The Interlude Part 2
A bum, obviously under the influence of alcohol, approached evangelist D.L. Moody. "Mr. Moody," he said, "you're the man who saved me." As the great evangelist observed the bearded face, bloodshot eyes, unkempt hair, and torn clothes, he replied, "Yes, it looks as if I did save you. If the Lord had, you wouldn't be in this condition."
A. The world is lost! There are millions like this fellow who either don't know Jesus, or think they do, but they are lost and dying without the savior!
1. When was the last time we lost a night's sleep over them?
2. When was the last time we wept over their lost souls?
B. This morning we continue with the "interlude" between the 6th and 7 trumpet judgments.
1. William Barclay says about this chapter, ". .it is at one and the same time the most difficult and the most important chapter in the Revelation."
2. It is a continuation of the "interlude" in chapter 10 and doesn't end until the 7th trumpet is sounded in verse 15.
a) Barklay said it was "difficult", not impossible!
b) He also said it was the most "important" chapter in the book of Revelation so we cant afford to miss it so let's begin our study!
A. Revelation 11:1 1 Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, "Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. 2 "But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. (NKJV)
1. A little history is in order here:
a) At the very time John is being given this Revelation, the magnificent temple in Jerusalem was a 25 year old memory!
b) The Roman armies had destroyed it in A.D.70 just as Jesus had prophesied in Matthew 24:2 2 And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down." (NKJV)
c) Yet, the prophets had written of a new temple that would be around during the "last days".
d) It would be at least 19 centuries after John's death before the temple would be rebuilt, but John saw it here in this verse!
2. It is at some point during the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation when this specific temple is erected in the "holy city" (Jerusalem), and it is strictly Jewish in it's worship!
a) This temple will be the result of a 7 year "peace treaty" made between Israel and 10 European nations, of which one man will rise to the top their leader!
b) Scripture has already told us that He will break that treaty after only 3 1/2 years!
(1) 2 Thessalonians 2:4 tells us that he . . . opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. (NKJV)
(2) John 5:43tells us the he will come in his own name and the majority of people will accept and worship him.
c) It is hard to believe, but modern men and women will once again begin to participate in animal, blood sacrifices but they will.
d) But, unlike the rituals of old, these will be satanic and demonic!
(1) You see, they were once given by the Lord as atonement for sins.
(2) But since the cross, they will are unnecessary. And any spilling of blood for the forgiveness of sins will be instigated by satan, for his purposes!
(3) It is in this scene: this temple that John is told to "measure"!
3. 1Peter 4:17tells us that . . . the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; . . . (NKJV)
a) That is exactly what John begins to "measure up"! The temple in Jerusalem. ONCE GODLY, ONCE GOD'S PEOPLE!!
b) John was told in Revelation 10:11 11 . . ."You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings." (NKJV) Israel is the first nation!
(1) It is not mere dimensions that John is measuring. He is measuring spiritually.
(2) How does any one measure up "spiritually" without Jesus Christ?
(a) Romans 3:23 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (NKJV)
(3) The Gentiles are not being excluded from judgment, they are simply being used by the Lord to judge Israel ( Zech. 14:1-2). From this time on much of the remaining judgment in Revelation deals with the Gentiles!
B. Revelation 11:33 "And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." (NKJV)
1. Who are these 2 witnesses that are given miraculous power for 31/2 years?
a) Their clothing of sackcloth is for mourning!
b) Traditionally prophets clothed as such, were in mourning for the sins of their nation!
(1) These 2 witnesses are prophets of the judgment of God on an un-repentant world!
(2) Every single day for 3 1/2 years they preach repentance and proclaim the goodness of God!
C. Revelation 11:44 These are the two olive trees and the two lamp stands standing before the God of the earth. (NKJV)
1. They have mouths, they are heard, touched, and hated: THEY ARE REAL PEOPLE!!!
a) Zechariah 4:11-14 gives us a little more information; 11 Then I answered and said to him, "What are these two olive trees -- at the right of the lampstand and at its left?" 12 And I further answered and said to him, "What are these two olive branches that drip into the receptacles of the two gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?" 13 Then he answered me and said, "Do you not know what these are?" And I said, "No, my lord."14 So he said, "These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth." (NKJV)
(1) The 2 "olive trees" are witnesses against the god of this world; satan and his antichrist!!
