The Spirit of Prophecy

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

In the thoughts of God Christ is supreme, and in the mission of the Holy Ghost to earth Christ is supreme, as John 15:26 and 16:14 declare, and in the hearts and minds of all the children of God who walk in the Spirit Christ is supreme. But God has decreed that the supremacy of Christ shall be universally acknowledged, and His overruling providence in this world, His present work of grace amongst men, and His swiftly coming judgments that shall overwhelm the ungodly, as well as the unceasing labours of the Holy Spirit in the assembly have the supremacy of Christ as their goal.

The testimony of Jesus which is the spirit of prophecy is, that, the once despised and rejected Man, who was mocked, buffeted and crucified by men, has been raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, and He shall "reign until He has put all enemies under His feet" (1 Cor. 15:25).

The natural eye cannot and will not see this, the natural heart cannot and will not understand it, and so the ways of God remain a mystery to the multitude, and the Bible a book of riddles. The natural heart hates the very thought of it, and often bitterly resents the word which brings it to it as testimony, and this is why at the beginning of the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which shows us how God will effectuate His purposes as to Christ in judgment where His grace has been refused, the servants of the Lord are suffering persecution; and the one who was chosen to receive the Revelation was an exile in Patmos for "the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus" (chap. 1:9, N.Tr.). But vain is the frenzied rage of feeble man against the will of the eternal God, for God must triumph in the end, and His triumph will be when every creature owns the supremacy of Christ.

Every Christian heart must rejoice that Christ who is Heir of all things shall yet come into His own. His rights were refused when He appeared first, a Man amongst men, for the world did not want Him. Its doors were closed against Him when He came into it, so that His mother had to seek a stable for His birth. Its doors were closed against Him when He went about in it doing good, so that when the night storms raged He wandered a homeless stranger without a place to lay His head. And they said, "This is the Heir, come let us kill Him"; and though no cause of death was found in Him His name was written upon the criminal roll of Jerusalem, and the princes of the world with the rabble held high festival when He was cast out of it as a common felon. But God has raised Him up and highly exalted Him. He is great David's greater Son, and Israel's royal diadem shall rest upon His worthy brow, and the very trees of the holy land that witnessed His deep humiliations shall clap their hands with gladness as He rules with equity for the meek of the earth. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords, and He shall judge and make war in righteousness, until every throne between the poles is made subject to Him and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of the Lord. He is the Heir of all things, and to the uttermost reaches of the infinite universe of God His fame shall be told and His glory shall shine, until every creature, from the most exalted spiritual potentate in the heavens above to the meanest devil in the depths beneath, shall acknowledge that He is Lord of all, for to Him has been given "a name that is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:9-11).

This is "the testimony of Jesus" which is the spirit of prophecy, i.e. that just as the spirit of a man gives life and force and direction to his body, so this is the life of the whole body of prophecy; and as a body is one, so is all prophecy one, whether the earliest predictions of the distant days of the Old Testament or the latest prophecies of New Testament writers. All are one, and the ultimate supremacy of Christ is the end and theme of all, binding all together into one body, and giving to the whole life and force as a testimony to men and for the blessing of the servants of God who look for this glorious consummation of all things. It is entirely useless to study the word of prophecy as a whole, or any part of it, if this is not understood, or is not the earnest desire and hope of the heart and mind that studies it. We speak of the "prophetic word" and are sometimes tempted to place certain parts of Scripture only in this category; but the truth is that the whole force and push of the sacred writings and of the Holy Spirit by whom they are given to us is toward this great objective. There are things of unspeakable blessedness presented to us in the word that we may enjoy now, but these are not given to us to make us satisfied with the present, but to fill our souls with a sense of the exceeding greatness of God's purposes, and to strengthen us by the way, that we may press on to what is coming; or, in the words of Scripture, "Go forth to meet the Bridegroom." If we are not moving in this direction we are not walking in the Spirit or following the drive of the Word of God.

The call to us is clear and insistent. "BEHOLD THE BRIDEGROOM, GO YE FORTH TO MEET HIM." And the wise will forget every other consideration; they will allow no question or device to detain them, but with eyes enraptured and hearts united by the glory and love of the Bridegroom they will respond together to that divine trumpet call.