VIII. WHAT GOD’S OVERCOMERS SHOULD DO
AT THE END OF THIS AGE
Scripture reading: Gen. 3:14-15; Rev. 12:1-11
The two passages we read today correspond with each other. One is in the beginning of the Bible while the other is at the end. In Genesis 3 we have (1) the serpent, (2) the woman, and (3) the seed. In Revelation 12 we have (1) the serpent, (2) the woman, and (3) the man-child.
God’s Pronouncement on the Serpent
Genesis 3 covers God’s pronouncement on man and on the serpent after the fall. It also covers God’s redemption. "Upon thy belly shalt thou go" means God restricted Satan’s work to the earth; he can no longer work throughout the universe. "And dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life" means God restricted Satan to feed on the man of dust. God ordained that all the descendants of Adam be the food of Satan.
"The woman" was the mother of all living. Hence, the woman represents all the living ones whom God intends to save.
"The seed of the woman" means Christ. When Christ was on the earth, He bruised the serpent’s head. The head is the vital part of a body. The Lord bruised the vital power of Satan.
The serpent bruising His heel means Satan doing his work behind Christ’s back. After Christ bruised the serpent’s head, He went on, while the serpent worked behind His back. This has always been the way he works in the believers—behind their back.
"The seed of the woman" refers to the individual Christ; it also refers to the corporate Christ. Those who participate in Christ’s resurrection are the seed of the woman. The Lord was born of a woman and is without the Adamic nature. Likewise, the regenerated new man in the believers does not have Adam’s nature in it. Christ is the Son of God, and the new man is also the son of God. Christ is not out of the flesh, neither is the new man out of the flesh nor out of the will of man.
Beginning from Genesis 3, both God and man set their hope on the seed of the woman. Satan also paid much attention to the seed of the woman. That is why he tried to stir up Herod to kill the Lord, why he tempted the Lord in the wilderness, and why he persecuted Him during the three and a half years. But in all these situations, the Lord overcame.
The Overcomers Dealing with the Serpent
Revelation 4 through 11 is one section. Chapter fifteen to the end is another section. Chapters twelve through fourteen are inserted as a footnote for the previous chapters; they do not form part of the main text. Chapter twelve is a continuation of chapters two and three. These two chapters mention "overcoming" seven times, while chapter twelve says "they overcame him." Chapters two and three mention God’s calling of the overcomers at the time when most of the church has failed, while chapter twelve tells what these overcomers are and what they do. Revelation 2:27 says that the overcomers will rule the nations with an iron rod, while 12:5 says that the man-child will rule over the nations with an iron rod. The overcomers in the church are the man-child. The man-child is corporate, composed of the "brothers" in verses 10 and 11.
The Lord purposely calls Satan the "ancient serpent" here to remind us of the record in Genesis 3.
In Revelation 12 the woman who brought forth the man-child is Jerusalem. This does not refer only to the earthly Jerusalem but also to the heavenly Jerusalem. The Bible tells us that God is our Father, the Lord is our elder Brother, and Jerusalem is our mother (Gal. 4:26).
The sun, the moon, and the twelve stars are consistent with the dream of Joseph. Hence, these things refer to the Israelites. Jerusalem is the center for the Israelites. Hence, this woman must mean Jerusalem.
This woman is the Jerusalem in chapters twenty-one and twenty-two. This city is composed of all the saved ones in the Old and the New Testaments, who have the life of Christ in them. The woman before the bringing forth of the man-child is a type of the church. The woman after the bringing forth of the man-child is a type of the Israelites. Before the bringing forth of the man-child, the description was concerning the things in the heavens—the sun, the moon, and the stars. After the bringing forth of the man-child, the description is concerning her condition on earth—fleeing to the wilderness.
The woman typifies the many sons whom God has saved. They will be very much persecuted by the enemy; the woman will suffer under the serpent. They should fight for themselves but because they cannot do this, God will raise up some overcomers from among them to fight for them. These overcomers will rule over the nations with an iron rod and will have a special place in the kingdom. When they are raptured to heaven, Satan will be cast down, and they will take back the serpent’s place in heaven. When they are on earth, Satan will withdraw. When they are in heaven, Satan will be cast down. To overcome means to recover the lost ground. The man-child overcomes on behalf of the mother. This means that the overcomers overcome on behalf of the church. At the end times, God is looking for the overcomers to end the battle in heaven. God’s "salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ" (Rev. 12:10) will be brought to heaven by them. As a result, the serpent will no longer have a place in heaven. Wherever the overcomers go, Satan will have to withdraw.
The Weapons of the Overcomers
These overcomers overcome the enemy by the following things:
1. The Blood of the Lamb
First, the blood of Christ is poured out, signifying that the life of the flesh is poured out. Through this, Satan will not be able to do anything to us. The food of Satan is dust; he can only work within a life of the flesh. Second, the blood of Christ deals with the attack of Satan. We are protected under the blood of Christ from the attack of Satan, in the same way that the Israelites were protected under the blood of the Passover. The blood satisfies God’s righteousness; it signifies death. Therefore, Satan cannot attack us. Third, the blood of Christ answers Satan’s accusations.
2. The Word of Testimony
All the works of Satan in the church are to overthrow the testimony. The church is the lampstand, and the lampstand is a testimony. Satan wants to overthrow the church in order to overthrow the testimony. The testimony spoken of here refers especially to the testimony against Satan. When the Lord was tempted, He said three sentences which were testimonies directed at Satan. We also should declare a testimony against Satan. Satan may say to us, "You are weak." But we should say to him that the power of the Lord is perfected in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). We should exercise the victory of Christ by applying God’s Word. The blood speaks of the victory of Christ. A testimony is an application of the victory of Christ with the Word of God.
3. Not Loving One’s Life
We should sacrifice our body and our life and have no pity on ourselves. We should "consider my life of no account as if precious to myself" (Acts 20:24). By the blood and the word of our testimony, we should not fear death but should fight until we overcome. Such men will fulfill the pronouncement of Genesis 3:15.
The dragon wants to devour the man-child which is about to be delivered. This is the reason we have persecutions and sufferings. These persecutions and sufferings force us to become the man-child, and cause us to be among the first to be raptured—the first rapture. The first rapture is not only a blessing but a responsibility. Whoever has a place for the dragon in his heart will be persecuted by the dragon; he will go through the tribulation. Whoever does not have a place for the dragon in his heart will step on the head of the dragon. The serpent corrupted the woman. This is why there is the need for the seed of the woman to bruise him. God will not defeat the serpent by Himself. God needs the overcomers to defeat him. May we be part of the overcomers.
(Afternoon, January 31)
Spoken by Watchman Nee
Recorded by Witness Lee in Shanghai
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 11: The Present Testimony (4), Chapter 11, by Watchman Nee)