The Testimony of Jesus in Revelation

New JerusalemFive chapters in Revelation include the phrase “the testimony of Jesus.” In verse 19:10 an angel tells John, “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of the prophecy.”

Revelation 1:3 and 22:7, 10, 18-19 make clear that “the prophecy” is the book of Revelation. The spirit—the heart, the focus, the emphasis, the essence—of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus.

This testimony is not only of the Jesus seen clearly in the gospels. It is also the testimony of Jesus living in and through all His believers. The consummation of this corporate testimony of Jesus is New Jerusalem.

John “testified the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, even all that he saw” (Rev. 1:2). All that John saw included New Jerusalem. John paid a price for his seeing.

“I John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (1:9). John was exiled to the Patmos. Because his situation involved tribulation and endurance, he took it “in Jesus,” in the man who suffered and endured in His life on earth.

In this outward suffering John saw four visions “in spirit,” the last of which was New Jerusalem. John wrote not an outward story nor a merely human history. Rather, he presented the testimony of Jesus, including New Jerusalem, seen “in spirit.” We too need to be In Spirit to See and Enter New Jerusalem.

The spirit, the focus, of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus. This includes the seven churches (Rev. ch. 2–3), the multitude (ch. 7), the bright woman (ch. 12), the firstfruits (ch. 14), the overcomers (ch. 15, 20), the bride (ch. 19), and New Jerusalem (ch. 21–22). These should be our focus in Revelation, and like John, we should be in spirit.
See New Jerusalem with a Spirit of Faith.

We See Jesus, We Look Away to Jesus

Hebrews 2:6-8a, quoting Psalm 8:4-8, says about Jesus, “What is man, that You bring him to mind? Or the son of man, that You care for him? You have made Him a little inferior to the angels; You have crowned Him with glory and honor and have set Him over the works of Your hands; You have subjected all things under His feet.”

New JerusalemJesus was made “a little inferior to the angels” in incarnation (see Phil. 2:5-8) and was “crowned with glory and honor” after His resurrection and ascension (see Acts 2:22-36).

Hebrews 2:8b-9a continues, “For in subjecting all things to Him, He left nothing unsubject to Him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to Him, but WE SEE JESUS…”

What does this have to do with New Jerusalem? Today we do not see all the things God has done. Apparently not all things in this world are subject to Jesus. We don’t see New Jerusalem. We don’t realize how God is working in a hidden way to prepare for the second coming of Jesus. But, we do know God is “leading many sons into glory” (Heb. 2:10), a glory which consummates in New Jerusalem.

We cannot correlate everything around us and all that happens in society with “leading many sons into glory,” but WE SEE JESUS. Rather than trying to understand world events, let us “run with endurance the race which is set before us, LOOKING AWAY UNTO JESUS, the Author and Perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:1b-2a).

Jesus is the Author of our faith and it is by this faith that we look to Him. It is by this faith we realize that God is leading us into the glory of the Lord’s return, the glory of the kingdom, and the glory of New Jerusalem. Lord, keep us looking away from outward things and looking at You.

Photo courtesy of NASA and ESA.

In the Cloud for the Lord’s Presence

The Spirit will bring us up to a high mountain to see and enter New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10). On this mountain, we will be in a cloud which cuts off our seeing of everything else. Moses; Peter, James, and John; and Saul all had such “cloud” experiences.

New JerusalemIn these experiences the “cloud” cuts off our view of everything, but that is not the goal. The goal of the cloud is to separate us from everything into the Lord’s presence that we may focus all our attention on Him.

Exodus 24:15–25:1 say, “Moses went up to the top of the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. And the glory of Jehovah settled on Mount Sinai….And Moses entered into the midst of the cloud…and was on the mountain forty days and forty nights….Then Jehovah spoke to Moses.” Moses was in the cloud to behold the glory of the Lord and to hear His speaking.

On the mountain in Matthew 17, while Peter was speaking, “behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is My Son, the Beloved, in whom I have found My delight. Hear Him!” The cloud brought God’s voice to turn Peter from everything else to Jesus Christ.

In Acts 9:11-12, while Saul was blind, he was praying and saw a vision. This indicates that he was in fellowship with the Lord. And Acts 26:16 records that the Lord spoke to Saul during his blindness about “the things in which you have seen Me and of the things in which I will appear to you.” Hence his blindness began a life of seeing the Lord and the things of the Lord.

