“Witnesses Resurrected!” – Revelation 11:7-13
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In the vision of the last days that was given to the Apostle John, he saw two mighty witnesses (Vs. 11:3-6) in Jerusalem (Vs. 11:8).
During a 3.5-year period (Vs. 11:3), they boldly preached the Gospel of Christ by the "power" of the Holy Spirit (Vs. 11:4).
This period, after antichrist, "the son of perdition," is revealed (Matt. 24:15, 2 Thess. 2:1-4) will be a time of the greatest "tribulation" that the world has ever known, or ever will:
"For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be...And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened.
These witnesses, although not specifically named, would appear to be Moses and Elijah (Ex. 7:19, Jms. 5:17-18).
Against almost unimaginable attacks, God protects them supernaturally:
And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner.
But, after their witness and God's purpose is complete, He allows them to be "overcome" by "the beast" (Vs. 11:7).
Even this fulfills God's sovereign and perfect plan for them, and us.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
The greatest witness for Christ is the one who is willing to give his/her life for Christ, even upon the pain of physical death.
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
"Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven."
Let's look at the rest of God's plan for the "two witnesses."
When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.
* This is the first mention in Revelation of "the beast"(antichrist) which is:
"...a man...speaking pompous words...making war against the saints and prevailing against them."
(Dan. 7:8, 21)
In the present age, "the beast" (antichrist) represents every hostile power that oppresses and persecutes God's people.
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour......Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.
(1 Jn. 2:18, 22)
In John's vision, "the beast" is the Antichrist "...who will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them." (Vs. 7c)
The beast conquers the "two witnesses," but from heaven's perspective, those who resist the beast are truly victorious, the real overcomers (Rev. 2:10-11, 3:9, 12, 12:11, 15:2).
"...the bottomless pit..."
* "The abyss," the source of the demonic plagues released by the fifth and sixth trumpets (Rev. 9).
* "The beast" also is of satanic origin and power (Vs. 13:4) and derives his authority from the demonic realm (Vs. 13:7).
And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
"...their dead bodies will lie in the street..."
* Being refused proper burial was shameful treatment reserved for the worst criminals in the ancient world, only made worse by the fact that they were publicly displayed (Jer. 8:1-2, 14:16).
"...of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt..."
* "Spiritually" - According to insight revealed by the Holy Spirit (Vs. 17:3, 19:10, 21:10).
* "Sodom" - Fire devoured Sodom (Gen. 19:24).
* "Egypt" - Plagues fell on Egypt (Ex. 7-12).
This speaks to the fate of "the Great City."
"Sodom" and "Egypt" are symbolic in the Bible of the hostility towards God and His people.
Sodom's inhabitants tried to rape God's messengers (Gen 19:5).
Egypt had enslaved God's people (Ex. 1:8-14) and ultimately tried to destroy them (Ex. 1:22).
Are we “Sodom” and “Egypt” in the U.S.A. today?
What is the fate of the U.S.A.?
"...where also our Lord was crucified."
* Thus, the city was identified: The Lord Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem at the hands of the Jews (religious leaders) and Gentiles (Romans).
Sodom and Egypt were sinful, but Jerusalem's "sin" was greater.
Jerusalem is "where also our Lord was crucified" and is still the city where Christ is rejected and, in the future, His "two witnesses" will suffer the same, rejection and murder.
Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves.
"...peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies..."
* This phrase means the Gentiles in Bible language.
* In this verse, it suggests that not just the Jews living in Jerusalem "will see their dead bodies," but the whole world.
* In John's day, this would have been impossible, but entirely possible today with modern communication.
* This may recall the 3.5 years of their witness, pointing to their deaths for three-and-a-half days (Vs. 11) as much less important than their witness.
And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.
"...those who dwell on the earth..."
* This phrase is frequently used in Revelation to designate the unbelieving pagan world:
And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"
"...and send gifts to one another..."
* In the book of Esther, God's people celebrated their escape from genocide and destruction of their enemies in this way by the giving of gifts (Est. 9:19, 22).
* But here Satan's people celebrate the deaths of their two great enemies, the "two witnesses" in the same fashion, after their master "the beast" kills them. (Vs. 7)
"...because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on earth."
* They were tormented by the Truth, the Light:
"For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."
"These two prophets" message was not only for the Jews in Jerusalem, but for the pagans "who dwell on the earth."
A true witness delivers souls, but a deceitful witness speaks lies.
Their message was one of rebuke and denunciation of their wicked ways as well as the Gospel of salvation. Therefore, the pagans "rejoice and make merry" over their deaths "and send gifts to one another."
Whenever you witness for Christ, and point the world to "the Way and the Truth and the Life" they will rejoice in your demise!
Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.
By John's words in this verse, we can only understand this verse as a literal statement, not symbolic.
"...after three-and-a-half days..."
* "Three-and-a-half days" is not a reference to Christ in the tomb, but refers simply to the time the "two witnesses" bodies "lie in the street of the Great City" (Vs. 8).
Although there are parallels to Christ's resurrection and the "two witnesses" as "they stood on their feet" and "ascended to heaven."
"...the breath of life from God entered them..."
* God's breath is physically life giving:
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
* As is His spiritual breath, the Holy Spirit, for eternal life. In Hebrew, God’s Breath and God’s Spirit are synonymous – “Ruach Ha Kodesh.”
* And God's Spirit will raise us on the last day to both physical and spiritual life eternal:
Romans 8:1-2, 10-11
And the two witnesses are proof of God's power to resurrect from the dead!
"...great fear fell on those who saw them."
* The witnesses' resurrection was designed by God to instill godly fear in all who saw them rise.
But that is no guarantee of true repentance leading to salvation, we still have free-will.
And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.
"...'Come up here'..."
* Although John heard the same words from heaven, he was brought into the throne room of heaven in "the Spirit (Rev. 4:1-2).
* The "two witnesses" ascended physically to heaven as proof that they were prophets of God empowered by His Spirit.
"...they ascended to heaven in a cloud..."
* As did Christ:
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel...who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."
In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraidgave glory to the God of heaven.
"...a great earthquake..."
* "A great earthquake" is one of the signs that precede the end (Rev. 6:12-14)
For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken: 'Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel...'
"...a tenth of the city fell...seven thousand people were killed..."
* Jerusalem's current population: 952,000.
* About 7% of the population lost.
"...and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven."
Again, God is merciful in judgment, patient, not wanting any to perish!
The result of the resurrection and ascension of the “two witnesses”, as well as the earthquake, is a godly fear that leads to conversion.
In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.
"...and gave glory to the God of heaven.""
* This phrase suggests repentance, not just remorse (Josh. 7:19, Isa. 42:12, Jer. 13:16, 1 Pet. 2:12).
The Lord has promised that all of Jerusalem will be saved at the last day and return of Christ:
"And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn."
Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, and your spoil will be divided in your midst...And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south. Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, for the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, and all the saints with You.
(Zech. 14:1, 4-5)
Because of the mighty acts of God and His mercy in the end times, Israel will receive and acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah, and the one true God.
Have God's mighty acts and mercy in your life led you to receive Him and acknowledge Him as your King and the one true God?
And, if so, will you witness to the Truth as His "two witnesses" will?
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