The Bare Soul
January 15, 2012
Revelation 19:10 - Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he *said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
Have you ever considered how each of us can move in the prophetic according to scripture? Regardless of our denominational affiliation or dispensational beliefs, we all have the opportunity to function in a prophetic manner. I'm not talking about the gift of prophecy (I Corinthians 12:10) or the office of a prophet (Ephesians 4:11). I am referring to our lead verse and how the angel declared to John the Revelator how testifying about Jesus is synonymous with the spirit of prophecy. So, how do we testify concerning Jesus and what exactly is the spirit of prophecy? These are important distinctions to make in order to understand the intent of this verse. Possibly our paradigm needs to change in order to comprehend what exactly it means to give a "testimony" or to testify about Jesus and also the difference between the "spirit of prophecy" and prophecy, itself.
Let's first look at the difference between prophecy and the spirit thereof. Prophecy, we are told in Paul's letters to both the Romans the Corinthians is a gift manifestation of the Holy Spirit, given discriminately as He chooses. It appears this gift works as the Holy Spirit determines how best to manifest it for God's glory. In Revelation 5:6, we see the seven spirits of God which are sent out into all the earth, presumably to bring God's glory to earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). Some believe these seven spirits are those mentioned in Isaiah 11:2 in regard to Jesus Christ. These are the Holy Spirit, and the spirits of wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord. This seems plausible as the aforementioned are certainly characteristic of the attributes of God the Father and His Son. So, it is important to distinguish while the Holy Spirit may speak through an individual through the gift of prophecy, the testimony that proceeds from Jesus Christ encompasses the seven-fold manifestation of God's spirits. For instance, Jesus certainly moved in the gift of prophecy when he spoke of the destruction of Jerusalem and the end-times in Matthew 24. According to the model of gift manifestation, we can assume from scripture that Jesus was granted this insight from the Father through the Holy Spirit. However, in day to day living, Jesus moved in the seven-fold spirit as prophesied by Isaiah the prophet. His testimony, if you will, embodied wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord as directed by the Holy Spirit within His Person. This indwelling resulted in Christ's life as a constant embodiment of testimony through the Spirit at work in and through Him. This prophetic or "testified" expression of Christ's life resulted in the evangelization of many in ancient Palestine.
Just as the Holy Spirit testified through Jesus about the Father, in the same manner the Holy Spirit desires to bear witness about Jesus through us to the glory of the Father. This "prophetic testimony" is not the gift of prophecy but a manifestation of the seven-fold spirit as foretold by the prophet. Whenever we testify about God's great gift of salvation through Jesus His Son, we invoke the spirit of prophecy and the seven-fold manifestation to those with whom we share. It is important to note at this point how not all testimony regarding our Savior has to be verbal. We may very well speak and testify with our mouths concerning God's goodness. However, what about how we live? Our lives are often pouring forth a witness of Jesus much more so than our lips. How we live our lives may be the strongest and most convincing witness regarding the life of Christ within. Is this the spirit of prophecy as we testify to others regarding our surrendered (or otherwise) life to God? I believe it is. In fact, God may cause our everyday pursuits to bring glory to His Name. In my case, as a barefoot runner, I believe God uses the witness of my "feet" to shame the conventional knowledge of this world in bringing further understanding regarding God's wisdom for me to run sans shoes. Whether people agree with my "wisdom" to do so is inconsequential. What is important is to first be obedient and then to be in agreement with God, allowing Him to use whatever "testimony" He desires---whether from mouths, feet, hands, or lives to testify of His Son's love. When we offer up ourselves as a "living sacrifice" to be used in whatever manner to glorify Jesus, then we are moving in the spirit of prophecy regarding the testimony of Jesus Christ (Romans 12:1).
How has God challenged us to testify of His Son? We cannot shrink from speaking about Him with our lips, for hearing and believing will often come by us speaking the word of God (Romans 10:17). However, we can often set up the perfect opportunity of speaking God's word by living it first in obedience to Him. God has called us all to be "prophetic evangelists" through the testimony of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit may or may not give us the gift of prophecy so we can speak the secrets of men's hearts (I Corinthians 14:25). However, He does give us the manifestation of the seven-fold spirit that allows us to testify of our Lord through our "living sacrifice." May we all give Jesus the glory through surrendered lives that prophesy of Him through our respective testimonies.
Father, may we may glorify Your Son by speaking through the spirit of prophecy, testifying of His love and greatness. May the glory He receives through our obedience come back to You to make You all in all. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit and His manifestation in our lives to bring praise to the Godhead. In Jesus' Name, Amen!
Your Barefoot Servant,
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