In Revelation 19:5 the apostle John tells us that he heard a voice from the throne of God speaking to him. Apparently, it was the same speaker that John heard in verses 9 and 10. Being from the throne of God, the speaker spoke true words of God. With full authority this speaker says, "For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." This morning, we will discuss the meaning of this fascinating statement.
One, Jesus proclaimed an authoritative testimony. We must believe!
The voice in John's vision speaks about "the testimony of Jesus."This phrase can refer to the testimony given by Jesus or to the testimony of believers about Him. In my view John refers here to the testimony about Jesus proclaimed by the believers. However, grammatically, either meaning is possible. And, we can learn from both meanings.
Let's begin with the view that "the testimony of Jesus"refers to the testimony given by Him. Jesus preached (Luke 4:43) the kingdom of God. During His ministry on earth, He dealt with many aspects of this subject. He spoke of both redemption and of judgment. Those who believed in Jesus would be redeemed. In contrast, those who did not believe would face the harsh judgment of spiritual death. In addition to what He said, the entire life, death, and resurrection of Jesus proclaimed the truth of God.
The message of Christ has had an unmatched influence in the world. All men and women, everywhere, must face the claims of the Son of God. Each of us has a choice to make. We can either accept or reject the message of God's Son. When we accept--when we believe--then we have eternal life. We will enjoy the benefits of the kingdom of God now and in the future.
Two, believers in Christ are witnesses about Him. We must proclaim the truth to people everywhere.
As I have said, the phrase "testimony of Jesus"can also mean the testimony of believers about Jesus. In Revelation 20:4, John writes about those who faced death because of "the testimony of Jesus."This almost certainly refers to the testimony the saints gave about Jesus.
John says, "And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."
Every believer in Christ is a witness. Our words and our lives tell the story of the Christ who came to save us. We give evidence to the transforming work of the Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life. Sometimes, the witness of believers precipitates their suffering. Many people, today, face persecution and death because of "the testimony of Jesus."However, we must keep proclaiming the truth and pray for those who suffer.
Three, the Holy Spirit empowered Jesus to proclaim the truth. We must recognize the authority of His proclamation.
The voice told John that the testimony of Jesus "is the spirit of prophecy."The main function of the Spirit is to bear witness to Jesus. The Spirit does this by empowering others to speak. The Spirit empowered Jesus to testify, and He empowers all who believe in Christ.
When He began His ministry on earth, according to Luke 4:14, "Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit."The Spirit of God was upon Him throughout His ministry. Through the power of the Spirit, He preached the Kingdom of God, performed His mighty works, and completed His redemptive work. As Jesus proclaimed the truth of God, the Spirit of prophecy was upon Him.
Because Jesus was empowered by the Spirit, His words were full of authority. In fact He said in John 6:63, "'the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.'"His words are infused with the Spirit, and they bring life. Jesus went on to lament the fact that some did not believe Him. I urge you, in contrast to them, to believe and receive life eternal.
Four, the Holy Spirit empowers us to testify about Jesus. We must be filled with the Spirit.
Before Jesus ascended, He said (Acts 1:8) to the disciples, "'but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.'"
When we witness, we must speak in the power of the Spirit. We must believe that the Spirit of prophecy will come upon us to testify about Jesus! So, let us all be candidates to be used of the Spirit of God. Christ will pour out the Holy Spirit upon us to make us effective in our witness.
Today, we have many means to deliver the Spirit-empowered message of the Gospel. One of those means is the Internet. We are seeking to touch the lives of 10,000,000 people by the Internet. To help us reach this goal, we have formed Team Ten Million. If you would like to be a member of this team, just visit www.project10million.com