The Two Witnesses


Series: Revelation (2021)

Passage: Revelation 11:3-19

Speaker: Jeff Thompson

As John continues filling us in on other events that have been unfolded during The Tribulation, we learn about two mysterious miracle-working prophets who appear in Jerusalem to preach for 3.5 years…

Transcription (automatically-generated):

Well, can you believe it? The rumor persists. There are still those who are saying that the book of Revelation is hard to understand. But Hogwash say we where you see the word itself. Revelation means that something has been revealed.

And the first words of this book tell us exactly who it is that's being revealed. It's the revelation of Jesus Christ. And as I said last week, we've leveled up our intro here a little bit, so see if you can hang with me. God wanted us to read this book so much that he promised anyone who would read and respond to its contents a special blessing. And we find that blessing in chapter one, verse three.

Let's claim it together. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written in it for the time is near. And the Lord, as he knows all things, knew that there would still be those who would say it's just too hard to understand. So he also included an easy to follow outline. And we find that in chapter one, verse 19, where Jesus gives John these instructions, write the things which you have seen that was the resurrected and glorified Jesus in chapter one, and then He's told to write the things which are that of course, refers to the Church age prophesied in chronological order in chapters two and three, beginning around 32 Ad and continuing to the present day.

And then lastly, Jesus says, John, I want you to write about the things which will take place after this, after the Church age comes to an end and the Church age comes to an end. In chapter four, verse one, where we read this. After these things, I looked and behold a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard that was the voice of Jesus in chapter one was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, Come up here and I will show you things which must take place after this.

And up.

John go serving as a picture of the Church who will be raptured to be with the Lord. And Jesus drives that fact home by taking all of chapters four and five to show us the Church with Him in Heaven, safe and secure before wrath is poured out in chapter six, and in chapter six, verse 16, those on the Earth reveal they understand the source of their calamities, identifying it as the wrath of the Lamb and the Lamb in Scripture is always who Jesus Christ. That's right. So chapter One introduces the focus of Revelation Jesus.

Chapters two and three take us through the Church age up to the present day.

The Church goes up. In chapter four, verse one, we see her safe and secure in heaven for chapters four and five before wrath comes down in chapter six, and that wrath will last all the way through to chapter 19, at which time Jesus will return to the Earth with his Saints in the event known as the Second Coming to rule and reign on the Earth for 1000 years. And there will be many more exciting things unfolding in those final few chapters of this amazing book. But here's what you need to know for now.

If you love Jesus, then your story will end with the words and they lived happily ever after.

Well, as we learned in our previous study, John the Apostle is taking a literary pause between the 6th and 7th trumpet judgments to fill us in on some other events that have been unfolding during the tribulation. Next up in chapter eleven is a mysterious duo who have been the subject of much speculation across the centuries. They show up seemingly out of thin air as part of God's plan, much to the chagrin of Team Satan. But what are they doing and compellingly? Who are they?

Let's pick things up in chapter eleven, verse three, because we covered the first two verses. Last time we'll begin with God speaking to John, the Lord says, and I will give power to my two witnesses underline that word Witnesses, and they will prophesy now underline this, this should stick out to you. How long will they prophesy? 1260 days, clothed in sackcloth? A more accurate translation of the phrase My two witnesses would be the two Witnesses of mine.

The implication is that they have functioned in this capacity in some way in the past. And if we're familiar with the Scriptures, we should be able to recognize their ministries. These two witnesses show up on the Earth, and they begin to prophesy speaking forth truth. They will preach the gospel, explain what God is doing and what he's going to do next, and expose Satan, the Antichrist and their evil schemes. In the previous chapter, we learned that the seven years of the Tribulation will be divided into two halves of three and a half years, with a major event taking place at the half way point.

Here. Once again, the Bible is explicit that the length of time is literal. The Holy Spirit could not be any more specific than to say 1260 days, which you'll recall from last week is the exact length of three and a half years by the Hebrew calendar, which uses 30 day months, they will prophesy for the duration of the Great Tribulation, the latter half of the seven years of the Tribulation. And as we go through this chapter, I think it'll become clear how we can deduce that their Ministry will be primarily to the Jews of Jerusalem.

We will learn that in verses eight, as God's focus shifts to ethnic Israel in the Great Tribulation, so write this down.

It's your first fill in. The two witnesses will prophesy in Jerusalem for the three and a half years of the Great Tribulation, the two witnesses will prophesy in Jerusalem for the three and a half years of the great tribulation, we're told they're clothed in sackcloth. It's exactly what it sounds like. Picture a burlap sack with a hole for the head and the arms. That's the general idea.

