Berean Bible Corner

THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS

Scripture reading: Rev.12:17 & 19:10

 

Verse 17 predicts the last satanic attack against God’s people in the end-time.

The identifying marks are stated: 1.Obedient to God’s commandments

2. Having or holding to the Testimony of Jesus.

 

Before this attack will take place we may experience:

1. Diminishing the importance of being law abiding,

calling it legalism versus liberalism.

2. Confusing the understanding of: ‘The Testimony of Jesus?’

 

 

In this presentation the focus is on:  What is the Testimony of Jesus?

 

 

The issues are as follows according to what some say or write:

1. Some say, there is no link between Rev.12:17 and 19:10.

2.Others say, Testimony of Jesus is: a. The witness of Christ’s church about Jesus

b. Preaching of the Gospel.

3. Again we hear……….”not intended to provide an infallible commentary on the Bible”.

4.Next some say: “If we interpret the Old and New Testaments in light of Ellen White making her the final authority in our understanding of what the Bible means, we make her the greater light and scriptures the lesser light.”

 

These statements are not in line with the following:

“Adventists believe that the gift of the Spirit of Prophecy was manifested through Ellen G.White, whose many books have provided numerous and uniquely authoritative comments on Bible texts”

 (.SDABC, vol.I p.14)

 

Seventh-day Adventists believe that God inspired Ellen G.White .Therefore her expositions on any given Biblical passage offer an inspired guide to the meaning of texts without exhausting their meaning

or preempting the task of exegesis.”(Methods of Bible Study Com.Gen.Conf.Autumn Council GC

Rio.SA and published in Review 22.1.87)

 

5.”The summation of Rev.14:12 shows striking correspondence with Rev.12:17.Both end-time passages identify the faithful saints as those that keep the commandments of God and persevere in the faith of Jesus. (12; 17; 14:12). (HKL .p. 271 in his book  “End time Prophecies”)

 

6. Some person wrote to me:”I am convinced that our traditional ‘exegesis’ of Rev.12:17 through 19:10,as being the Gift of Prophecy besides the New Testament scriptures, that is, as an extra biblical gift, is a faulty exegesis and unconvincing to an informed Bible scholar.”  (Letter 26.9.98.)

 

 

Note qhat an informed scholars says: The late Dr.Gerhard Hasel. “Thus Rev.19:10 and 12:17 are uniquely linked, providing their own interpretation” Rev.19:10 provide the definition for Rev.12:17. Special characteristics identify the end-time remnant; they keep the commandments of God and have the Testimony of Jesus which is the Spirit of Prophecy”. Rev.12; 17; 19:10 (AA Fall 1988 p.62/3)

 

Dr.Mervyn Maxwell.

“Translating the underlying Greek as directly as possible, God’s end-time people are described in Revelation 12:17 as

 <1>   keeping the commandments of God and as

 <2> “having the Testimony of Jesus” (which is “the Spirit of Prophecy,” 19:10).We

conclude that God wanted us to know that His end-time ‘saints’ would be outstanding in these two special ways.” (God Cares II p.405)

 

Dr.G.Pfandl.

“The angel in John’s vision defines ‘The Testimony of Jesus’ as ‘The Spirit of Prophecy’, 19:10.    (Darcom vol .7, p.295).

 

Rev.19:10 is a definition, using exactly the same wording ‘Testimony of Jesus” as in Rev.12:17

marturian Yesou.

They have, in both cases echoton, which means in possession of, not giving or bearing.

The remnant is in possession of it, not bearing or sharing or giving it.

 

“And ‘echo’ in Greek never means to ‘bear’ in the sense of bearing witness, it always has the meaning of ‘having’ as a possession” (Dr.Pfandle e mail 4.11.1998)

 

ANOTHER OBJECTION.

 

“She never uses that phrase <Spirit of Prophecy> to refer to the manifestation of the Gift of Prophecy in her own personal ministry. She limits it to what Jesus revealed to the biblical writers, the testimony that He Himself gave to them and that is now found in the scriptures.”  (Letter Rodriguez 4.1.99). This true, but she may have had her reason as Jesus had.

 

ANSWER.

1.Where did Jesus say in public that He was the  Messiah?

Matthew 16:20 He charged them not to tell that He was the Christ, see also Matt.8:4

 

2.He called them fools not believing the scriptures, Luke 24:25-27

 

3.When Jesus asked His disciples , He did not oppose the answer, but told them not to

tell the people Luke 9:18-20

 

4.When asked by Pilate, Jesus did not oppose  it. John 18:33+37.

