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The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Revelation 19:10

The verse above is another way of saying what we have previously noted from the very first verse of the Revelation, which is that the essential message of The Revelation is to point people to Jesus. Not to a personality, an organisation, the latest book, or some other doctrine.... just Jesus and what he taught (or his "testimony").

This verse from Revelation 19 goes a bit further than Revelation 1:1, however. It is saying that the spirit of all (true) prophecy is to point us to Jesus and to his testimony. That includes all prophecy from the Old Testament, from elsewhere in the New Testament, and even from other sources, whether modern-day prophets or prophecies from other cultures and religions. If it is not pointing us, ultimately, to the teachings of Jesus, it's not really prophecy, but just some kind of verbal sleight of hand.

The special role of prophecy is to give the teachings of Jesus an added dimension, showing us that they are not just one philosophy amongst many, but rather they are the explanation for a nagging question which we all face (whether consciously or sub-consciously), which is "Where is all of human existence leading to?" The whole history of mankind is sort of an explanation or illustration of all that Jesus taught. We are all moving toward a final climax which will be the ultimate glorification of Jesus and his testimony, when he triumphantly returns to earth. His return is not an isolated event on which to put a date. His return, and the events that will surround it, represent all that he taught, lived out in the new dimension of human history.

When you skim over some of the key elements of prophecies relating to the endtime, you will find that each element points to some vital aspect of the teachings of Jesus. We will list a few here to give you some idea of what we are talking about.

The Temple and the "Body"

Many who have studied Bible prophecy will tell you that a key event in the overall plan is for the Jews to eventually rebuild their temple in Jerusalem. The theme of the temple is there in the greatest prophecy of the Old Testament... the one which predicted hundreds of years in advance the exact year in which Jesus would be crucified. (Daniel 9:25-27) It is the only prophecy from the entire Old Testament which actually uses the word "Christ" or "Messiah", and it measures the time remaining for God's chosen people from the year when a decree went out for them to rebuild the city of Jerusalem (in 453 B.C.) to a time 483 years later (30 A.D.) when (the prophecy says) "Messiah" will be "cut off", but not for himself. The prophecy suggested that this execution or "cutting off" of the Messiah would lead to the destruction of the city and the "sanctuary". And then, at some future time, a covenant or agreement will result in the resumption of sacrifices in a presumably rebuilt temple. That agreement marks the start of the final seven years of world history as we know it.

Jesus referred to this same prophecy in Matthew 24:15-22, emphasising the desecration of the Temple as being significant. The significance of the Temple played a key role in his life, ministry, and death at that time as well. For example, the only charge his enemies could get to stick against him at his trial and execution was that he said something which was interpreted as a threat against their Temple. (Matthew 26:59-61) He talked of a greater temple, which was represented by his "Body". When Jesus died, the heavy veil that hung in the Jewish Temple, separating God from the general public, was miraculously torn in half, from top to bottom. (Matthew 27:51) When sharing with a Samaritan woman before his death, he had said that a time was coming when the emphasis would no longer be on the place where people worship God, but rather on the spirit with which they worship him. (John 4:21-24) (Notice that in verse 25, the woman actually makes reference to the 490-year prophecy of Daniel 9:25-27.)

The in-filling of the Holy Spirit, illustrated dramatically on the first Day of Pentecost after the ressurection of Jesus (Acts 2), was fulfillment of what Jesus and Daniel had prophecied. The "Most High" had ceased to live in a temple made with hands (Acts 7:48) and had chosen, instead, to make the human heart his dwelling place. (1 Corinthians 3:16, 1 Corinthians 6:19, 2 Corinthians 6:16)

So the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem, as taught by Bible prophecy, relates to a key element of the life and ministry of Jesus, i.e. the clash of loyalties between buildings and people, between ritual and reality, between organised religion and God himself.

The Beast and the Lamb

One of the most sensational topics of Bible prophecy is the predicted world ruler, who will come to power peaceably, but who will turn out to be the most evil ruler the world has ever known. This prophecy is intended to trigger more than a game to locate the bad guy. It is predicted as the culmination of a spiritual battle that has been going on throughout history, between the forces of human politics and power and the forces of what Jesus called "the kingdom of God". The Jews, with their Temple, were used for a while as a "symbol" of that kingdom. But when they started to believe that, politically and physically, they were that kingdom (at the same time that they were compromising with the obviously secular government of the Romans), God sent Jesus to give the world a clearer picture of what he really stands for.

Jesus became the "Lamb of God", replacing the sacrificial lambs of Jewish temple-worship. In fulfillment of the beautiful poetry of Isaiah 53, "he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes, we are healed." Everything that Jesus taught was calculated to make his followers into lambs as well, protected only by their Shepherd against the ravenous wolves of the various systems, whether they be religious or political.