In the days of the Old Testament, prophets and men who were repenting or in mourning wore sackcloth. These two witnesses will do the same as they grieve the desecration of the Temple, Antichrist power over Jerusalem and the wicked state of the world. Despite the terrible judgments of God. They are indeed prophets and will call people to repentance. But we'll discover that as was often the case with the prophets of the Old Testament, their message does not go down well with their audience.

Why two witnesses? Because under Jewish law, two witnesses were required to establish a matter as being true. That is why there were two Truthful witnesses sent to spy out the promised land in Joshua and Caleb, and two Angels at the tomb of Jesus following his resurrection. It's also one of the reasons Jesus sent out his disciples in prayers. You may recall from earlier studies that the word witness is the word Martys in the original Greek.

From where we get our word martyr. That's a clue as to what's going to happen to these two witnesses. Verse four, these are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the Earth. This is a reference to a vision seen by the Prophet Zechariah in chapter four of the book that bears his name. We're not going to do a whole side study on that.

We just don't have time today. So I'll just tell you, if you dig into the parallels, what you will discover is that it's a picture of these two witnesses being continually filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit to deliver the Word of the Lord. Now, at this point, it seems worth asking the logical question if the majority of people on Earth hate Jesus and are killing his followers at this time, then how on Earth are these guys able to survive preaching publicly in Jerusalem for three and a half years while the whole world turns against God?

Well, the next verse is tells us verse five, 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.

Well, that explains it. Devouring your enemies with fire from your mouth is definitely an effective means of dealing with hecklers. The Lord will give the two witnesses this power for two reasons. Firstly, to authenticate their Ministry and make it clear from the start that they are messengers, supernaturally, empowered and sent by God. They are not just two crazy men ranting in the streets with nothing to prove their claims.

This will authenticate their Ministry as the miracles of Jesus authenticated his claims to be the Son of God. Secondly, God will allow them to do this just to practically protect their Ministry. It's the will of God that these two men prophesy for three and a half years, even though Antichrist and others will seek to stop them. The fire is a practical solution to ensure that their Ministry is fulfilled. When Jesus was on the Earth, James and John once suggested calling down fire from heaven to deal with a hostile audience.

Jesus rebuked them and said, Guys, I'm here to save people. But the Great Tribulation is a different deal. Time has run out because people have been given more than enough opportunities to turn to the Lord. Verse six, these the two witnesses 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. I love this phrase as often as they desire, as often as they desire.

Now slow down for a second and just imagine this two men show up in Jerusalem and they start preaching in public in a crowded area. I know it's going to be somewhere prominent. I'll tell you what I think. I think it's probably going to be on the Temple Mount, the most prominent place in Jerusalem. And that would be interesting because during the Great Tribulation, who else is on the Temple Mount?

Antichrist because he's desecrated the temple at the halfway point, committing the abomination of desolation. And I can't help but smile even though it's speculative at the thought of Antichrist occupying the temple, declaring himself to be God and yet having to share the Temple Mount with two witnesses who preach all day, he can't kill them. He can't get rid of them. And all they do is glorify. Jesus preach the Gospel, call people to repentance and declare the wickedness and evil of Antichrist in his regime.

I don't think he would like that. To put it mildly. Just imagine the first day that they begin to prophesy somebody's. Security from the area comes and tries to remove them. So you're not allowed to preach like that around here.

And fire comes out of their mouths and vaporizes the guy. Multiple tactical military teams are sent in. They try to shoot them. Same results. The attackers are vaporized and the witnesses just go right back to preaching.

They're like, as I was saying. Then they throw out this little detail. Also, everyone. Until further notice, there will be no rain anywhere, no rain. Somebody says, Well, what else are you going to do when they reply?

Well, we'll see what happens. We've been given permission to strike the Earth with really any plague we feel is needed as often as we feel it's needed. Suffice to say they will blow up on social media within minutes of beginning their Ministry. This will be surreal. And by now you're probably wondering, okay, who are these guys?

If we're being honest, we won't know for sure until the time comes and until it does. We need to be honest about the fact that all we can do is speculate. So let's go ahead and speculate, because if nothing else, it's good, clean, fun. And it causes us to dig into our Bibles. Write this down, and then I'll explain my view here.

I believe that all the clues point to the two witnesses being Elijah and Moses, Elijah and Moses. You can write that down and let me explain why all the way back in Deuteronomy in the Torah, in the Pentate, God told Moses to speak this prophecy over Israel. It's on your outlines. The Lord, your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren, him you shall hear. And then a couple of verses later, God addresses Moses and says, I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I commend him.

