Revelation 11:7-14

Sunday Morning Bible Study

February 12, 2012

Introduction

Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

The apostle 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.

Built within 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 “Two Witnesses.

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.
This was 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.

Lesson

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 …
PlayFail, Bloopers” video clip.
There is something about these two witnesses that some people find fascinating and even obsessed about.
But there are some things that are better left for them to do than for us to copy.
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 enemies.
For now we handle our enemies in a different way:
(Mt 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.

11:7-10 Two Witnesses Killed

: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 beasttherion – a wild animal, wild beast, beast; metaph. a brutal, bestial man, savage, ferocious

:7 bottomless pitabussos – bottomless, unbounded; the abyss, the pit, the immeasurable depth

:7 warpolemos – a war; a fight, a battle; a dispute, strife, quarrel

:7 overcomenikao – to conquer; to carry off the victory, come off victorious

: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”:
(Re 9:11 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.

Satan 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 from Satan.
(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 demonically possessed.

This “authority” will involve the persecution of believers like the two witnesses:
(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.

God is sometimes referred to as the one “who was and is and is to come”.  In contrast, the antichrist is described as:

(Re 17:8a NKJV) —8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition…

:7 When they finish their testimony

finishteleo – to bring to a close, to end; to perform, complete, fulfill

Lesson

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.  Finish well.
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 finish.

: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 dead bodiesptoma – a fall, downfall; that which has fallen; the fallen body of one dead or slain, a corpse, a carcass

:8 streetplateia – a broad way, a street

:8 spirituallypneumatikos – spiritually: i.e. by the aid of the Holy Spirit

:8 city … Sodom … Egypt

We know that John is talking about the city of Jerusalem because this was where Jesus was crucified.

Comparing 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.

Comparing Jerusalem to “Sodom” is to call it a place of sin.  Listen how Isaiah addresses the rulers of Jerusalem:

(Is 1:10 NKJV) Hear the word of the Lord, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the law of our God, You people of Gomorrah:
(Je 23:14 NKJV) 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 Gomorrah.

: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 not allowaphiemi – to send away; to permit, allow

: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.

:9 three-and-a-half days

We believe these two witnesses will be Jewish men.

Jewish law requires that a dead body be buried as quick as possible after death.
Whenever possible, a burial is to take place no more than 24 hours after death.
Interestingly, the Muslims also have a similar practice of quick burials.
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 anger.
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 rejoicechairo – to rejoice, be glad

:10 make merryeuphraino (“well” + “mind”) – to gladden, make joyful; to be delighted with a thing

:10 send gifts to one another

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.

:10 tormentedbasanizo –to question by applying torture

The last time we saw this word was when the demonic locust creatures were stinging people.

(Re 9:5 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.

These prophets brought their own torment to the world.

They called down fire from heaven.
They called for a drought.
They turned 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.

(1 Ki 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.

Lesson:

Got truth?

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” things.
Listen to some of these gems from Solomon:
(Pr 17:10 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.

(Pr 29:1 NKJV) He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

Don’t let your heart grow heart and your neck stiff when you hear difficult things.  It’s better to pay attention and turn around.

(Pr 27:6 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 antichrist:
(2 Th 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 –
PlayCheck the Box” clip.

11:11-14 Two Witnesses Resurrected

: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.

:11 breathpneuma – spirit, soul, wind, breath

:11 lifezoe – life

:11 who sawtheoreo – to be a spectator, behold; to view attentively; to see

People were paying attention to these dead bodies.

:11 great fear fell

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.

:12 sawtheoreo – to be a spectator, behold; to view attentively; to see

Sounds a little like when Jesus ascending into heaven.

: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 earthquakeseismos – a shaking, a commotion; an earthquake

:13 seven thousand people

The Greek text translates literally, “seven thousand names of men were killed”

That’s a pretty severe death toll with today’s building codes.

:13 the restloipoy – remaining, the rest

This term may simply be referring to those in Jerusalem who didn’t die from the earthquake.

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 God.

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.

:13 afraidemphobos – thrown into fear, terrified

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.

I wonder if anyone will be bothering to notice how the event will match this prophecy of John’s 2,000 years earlier.

:14 The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.

:14 The second woe is past

Remember that we are in the time of the seven trumpets blowing.  The last three trumpets will bring such terrible things that they are called the “three woes”.

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 properly:

(Re 6:15–16 NKJV) —15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!
(Re 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.
(Re 16:9 NKJV) —9 And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory.
(Re 16:11 NKJV) —11 They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.

This current “remnant” are not like the other people.  They turn to God.

Lesson

Look to God now

I don’t know what kind of difficulty you are going through.
Nothing you are going through probably comes close to comparing what the world is going to go through during the Tribulation period.
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.
The people in the Tribulation try to hide in caves.  They will curse God.  They will refuse to turn their lives around.
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.
PlayRemember When” clip.
Sometimes our memories aren’t complete.  We have “selective” memory.
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?