THE WORD OF THEIR TESTIMONY
THE WORD OF THEIR TESTIMONY Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
There are three ways by which we overcome the accuser of the brothers: by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of our testimony, and by loving not our life to the death. The second of the three ways, the word of our testimony, always proceeds from the Holy Spirit. There is nothing human in the testimony that overcomes the accuser.
The human being can tell about the testimony but the testimony itself is given by the Spirit of God.
Table of Contents
THE WORD OF THEIR TESTIMONY
They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. (Revelation 12:11—NIV)
It seems the condition of the world grows worse with each passing day. For two thousand years philosophers, educators, politicians, scientists, and other savants and leaders have offered solutions to the destructive policies of mankind. But Utopia eludes us.
The reason why Utopia eludes us, why every reasonable device of well meaning and not so well meaning people fails in its objective, is that Satan and other wicked spirits sit on the thrones in the air that govern the spiritual atmosphere of the earth.
Satan's house cannot be invaded until the strong man is rendered helpless.
God's holy angels who perform His will have always had the power to cast Satan from the heavens. But God has not given them permission to do so.
Satan remains in the heavens, coming before the Throne of God day and night, accusing the saints of all their wrongdoings.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. (Revelation 12:10—NIV)
Before the problems of earth can be remedied the accuser of the brothers must be "hurled down" from his position in the heavens. He has been a troubler not only of the earth but also of the heavens. Notice the sigh of relief when he finally is cast down.
Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short." (Revelation 12:12—NIV)
"Rejoice you heavens"! But woe to the earth and sea when Satan is forced down. The days ahead are going to be interesting!
The wars of the Lord are fought by two armies, the army of saints, with Christ at the head, and the army of angels, having Michael as the Commander in Chief. Of course Christ ultimately is over all.
The actual power of the warfare resides in the angels. The army of saints are judges. God has given to the saints, by the Scriptures, the task of judging the world and also the angels. The saints are God's judges.
The reason Michael was not commanded long ago to cast Satan from the heavens and then from the earth (in the end it requires only one angel to bind Satan and cast him into the pit) is that the judges are not ready. They themselves are subject to Divine judgment and so they are not qualified to judge the world and the angels.
The world will never be made right until the saints have been prepared to judge the wicked.
We overcome the accuser by:
The blood of the Lamb.
The word of our testimony.
Loving not our life to the death.
In order to prevail against the accuser, to remain without condemnation, we must always be under the cleansing of the blood of the Lamb.
Contrary to much popular teaching, continuing under the cleansing of the blood of the Lamb requires a response on our part. If we walk in the Light of God's perfect will, if we steadfastly maintain our confidence in Christ to the end of our discipleship, if we do not shrink back, if we obey the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, then and only then do we remain without condemnation; then and only then is the righteousness of the Law of Moses ascribed to us; then and only then do we remain under the cleansing of the blood of the Lamb.
Satan cannot prevail against the perfect righteousness of the blood of the Lamb. In order to overcome us he must deceive us so we are not obeying the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, so we are living according to our sinful nature. In this manner Satan brings us out from under the blood of the cross. Then he can prevail against us.
If there is one major error in today's Christian teaching it is that the blood continues to cleanse us even though we are not following the Spirit of God. Evidently we do not realize God will not permit any creature to live without law. Either we choose to walk each day in the Spirit of God or else we default to the Law of Moses. There is no middle ground.
The second way by which we overcome the accuser is with the word of our testimony. We will be discussing the word of our testimony in a moment since it is the major topic of the present essay.
The third way of overcoming the accuser is by loving not our life to the death. This means we have chosen to enter the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and to rise with Him to walk in newness of life. We are living no longer but Christ is living in us.
The Christian churches have always believed we are to be living no longer but Christ is to be living in us. However, many of us are not practicing this today.
In past time there were excellent expositors of the Word of God and the believers learned to live by reading the Word and obeying it.