And it shall be that whoever will not hear my words, which he speaks in my name, I will require it of him now. Because of those prophecies, an expectation grew among the Jewish people that it wasn't a Prophet like Moses that was going to appear in the future. But Moses himself right or wrong, that became their cultural religious expectation. And in the last chapter of Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament, God says, Behold, I will send you Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

And this caused the Jews to also expect the reappearance of Elijah at some point in the future.

The great and dreadful day of the Lord mentioned in Malachi four verse five refers to the worst part of the end time season of God's judgment. The Great Tribulation. God promised to send Elijah before that time. Well, couldn't that be referring to John the Baptist? Jeff, well, while Jesus was on the Earth, he said this regarding John the Baptist, Matthew 1114.

And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. And while our first inclination may be to dismiss the phrasing as an odd translation, it is precise and correct. Look at what Jesus says. He says, John the Baptist is Elijah present tense, who is to come? Future tense.

Jesus was saying that while John the Baptist did indeed Minister in the spirit of Elijah, Elijah himself was still to come. Some of your Bibles may translate that verse as was to come, but it should have a footnote that you should see that says something like literally is to come. The idea is that Elijah himself was still going to come in the future, even after John the Baptist. Additionally, in Matthew 1711 to 13, Jesus has this conversation with his disciples. Jesus answered and said to them, Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things.

But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise, the Son of man is also about to suffer at their hands. Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them of John the Baptist. Jesus reinforced that John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah, meaning he ministered under the same powerful anointing that marked the Ministry of Elijah. But he was not Elijah.

John the Baptist in the spirit of Elijah, preached a message of repentance to prepare the way for Jesus first coming. Elijah himself will return to the Earth to preach a message of repentance, to prepare the way for Jesus's second coming. Finally, the Jews were obviously also expecting the future appearance of Messiah due to the roughly 300 Old Testament prophecies that predicted his coming. So make a note of this. And then I'll keep piling up the evidence for you to summarize.

Beginning centuries prior to the Incarnation, beginning centuries before Jesus came to the Earth as a man, there was a Jewish expectation of three future comings Moses, Elijah and Messiah, Moses, Elijah and Messiah. The Jewish people expected all three to show up in the future. Now the deaths of Elijah and Moses are also worth investigating. Because Elijah didn't die. He was raptured in Second Kings.

211 we read then it happened as they continued on and talked that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. After leading the endlessly stubborn and faithless Israelites through the wilderness, Moses patience finally ran out when they complained about being thirsty. If you have or had small children, then you sympathize with our boy Moses. Moses struck a rock with his staff in anger and water miraculously flowed from it. But the Lord said, Moses, that's not what I told you to do.

Now they think I'm mad at them. They think I'm frustrated with them, but I'm not. You misrepresented me, Moses. And so as a consequence, you're not going to get to go into the Promised Land. That's harsh, right.

Praise Jesus. We live in the age of Grace. So God took Moses before he died up a mountain where he could look out and across into the Promised Land and Deuteronomy 34 five through seven tells us so, Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord, and he buried him in a Valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth Pure. Did you catch who buried the body of Moses God himself? Then it says, but no one knows his grave.

To this day, the Lord buried the body of Moses somewhere secret.

Moses was 120 years old when he died. And then note the strange little detail recorded in the word of God. His eyes were not dim, nor his natural vigor diminished. One gets the sense that Moses might have some unfinished business. So write this down.

Moses was buried by God himself. Additionally, there's a verse in the Book of Jude that is flat out odd in Jude nine. It says Michael the Ark Angel in contending with the devil when he disputed about the body of Moses. So Michael the Ark Angel got into a dispute with Satan because Satan wanted the body of Moses. Now why in the world would Satan want the body of Moses?

What's so special about it? His spirit is gone. Perhaps in some way we can't fully understand Moses is going to need his body again in the future. And perhaps Satan knew this and thought that he could somehow thwart the plans of God by destroying it. Now we're obviously speculating, and there's a lot here that's a little hard to understand, but I haven't heard any other viable explanations for Jude.

Verse Nine when you look at the details, I believe the deaths of both Elijah and Moses qualify as exceptional, and by that I mean that they are both exceptions to how people normally die. During the Ministry of Jesus. There's an event that takes place known as the Transfiguration. Jesus goes up on a mountain to pray with Peter, James, and John. And in Luke nine, verses 30 and 31, it says, and behold, two men talked with him, who were Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his decease, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

Moses typically represents the law in Scripture, while Elijah typically represents the prophets. So at the Transfiguration, you have Jesus, the law and the prophets altogether. And if you've been around the Bible for a while, you'll understand the significance of that. When you look at the miracles performed in Revelation eleven, verses five and six, you will find they correspond with the ministries of Elijah and Moses. For example, fire devouring one's enemies.

