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A Bible Study to equip us with the Truth of the Scriptures about the Second Coming of Jesus which will be when all that has been written of Him will be fulfilled
What is a WITNESS? Just the words of a preacher?
Or, the PRESENCE of a “HOLY NATION” among the nations of the Earth?
Let’s begin with a minor revision in the way we translate/interpret the words of Jesus in regards to the Gospel of the Kingdom vis-a-vis the nations of the world. This below is a typical English translation of Matthew 24:14
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world
as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come”
Now, for the records and for those who can read it, please allow me to insert the original Hellenic as we have received it through the manuscripts:
“καὶ κηρυχθήσεται τοῦτο τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας
ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ οἰκουμένῃ εἰς μαρτύριον πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν,
καὶ τότε ἥξει τὸ τέλος”
When we read the typical English translation we read these two things:
1) will be preached in all the world
2) as a witness to all the nations
But when we study carefully the original Hellenic we actually read this one thing…
(what will be preached, or, proclaimed will be:)
the Gospel of the kingdom in all the world to be a witness in all the nations
So, let’s try a revised, more accurate English translation/interpretation:
Matthew 24:14 And [what] will be proclaimed [is]
this gospel of the kingdom in the whole world
for [to be] witness [in, or, among] all the nations.
and then will come (or lit., arrive) the end.
Now let’s say it again in a way that also makes sense:
And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be proclaimed
in such a way that it will be a witness,
i.e. a manifestation of the Presence of Jesus,
everywhere among all the nations in the world
Why is this revision important?
Because most Christians believe that the end will come when the the Gospel has been preached as a message (like an announcement) to all the nations. Then, they conclude, because the message has been announced everywhere by radio and television, therefore now the end may come any minute because this condition has been fulfilled.
Neither the words of Jesus literally, nor the context of the rest of the Bible, bear witness to the validity of such conclusions, which support false teachings and fantasies about the imminent return of Jesus and the end of the world as we know it now.
What Jesus really said [in Matthew 24:14] is supported by the rest of the Bible (ref. previous 7 articles) and ought to be understood in a different perspective/light:
The Gospel of the Kingdom will be a manifest reality
in the midst of all the nations of the entire world
A “witness” is what someone has personal knowledge of; what one has experienced – in other words, one has a personal encounter with a reality – that is what forms a witness.
Therefore, the disciples of Jesus who are “witnesses” of a personal encounter, and have become the living manifestation of the very Presence of Jesus, will be present in the midst of all the nations, everywhere in the world, starting from Jerusalem, and all the way until the ends of the earth, without any exceptions in between.
There will be disciples of Jesus present and living witnesses (i.e. manifestations) of every tribe, every tongue, every nation, every people, in every place of the Earth.
At this point it will be good to emphasize the correct understanding of what Jesus said to His disciples before He ascended to heaven, with reference to the day of Pentecost. This below is the revised/corrected English version of Acts 1:8:
… you will receive power, [by means of]
the Holy Spirit having come upon you,
and [the effect will be that]
you will be a manifestation of my presence
in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria,
and as far as [the] last [place of] the earth
Jesus said “you will be MY witnesses” (but what does that mean?)
He did NOT say “you wil be witnesses for me”, as in the sense that “you will give your testimony as an announcement about me”. When He said “you will be MY witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and all the way through to the ends of the Earth”, it means:
“you will be there instead of ME, in MY place; whoever sees you, sees ME in you”
Can this be supported by the rest of the Scriptures? YES!
In Acts chapter 4 we read the story of Peter and John who were brought before the rulers, elders and scribes in Jerusalem, and asked by what power or by what name they did the miracle of healing a man who had been lame from birth. Peter responded that they did it “by the name [of] Jesus Christ the Nazarene” (v.10).
Then we read in verse 13, that the rulers were not really listening to the words of one man (Peter), but they observed something in both Peter and John… let’s read it:
Acts 4:13 Now observing the boldness [of] Peter and John, and having understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were marveling. And they were recognizing them, that they had been with Jesus.
John did not say a word! Yet the rulers, elders and scribes saw something manifesting in front of them – they observed a witness! They observed a man who was silent, but even so, John was a living manifestation of the Presence of Jesus.
