Overcoming Testimony


I am looking into the concept of witness and testimony in regards to eternal salvation and our relationship with God. The text was bouncing around inside my head about how the overcomers in Revelation accomplished their overcoming, and I decided to pursue this thread and see where it might lead me. The outcome so far has been very enlightening and stimulating.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death." (Revelation 12:10-11)

Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?" I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (Revelation 7:13-14)

With my new and clearer understanding of the true meaning and purpose of the cross and the blood of Jesus in the context of the larger view of the real war and the accusations against God that must be answered, so many old concepts are suddenly coming to life with brand new dimensions and with startling clarity and beauty. Now when I think about the idea of overcoming by the blood of the Lamb, it is not under the false notions that Jesus died to prevent an angry God from destroying me in vengeance. In fact, what I am now just starting to see is that this is a reference to those who finally come to realize the real truth about why Jesus came to die and start to reflect that same disposition.

I now see much more clearly that the primary purpose of Jesus' torture and death was a demonstration to all the universe exactly what happens when sin has a chance to treat God or innocent victims the way it always will when fully matured. By allowing demons and sinners to vent their full anger against God onto Jesus as a human being, the true nature of the accusations against God are exposed. When we begin to really grasp the truth about the cross and dispense with the false notions inspired by God's accuser that He is the problem, then the blood of Jesus shed by sinners becomes compelling testimony of the real truth about God. Then when we add our own testimony that God is good, true, faithful, fair, just and merciful and consistent, God's reputation is vindicated by the testimonies of at least two or more witnesses as demanded by the principles of justice.

These two basic fundamentals in the lives of God's children as outlined in Revelation 12:11 empower them to overcome all the accusations and lies of the enemy that have been used in this battle to defame the reputation of God and that have put Him on trial. As the final day of His judgment comes near, all of His true witnesses will more clearly see what the real issues are and how their testimonies contribute to His victory. The more pure our testimony becomes about the truth of God's character and the way He relates to His created beings, the more compelling our testimony becomes for those who still remain in doubt and darkness. They then will either resist these overwhelming testimonies in God's favor or they will join those who are speaking well of God and add their own testimony to that of the blood of Jesus and become overcomers themselves.

I have compiled a list of verses that relate to this issue and have already found them very helpful to outline the larger picture more accurately. Following are some of what I have put together in categories.


God Needs Witnesses in His Trial

And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; and he said with a loud voice, "Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters." (Revelation 14:6-7)

All the nations gather together and the peoples assemble. Which of them foretold this and proclaimed to us the former things? Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right, so that others may hear and say, "It is true." "You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed-- I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?" (Isaiah 43:9-13 NIV)
Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come-- yes, let him foretell what will come. Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one." All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame. Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit him nothing? He and his kind will be put to shame; craftsmen are nothing but men. Let them all come together and take their stand; they will be brought down to terror and infamy. (Isaiah 44:7-11 NIV)

He replied, "It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:7-8 NRSV)


The Need for Corroborated Testimony

On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. (Deuteronomy 17:6)
One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If a malicious witness takes the stand to accuse a man of a crime, the two men involved in the dispute must stand in the presence of the LORD before the priests and the judges who are in office at the time. The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against his brother, then do to him as he intended to do to his brother. You must purge the evil from among you. The rest of the people will hear of this and be afraid, and never again will such an evil thing be done among you. Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. (Deuteronomy 19:15-21 NIV)

If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true. There is another who testifies of Me, and I know that the testimony which He gives about Me is true. You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. But the testimony which I receive is not from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish – the very works that I do – testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me. And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. I do not receive glory from men; but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God? (John 5:31-44)


False Witnesses

If a person sins because he does not speak up when he hears a public charge to testify regarding something he has seen or learned about, he will be held responsible. (Leviticus 5:1 NIV)

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Exodus 20:16)

There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19)
He who speaks truth tells what is right, But a false witness, deceit. (12:17)
A trustworthy witness will not lie, But a false witness utters lies. (14:5)
A truthful witness saves lives, But he who utters lies is treacherous. (14:25)
A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will not escape. (19:5)
A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will perish. (19:9)
A rascally witness makes a mockery of justice, And the mouth of the wicked spreads iniquity. (19:28)
A false witness will perish, But the man who listens to the truth will speak forever. (21:28)
Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause, And do not deceive with your lips. (24:28)
Like a club and a sword and a sharp arrow Is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor. (Proverbs 25:18)