The only person known for doing that in the Bible is Elijah. In Two Kings chapter one, King A. Hesiah falls through the lattice at his palace and is injured. He wants to know if he's going to live or die. So he seeks advice from the local God, Baal or, more accurately, Baal Zebab.

He sends a delegation to ask Ball, Am I going to live? And while they're traveling, the delegation encounters Elijah, the Prophet of the true and living God. And he asks them sarcastically, Are there no prophets in Israel? Why would you go and consult a pagan God? Let me save you a trip.

Tell the King he's going to die. They take Elijah's message back to the King, and he angrily says that Elijah always has bad things to say. He's so toxic. I don't need this in my life. I'm going to put an end to this right now, and he sends 50 men to capture Elijah.

They find him sitting on a rock and they say to him, Elijah, you man of God. The King wants to see you right now. Get down here. And Elijah replies, Well, if I am a man of God for real, then let fire come down from heaven and devour you. And boom, that's exactly what happens.

It's a beautiful story. Word gets back to the King. A hasaiah is even angrier and says, I am so done with Elijah. And he sends another group of men to capture him. He's a slow learner.

They go and do the same thing. They're also slow learners. And Elijah responds the same way. More toasty soldiers. The King is.

He's just incensed at this point. And so he sends another group of 50 men. But these guys were smarter than the average soldier and smarter than the King, too. When they reach Elijah, they bow down, and their leader says something along the lines of Elijah, listen, we recognize you're a man of God. You serve the living God.

Please have mercy on us. We just work for the King. He's an idiot. We know that he's a jerk. We get it.

You're awesome. We're unworthy. Please don't kill us. And they very nicely. Ask him.

Would you mind possibly coming to see the King with us if it's okay with you? And Elijah says, yeah, sure. No problem. And off they go. Read Second Kings, chapter one and one, Kings, 1820 through 40.

They're great stories. And you'll learn that Elijah is the fire from heaven. Guy in the Bible write this down. Elijah also stopped the rain. He stopped the rain.

And that's interesting because Revelation Eleven six says the two witnesses have power to shut heaven so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy. And in James chapter five, verse 17, it says Elijah was a man with a nature like ours. And he prayed earnestly that it would not rain. And it did not rain on the land for guess how long? Three years and six months.

Three and a half years. 42 months, 1260 days. Coincidence, I think not. Revelation Eleven six told us they have power over waters to turn them to blood. Who did that?

In the Old Testament? Moses. It was the first plague in Egypt. And then finally, that same verses also tells us that these two witnesses have power to strike the Earth with all plagues as often as they desire. Who did God use to bring plagues upon Egypt?

That was Moses, too. Let's read verse seven when they finish their testimony underline that when they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit, will make war against them, overcome them and kill them.

Despite their earthly deaths, their testimony is not cut short. Their Ministry is not interrupted. It ends when they finish their testimony. When you're faithfully serving Jesus, you are immortal until you complete the work that God has for you on the Earth. God has a plan for you.

And if you live your life in agreement with that plan, then you can trust. You won't go until it's your time to go. And when it is your time to go, you go. The greatest goal for every Christian is not to live as long as possible. The goal is to complete the work that the Lord has given you for your earthly life.

That's it. That's the goal. This is the first time the Beast is mentioned in Revelation. We're going to learn much more about them in the coming chapters. And as those details emerge, you'll understand how it is that we determine his identity.

In this chapter we're told that he comes out of the bottomless pit. That's the Abyss, the prison for demonic entities that is opened in the Tribulation. The Beast is a reference to the powerful demonic spirit that is subject to Satan and will possess the man known as Antichrist. So write this down. When Revelation refers to the beast, it's a reference to the Satanic power that possesses Antichrist.

It's talking about the spiritual power behind Antichrist. And in the final days of the Great Tribulation, the beast is given permission by God to finally kill the two witnesses. Verse eight and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom. In Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified as an intentional insult, Antichrist will order the body. The bodies of the two witnesses be left to lie in the street in view of the watching world and to ensure we're not confused.