Then came the Pentecostal experience of being filled with the Spirit. The gifts of Pentecost opened up avenues of worship in the saints, making praise and worship much more enjoyable.
In our day a great danger has arisen because of the increased activity of the Spirit of God among us. We are leaving the strict obedience to the Word and are relying on our spiritual experiences to guide us and to validate what takes place in the assemblings. We are not speaking as much as we used to of dying in Christ. We have lost our moorings.
We hear of people praying to the Holy Spirit. This is unscriptural. We hear of people praying to their guardian angel or commanding the angels to perform some work or get money for them. This is unscriptural.
We are putting the head of man on the Body of Christ. We are trying to be like Christ instead of becoming branches from the one true Vine.
This is the False Prophet who is to come. This is he who will work together with Antichrist to govern people in the last days. This is the spirit of lawlessness.
The great powers of the last days will be Antichrist (self-will in the political sphere); the False Prophet (self-will in the spiritual realm); and money (the image of the beast) The symbol 666 in the hand and head means people will act and think according to self-will and money.
This scenario already is full blown in America. We have self-will in the political realm, self-will in the Christian churches, and we worship money.
We are self-willed, lawless people who look to money to save us from every pain, to protect us from every evil, to solve every problem, to insure our happiness. Now tell me this is not so!
Listen to me: the only protection from the deception prevalent in the land is the position of death in the Lord. This is why Revelation speaks of dying in the Lord, of remaining faithful in the prison in which we are placed, and of those who have been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the Word of God ("beheaded" meaning they no longer trust their own mind, their own judgment, but look to Christ for every decision).
The night is coming in which no individual can work the works of God. Only those who have committed themselves to death in Jesus will be kept from deception; will be able to do God's works during the age of moral horrors that is at hand.
Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them." (Revelation 14:13—NIV)
As long as we choose to remain alive, to save our "life," to maintain our own way, even in Christian work, we are in danger of becoming the False Prophet, that is, of attempting to use the power of the Lamb to accomplish what we think might be God's will.
Overcoming by the blood of the Lamb has to do with Jesus Christ.
Overcoming by the word of our testimony has to do with the Holy Spirit.
Overcoming by loving not our life to the death has to do with stern obedience to the Father.
All of the problems of the world began when Satan rebelled against the Father. The rebellion can only be overcome by people who choose to obey the Father to the point of death.
When Jesus said "It is finished" He was referring to the entire adamic creation. The new world of righteousness began with Jesus' resurrection from the dead.
As long as we maintain our own way, even our Christian way, we are part of the adamic creation and subject to the Law of Moses. Since the Law of Moses results only in condemnation, we are in no position to overcome the accuser of the brothers. The accuser can be overcome only by Jesus Christ living and working in those who freely and cheerfully have given over their own life to the cross so Christ may live in them.
The Charismatic churches are at this fork in the road today. Either we are choosing to die that Christ may live, or we are "putting on our administrative hat," as one minister expressed it, and attempting to direct the gifts of the Spirit, the Spirit of God, and the angels.
We either are seeking to command the Presence of the Holy Spirit so our ministry will be glorified, or else we are waiting patiently for the Lord Jesus to perform His own works. Either we are doing the work and asking Jesus to bless us, or else we are looking to the Lord constantly for His will that we may perform it faithfully.
Right now make this decision in your mind: "I will die so Christ may live"; or "I am going to go forth and believe God will bless my efforts."
If you are spiritually ambitious this will prove to be a difficult choice to make.
The problem is in our mind. Either we wait and seek the Lord's mind or else we study, analyze, and reason what needs to be done in the Kingdom.
Either the Lord is going to build His Church or we are going to do it with His "blessing."
Either we are going to take the gifts the Lord has given us and attempt to heal a lost and dying world or we are going to wait until God tells us what to do.
This is the fork in the road we Christians are facing today. What path are you going to take?
I made my choice over fifty years ago. I have had some small fruit, but only as the Lord has directed. The church my wife and I pastor follows all the normal routines, with pageantry added that is not found in many assemblies. But fundamentally we have no program we are trying to put over, no agenda. Each service is held before the Lord, especially what word is to be preached.
