Morning Bible Study
John found himself caught up into heaven before the throne of God.
He saw Jesus
take a scroll from the hand of God that had been sealed with seven seals. As Jesus broke each seal
and unrolled the scroll a little further, events begin to take place on the
earth and the time that we call the Tribulation begins to unfold.
The Tribulation is a time when God’s wrath is poured out on an unbelieving
world and God begins to make right all the things that have been so wrong.
the seventh seal are seven trumpets.
We’ve been in a section looking at the last three trumpets. The last three trumpets bring such terrible things to
the earth that they are called the three “woes”.
We are now in a
period of time between the second and third “woes”.
Last week we
looked at these two amazing individuals who will show up during the first half
of the tribulation. We call them the
One of the things that the witnesses will be known for is how they deal
with their enemies.
(Re 11:5 NKJV) And if
anyone wants to harm them, fire
proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to
harm them, he must be killed in this manner.
We talked last week that this might involve these prophets asking God to
send fire on their enemies, and fire (or lightning) comes from heaven.
something that Elijah was known for:
(2 Ki 1:10 NKJV) So Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, “If I am
a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your
fifty men.” And fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.
Elijah was a pretty scary guy.
Keep in mind
that this is John the apostle who is recording all this. Luke tells us an interesting story that involved John and his
brother James when the Samaritans were acting mean towards Jesus:
(Lk 9:54–56 NKJV) —54 And when
His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us
to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”
55 But He turned
and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of
Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”
Don’t try this at home
You’ve probably heard that phrase before, haven’t you? Some people don’t seem to pay attention to it
very well …
There is something
about these two witnesses that some people find fascinating and even obsessed
But there are some things that are better left for them to do than for us
Like calling down fire on your enemies.
Different times call for different types of ministry.
There will be a time when God’s witnesses will call fire down on their
For now we handle our enemies in a different way:
5:43–44 NKJV) —43
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor
and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love
your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and
pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…
We are challenged by Jesus not to call down fire on our
enemies, but to love them and bless them.
:7 When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the
bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.
:7 the beast that ascends
This is one of the descriptions of the Antichrist.
There are times when it seems as if this is also a description of the
kingdom that the Antichrist will rule over, a restored Roman Empire.
Back in chapter
nine we saw a fallen angel given the key to the “bottomless pit” and a horde of
demon-like locust creatures came out to torment the people of the earth.
These demonic locusts had a “king”:
NKJV) And they
had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is
Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.
is the king over these demonic creatures.
Now we see this
“beast” also has his origin in this pit like the locusts.
John talks about this same “beast” in chapter 13 as having his power come
(Re 13:2b NKJV) …The dragon
gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.
Since the “beast” is described as having come from the “pit”, he might be
This “authority” will involve the persecution of believers like the two
(Re 13:7 NKJV) It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority
was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.
:7 When they finish
teleo – to bring to a close, to end; to
perform, complete, fulfill
God knows my end
I find comfort in the fact that God has in control of when I die. He will
not allow me to die “before my time”, but when my job on earth is done, that’s
when I go home.
(Is 54:17 NKJV) No weapon
formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against
you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants
of the Lord, And their
righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord.
There is a sense in which I do not need to fear that I am going to be hit
by some out of control truck, or that some burglar is going to sneak into my
house and murder me in my sleep, unless it is simply my time to go.
God is in control.
Life is all about
finishing the work that God has given you.
When you're done with work, you head for home.
But if you’re still here, you must have things that God wants you to
:8 And their dead
bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is
called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
:8 city … Sodom …
We know that
John is talking about the city of Jerusalem because this was where Jesus was
Jerusalem to “Egypt” is to say that the people have gone back to the “old
life”, the life of bondage, a life of slavery to sin.
Jerusalem to “Sodom” is to call it a place of sin. Listen how Isaiah addresses the rulers of
NKJV) Hear the
word of the Lord, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear
to the law of our God, You people of Gomorrah:
Also I have seen a
horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem: They commit adultery and walk in
lies; They also strengthen the hands of evildoers, So that no one turns back
from his wickedness. All of them are like Sodom to Me, And her inhabitants like
:9 Then those
from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies
three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves.