Verse Eight tells us that this takes place in the city where also our Lord was crucified. It's Jerusalem. It can't be anywhere else. So why then, though, does it say that the Holy City Jerusalem is spiritually called Sodom. In Egypt, those are two locations referenced in Scripture as the epitome of the sinful fallen world that is under Satan's sway.

Both are described as places that believers needed to get out of because they were so hopelessly corrupt and evil. Verse eight is telling us that in the Great Tribulation, Jerusalem will become like Sodom and Egypt, it will become sinful worldly full of hatred toward the Lord and apparently a home base for Antichrist. This description of Jerusalem only makes sense after the abomination of Desolation has taken place at the midway point of the seven years that Mark the Tribulation. During that back half, when Jerusalem is being trod underfoot by the Gentiles for 42 months.

As we learned last week, Jerusalem isn't talked about this way during the first three and a half years, only in the back three and a half years because of the events that take place at that half way point.

Verse Nine then those from the Peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations. In other words, the whole world will see their dead bodies three and a half days and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. Imagine how this would sound to the reader. Just 100 years ago, people from all over the world like the whole world is going to look at these dead bodies as they lay in the street. That's impossible.

The whole world couldn't even travel to Jerusalem in three and a half days. Obviously, this can't be a literal event. There's no question in my mind that these events will be livestreamed to the whole world. It happens every day. My family watches live streams of bears from Alaska and animals from all around the world in real time.

Because once again, something in Biblical prophecy that was once impossible to be taken literally is now ordinary and therefore should be taken literally. Verse Ten and those who dwell on the Earth just remember in Revelation that phrases like those who dwell on the Earth are always a reference to those who continue to stubbornly reject Jesus during the Tribulation. So those who dwell on the Earth will rejoice over them over the two dead witnesses make Merry and send gifts to one another. Because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the Earth.

This is the only time the Bible records those who reject Jesus in the Tribulation rejoicing, and they do it when the prophets of God are killed because they tormented them with their message of truth, their calls to repentance and the plagues that God empowered them to inflict.

They knew it was true, but they didn't want to hear it. And so they react to their deaths by shouting Woohoo. The guys who were making us feel convicted over our sin are dead. Our problems are solved. It's a wonderful day.

I get ready for a tasty plot twist verse Eleven 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 while wicked men and women are dancing around their corpses and taking selfies. The two witnesses ruined the party by standing to their feet unquestionably, causing many to experience what we will just term significant fluid loss. Can you imagine the fear that will grip people? Verse twelve and they the two witnesses 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.

This is very different to the Rapture.

The Rapture you'll recall, is an instantaneous event. Paul wrote that it will happen in the twinkling of an eye. Nobody on Earth will see believers leaving the Earth in the Rapture will simply disappear from their perspective. The two witnesses come back to life and they leave the Earth by ascending into the sky like Jesus at the Ascension. In full view of everyone watching suffice to say their enemies will be terrified.

And while I have no scriptural evidence to back up this point, I believe it's reasonable to assume the two witnesses will be holding up their fingers to their foreheads, making the L for loser sign as they ascend to heaven in front of those who were just celebrating their deaths moments ago. I think that because God sure seems to be intentionally messing with his enemies throughout this incident. He gives those who hate him three and a half years to celebrate just enough time to send gifts to each other, travel into Jerusalem and really get the party started.

And then he brings the two witnesses back to life. Obviously God's doing more than simply messing with people.

I'm just kidding around. He's making the point that Satan cannot kill these guys. God is in control. He's still doing whatever he wants. And there's nothing Satan or Antichrist or anyone else can do about it.

And it gets worse for those in Jerusalem who've just had their dead witnesses rave interrupted verse 13. In the same hour, there was a great earthquake and a 10th of the city fell in the earthquake. 7000 people were killed and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven. A note in newer translations renders this phrase 7000 men of names. The idea is that 7000 notable people are killed in this earthquake, meaning it likely also claims the lives of multiplied thousands of unknowns in Jerusalem.

Because Antichrist will have taken over the temple in Jerusalem at the halfway point of the seven years, Jerusalem will be one of the trendiest cities on Earth. The man considered to be the savior of mankind will be headquartered in Jerusalem and people will want to be around them. And when the two witnesses are killed, the party, the celebration is going to be massive. People will likely think this is it. We've reached the end of this tribulation.

We've made it. Dignitaries and celebrities will flood into the city, but the celebration will be cut short when the two witnesses revive ascend to heaven unleashing an earthquake that causes 7000 people to have their names crossed off the who's who list on the Earth at that time, the term the rest seems to refer to the rest of the people in Jerusalem who would have been. And I think it's speaking about this group Israeli Jews, primarily. You see, having heard the testimony of the two witnesses for three and a half years, having seen their resurrection and felt the earthquake through those and the other judgments, they now see clearly that God is orchestrating all of these things in a way that has a plan behind it.

