The Messianic Judgments, 6:1-16:21
3. The battle with the beasts, 11:19-15:4
iii] The war in heavenSynopsis
We are presented with a new scene in John's vision; A war unfolds in heaven between the Dragon and his angels, and Michael and his angels. The Dragon's forces are defeated and cast out of heaven to earth, and so they set out to lead the whole world astray. John then hears a voice from heaven proclaiming the realization of the kingdom of God. The Lamb is victorious, so there is joy in the blessing of salvation, but for the devil and his friends, there is woe because their time is short. The scene returns to the Dragon's activities on earth and we witness him harrying the woman (remnant Israel that bears the promised messianic seed, Christ). His attack is ferocious, but she is covered by God's providential care - his attack is limited to "time, times and half a time" (half the perfect number 7), and even the creation comes to her assistance. The war goes on with her family, ie., "those who obey God's commands and bear their witness to Jesus."
The kingdom of God is victorious over the powers of darkness.
i] Context: See 12:1-6.
ii] Background: See 1:1-8.
iii] Structure: The war in heaven:
The war is described, v7-9;
A hymn celebrating the Lamb's victory, v10-12;
The Dragon renews his attack, v13;
God's care for the woman, v14-16;
The Dragon extends his attack, v17.
In the opening scene of this vision, v1-6, we witnessed a polemoV, "combat, war" between the powers of darkness (the red dragon) and God's messianic intentions in Christ (the child), played out in the life of the people of God, the elect (the woman). In this combat Christ is victorious, and with his help, his people are delivered from evil.
The scene now changes from earth to heaven as we witness this polemoV, "combat, war", from a heavenly / spiritual perspective (ouranoV can just mean "sky", but this combat is fought in the heavenlies, the spiritual domain - Mounce thinks heaven itself, God's domain, but a change in perspective seems more likely than a change in place), v7-9. Michael and his angels (angelic forces commissioned to support God's people) do battle with the dragon and his angels, defeating them and casting them from the spiritual realm to a world facing imminent destruction. The hymn in v10-12 reinforces the victory motif of this scene, and thus the victory both of the child (the incarnate Christ) and the woman and her offspring (the faithful / persevering Christian community) in their wilderness journey.
The Hymn of praise, v10-12, proclaims the realization of the kingdom of God in the victory over the powers of darkness. Christ's victory is paramount, this through the "blood of the Lamb" (Jesus' obedience to the cross), upon which faithfulness we are declared / made faithful. The victory is also realized by "the word of their testimony", which "word" produces the fruit of obedience. John is probably referring to the perseverance of faith (but see below). To this end, there is rejoicing in heaven, but on earth, the wilderness journey of God's people will face the fury of the one who knows "that his time is short."
The scene again changes and we are back on earth witnessing the red dragon in pursuit of the woman and her offspring, v13-17. The message is simple enough, the wilderness experience of God's people, as they look forward to the day when they will cross the river Jordan and enter the promised land, is one of toil and trouble. Yet, God's people are not on their own, they will be protected by his providential care ("taken care of ...... out of the serpent's reach") and equipped for strife ("with the wings of a great eagle") - safe and secure, although singed. The dragon will rage, he will war against God's people who persevere in faith, but he will not succeed.
The War in Heaven: Given that we are dealing with apocalyptic imagery, it is likely that John's vision reveals two aspects of reality, earthly and heavenly. In earthly time / space terms, the powers of darkness seek to frustrate and destroy Christ's mission and that of his community of believers. This good-verses-evil scenario has a spiritual, supernatural, if not cosmic, counterpart, played out in the heavenlies, maybe even in God's own heavenly domain if we accept's Mounce's take on the vision; a "corresponding conflict in the heavenly dimension", Beale, so Caird, Koester, Bauckham ("the defeat of the dragon [12:7-9] is doubtless the same event as the victory of the Lamb [5:5-6] and both are to be located in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ"). So, verses 7-9 give us a glimpse of another reality which is totally beyond our understanding. What we can say is that these powers which war against God. They the very powers which are part of our own life experience, powers defeated by Christ, defeated by the Lamb who is the Lion. In John's realized eschatology, the dragon has lost the battle and now writhes with fury in the knowledge that "his time is short."
