One of the “Ideas for Personal Scripture Study” in the Come, Follow Me manual for the week of December 9-15 asks: “What does Jesus Christ promise to those who overcome?”
In Revelation 2-3 the Savior addresses the successes and needs of seven congregations in the meridian of times. He concludes by promising the following blessings for all who overcome life’s trials.
“To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7).
We can learn more about what it means to “eat of the tree of life” from the following statement in Gospel Topics: “Eternal life is the phrase used in scripture to define the quality of life that our Eternal Father lives. The Lord declared, ‘This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’ (Moses 1:39). Immortality is to live forever as a resurrected being. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, everyone will receive this gift. Eternal life, or exaltation, is to live in God’s presence and to continue as families” (“Eternal Life,” Gospel Topics).
Alma explains, “the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise” (Alma 40:12). It was revealed to the Prophet Joseph F. Smith that after Christ’s death, Jesus “went not in person among the wicked and the disobedient [spirits in prison], But behold, from among the righteous he organized his forces and appointed messengers … and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead” (Doctrine and Covenants 138:28-30).
“He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death” (Revelation 2:11).
Second death is defined as: “Separation from God and His influences; to die as to things pertaining to righteousness … Spiritual death also occurs following death of the mortal body. Both resurrected beings and the devil and his angels will be judged. Those who have wilfully rebelled against the light and truth of the gospel will suffer spiritual death” (“Death, Spiritual,” Gospel Topics).
“To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” (Revelation 2:17).
The “hidden manna” is not from Moses, but the “true bread from heaven … Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:32,35).
It was revealed to Joseph Smith that when, “This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, …Then the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17 will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby things pertaining to a higher order of kingdoms will be made known. …The new name is the key word” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:9-11).
“And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations. And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star” (Revelation 2:26-28).
The “power over nations” does not refer to worldly nations but to kingdoms patterned after the kingdom of God our Father. As explained in the Joseph Smith Translation those who receive such powers “shall rule them with the word of God; …and he shall govern them by faith, with equity and justice” (Joseph Smith Translation, Revelation 2:27 [in the Bible appendix]). Those who receive “the morning star” will be receiving Jesus Christ himself: who is “the bright and morning star” (Revelation 22:16).
“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels” (Revelation 3:5).
Concerning who are to be “clothed in white raiment,” the Apostle John wrote: “I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindred, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands … These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9,14). Through Christ’s great atoning sacrifice, all those who come and follow Him will be a part of this “great multitude.” The book of life is the “record which is kept in heaven” (Doctrine and Covenants 128:7), and it contains “the names of the sanctified, even them of the celestial world” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:2).
“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name” (Revelation 3:12).
The individuals who become “a pillar in the temple” are those “whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:70). When John saw the New Jerusalem descending out of heaven (Revelation 22:9-21), he “saw no temple therein: for the Lord God almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it … And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it” (Revelation 21:22, 24).
Receiving God’s “new name” means: “Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power” (Doctrine and Covenants 132:20). Those who receive eternal life become gods.
“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Revelation 3:21).
The Prophet Joseph Smith explains: “To inherit the same glory, the same power and the same exaltation, until you ascend the throne of eternal power the same as those who have gone before … Jesus treads in his [Father’s] tracks to inherit what God did before … When you climb a ladder, you must begin at the bottom and go on until you learn the last principle; it will be a great while before you have learned the last. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it is a great thing to learn salvation beyond the grave” (Minutes and Discourses, 6-7 April, as Published by Times and Seasons, 614).
Pressing On to Overcome
The promises made in Revelation 2-3 can be likened unto ourselves. Our challenge is to “look unto [Christ] in every thought, doubt not, fear not … Be faithful, keep [Christ’s] commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven” (Doctrine and Covenants 6:36-37). The Lord promises us “through faith [we] shall overcome” (Doctrine and Covenants 61:9).