Each of the seven messages to the churches ends with a promised gift to the victors, those who overcome. These are (the numbers refer to the number of the letter):

1. Eating from the wood of life in Paradise.

2a. A crown of life.

2b. Rescue from the second death.

3a. Hidden manna.

3b. White stone with a new name.

4a. Authority and a rod of iron.

4b. The morning star.

5a. White garments.

5b. Not erased from book of life, confessed by Jesus.

6a. Made a pillar in the temple.

6b. Receives the name of God and Jerusalem.

7. A place on Jesus’ throne.

Apart from the first and last, each church gets a double gift. Though distributed over seven messages, there are twelve total gifts, gifts for the twelve “tribes” of overcomers. 

The gifts match up fairly well with the seven days of creation, as expanded upon in the sevenfold tabernacle instructions in Exodus 25-31:

1. In Exodus, the first speech describes the tabernacle and its furnishings, a reestablishment of the enclosure of Paradise. Eating from the tree also anticipates the gifts of the seventh day, the Sabbath entry into paradise. 

2. The second speech of Yahweh in Exodus is about the atonement money, a ransom to prevent plague (30:12), a “firmament” standing between Israel and death.

3. On day 3 of creation, land came from the sea and plants sprang from the earth - stone and manna.

4. Day four is the day of heavenly lights, which “rule” the times - rod and star.

5. In Exodus, the fifth section has to do with billowy things like clouds of smoke and robes, which resemble the swarms of creatures on day 5 of creation - white garments.

6. On day 6, Adam was formed from the dust and placed in the Edenic sanctuary, a pillar in the Creator’s temple, made as His image to bear His name.

7. Sabbath is for enthronement as well as rest. On the first Sabbath, Yahweh took His throne; Jesus promises that those who overcome will share the throne.

Eight of these gifts reappear more or less explicitly in the book of Revelation as a given-gift:

1. Tree of life, 22:2, 14, 19.

2b. Rescue from second death, 20:6, 14.

3b. Stone with name, 21:14 (the word for stone differs - psephos in 2:17; themelios in 21:14).

4b. Morning star, 22:16 (identified with Jesus).

5a. White linen clothing, 19:14.

5b. Name written in book of life, 20:15.

6a. In temple, 21:22 (temple identified with Lord and Lamb; no reference to pillar).

7. Seated on thrones, 20:4.

Thus, when all the overcomers are assembled and receive their gifts, they form a new creation. Or, to put it the same way, when the overcomers have been assembled and receive their gifts, they are made into the tabernacle of God which is among men (cf. Revelation 21:3). They are a priestly assembly, wearing crowns and white garments, holding stones and manna and a rod, standing as pillars in Yahweh’s house and sitting with Him on His throne. 

By overcoming, they have been outfitted to be the dwelling place of Yahweh in the Spirit, prepared as a bride.

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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