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Revelation 12:11 (ESV) And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

The Greek uses kai dia for the first two pieces, but only kai for the 3rd (not loving their lives even unto death) and definitely not a word that can be confused with "for" in my limited knowledge of Greek. I think the NASB translation better matches here.

Revelation 12:11 (NASB77) And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death.

It seems that the wording matters. Do we overcome because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of our testimony and (as a result of overcoming) not love our lives even to death? Or, does not loving our lives even unto death bring about overcoming through the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony?

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We overcome because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of our testimony and (as a result of overcoming) we do not love our lives even to death.

That is, there appears to be a cause-effect here. In this respect, perseverance is invisible (inward / in-working) faith operating with visible (outward / out-working) faith. In other words, the Book of Revelation relates that overcoming stems from "inward faith" operating through "outward faith."

For example, there are at least fourteen (14) verses in the Book of Revelation that present this contrast of the invisible (inward) faith operating through visible (outward) faith, which include the verse in question, Rev 12:11. The context of each verse points to the respective category. All translations are NASB.

  • Rev 1:2 ...who testified to the word of God (inward faith) and to the testimony of Jesus Christ (outward faith = confessing Christ)...

  • Rev 1:3 ...blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy (inward faith), and heed the things that are written in it (outward faith = heeding)...

  • Rev 1:9 ...because of the word of God (inward faith) and the testimony of Jesus Christ (outward faith = confessing Christ)...

  • Rev 2:26 ...he who overcomes (inward faith) and he who keeps my deeds until the end (outward faith = doing deeds)...

  • Rev 3:3 ...remember what you have received and heard (inward faith); and keep it and repent (outward faith = visible conversion)...

  • Rev 3:8 ...you have kept my word (inward faith), and have not denied my name (outward faith)...

  • Rev 6:9 ...those who had been slain because of the word of God (inward faith), and because of the testimony which they maintained (outward faith = confessing Christ)...

  • Rev 7:14 ...these are the ones who come out of the great tribulation (outward faith), and they have washed their robes (inward faith) and made them white in the blood of the lamb (inward faith)...

  • Rev 12:11 ...they overcame him because of the blood of the lamb (inward faith) and because of the word of their testimony (outward faith = confessing Christ), and they did not love their life when faced with death (outward faith)...

  • Rev 12:17 ...the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children (those with inward faith), who keep the commandments of God (outward faith) and hold to the testimony of Jesus (outward faith = confessing Christ)...

  • Rev 14:12 ...here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God (outward faith) and their faith in Jesus (inward faith)...

  • Rev 19:10 ...I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold he testimony of Jesus (outward faith); worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (inward faith)...

  • Rev 20:4 ...and I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus (outward faith) and because of the word of God (inward faith)...

  • Rev 22:9 ...I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets (inward faith) and of those who heed the words of this book (outward faith). Worship God (outward faith).

These verses depict the invisible (inward) faith and visible (outward) faith as inseparable. That is, ones inward (invisible) faith manifests in outward (visible) faith, which is evident through "righteous acts."

This nuance of cause-and-effect seems to be what the Apostle Paul was alluding to in Rom 1:17 when he had defined the righteous as living "from faith to faith." That is, the righteous live "from [invisible] faith to [visible] faith," and not the other way around.

In summary, in Scripture the "overcoming" by the righteous occurs through faith, which is invisible and then visible (yet indivisible).

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    (+1) I'd contest that you've tried too hard to read a plain "inward faith, outward faith" concept into every passage, and so I think this has forced an error in explaining 'overcoming by the blood of the lamb' as a product of "inward faith". Yes, testimony and martyrdom are human acts of faith, but the blood of the lamb wasn't their doing. The blood of the lamb is God's initiative in the overcoming - right?
    – Steve Taylor
    May 23 '16 at 10:25
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    @SteveTaylor - I appreciate your careful approach. How would one appropriate the power of the blood of the lamb apart from faith? In this regard, suffering is what makes that invisible faith evident.
    – Joseph
    May 23 '16 at 13:35
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    I would argue that it's the opposite force in play - it's not ultimately that the saints 'appropriated' the power of the blood of the lamb, but rather that the blood of the lamb appropriated the saints and outworked its conquering through them. The 'because of' / διὰ we see here communicates that the saints overcome 'because of' the blood of the lamb, and 'because of' the word of their testimony. In the former case because the blood accomplished that victory itself, and in the second case because they laid hold of that same victory by faith.
    – Steve Taylor
    May 23 '16 at 13:59
  • @Joseph I love your cause-effect approach and the beauty of inward faith producing outward confessions. While I followed many of your interpretations, I'd echo the concerns of Steve Taylor specifically on Revelation 12:11. It seems what Christ accomplished through His blood combined with a faith confession (which you call in most other verses an outward faith, but label inward in that verse) and led to an attitude of not loving their lives unto death (like their Messiah). Can you articulate why confession is outward in several others, but inward for Rev 12:11?
    – Jeremy
    May 23 '16 at 16:48
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    @Jeremy - whoa! That was a typo, which I just fixed. Sorry I missed it. Yes, the inward faith claims the power f the blood, which is manifest in outward behaviors (confessing Christ, perseverance through suffering, etc.) I apologize for the mistake and confusion..
    – Joseph
    May 23 '16 at 16:57
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We have been enjoying this in our gatherings lately! "They (we) overcame him by the blood of the Lamb" means that all our standing is in Christ. This is the only thing that shuts the Accuser's mouth. None of our lowly righteousness is worthy, and is powerless against the devil. We, instead of looking to our own merits or devices, are to look away unto Jesus. He is the Brass Serpent held up for us to behold, and thereby be healed. The devil's accusations cannot continue, because God is fully satisfied with the perfect sacrifice of His Son.

