TWO WITNESSES FROM ANOTHER WORLD Revelation 11:1-14
We are still in a parenthetical of Scripture, God is describing a break in the action of the Tribulation as He takes care of some heavenly business. There are two facts to keep in mind as we study these verses.
1. We are on Jewish ground – The images and words used are Jewish in nature.
2. We are dealing with events related to the future – The book of Revelation details future events. Any other interpretation destroys its meaning and purpose.
In verses 1-2 we discovered that a new Jewish temple will be built in Jerusalem. The Jews will consecrate a priesthood and they will offer animal sacrifices as prescribed in the Law of Moses. They will worship God under the old covenant, not recognizing the fact that Jesus shed His precious blood once for all to save the souls of humanity.
The next vision we are given is of two special witnesses. God sends two ambassadors from Heaven to preach His Gospel message to the people in Jerusalem. It is these men and their ministry that we want to consider today. I would like to share the insights this passage gives us concerning these Two Witnesses From Another World.
I. THE MINISTRY OF THE TWO WITNESSES v. 3-7
A. v. 3-4 How Their Ministry Is Designed – These two men are raised up for a special purpose.
1. They are called witnesses – This word translates the word that gives us our English word “Martyr”. The word originally referred to someone who gave testimony about something; a witness. However, as so many Christians began to give their lives for the cause of Christ, the word came to be associated with those who gave their lives for their faith. These two men have come to witness to God’s truth and, as we shall see, they will give their lives for Him too.
2. They are sent as a team – God always has His witnesses! In the days before the flood, God had His Noah. In the dark days of idolatry in Israel, the prophet Elijah complained to the Lord that he was all alone in the fight against sin. God told Elijah that there were over 7,000 that had not bowed their knee to Baal, 1 Kings 19:14; 18. God has always had His witness teams: Moses and Aaron; Joshua and Caleb; and Paul and Silas. God sends two witnesses because He wants the truth to be established. The Law stipulated that matters had to be established by the word of two witnesses, Deut. 19:15; “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.”
3. They are sent to prophesy. What will be the content of their message? No one knows for sure, but I think they will stand outside the newly completed Temple and preach Jesus to the Jews in Jerusalem. They will talk about how Jesus Christ has fulfilled all the type and symbols.
4. They will be clothed in sackcloth – Sackcloth is a symbol of mourning. These men will not come with a message a peace, comfort and hope. They will bring a message of condemnation and judgment to a wayward people.
5. Their ministry will last for three and one-half years – While we cannot be too sure of when their ministry will begin, we can safely say that they will commence preaching sometime after the Temple is built there in Jerusalem.
6. They are described as “olive trees” and “candlesticks” – This is symbolic of God’s hand on their ministry. The olive tree is the source of olive oil. It is often a type of the Holy Spirit in the Bible. These men are anointed by the Spirit of God for their particular ministry. The “olive tree” speaks of their unction. The “candlestick” speaks of their function. They will come to bring the light of God’s message to a darkened world.
B. v. 5 How Their Ministry Is Defended – These two men will be extremely unpopular because of the message they have been sent to deliver. As a result, many will try to kill them. But, these men are under divine protection. Everyone who tries to kill them will be killed by them. They will have the power to destroy their attackers with fire from their mouths.
C. v. 6 How Their Ministry Is Described – These two men will be able to use miraculous signs to prove the authenticity of their message. They will be able to shut up the heavens as Elijah did. They will be able to turn water to blood and call down plagues from Heaven as Moses did. They will have immense power at their disposal and they will be able to use it whenever they wish.
The Bible does not identify them and no one can say with absolute certainty just who they are.
There are a couple of guesses and I will share those with you and the reasons why certain men are mentioned.
1. Elijah – According to Mal. 4:5, Elijah will return before Jesus comes. John the Baptist fulfilled this prophecy according to Jesus, Matt. 11:14; 17:10-13. However, Malachi says that Elijah would come “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse,” Malachi 4:5-6.
Also, consider the fact that Elijah never died in light of Heb. 9:27 (appointed). And consider the fact that one of the miracle the two witnesses will perform will be the stopping of the rain. This was one of Elijah’s miracles, 1 Kings 17:1.
2. Enoch – Some people believe that it will be Enoch with Elijah. Enoch was a preacher of righteousness, Jude 1:14. And, Enoch never tasted of death, Gen. 5:24.
3. We won’t know who they are until they come. All that we really need to know is that God always has His witnesses!
I. The Ministry Of The Two Witnesses
II. THE MASSACRE OF THE TWO WITNESSES v. 7-10
A. v. 7 The Reason For Their Deaths – When they have finished their appointed ministry, Antichrist will be allowed to kill them. Until that moment, they are protected by the hand of God and cannot be killed. We are told that they are killed by “the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit”. This is a reference to the Antichrist. He is called “the beast” 18 times in the Revelation. He ascends out of Hell itself letting us know that he is demonically charged and controlled. He will make war against the witnesses and he will be allowed to overcome them and kill them. We will learn more about him in coming weeks.
B. v. 8-10 The Reaction To Their Deaths – The bodies of these men will be left in the very streets where they were killed. They will lay there in Jerusalem and no one will remove their bodies or attempt to bury them. Verse 9 tells us that all the people of the earth will see this sight. Fifty years ago it was a mystery how this could happen. In our day, we see live events from around the world twenty-four hours a day. Satellite technology has made it possible for us to see what is happening on the other side of the world with less than 8 seconds delay in time. The cable news channels like Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, etc will broadcast the images of these dead prophets around the clock.
Verse 10 tells us that the people of the earth will rejoice because these two men are dead. For three and one-half years these men have preached the Gospel and caused plagues to be poured out on men. Now they are dead and the world celebrates. They act as if it were Christmas time. They celebrate, they party and they exchange gifts because these men are dead.
Why do they do this? The preaching of these two witnesses drove them crazy. We are talking about a world that rejected Jesus Christ and His blood. They have turned a deaf ear to Bible preaching. They have given their allegiance to the devil and they do not want to hear about God. These men have been preaching the truth and their message of judgment and condemnation got under people’s skin. Now they are dead and the world throws a party! By the way, this is the only scene of joy on the earth during the whole Tribulation. And there are happy because God’s men are dead and God’s message is silent. What a tragedy!
I. The Ministry Of The Two Witnesses
II. The Massacre Of The Two Witnesses
III. THE MIRACLE OF THE TWO WITNESSES v. 11-14
A. v. 11 The Miracle Of Their Awakening – The bodies of these men are allowed to lie in the streets of Jerusalem for three and one-half days. The world has watched as their bodies turn blue, pass through the various stages of rigor mortis and begin to bloat. Then, a strange thing happens, those bodies begin to stir! The two witnesses stand to their feet and the world trembles in fear. Why does the world react in fear? The fact that these men are alive again after being dead for three days proves that they are the real deal. People know that they are men of God and that the message they have been preaching is true. Perhaps they understand that this is the work of God. Perhaps thy have a brief moment in time when they understand that they are headed for judgment!
B. v. 12 The Miracle Of Their Ascension – Then, while the world watches, the Lord God will reenact the Rapture, Rev. 4:1, and the two witnesses will rise up into Heaven. The world will see what it missed out on when Jesus came. Maybe they will comprehend in that moment of time what happened when millions of people disappeared in the Rapture of the church.
The world will be given a clear testimony of the power of God Almighty! Satan, Antichrist and lost man will be reminded that God is in control of the world and all that happens in it. They will be helpless to stop this resurrection and rapture of the two witnesses.