We do have a long-range vision that we hope will be realized some day. But since we are not positive this is what God wants, we are not trying to bring it to pass with schemes and human effort. We want our assembly to be a place where the Lord can come, sit down, kick off His shoes, and rest a spell. Then when He is ready to tell us what to do we are ready to obey. How does this sound to you?
Dying in the Lord, the one certain protection from deception, means we will faithfully, patiently, seek and perform His will every moment of the day and night, through painful as well as joyous experiences. He knows what He wants done at every moment. We are laboring to enter the rest of God, the place of untroubled abiding in the very center of God's Person and will.
If this is what you desire, why don't you tell Him about it right now!
The testimony that overcomes the accuser of the brothers is developed and maintained along two lines: morality and miracles. If either of these is absent the testimony is not effective.
We see both lines of the testimony in the Lord Jesus. He was morally pure and He worked miracles.
If the Lord Jesus was not morally pure we would judge the miracles were coming from the spirit of Satan.
If the Lord Jesus was morally pure but worked no miracles we would doubt He indeed was the Christ, the Son of the living God.
The Charismatic churches are seeking power today, often power that can be used for self-aggrandizement. But the testimony in America has been greatly weakened by the immorality of the believers. We must have both power and morality if we are to overcome the accuser of the brothers who accuses them before our God day and night.
The two dimensions of the word of our testimony, morality and power, are seen in the pomegranates and bells around the hem of the robes of the High Priest.
Make pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet yarn around the hem of the robe, with gold bells between them. (Exodus 28:33—NIV)
The pomegranates symbolize the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace and so forth. This is the realm of moral behavior. The blue, purple, and scarlet portray respectively the life of Heaven, the majesty of Christ, and the blood of the cross. All these are necessary to bring forth the fruit of morality in us.
The gold bells represent the miracles of the Holy Spirit, the signs and wonders that call attention to the Word of God. The gold signifies Deity is at work in Kingdom demonstrations of power.
The linen curtains that formed the ceiling of the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation were linked together with fifty gold clasps. The gold clasps speak of the Glory of God that will be manifest as we pass from the Church Age to the Kingdom Age.
The sections of the goat-hair tent that covered the linen curtain were lined together with fifty bronze clasps. The bronze clasps symbolize Divine judgment on sin and thus have to do with the morality of the testimony.
The testimony that overcomes the accuser has no human element in it. We humans can tell about the testimony. We can tell of the creation of morality in our life or the life of someone else. We can describe a miracle we saw take place or a healing we experienced. But this is not the Divine testimony, this is our testimony of the testimony, so to speak.
The Laver that stood in front of the door of the Tabernacle building represents the washing of water by the Word. This is how the Bride will be perfected.
To make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, (Ephesians 5:26—NIV)
The Laver was solid bronze, being fashioned from the bronze mirrors of the women who served at the entrance to the Tabernacle. The Laver represents the morality of the testimony.
The Lampstand that was on the left as one entered the Holy Place of the Tabernacle was hammered into shape from a talent of pure gold. The Lampstand speaks of the power and wisdom of the Spirit of God that always abides on Christ.
"Make a lampstand of pure gold and hammer it out, base and shaft; its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms shall be of one piece with it. (Exodus 25:31—NIV)
Since the Laver was solid bronze, and the Lampstand was solid gold, no wood being found in either furnishing, we understand the testimony that overcomes the accuser is completely of God. We might say that the testimony is created in us or is given to us.
The testimony of morality is the fruit of the Spirit, not of the Christian no matter how devout. The attempts to be righteous and holy the Christian makes are a necessary part of his growth in Christ. But our own efforts will crumble under enough pressure. However the love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness that grow in us as we live in the Spirit will never crumble under pressure. They compose the Divine Nature being formed in us and there is no sin in them.
The bells around the hem of the High Priest's robe signify the ministries and gifts of the Spirit.
