work of overcoming just where ruin began,—on the point of appetite.—Letter 158, 1909 CD 186.1
297. When Christ was the most fiercely beset by temptation, He ate nothing. He committed Himself to God, and through earnest prayer, and perfect submission to the will of His Father, came off conqueror. Those who profess the truth for these last days, above every other class of professed Christians, should imitate the great Exemplar in prayer.—Testimonies for the Church 2:202, 203, 1869 CD 186.2
[For context see 70]Read in context »
If the rush of work is allowed to drive us from our purpose of seeking the Lord daily, we shall make the greatest mistakes; we shall incur losses, for the Lord is not with us; we have closed the door so that He cannot find access to our souls. But if we pray even when our hands are employed, the Saviour's ear is open to hear our petitions. If we are determined not to be separated from the Source of our strength, Jesus will be just as determined to be at our right hand to help us, that we may not be put to shame before our enemies. The grace of Christ can accomplish for us that which all our efforts will fail to do. Those who love and fear God may be surrounded with a multitude of cares, and yet not falter or make crooked paths for their feet. God takes care of you in the place where it is your duty to be. But be sure, as often as possible, to go where prayer is wont to be made. The Saviour says, “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy.” Revelation 3:4. These souls overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. Amid the moral pollution that prevailed on every hand, they held fast their integrity. And why? They were partakers of the divine nature, and thus they escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. They became rich in faith, heirs to an inheritance of more value than the gold of Ophir. Only a life of constant dependence upon the Saviour is a life of holiness. CH 424.1Read in context »
Young men, young women, you are called by the Master to take up His work. His requirements are too sacred to be tampered with. In the name of the Lord I ask you to conquer every unlawful appetite and passion and to purify your souls by a belief in the truth. Overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony. Discharge faithfully your obligations, looking to God for strength. CH 464.1
Church members, awake to the importance of the circulation of our literature and devote more time to this work. Place in the homes of the people papers, tracts, and books that will preach the gospel in its several lines. There is no time to be lost. Let many give themselves willingly and unselfishly to the canvassing work, and thus help to sound a warning that is greatly needed. When the church takes up her appointed work, she will go forth “fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.” Song of Solomon 6:10. CH 464.2Read in context »