The Testimony of Jesus
One of the most powerful revelations in the scriptures is that of the power of "the testimony". During the wilderness journey of the people of God, we learn that Moses commanded certain items to be placed in the Ark of the Covenant. Interestingly, another name for the Ark is found in Exodus 16:34 where it states "as the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept.". So we learn that the Ark was also referred to as the "Testimony".
When the children of Israel were crossing the Jordan, we read that "the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until everything was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over." Joshua then commanded that “the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan." (Joshua 4:10,16)
Notice again that the ark is called the “ark of the testimony” throughout the biblical narrative. What was and is significant about the ark, is the items that were placed within it. In Hebrews 9:4 we discover “the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;”. Consider what these items represent:
- Golden pot of manna – Matthew 4:4 “the proceeding word of God”
- Aaron's rod that budded – John 5:27 “Divine authority”
- Tables of the covenant – Matthew 5:17 “Unchanging will of God”
Additionally, here are a few things the Psalmist said about the testimony. "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple" (Psalms 19:7), “Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth" (Psalms 119:88) and "If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore."” (Psalms 132:12) Notice in these verses “the testimony” is said to be God’s not man’s. Yes, God has a testimony.
Instruction was provided through the prophet Isaiah that when people were encouraged to seek after false and deceptive spirits, that "to the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isaiah 8:19, 20) That is quite a test. If the words were not in agreement with the “law and the testimony”, they were not to be heeded. This became a test for those who claimed to speak for God, and If ever there was a time when messages and messengers need to be “tested”, it is today when there are so many voices claiming to be speaking for the Lord.
As we continue to look at the subject of prophecy, we need to keep these things in mind. Again, Isaiah was instructed to "bind up the testimony, and seal the law among my disciples." (Isaiah 8:16) Here a direct link is made between “the testimony and the disciples.” This may shed some light on the writing of John from the isle of Patmos.
In the opening chapter of The Book of Revelation, we learn hat John was “in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for “the testimony” of Jesus Christ.” Perhaps we never viewed that verse through the lens of the biblical understanding of the testimony. Well that is the lens we will proceed from as we study at The Revelation.
We'll continue to examine “the testimony of Jesus” but this enough for us to meditate on for now. I do have one closing thought I want to leave with you regarding “the testimony” and The Revelation. During one of the last angelic visitations John experienced, he recorded "and I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Revelation 19:10
And that is why it is neccessary for the followers of Jesus to understand the importance of the spirit of prophecy. It is connected to the "testimony of God".
To be continued…