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The Revelation - Book 7

A study of Revelation 17-19. This is book 7 of an 8 part book series.

Category - Bible Commentaries

Chapter 18

The Spirit of Prophecy

Rev. 19:9 says, “… and he said to me, ‘These are the true words of God’.” What does he mean?

The Fellow Servant

In order to understand this, we must first ask ourselves who is the “he” that is speaking? The best clue comes in the next verse. Rev. 19:10 says,

10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And 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.”

This may come as a surprise to those reading John’s narrative. It also appears that John himself was surprised. The glory that was in this “fellow servant” gave him the appearance of Jesus. In fact, this glorified man is the source of the voice from the throne in Rev. 19:5, which we have already identified as that of Jesus. But it is more than Jesus Himself as a single Being. It is the voice of Jesus which is spoken by a representative of His body.

It is the same voice which said “Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants” (Rev. 19:5). Hence, when John tries to worship him, he redirects the worship to God, telling John that he is just “a fellow servant,” that is, a fellow bond-servant. In Rev. 3:21, we read,

21 He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

The promise is given to the overcomers that they will sit down with Christ on His throne. Therefore, this “fellow servant” is an overcomer, and his voice is said to be coming from the throne. Christ and His body are inseparable, spiritually speaking, because they are in agreement.

The Voice of the Arnion

This is one of the clearest pictures of the arnion in the book of Revelation. The arnion are the little lambs who are fed with the word of God (John 21:15) until they have come into full agreement with Him. They have become that which they have eaten.

This, I believe, is the spiritual force behind the overcomer’s statement: “These are the true words of God.” In order for the overcomer to be able to speak from the throne on behalf of all the overcomers that are seated with Christ, he must first eat those words, even as John did in Rev. 10:10. The purpose of creation was to bring forth sons of God who would be in agreement with their heavenly Father. The introduction of sin created a problem for God to overcome. But the time of creation is not finished until the reconciliation of all things is accomplished and all of creation sings in four-part harmony.

The Spirit of Prophecy

In Rev. 19:10, the overcomer tells John, “I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus… For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Not only this overcomer, but all of his brethren “hold the testimony of Jesus,” which “is the spirit of prophecy.” The Greek word for “testimony” is martyria, signifying testimony before the Judge of the whole earth. Such testimony is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. In other words, this testimony sets forth “the true words of God.”

What words? What truth? It all began in Rev. 1:2, as John “bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ.” A few verses later, in Rev. 1:9, John said that he “was on the island called Patmos, because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” Later, in Rev. 12:17 the dragon declared war on the saints—those “who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” Finally, in Rev. 20:4 we see that those raised in the first resurrection are those who were executed “because of the testimony of Jesus.”

This phrase can mean either that the testimony is being spoken by Jesus Himself, or that it is a testimony concerning Jesus. In a way, it is both, because the true word originates in Jesus Himself, who is called “the word of God” (Rev. 19:13); yet this “word” is also spoken by His body of overcomers, those who have eaten His words, who bear witness of Him, and who agree with His words.

Any time we agree with the words of God, such “testimony” is “the spirit of prophecy.” By contrast, any word that runs contrary to the testimony of Jesus is NOT a true spirit of prophecy. In order to live by the spirit of prophecy, one must eat the word and assimilate it by meditation until it is changed from doctrine to revelation.

It has been said that Jesus is the Word of God, and we are the words of God. There is much truth in this. In my view, angels carrying specific words (inherent in the name of each angel) represent portions of the full revelation of the word that is in Christ Jesus. Those angels are sent to us as “ministering spirits” (Heb. 1:14) to imprint that word on our hearts and in our nature. Each of us is only a portion of the word, but as members of the body of Christ, we collectively hold the full word of God that is in our Head. This Head-and-body combination is the lamb, the arnion, in the book of Revelation.

It is important, then, to eat the word, because we become what we eat. As we assimilate the word that is in each angel assigned to us, we become the living word and the particular expression of the testimony of Jesus that is unique to each person. Many are called, or invited, but those who are chosen—the remnant of grace—will actually participate in the wedding feast, where Christ the Head is joined to the full body at the appointed feast of Tabernacles.