“And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”
As John stands back and watches future events unfold his attention is drawn to two men who were called to proclaim the message of salvation during the darkest days in human history. John describes this period as being marked by spiritual darkness, immorality and a hardness toward God that would cause men to want to die rather than bend their knees in submission. Rather than allowing mankind to plummet toward eternal judgment, heaven provides a solution; two men armed with the word of God and the power of the Spirit. These two men will stand against intense persecution and usher in one of histories greatest revivals. They will remain unharmed by all the forces that come against them until the day they finish their testimony and are welcomed into glory, where they will receive a reward for their faithful service rendered unto Christ.
I think part of the reason their story is recorded is to encourage us as we seek to serve Christ and finish our testimony. If the power of God is enough to protect these two men under such an intense barrage of spiritual and physical attack then certainly the power of God is enough to both protect and provide for us as we proclaim the gospel in our world. In some ways we are seeing the world around us darken. It has become increasingly more difficult to proclaim Christ without being tagged as bigoted, racist or “a hater.” In some cases this makes the Christian want to retreat into places of safety rather than take the abuse. I think we need to look to the example set by these two men and ask the Lord to fill us with the same Spirit that gave them such courage and boldness. Since the world needs Jesus more than ever the church needs men and woman armed with the Spirit of God and the word of God who will share the love of Christ and the hope of heaven with a dying world.
Questions for Revelation 11
From chapter 6 onward we have been looking at the Great Tribulation. This time has three primary purposes: bringing God’s judgment on a Christ-rejecting world, extending His mercy and the opportunity for salvation even in the midst of that judgment, and (after the removal of the church) for God to turn His primary attention to reconciling His people Israel to Himself.
1. In verse 1, John is given a measuring rod. What is he told to measure? Where is the measurement taking place (verse 2)?
2. In verses 3-7, there are two “witnesses” that God selects to declare His message over the course of three and a half years.
a. Who do they stand before? Standing before God carries two ideas. First that we are accountable to Him and that He sees all that we do (read Rom 14:12 and Hebrews 4:13). Secondly, that we stand in relationship with Him, receiving direction and empowerment from Him (2Chronicles 29:11, Exodus 18:19).
b. What powers does God give to them?
c. When is it possible for these two witnesses to be harmed? Read Acts 20:24, 2Tim 4:7, Phil 1:21-24. Nothing can ever happen to us that God does not allow, and if we will embrace our ministries, nothing can stop us from fulfilling the work that He has for us!
3. The great city, Jerusalem is earlier referred to as the holy city, yet spiritually it is referred to as Sodom and Egypt (both places that were spiritually unholy, wicked and godless). Outwardly something can appear to be holy, but inwardly it may not be. God looks upon the heart. Look up Proverbs 4:23. While it is important to judge our words and actions, it is equally important to judge our hearts. Take time to honestly examine your own heart before the Lord, and if necessary recommit yourself to Him.
4. How do the people of the earth react to the death of the two witnesses? Are they happy about the message of the prophets and of the power God had given them? Read John 15:18-20.
5. Read verses 11-13. When the earthquake falls upon Jerusalem, what is the response of the people of the city? How does this contrast with the response of the people of the earth to the great earthquake of Rev 6:12-17?
6. Verses 14-19 tell of the details of the response in heaven as the final angel sounds the seventh trumpet. Remember that seven is the number of completion. Read carefully verse 15-18 and you will get a great overview of the whole of what the book of Revelation is all about and where it is headed.
Ezekiel 33- A Beautiful Song
Ezekiel 34- A Shepherd’s Heart