The Testimony of Jesus

The Book of Revelation applies several terms to the Church that is under assault from within and without. The men who have been redeemed by Jesus form a new priestly company that transcends all national, social, and cultural boundaries, and “tribulation” and persecution are not aberrations to be avoided at all costs, but integral parts of what it means to belong to the Kingdom of God. Persevering in the “Testimony of Jesus” through affliction goes to the heart of what it means to follow the “Lamb wherever he goes.”

What sets this company apart is its composition of men from every “nation,” “people,” “tribe,” and “tongue” who have been redeemed by the shed blood of Jesus. They are now his “Kingdom of Priests” on the Earth sent to mediate the light of the Gospel.

Lighthouse at night - Photo by Jonathan Cooper on Unsplash
[Photo by Jonathan Cooper on Unsplash]

Jesus is the “Faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the Dead, and the Ruler of the Kings of the Earth.” His past death is the basis of his present reign, and by it, he freed his people from their sins and made them a priestly kingdom. The mission to be a light to the nations that was assigned to the nation of Israel has now fallen to those who follow the “Lamb wherever he goes” - (Exodus 19:4-6, Revelation 1:4-6, 5:10, 14:1-4).

The addressees of the Book are identified as the “servants” of God, namely, the “Seven Assemblies of Asia.” They are “fellow participants” with John in the “Tribulation and Kingdom and Perseverance in Jesus.” John found himself exiled to Patmos because of the “word of God” and the “Testimony of Jesus.” - (Revelation 1:8-9).

In Chapter 5, John saw a glorious figure seated on the “Throne” who was holding the Scroll sealed with Seven Seals. After a search of all creation, only the sacrificial “Lamb” was found “worthy” to open it because “he was slain and redeemed for God by his blood men out of every tribe, tongue, people and nation, and made them a KINGDOM and PRIESTS to our God” - (Revelation 5:9-10).

The same category applied to the “Seven Assemblies of Asia” is applied in the Vision of the Throne to the multitude of men from every nation - the “Kingdom of Priests.” Everyone purchased “from the Earth” by his blood becomes a member of this company and is therefore called to persevere in the “Testimony of Jesus” no matter what.

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When the Fifth Seal was opened, John saw the “martyrs” who had been slain for the “Word of God, and for their Testimony.” Like the animals sacrificed in the ancient Tabernacle, their lives had been poured out at the base of the Altar because of their faithfulness in testifying for Jesus. Likewise, the “Two Witnesses” were slain by the “Beast from the Abyss” because of their “Testimony” – (Revelation 6:9-11, 11:4-7).

In Chapter 12, Satan was expelled from heaven. Enraged, he gathered his forces to “wage war against the Seed of the Woman, those who have the Testimony of Jesus.” However, the “brethren” overcame him by the “Word of their Testimony, and because they loved not their lives unto death.” They were willing to suffer even death for the sake of his “Testimony” - (Revelation 12:9-17).

In Chapter 13, the “Beast that ascended from the Sea” waged war on the “saints” and killed them. This portrays the same reality as the war by the “Dragon” against those who had the “Testimony of Jesus.” It was because they were determined to persevere in their “Testimony” that they paid the ultimate price - (Revelation 12:17, 13:1-10).

Humanity falls into two groups:  Those who have been redeemed by the “Lamb,” and the “Inhabitants of the Earth” who take the “mark of the Beast.” Rather than the “Testimony of Jesus,” they stand in awe and praise the Beast – “Who is like Beast, and who can make war with it?” - (Revelation 13:15-18, 14:1-5).

Sun Norway - Photo by Jonas Allert on Unsplash
[Photo by Jonas Allert on Unsplash]

In contrast, the faithful saints who were purchased by Jesus “
overcame” the “Dragon” by persevering through whatever he inflicted on them while maintaining the “Testimony of Jesus” before the nations. This is the “endurance of the saints.”

Because of their faithfulness “unto death,” the “witnesses of Jesus” were found by John standing before the “Lamb” and the “Throne” in worship in the city of “New Jerusalem,” having “come out of the Great Tribulation.” Martyrdom means victory, not defeat – (Revelation 7:15-17, 14:12).

From start to finish, the focus of Revelation is on the Church that has been redeemed by the sacrificial death of Jesus, and on its mission to humanity.  Though different terms are applied to this group, in each case, the same redeemed company is in view. What sets them apart is their “redemption by the blood of the Lamb,” and the fact that they have been tasked with persevering in the “Testimony of Jesus” before all men.



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