Verse 21: "He who overcomes, to him I will give to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat with My Father on His throne."
Each church has its own special circumstances and its own specific temptations that it should overcome. Outwardly, this church seems to have none of these; there seem to be no persecutions, heresies, or filthy sins. It had merely fallen into worldliness, riches, and self-will. These are the things the Lord is calling it to fight against. Overcoming and defeat here have nothing to do with eternal life or eternal death, because through God’s predestination and grace, the problem of a believer’s salvation has already been solved. The overcoming here refers to whether or not these ones have kept their stand. Have they maintained the testimony of Christ through their words and conduct? Are they qualified to receive the reward?
How did they overcome? What is the nature of overcoming? To what degree do they have to overcome? "As I also overcame." All overcoming should be like the Lord Jesus’ overcoming, although not all overcomers can be like the Lord in His overcoming. Among all of the Lord’s promises, here is the only place that makes reference to the path the Lord took on earth. How did the Lord overcome? What did He overcome? Christians today focus on sins. It seems a marvel enough if one can overcome sins. Of course, to overcome sins is a very important matter. But what the Lord Jesus meant here is not the overcoming of sins because according to the Lord’s view, the overcoming of sin is the common qualification of every believer. The Lord spoke about His own overcoming. His overcoming is the overcoming of firstly the world, and secondly Satan. He said, "Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the ruler of this world be cast out" (John 12:31). These are what He overcame. Saints should not spend all their lives fighting against sins only. We should go on to war with the world and the ruler of this world and overcome them.
The Lord Himself said, "Take courage; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). The Lord overcame the world through the cross. "Stripping off the rulers and the authorities, He made a display of them openly, triumphing over them in it" (Col. 2:15). The Lord Jesus overcame Satan and all his armies through the cross. What is the world? It is the common people, our environment, and everything that tries to pull us down from our high spiritual ground. We should overcome them instead of being pressed down by them. Anything that is against the Father is the world. We should fully obey God’s will. We should not for a moment be overcome by worldly conversations, worldly temptations, worldly atmosphere, or worldly things. What is Satan? He is God’s enemy. We should not only overcome the material world; we should also overcome the world of evil spirits. The spirit of the antichrist which is the spirit of Satan is now waging war everywhere. Therefore, the saints should overcome. The believers should overcome Satan and all his works in this age. He is working in the world and behind the world. The Lord has overcome them already. Now He is calling His people to overcome them as He did.
John told us concerning these two overcomings in 1 John: (1) "For everything that has been begotten of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory which has overcome the world—our faith" (5:4). (2) "You have overcome the evil one" (2:13). "You are of God, little children; and you have overcome them [evil spirits] because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world" (4:4). Believers should not be satisfied only with overcoming their sins. As the Lord overcame the world and Satan through the cross, we should also overcome the world and Satan through the cross.
The reward for the Lord Jesus’ overcoming is to sit with the Father on His throne. If this principle of reward according to works is applicable to the Lord Jesus, no doubt we must have the proper works if we desire to be rewarded. To try to receive the reward by grace is as wrong as to try to receive salvation by works. Because of the complete obedience of the Lord Jesus, God rewarded Him by seating Him together with Him. The kingdom was given to the Lord Jesus because of His obedience. "But of the Son, Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of exultant joy above Your partners" (Heb. 1:8-9).
If we overcome, how will the Lord treat us? "He who overcomes, to him I will give to sit with Me on My throne." If we can follow Christ’s deeds and His overcoming, we will receive the glory and the kingdom with Him. Here we see two thrones. The throne on which Jesus is now sitting is the Father’s throne which is in heaven and not seen by men. The Lord did not promise anyone to sit with Him on that throne. The future throne of the Lord Jesus will be seen by men; it will be the throne of David, the throne of the Lord as Messiah. This throne will be in the millennial kingdom and will be in Jerusalem (Ezek. 43:7; Luke 1:32; Psa. 45:6). Overcomers will sit with the Lord on this second throne. When the new heaven and new earth come, the Son will no more sit separately from the Father. At that time, the throne will be "the throne of God and of the Lamb" (Rev. 22:1, 3).
Now is not yet the age of Christ’s kingdom. When the Lord Jesus comes down in glory and establishes His kingdom, the overcomers will reign as co-kings with Christ. Now is the time for the saints to overcome. The Lord is now preparing those who will be co-kings with His Son. Because the future glory is great, the position high, and the works abundant, today’s preparation cannot be loose. Only those who have definitely overcome today are qualified to be kings in that day. There is no possibility for faking here. It must be an individual overcoming and it must be an overcoming. Today’s circumstances, trials, and temptations are just training for the future kings. Whether or not one is qualified, up to the standard, or strong enough is fully manifested through all these things. Today’s defeated ones will not be qualified to reign with the overcomers in that day. Those who cannot rule over everything today will not have the power to rule over everything in that day.
The last message the Lord spoke to Laodicea is a call to be co-kings with Him. As long as they overcome, they will be able to enter into glory. The throne of glory is the most encouraging thing to the saints who have been saved but are now backsliding.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 05: The Christian (3), Chapter 4, by Watchman Nee)