When we then proclaim His blood, the devil is put to flight. This is the Christian's foundation for everything, and apart from Him we can do exactly nothing.

So His blood, and our speaking/testimony of it is our only foundation. Then, comes the part about not loving our life (Gk. psyche - soul life) unto death. The Accuser is put to flight, and then we put off the old man and put on the new man (which is Christ in us). This is a matter of obedience to Him in spirit, but the foundation is always His inputted righteousness paid for with His own blood.

(I didn't give any references here, as I felt I was replying to someone established well enough in the word to follow. But if needed, please just ask.)

REPLY TO JEREMY 8/27: Yes, I see how you might want more of a scholarly answer. And before I answer, allow me to say this: I was never a bible scholar by any means, but I have done my fair share of reading scripture, commentaries, and looking into the Greek. Plus I have many around me who have religious degrees, read Greek well, teach others, etc. that I fellowship with on a continual basis. All of that certainly has value, and I appreciate those near me who the Lord has blessed with this function for the body. But in the end, all of that amounts to exactly nothing without revelation. As He says, "Apart from Me you can do nothing." Zero; zip; zilch; nada. (Jn 15:5) And Paul says clearly that knowledge will fail and only love remains. (1 Cor. 13:8)

To illustrate, please read the comment I made today to the moderator, James. I would trade all the studying and head knowledge for a single, brief flash of revelation light from the Spirit. To be sure, the Spirit speaks the same as the logos (written word), but even the Pharisees had the logos - yet didn't know Christ at all when he was there with them. Even though they were steeped in scriptural knowledge, they needed light from above to see who He was. So I do value reading the bible daily, but without the experience of Light, it is like the negative sitting in a camera just waiting to be exposed. (Another example of this is when I first came to know the Lord, He showed me many things instantly in spirit, that it would take years for me to mentally comprehend - like, "I is dead" . Now I see in the logos the words that support those revelations, e.g., Gal 2:20.)

So back to your excellent question. Someone else (Steve Taylor) already pointed out that this verse says they "overcame him by the blood . . ." This shows that this overcoming is because of His blood. His blood is mentioned first for a reason. Without His shed blood there is nothing. First is His blood, then we witness His His blood by speaking the fact of it. The result is they loved not their soul-life (Gk "psyche") unto death.

This verse really encapsulates the Christian life. Christ came, died, and shed His blood completely apart from our involvement. We give nothing for this and it is not earned - it is simply a fact. "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) Our portion in this - our work - is simply to believe on Him. (Jn 6:29) When we believe in His death and resurrection and declare this, we are saved. (Rom. 10:9)

Now that the Grain of wheat fell into the ground to give His life to us, we are the many grains sharing this same life. (Jn. 12:24) With Christ in us (Col. 1:27) as the Spirit (2 Cor. 6:17), we share His death and resurrection (Gal. 2:20). Therefore, with this hope of glory (what is to come), we "put off the old man" (who we were formerly) and "put on the new man" (Eph 4:22-24), thereby not loving our "soul-lives unto death."

"AND THEY OVERCAME HIM BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB AND BY THE WORD OF THEIR TESTIMONY - AND THEY LOVED NOT THEIR SOUL-LIVES UNTO DEATH." WOW! What a passage is in Revelation 12:11 - summing up the whole Christian life!!! Thanks for asking me to explain this a little deeper. What a Christ we have!

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  • Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics SE, thanks for contributing! Be sure to take our site tour to learn more about us. We're a little different from other sites. Our community looks for answers to reflect a good degree of research and references. Typically, we like answers that cite scholarly references. Don't just tell us what you know, tell us how you know it. Aug 26 '16 at 2:59
  • I appreciate your enthusiasm for this important subject, but I don't feel like you directly answered my question. Is overcoming facilitated by His blood combining with our testimony, which leads to not loving our lives or is not loving our lives unto death part of the overcoming equation? Please cite commentaries, early church fathers, or Greek grammarians.
    – Jeremy
    Aug 26 '16 at 14:36
  • Thanks for your comments & guidance, James. I may not be a good fit as I've learned vastly more from a small flash of light in spirit than I ever have studying the scriptures. Example: I've read Romans 7 for decades & many commentaries & countless discussions. However, in just a simple reading of Romans 7:17 a couple years ago, I received great flash of light into my mind. Instantly a Divine stream of knowledge & verses showed me clearly what was in our flesh & about who we really are in Christ. This was the Spirit Himself and I was brought into a deeper relationship with Christ through it.
    – Tman
    Aug 27 '16 at 16:39

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