Lord Jesus, turn us from darkness to light. Grant us a “cloud” experience that we may clearly hear Your voice, see You, and see the glory of New Jerusalem.

Seeing Nothing, Seeing New Jerusalem

New JerusalemMoses was on a mountain, in a cloud, to see the tabernacle. Three disciples were on a mountain, overshadowed by a cloud, to see Jesus in glory. We need an equiva-lent experience to see New Jerusalem with the glory of God (Rev. 21:9-11).

The cloud cuts us off from everything, it blinds us to everything, apart from the Lord and His eternal tabernacle, New Jerusalem.

Besides the three disciples in Matthew 17, Saul had a comparable experience recorded in Acts 9. At that time (on the road to Damascus) he became blind. He heard and spoke to the Lord yet physically he “could see nothing” and was “three days without seeing, and he neither ate nor drank.”

He saw something of the Lord on the road. During the following three days he was praying; he must have seen more during this time, undisturbed by the physical realm.

Beyond those days of prayer, in Galatians 1:15-17 Paul tells us, “But when it pleased God…to reveal His Son in me…immediately I did not confer with flesh and blood, neither did I go up to Jerusalem…but I went away to Arabia.”

We do not know where in Arabia he went nor what he did nor how long he stayed. The Bible’s silence about these matters, and the fact that he “did not confer with men,” implies to me that Saul was “in a cloud with the Lord” and not involved in human activity. This would allow him opportunity to receive more revelation from the Lord.

Saul’s experiences and Moses’ multiple times on the mountain show that we need repeated times with the Lord to have a full revelation of New Jerusalem. Although we might think that John suddenly saw New Jerusalem (Rev. 21–22), we should remember that he had much interaction with the Lord before that time. Lord, give us the experiences we need for the vision of New Jerusalem.

Mosaic image of pixabay.com.

A Cloud + God’s Voice: Heavenly Revelation

Moses went up to the top of the mountain, heard God’s call, entered into the cloud, and remained there. As a result he received a vision of the tabernacle, a precursor of New Jerusalem.

There are some New Testament records which to me have the same flavor. In Matthew 17 the Lord Jesus took Peter and James and John up to a high mountain privately (v. 1). “He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun” (v. 2). At that time there was a transient appearance of His glory but in New Jerusalem the glory will eternally illuminate the city (Rev. 21:23).

New JerusalemWhile Jesus shone with glory, Moses and Elijah also appeared to the three disciples (v. 3). Peter’s response was to make Moses and Elijah equal to Jesus (v. 4). But, “While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is My Son, the Beloved, in whom I have found My delight. Hear Him!” (v. 5).

Even on the mountain, privately, far from all earthly activities, Peter still needed a cloud to cut off his attention to Moses and Elijah. Are we any different?

After the word, “Hear Him!” the disciples fell down (v. 6). Jesus said “Arise, and do not be afraid. And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.” The cloud plus God’s speaking were effective!

We all need experiences equivalent to those of Moses and the three disciples so that we can see New Jerusalem. The temporal and physical circumstances will be different but the outcome will be a heavenly vision.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Merciful and Faithful High Priest  Brings Us Forward to New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the consummation of all God’s work and the eternal outcome of His mercy toward us.

God’s New Testament mercy began with the sending of John the Baptist, followed by the appearing of Jesus Christ. He became “a merciful and faithful High Priest in the things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17)

New JerusalemHebrews 2:5-18 speaks first of the prophecy in Psalm 8 and then about the fulfillment in His becoming such a High Priest. In this fulfillment He destroyed the devil and released us from death. God also subjected all things under His feet. We do not yet see this subjection but we do see Jesus, who was crucified and passed through death, crowned with glory and honor.

Furthermore, Hebrews 2 tells us that as our High Priest, He imparted Himself as life into us to make us individually His brothers and corporately His church. He also sings hymns of praise in our midst to the Father, who is leading many sons into glory. It is very likely that such singing will continue into the next age and into New Jerusalem.

This passage about our High Priest also tells us that God is “leading many sons into glory.” The merciful care for us opened the door for God’s leading us into glory, which ultimately is New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

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