Prophecy portrays the political history of the world as a series of beasts, with each one becoming worse than the one before. (Daniel 7) Although they make war against God's people, and do so quite successfully (verse 21), in the end, the kingdom of heaven prevails (verse 27).

The paradoxical answer to all of the power and might of the world's many "beasts" is the spiritual power of turning the other cheek, and laying down one's life in love for others, as taught by the "Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world". This message, and the cross which resulted from it, is crucial to the overall ministry of Jesus the Christ. Any attempt to take such a cross out of prophecy is going to be contrary to the true spirit of the prophecy.

The Mark and the Seal

As the human race today gets closer and closer to implementing the microchip implant, which will be able to replace all the currencies of the world, and which will be the ultimate un-lose-able and un-steal-able credit card, we see the most significant single prophecy of the New Testament also coming to pass.

In another one of Daniel's prophecies, he compared the Babylonian Empire (which invented the whole concept of money, using gold coins) to a head of gold on a huge statue, whose body depicted all of the succeeding empires. (Daniel 2:31-45) Each empire is represented by more and more worthless metals, until it climaxes in the final world power, which is represented by silicon (clay) mixed with iron. Our money system has done the same thing, moving to coins of lesser valued metals, then paper currency, cheques, plastic money, and finally the microchip implant.

But then a stone out of nowhere comes and destroys the whole statue, before it grows into a mountain that fills the earth. (Daniel 2:44-45) This stone, says Daniel, is God's kingdom, set up by God and indestructible.

God's kingdom, according to Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount, is a kingdom which differs from all of the kingdoms of the earth, in one important aspect: His citizens do not work for the food that perishes. (Matthew 6:19-34, especially verse 32a, and John 6:27.) Notice that in John 6:27, Jesus uses the word "sealed". The Beast has a "mark"; the mark is money in all its various forms; whereas God's people have a "seal" (Revelation 7:3). The seal comes from Jesus, who teaches his followers how to live by faith in an invisible God, in preference to living by faith in money. This is a consistent theme throughout the gospels.

Jesus said that those who heard his teachings in the Sermon on the Mount and practiced them would be like a wise man building on a "rock". The storms could come, but they would not destroy that man's house. Such is the protective power of the teachings of Jesus for those who receive them. For such people, prophecy is not a a surce of confusion nor a source of panic, as it is to so many others. They have the spirit of prophecy, because they have the testimony of Jesus.

The Whore and the Bride

The Revelation further contrasts those who have the testimony of Jesus with those who worship the Beast, by calling the followers of one the Bride of Christ, and the followers of the other "The Whore of Babylon".

When asked what the greatest commandment is, Jesus replied that it is to love God with all our heart and to love our neighbour as ourselves. People who know nothing else that Jesus told his followers to do, at least know that he taught people to love one another. Unfortunately, the word love has been cheapened by today's world... a world (including at least 99% of those who fill the churches) that does not have a clue as to how Jesus taught his followers to actually EXPRESS that love.

So, in one way or another, a spiritually bankrupt world and a spiritually bankrupt church endeavours to go through cold dead motions, supposedly expressing its love, like a prostitute trying hopelessly to fill the emptiness that each of her clients brings to her. They seek love, but find only mechanical manipulation, and so they return to their homes as empty as they were when they came.

The church's idea of love is attendance at boring meetings, recited prayers, and ritual cleansings, whether through incense, water, or just emotional hysteria. And the reason it is all empty is because everyone involved has prostituted their lives for money, the great creation of the Whore, the great mark of the Beast. They work for it, they love it, they defend it, and they lack any concept of true love because of it.

The Bride, on the other hand, is described as a "virgin" who has kept herself from the ways of the Prostitute. (Revelation 14:4-5) The Bride loves her husband, trusts her husband, is faithful to her husband, obeys her husband, and wants only to please him. And she does all of this because she has discovered that her husband loves her, that he alone is able to bring her true happiness, true wealth, true life.

In Conclusion

Yes, the spirit of prophecy is, indeed, the testimony of Jesus. Without the testimony of Jesus, prophecy leads nowhere. Those so-called prophets who attempt to expound on it become, as Jude put it, "clouds without waterŠ trees without fruit." (Jude 11-13) (2 Peter 2:17 adds that they are also "wells without water".) Jude says that this has happened because "they have run greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core."

In its quest for profits, the church has lost its prophets. The testimony of Jesus has been taken out of the prophecies of the Bible and nothing but false promises and empty hopes remain. If you want to understand the future, then turn to Jesus. Fall on the rock of his teachings and let them break you of all your greedy deceptions. If you are not prepared to do this, then my advice is to ignore prophecy as well. It won't do you one bit of good.

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