Settled In Heaven Blog

Home » SIH Lesson Themes » Doctrinal » Revelation 11:3-13 “The Ministry Of The Two Witnesses”

Revelation 11:3-13 “The Ministry Of The Two Witnesses”

Follow Us And Keep Updated On All SIH Postings ...


As The Lord Wills...Upcoming Series On SIH Blog. Don't Miss Out!

No upcoming events

Blog Subscription Tools:


Blog Stats

  • 224,819 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4,582 other followers

Follow SIH Ministries On:


SettledInHeaven.org

SIH STSTA ICON

THE TEXT: 

Rev 11:3-13 KJV

(3)  And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
(4)  These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
(5)  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.
(6)  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.
(7)  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.
(8)  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.
(9)  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.
(10)  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.
(11)  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.
(12)  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.
(13)  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 INTRODUCTION:

Previously, in Revelation chapter 10, we saw John received a small book from Christ and then John was given a three-fold responsibility concerning that book: to receive the message of the little book; become familiar and understanding of it; and then to share it with his readers by recording it as a part of the Book of Revelation.

Here, in chapter 11:1-14, we find the contents of that little book.  In these verses, we will have shown to us why God’s wrath will fall against mankind:

  1. Revelation 11:1-2 – Rejection of the Worship of God
  2. Revelation 11:3-14 – Rejection of the Witness of God
  3. Revelation 11:15 – Preparation for the Conclusion Of God’s Wrath

THE EXPOSITORY STUDY:

Rev 11:3-13 KJV

 (3)  And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

John’s attention is now turned to two witnesses who are authorized and empowered by Christ to verbally proclaim Christ to others.

Please note these two witnesses are implied as already present in John’s vision.  John does not introduce two new characters to his vision by saying “and then I saw two witnesses”.  Christ implies that He is simply empowering those whom John has already seen.

How can this be?  We need to remember that John had previously seen true worshippers of the Lord gathered in His temple in the beginning of this vision (11:1-2).  These two witnesses are simply another symbolic representation of these true worshippers of God.   John already saw them as people accepted by God and worshipping in His temple, now John sees the same group symbolized as two witnesses sent by God into the world to proclaim Christ to the lost world around them.  The WORSHIP of Christ and the WITNESS of Christ are two of the greatest responsibilities that God has given to those He has redeemed.

Two throughout the Bible is a number that is related to Godly witnesses (Luke 10:1 and Deut 19:15 etc)

Clothed in sackcloth helps us to understand these witnesses were sorrowful due to their message of sin, judgment and the need to repent.  Sackcloth was commonly worn during times of great mourning.  Apparently they are mourning the sinful condition of those around them.

 

(4)  These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

These two witnesses are mentioned previously in Zechariah 4:1-14. In that text, Zechariah saw a lampstand with two olive trees standing alongside them.  The lampstand combined with the olive trees represent witnesses for Christ.

The lampstand fueled by olive oil is a picture of Godly witnesses giving forth the light of the truth empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit.    The olive trees are representative of Godly empowering of the witnesses.  God is the supplier of the Holy Spirit (olive trees) to these witnesses (lampstand).

Why are there two olive trees? They represent the two Anointed Ones (Christ and the HS) who are active in the empowering of the witnesses. Christ is the One that has sent the Spirit into believer’s hearts enabling them to serve Him.  (John 15:26)

 

(5)  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.

God’s Word, as it proceeds out of the witnesses mouths would be like fire purifying some (those who accept their message by faith) while adding condemnation to others (those who reject their message) (Jere 23:29).

The Lord promises vengeance upon those who abuse and martyr His people (Rev 13:10)

 

(6)  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.

These witnesses are linked to Old Testament witnesses for Jehovah.  Elijah (Luke 4:25) and Moses (Exo 7:-12:).

Why are these two witnesses that John saw linked to these 2 Old Testament witnesses?

  1. They are all witnesses of the same One… the Lord Jesus Christ, who was prophesied in the OT and revealed in the NT.
  1. They are all accredited by God through miracles… Moses used by God to accredit the LAW Moses had been given. Elijah accredited the PROPHETS and their message of the coming Messiah, the NT saints (prior to the completion of the Word) that accredited the writings of the New Testament which clearly reveals the identity and work of the Messiah.
  1. Both Moses and Elijah were seen on the Mount of Transfiguration along with Christ Himself. They picture OT witnesses of God.  Christ is the perfect witness of the Father wile on earth.  He stand in the place of the earthly witnesses for God that are left behind after His ascension.

 

(7)  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. 

Following the completion of the witnesses’ testimony for Christ, the beast from the pit fights and kills them.

This beast is representative of the worldly kingdoms of man that are under Satan’s control.  We will be looking at the identity of this beast in detail in Rev 13: where we are given much more information about him.

This same beast is mentioned in:

11:7 – Beast of bottomless pit;                                            13:1-18 – Beast from the sea;

14:9-11, 15:2, 16:2 – Beast with image and mark;           16:10-13 – Beast’s Seat and Kingdoms;

17:3-17 – Scarlet Beast;                                                         19:19-20 – Beast with armies, image, mark;

20:4,10 – Beast with image, mark                                       This beast is also mentioned in Dan 7:1-14.

Throughout history the kingdoms of the world, under Satan’s influence, have persecuted the people of God.  Beginning with the first world Kingdom of Egypt who enslaved God’s people, to this day we see martyrdom and abuse being levied against those who hold fast to the truth about Christ.  This is the basic symbolism of this beast and its activity against the witnesses of God. Who are only allowed to be overcome following their completion of the work God has given them to do.