Not all commentators accept that John is aligning the combat between the dragon and Michael, and the combat between the dragon and the child. Osborne argues that v7-9 explains v4a. The war in heaven is a cosmic war in the primeval past in which Satan is defeated and so cast to earth, inevitably infecting the creation, particularly in the temptation of Adam and Eve. A primordial fall is certainly found in later Jewish tradition and may well be known by John, but it is not found in scripture, cf., 1Enoch 6-11, 86. The tradition was certainly developed in the medieval church, particularly as it served to explain the existence of evil, cf., John Milton. Aune is cautious when he makes the point that John narrates the war in heaven and the expulsion of Satan as a purely eschatological event, without developing the Jewish tradition of the fall based on Isaiah 14:12-15, cf., p700.
Less likely is a Millennial / Dispensationalist interpretation, see Thomas. With this approach to the passage, the battle in heaven and the expulsion of Satan is still in the future. On that day of battle, Satan is cast to earth leading to the seven years of tribulation and the final three and a half years reign of the beast.
In the terms of linear time it does seem that the dragon's attempt to snatch the son is "contemporaneous with the heavenly war that erupts between Michael and the dragon", Blount. The dragon's defeat in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus is contemporaneous with his defeat by Michael, his casting out of heaven, and his entrapment in a time / space dimension facing annihilation. It is in this dimension that "the bestial forces of the dragon (described in Rev. 13) will persecute God's people because of their witness to the lordship of Christ", Blount. Yet, apocalyptic imagery, by its very nature, transcends time as we know it, which is why we end up with commentators arguing for either a primeval war, or a war focused on the cross, or an eschatological war. God and the supernatural domain, heaven, is not constrained by his creation of linear time. The beauty of apocalyptic imagery is that it enables us to escape our space-time constraints. The war in heaven and the defeat of Satan certainly intersects with linear time at the cross, but his being "cast down" to earth may well cover the primeval all the way to an eschatological armageddon, all of which is but a creative moment in the mind of God.
In Blount's argument, an argument substantially in agreement with Beale etc., he likes to classify the heavenly war, and its participants, as "mythical". The word, of course, is somewhat laden. Yarbro Collins in her work The Combat Myth in the Book of Revelation argues that chapter 12 draws on the pattern of mythic combat / struggle between two divine beings, and their allies, for universal kingship, a myth that was widespread in the ancient Near East - Apollo-Python, Zeus-Typhon, .... One of those combatants was usually depicted as a beast, a monster, often a dragon, the master of disorder and chaos. John's depiction of this eternal battle between good and evil may be classified a myth, but is the myth real? I wonder how real God's interaction with our time / space continuum / history is in relation to his interaction with this so called mythical heavenly war? It well may be that the war in heaven is more real (whatever that means!!) than the war on earth. The creation is but the product of the creative energy of God; he said "let it be", and it was. One day he will cut off the energy and it won't be. Unlike the earth, the heavenlies, the spiritual / supernatural domain, is eternal, and so maybe the battle between good and evil is actually there, and that what happens on earth is nothing more than a sideshow. Yet, what is clear from scripture is that the victory over the cosmic powers of darkness is won by the incarnate Christ at the sideshow. How interesting! So much for myth!
Text - 12:7
The war in heaven, v7-17: i] The war / combat described, v7-9. On earth, Satan goes into combat against Christ, with Christ victorious in his death, resurrection and ascension. In heaven there is also a war in which Satan is defeated and "hurled to the earth" where he sets out to harry the woman.
kai "then" - and. Transitional. Used here instead of de to express a step in the narrative.
en + dat. "in [heaven]" - [there was a war] in [heaven]. The preposition here is local, expressing space.
tou polemhsai (polemew) gen. aor. inf. "[Michael and his angels] fought" - [michael and the angels of him] came to war. This construction, the genitive article tou + inf., is a Semitism used to express purpose (note examples in Matt., Lk., Act.). It is most likely part of an elliptical clause missing the verb, probably hlqon, "came", so Beale; "Michael and his angels came in order to make war." See Mathewson for a full breakdown of all the grammatical possibilities.
meta + gen. "against [the dragon]" - Here expressing accompaniment / association; "came to make war with the dragon."
epolemhsen (polemew) aor. "fought back" - [and the dragon and the angels of him] waged war. "And the dragon and his angels put up a fight", Barclay.
kai "but" - and. Here adversative, as NIV.
autwn gen. pro. "[they lost] their [place]" - [he did not have power nor was found a place] of them. The genitive is adjectival, possessive. Satan once had a place in heaven and access to God, cf., Job, Zech.3:1-2.
eti adv. "-" - still. This temporal adverb with a negative takes the sense "any longer, no longer;" "but he was not strong enough to win, and in the end no place was any longer left for them in heaven", Barclay.
en + dat. "in [heaven]" - Local, expressing space.
oJ kaloumenoV (kalew) pres. mid./pas. part. "that [ancient servant] called [the devil]" - [and was cast out the great dragon, the ancient serpent], the one being called [the devil and satan, the one deceiving the whole world]. As with oJ planwn, "the one deceiving", the participle serves as a substantive standing in apposition to "great dragon." Note the package of appositional descriptors of the dragon; an example of "overspecification", so Mathewson. The dragon is clearly identified with Satan, the serpent, obviously the serpent who tempted Eve. This serpent will be crushed underfoot by the offspring of Eve, namely Christ and his community of believers, Rom.16:20. But in the meantime he will exercise authority over the world through the political and social structures of the secular city administered by the Beast from the bog and his agents.
eiV + acc. "to [the earth]" - [he was cast] into [the earth]. Spacial; "toward, into, to."
met (meta) + gen. "[his angels] with [him]" - [and the angels] with [him were cast]. Expressing association / accompaniment.
ii] A hymn celebrating the Lamb's victory, v10-12. The one who accused God's people before the Lord, day and night, can accuse no longer, for the Lamb has triumphed over him and has cast from the heavens. There is great joy for the Christian community in the knowledge that Satan, the master of darkness, is mortally wounded, but there is a downside, although the time is short, it is very easy to get caught up in his death-throws.
kai "then" - and. Transitional. As in v7; indicating a step in the narrative.
legousan pres. part. "say" - [i heard a loud voice in heaven] saying. Technically the participle serves as the accusative complement of the direct object "a loud voice" standing in a double accusative construction, but see legwn 1:17, for John's use of a participle to introduce a vision. Note that the verb akouw, "I hear", will often take a genitive, but here "loud voice" is accusative.
arti "now" - Temporal adverb.
egeneto (ginomai) aor. "have come" - come, occurred [the salvation and the power]. The aorist is perfective, a salvation that is both then and now, expressed by the NIV with an English perfect.
tou qeou (oV) gen. "[the kingdom] of [our] God" - The genitive may be viewed as adjectival, possessive, but if the rule of God is in mind then it may be treated as verbal, subjective. The genitive pronoun hJmwn, "of us / our", may be possessive, or idiomatic / subordination, "the reign exercised by God over us."
oJti "because" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why the kingdom has come; "because the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down", Phillips.
twn adelfwn (oV) gen. "[the accuser] of our brothers and sisters" - [the accuser] of the brothers [of us was cast, thrown out]. The genitive could be taken as adjectival, possessive, "our brother's accuser", but it is usually treated as verbal, objective, "Satan accused our people, in the presence of God, day and night", CEV.
oJ kathgorwn (kathgorew) pres. part. "who accuses [them]" - the one accusing, denouncing, bringing a charge against [them before God, day and night]. The participle serves as a substantive standing in apposition to "the accuser." The present tense is serving to emphasize aspect rather than time. Satan was constantly bringing charges against God's people, nasty little accusative person that he is, but now he is "hurled down" and his accusations disappear into the void.
enwpion + gen. "before [our God]" - before [the god of us]. Spacial preposition; "in the presence of."
hJmeraV (a) gen. "day [and night]" - The genitive is temporal, of time.
dia acc. "by [the blood]" - [and they overcame him] because of [the blood]. As with dia ton logon, "because of the word", the preposition takes a causal sense; "because of, on account of." Although often translated as instrumental, expressing means , as NIV (usually dia + gen.), a causal sense is indicating the basis upon which the victory is achieved, namely the sacrificial death of the Lamb; "our people defeated him because of the blood of the Lamb", CEV. "They have triumphed over him by virtue of the Lamb's spilled blood", Cassirer.
tou arniou (oV) gen. "of the Lamb" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive, "the Lamb's blood", or idiomatic, "the blood which was shed by the Lamb", or verbal, subjective, "the sacrifice offered by the Lamb."