Sources of Testimony

So now come, let us make a covenant, you and I, and let it be a witness between you and me.
Laban said, "This heap is a witness between you and me this day." Therefore it was named Galeed...
"If you mistreat my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us, see, God is witness between you and me.
"This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass by this heap to you for harm, and you will not pass by this heap and this pillar to me, for harm." (Genesis 31:44,48,50,52)

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants... (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Now therefore, write this song for yourselves, and teach it to the sons of Israel; put it on their lips, so that this song may be a witness for Me against the sons of Israel.
Then it shall come about, when many evils and troubles have come upon them, that this song will testify before them as a witness (for it shall not be forgotten from the lips of their descendants); for I know their intent which they are developing today, before I have brought them into the land which I swore. (Deuteronomy 31:19, 21)

Take this book of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may remain there as a witness against you. (Deuteronomy 31:26)

Therefore we said, 'It shall also come about if they say this to us or to our generations in time to come, then we shall say, "See the copy of the altar of the LORD which our fathers made, not for burnt offering or for sacrifice; rather it is a witness between us and you."'
The sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad called the altar Witness; "For," they said, "it is a witness between us that the LORD is God." (Joshua 22:28, 34)

Joshua said to all the people, "Behold, this stone shall be for a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the LORD which He spoke to us; thus it shall be for a witness against you, so that you do not deny your God." (Joshua 24:27)

He said to them, "The LORD is witness against you, and His anointed is witness this day that you have found nothing in my hand." And they said, "He is witness." (1 Samuel 12:5)

His descendants shall endure forever and his throne as the sun before Me. It shall be established forever like the moon, and the witness in the sky is faithful. (Psalms 89:36-37)

The expression of their faces bears witness against them, And they display their sin like Sodom; They do not even conceal it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves. (Isaiah 3:9)

In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD near its border. It will become a sign and a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the LORD because of oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Champion, and He will deliver them. (Isaiah 19:19-20)

Now go, write it on a tablet before them and inscribe it on a scroll, that it may serve in the time to come as a witness forever. (Isaiah 30:8)

..."They have acted foolishly in Israel, and have committed adultery with their neighbors' wives and have spoken words in My name falsely, which I did not command them; and I am He who knows and am a witness," declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 29:23)

Hear, O peoples, all of you; Listen, O earth and all it contains, and let the Lord GOD be a witness against you, the Lord from His holy temple. (Micah 1:2)

This is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. Yet you say, 'For what reason?' Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. (Malachi 2:13-14)

"Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me," says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:5)

There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. (John 1:6-7)

There is another who testifies of Me, and I know that the testimony which He gives about Me is true. You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth.
But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish – the very works that I do – testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me. And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form.
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; (John 5:32-33, 36-37, 39)

Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us – beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us – one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection. (Acts 1:21-22)

Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins. (Acts 10:43)

In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness. (Acts 14:16-17)

For you (Saul) will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. (Acts 22:15)

And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the coats of those who were slaying him. (Acts 22:20)

For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, (Romans 2:14-15)

Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! (James 5:3)

...From Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood... (Revelation 1:5)


The Content and Source of True Testimony

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23 NIV)

There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. (John 1:6-8)

In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness. (Acts 14:16-17)

And he said, 'The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth. 'For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. 'Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.' (Acts 22:14-16)

And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins. (Acts 10:42-43)

He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." (Luke 24:44-49 NIV)

But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him." (Acts 5:29-32 NKJV)

I said, "Surely the city will fear me, it will accept correction; it will not lose sight of all that I have brought upon it." But they were the more eager to make all their deeds corrupt. Therefore wait for me, says the LORD, for the day when I arise as a witness. For my decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out upon them my indignation, all the heat of my anger; for in the fire of my passion all the earth shall be consumed. (Zephaniah 3:7-8 NRSV)

But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man. (Matthew 15:18-20)


The Intended Result of Testimony

If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' (Matthew 18:15-16 NIV)

"Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all to Myself." But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die. (John 12:31-33)



The Results of Rejecting True Testimony From Reliable Witnesses

Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? (John 3:11-12)

He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. (John 3:18-19)

I said, "Surely the city will fear me, it will accept correction; it will not lose sight of all that I have brought upon it." But they were the more eager to make all their deeds corrupt. Therefore wait for me, says the LORD, for the day when I arise as a witness. For my decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out upon them my indignation, all the heat of my anger; for in the fire of my passion all the earth shall be consumed. (Zephaniah 3:7-8 NRSV)

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-- and all the more as you see the Day approaching. If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:23-31 NIV, NAS95)


Embrace the True Testimonies

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death." (Revelation 12:10-11)

Thus says the LORD, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things," declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

In Revelation it says that those who are overcomers do so using two things: the blood of the Lamb and their own testimony. That makes at least two witnesses to establish that God is true, trustworthy and right. But the content of these two testimonies needs to both be accurate and must reinforce each other's implications. Otherwise they will only lead to confusion and detract from God's defense.

We have too long looked at the concept of overcoming in relation to getting sin out of our lives in order to qualify ourselves to get into heaven. This sad misinterpretation misses the main point of what is really needed. It is not our sins that we need to overcome nearly so much as the lies of God's enemies. But since it is those very lies about God hidden deep within our own hearts and psyche that causes us to sin, it is necessary that we allow the Holy Spirit of God to work within us and transform us from the inside out, not the other way around like counterfeit religion attempts to do. We ourselves must be set free at the heart level of the many lies that distort our inner pictures of God. When we do this the right way we overcome the lies and accusations of the enemy of God and vindicate His reputation before others by becoming living experiments in which God demonstrates that He can do with sinners just what He claims He can do – change them into mature saints who live in total freedom and love.

Satan and all of his deceived followers refuse to believe that this is actually possible. They claim all sorts of things about why this assertion of God is impossible to perform, that He can transform sinners into obedient, loving companions for Himself through indwelling their hearts and reproducing His character from inside of them. We all have been infected with these objections of Satan about God's method of salvation and have lived in confusion most of our lives as to the true meaning of grace, salvation, sin and righteousness. We have believed terribly false notions about why Jesus died on the cross and the true nature of what salvation is all about. Yet God continues to enlighten and draw to Himself all who are willing to listen and become more truthful, authentic witnesses for Him.

Abraham believed that God could accomplish the impossible in his life and the Bible says that it was viewed as righteousness on Abraham's part. This did not give him merit points in heaven, it just means that Abraham exercised faith in the God he had come to know so well and as a result God's reputation was greatly advanced. Then God used this implicit trust and friendship of Abraham as an example of the kind of relationship He wants with each one of us.

When our testimony, both in words and more importantly in the natural outworking of God's presence in our lives in all of our relationships with others – when this integrated testimony becomes congruent with the true testimony of Jesus about what God is like, then the inherent power of multiple testimonies adds credibility to the vindication of God before all who are evaluating the charges against Him. Therefore it is vital that we better understand the real truth of the integrated testimony that Jesus gave in His life and death on this planet. As we better perceive the real truth about God as revealed in the actions, attitudes, words and demeanor of Jesus, then our own lives will reflect and reinforce His testimony and our witness will be added to His witness and that of all His other followers to bring to a final resolution all the false charges that have so long been circulated about our Father in heaven.

When we synchronize our testimonies with Jesus' testimony, then we will find ourselves to be overcomers just as Jesus overcame. By reflecting more accurately His character (with the emphasis on reflecting here) we declare that God indeed can do what He says He can do and can be trusted in every respect. We share in the overcoming that Jesus accomplished and also share in the glory and joy that motivated Jesus to overcome the first time.

And what is that glory? What is the essence of joy? It is the intimate relationships that are formed during the overcoming process and the bonding that takes place between all who choose to trust and believe in the real truth about the Father. Jesus endured and overcame by keeping His focus on the joy set before Him, the joy of all the beings He created and who accepted His testimony, rejoined in tight-knit fellowship and love and trust for all of eternity. He longs for all of us to share in that joy and to make ours and His joy complete. That is what overcoming is all about.

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