:9 nations will see
their dead bodies
Fifty years ago we couldn’t imagine how it would be possible for the whole
world to see the dead bodies. Now we don’t think twice
about turning on the TV and seeing a live feed from Jerusalem.
these two witnesses will be Jewish men.
Jewish law requires that a dead body be buried as quick as possible after
possible, a burial is to take place no more than 24 hours after death.
The fact that they are not allowed to be buried would be an attempt by the
antichrist to be quite offensive and is intending to cause humiliation and
It’s a bully intimidating people.
He’s showing who’s boss.
Also - Their ministry was 3 ˝ years, and God is the one who allows their
bodies to stay out in the street one day for each year they prophesied.
:10 And those who
dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to
one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.
:10 make merry
– euphraino (“well” + “mind”) – to
gladden, make joyful; to be delighted with a thing
:10 send gifts to
Sounds like a
new holiday, “Dead Prophets Day”.
Hallmark will be coming out with new cards.
UPS and Amazon
will start adding extra shifts to keep up with the demand.
– basanizo –to question by applying
The last time
we saw this word was when the demonic locust creatures were stinging people.
NKJV) And they
were not given authority to kill them, but to torment
them for five months. Their torment was
like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man.
brought their own torment to the world.
down fire from heaven.
They called for
water into blood.
They struck the
earth with “plagues”.
The people of the earth will be upset with these witnesses just like King
Ahab was upset at Elijah for bringing a drought for 3 ˝ years.
18:17–18 NKJV) —17
Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, “Is
that you, O troubler of Israel?” 18 And he answered, “I have
not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you
have forsaken the commandments of the Lord
and have followed the Baals.
Some people would rather be lied to so they can feel good about themselves
than told the truth that things are a mess in their lives.
The people here, rather than taking the things said by these prophets and
thinking about them, just want to forget it and party.
I would encourage you to be careful about closing your ears to “negative”
Listen to some of these gems from Solomon:
NKJV) Rebuke is
more effective for a wise man Than a hundred blows on a fool.
A wise man only needs to hear a word of correction to wake
up and turn his life around. A fool
might get a hundred smacks in the face and he still won’t get the message.
He who is often
rebuked, and hardens his neck, Will suddenly be destroyed, and
that without remedy.
NKJV) Faithful are
the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Sometimes it's only your true friends that have the
courage to tell you something unpleasant.
Paul tells us why the people of this time will be so easily deceived by the
2:9–10 NKJV) —9 The coming
of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power,
signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all
unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth,
that they might be saved.
Do you love the truth?
Even if it hurts?
The Good News is that not all “truth” is bad … Here’s something that’s true
:11 Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered
them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.
Can you imagine the people who are watching and probably mocking these dead
prophets when they come back to life?
:12 And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.”
And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.
:13 In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city
fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were
afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.
:13 seven thousand
That’s a pretty severe death toll with today’s building codes.
:13 the rest
– loipoy – remaining, the rest
This term may simply be referring to those in Jerusalem who didn’t die from
The Old King James uses the term “remnant” – a term that we sometimes see in the
Bible to refer to those few who are left who still believe and are following
There will be a few people around at this time who will have turned to God,
and unlike the ungodly people, they will give God glory.
– emphobos – thrown into fear,
The earthquake follows the resurrection and ascension of these prophets in
the same hour. It’s going to be obvious
that these events are connected.
:14 The second
woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.
We have now officially come to the end of the sixth trumpet, the second
“woe”, and we are about to have the last “woe”.
:13 gave glory to
the God of heaven
Up to this point, when things get difficult, people do NOT respond to God
9:20–21 NKJV) —20
But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the
works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold,
silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. 21 And they did not repent
of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
This current “remnant” are not like the other people. They turn to God.
Look to God now
No matter what is going on in your life, don’t be a fool and hide your head in the sand and
try to pretend that there is no God.
Would you be different than the world is?
Would you learn to look to God for help?
Some of us know
of some older folks who have been fairly good examples to us of people who have
done things right.
They have marriages that have lasted and families that seem pretty good.
memories aren’t complete. We have
The truth is that even the “good” families have difficult times. The issue is not avoiding difficulties, but
working through them.
Which will you be thirty years from now should the Lord tarry?
Will you run from your problems or work it out?
Will you do the right thing?