(2) Lampstands give illumination! So do these 2 witnesses!
(a) Mark 4:21-22 21 Also He said to them, "Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand? 22 "For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. (NKJV)
b) Many believe they are Elijah and Enoch!
(a) Elijah did not experience physical death and since Hebrews 9:27 tells us that . . .it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, (NKJV) then Elijah must return to experience physical death as do these 2 witnesses.
(b) Malachi prophesied that Elijah would appear on the earth to prepare for the Messiah's second coming!
(c) And the 2 witnesses have the same kind of power that Elijah had, namely withholding rain for 3 1/2 years!
(a) Enoch also did not experience physical death!
(b) Like Elijah, Enoch was a prophet of judgment consistent with the ministry of these 2 witnesses!
D. Revelation 11:5-6 5 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. 6 These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire. (NKJV)
1. They are powerful! The whole world is against them but they are empowered by the Lord to hold back the rain, turn the water into blood, and to plague the earth mas God's judgment.
2. They are UNSTOPPABLE until, their ministry is completed!
This should be a testimony to us! Unless the Lord wills it, nothing can harm us!
E. Revelation 11:7-10 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. 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.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. 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. (NKJV)
1. For the first time in Revelation we are introduced to this character referred to as "the beast"!
2. Daniel describes him as a "prince" in Daniel 9:26.
a) He has gained tremendous political and social power for the first 3 1/2 years of his treaty with Israel and now these 2 witnesses are really messing things up by exposing his sin!
b) He launches all out war against them and many are caught in the cross-fire as his demonic horsemen under the 6th trumpet are unleashed upon the earth, killing 1/3 of the world's population!
c) The beast is "allowed" to take their lives!
d) Their bodies lie in the streets of a spiritually dead Jerusalem (Sodom & Egypt) for 3 1/2 days! And the beast will not even allow their bodies to be buried as he gloats over his victory!
(1) The unrepentant world will be ecstatic to have relief from these prophets and their plagues!
(2) So happy in fact, there will be worldwide "beastmas" = gift exchange in the name of the beast!
A. Revelation 11:11-14 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. 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. 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. 14 The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly. (NKJV)
1. All the cameras of earth will trained upon the 2 witnesses.
a) Imagine the terror of those rejoicing in their pompous belief that there is no God, when the dead bodies of the 2 witnesses begin to move, then stand up!!!
b) And if that's not enough, the Lord calls them home, audibly, then takes them home visibly!!!
(1) No wander men's hearts fail them from fear!
2. An earthquake follows and kills 7 thousand (men) in Jerusalem alone. This does not include women and children!
a) If this is 1/10 as the text says it is, the population could well be over 300,000 people!
b) The remaining that were affected, they "gave glory to the God of heaven"
(1) Unfortunately Rev. 16:11 tell us that they "blaspheme the God of heaven" once again as they begin to experience His Judgments again.
(2) There is a lot of difference in being "sorry" and truly repentant!
(3) The 14th verse gives us a clue to the human heart: Revelation 11:14 14 The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly. (NKJV)
(a) When the heat is off it is so easy to go on about our business!
B. If the Lord was to send the Apostle John today to "measure" the temple of John Brown's heart: what would he find?? How would I measure up?
1. The only way I could satisfy the Lord's demand for righteousness is having the heart of Christ!
2. I got that when I invited Jesus into my life!
3. How do I know I have the heart of Christ?
C. What is my reaction to the 2 "witnesses" ?
1. In other words, am I ashamed when I hear the witness of the cross and of Jesus?
2. Or can I say AMEN!!
John Knox said, "Lord, give me Scotland or else I die!"
Jesus didn't commit the gospel to an advertising agency; He commissioned you and I. He didn't command us to put up signs or pass out tracks; he told us to BE His witnesses!!