And they give God glory and respond to the two witnesses call to repent.

At this point, as the two witnesses return to heaven, we are weeks and days likely away from the return of Jesus to the Earth. We're right at the end of the great Tribulation, and as that time rapidly approaches, hope is rising among the Jewish people as God moves among them in increasingly powerful ways, drawing them to himself for the rest of the world, for those who have rejected Jesus and are now dead in their sins unchangeably. There is only this ominous observation in verses 14. The second woe is passed.

Behold, the third woe is coming quickly, so the second woe, you'll recall, was the 6th trumpet judgment, which is now complete.

There remains only the third one, the 7th trumpet judgment, which will consist of seven bold judgments. That, as I said, will likely unfold in the final days and weeks of the great Tribulation. Verse 15 then the 7th angel sounded. The final trumpet is blown. And as we know, this final trumpet judgment will consist of seven bold judgments.

However, we won't get to those bold judgments until chapter 16. There are still other significant things that have taken place during the tribulation that John needs to bring us up to speed on those who believe in a mid tribe view. The view that the Church will be raptured at the halfway point of the tribulation suggest this is the final trumpet. This is the trumpet of the Rapture referred to by Paul in one Thessalonians 416. There's a whole bunch of problems with that view, not the least of which is the fact that this trumpet is simply the last of seven, a series of seven that are all sounded by Angels.

While the trumpet Paul speaks about is referred to as the trumpet of God. That difference alone makes it clear that these are separate and distinct events. The 7th trumpet in Revelation, chapter eleven and the final trumpet spoken up by the Apostle Paul, cannot be the same thing. This trumpet, like the six that preceded it, are to Herald the coming King Jesus Christ. While the 7th trumpet is blown here in chapter Eleven, we will not see its effects until chapter 15.

Then we read this and there were loud voices in heaven saying, and you should underline the rest of this verse, the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever. I can't wait to hear heaven say those words. Around 2000 years ago, Jesus was in the wilderness. He was being tested by Satan after fasting for 40 days in preparation for the start of his Ministry. In Matthew's Gospel, we read the Devil took him up on an exceedingly high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.

And he said to him all these things I will give you if you will fall down and worship me. Then Jesus said to him, away with you, Satan, for it is written, you shall worship the Lord, your God and him only shall you serve. Let me ask you a couple of questions. These are not trick questions, so don't be scared to answer Jesus ruling over the kingdoms of the world. Good thing or bad thing.

Good thing. Obviously. Right. Jesus bowing down to worship Satan. Good thing or bad thing.

Bad thing. Right again. Obviously, Psalm 80 411 declares no good thing. Will he withhold from those who walk uprightly. If there's anything you or I desire that is good in the highest sense of that word, the Lord will give it to us.

It may happen during our earthly lives, or it may happen after our earthly lives. But if it's genuinely good and we desire it, He'll give it to us. The question is, will we trust him while we wait? Will we trust him while we wait? It can be very difficult to exercise faith when it takes the form of patience and very difficult when we have an enemy who loves to show up and offer us a shortcut to get what we want.

That's what Satan was trying to do with Jesus. He was trying to offer him a shortcut that went around the trial of the cross. And that's what Satan does to us. He offers us a shortcut to get what we want now. But there's always a catch.

There's always a price. If Jesus had bowed down to Satan, he would have been given the kingdoms of the world. But Satan would have become heir to the Cosmos because Jesus would have been acknowledging Satan as his superior. There will always be a price for you and me. When we take Satan's offer of a shortcut and the price is generally catastrophic, may we find encouragement in the example of the one who's always our example, our brother, Savior and King Jesus, who has patiently remained faithful to his heavenly Father, who stayed faithful to the will of his Father and endured the trial of the cross and will soon hear heaven erupt with loud voices crying.

The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord. The problem is that the verb translated have become is in the proleptic aorist tense in the original Greek, and I know most of you are thinking good for you, Jeff. You know some Bible nerd words. I'm super impressed. But what does that have to do with anything?

Well, in the Greek of the New Testament, verbs can have different tenses, and in this instance the tense used literally would translate this verse as the kingdoms of this world are becoming the kingdoms of our Lord. It is what is known as a proleptic statement. It's a future event so certain that it is referred to as though it has already taken place. And I like that. It's perfect for Bible prophecy.

