Scripture Reading: Revelation 11:1-14
“And I will grant authority to My two witnesses, and they shall prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lamp stands that stand before the Lord of the earth.” (Revelation 11:3,4)
The interlude between the blasts of the six trumpets and the seventh trumpet continues. This interlude tells us what the people of God are to do during the time between the first coming of Christ until His second coming. This period of time is represented by the symbolic number 1,260 days. Until Christ returns the church will face times of persecution. Martyrs will die for their faith. There will be times when the people of God will face difficulties and tribulation. But they have been measured — set apart and protected by God (v. 1). Ultimately they will be victorious.
The description of the two witnesses explains what the church is to do during this period. They are to bear witness of God’s grace and of His ways in a hostile world. The two witnesses in this chapter remind us of the fact that Jesus sent His disciples out two by two (Mark 6:7).
The two witnesses are also described as two olive trees and two lamp stands. The allusion is to the architecture of the temple where the lamp stands represent the presence of the Spirit of God. The church’s witness is to be done in the power of the Holy Spirit — “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The oil from the lamp stands comes from the two olive trees, an allusion to the prophesy of Zechariah 4, in which the prophet describes the assurance of the completion of the second temple “not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit” (Zechariah 4:6).
The essential meaning of this chapter and the previous one is that until the seventh trumpet blows (symbolizing the final judgment), our task is to proclaim the message of the gospel (the little scroll of chapter 10), to an unbelieving world. We do so in the power of the Spirit, trusting God to bring salvation to His elect people. Though the closing days of this age will be difficult, the victory of God’s people is assured for they will be taken to heaven — “Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here!’ And they went up to heaven in a cloud and their enemies watched them” (v. 12).
Lord Jesus, You have commanded me to be Your witness. Enable me to be Your faithful ambassador on this earth. Empower me with Your Spirit and give me boldness as I seek to declare Your excellencies in this hostile and unbelieving world. Give me Your power as I seek to proclaim the gospel of our Lord Jesus to others.
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