Tuesday, November 16, 2010

For whom should you be praying now-- before it is too late?

Rev. 11:1-14 NLT  
   1 Then I was given a measuring stick, and I was told, “Go and measure the Temple of God and the altar, and count the number of worshipers. 2 But do not measure the outer courtyard, for it has been turned over to the nations. They will trample the holy city for 42 months.  3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will be clothed in burlap and will prophesy during those 1,260 days.” 
   4 These two prophets are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of all the earth.  5 If anyone tries to harm them, fire flashes from their mouths and consumes their enemies. This is how anyone who tries to harm them must die.  6 They have power to shut the sky so that no rain will fall for as long as they prophesy. And they have the power to turn the rivers and oceans into blood, and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they wish. 
   7 When they complete their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the bottomless pit will declare war against them, and he will conquer them and kill them. 8 And their bodies will lie in the main street of Jerusalem, the city that is figuratively called “Sodom” and “Egypt,” the city where their Lord was crucified.  9 And for three and a half days, all peoples, tribes, languages, and nations will stare at their bodies. No one will be allowed to bury them. 10 All the people who belong to this world will gloat over them and give presents to each other to celebrate the death of the two prophets who had tormented them. 
   11  But after three and a half days, God breathed life into them, and they stood up! Terror struck all who were staring at them. 12 Then a loud voice from heaven called to the two prophets, “Come up here!” And they rose to heaven in a cloud as their enemies watched. 
   13 At the same time there was a terrible earthquake that destroyed a tenth of the city. Seven thousand people died in that earthquake, and everyone else was terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. 
   14 The second terror is past, but look, the third terror is coming quickly.

The measuring of the Temple of God would be an impossible task because elsewhere we read that there is no need of a temple in heaven for God is the temple. Thus the Temple of God will be as immeasurable as God Himself. God's temple is made up of His worshipers-- God's people of all ages. The people of God are where the Spirit of God resides within and among, so they are His temple. You, Christ-follower, are part of the Temple of God. The task was given to introduce the coming period where a place called the holy city would be trampled by the forces of evil. Yet we have seen through the Book that the time of the end for evil will come and now is coming soon.

The periods of time described in this passage are the basis for what some teachers say are the two divisions of the seven-year tribulation period-- one part of lessor troubles and one part of horrific troubles. We are in the latter period as we begin this section of Revelation. The witnesses that come, may be two literal men-- some say Moses and Enoch. Others say they represent the testimony of the Church across the centuries. In either case, there will be witness, the witnesses will be persecuted by the forces of evil who will appear to triumph. The Dragon, himself will appear to overpower them. Yet their resurrection will take place as witnessed by sinful mankind refusing to trust God.

Some say that verse 11 represents God calling the Church-- the body of believers in Christ from all over the world-- to Heaven. This event is often referred to as The Rapture. Others say that had to happen before the seven years of turmoil ever began. Again, it is not important which description is correct as both terminate in the same outcome-- God's believers with Him and the enemies of God standing in judgment.  The earthquake described is not the final one that brings ultimate destruction upon earth-- that will be described in later chapters. This is just a tremor by comparison-- though it destroys ten percent of the city in which it takes place. Even that is a large earthquake.  It is interesting to read in verse 14 that everyone left living gave glory to God. Yet in the very next judgment they are back to cursing God and refusing to repent of their evil self centered ways.

We see how pervasive and consuming the bondage to sin is for human kind. Without the intervention of God's Holy Spirit to give us power to say "no" to self and sin we would not have been able or be able now to live for God. Even our repentance had to be empowered by God-- we cannot generate it on our own. How did it happen?  Someone asked God to save us. Someone prayed that God would help you to hear His call and have the ability to repent. Someone continues to pray that you receive the power from God's Holy Spirit to live for him. Seeing miraculous events will never change you, as they will not change these people of this nearing future time described in the book. For whom should you be praying now-- before it is too late?

Your servant in Christ's Love

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