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The Tent of the Testimony

If you asked me what a testimony was in high school, I would point to the court room. Likely quoting a scene from Law and Order which was popular back in the day. Yet, as I began to attend spiritual events like camps, conferences and retreats, my ears were introduced to the biblical meaning of a testimony. The classic hymn In the Garden compares a testimony to your own personal story like taking a walk back through time.

After this I looked and the sanctuary of the tent of the testimony in heaven was thrown open, Revelation 15:5.

During one of his many visions that comprise the Book of Revelation, John sees a sanctuary. However, this place is a tent, perhaps something like the tent of meeting detailed by Moses in Leviticus 1:1-17. Yet, John doesn’t focus on the physical dimensions. Rather, John’s attention is focused on what’s going on inside this tent, testimonies of believers up in heaven. This is the Tent of the Testimony.

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis[b] how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed, Mark 5:18-20.

The Christian artist who simply goes by the name Carmen attempts to describe this heavenly place in his song Lazarus Come Forth. The context of Carmen’s song is based upon the shortest verse in the battle, Jesus wept, John 11:35. Carmen compares the Tent of the Testimony to a Tent Revival from Great Awakenings of the past as believers take turns sharing stories of how each entered into a personal relationship with God. May today’s blog inspire you to share your own testimony with a friend today.

by Jay Mankus

The Altar of the Souls of Martyrs

John Foxes’ Book of Martyrs was first published in 1528. While attending Seminary part time back in the late 1990’s, one of my classes studied martyrs not mentioned in the Bible. Men and women of faith suffered horrific deaths during Nero’s persecution of Christians. These tragic deaths intensified in early 300 AD under the oppressive Roman Emperor Diocletian. These individuals will be rewarded by their ultimate sacrifice.

When the Lamb broke open the fifth seal, I saw at the foot of the altar the souls of those whose lives had been sacrificed for [adhering to] the Word of God and for the testimony they had borne, Revelation 6:9.

As John witnessed Jesus break open the fifth seal in the book of Revelation, there was an altar dedicated to the souls of martyrs. At the foot of this altar, the souls of dead Christians who were killed for not compromising their faith began to share their testimonies. While most of these individuals aren’t mentioned in the Hall of Faith found in Hebrews 11, this scene reminds me of the lyrics of the hymn Blessed Assurance, “This is my story, this is my song.”

They cried in a loud voice, O [Sovereign] Lord, holy and true, how long now before You will sit in judgment and avenge our blood upon those who dwell on the earth? 11 Then they were each given a [b]long and flowing and festive white robe and told to rest and wait patiently a little while longer, until the number should be complete of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed as they themselves had been, Revelation 6:10-11.

The apostle Paul devotes the opening chapter of his letter to the Church at Galatia to promote sharing your faith. Paul uses a teachable moment to express why Christians should strive to please the Lord and not other people, Galatians 1:9-10. Paul then transitions to three keys parts of any testimony: Galatians 1:11-24. The first step is conveying how you lived prior to entering into a personal relationship with Jesus. This past leads to what event(s) led you to trust Jesus as Lord and conclude with how Jesus has transformed your life. May the altar of the souls of martyrs inspire you to share your own testimony.

by Jay Mankus

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