“…I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
// Revelation 19:10b
The word for ‘testimony’ used here can mean ‘witness’ or also ‘reputation’; in Greek it is ‘marturia’, from which we derive the term ‘martyr’. If we unpack this verse and its ideas, we discover some incredible truths. Firstly, as this “fellow-servant” tells to John, we each hold the martyrdom of Jesus, which is the “spirit of prophecy.” What does all that mean?
Paul said in Colossians, “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” [see Col. 3:3]. That is what this messenger means when he tells John that we each “hold to the testimony – martyrdom – of Jesus”. Our old life is gone, for it was martyred on the Cross in His death; our new life proceeds from the Resurrected Christ and can only be described through prophecy. Prophecy is, simply, God’s perspective of us, based on what He sees through Jesus. We might struggle with anger or fear, but the Lord will send us a message – a prophecy – that declares, “Hey! I don’t see you caught in fear or anger, but rather I see you arisen into Christ, filled with His love and patience. Worship God!”
Prophecy has the power to catapult us into a new understanding that we have already died to our old man and have already been raised up, by His grace, to sitwith and in Him. We are new creations, and prophecy helps us answer the question, “What does Jesus look like in me right now? What does His death and resurrection mean for my faith and character at this point of my life or in this circumstance?”
His testimony [marturia] of us is that we died with Him and arose with Him; those truths make us witnesses [marturia], and empower us to worship Him; His reputation [marturia] directly links to our expression of living out the life of our new man, the man hidden with Christ in God. We are His martyrs – His witnesses of the testimony He holds about us, which expresses His reputation through us – and it’s His Story that we are declaring, daily.
Our daily worship of Him opens up our eyes to His testimony over our lives. The signature characteristic of the new creation is its worship. All we can do is to respond to Him by worshipping, thereby magnifying His reputation and our witness.
// Samuel Nicolosi