kai ..... kai "and [by]" - and [because of the word of the testimony of him] and [ they did not .....]. It seems likely that these two conjunctions are epexegetic rather than coordinative, or as Blount puts it, "it expands what has already been said." The triumph over the powers of darkness rests on the cross, which triumph is realized because of the word / gospel they witness / testify, and then only as long as a person cares more about witnessing than life itself.
thV marturiaV (a) gen. "[the word] of [their] testimony" - [the word] of the testimony [of him]. The genitive is adjectival, probably epexegetic / appositional, with the genitive specifying / clarifying / explaining the noun; "The testimony of the faithful to Jesus explains the nature of the word which they speak about him", Smalley. This testimony / witness is the gospel, in short, "the word of the cross", 1Cor.1:18.
acri + gen. "so much as to shrink from [death]" - [and they did not love the soul (life) of them] until [death]. Here the particular sense of the preposition expresses "time up to a certain point", cf., BDAG, 161.2; "they did not love life even in the face of death." In the Revelation, loosing ones life is all about a perseverance in faith to gospel-truth rather than to the ideology of the secular city, Babylon. Here, the perseverance in faith of the Christian community relates to the task of witnessing the gospel, even unto death / martyrdom. Such sacrifice is not the experience of believers in Western societies, but John's words underline the importance of gospel communication and the sacrifice required (financial??) to make known the good news of God's grace in Christ.
dia touto "therefore" - This causal construction, "because of this", is used with an inferential sense, "for this reason" = "therefore". Rudge, Discourse Grammar, argues that it is often used to introduce an important logical conclusion; here, a good news / bad news conclusion. The conclusion is that the Devil may be knocked down, but he's not out!
oiJ ... skhnounteV (skhnow) pres. mid./pas. part. "you who dwell [in them]" - [be glad, heavens and] the ones [in them] tabernacling. The participle serves as a substantive. The nominative here is being used for a vocative, so "Be glad, O heavens and the ones tabernacling in them."
ouai "but woe" - woe [the earth and the sea]. Interjection; expressing distress. "The devil will use beasts from the sea and land to promote false worship, and the whore to draw those on earth and in the sea into a web of violence, greed and idolatry", Koester.
oJti "because" - because [the devil came down to you]. Introducing a causal clause expressing why the earth and sea is in distress.
ecwn (ecw) pres. part. "he is filled [with fury]" - having [great fury, wrath]. The participle is adverbial, probably modal, expressing the manner of his coming down, "the devil has come down to you in great wrath", ESV, but note John's irregular use of the participle "having", 1:16.
eidwV (oida) perf. part. "because he knows" - having known. The participle is adverbial, best taken as causal, as NIV.
oJti "that" - that [he has a short time]. Here introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what he knows. The shortened time is the three and a half years, a halving of the perfect number seven for the sake of the elect. As already noted, this is not a specific length of time, but serves as an apocalyptic image of a shortened time.
iii] The Dragon renews his attack, v13. John picks up the narrative again. The monster (Satan), having failed to destroy the child ("the messiah who descends from the true Israel", Smalley) of the woman (remnant Israel that bears the promised messianic seed, Christ), now sets out to harry the woman instead. As noted in 12:1, the sign of the woman that appears "in heaven" is best understood as a sign "from heaven." Boring makes too much of the en, "in", such that he differentiates between the woman in v1 and the woman here: He argues that the woman of v1 represents "God's procreative ability to bring a believing community to life", while here she represents the church; one mythical, the other historical. This seems unlikely; the woman serves as an apocalyptic sign; she is the messianic community of Israel which in her offspring becomes the Christian community.
kai "-" - and. Transitional. As in v7; indicating a step in the narrative.
oJte "when" - when [the dragon saw]. Temporal conjunction, serving to introduce a temporal clause.
oJti "that" - that [he was thrown to the earth]. Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what the dragon realized.
ediwxen (diwkw) aor. "he pursued [the woman]" - he pursued, persecuted [the woman who gave birth to]. The aorist is best classified as ingressive, indicating the point at which the action begins; "He went in pursuit of the woman who had given birth to the boy." The verb can mean "persecute" and that sense is surely present, but given v14, "pursued" is the dominant sense.
ton arsena adj. "the male child" - the man. The adjective serves as a substantive. The article indicates that John is specifying the child referred to in v5, ie., an article of previous reference; this feature is common in the Revelation. "Child" is assumed.
iv] God's care for the woman, v14-16. Drawing on Exodus imagery, the woman (remnant Israel that bears the promised messianic seed, Christ) escapes the powers of darkness by fleeing into the wilderness, a place of safety and succor. There she and her offspring (the Christian community; see v17) will find God's protection during the shortened time (the three and a half years) before she enters the promised land (heaven!). Her flight is divinely supported; carried on the wings of an eagle. The serpent follows, pressing home his attack, but even the creation comes to her aid.
