You Are My Witnesses

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Revelation, chapter eleven has been a very complex chapter throughout the history of the church. In this chapter we see John measuring the temple. There is the forty-two month period of witnessing by two unnamed prophets. They are then killed by the beast who arises from the abyss. Their death is celebrated with gift giving and merriment for three and one-half days. Then God breaths life into them and they stand upon their feet in the sight of everyone. They are then caught up to heaven in a cloud as their enemies watched in terror.
Much has been written concerning this passage. Views range from literal to conventional to representative. Are the two witnesses Elijah and Moses or Elijah and Enoch? Is this story to be found in the middle of the Great Tribulation? Is this the ultimate show down between the beast and God's prophets? The answer to the questions vary according to which commentary you read.
However, I wonder if we are not missing something with all our charts and timelines? Could we be overlooking our present commission of being God's witnesses? Are we lost in the fog of discerning the future of God's plan? The following are some observations while musing over this important passage.
1. We Are The Temple of God. In the New Testament, it is the people that make up the temple. 1 Cor 3:16 "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"
1 Pet 2:4 "you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood..."
Rather than focusing on when the temple is going to be rebuilt in Jerusalem; let us focus on being the temple of God in this present world.
2. The two witnesses prophesied for a stated period of time-1,260 days. Also the beast did not kill them until they had finished their task (11:7). Satan cannot stop the task given to these two witnesses. This tells us that Satan cannot stop our witness - that he is not in control - God is.
3. Too much time and energy has been expended trying to figure who these witnesses are. Instead of reading Moses, Elijah or Enoch into a future story; why not read ourselves into the narrative? "You are my witnesses" declared our Lord. In the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word be established. In Luke 10:1 Jesus appoints 70 others and sends them out two by two into the cities where He planned to go.
4. Satan's victory is always hollow and short lived!
Ezekiel saw this principle in a valley of dry bones!
So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. (Ezekiel 37:10 NASB)
Stephen's martyrdom was the seed bed for the conversion of one who wrote much of the New Testament.
"Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, 'Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.'" (Acts 7:54-56 NASB)
Church history is full of such moments. Seasons of seemingly defeat only to have the Breath of God renew the lifeless.
So instead of looking for the end time story: Be the Story.