SDA Sabbath School Lessons
Monday August 19, 1996

The Dragon Opposes the Testimony of Jesus

(Revelation 12:17).

What is the "testimony of Jesus" (Rev. 12:17) that the dragon opposes? Rev. 19:10; Rev. 22:8, 9.

The dragon makes war with those who "have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 12:17). The phrase is translated in various ways: "bear testimony to Jesus" (RSV); "hold the testimony of Jesus" (NRSV). The verb to have (Greek: echo) means "to have...... hold," "keep," "preserve," "possess...... have at one's disposal," "hold in one's charge or keeping," "have something in one's heart." The remnant have the testimony of Jesus as their possession.

For, the meaning of the phrase "testimony of Jesus," study Revelation 19:10. John was about to worship the angel who had been sent to give him Jesus' testimony about Himself (Rev. 1:1, 2). The angel identified himself with those who, like John, had received Jesus' testimony. Who were these" The angel explained: "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Rev. 19:10). Just as John and his fellow prophets received Christ's testimony regarding Himself, so did the angel. Because Christ was the source of the message, only He should be worshiped.

Revelation 22:8, 9 records that again John fell down to worship the angel. The angel's response was: "You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brethren the prophets " (Rev. 22:9, RSV). Those who "have" [Greek: echo] the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 19: 10) are "the prophets" (Rev. 22:9). The "spirit of prophecy," possessed by the angel, John, and his fellow prophets, is Jesus' testimony to them about Himself. "The testimony of Jesus" (Rev. 12:17) is both the prophetic gift and the messages that come from the prophets.

The dragon tries to turn people away from the messages of the prophets and from the truth that the prophetic gift has been manifested in the last days. (See Joel 2:28-32; Eph. 4:11-14; Matt. 24:24.)

Speaking of her gift, Ellen White wrote: "There will be a hatred kindled against the testimonies which is satanic. The workings of Satan will be to unsettle the faith of the churches in them, for this reason: Satan cannot have so clear a track to bring in his deceptions and bind up souls in his delusions if the warnings and reproofs and counsels of the Spirit of God are heeded."--Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 48.

"Those Seventh-day Adventists who take their stand under Satan's banner will first give up their faith in the warnings and reproofs contained in the Testimonies of God's Spirit"--Selected Messages, bk. 3, p. 84.