Pentecostal people are well versed in Acts 2:8. We know Jesus said we would receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon us and we would be witnesses at home and throughout the world. We know we cannot bear witness of the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of the Lord Jesus except as we are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
We understand to a certain extent the power aspect of the testimony.
What is not nearly as well known is the morality aspect of the testimony.
Because of the false teaching of "grace" of our day, the morality of the Christian churches has been nearly obliterated. We simply are at sea when it comes to understanding the role of righteous, holy, obedient behavior in the Kingdom of God.
God, as we have said, will not permit any creature to exist apart from Divine law of one sort or another.
Under the new covenant we are free from the authority of the Law of Moses, but only on the condition we are walking in the Spirit of God, in the light of God's will. When we go back to living in the flesh we leave the Law of the Spirit of Life and return to the condemnation of the Law of Moses.
Notice in the following three passages the conditions governing freedom from condemnation.
In order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:4—NIV)
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. (Galatians 5:18—NIV)
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (I John 1:7—NIV)
Look at the conditions!
"Who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit."
"If you are led by the Spirit."
"If we walk in the light."
What we are saying is as follows:
If we live according to our sinful nature the righteous requirements of the Law of Moses are not fulfilled in us.
If we are not led by the Spirit we are under the Law.
If we do not walk in the light as God is in the light the blood of Jesus Christ does not purify us from all sin.
How can the reader get anything else out of these three passages?
The righteous requirements of the Law of Moses are not fulfilled in us. This means we have gone back under condemnation.
We are under the Law of Moses.
We are not purified from sin.
Now I know Christian teachers will say that it is not possible for a Christian to go back under condemnation, to be under the authority of the Law of Moses, to be not purified from sin.
So I say, the Christian teachers are not following the Scripture. They simply, with their traditions and reasoning, have departed from the Scripture. They are adhering to the old-line teachings of predestination and "faith alone" and are not regarding what the New Testament actually states! Therefore the churches, and our nation as a result, are in moral chaos.
The Spirit of God is calling today for repentance on the part of the American Christians. But how can we repent when our doctrine tells us repentance is not critically necessary? It is not critically necessary because we are without condemnation, we are free from the Law of Moses, and we are purified from all our sin even though we are disobeying God in many ways.
Some Christian teachers will insist that even though the righteous requirements of the Law are not being ascribed to us, even though we have gone back under the Law of Moses, even though the blood of the Lamb is not purifying us from all sin, we still are saved and will go to Heaven when we die. More than that, we will have a beautiful mansion. More than that we will hear nothing negative at the Judgment Seat of Christ. More than that we will govern the nations with a rod of iron.
Now I ask you, are these not errors heaped on errors until there is nothing left but errors?
The Good News of the Kingdom is that we no longer are under the condemnation of the Law of Moses. We are without condemnation in that the righteous requirements of the Law have been assigned to us because of our belief in the Lord Jesus, in the efficacy of His atoning blood.
But we are told clearly that we have not just escaped Divine law. Rather we have gone from one law, the Law of Moses, to another law, the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. The new law does not condemn us as we obey the Law of the Spirit each day. We are purified by the blood of the Lamb.
But if we choose to continue in live according to our sinful nature, not praying, not meditating in the Bible each day, not attending the assemblings of fervent believers, not giving, serving, presenting our body a living sacrifice, not taking up our cross and following Jesus, not seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then we are not participating in the new covenant. Righteousness is not being ascribed to us. We are under Divine judgment. We are not purified from our sin.
From all appearances there do not seem to be very many genuine Christians in the United States. How could there be? Each Sunday the believers are hearing how much God loves them, how they are saved by grace regardless of their behavior and certainly will go to Heaven to live forever in Paradise after they die. Yet in many instances they are not presenting their body a living sacrifice, not taking up their cross and following the Lord.
They are being told any moment now they will be carried to Paradise in a "rapture" so they will not have to suffer under Antichrist or the Great Tribulation.
