Having surmised in the previous post that God’s two special witnesses will be Moses and Elijah, we will pick up our stroll through Revelation at verse 5 of chapter 11.
Revelation 11:5–6 “And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.”
Though the people of the world will want to get rid of the two witnesses, they cannot because they are endowed with supernatural power from God. Anyone that tries to hurt them will be killed by fire that comes from their mouth. I don’t know if this means literal fire or is just a way of picturing the fact that their words have the power to kill. The witnesses are also given the authority and power to keep it from raining or turn waters into blood or cause plague to strike the earth at any time they so choose.
Revelation 11:7–10 “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.”
When their appointed time of 1260 days of ministry have been completed, the “beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit” will make war against them and be allowed to kill them. So far, the only things we have seen ascend from the bottomless pit are the locusts. I hadn’t noticed this before, but this seems to connect the beast with the king of the locusts and would again connect to Satan or one of his chief followers. Maybe he was the angel allowed to descend to the pit to release his demons and to ascend with them upon their release.
The dead bodies of the two witnesses will be left on display in the streets of Jerusalem; they won’t even be given a burial. We know it is Jerusalem since it is identified as the place where Jesus was crucified. This verse seems to indicate that Jerusalem will be a big, influential and strong city at that time. Sadly, it is compared spiritually to Sodom and Egypt—both known for worshipping idols and rejecting the one true God. This seems to indicate that although the Jewish people will experience great awakening and will turn to their Messiah during the tribulation, it will not necessarily be as a whole in the land of Israel proper.
People all over the world will be able to see the dead bodies of the witnesses in the streets of Jerusalem for 3.5 days. That revelation must have really puzzled John, but is not at all surprising to those of us reading this prophecy today considering current technology. Evidently, the effects of their supernatural power has been felt worldwide since the people on earth in general will be rejoicing that they have been put out of commission. It seems their death will be declared a worldwide holiday; people will even send gifts to one another as they celebrate the death of these two individuals. Why? Because they had tormented those dwelling on planet earth for 3.5 years.
Revelation 11:11–12 “And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.”
Suddenly, after 3.5 days, God resurrects the two witnesses to life causing those who witness it to be afraid. A great voice from heaven calls out for them to “Come up,” and they ascend to heaven in a cloud in view of their enemies.
Revelation 11:13–14 “And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.”
The same hour that the witnesses are resurrected, Jerusalem experiences a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city falls. Seven thousand men die in the earthquake, and those left alive are really frightened. Another group identified as “the remnant” were also afraid, but they respond by giving glory to God. The scripture often speaks of this remnant, a reference to the continual small group of Jewish people who remain faithful and obedient to God throughout the years. It is God’s purpose to refine the people of Israel through the tribulation period to produce a spiritually healthy remnant of Jewish people through whom He will fulfill His covenant promises to Abraham.
We have now come to the third woe pronounced by the angel—the seventh trumpet.
Revelation 11:15–18 “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.”
When the 7th trumpet is blown, the inhabitants of heaven begin rejoicing because the eternal Kingdom of “our Lord and His Christ” will soon be established on earth. Never again will Satan be allowed to accuse and reign over mankind. This is, of course, with the perspective of knowing that there are a few battles left in the war; but the victory is sure.
Notice what the 24 elders are saying as they fall before the Lord in worship. They are giving thanks to the “Lord God Almighty,” who is, always has been, and always will be. They are thankful that He is taking back total control of the universe and planet earth. The wording indicates that He has been the ultimate ruling power all along, though Satan has been allowed a temporary reign as the god of this world because of man’s choice to sin.
2 Corinthians 4:4 “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
The elders appear to be talking about the saints and prophets and those that fear God’s name in reference to beings distinct from themselves, affirming my thoughts on chapter 4. They speak of judgment to come—both of believers and “those who destroy the earth.” The judgment of His servants is regarding rewards for service; for unbelievers it refers to eternal condemnation.
This whole section seems to be talking about things not yet completed but “soon” will be. Those rewarded will be the prophets (forth tellers and foretellers), the saints (those who are holy, set apart, sanctified), and those who fear (are in awe of) God’s name (authority, character). Those destroyed will be those who are destroyers; they obviously have no respect for God or His creation.
Revelation 11:19 “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.”
This verse tells us that John watches as the doors of the temple of God in heaven open, and he sees “the ark of his testament.” I personally believe this is the ark that has been missing all these many years. I know that the tabernacle and temple and their contents were patterned on things in the heavens. However, I believe the original ark is the one that is associated with the promise of God’s covenant to the Jews and is significant to the fulfillment of promise and prophecy. While on earth, the ark and its mercy seat were representative of God’s throne. God’s throne in heaven is unique. I believe the ark is now in heaven as a testimony to His covenant.
I also thought about the fact that God’s throne on earth now is the heart of believers. The ark is no longer needed to function as originally intended. It’s only validity now is as a testimony to God as a covenant-keeper.
Similar to the seventh seal judgment, the seventh trumpet judgment causes people on earth to experience lightnings, voices, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.
This appears to mark the mid-point of the seven year tribulation period since the witnesses are on earth for 3.5 years and Jesus chooses this point to explain to John all that leads up to Satan’s expulsion from heaven to rule on earth through the beast (whom I believe he indwells) for the last 3.5 years.
(to be continued…)