LIFE CONQUERS DEATH
Thank You, Father, for sending the Comforter. Be with me now.
Read Revelation 11:1–14
The Two Witnesses
11 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers. 2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. 3 And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4 They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.”[a] 5 If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. 6 They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.
7 Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. 8 Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified. 9 For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. 10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.
11 But after the three and a half days the breath[b] of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.
13 At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
14 The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.
a Revelation 11:4 See Zech. 4:3,11,14.
b Revelation 11:11 Or Spirit (see Ezek. 37:5,14)
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThink of situations in your life that looked hopeless yet turned out well. How did that make you feel?
During the life of the church (three and a half months and three and a half years are both half of seven, the number for completeness and totality), there will be times when the world seems to be so powerful that the church seems to be over. The case for God will look hopeless. But the Life-Giver has sufficient evidence to win his case: two witnesses, required in court for the truthfulness of evidence to be established beyond doubt. Here, it’s a pair of pairs: two olive trees and two lampstands, speaking of God’s people in the Old Testament and New Testament respectively.
God rests his case on the evidence of his people’s death-defying witness. The church might seem down, but it’s never going to be out. Why? Because God has staked his claim to ultimate power and authority on the enduring life of his church—the people, not the building. At the end of the long wait for the victory blast of the seventh trumpet, God will win his case through his church.
Our true “success” is measured by being, like Jesus, a “faithful and true witness” despite the cost. For this, only the revitalizing breath of God is completely sufficient. The world can kill us, but it can’t stop us.
Do you think of the church as a location or as a group of people? How can you encourage the church this week? How can you do your part and work to serve one another in love?
Lord, thank You that You are the life of the church. Please help me to see the church as You do, as Your people, Your bride.
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