Faithful Witness(es)

“The most significant characteristic of the church as the people of God in Revelation is its calling to be a faithful witness” (Gorman, Reading Revelation Responsibly, 131).

Jesus is portrayed as the faithful witness, who remained true to God despite trails and suffering (Rev. 1:5; 3:14; 19:11). Jesus is the faithful witness because He is the authoritative witness to God’s ways and truth, countering the world’s values and ways. The sharp double-edged sword comes from His mouth (1:16; 2:12, 16; 19:11, 15, 21) as He comforts His faithful followers and rebukes those who are not in conformity to the ways of God (Duvall, The Heart of Revelation, 105-106).

Jesus fulfilled His mission by going to the cross for the redemption of the world (Rev. 1:5; 5:6, 9).

Being faithful witnesses is exemplified in John the faithful witness now on Patmos (Rev. 1:9), the martyred Antipas of Pergamum (Rev. 2:13), and the faithful witnesses/martyrs (Rev. 6:9–11).

The task of a witness is to speak courageously in word and deed, testifying to the truth of God and speaking against falsehood. The witness accomplishes his or her mission through service, sacrifice, prayer, forgiveness, and speaking the truth in love.

Martin Niemöller was a Lutheran pastor who resisted the Nazis during Hitler’s reign of terror, is credited with saying:

 

First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

And then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

 

Not being a “faithful witness” is not an option for God’s people.

Success for faithful witnesses is not measured by the number of converts but by the steadfastness of our testimony.

Mark Johnson

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