The Overcomer’s Witness Protection Program
Janet Weaver Smith ©3-9-16 gardenministries.org
Hebrews 11:35b, 39-40 …There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better (Greek: kreittón or kreissón) resurrection. These were all commended (Greek: martureó) for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better (Greek: kreittón or kreissón) for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect (Greek: teleioó).
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded (Greek: perikeimai) by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
Revelation 12:11 They overcame (Greek: nikaó) him [satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony (Greek: marturia); they did not love their lives (Greek: psuché) so much as to shrink from death.
6 Key Greek words help us understand the role of those who have gone before and those who are still alive in the earth that we call the champions of the faith, or the Witnesses.
1. Kreittón or kreissón: better, stronger, more excellent, mastery, dominance.
2. Teleioó: as a course, a race, or the like: I complete, finish, reaching the end-stage, i.e. working through the entire process (stages) to reach the final phase (conclusion). This root (tel-) means “reaching the end (aim).” It is well-illustrated with the old pirate’s telescope, unfolding (extending out) one stage at a time to function at full-strength (capacity effectiveness).
3. Martureó or marturia: I witness, bear witness, give evidence, testify, give a good report, commended, witness, evidence, testimony, reputation.
4. Perikeimai: surround; I am encompassed, surrounded, or clothed with, am in submission to.
5. Nikaó: I conquer, am victorious, overcome, prevail, subdue.
6. Psuché: the soul, life, self.
Witnesses are overcomers. They are those who not only accept Christ’s forgiveness from sin, they also make daily choices to run an intense race of shedding self-centered temporal gain in favor of winning the prize of being filled to the fullness of Christ Himself. Having let go of all other lesser love’s, overcomers relentlessly seek the Face of God and being filled with the fullness of His Divine Presence is their great reward.
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that (1.) he exists and that (2.) he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Hebrews 11:16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Hebrews 12: 22-23 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect (“only together with us, would they be made perfect” see Hebrews 11:40).
The messages to the 7 churches in Revelation 2 and 3 specifically call for the church to overcome certain spiritual evils and then describes the rich rewards that will be awarded those who overcome. These are they who will fully participate in the eternal purposes of God. Thus, it is important to understand the eternal purpose of God in creating man in the first place.
Terry Bennett (terrybennett.net) has given the body of Christ important revelation on this subject in his “Within the Circle of the Throne” series. In short, Terry teaches us that the eternal intent of God in creating man is for representation. A representative is another term for witness. Those overcomers who finish their race are those who will represent or be witnesses of God Himself to all creation throughout the entire universe for all eternity!
1 Timothy 6:15b-16 …God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. 1 John 1:5 …God is light;
Terry Bennett teaches that due to the unapproachable nature and essence of God’s eternal existence, the council of the Godhead entered into counsel and purposed to create an order of beings and a throne room from which to govern them and their habitation. In order to become approachable to these created beings, God must make an image—or representative—of Himself. He did this when it was decided in the Council of the Godhead to form the Man—who is the Word of God, the Son of God, and who would also come into humanity and become the Son of Man. The Representative Word of God/Son of God created and made all of creation (John 1:1-4).
Human beings are the only created beings who were designed for representation of God and were “created in the image of God.” (Genesis 1:27) The first image of God is the Son and then in the Son, is His body, who consist of created human beings who bear the image of God in and through the Son. In order to fully bear the image of God, one must enter into union with Him and thus, become like Him. The only way to become one with God, is to allow Him to fully conform them to the image of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:29-30 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
The eternal intent of God is to have fully glorified human representatives or witnesses of Himself in the earth who testify of the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness to all creation forever. In order to become fully glorified, one must become fully conformed to Christ’s image and transformed into His nature, filled to the fullness by the Holy Spirit and be shining lamps, or witnesses of the Living God wherever they go.
The overcomers who have gone before us are “made perfect” together with the Last Day’s saints. These faithful witnesses are very motivated to see us complete our race because, like our forerunner Jesus has fully entered and occupies the Holy of Holies, we too, together in Christ, will become fully manifested family members of the Romans 8:29-30 Church of the firstborn. These are they who fully occupy Spiritual Zion and are made one with the Godhead, just as Jesus prayed in John 17. (See article: “GOD’S FACE: SIÓNÉ – SPIRITUAL ZION”)
We can interact with those who have gone on before and are now surrounding us in the Spirit. Just as we may encounter angels, we may encounter humans who are from the Hebrews 12:1 Cloud of Witnesses. Their testimony serves as a protection of God’s family, thus the title “Witness Protection Program.” These witnesses are engaged in helping those of us, who are alive in the earth today, run our race and finish strong like they did. They are very much alive and God is the God of the living, not the dead. These witnesses learned much in their overcoming process and can help teach us what we need to overcome. Their testimony of faithfulness, their stories of learning faith, hope, and love are precious to the Lord and He is not ashamed to call them His family or share the glory of their story with us.
I have encountered the ultimate Witness, who is Jesus! And I have also encountered at least 7 other witnesses: the Apostle John (the Revelator), the Apostle Paul, Anna Ziese—a missionary to China, LaVerne (my mother), Elijah, Moses, and King David. Each encounter was unique and never the same as the other. Some happened while I was awake and I physically saw or conversationally heard from and spoke with them. Some happened while I was asleep. I talked to and heard from them as though I were awake.
Encounters like these have imparted greater strength for me to endure. I learned from their testimony, how to fix my eyes on Jesus and throw off sin that hinders. The dynamic family connection that I felt with them assured me that I am not alone and imparted new energy to run my race with perseverance (Hebrews 12:1-2).
These witnesses can expound upon the revelation they have gained of Jesus and help us better understand the Word. Whatever revelation our generation of bridal overcomers lays hold of, they get to feast upon too! It’s so beautiful how, working together, God makes His family complete and perfect and fills us with Himself—making us perfect representatives of His nature for all eternity to all of His creation. What a gift of grace and love!