The Gospel Is Also Called the Word of God – And It Is Also Called the Ministry of Jesus
What is “the testimony of Jesus”? It is a vital part of the book of Revelation, so we should know what the phrase means. It is what might be called the truth of Jesus, or what some people call the religion of Jesus. My last article was on “The Word of God,” and how it does not just mean the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. It’s the same way with the testimony of Jesus – the truth of Jesus, the religion of Jesus. It is something very specific. It does not just mean the Bible in general.
Among other things, the Old Testament was a preview, a forecast and a prediction of coming events. It is history, but it is not just history. It is law, but it is not just law. It has been called a ‘fore-shadowing’ of events that would change the world. Theology calls this ‘the Christ event.’
A REVIEW OF THE WORD OF GOD
It’s very important to understand ‘the testimony of Jesus,’ as it is ‘the word of God.’ Things don’t always mean what we think they mean. To recap the word of God, if we look at I Thessalonians 2, we note that Paul mentions the word of God twice in verse 13. But in the first 12 verses he makes 4 direct references to the gospel by using the word ‘gospel,’ plus two implied references. Of course we know that Paul says the gospel was his constant message and ministry (Acts 20:24). The gospel was the new dispensation of grace that was specifically revealed to Paul by God for us, which he also calls as the mystery of Christ (Col 1:23-26, Eph 1:2-4).
We can see that his whole subject is THE GOSPEL, but in verse 13 he merely changes from talking about the gospel, and calls it the word of God. But he has not changed subjects – he’s still talking about the same thing. To Paul, when he spoke about the word of God, he wasn’t talking about the Bible from Genesis to Revelation – he was talking about the gospel of the finished work of Christ.
IS REVELATION ONLY ABOUT FUTURE EVENTS?
For thousands of years, in the Old Testament, people were focused on the future, trying desperately to understand what was coming (read First Peter 1:8-10). Then Jesus came transforming our minds about salvation, our identity in God, and earthly and eternal life.
Since then, because of the book of Revelation, we are told to go back into a future-focused expectancy about the return of Christ: the end times. Revelation is said to be all about the future.
Future end-time thinking is robbing us blind.
The book of Revelation itself declares that it is
about “the word of God” and “the testimony of Jesus,”
– not just a future preached by futuristic gurus.
THE WORD OF GOD
“The word of God,” and “the testimony of Jesus” are both mentioned twice in the first chapter of Revelation (verses 2 and 9). When the Bible repeats itself this close together make a special note of it. My last article showed how it is THE GOSPEL that fulfills the word of God in us (Col 1:23-26). So the gospel becomes the focus of what the Bible refers to as “the word of God.”
The gospel is the amazing doctrine Jesus brought that all the people were so astonished by. It is what communicates the love, light and life of God himself – or as Jesus says, “The way, the truth and the life.”
THE GOSPEL IS THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS
Now we’ll see how “the testimony of Jesus” points to the very exact same thing: the gospel of the New Testament. You see THE GOSPEL is very much a part of Revelation. Remember in Revelation 1:19, John was told to write about three things: (1) the things which you have seen, (2) the things which are, and (3) the things that will still take place.
The gospel even heads the list: the things he heard and saw during his 3 ½ years with Jesus, which was the inauguration of the gospel. Hear it again: Revelation is part of the New Covenant gospel of the finished work of the cross – it is not removed from it.
Jesus came to fulfill the Old Testament predictions, and the Old Covenant law (Matt 5:18, Luke 24:27, 44). Jesus also came to bear witness, or give testimony to gospel truth – the reality of the way things really are (John 18:37). As he said, everything he said he received from the Father.
EARTHLY AND ETERNAL REALITIES
Revelation is the expanded testimony of Jesus – a further revelation of what he had brought to this earth from the Father. It is the truth about (1) earthly and (2) eternal realities – the cause behind all the effects in life that we all experience. Paul says this: Jesus came to abolish death and bring (1) life and (2) immortality to light through the gospel (II Tim 1:10).
We’re brainwashed to think Revelation is only about the future
– about a time that is still future to us in 2012.
In so believing, we miss the majority of it.
This is of tremendous importance, yet few see this reality.
Satan has blinded our minds to gospel truth (II Cor 4:4).
Jesus came to bring a special revelation of “the word of God,” which was fulfilled in the gospel. He said we must repent of all other beliefs and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15). He said this gospel must be preached in all the world before the end can come (Matt 24:14).
Paul said it was preached in all the world, to every creature under heaven, before his ministry was over (Col 1:23). As I said earlier, this does not mean we don’t still have work to do with regard to the gospel. There are still multitudes of people alive right now who haven’t heard the gospel. But as far as fulfilling Bible requirements for the end to come, Paul says he accomplished this during his life.
Not only do we preach the gospel, but angels preach it from heaven too (Rev 14:6). We hear reports of this frequently: someone in a remote place receives a visitation from an angel – and sometimes even from a person they believe is the Lord Jesus himself.
THE BOOK OF REVELATION IS CURRENT REALITY
The revelation of the book of Revelation
is an on-going present reality.
The truth of God’s word, and the truth of Jesus’ testimony
are present-progressive, not just future.
Revelation describes (1) the things that John saw with Jesus, and (2) the things going on at the time it was written, as well as (3) things that will take place in the future. It is a three-prong revelation, not just a one-prong revelation.
I alluded to this already: what Revelation gives us is ‘a behind the scenes’ look at an invisible dimension to life that we cannot see with our eyes. In all the effects we experience on earth, there is meaning behind them. It is called the throne of God (mentioned almost 40 times in Revelation). This is meant to produce faith – not for the future – but in our present reality.
There is a cause behind the effects. There is control behind the apparent chaos.
Revelation is a book that is more about today than it is about tomorrow. Is Revelation also about the future? Let me declare it again: YES! Part of Revelation is about the future (although in my mind, a much smaller part than people think).
In this book, Jesus reveals a special revelation of divine truth that had been stated before, by both himself and by the Apostle Paul. But now he presents it in picture form so we don’t forget it. But the fact is most of us do not see it because we have been brainwashed to think it is only about a future time that has not yet occurred in 2012. This is deception.
I will conclude these thoughts on “The Testimony of Jesus” in an upcoming article that will also be available on The Gospel Coach website.