Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Revelation 11:7-14

Revelation 11:7-14
And whenever they should finish their testimony, the beast – the one who goes up out of the Abyss – will make a war with them, will conquer them, and will kill them.  And their dead bodies are upon the wide street of the great city – which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt – where also their lord was crucified.  And those out of the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations look at their dead bodies for three and a half days.  And they do not send away their dead bodies to set them in a tomb.  And the ones who live upon the earth rejoice upon them and are gladdened.  And they will send a gift to one another because these two prophets afflicted the ones who live upon the earth.  And after the three and a half days a spirit of life went out of God into them and they set upon their feet.  And a great fear fell upon the ones who had knowledge of them.  And they heard a great voice out of heaven while saying to them, “Get up here.”  And they went up into heaven in a cloud and the ones hostile to them had knowledge of them.  And in that very hour there became a great earthquake and a tenth of the city fell and seven thousand named men were killed in the earthquake.  And the remaining ones became terrified and they gave glory to the God of heaven.  The second woe departed.  Look!  The third woe comes quickly.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

The witnesses will give their testimony in a city which is called Sodom and Egypt.  This is a unique phrase, because we are more familiar with the expression Sodom and Gomorrah.  So what is John telling us in this spiritual classification?  Remember that Sodom is the place where great rebellion against God’s ways occurred.  Egypt is a place where bondage and slavery occurred.  God is telling us that this place is spiritually a place of rebellion and bondage.  But what is more significant is that we know this city is Jerusalem, because it is the city in which Jesus was crucified!  So what is the overarching point here?  The people who are in Jerusalem will rebel against God and place those who are in God under bondage.  Remember, though, that in the last to sections we heard that the Gentiles – those who are not in God – will overtake Jerusalem and the temple.  Therefore, this rebellion is not God’s people rejecting God’s witnesses as they rejected Christ.  This rebellion is the rejection of those who do not fear God.  There will come a time and a place for all people to decide whether or not they will fear God or reject His presence.

How do you feel when you read about this rejection?  When you meet people who have obviously chosen to reject God and His witness, how do you respond?

Second Thought:

I love the testimony about God’s witness with respect to the resurrection.  The Greek literally has God saying, “Get up here!”  This is a powerful command.  The witnesses of Christ will be brought forth up into life eternal with God.  It isn’t the doing of the witnesses that brings about the resurrection, it is the power and will of God.  What an incredible testimony towards the resurrection!  What John is doing is reminding all of those who hear these words that we can believe in the promise of the resurrection.  All of us who are in God can firmly rest in the hand of God knowing that when our time comes, we will be told by God to “Get up here!”

What does the resurrection mean to you?  Do you look forward to the resurrection into life eternal with anticipation?  Why is it important to know that it depends upon God’s power?

Third Thought:

Finally, notice the result of this resurrection.  There is a great earthquake.  Many people lose their life.  But many people also repent!  Once more, John is thinking back to the story of history.  Remember the King of Judah named Josiah, who brought about great repentance after God brought judgment upon the nation?  Perhaps you remember a king named Hezekiah who brought about great repentance after God judged the nation.  Or perhaps you remember a prophet named Jonah who prophesied great judgment and the people repented?  Or perhaps you remember the story of Jesus, who after He was crucified at the will of the people and was resurrected there was a great movement of the Holy Spirit in the city and thousands of people came to know God through the Spirit?  John knows how God works.  Times of great stress often bring about times of great repentance and resurgence in the faith.

When have you been under great stress or pressure only to find repentance with God and a restored relationship with Him?  When have you seen this dynamic at work in others?

Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 11:15-19
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