Revelation 10-11 finally reveals the seventh and last trumpet. As the seventh angel blew his trumpet, the twenty four elders worshiped the Lord God Almighty and the flashes of lightning and rumblings paint a similar picture of God's presence at Mount Sinai (Revelation 11:15-19). This is the final reign and judgment for destroying the destroyers of the earth (Revelation 11:18) but is delayed (for reasons that we will discuss later).
But even before this seventh trumpet was blown, we rewind back to the scenes of the little scroll in Revelation 10 and the two witnesses in Revelation 11. Contrasting the previously mentioned seven unbroken seals with this little scroll that is already open, comparisons can be made with the quote from Deuteronomy 29:29, "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.". In other words, this scroll contained what is to be said and told. The instructions to eat it symbolizes the act of internalizing the contents of the scroll.
This is the Word of God.
The message of forgiveness that the gospel shares is sweet as honey (Revelations 10:9) but the words of lamentation and mourning and woe described in Ezekiel 2 makes it a bitter and hard-to-swallow message. It is only good news to those who respond to the gospel appropriately.
The scene of the two witnesses in Revelation 11 begins with the measurement of the temple of God and those who worship there i.e. God's people (Revelation 11:1). What the measurement here refers to is to know the details of and to care for that which is measured. As such, the court outside the temple (those not belonging to the spiritual temple i.e. those who are not God's people) is not measured but given over to the nations to be trampled (Revelation 11:2).
The idea of two witnesses was formerly introduced in Deuteronomy 19:15 where only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established. This is also the reason why Jesus sent out his apostles in twos that should they be rejected, they may shake the dust off their feet as a testimony against those who rejected them i.e. a sign of condemnation to the coming judgment.
The two olive trees date back to Zechariah 4 where they refer to two particular people doing God's work: Joshua and Zerubbabel, while the two lampstands are representative of the church or God's people as alluded to previously in Revelation 1. We may teach God's Word but we can also expect others to reject or accuse us.
Revelation 11:3 reveals an interesting note of the two witnesses prophesying for 1260 days. This is equivalent to forty-two months (the same period of time that the court outside the temple will be given over to the nations to be trampled on in Revelation 11:2) or 3 1/2 years - similar to that predicted in Daniel 12 concerning a time, times and half a time, where times equals two times, making it a total of 3 1/2 times = 3 1/2 years!
Again, the two witnesses change identity when Revelation 11:6 demonstrates the powerful testimony via the very Word of God itself where they have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying (a reference to Elijah predicting a drought in 1 Kings 17-18, one that too lasted for 3 1/2 years), and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire (a reference to Moses inflicting upon the Egyptians the ten plagues in Exodus).
The remainder of the first half of Revelation 11 before the seventh trumpet is blown continues to paint a picture of persecution against these two witnesses by those who dwell on the earth (as in previous sermons, a reference to those who are not God's people), who will rejoice and make merry and exchange presents, gloating at the fall of the two witnesses. This, however, only lasted for 3 1/2 days when a breath of life from God entered the two witnesses, initiating a sequence of events that forced the rest to give glory to the God of heaven as great fear fell on them.
Returning in a full cycle onward to the seventh trumpet, we now analyze why this has been delayed. Revelation 10:7 tells us that it is delayed until the time when the mystery of God would be fulfilled. Ephesians 3 explains to us what this mystery is: Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. The delay of this final judgment then is to allow people to hear the message of the gospel and respond appropriately.
Question is: Have we responded to the gospel message appropriately and how are we faring in terms of sharing this message with others who have yet to hear it?
Labels: Australia, Christianity, Revelation