C. v. 13-14 The Miracle Of Their Avengement – Before the world can catch its collective breath, a great earthquake will hit Jerusalem. God judges the city which has denied Him and His Christ. A tenth part of the city will crumble to the ground and seven thousand people will die. We are told that “the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven”. This probably refers to a remnant of the Jews. They see these events, repent of their sins and call on Christ for salvation. God will use even these events to bring glory to His name! The interlude ended, it is time for the third woe and final trumpet.
llll. THE MESSAGE OF MORE TROUBLES v.15-19
The seventh trumpet and the six vials (bowls) covers chapters 11:15-16:16. The trumpets include the bowls. Between the blowing of the seventh trumpet (11:15-18) and the six bowls are three separate interludes (12:1-14:20).
Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying,
A dramatic introduction to the seventh trumpet begins with an exciting announcement. God now openly exercises His judgments on man and His sovereign reign over the world. This trumpet extends to the Second Coming of Christ and announces the elimination of all obstacles to Christ’s reign over the world. This is the fulfillment of the purpose of the world where Christ will glorify God in time on earth. This is Christ’s reign over the world as King Jesus, King of the World.
“The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
The kingdoms of the world were always Christ’s by right. Now He claims them at the end of the Tribulation as His own. Rule of the earth now proceeds from the rule of man to the rule of God.
This is no temporary victory. Instead, this victory will go beyond the 1000 reign of Christ into eternity – “forever and ever.” The first 1000 years establishes Christ’s authority on earth. Man will never again rule. Jesus will reign forever.
“Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:24-26).
John describes God as “Almighty” (1:8; 4:8; 15:3; 16:7, 14; 19:6, 15; 21:22) and eternal (is, was, is to come). God will take this great power and reign. “Almighty” means that God possesses all power and authority. God is sovereign and supreme over the world. Therefore, they offer thanks to God that He is in control and now He exercises that control. There will be no more tyranny. Not since the fall of Adam has there been freedom from the tyranny of man and of man’s government. Jesus will straighten out all injustice at that time.
11:18 The nations were angry,
A pagan world loyal to the Antichrist in the Tribulation now shows its anger to Christ (Psalm 2:1-5). The nations of the world meet the anger of God with their own anger. He will rise rebelling against God’s program. God meets anger with wrath. Man will receive his just desert.
and Your wrath has come,
God’s wrath is omnipotent; man’s is impotent. While people in heaven rejoice, those on earth seethe in anger. They will express this anger by one final rebellion against God in a world war, the battle of Armageddon.
Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple.
Another dramatic scene closes the chapter. John looks into a temple in heaven. There he saw the ark of the covenant. The ark of the covenant was in the Holy of Holies. The ark indicates God’s presence. The ark also represents God’s mercy and faithfulness. We cannot enter the presence of God without the blood sacrifice of Christ.
The opening of the temple reveals the glory of God. People will see God’s glory; God will manifest Himself fully. The glory of God will explode upon men. Men will see this in His judgments.
And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.”
Atmospheric disturbances result from the opening of the temple in heaven. All these signal judgment. God has no option but to judge man.
John will resume the introduction of the seventh trumpet in chapter sixteen where he will give the full details.
We live in the day of the silent sky but there will come a day when Jesus will assert Himself sovereign over the world.
At the present time, we are “a stranger here” (Psalm 119:19). Our “citizenship” is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). Believers are not in step with the world. We march to a different drumbeat, the drumbeat of heaven. We do not buy into the world’s ideas or values. They live for themselves; we live for God.
Today, people are at bat. There will be a day when that will cease. Man’s Day will come to an end and God’s Day will begin. One day God’s forecasting clock will strike suddenly and surely. Only God knows the timing.
God will rule in one universal government over the world. In the Millennium, God assumes complete control over the world. He finally takes what is rightfully His. No wonder the elders fell down in worship. When we recognize God’s sovereign working in the world and in our lives, it instills worship in our hearts.
Victory Baptist Church 24 July 2019 victory palmetto.com