why be a witness
Anyone who’s ever spent time talking with kids has likely noticed a central theme in those conversations. No matter if you’re telling them to eat their vegetables or to not pull on the dog’s tail, there’s one question it always seems to come back to: the question of why. And most times, it’ll be a series of why? after why? until you run out of answers and defer to, “That’s just the way it is.”
Undoubtedly, we resemble children in many of the conversations we have with God. Over and over again, we look up at our heavenly Father with anger or confusion and ask, “Why?” But, unlike us, God is omniscient. He always knows the answer. How, or if, He chooses to reveal those answers is only for Him to know. But no matter His response, we know God is big enough to handle us turning to Him and asking, “Why?”
Last week, we saw the beginning of Revelation 11 talk about the two witnesses of the end times and how we are called to be witnesses in our time. Looking now at Revelation 11:15–19, we’ll see God give answers to two important why questions related to our purpose as witnesses. Why does God want us as witnesses? And why should we want to be His witnesses?
God choosing us as His witnesses is a mystery we’ll never fully grasp on this side of Heaven. Why would a perfect God choose such imperfect people to represent Him and His Kingdom? Doesn’t He know we’re going to be faulty messengers? The entire canon of Scripture must be considered for more nuanced answers to those questions. But here, in verse 15, God gives us some idea as to why He calls us to be His witnesses.
“Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven:
‘The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.’”
It’s easy to overlook the aspect of this passage that helps answer why God chooses to use us. Let’s look closely. Here, John hears voices in Heaven proclaiming that the world is now the Kingdom of God. This implies that leading up to this point, the kingdom of this earth was ruled by someone else. And when we look at passages like John 16:11 and 2 Corinthians 4:4, we see that Satan is the one who’s temporarily “the god of this world.”
Yet, despite Satan’s rule over this world, we know that goodness is taking place and the Gospel is advancing. And the reason for that is because we live in what is referred to as the “already but not yet” time of the Kingdom of God. Currently, Satan is still the god of this world. But also, with Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection, the Kingdom of God has already been initiated on Earth. However, it will not yet come to completion until Revelation, when the world becomes the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.
Considering the topic of this post, you may be wondering why I took the time to explain all of that. The reason is because knowing that we live in the “already but not yet” time of the Kingdom of God helps us understand why God chooses us as His witnesses. You see, God has come once, and He will come again. But until that second coming, God has left the Church to represent and advance His Kingdom. He gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit to live inside us and empower us as we proclaim the Good News of the Gospel to all people. God wants to draw the people of the world to Himself before judgement comes, and that’s why He has called the Church to be His witnesses.
Yet, for some people, the fact that God has asked them to play a part in His story might not interest them. We live in a time where authority is approached with caution and experts aren’t trusted. Why then should we let God tell us what our purpose is? Let’s look at Revelation 11:16–17.
“The twenty-four elders sitting on their thrones before God fell with their faces to the ground and worshiped him. And they said,
‘We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who always was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign.’”
It’s here, in this worship, that we see not only that God is worthy of worship, but some of His characteristics make Him worthy. We see God is Almighty. God is the One who is and always was. God is filled with great power. God is the One who reigns. He is the One who created all and is greater than all.
So, when we consider His magnitude and holiness, we begin to grasp the honor it is to be His witnesses. There is no greater privilege, joy, or purpose than to represent the Almighty Creator of the universe, and that’s just the beginning of why we should dedicate our lives to being witnesses for Christ.