 

5.E.G.White never pointed to herself but to the gift, Through His Holy Spirit the voice of

    God has come to us continually in warning and instruction to confirm the faith of the believers

   in the Spirit of Prophecy” ( SM I p,41[top])

When asked, E.G. White did not deny, but told who she was, the messenger of the Lord.

 

 

6. When asked she told who she was. “Are you a prophet? I have ever responded,’ I am the

 Lord’s messenger’. I know that many have called me a prophet, but I have made no claim to this title.      My saviour declared me to be His messenger.” (UL p.160)

 

FROM PROBLEMS IN TRANSLATIONS, GC Publication 1954.

“In this comparison we have further evidence concerning the ‘Testimony of Jesus’ being connected definitely with the prophetic gift.”  ib.252 and  further same page:

“So we affirm that in the apostle’s thinking the expression ‘testimony of Jesus’ is intimately associated with, and is an integral part of, the prophetic gift.”

 

Dr.Herbert Douglas.

“As we noted on page 3 ‘The Testimony of Jesus (or Christ) <Rev.12:17> is the ‘Spirit of Prophecy’

<Rev.19:10> (Messenger of the Lord p, 21)

Same repeated on other pages in the same book.

 

SDA Believe page 252, 2006 ed.

‘Near the end of the book the angel identifies himself as ‘your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the Testimony of Jesus’ (Rev.19:10) and your ‘fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets’ (Rev.22:9) these parallel expressions make it clear that it is the prophets who have ‘the Testimony of Jesus’. This explains the angel’s statement that ‘the Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy’”Rev.19:10

 

“The Testimony of Jesus is practically equivalent to Jesus testifying (xxii.20).It is the self-revelation of Jesus (according to [Rev.1:1}, due ultimately to God) which moves the Christian prophets.”  Ibid  (Statement from James Moffat in Expositor’s Gr.Test.)

 

 

POSSESSING OR GIVING.

 

The early church was in possession of this gift. 1 Cor.1:6 “Even as the Testimony of Christ was confirmed in you”. MARTURION TOU CHRISTOU

 

John was in possession of this gift. Rev.1:2, 9 “.Bare record of the Word of God, and of the Testimony of Jesus Christ.”

Two items. WORD of GOD, scriptures and TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST.

 

vs.9 He was on Patmos ‘for the Word of God, and for the Testimony of Jesus Christ’.

Same as in vs.2, two items.

He was a martyr because he preached the written word of God and gave God’s

message as a prophet, because he had the gift of prophecy.

Marturian Yesou. Testimony of Jesus, and not concerning Jesus.

 

THEY HAVE.

In both Rev.12:17 and 19:10 the expression is that they HAVE, POSSESSED.

 

Vast majority of translations read, HAVE, HOLD, POSSESS.

A few render BEAR as their translation, like The Jerusalem Bible (RC influenced)

See above Pfandl’s e mail regarding ECHO.

Spirit of Prophecy is a gift of the Spirit. Eph.4:11; 1Cor.12:10

 

WHAT ABOUT THE COMBINATION OF REV.14:12 and 12:17?

According to some, a striking correspondence between the two and they state it as follows:

      “The faithful saints are those that keep the commandments of God and

       persevere in the faith of  Jesus

That is human opinion and man’s view point.

The text in Rev.14:12 speaks about two “here’s” first “here is the patience of the saints” and then follows the second: “here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus”.

It is obvious that the saints have patience, and keep two things;

1.They keep the commandments of God

2.They keep the faith of Jesus, not their own but that of Jesus ,Phil.2:5  Mind of

Jesus.

Keep=tereo: to watch over, to take care of, keep an eye upon, observe

attentively.

It is an active doing attitude, not a possessive having attitude.

 

Both text (12:17 and 14:12) are a description of God’s end-time people, one is complementing the other.

Both text give emphasis to obedience,

One mentions the Testimony of Jesus-Spirit of Prophecy, because this

states one of the two  reasons for Satan making war with the remnant

 

The other (14:12) speaks about patience, and faith of Jesus, character marks

of the saints’ spiritual standing before God and in this world.

 

Satan’s anger is not against the preaching of the gospel, but against gospel preaching which includes obedience and he hates the Spirit of Prophecy which stimulates or directs towards obedience as the fruit of righteousness or righteousness by faith leading into sanctification by faith in Jesus.

 

 

 

HOW TO USE THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY AND ITS RELATION TO THE     SCRIPTURES.

 

Argument: It is not intended to provide an infallible commentary to the Bible.

