QB23 The Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy

The Book of Revelations begins with these words:

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him, to show his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel to his servant John: Who bore record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. (Rev 1:1,2)

The underlying purpose of Revelation is to reveal Jesus, to make Him known now and to signify the means by which His glory will be revealed to the whole world in the coming days. This is what these opening verses in Revelations tell us; that God gave to Jesus to show His Revelation to His servants things which must shortly come to pass. The phrase “things which must shortly come to pass” positions this prophecy into the future. It is what we might call ‘predictive’ prophecy and not historical. Scholars agree that Revelation was written around 96AD whilst John was exiled on Patmos, and therefore we might reasonably ascribe much of what is written as after this date. As we learnt in Quick Bite 13, shortly doesn’t mean imminent or at any time, but quickly, when the things John sees taking place occur, they will do so quickly. The opening continues and shows the means by which our Lord would signify and attest to His Revelation is by sending His Angel to John. The angels are Jesus’ servants, communicating His Revelation to John. And throughout this prophecy we see many angels involved in the administration of these signs and visions for John to witness, which he wrote down as instructed Rev 1:19. So what we have in Revelation is the written record of what John saw, and our pages are filled with strange visions like a seven headed beast with ten horns coming out of the sea, or a city coming out of heaven dressed like a bride. John, no doubt, found the same challenge as did Paul who saw things too sacred to be put into the limitation of human language. 2 Cor 12:4 But a vision inspires the imagination and gives room for the Holy Spirit to enlighten. So as John witnessed and recorded the Revelation of Jesus Christ, he encountered many angels with various roles and assignments, which we find punctuating the unfolding of the prophetic narrative, but in particular, and as indicated here in Rev 1:1 there is one angel in particular commission by Jesus who sent His angel to John, to testify on His behalf. Chapter 22:16 also supports this and reads “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” The word I want to point out here is the word “testify”, Jesus sent His angel to testify. In other words the Revelation of Jesus is given to us in the form of testimony, His Testimony. This is what our opening verses in chapter 1 tell us, for it says that John “bore record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw”. The Revelation of Jesus comes to us as “The Testimony of Jesus”, and in Rev 19:10 the angel informs John, that the “Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy”. So in summary, the point I am making is that the revelation of Jesus, that which He is revealing to us about himself and about the things to come, it comes to us in the form of His Testimony, the Testimony of Jesus. And when Jesus testifies, His words are carried by His messengers, in this case His angel, but in all cases and ultimately by the Holy Spirit who is “the Spirit of Prophecy”.  The testimony of Jesus is prophetic because it is revelatory.