And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony… (Revelation 12:11 ESV)
When it comes to teachings about overcoming the adversary, teachers often ignore Revelation 12:11 and instead cite Matthew 4:1-11 wherein Jesus rebuked the devil 3 times by reciting scripture. For all the messages I’ve heard and read that admonish believers to do the same, you would think Revelation 12:11 actually said:
And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by
the word of their testimony reciting scripture. (Revelation 12:11 ESV)
Let’s consider for a moment, what Jesus was really doing when He rebuked the devil with those 3 scriptures. John 1:1-14 says that Jesus is the ‘Word become flesh’ and Revelation 19:10 says that “the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Thus when Jesus was reciting scripture and prophesying, He was giving His own testimony. In fact, when addressing Pontius Pilate before He was sentenced to death by crucifixion, Jesus said:
“… I have come into the world to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38 ESV)
Pilate should have asked “WHO is truth?”
For Jesus is “THE Way, THE TRUTH, and THE Life”. (John 14:6)
Thus, everything Jesus said and did was His testimony about Himself, since Jesus is the Living Word of God! Jesus overcame the devil not by reciting scripture as if quoting from a book He’d read and memorized, He overcame the devil with His own testimony since He is the Word of God incarnate!
If during this season of my life in Christ, there is a single scripture that burns within my heart, it is 2 Corinthians 3:3, wherein Paul wrote:
“You are the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, not having been written with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not on tablets of stone, but in fleshly tablets of the heart.”
Imagine that; we are living epistles of Christ written by the Spirit. Every born again believer is a walking, talking, living book of testimony about the Lamb of God! And in the same way Jesus overcame the enemy by His testimony, we also overcome the enemy through the blood of the Lamb (Jesus) and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). The epistle of Christ, which the Spirit has written upon our hearts, is our testimony!
So why aren’t we shouting our testimonies from the rooftops? Why isn’t every gathering of the brethren a victory parade of believers – the living epistles of Christ – lining up to proclaim all that the Lamb of God has done for us?
Is it any wonder that churches which habitually silence the brethren in deference to the milquetoast sermons of a hireling, are without power and dying? Do we really need to suffer through another 12 part sermon series on the Lord’s prayer? I could stand it no more! I will not gather with those who would silence me! No! I am compelled by the Holy Spirit to share from the epistle of Christ written upon my heart for to remain silent is torment; like Jeremiah’s “fire shut up in the bones!” My heart also longs to hear the other epistles of Christ boast of Him who has written their pages! Oh what tales of victory by the Lamb of God await us! When will we finally hear the testimonies of the brethren? When will the Lord unleash the torrent of His Truth bottled up within us?
I am certain the Lord is anxious for that day, for it was about 6 months ago that He directed me to write a letter of correction to the church He sent me to for several months. For 2 days I was caught up in the Holy Spirit to pen a long letter to the pastor, elders and spiritual leaders. What follows is an excerpt of that letter, which describes the sorry state of the assembly there:
And the “Epistles of Christ” who would bring glory to God by sharing from the pages He has written in our hearts, are silenced by religious tradition and pastor-dominated meetings. Instead of testimony, we get jokes, unsourced stories and the occasional Youtube music video. All this occurs while the pastor stares into the many faces of the Epistles of Christ, seated before him, but silenced by religious tradition and clergy rule over the laity.
There is nothing that devalues Christ’s continuing work on earth more than to silence the “Epistles of Christ” and their testimony of Him.
There is overcoming power in our testimony. But we use it not.
As I wrote that letter, I heard from the Spirit, over and over, as if an urgent final plea with God’s people:
Testify or die.
My greatest hope, is for the epistles of Christ to stand and be heard. About that, I’m reminded of the last verse of John, which I believe to be prophetic concerning the testimonies of the saints.
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. (John 21:25 KJV)
I am a book. You, dear reader, are a book. Each of us is a “living epistle” – a book of the works of Jesus Christ, meant to share our pages with a world sorely in need of Good News.