 

Is there such a thing or person who can claim infallibility?

Are Bible commentaries as such excluded from Bible study?

If E.G.White, who was endowed with the prophetic gift, is not to be recommended as a       dependable source for information or help in Bible study, which one should be recommended?

 

“In regard to infallibility I never claimed it; God alone is infallible.

      His Word is true, and in Him is no variableness or shadow of turning.”Jam.1:17

(SM I, 3)

 

Yet now when I send you a testimony of warning and reproof, many of you

             declare it to be merely the opinion of Sister White. You have thereby insulted

             the Spirit of God. You know how the Lord has manifested Himself through the

             Spirit of Prophecy”.        (SM I, 27)

 

“I  do not write one article in the paper expressing merely my own ideas. They

             are what God has opened before me in vision – the precious rays of  light

shining from the throne….”       (ibid.)

 

Which Bible scholar or theologian can make the same claim?

 

Ellen White either speaks the truth or she leads us astray and then should not be consulted in any case, but laid aside completely.

 

“The Holy Ghost is the author of the Scriptures and of the Spirit of Prophecy. These

are not to be twisted and turned to mean what man want them to mean, to carry out

man’s ideas and sentiments, to carry forward man’s schemes at all hazards.” (SM III, 30)

 

 

 

WHAT ABOUT THE LESSER LIGHT AND THE GREATER LIGHT.

 

The objection is: if we accept E.G.White’s viewpoint on scriptures we make her the greater light and the Bible the lesser.

 

But is that not the same for any commentary, scholar or theologian

who’s viewpoint on scriptures is accepted?

 

We are admonished to compare scripture with scripture, but does that

exclude consulting some dependable source of information?

 

Should Ellen White not have a number one place in that category

of dependable sources of information?

 

WHICH SOURCE IS GENUINLY DEPENDABLE AND TRUSTWORTHY?

 

If we accept Paul’s viewpoint of certain OT scripture passages

and quotations, are we reading the OT through the eyes of  Paul  or

are we accepting Paul’s usage of scripture which  leads to a correct

understanding of these passages?

 

BOTH PAUL AND THE OT ARE BEING GUIDED BY THE SAME SPIRIT.

 

“Little heed is giving to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser

                          light to lead men and women to the greater light.”   (SM III, 30)

 

“Besides the instruction in His Word, the Lord has given special testimonies to

                       His people, not as a new revelation, but that He may set before us the plain lessons

                       of His Word, that errors may be corrected, that the right way may be pointed out,

                       that every soul may be without excuse.”       (Ib.31)

 

“The Bible must be your counselor, study it and the testimonies God has given; for they

                     never contradict His Word.”      ( ib.32)

 

The men walking to Emmaus were corrected by Jesus in their understanding of scriptures. Jesus did not point to Himself. E.G.White does not point to herself.

Paul did the same for the believers in his days.

The Spirit of Prophecy does the same in our time, pointing to the scriptures.

 

All were guided by the same Holy Ghost. It is the Testimony of Jesus

working through the Holy Ghost, in Paul’s ministry and in that of Ellen G.White.

 

Ellen White always recommended the Bible, up to her last days.

Last words during GC session 1909:

                    

                   “Brethren and sisters I commend unto you this book.” (EGW in “Later Years 1905-15”,p.197)

 

“But God will have a people upon the Earth to maintain the Bible

               and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrine and the basis of

               all reform.”  (GC595)

 

But these statements do not contradict her other statements that her

writings as a result of the Spirit of Prophecy are given to lead and

guide us in the study of the scriptures to avoid error in understanding.

 

Ellen White’s recommendations regarding Bible study confirm those of Isaiah in Isa.28:10, 13

 

“…precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little and there a little…”

 

and in Isa.34:16 “Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read; no one of these shall fail, on shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his Spirit it hath gathered them.”

 

IN CLOSING.

 

We must take at heart Paul’s admonition and that of King Jehoshaphat:

 

1Thess.5:19    quench not the Spirit

 

2Chron.20:20 Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; believe in the lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.

 

One of Satan’s last deceptions, “The very last deception of Satan will be to make

of non effect the Testimony of the Spirit of God.’ Where there is no vision, the people perish’(Prov.29:18).Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God’s remnant in the true testimony.”   (SM II, 78)

 

Let’s be part of God’s remnant of Rev.12:17, commandment

keeping and holding to the Testimony of Jesus, which is the

Spirit of prophecy, Rev.19:10

 

 

Pastor Jan T Knopper

April 2006

Edited September 2010

Revisited August 2013

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