The boldness that manifested through both Peter who spoke the words, and John who was silent, was the witness in the eyes of the opponents of another person: Jesus!
That is the same as when Jesus said to His disciples, when He explained to them how they will be a testimony, or, how they will be witnesses of Jesus:
Matthew 10:18 “You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 “But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 “for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
So what is the testimony, or witness (Hellenic word “martyrion”)
It is that when the moment comes, through the physical presence of the disciples, another person will manifest who will speak through them.
It is the same as when Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, how the Spirit of the Lord becomes manifest through the believers:
1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit [of all:] 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, …
1 Corinthians 14:24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on [his] face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.
We are witness of Jesus NOT when we announce a message
but when Jesus becomes manifest and speaks through us
Today’s article is not a teaching on the Holy Spirit or how to be witnesses of Jesus
but an effort to understand the words of Jesus
about the Gospel of the Kingdom, how it is proclaimed,
and until when will it continue to be proclaimed,
which explains to us when the end will come
He said the end will come, when …
the work that started in Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit was given to the Body of Jesus on Earth, will be completed – and that will be when there will be witnesses OF Jesus …
-> not FOR Jesus, but witnesses OF Jesus …
-> not just preachers who preach a message FOR Jesus, but a people who live their lives in such a way that they are living witnesses OF Jesus …
in every place of the Earth, in the midst of every tribe, every tongue, every nation, every people, all the way from Jerusalem and until the far ends of the Earth…
-> not just messengers of an announcement, or, just converts to a new religion, but…
… disciples of Jesus who share their lives as family, who gather together for fellowship, for prayer, for communion of the Body and the Blood of Jesus, who make up the members of a Body and are a living manifestation of the Christ, …
… and THEN the end will come!
The end will NOT come
until the work that Jesus gave to His Body on Earth is done!
God is faithful to His Word, and His purpose will be accomplished! AMEN! (amen?)
So, what is a WITNESS? Just the words of a preacher? Or,
the PRESENCE of a “HOLY NATION” among the nations of the Earth?
Apostle Peter explained that the Body of Christ on Earth is the Royal Priesthood of the King Jesus, who is also the Christ of God, i.e. the High Priest (in 1 Peter 2:9).
He explained that the Body of Christ on Earth is a “chosen generation” (like a family), a “holy nation”, a “people for His possession” , and explained our role and purpose:
– that we may proclaim the praises of the One
– who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light
God has purchased a “holy nation” through the Blood of Jesus from among all the nations of the Earth for the explicit purpose that we may proclaim His praises (lit. virtues) where we are in the midst of the world around us – this “holy nation” is made up of people from every place on Earth, from every tongue, every tribe, every nation, every people.
– That is what makes us His witnesses!
– That is the job that needs to become completed!
God’s desire and purpose is not to snatch His people out of the world, but to possess a Holy Nation who proclaim His Praises in the world – who are His witnesses – who have witnessed His virtues and have become the living witness of Who He is.
God’s desire is NOT only to have people who SPEAK ABOUT His virtues, but disciples who observe and obey the commandments that Jesus gave to His disciples, so that they BECOME the MANIFESTATION of God’s virtues; as Jesus said:
Matthew 28:19 Therefore having gone [or, as you are on the way], make-disciples-of all the nations, baptizing them in the name [of] the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to keep [obey, observe, practice] all that I commanded you. And behold— I am with you all the days until the conclusion [of] the age”.
So, what proclaims God’s virtues is not just the words of a preacher, but changed lives of disciples who do not reflect any longer the spirit of the world, but have become a new creation in Christ that reflects God’s virtues in how they live their lives every day.
Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
God did not obtain a Holy Nation on the Earth so that He can snatch it out of the world and deliver the world to Darkness, but to have a Royal Priesthood on the Earth that is a catalyst to this world – like salt to the food, like Light in the Dark.
This is the Gospel, that the Kingdom of God is now manifest on Earth through His own “generation of people, purchased out of this world”, and God wants this witness OF Jesus to be in every place, among every tongue, every tribe, every nation, every people, in every place, all the way from Jerusalem and as far as the ends of the Earth.
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