If you want people to come to your church you better be aware this is what they expect to hear. If they do not, most of them will leave promptly.
What does it mean to be "led by the Spirit"? It means to put to death through the Spirit of God the deeds of your flesh. If you do not do this you go back under the condemnation of the Law of Moses.
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:13,14—NIV)
Thus we see that the Spirit of God creates the testimony of morality in us, and imparts to us the power and wisdom of the ministries and gifts. In both cases, that of moral transformation and the endowment of the wisdom and power of the Spirit, the testimony that overcomes the accuser of the brothers proceeds from the Spirit.
Our role is that of obedience to the Spirit each day, particularly in the area of reading the written Word (the Laver), and washing ourselves therein. If we look into the Word and see we are dirty in some area, and then do not go to the Throne of God for help in changing our behavior, we are living according to our sinful nature and no longer are without condemnation.
God wants to brings His sons to the point they can serve as judges of the world and of the angels. When God has enough sons to satisfy His requirements, sons who have overcome the accuser by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony, and by loving not their life to the point of death, God will then command Michael to attack the Devil and his angels.
Michael and his legions will not be slow to respond. They will rush forward with the speed of light against the enemy, the full force of the Father's power behind them. Satan and his angels will fight but they are defeated from the beginning of the attack.
Down from the heavenlies will fall the entire army of Satan. Not one rebellious spirit will be left to pollute the heavens. They all will be cast to the earth ignominiously.
Now the earth will be populated not only with the nations and the demons but also with Satan himself and the highest ranking of his officers.
Will there be members of the Body of Christ on the earth at this time? As far as I know, the answer is yes.
How then will they survive?
They will survive because God will have established His Throne in the hearts of His saints. They have been totally obedient to God. They have obeyed the commandments of Christ and His Apostles. Therefore Christ has been formed in them. When Christ has been formed in us the Throne of God is present in us. There is no power in the heavens, on the earth, or in the dark regions below the earth's surface, that can possibly harm someone in whom Christ has been formed and is dwelling.
You see, God is not moving us toward retreat, toward fleeing, but toward perfect victory through the Lord Jesus Christ. We are more than conquerors through him though Satan and his Antichrist both were to stand in front of us.
Do you remember what happened when the Philistines put the Ark of the Covenant and Dagon in the same room? No harm came to the Ark but Dagon toppled over and his hands and head were cut off.
So it is true that if Satan and the Antichrist were so foolish as to confront a Christian in whom Christ has been formed, the power of God would soon make them wish they had not bitten off more than they were able to chew.
As I said, we are not moving toward escape from the earth to the spirit Paradise. The earth is the Lord's and the fullness therefore, the world and those who dwell therein. The earth and its people are the possession of Christ and His coheirs. I don't know about you but I am not willing to turn over what God has given me in His Word to Satan and the Antichrist.
Neither one these rebels has any business being on our earth. The earth belongs to the Lord Jesus and those who are His. If we stand firm no one can take the earth away from us.
We can overcome the accuser if we will continue to walk under the blood of the Lamb. We do this by confessing our sins and turning away from them.
We can overcome the accuser by the testimony the Holy Spirit will create in us if we are willing and obedient, the testimony of moral behavior and also that of the wisdom and power of the gifts and ministries of the Spirit.
We can overcome the accuser by assigning our own life to the cross with Christ and rising with Him in resurrection power—power that Satan cannot overcome because he cannot overcome the resurrection of Christ.
Think what it will mean to the nations of the earth if you and I are willing to follow Jesus Christ to the point that Satan is forced down from the heavens, and finally out of the earth altogether!
Then all nature will break forth into singing. The earth and its people will awaken to find themselves in the glorious freedom of the children of God. The world will be a safe place for children. Nothing will hurt or destroy because God's Spirit will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.
It is to this end we were predestined from the beginning of the world. Let us press forward into God and make our calling and election certain by choosing to live, as Divine grace enables us, in iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to the Father.