Friday, January 26, 2018

Revelation 11:3-10 Two Witnesses' Last-Chance Testimony


Revelation 11:3-10 "And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth." These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth.

KEY THOT: Before God pours out His wrath upon the nations in the seventh trumpet and brings human history to a close, He would give the world a last chance to repent through the testimony of the two witnesses: "And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth" (v.3). These two witnesses will be clothed in sackcloth, a traditional attire for those in mourning. They will be speaking of impending disasters and destruction of the earth as they mourn the deaths of millions in the coming final showdown. For 1,260 days (about 3.5 years), they would prophesy with mighty power and signs. But their testimony would provoke the spiritual hosts of wickedness and they would be killed by the "beast that rises from the bottomless pit" (v.7). God in his mercy will give the inhabitants of the earth a final opportunity to repent before He pours out this final wrath. Apparently, not many would because their hearts have been hardened by their sins. 

The two witnesses are "two olive trees and two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth" (v.4). The metaphor of the olive trees suggests the two witnesses will be anointed by the Holy Spirit power to perform signs and wonders. The metaphor of the lampstands suggests they would be giving out the light of God's word in the midst of darkness. So, the two witnesses would be men of the Spirit and Word. Their words would be like the "fire (that) pours from their mouths and consumes the foes" (v.5). And they have authority to command the forces of nature to do their bidding, viz., to stop the rain, to make river waters undrinkable, and to bring about diseases "as often as they desire" (v.6). Their power over nature terrifies the nations.

And these events will take place in Jerusalem, the place "where their Lord was crucified" (v.8). That the "peoples and tribes and languages and nations" will be able to "gaze upon their dead bodies" for 3.5 days (v. 9) assumes the existence of a global connection in telecommunications, now possible through live broadcast via the internet. This would not be possible in any other time. With our cell-phones, all nations on earth can watch any event live on their mobiles. And they would be able to hear and see the words and acts of these two witnesses in Jerusalem. All peoples would be given a final chance to repent because God is merciful.

Sadly, many would not, for "those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them (death of the two witnesses) and make merry and exchange presents." Why are they so happy? Because "these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth" (v.10). The inhabitants would reject their testimony despite the signs and wonders performed by these two witnesses. So now they are without excuse for they have lost their last chance to repent.

Abba-Father, You are a merciful God. You would not judge the nations without giving them an opportunity to repent. Despite the two witnesses' testimony, their hearts will remain hardened. Lord, pour out Your Spirit upon the nations to bring in the full numbers of those who have been marked for salvation. Amen. 



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