It seems when thing go from bad to worse in our congregations (low attendance, poor finances, relational problems, positional posturing, etc.) we look for blame first. We blame ourselves for awhile. When we are tired of blaming ourselves, we turn on each other and find blame. In the worst of times, we are going to be tested. Who and what will be the center of our focus? Will it be our failures? Or will we repent and continue to preach the Truth who is Jesus, our Savior and our Lord? Can we stop tearing each other apart and just focus on Jesus? Can we be witness to His love, mercy and grace by being living monuments of His gifts…His love, mercy and grace? Who is left among us to stand firm and do just that?
There are two. Just two. Two is very significant number in today’s revelation of Jesus Christ as He prepares to come back for His own.
Revelation 11:3-13, The Message
THE TWO WITNESSES
3-6 “Meanwhile, I’ll provide my two Witnesses. Dressed in sackcloth, they’ll prophesy for 1,260 days. These are the two Olive Trees, the two Lampstands, standing at attention before God on earth. If anyone tries to hurt them, a blast of fire from their mouths will incinerate them—burn them to a crisp just like that. They’ll have power to seal the sky so that it doesn’t rain for the time of their prophesying, power to turn rivers and springs to blood, power to hit earth with any and every disaster as often as they want.
7-10 “When they’ve completed their witness, the Beast from the Abyss will emerge and fight them, conquer and kill them, leaving their corpses exposed on the street of the Great City spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, the same City where their Master was crucified. For three and a half days they’ll be there—exposed, prevented from getting a decent burial, stared at by the curious from all over the world. Those people will cheer at the spectacle, shouting ‘Good riddance!’ and calling for a celebration, for these two prophets pricked the conscience of all the people on earth, made it impossible for them to enjoy their sins.
11 “Then, after three and a half days, the Living Spirit of God will enter them—they’re on their feet!—and all those gloating spectators will be scared to death.”
12-13 I heard a strong voice out of Heaven calling, “Come up here!” and up they went to Heaven, wrapped in a cloud, their enemies watching it all. At that moment there was a gigantic earthquake—a tenth of the city fell to ruin, seven thousand perished in the earthquake, the rest frightened to the core of their being, frightened into giving honor to the God-of-Heaven.
14 The second doom is past, the third doom coming right on its heels.
What do we learn?
–God is all sufficient.
–In this time of doom, God has reserved to himself his faithful witnesses, who will not fail to attest the truth of his word and worship, and the excellency of his ways.
–Jesus sent out the disciples…two by two…to preach the gospel.
–The number of these witnesses is a small number and yet it is sufficient. It is a sufficient number; for in the mouth of two witnesses every cause shall be established.
–it should rather seem that they are God’s eminent faithful ministers, who shall not only continue to profess the Christian religion, but to preach it, in the worst of times.
–Their habit, and posture: they prophesy in sackcloth, as those that are deeply affected with the low and distressed state of the churches and interest of Christ in the world. (Matthew Henry)
–God supplied ALL their needs. They were supported and supplied during the discharge of their great and hard work: they stood before the God of the whole earth, and he gave them power to prophesy.
–God gave them the oil of holy relentless enthusiasm with courage, strength, and comfort. He made them olive-trees, and their lamps of profession were kept burning by the oil of inward gracious principles, which they received from God. They had oil not only in their lamps, but in their vessels—habits of spiritual life, light, and zeal. Wow!
–Matthew Henry writes, “God promised the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 5:14), Behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people shall be wood, and it shall devour them. By their (the two witnessses) praying and preaching, and courage in suffering, they shall gall and wound the very hearts and consciences of many of their persecutors, who shall go away self-condemned, and be even terrors to themselves; like Pashur, at the words of the prophet Jeremiah, Jer. 20:4.”
–God is sufficient for all our needs and weaknesses. Where He guides, He WILL provide.
–It doesn’t matter how many.
Dear Heavenly Father, We are in awe You. We are in awe of how You work and are always at work in the lives of those You love. Thank you for loving us, forgiving us, and never leaving us. You will accomplish Your new Kingdom with or without us. Nothing is too hard for You. Count me in. I believe and I will always sing of your love, grace and mercy. In Jesus Name, Amen