By Horatius Bonar
"The testimony of Jesus."--Revelation 19:10
"He who testifies these things says--Surely I come quickly."--Revelation 22:20.
John was overpowered with glory. It was but the glory of an angel, and the words were the words of an angel; but the glory and the words were those of one who had come from the presence of God. Perhaps he was like Peter on the mount, who knew not what he did and said. He forgets for a moment that it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God,' and he falls down at his feet to worship him. 'Stop!' cries the angel, 'don't worship me!' And if the holy men and women, to whom the idolatry of the Church of Rome is paid, could speak, they would say the same, shrinking back horrified at the robbery of being made equal with God. But it is to the answer of the angel, and his declaration concerning himself, that I ask your attention.
Who am I, that you should worship me? Am I God? No, I am your fellow servant--and shall the servants worship each other, and forget the Master? No, I am the fellow servant of your brethren who keep the sayings of this book (ch. 22:9). No, I am the fellow servant of the prophets of old (that is, the same angel who ministered to them). No, I am the fellow servant of the prophets of old (that is, the same angel who ministered to them). No, I am the fellow servant of all who 'hold the testimony of Jesus;' for 'the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.'
Thus then we have a proclamation made to us as to the oneness of the whole Bible.
I. The oneness of the TESTIFIER. He is the one God. The sender of the testimony is the one Jehovah; the subject of the testimony is the one Jesus; the inspirer is the one Spirit. Through many lips He has spoken, by many pens he has written; but it is the mind, the will, the purpose, the revelation of the one God that is here.
II. The oneness of the MESSENGER. It is intimated here that it was the one angel alone that was employed to communicate the testimony. He was sent to patriarchs and prophets of old, to apostles and brethren in later times. The instrument or medium of communication was a created being, an angel; but it was the same throughout.
III. The oneness of the TESTIMONY. It is not many testimonies, but one; it is the word (not words) of God. It was given at sundry times and diverse manners; in fragments and portions, great and small; by many lips and pens; spread out over more than four thousand years, for it began in paradise and ended in Patmos; yet there is unity throughout, not discord or contradiction--marvelous unity, which can only be accounted for on the fact that there was in reality but one writer--He to whom one day is as a thousand years; and that therefore the truths enunciated are the offspring of one mind, the thoughts of one heart. This testimony bore all upon one point, one person, one work, one kingdom. It was the "testimony of Jesus;" that is, it testified of Him from first to last; for Christ is the all and in all of prophecy, the all and in all of the Bible.
But let us consider the oneness of this testimony more in detail.
(1) Its oneness as to the character of GOD. His is one name throughout, Jehovah. He is the Holy One; righteous, good, true; hating the sin, loving the sinner. He is King eternal, immortal, and invisible; infinite in all things; without variableness or shadow of turning. It is the same good and gracious God that you meet with at man's creation, that you meet at the close of time; it is the same holy God that you find driving Adam out of Paradise, and bringing His deluge over the world, that you find pouring out His vials upon earth, and preparing His judgments for the sons of men.
(2) Its oneness as to the character of MAN. He was made upright, but he sought out many evil inventions. And since sin came in, we see him perpetually evil--a dark understanding, a rebellious will, a heart full of sin; thinking evil, speaking evil, acting evil. His "progress" is always downward, not upward. God's testimony to man throughout the Bible is the same. Patriarch, and prophet, and apostle tell us the same thing about the evil of man--and the exceeding sinfulness of sin. It nowhere hides the sins of the good; nor does it exaggerate the crimes of the evil. It bears one unvarying and undeviating testimony to man and man's heart--'deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.'
(3) Its oneness as to the way of SALVATION. That salvation is described in many aspects, under many figures and types--yet it is but one salvation--one way to life for the sinner, through a death and a righteousness not his own. God's free love--the great sacrifice--the sinner's faith. 'The just shall live by faith.' Salvation free, complete, present, everlasting--this is the announcement of Scripture from first to last.
(4) Its oneness as to the SAVIOR. He is the Seed of the woman; the Son of Abraham; the seed of David; the Child of Mary. He is the Man with the bruised heel--finite, yet infinite; created, yet uncreated; dead, yet living forever! Through His death life comes to us--through His blood cleansing comes. He is Jesus the Savior--able to save to the uttermost--Messiah, the Sin-bearer, the Lamb of God. Every book of the bible bears on this with marvelous concord.
(5) Its oneness as to the CHURCH'S HOPE. It is resurrection; glory; a kingdom--and all connected with Messiah. 'Behold!' was Enoch's utterance at the beginning. 'Behold! He comes with the clouds!' is John's at the close. One unvarying testimony to our eternal future.
(6) Its oneness as to the SINNER'S DOOM. Death, wrath, woe--a fearful judgment, and an endless darkness! Throughout it is the same. It began with, 'You shall die!' It ends with, 'They were cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death.' They shall have death without hope, who have refused the death of the one Substitute.