Martyrdom is a constant threat to the people of God (Matt 10:21-28, Matt 16:24-25, Matt 24:9, John 16:2 etc)

 

(8)  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.

Dead bodies lying in the streets were a sign of great disrespect and dishonor to the one that was slain. This is another way to express the enmity that is held by the worldly governments against God’s people.

The witnesses’ bodies are said to be lying in the streets of “the great city”.  This speaks of worldly habitations influenced by Satan.  Its spiritual names of “Sodom” and “Egypt” helps us to see it could be any city that is characterized by rebellion against God and persecution of His people.  Both of rebellion and persecution were outstanding characteristics of these cities.

There are some that say this could be symbolic of Jerusalem. If so, it simply backs up the rebellious aspects of the cities of the world.  Jerusalem is the epitome of rebellion against the truths of God.  Israel, who possessed the truths of God throughout the OT knowingly, purposefully rejected the Word when Christ was revealed as the Messiah.  Sadly, the majority of Jewish people remain in a state of unbelief to this day.

There are others who say this could be referring to Babylon or Rome, whose histories are filled with the origination of all false religions and the abuse and martyrdom of Jehovah’s people.  Once again this supports the basic principles of “Sodom” and “Egypt”.   Basically, all of these cities (Jerusalem, Babylon, Rome, Sodom, Egypt) held and continue to hold a hatred for Christ in common.

In actuality, this prophecy does not need to be speaking of any particular city.  It likely is speaking about all the cities and governments of this world.  Without exception to a varying degree, they all abuse and mistreat the people of God.  A study of their histories will reveal, in every case, opposition to the message and ministers of God.  Individually, they are described as “that great city” speaking of the great power and seductive aspects of all the kingdoms of the world and their hatred of Christ (shown at His crucifixion).

As these cities oppose the people of God, it is only proof that the inhabitants of the cities hate Christ and desire to kill Him.  (Matthew 10:22, John 15:18)

 

(9)  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.  (10)  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.

The lost people of the world look upon them with great joy illustrating the lost world’s unified opposition to the truths of God and those who present those truths.

They are joyous and celebrate because there are now less sources of truth and the guilt that comes when God’s Word is presented to lost mankind.  They now can more easily sin without feeling the pangs of guilt or being reminded that their actions displease the Most High Lord.  This is the “torment” that is inflicted by true messengers of the Lord upon lost mankind.

 

(11)  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.  (12)  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.

This abuse and disrespect of God’s people will last during “the times of the Gentiles”, symbolized by the 3 ½ days (kingdoms worth of time). See Revelation 11:2 for a full explanation.  Following that time period, Christ at His second coming will resurrect the bodies of the saints and take them to be with Him throughout eternity.

This symbolism is taken from Ezek 37:1-14, where the restoration of the nation of Israel is seen as unburied corpses that are restored to life following their abuse and death at the hands of the Babylonians during their captivity.

The great fear that falls upon the world in the initial stages of His second coming in Rev 6:12-17, Luke 21:25-28 & Matt 24:29-31)  Also we see the Lord commanding His people to come forth at His second coming in 1 Thess 4:16-18.

 

(13)  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.

At Christ’s second coming a great earthquake is said to take place causing great fear.  This earthquake is the beginning indications of God’s wrath that is beginning to fall at His second coming.  As soon as His people are taken, His wrath begins to fall upon lost mankind.  His wrath now begins to bring an end to these wicked political powers that have abused His people for so long.

The seven thousand men slain speaks of the completeness, thoroughness of His wrath that will fall.  7 represents perfection while 1000 represents completion.  By the time His wrath is finished it will perfectly, completely destroy lost mankind and bring a permanent end to the abuse of His people.

Although His wrath is not complete as of yet, those who remain will attempt to escape His wrath, knowing that their destruction is near.  They give glory to God, simply recognizing Who is doing the judging.  They are not looking to Him in faith, nor are they repentant of their sins.  This is not a salvation experience but simply a recognition of what is taking place around them.  We saw the same type of reaction to His wrath in Rev 6:16-17.

Not only do earthquakes symbolize God’s great power and destruction that results at the second coming, there is also a literal earthquake linked to His coming.  This earthquake is spoken of in Ezekiel 38:19-20 and Zech 14:15.

 

CHRIST REVEALED:

In this section of John’s vision, we see the Lord pictured as the One that sends (vs 3), empowers (vs 3), accompanies (vs 3), avenges (vs 5) and gives the final victory to His servants (vs 11-12).  Certainly, our Lord is faithful to His promises and will bring to completion that which He begins in our lives (Phil 1:6-7).  He will bring us to completion, use us for His glory, and take us home to live eternally with Him.

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION (SUMMARY)

Folks, we should not despair as we face opposition in our service for Christ.  He has called us to the task at and and will bring it to completion by His grace and mercy.  Even when it appears as if we are going nowhere and helpless to fight the foe, He will always give us the ultimate victory as we stand before Him in eternity!  May we all thank the Lord for the promised victory He gives to us and the knowledge that we have truly overcome the powers of the world in Christ…

1Jn 4:4 KJV – Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

May we all be encouraged to serve Him in greater ways knowing that He will win the victory for us.

 

May the Lord bless us as we seek to see Jesus in the pages of the book of Revelation.

 

Homepage:             http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog:               http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Video Blog:              http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email Contact:          settledinheaven@gmail.com

 


2 Comments

  1. SLIMJIM says:

    While my eschatology is a bit different in interpreting this passage I did see good applications here especially the witnessing proof of a changed life

Comments are closed.

Translate This Blog Into Other Languages...


Search Our Site For All Your Favorite Postings...


Guide To Our Current Postings…

Currently Being Updated For 2012-2013

%d bloggers like this: