The Testimony – (Revelation Chapter 1 Verse 1-3)
The record, the testimony John gives concerning this revelation of the things that must come to pass. The testimony is of full of symbols, signs and visions. Symbols and signs of realities that we can see, over and again we are told in the book of Revelation “come and see, come and see!” Because our sovereign Lord Jesus would have us to see, this is the purpose of his giving us this prophecy. So that we are not perplexed by what we see happening in the world, so we understand things are not out of control, but under his supreme Lordship. It is prophecy, it speaks the word of God as opposed to the word of man. Man’s ideas, philosophies regarding life, the world, where it’s going etc. Some may ask you are a futurist, that means do you believe all this lies in the future. Then another may ask you are you a preterist, that means you believe all this lies in the past, it has been fulfilled. We wear the spectacles of neither of these. It isn’t futuristic in the sense that it all lies in the future. It was happening then, in John’s day. It is happening now, and it will happen to very the end of the age. Man sees the world in turmoil, here is this record, this testimony was given to the church so that we begin to see what is behind it all. The believer should know, be able to identify the turmoil and its cause. When he sees salvation abounding in some location, he recognises the white horse and its rider (6:2). The gospel is going forth conquering and to conquer. When he hears about a war he recognises the Sovereign Christ has loosed the red horse and its rider (6:4), war. When he hears of economic trouble he recognises the black horse and its rider has been loosed (6:5), financial trouble abounds. When he hears of about death, whether by war, famine earthquake etc., he recognises the pale horse and its rider has been loosed (6:8), there is death abroad. This is the record of Jesus Christ and his sovereign doings in history, he is the cause of it all. It is not the politicians, it is not the bankers, nor is it the medics, it is Christ, he is both Lord and God.
The church in the world as far as the world is concerned is insignificant, what it believes and proclaims. But the word of God declared by the church opposes man’s view. This is the record of what Christ will do in this world, and these things will, must, shortly, come to pass, for he says so (v1). The world is busy with its own things, building its kingdoms, even developing the kingdom of the Anti-Christ, the kingdom of man without God. It is taken up with bank balances, bigger houses, it is consumed, obsessed with these things, because that is all that the world has. But this record is given to us, God’s people, that we might discern the times we are living in, and that we might live godly, that we might endure, just as he, Christ, endured. That we might stand faithful to the testimony of Jesus Christ and the truth, and be strong in the faith. That we might not give way. This is the record of where history is going, inexorably, history is linear, it is not circular, going round and round ever repeating itself. It is going in a straight line, and it is not plodding, but rushing onwards to the second and final coming of the Lord Jesus Christ! Are you ready? Are you building a home in heaven?
(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2011)