Jesus, the Faithful Witness

In the salutation sent to the Seven Assemblies, Jesus is called the Faithful Witness because of his self-sacrificial deathThe vision of John begins with “greetings” to the Seven Assemblies of Asia from the One “Who is,” the “Seven Spirits,” and Jesus Christ, the “Faithful Witness.” The Son of God bore “witness” in his sacrificial death, and it becomes the pattern for the “Assemblies” to emulate as they give “testimony” while undergoing tribulation “for the Word of God.”

Crucifixion of Jesus - Photo by Anja Bauermann on Unsplash
[Photo by Anja Bauermann on Unsplash]

The term, “Faithful Witness
,” refers to his death, and this is demonstrated by the declaration that Jesus “loved us and loosed us from our sins by his blood.”

  • (Revelation 1:4-5) - “Grace and peace to you from Him who is, and who was, and who is coming, and from the Seven Spirits which are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the Faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the Dead, and the Ruler of the Kings of the Earth. Unto him, that loves us and loosed us out of our sins with his blood.”

He is also called the “Firstborn of the Dead” and the “Ruler of the Kings of the Earth.” The former refers to his resurrection and the latter to his present reign. All three designations are derived from the eighty-ninth psalm:

  • (Psalm 89:27, 37) - “I also will make him my first-born, the highest of the kings of the earth His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established forever as the moon and as a faithful witness in heaven.”

The opening declaration about Jesus refers to the victory he achieved in his past death and resurrection, and this is confirmed by the self-identification of the “one like a Son of Man” in the Book’s first vision:

  • I am the Living One, and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades!

His present possession of absolute sovereignty was achieved through his death and resurrection. Similarly, in his letter to the Laodiceans, he describes himself as the “Amen, the faithful and true witness - (Revelation 1:18, 3:14).

The Greek term rendered “witness” is martus. It means “witness,” and from it is derived the English noun ‘martyr’. It refers to one who bears “witness,” gives “testimony” before others, and very often, in legal proceedings. John, for example, was exiled to the Isle of Patmos for the “Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus.”

Not coincidentally, in Pergamos, the very same label is applied to the man named ‘Antipas,’ “my faithful witness,” who was slain for his testimony. Likewise, when the “fifth seal” was opened, John saw the souls of those who had been slain “for the Word of God and for their Testimony” underneath the altar - (Revelation 2:13, 6:9).

Later, the “Two Witnesses” (martus) were slain by the “Beast from the Abyss” after they completed “their Testimony,” and the English noun “testimony” translates the related Greek term marturia. Similarly, after he was expelled from the courts of heaven, the “Dragon” departed to “wage war on those who have the Testimony of Jesus.”

Later, after Satan was bound in the “Abyss,” John saw the souls of the men “who had been beheaded for the Testimony of Jesus and the Word of God… And they reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Just as Jesus did, their participation in his “reign” was preceded by suffering and martyrdom - (Revelation 11:7, 12:17, 20:4).


In his death, Jesus did not just bear “witness,” but he gave “faithful witness.” Like him, the martyr Antipas is called “my Faithful Witness,” and Jesus summoned the church at Smyrna to become “faithful unto death” despite the “tribulation” they were about to endure. For that congregation, “faithfulness” meant martyrdom – (Revelation 2:10, 2:13).

Finally, faithful Christians “overcome” the Devil by the “word of their testimony; and because they love not their lives unto death.”

Consistently in the Book, bearing “Faithful Witness” is closely associated with martyrdom. This does not mean that every believer must suffer a martyr’s death, but it certainly stresses the need for every saint to be willing to do so - “For the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus.”

Just as Jesus gave “faithful testimony” before the High Priest of Israel, the Roman governor, and on Calvary, likewise, his disciples are called to bear witness before a hostile world system that all too often persecutes the Assembly of God, even when doing so means an unjust death. It is in this way that they “follow the Lamb wherever he goes.”



Destruction of Babylon

Gog and Magog