The Meaning of the Testimony of Jesus (Twelve 7)

One of the marks of the remnant in Rev. 12:17 is that they are those who “have” or “hold to” (Greek: echontôn) the “testimony of Jesus” (Greek: tên marturion Iêsou). Many scholars see this phrase as representing either the gospel (Jesus’ testimony about the character of God in His life—John 14:9) or the book of Revelation itself (Rev. 1:1-3). But a closer look at Revelation 1:1-3 indicates that the “testimony of Jesus” is neither of these in Revelation.

Revelation 1:1-3 portrays a chain of revelation. The revelation is passed from God to Jesus, then from Jesus through His angel to His servant John and then John writes it out for the people. What God gives to Jesus is called “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” What Jesus gives to John is called “the testimony of Jesus.” What John gives to the people is called “the words of this prophecy.” Summarizing this chain of revelation in different words, based on the text: The revelation of Jesus Christ is what God gave. The testimony of Jesus is what John saw. The words of this prophecy are what John wrote. That means that the testimony of Jesus is not the book of Revelation (what John wrote), it is the visionary gift that Jesus gave to John (what John saw—Rev. 1:2). So the testimony of Jesus is a visionary gift of revelation that he gave to John according to the second verse of the book.

One of the marks of the remnant is having the “testimony of Jesus” (Rev. 12:17—Greek: echontôn tên marturian iêsou). Based on the evidence of Revelation 1:1-3, this means that John foresaw an end-time revival of the kind of visionary, prophetic gift he was given (Rev. 1:2). This reading of 12:17 is confirmed when you compare Revelation 12:17 with a careful comparison of Rev 19:10 and 22:8-9. Revelation 19:10 speaks of John’s “brothers. . . who have the testimony of Jesus” (Greek: tôn echontôn tên marturian iêsou). The two phrases are identical. The further parallel with Revelation 22:9 is instructive. In a very similar scene the angel speaks of John’s brothers “the prophets.” So the testimony of Jesus is closely associated with the gift of prophecy in Revelation. Those who “have the testimony of Jesus” in 19:10 are called “the prophets” in 22:9. This confirms that the mark of the remnant in Revelation 12:17 described as “the testimony of Jesus” represents the kind of visionary, prophetic gift that John himself had.

5 thoughts on “The Meaning of the Testimony of Jesus (Twelve 7)

  1. Octavian Gheorghita

    In Reveletion 1,9 John is introducing himself to the reader. He tells the reader where he was located, Patmos Iseland, and the reason for being there: for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
    So, he was sent there as a punishment for sharing the testimony of Jesus. When he did this? Before he was sent to the iseland. What John did that caused him to be sentenced to isolation on the iseland? He was preaching the Gospel of Jesus. The testimony of Jesus has nothing to do with the visionary gift. He received this gift on the iseland. Also, in that times, to be prophet meant to preach the Word of God. This does not mean that Johns brothers had visions. They where like pastors. Preaching.
    Dear pastor Knight, I’m excited to read all your devotional, articles and twits. Please do not try to accommodate the Bible with some of our church concepts. Let the Bible be Sola Scriptura. The remnants are characterized by keeping Jesus law, not Moses law, and they are preaching the Gospel. Don’t try to explain why SDA church is the remnant church. The tenant church has no official name. I hope you get my point.
    Your brother in Jesus Christ, Octavian.

    Reply
    1. Jon Paulien Post author

      Who is Pastor Knight?

      Rev 1:9 does not say that John was there because of persecution, the grammar is ambiguous. 1:2 does define the testimony of Jesus (at that spot at least) as “what John saw.”

      Reply
  2. Robert Whiteman

    Don’t we read that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit(breath = life) of prophecy”? I have come to view this as meaning : the living fulfillment of all that Moses and the prophets wrote of concerning the Messiah to come, as the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world, and the very “end(telos) of the law for righteousness”. Jesus’ message while on earth is summed up as “repent and believe the Gospel”(Mark 1:15), also stating He came to fulfill all of the Law as witnessed by “Moses and all the prophets”(Luke 24:27).

    So for me, having the “testimony” and/or “faith of” Jesus is to be like Him in character and purpose.

    I have also discovered the very key to understanding the Revelation(and all scripture) is found in verse 1, and confirmed in verse 3 of Revelation 1. We need only to be servants of God, and He will show us the meaning of this Revelation and “things which must shortly come to pass”. Only servants are sealed(Rev 7:3), only servants will be found righteous(Mal 3:18), and only servants will receive the salvation/vindication promised(Isa 54:17). Jesus was such a Servant of God, and if taking His yoke upon us, we too will learn to be meek and lowly of heart, and enter into His Rest.

    Reply
    1. Jon Paulien Post author

      No problem with these thoughts. The grammar of 19:10 is ambiguous, but the prophetic interpretation is supported by 1:2 and 22:8-9 so it should not be excluded.

      Reply

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