Chapter 58 Overcoming By The Blood

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony (Revelation 12:11).

The first testimony of the Lord Jesus is that He would bruise the serpent’s head—that is, the head of Satan. He was the promised Redeemer and the bruising of Satan was to be His work. The meaning of Satan’s head is his government, dominion and sovereignty. The cross is introduced in the same promise (Genesis 3:15) in the words—“thou (the serpent) shall bruise His heel”—that is, the lower portion of His person, His body, which Satan would do through wicked men in crucifying Him on the cross.

The Application of the Blood

The shedding of our Lord’s precious blood is the chief and central part of our Lord’s redeeming work. That blood-shedding is first directed against “that old serpent, Satan, the devil.” He is the cause and root of all human ruin. He is spoken of as “the prince of this world,” and as having “the power of death” or the power to hold human life in death. Through the work of the cross the Lord Jesus was to deal with Satan in this capacity and loosen his grip on human life.

The shedding of His blood is also directed against sin. It introduces Jesus bleeding that souls may live through His death. It is the full symbol of redemption’s price. It is the clear emblem of the one atoning Lamb. The blood of the Lord Jesus meets sin in all its aspects, and does so to destroy its defiling power and ultimately cleanse it from the whole universe.

The blood is also directed against what Scripture calls the flesh—what sin has made man. Because of sin man now belongs to a fallen race and has become darkened in his mind, polluted in his affections, and disagreeable to God in his will. “He also is flesh,” (Genesis 6:3), or “become flesh.” The blood of the Saviour has not only to cleanse the universe of sin’s pollution but also to remove all that is of the flesh, so as to make way for a new humanity after the pattern and likeness of the Lord Jesus.

The blood of Jesus is also directed against the consequences of sin. That is death. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17). “As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). That is death in all its extent—covering spirit, soul, and body. The blood of Christ is shed to release us from that enthrallment.

The Issue of the Application

“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb.” Death is the ultimate of sin—death which is the grip or hold of Satan upon our souls. This is the main point of our Lord’s thrust. It is because He overcame the central and main issue of death—breaking the power of it—nullifying the effects of it—loosing Satan’s grip upon it—that He has gained for us who believe an overcoming life over Satan.

All who overcome Satan do so because of the precious blood of Jesus. But believers who take up the blood of Jesus to overcome Satan must be prepared to die at the hands of the one who has been overcome and who is “a murderer from the beginning.” “They loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11). Thus it was with Abel the first martyr. This is the key to all the murderous attempts upon the saints in every age. But the final issue is victory. There is no contradiction in the words, “they loved not their lives unto the death.” Abel was killed. But Abel lives. Paul was executed. But Paul is “present with the Lord.” All the saints live in the power of our Lord’s resurrection life. The devil can only touch our material body but not our inner life. By His cross and by His blood, the Lord Jesus conquered Satan and He Himself lives by the power of an endless life. So do believers—in Him.

The great company which no man can number and who have overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb are our Lord’s spiritual progeny—the fruit of His travail—the prize of His great work. They triumph in His triumph. They overcome because of His energy and power and sacrifice. They bear His image, having been washed from all their sins. This is an appropriate reward indeed for our Lord. He gave His soul as a sacrifice for His own and receives the whole multitude of believers as His hire. By giving His own Self as a ransom price, He has purchased an innumerable company. And all these overcome their great adversary and march in victory to Immanuel’s Land.

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Though my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my battle-shield, sword for the fight;
Be Thou my dignity, Thou my delight,
Thou my soul’s shelter, Thou my high tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

High King of heaven, after victory won,
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

—Ancient Irish
Tr. By Mary E. Byrne And Eleanor H. Hull