"I Was In the Spirit ... and Heard" (continued)
Because of the Word and Because of the Testimony of Jesus"
The context of the above scripture indicates that John, along with many of the Lord's bondservants (Revelation 1:1) had been, and were now, companions, fellow-partakers, joint-partakers "in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus ..." This tells us that John, as well as many others of the Lord's people, who were not actually with him on the Island of Patmos, were fellow-partakers of Christ's sufferings "because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus." By interpreting scripture with scripture, we can comprehend what it means for the faithful to suffer in this way. We only have to prayerfully read Revelation 6:9-11, and 20:4, in order to grasp the intensity of both the sufferings, and the warfare, that the faithful of every age must endure "because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus."
"And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the Word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, should be completed also."
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. 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 their hand; and they cam to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
John was "in the Spirit" when He saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the Word of God and because of the testimony which they had maintained. He was "in the Spirit," and being "in the Spirit," he was in the realm of the Throne; and in the realm of the Throne, the Lamb opened the seven seals to the "Book" that only He was worthy to open: - a "Book" that contained both the righteous counsels and judgments of the One which sat upon the Throne - counsels and judgments which had been foreordained in past-eternity but which were set into motion because the Lamb hath prevailed.
John was "in the Spirit," and with the spiritual eye, with the comprehending, perceiving eye of the Holy Spirit, he saw the Lamb open the seven seals and he saw that which was, that which is, and that which-is-to-come: he saw intense spiritual warfare; he saw the antichrist spirit; he saw wars and pestilence and famine and death; he saw the wrath of God come upon satan and his host, and upon all that satan had ever instigated, etc. But in the midst of these seven seals, John also saw the fifth seal opened, and he saw the souls of those who had been slain because of the Word of God and because of the testimony they held, and continued to hold and possess. The testimony they held, and continued to hold and possess, was not their own witness or testimony, but it was the testimony of Jesus Christ. In the very first chapter of Revelation, we find the testimony of Jesus Christ in His own words: "I AM Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending," saith the Lord, "Which is, and Which was, and Which is to come, the Almighty" ... "I AM the First and the Last: I AM He that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I AM alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death" (Revelation 1:8, 17, 18).
So the testimony of Jesus Christ is that He is ALL the fullness of God. He is the Lamb that hath prevailed, He is Alive for evermore. Furthermore, Revelation 19:10 tells us that, "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy", in other words, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, our Crucified, Resurrected, Ascended Lord and Saviour, is the intrinsic value, the essence, and the substance of the Word of God. Jesus Christ is the Fullness of ALL-THAT-GOD-IS, and He hath prevailed, and He is alive for evermore. This is the testimony of all who, like John, are "in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ ... because of the Word of God and because of the Testimony of Jesus Christ. And we shall see that the way they "held," the way they continuously held and maintained and possessed this testimony, the testimony of Jesus Christ, was through the work of the Cross in their lives. So John saw the souls of them who laid down their lives, who lived a life of self-sacrifice, who poured out their lives as a drink offering unto the Lord, in order that they might fulfill the course God had set before them. This is not must speaking of those like Abel and Stephen, who were actually killed, martyred, because of the Word of God and because of the testimony of Jesus Christ. But it is speaking of all who have lived, and of all who are living, and of all who will live, a life of self-sacrifice in spirit, in soul, in heart, and in body, in order that God have all that He purposed in Christ.
~ T. Austin-Sparks~
(continued with # 27)