Isaiah 53, verse five, speaks prophetically of Jesus when it says he was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities had this event happened when Isaiah penned those words? No. Isaiah wrote them centuries before Jesus came to the Earth as a man. And yet he recorded it in the past tense because it was as certain as if it had already happened.

In Romans 817 and 30, we learned that we've been glorified. Have you looked in the mirror lately? I don't know about you, but when I look in the mirror. What I see doesn't make me say yes. I've definitely been glorified.

So why does Paul say that? Because one day we will be. It's a fact when God declares the future, something that is yet to happen becomes as certain as something that already has. If you want to be a Christian who lives by faith, you've got to develop a proleptic view of God's promises in the scriptures. Instead of asking God for things that he's already promised, he'll do start thanking him that everything he's promised will come to pass.

When the Israelites were faced with the Reed sea while being chased down by the Egyptian Army, they thought they were dead. They wanted to kill Moses. They blamed them for leading them into this mess. A short time later, Miriam was leading them in worship on the other side of the Reed sea because the Lord had opened a path for them through the water and closed it in on the pursuing Egyptian Army. Praise is good, but how much better would it have been if the Israelites had praised God in faith before the miracle?

Based on His promises? The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord. That's the language of heaven. If you want heaven in your heart and you want heaven in your home, speak proliptically as you praise God. Prolifically.

Would he write this down? I like saying it like this, too. Christians are called to live in light of the already, but not yet the already, but not yet future events decreed by God that will happen with absolute certainty. We're called to live our lives in light of the already, but not yet. Many Christians are shocked to learn that God has never reigned on the Earth.

In fact, some of you just heard me say that. And you're wondering if I finally revealed myself to be a heretic. I'm not. God created the Earth and placed two in charge of it. Adam man sinned and in so doing gave authority over the Earth to who?

Satan? Jesus won back the title deed through his death and resurrection. But up to this point, he hasn't cast it in and laid claim to the Earth. By fully opening the scroll, the Lord intervenes in our world in various ways and to various degrees. But up to this point, Jesus has never ruled and reigned on the Earth over the Earth.

That glorious day is yet to come, and it's almost here as the final trumpet sounds in our narrative verse 16 and the 24 elders who sat before God on their Thrones, fell on their faces and worshipped God, saying, we give you thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the one who is and who was and who is to come because you have taken your great power and reigned. I love this, and I know I say that a lot, but when it comes to the word, I mean it. Every time I love this, we see the 24 elders who represent the Royal priesthood of believers, overwhelmed with joy, bowing down and worshiping Jesus.

They give him thanks because one of their greatest desires, prayers and longings is being fulfilled. Jesus is beginning his reign over the Earth.

This desire is found in every person who truly loves the Lord. We recognize that all power, glory, and authority belong to Him. They belong to him. Present tense. And so if you love the Lord like me, you desire your experiential reality to line up with what is already spiritual reality.

You say, Man, let the world that I live in accurately reflect the reality and truth that all power, glory, and authority belongs to Jesus. That's what we want. That's what we crave. The Royal priesthood continues speaking praise to Jesus in verses 18, saying the nations were angry, not repentant, just angry. And your wrath has come literally is come.

It's another proleptic aorist verb, meaning it's as good as done and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that you should reward your servants, the prophets and the Saints, and those who fear your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the Earth. When it talks about those who destroy the Earth, it's not making an ecological statement. That phrase is better translated. Those who corrupt the Earth. It's referring to people who follow the destroyer Satan Antichrist.

The next verse is really part of the next chapter of Revelation, our next study, but we'll hit it while we're here. Verse 19. Then the Temple of God was opened in heaven. We've been looking at the new temple on Earth in Jerusalem, and now we're shifting our focus to the true temple, which is in heaven. Then it says, and the Ark of His Covenant was seen in his temple.

And you might be thinking what the Ark of the Covenant is in heaven. It's always been in heaven. Remember, the Tabernacle and the temple were and will be replicas of what has always existed in heaven. The Lord instructed the earthly Ark of the Covenant be made according to the pattern he gave, which was based on the Ark that exists in heaven. God opens the temple in heaven and invites his people into His presence, indicating that as Jesus prepares to return to the Earth, his people are invited in to all that he is doing and all that is about to unfold.

We will not simply be spectators. As our brother Paul told us, we are joint heirs with Christ. If indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. And if you're wondering whether the earthly Ark of the Covenant will ever be found again, the answer is probably not. In fact, in Jeremiah 316, we're told that in the last of the last days and in the millennial Kingdom, the Ark won't even be mentioned.