It seems unlikely that the wilderness is the Christian way of life isolated from the evils of Babylon, so Kiddle, but rather it is the wilderness journey of the Christian community as experienced today, a journey with all the temptations and failures that Israel experienced of old. The point is that the prayer, "deliver us from evil", is sure to be answered. The serpent may rage, but he cannot destroy us; we are safe and secure.
kai "-" - and. As in v7.
th/ gunaiki (h aikoV) dat. "the woman" - [the two wings of a large / old / great eagle / vulture were given] to the woman. Dative of indirect object.
edoqhsan (didwmi) aor. pas. "was given [the two wings of a great eagle]" - The verb is best classified as a divine / theological passive; God does the giving. The presence of an article with "wings" and "eagle" probably serves to indicate an OT allusion, cf., Exod.19:4, Deut.32:10-14, Isa.40:31. Israel's rescue by an eagle is a common image in Jewish thought, cf., 1Enoch.96:2.
iJna + subj. "so that [she might fly]" - that [she might fly into the wilderness] to [the place of her]. Introducing a final clause expressing purpose, "in order that ....."
authV gen. pro. "[to the place] prepared for her" - [to the place] of her. The genitive is possessive; "her" place is a place "prepared by God", v6.
oJpou "where [she would be taken care of]" - where [she is nourished there for a time, and times and half a time]. Adverbial use of the conjunction, local, expressing space. Note the redundant ekei, "there", following. The woman is under divine care for the shortened time of tribulation, the three and a half years before the end. We take it that the shortened time is the period between the ascension and Christ's return, but of course, this is a much debated issue.
apo + gen. "out of [the serpent's] reach" - from [the face of the serpent]. The preposition here expresses separation, "away from." The face" is idiomatic for "the presence of"; "so that she might fly from the presence of the serpent."
ek + gen. "from [his mouth]" - [and the serpent threw = spewed] from [the mouth of it water as a river after the woman]. Expressing source / origin. The imagery of the serpent here is in the terms of the great sea monster, Leviathan, and represents the continued persecution of the church. Beale notes that in the literature of Qumran, destructive flooding water is sometimes used to describe the deception and destruction of Satanic forces. For this reason, Beale argues that the image here represents Satan's use of deception and false teaching to undermine God's people, cf., 12:9, Ps.32:6-7. The glories of the secular city / Babel / Babylon always deceive to destroy. "The Leviathan hurled a flood of water after the woman in order to sweep her away."
wJV "like [a river]" - Comparative.
iJna + subj. "to [overtake the woman]" - that [he might make her]. Introducing a final clause expressing purpose.
potamoforhton adj. "sweep her away with a torrent" - swept away in a flood. Hapax legomenon - once only use in the NT. The adjective serves as a substantive, complement of the direct object "her" of the verb "to make", standing in a double accusative construction.
th/ gunaiki (h aikoV) dat. "[the earth helped] the woman" - [and the earth helped] the woman [and the earth opened the mouth of it]. Dative of direct object after the verb "to help." "Revelation shows the creation serving the will of the Creator by helping the woman", Koester. No scriptural allusion is obvious in this image, although the idea of the earth swallowing up something is present, cf., Exod.15:12, Num.16:32, Ps.106:17.
katepien (katapinw) aor. "swallowing [the river]" - [and] swallowed [the river which the dragon threw = spewed out of the mouth of it]. The kata prefix to the verb "to drink" probably serves to intensify the action, so "completely drank up the river."
v] The dragon extends his attack, v17. Satan now focuses his attack upon Christ's brothers and sisters, the Christian community, those who rest in faith on the faithfulness of Christ, and live out that faith in brotherly and sisterly love.
