But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18
“Ye are MY WITNESSES, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is NO Saviour.
I have declared, and have SAVED, and I have showed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are MY WITNESSES, saith the LORD, that I am God.” (Isaiah 43:10-12) (Emphasis mine)
ISRAEL AS A WITNESS
One of the reasons God chose Israel was that they might be His WITNESSES. A faithful witness will not lie. He will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help him God.
He does not fear man's rejection of truth, or his anger against it. He fears God. He leaves the results of his testimony in God's hand. Israel was to know, believe and understand God. They were to bear witness to who He is and what He does.
God is the first and the last, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He is our ONLY Saviour.
He saves people from their sins through faith in the shed blood of the Lamb foretold in Isaiah 53 -- the Lamb who would die for the sins of many and yet live again. When they put away all false gods, He reveals Himself to them.
And He makes them His WITNESSES. Yeshua HaMashiach told his Jewish followers (just before going up, to sit at the right hand of God):
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be WITNESSES unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) (Emphasis mine)
WITNESS BEGINS IN JERUSALEM
The disciples often stated that Jesus the Messiah was their Lord and Saviour. They were familiar with Isaiah 43:11 which states, “I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is NO Saviour.” Thus, they owned Jesus as their God, for only the LORD can be Saviour.
The Jewish disciples began their witness where they were -- in Jerusalem, the eternal, undivided capital of Israel. This was the city in which God had chosen to place His Name, where Messiah had given His life for the sheep and rose again the third day.
Their WITNESS soon spread (due, in part, to persecution) to Judaea, Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the earth. Wherever they went, they preached in the Synagogues.
JEW TO GENTILE TO JEW
As many Jews and God-fearing Gentiles believed, they formed Churches -- in their homes. As the generations passed, the Churches became largely Gentile. But in every generation, a few Jews were converted to their Messiah.
The Churches were often persecuted by pagans, and later, by paganized “State Church” systems (Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, etc.). The true believers called themselves Christian brethren.
Their enemies called them other names -- such as “Anabaptists” (Re-baptizers) and “Cathari” (Puritans) -- both used 1200 years before the Protestant Reformation by the Catholic Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D.(1)
This WITNESS to Jesus the Messiah continues today. Bible-believing Churches still exist. Their numbers are often small. But their WITNESS is often bright, joyful and clear. They still reach out to both Jew and Gentile with the Good News (Gospel) of Jesus Christ.
They still baptize those who repent and believe. The eleventh chapter of Romans and the seventh chapter of Revelation both indicate that a large number of Jews will turn to Yeshua HaMashiach in the latter days. They will be zealous WITNESSES for Him.
WITNESS ENDS IN JERUSALEM
The WITNESS that began in Jerusalem will also end in Jerusalem. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. Two prophets will come in the spirit and power of Moses and Elijah to bear WITNESS to their Lord.
“And I will give power unto MY TWO WITNESSES, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of THE GREAT CITY, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, WHERE also our Lord was crucified.
And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these TWO PROPHETS tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.” (Revelation 11:3-12) (Emphasis mine)
(1) G. H. Orchard, A CONCISE HISTORY OF BAPTISTS (Bogard Press: Texarkana, AR-TX, 1987.) pp. 87 and 122-123.
George Theiss is a combat veteran of Vietnam who now follows the Lamb of God. He and his wife, Christy, have been married 42 years (in 2019). They have 8 grown children. You can contact George at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2002 through 2019 by George Theiss