The life we live is either before Jesus or after Jesus. Before Jesus, we think life is all up to us because that is what a world without Jesus tells us. “It’s all up to you”, the world teaches. “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps”, the old saying goes, which is actually physically impossible! We are trained to succeed by walking over anyone who gets in our way as we climb the ladder to the top. In fact, we aren’t truly succeeding unless we are consistently climbing to the top, making more money, gaining more influence, in whatever organization, including the church, you are working within.
We are told to live with goals of “in it to win it”, “fake it ‘til we make it”, while making it hard on those who come up under us trying to do the same. This life is an endless cycle of self. We are trained to mock and malign all who get in our way. We assume what others might be thinking and devise a plan to manipulate them to do what we want. We begin to operate in the chaos of doing life all by ourselves for ourselves. We crave the praise and attention draw to us, extoling our accomplishments. We are very arrogant and extremely demanding.
After we receive Christ into our hearts, surrendering all that is in us, our minds change. We begin to follow Him and Him alone. We become not who we once were. We are different. We are saved from the sin of self-satisfaction with a strong desire not to go back. We now see that the benefits of following Christ and serving others far outweigh the folly of not abiding in Him. We who know Jesus Christ know all the benefits and blessings of growing in His character with His gift of peace that comes with the following. We no longer do life alone but with the One who is the Giver of Life. Real Life. Forever Life.
After receiving Christ, however, we are treated much differently by those we once knew among our family and friends. We become the “drag” or “wet blanket” to our former groups who want to continue to party, gossip, complain and mock others with you. After Jesus, our once arrogant, selfish, unloving, unkind behaviors look and smell like a casserole that went bad and moldy in the fridge weeks ago. It makes us ill to just look at it much less partake of it.
Yes, after Jesus, all of life changes. Or it should.
John now sees two witnesses, sent by God, with a testimony to God. They stand firm in the midst of selfish sin with the results of perverted living. My first thought is, “only two”? Only two are left to stand firm in Truth? But God knows what He is doing.
And the people mock the Two. They celebrate when these “wet blankets” to their partying are dead. “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.” There were those who cheered with they thought Jesus died, too.
So, the question is, with Jesus coming back in power, glory and majesty, who does my life truly revolve around? “I pity the fool”, as Mister T used to say, who does not follow the One and Only who saves us and keep us safe for eternity living.
REVELATION—JESUS IS COMING BACK!
Revelation 11, The Message
The Two Witnesses
1-2 I was given a stick for a measuring rod and told, “Get up and measure God’s Temple and Altar and everyone worshiping in it. Exclude the outside court; don’t measure it. It’s been handed over to non-Jewish outsiders. They’ll desecrate the Holy City for forty-two months.
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.
The Last Trumpet Sounds
15-18 The seventh Angel trumpeted. A crescendo of voices in Heaven sang out,
The kingdom of the world is now
the Kingdom of our God and his Messiah!
He will rule forever and ever!
The Twenty-four Elders seated before God on their thrones fell to their knees, worshiped, and sang,
We thank you, O God, Sovereign-Strong,
Who Is and Who Was.
You took your great power
and took over—reigned!
The angry nations now
get a taste of your anger.
The time has come to judge the dead,
to reward your servants, all prophets and saints,
Reward small and great who fear your Name,
and destroy the destroyers of earth.
19 The doors of God’s Temple in Heaven flew open, and the Ark of his Covenant was clearly seen surrounded by flashes of lightning, loud shouts, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a fierce hailstorm.
WHAT WE LEARN—
(With the help of Warren Wiersbe, Commentator and Theologian)
John’s measurement of the temple is a symbolic action. To measure something means to claim it for yourself. Jesus will regain control of God’s Holy Temple and City.
The two witnesses are sent and given great power with their testimony until it is told. “Repent and be saved” is the cry of their hearts.
Imagine the act and testimony of God’s Two Witnesses standing outside of the Temple in Jerusalem being picked up by the media! God’s obedient servants are immortal until their work is done. “The beast” (Antichrist) is now in power and wants to take over the temple, but he cannot succeed until the two witnesses are out of the way. God will permit him to slay them, for no one will be able to make war against “the beast” and win (Rev. 13:4). The witnesses will not even be permitted decent burial (see Ps. 79:1–3). But even this indecency will be used by God to bear witness to mankind. No doubt the TV cameras in Jerusalem will transmit the scene to people around the world, and the news analysts will discuss its significance.
Jerusalem is called a “great city” (Rev. 11:8), and from a human viewpoint, this is a true statement. But God looks at men and nations from a spiritual viewpoint. To Him, Jerusalem will be considered as polluted and worldly as Sodom and as rebellious and proud as Egypt. And he will be the judge.
Repent and be saved.
I don’t want to live my life as a fool who falls for sin and self. I want to live for you, with you guiding me in all that is good, right and pleasing to you. The old life has gone, the new life has come. Continue to transform my thoughts and behaviors. May I remain a witness of you, standing firm in my faith and trust in You alone.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen