Title: THE TESTIMONY OF TWO REMARKABLE WITNESSES
Text: Revelation 11:1-19
In our study we approach a pivotal point of the Great Tribulation. Those who have claimed the name of Christ have suffered greatly by those who do the work of Satan. Many judgments have fallen from Heaven to change the heart of mankind, but for many, their bitter rejection of the truth only worsens. The window of change and repentance is rapidly closing. More severe judgments are about to fall from Heaven. Just prior to the worst judgments, God sends two remarkable witnesses. Read Text.
1. What is the symbolic action of measuring property? (It is a judicial act – laying down the lines and borders that mark one’s property. The Lord is saying through John that He owns the temple.) Zech. 2:1-5
Insight: Yet to come in our study, we will see the rise of the Antichrist who will make an agreement with Israel and then break that agreement and use the restored Temple for his own perverted purposes. The fact that John was given a measuring rod to measure the Temple tells us that it is real and that by this time of the Tribulation the Temple has been rebuilt and worship restored. The measuring of the Temple, its altar and its worshippers is symbolic of receiving again of the Jew – God is grafting them back onto the Vine. The instruction to not measure the court is symbolic of casting away of the Gentiles. Rom. 11:1-2, 17-21
2. Any guesses who these two witnesses might be? Mal. 4:5-6
Insight: As John was the forerunner of the first coming, perhaps this is Elijah who will return to be the forerunner of the great and terrible day of the Lord.
How long are these two witnesses to minister? (1260 days = 3.5 yrs.) Notice John is instructed that these two witnesses are the two olive trees and two lampstands that are before the Lord. Compare with Zech. 4:11-14
3. What is different about the ministry of these two witnesses than the ministry of previous witnesses? (Their ministry is to call the nations to repent and return to God. Previous witnesses shared the truth and died during the Tribulation because of that witness. But these two have the power of God to execute judgment upon those that seek to do them harm.)
Insight: The world will be so full of evil in that day that they cannot do their work without the power of miracles. The evil of the abyss is spilling out upon the earth, so their work displays intense power.
Who finally kills the two witnesses? (The beast that comes from the abyss = the Antichrist.) Rev. 11:7; 13:1-2,7; Dan. 7:21-22,25
Insight: God has always supplied His children with the power to get done what He expects us to do. The task is not easy, but He will supply the means in order to get it done. These witnesses were not slain until their task was done. God’s protection will cover you until He is ready to receive you Home!
4. Why does the beast have to kill the two witnesses? (He has to remove them before he can take over the Temple.) 2 Thess. 2:1-12 Since the two witnesses are not given a decent burial, what does that tell you about how the world will feel about them by the end of their ministry? (With defiance & contempt; they rejoiced over their death and celebrated a warped form of Christmas. 11:10)
5. Where do the bodies of the witness’s lay after they are slain? (11:8) Why does God call Jerusalem, Sodom and Egypt? (From a spiritual viewpoint He considers it as polluted & worldly as Sodom and as rebellious and proud as Egypt.)
6. When Jesus resurrected from the dead, how many people were watching? (None.) When these two resurrect, how many will be watching? Rev. 11:11-12 (All their enemies.) Their enemies rejoiced when the witnesses were finally silenced, but what emotion do they display at their resurrection? (Great fear.) What brings on even more fear? (Great earthquake.) Don’t you think it’s a little late to give glory to God after the earthquake?
Insight: Though it is against their will, they are forced to confess that God’s almighty power is in it.
7. We have been waiting since chapter 9, verse 21 for the 7th angel to blow his trumpet. As he blows, three dramatic events occur. What are they? (An announcement of victory; the 24 elders praise God; and the Temple is opened in Heaven.)
Insight: The results of the last trumpet are so remarkable that the great voices of Heaven shout a victory praise. Even Heaven cannot keep silent when this crisis comes. Jehovah is now ready to bring final punishment on the wicked.
Insight: This announcement is made prior to the coming of the beast that is going to take control of the world. God is announcing ahead of time that Christ has the royal right to the captive citizens and the victory has already been won! Previously Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of this world, but Jesus rejected the offer. He knew that the purchase of them would come at Calvary. Praise the Lord! Ps. 2:7-9
Principle: No matter how difficult things get, or how defeated you may think you are, Jesus is still King of Kings and in control!
8. What three things do the 24 elders give thanks for? (That Christ reigns supremely, that He judges righteously, and that He rewards graciously.) Verse 18 says the nations became enraged. At what is their anger targeted? Ps. 2:1-3
Insight: Like children, they want to cast off all restraint and be rid of God, but they can’t. The result will be another Babylon.
Can the wrath of the nations compare to the wrath of God? How is the judgment of the unrighteous different than that of the righteous? (Unrighteous – condemnation & Hell; righteous – rewards & Heaven.)
9. What does this vision reveal about what is in Heaven? (The Ark of the Covenant.) What would the Jew instantly think of if they were to see this? (The symbol of God’s presence with His people, the mercy seat of God, the contents of God’s law, the manna and Aaron’s rod.) What would seeing it at this horrible time in history do for the Jew? (Greatly encourage them as they remember God’s presence and faithfulness of His promises.)
This chapter opened with the Temple on earth. It closes with a vision of the Temple in Heaven. That which is corrupted by Satan on earth will never corrupt the halls of Heaven. Satan’s move to begin to gather worshippers to him is met by the wrath of our jealous Father. The chapter closes with flashes of lightning and thunder, and earthquake and a great hailstorm. If you can conceive it, an even greater judgment is about to fall upon the rebellious on earth. But nestled safe in Heaven is the Ark of His Covenant – the visible expression of God’s eternal presence with His chosen ones. Are you His chosen one? Are you nestled safe in His arms? You don’t have to wait for horrible judgment to bend your knees to confess God’s mighty power at work in your life. Far better be it the one who melts under the power of His love now, than the one who melts in His furnace then.