by Brad Scott
When I was growing up, not that I have grown up, one of my favorite television shows was called Perry Mason. Perry was a defense attorney who always chose to defend innocent clients. Seems Mr. Mason was always good at discovering the true culprit right near the end of the trial. The prosecution and the defense always had witnesses to grill. A witness was someone who was brought in to repeat what he or she had seen. One of the reasons my Perry Mason was so good is that he was able to convince the witnesses that he actually knew more than they did and eventually he would get around to revealing their lack of information to everyone in TV land.
The English word witness and testimony ('edah, (עדה)) are both from the Hebrew root 'ad, which is formed from the letters ayin and dalet, which, in their ancient setting, mean to see or observe the door. The door of the house is the most repeatedly used part of the whole structure. We constantly go in and out of the door. It is a repeated action and probably one of the most daily, cyclical things we do. The ancient meaning of this word in it's root is to observe and/or repeat an action. This word has many meanings of which all have something to do with the root. It is translated as forever and ever in Shemot (Exodus) chapter 15. Remember Hebrew is cyclical and not linear.
Shemot 15:18YHVH shall reign for ever and ever.
The idea here is consistent cyclical patterns. This word is not under the constraints of time. The very first appearance of 'ad is in Bere’shiyt (Genesis) chapter 3.
Bere’shiyt 3:19In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
One of the patterns of life is that man comes from the earth, goes through the life cycle and returns back to the ground from whence he was taken. When each persons life cycle is complete, whenever that is, he returns to the ground. This word is also translated as someone who adorns, arrays, or adorns themselves. Clothes and adornments testify of the nature, seasons and even attitudes of a person.
Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 61:10I will greatly rejoice in YHVH, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
The most common use of this word relates back to our courtroom scene. Part of the nuance of this word is evidence. When Noah and his family walked back on solid ground, YHVH told them that as long as the earth remains there will be seedtime, harvest, summer and winter. A constant testimony of the creation and how our Father teaches us, as well, according to Mizemor (Psalm) 19. A testimony of two or three witnesses is a repeating of the evidence. The witness of His people takes us back to the testimony. There is only one thing in all of Scripture that is called the testimony and that is the ark of the covenant.
Shemot 25:16And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee.
What was placed into the ark? The manna, the rod of Aaron and the commandments of our Creator. This is THE TESTIMONY and THE WITNESS of our God. A witness is something that is repeated over and over again.
Yochanan (John) 1:1-8In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was Yochanan. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
As you trace the testimony throughout Scripture you will find that Yochanan was faithful to bear that same testimony of Moses, David, all the Psalmists, Yesha’yahu, and Yirmeyahu. When Yeshua‘ sends his witnesses out in Mattityahu 28:18-20 and Acts 1:4-8 He tells them to go and teach all nations and gather them from the uttermost parts of the earth to restore again the kingdom to Israel. Paul tells us to follow him as he followed the Messiah. The witness of God's people in the end is the same witness as it was in the beginning.
Shalom Alecheim! ◊