epi + dat. "at [the woman]" - [and the dragon was angry] at [the woman]. John uses his favorite preposition here with the dative to express cause; "the dragon was angry on the basis of / because of the woman", but possibly with the sense of opposition, "against", so "was angry with the woman." Note the passive verb seems to function as a medial passive.
poihsai (poiew) aor. inf. "to wage [war]" - [and went away] to make [war]. Here the infinitive is adverbial, expressing purpose; "in order to make war."
meta + gen. "against" - Here expressing accompaniment / association; "came to make war with", as in v7.
tou spermatoV (a atoV) gen. "[the rest] of [her] offspring" - [the rest, remaining] of the seed [of her]. The genitive is adjectival, partitive. John has represented the apocalyptic image of the woman as a corporate figure, the Israel of God, the people of God in whom the covenant promises are realized with the birth of the descendant of David, the anointed one, the messiah / Christ (the male child). John now draws out the corporate nature of the woman in the image of her "offspring / descendants" = the messianic community, the new Israel, the Christian community, the church. John is obviously drawing a distinction between the woman and her offspring, but it is not a major one. Both represent the people of God, with the woman representing the remnant of Israel that bears the promised messianic seed, Christ, and the offspring representing the new Israel, the Christian community, the church. Even so, the distinction should not be emphasized; both are corporate figures representing God's people in conflict with the powers of darkness. Many commentators make much of the distinction between the woman and her offspring, eg., Beale and Swete argue that the woman represents the church as an ideal heavenly reality, whereas the descendants represent the church as it exists on earth. Dispensational commentators offer different interpretations: that the woman is Israel and that her descendants are the believing remnant, or that the woman is remnant / believing Israel and her descendants are Gentile believers, .....
twn thrountwn (threw) gen. pres. part. "those who keep [the commands of God]" - the ones keeping [the commands of god]. The present tense is durative, expressing the ongoing nature of "keeping" and "having". As with econtwn, "the ones having", the NIV takes this participle as a substantive standing in apposition to the genitive "the ones remaining", but it can also be treated as adjectival, attributive, "went off to wage ward against the rest of her offspring that observe the commands of God and adhere to the testimony of Jesus", Berkeley. The genitive "of God" may be viewed as ablative, source / origin, "the commands from God." What commands? Aune inclines to the Decalogue, Osborne to "all the commandments in the Word"; See Ihsou below.
Ihsou (oV) gen. "[hold fast their testimony] about Jesus" - [and having the testimony] of jesus. The genitive is usually read as verbal, objective, a testimony about / concerning Jesus; "bear testimony to Jesus", RSV, so Smalley, "those who .... maintain their witness to Jesus"; also Boring, "witnesses to the Lordship of Christ." Of course, we may be dealing with a subjective genitive, where the genitive substantive produces the action implied by the verbal noun, such that John is identifying a testimony revealed from Jesus, "the testimony that he bore", Mounce; "faithful to what Jesus did or taught", CEV - even simply "testimony from Jesus", ablative, source / origin. Koester argues that both ideas are present (plenary verbal genitive) "as members of the community hold only the witness that comes from Jesus, they also bear witness to Jesus, and it is their public testimony that elicits opposition." Beale also argues that the genitive is intentionally ambiguous containing both ideas, "testimony from Jesus", and "testimony to Jesus." Yet, it seems likely that the participial construction "those who keep ...... and hold ...." serves to identify the marks of "the ones remaining" / the Christian community. The author of the first epistle of John identifies the marks of those who submit to God as those who "believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and .... love one another as he commanded us", 1Jn.3:23. In the passage before us, "God's commands" probably focus on the neighborly commands of the Decalogue, summarized by Jesus as "love one another", a command which is realized as a fruit of faith, ie., the command to love rests on the prior command to believe in Jesus. When it comes to "having the testimony of Jesus", John expresses himself better in 14:12, "the ones keeping .... the faith of Jesus" - throunteV, "keeping, holding, retaining" = "believing"; thn pistin Ihsou, "the faith of Jesus", possible objective, "faith in Jesus", but more likely subjective, "faithfulness of Jesus." The marturian, "testimony", of Jesus is his faithful life unto sacrificial death. The mark of a Christian is their econtwn, "having, holding" = "believing", this "testimony", which faith bears the fruit of love (the fruit of God's neighborly commands).