Sorry, Indy. Then it says there were Lightnings noises, thunderings and earthquake and great hail something's getting ready to happen here. As I just mentioned, this is really the beginning of Revelation, chapter twelve. And in our next study, we'll discover these things are being caused by war in heaven. That's a good teaser for next time.

If God is bringing conviction and correction into your life right now, I want to ask you a serious question. Do you desire freedom from your sin, or do you desire freedom from the consequences of your sin?

Those on the Earth were being tormented by their sin, spiritually, emotionally, physically, in every sense. But they didn't want to repent. They didn't want to be right with God. They didn't hate their sin. They hated the consequences of their sin.

That's why they celebrated when the two witnesses were killed. If you're in sin, repent hate your sin, because if you don't, I can promise you this. Any relief you find will be temporary. There is no peace apart from the Prince of peace. You don't need freedom from the consequences of your sin.

You need freedom from your sin, and there is no freedom apart from Jesus.

In Ezekiel, chapters two and three, we read about God assigning Ezekiel to preach the word of the Lord, regardless of whether the people listen.

The Lord has given you and I the same assignment we're called to proclaim the good news of the gospel, even though it will increasingly be received as bad news by those that we share it with. Perhaps you're living this out and experiencing this right now in your workplace, in your school or in your family. Perhaps you feel like the two witnesses because you're sure everyone is glad to see you go and it's like you're tormenting them whenever you try to share Jesus with them. Psalm 118, verse six says the Lord is on my side.

I will not fear what can man do to me.

If you're paying attention to this chapter, then you're like, well, a Jeff man can kill me as we saw with the two witnesses. But if you're paying attention, then you also know that God can raise you any will. One way or another, you'll be raised up to God's presence in heaven where you'll hear them say, well done, good and faithful servant. So keep sharing the gospel. And remember this.

This is a key to the Christian life. Write this down. Sear this into your soul. Christian, hear me on this. Success in the Christian life has nothing to do with the results that you get nothing.

Success in the Christian life is found in faithfully obeying Jesus. That's it. That's how we define success in the Christian life. It is faithfully obeying Jesus. That's it.

Finally let me encourage you to exercise a proliptic faith. If you're a believer, the question how are you doing should really be viewed as two distinct questions. The first question would be, how are your circumstances? And the second question would be, how are you doing? Because as a believer, we should be able to give honest answers.

Like, you know what? My circumstances are terrible right now. Stuff is just really difficult. Standing for Jesus in my workplace, in my school and my family is creating all kinds of problems. But it's well with my soul.

I'm full of joy and peace because I know that the kingdoms of this world are becoming the kingdoms of our Lord. I know that Ephesians One four through seven tells me that God, who is rich in mercy because of His great love with which he loved us even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ by Grace. You have been saved and raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus that in the ages to come, he might show the exceeding riches of His Grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

So while my circumstances are difficult and I would appreciate your prayers, I'm doing well. Thanks.

I'm doing well when God is involved, something that has yet to happen becomes as certain as something that already has. Jesus has told us how the story ends. He has told us how your story ends. He's shown us our future destiny. And it is amazing.

And that is our hope. The kingdoms of this world are becoming the kingdoms of our Lord. Hasten the day. Lord Jesus, let's pray together.

Thank you as always, for your word, Lord, thank you for the encouragement. Thank you for the challenge and thank you for the examples. Lord, thank you that you have opened our eyes to the truth, not because we're better than anyone or more humble than anyone, but just because you've been gracious to us. We don't understand how we have the privilege of ending up in your family. We don't understand how you would invite us into your very presence and include us in your family so that we could rule with you.

This is unbelievable in its scope, scandalous in its goodness. So, Jesus, we simply pray that you would put your heart in us, that if there's sin, we need to be convicted of, Lord, that you would do it, and that our heart would be to be right with you, not simply to escape the consequences of our sin. If that's where we are right now, Lord, then we ask you to change our hearts, change our hearts so that what we want is you more than our sin. Lord and Jesus.

We ask that you would help us to speak, proliptically, to speak in faith in a way that agrees with everything that is in your word, to share with one another how we're doing in a way that is honest, but to not leave out the whole truth, that even though our experience and our physical bodies feel like much is lacking, even though our emotions often feel like much is lacking.

We know that we lack nothing when we have you and so help us to always share the complete truth and preach the truth to ourselves and to one another. That you would be glorified and exalted in the way that we speak to each other and you're goodness would be past among us. Lord, we love you. We bless you. It's in your name.

We pray. Amen.

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