The Weekend Word
9 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,
- Verses 9 & 10 describe the unbelievers with these terms – the peoples and tribes and languages and nations – and also refers to them as those who dwell on the earth.
- Unbelievers rejoice as they are no longer subjected to hear God’s pronouncements.
- Three and a half days = a limited but definite period of time.
- They were left unburied to shame them. I think that the empty churches of Western Europe (worse yet, those turned into coffee houses) are left standing to shame the church that once was.
10 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.
- They seem to celebrate in an anti Christmas way. They are giddy as they rejoice – ‘We won! We won!”
- Today the theme seems to be, muzzle the church, build a utopia – build a secular kingdom on the earth. The world seems hell-bent on creating Babel all over again.
- But as we have seen throughout history, as this story just cycles around and around through history, this does not end their torment – it is not over as you can see by advancing to Rev 14:9-11 and Rev 20:10. The church of the Lamb who was slain is repeatedly vindicated and roars back.
- It can seem that the church is silent, dead, even extinct – but the message continues to go forth.
11 But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.
- Note that the two witnesses, the church, not only emulate Jesus in their death, but also in their resurrection. We saw this even in our lifetime when communism came to power, Lenin, Stalin and others thought they had muzzled the church in Eastern Europe and put it to death. But when communism fell, out of the ashes the church rose up.
- The breath of life – see Gen 2 – as the breath of life is breathed into Adam. Also see John 20 where Jesus breathed onto his little church to give them life through the word of forgiveness.
- They stood on their feet – Every time the church rises back up we see the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy of the dry bones Ezekiel 37:1-14.
- My apologies to those who were led to believe this prophecy was of the formation of the nation Israel in 1948. Revelation, like the rest of the Bible is about Jesus Christ and his church. Scripture interprets scripture and the New Testament must be used to interpret the Old.
- Great fear… – Those who are viewing such events are terrified – just like the guards at the tomb were in Matt 28.
12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them.
- ‘Come up here!’ – called up to heaven – note the similarity to Eph 2:6 – “and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
- Where are you? Where is the church? In Christ – Where is Christ? Seated at the right hand of the Father in the heavenly realms. Clues like these help interpret controversial passages like Rev 20 – where we are reigning with Christ for 1,000 years — now.
- Now there are some who believe and teach that none of this has begun and all of this is cast out in the future. But it is actually happening and has been happening since the first advent.
- Christ reigns from the cross – the cross is his throne – his crown is thorns. This is where he is King – what did the signs above his head say? He reigns today and we reign with him.
- Col 3 – “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” This is much like Paul’s Rom 6 baptism lesson – the point is that we are hooked up to Christ and his reign through our baptism.
- Paul remains consistent on this topic 2 Cor 5 – if Christ has died, then you have died. If Christ has been raised then you have been raised. It is important to note that Jesus taking on flesh was for humans – not for God.
13 And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
- Important earthquakes in scripture – at the death of Jesus Matt 27 & at the resurrection of Jesus Matt 28.
- Earthquakes are used symbolically to show that the very foundations of this world system are shaken. The unbelieving world who follow and worship the beast think they are on firm footing – they think everything is fine and dandy – that they have slain the 2 witnesses, got them out of their hair, thinking they can no longer be tormented by the church.
- In these last days we live in the death throes of the beast and all of creation is shaking.
- Note how the church continually follows in the footsteps of Jesus – Jesus suffers, dies and rises and now we see the church suffer, die, rise and now according to Paul in Ephesians, sit with Christ is glory.
- What about the 7,000 killed? Is this a body count or a symbolic / representative number? We see in 1 Kings 19 where Elijah is told of 7,000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Actual orf symbolic number?
- Here we are once again at a point where the inhabitants of the earth will not heed God’s call to repentance, but — what are we told now? Some give glory to the God in heaven.
- Rev 14:7 & Rev 15:4 – we will always see some come to repentance.
- 1 Sam 6 – The Philistines were told to give glory to the God of Israel and to not harden their hearts.
- Jonah 1:16 – The pagan sailors feared the Lord even more than Jonah and offered sacrifice to him.
- Jonah 3:5 – The inhabitants of Nineveh heard Jonah’s preaching and they believed God and put on sackcloth of repentance.
- How about Nebuchadnezzar when the 3 lads are thrown in the fire and Daniel in the lion’s den – the Magi later coming from the east, and became believers during Israel’s exile to Babylon?
- So what do we learn from this? The church should not give in to the temptation, namely to compromise, to worship who is to come from the sea and the land – the two beasts who are indeed the dragon’s henchmen.
- Instead, the church is given as we saw in Rev 1 to continue her witness to Jesus as the Christ, knowing that his promise and his word do not return empty, but accomplish what God wants done – Isaiah 55.
14 The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come.
- This is the transition to the 7th