God's people also overcome by the word of their testimony.” The consecration of our lives to God is not a private matter. We overcome when we “confess with [our] mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in [our] heart that God has raised Him from the dead…for with the heart one believes unto righteousnesss [“the blood of the Lamb”] and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” [“the word of their testimony”] (Romans 10:9,10).

Ithe face of persecutions and even death, thousands have refused to renounce their Savior. They have testified that Jesus is Lord of their lives and have renounced every opposing allegiance, even if it meant martyrdom—they did not love their lives to the death.” It is actually the testimony that they hear themselves saying that gives them the courage to face ridicule, opposition and even "death." Not everyone is called to be a martyr, but God calls each of his followers to “die daily” to sin, (1 Corinthians 15:31) “to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16), to “present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1).

In the context of Satan’s deadly last-days attempt to defeat the people of God, Jesus promises that “they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer” “For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you” (Luke 21:12-15, Matthew 10:19-22).

Those who live in “Christian” countries where most people are lukewarm and indifferent about their faith cannot imagine how anything like this could possibly happen. However, the anxiety and stress of the time of trouble and especially the appearance of the antichrist will bring about tremendous polarization and fanaticism. Now is the time for us to learn to speak up for the Lord, as a preparation for that time when our failure to give our testimony will put us into the enemy’s camp.

Most people never say anything about the Lord; they feel that their relationship with Him is a private matter that should not be discussed. It is true that that many people do not want to hear what we have to say about God. However, God commands his people not to be silent. He compares us to watchmen on the walls who see danger coming—“I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent” (Isaiah 62:6). The simple fact that you are reading this book means that you have crucial information that most of the world is completely unaware of. They need to know what you know; they need to hear “the word of [your] testimony”.

Our faith is proven by our willingness to speak—“We believe, and therefore speak” (2 Corinthians 4:13). “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32,33). Many Christians believe that since they are not trained theologians they have nothing to say. However, many of the most powerful witnesses in the Bible were not theologians, priests or professional clergymen, but were simple people who deeply loved the Lord. People facing the pressures of modern life today do not so much need theology as a living, experiential knowledge of a real God who works in a real ways in the lives of real people.

“The word of their testimony” is the job description Jesus has given to his followers. It is so vital that in all four books of the gospel and the book of Acts, the last thing Jesus said before He left his disciples and went to Heaven was to go out into the world and tell people about Him.[1]

Jesus is active and at work in every dark corner of this world, and He is inviting us to join Him in one of those corners, maybe in our own families, in our neighborhoods, or in some distant mission field. Before Jesus left His disciples He promised, “I go to prepare a place for you…that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2,3). As surely as Jesus has prepared a place for us in Heaven, He has prepared a place for each one of us with Him here on this earth. The word of [our] testimony” may entail scorn, abuse, or even death. But in giving our testimony, we open the door for the Holy Spirit to fill us, and as the Spirit energizes our testimony we do not just convince others, we convince ourselves as well!

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to empower our witness; when we speak in favor of Jesus the Spirit gives our words supernatural force, because He wants to convince the one we are speaking to. But when our testimony is accompanied by the power of the Spirit, we are the ones who are most in awe, because we know how weak and helpless we really are, and we know that the words we have spoken have a source much greater than ourselves. And ultimately it is the power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to overcome sin; this is why “the word of [our] testimony” empowers us. “If you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live…So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you….If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:13, 8-11).

For many Christians, overcoming sin, the devil and the world means trying harder to be good. But Revelation 12:11 shows us the key: “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” There are many things we can focus on in our religious life. Many who are reading this book have focused on prophecy, others on doctrinal understanding, on spiritual gifts, on personal devotions and disciplines, on the glories of the future heavenly kingdom, on the history of the church and of the saints, on proper Christian behavior, on the needs of people in the world, or on the church and its programs, rituals and requirements. These themes all deserve our attention, but if we find that we are being defeated by sin, Satan, and sinful society, it should be a signal to us that our focus has drifted away from the essential core: the sacrifice of Christ for our sins (“the blood of the Lamb”) and the privilege we have of telling others about it (“the word of their testimony”).

Continue to next section: 12:12-14 THE WOMAN IN THE WILDERNESS

[1] In the book of Matthew, the last thing Jesus said was, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19,20). In the book of Mark, the last thing He said was, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). In the book of Luke, the last thing Jesus said was, “Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in [My] name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem, and you are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:47,48). In the book of John, the last message of Jesus to all his disciples was, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). And in the book of Acts, as Jesus was just about to ascend into Heaven, the last thing He told his disciples was, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).