Thursday, March 9, 2017, 5:55 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Should I Not Preach Jesus.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Revelation 11:2-6 (NASB).
Given to the Nations (v. 2)
Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread underfoot the holy city for forty-two months.
In the study of Revelation 11:1 we learned that the temple is the church, the body of Christ, comprised of the people of God who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, who are born again of the Spirit of God, and who are indwelt with God’s Holy Spirit. We are God’s House. Yet, not only are we God’s House, His Temple, but we are the heavenly Jerusalem, the Holy City of God. Physical Jerusalem is now of Hagar, because she is in slavery with her children, because she is still enslaved to her sin. So, physical Jerusalem is no longer God’s Holy City. We who are in Christ Jesus, by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Him, are that city! (See: Gal. 4:21-31).
So, the nations which are treading underfoot (trampling) the Holy City, i.e. the saints of Almighty God, i.e. those who are followers of Jesus Christ, include the physical nation of Israel, which is antichrist, because they have rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah and God. So, this is not about Gentiles against Jews. The Jews are among the nations in this outer court who are trampling on God’s Holy City, his Holy Nation, which is the church, God’s kingdom priests. Galatians 4:21-31 makes that quite clear. When the Jews were God’s holy nation, they were persecuted by the sons of Ishmael. But, now believers in Jesus Christ are the children of promise, and we are being persecuted by these nations which are antichrist, including by the Jews. Who killed Jesus? It was the Jews who had him hung on a cross to die.
There are many nations today which have joined together to form a global one-world government, which is actively pursuing God’s holy people in order to destroy them. And, the US government is a huge part of this. Christians throughout the world are being persecuted, hunted down and killed for their testimonies for Jesus Christ and for his gospel. In America, we are not to that point yet, so here they deceive God’s people with their lies, and they convince them that they should worship the government (with hand over heart), and that they should believe the news media, and that they should trust their government leaders to tell them the truth.
And, they are working to convince all people that we should all join hands and hearts together as one unified voice, and that we should break down and discard all which divides us, as a people, and that we should work together by finding common ground among us. They want us to do away with the gospel as Jesus taught it, because it divides us as saved and unsaved, and because it confronts sin in sinful humans, and because it says that only those who believe in Jesus are God’s children and have the hope of heaven when they die. They call that hateful, bigoted and intolerant. They want us to accept all religions as viable, and all people, regardless of chosen lifestyle, as in right standing with God or else we are hatemongering.
The Witnesses (vv. 3-6)
And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.
I believe these “two witnesses” are the Old Testament and the New Testament, penned by men of God as God breathed his words into them for them to write down for us. As such, all those who are followers of Jesus Christ, who serve as God’s witnesses in teaching the truths of scripture, as was taught by the prophets of old, and by Jesus, and by his NT apostles, serve, symbolically, as his “two witnesses.” The power, thus, does not come from us, but it comes from God, and from His Word, which has the power to shut up the sky and to turn water into blood, which I believe Moses did.
Much of what was written in the prophets, including in the Psalms, and in the New Testament, were prophecies concerning the Messianic age and the events of these last days. So, what has already been prophesied is being fulfilled and will yet be fulfilled, so the words of these witnesses still has power today to do these things as they prophesied would happen, because what they spoke were the very words of God. And, God’s words will not return empty. They will accomplish all that he intended. He will do exactly what he prophesied through these prophets of old.
Before this passage spoke of these two witnesses, though, it spoke of measuring (examining) the temple (the church), which is a lot like what was done by Jesus in the letters to the seven churches (Rev. 2-3). He told them what they were doing right – all but one – and five of the seven he told what they were doing wrong. If they were committing sin against God, he confronted them with their sin, he called them to repentance, warned of judgment, and he promised hope and healing for the repentant and the overcomer. Yet, if they did not repent, he would come to them in some form of divine judgment and discipline (scourging). Throughout the scriptures this has been God’s pattern of behavior towards his rebellious people who forsake him and who follow after idols. He longs for them jealously.
I believe the trampling (the treading underfoot) of the Holy City, i.e. God’s Holy Nation, i.e. the church, the temple of God, the body of Christ, is a judgment of God on his church in these last days following that same pattern of examination (measuring) of the church (the people of God) and of their relationship with him and their worship of him. He confronts them with sin, calls them to repentance, warns of judgment and promises hope to the repentant and obedient (the overcomers). Yet, this does not mean that only the rebellious will face God’s divine correction and discipline. He also prunes those of us who are bearing fruit for his kingdom so that we will be even more fruitful, and in order to purify us and to make us holy.
If we want to have the hope of heaven when we die, and we want to be forgiven of our sins, and have a relationship with Jesus Christ, and be delivered from sin addiction (bondage), we need to believe Jesus, i.e. we need to accept what he did for us, and what he taught, and what he stands for into our lives via God-given faith in him. When we do this, we die with Christ to our lives of sin, and we are born again of the Spirit of God, raised with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). The Holy Spirit then comes to live within us, and he empowers and strengthens us to walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the sinful flesh, for if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the misdeeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity (Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25).
So, if we profess to know Jesus, but we continue living sinful lifestyles, the Bible teaches we are liars, and that we don’t know him, and that we don’t have the hope of heaven when we die. Yet, there are indications in scripture that we can be true believers in Jesus and yet fall into sin and a time of rebellion or complacency, and so the Lord will send messengers to us – his witnesses – who will confront sin, call for repentance, warn of judgment, yet promise hope and healing for the repentant and obedient (submissive).
And, I believe this is the message being preached by these “two witnesses” because that is what the prophets taught, and it is what Jesus taught, and it is what his NT apostles taught, i.e. they comprise the “two witnesses.” Yet, that is the message we must preach, too, especially in these final days before Jesus returns, because there are many rebellious people who have forsaken the Lord who are following after their own desires, and they need to repent. And, there are many who have never believed in Jesus, too.
Should I Not Preach Jesus
An Original Work / July 4, 2013
Based off 1 Corinthians 9:16-10:13
Woe to me should I not preach Jesus.
I’m compelled to preach the full gospel.
I make myself a slave to ev’ryone
To win their hearts to Christ.
All this I do for my Lord Jesus,
And for the sake of His Name;
Do it for the sake of His gospel,
So that I, its blessings gain.
Scripture notates the sins of others;
Written down for us as examples
To keep us from setting our hearts
On evil as did those of old.
Do not worship other gods of man;
Do not give your hearts to them;
Not partake in immorality.
Do not test your Lord and King.
So, be careful if you think you are
Standing firm in your faith in Jesus.
God has given his word to warn us,
So through faith we will not fall.
No temptation has o’ertaken you
Except what is commonplace.
God is faithful to not let you be
Tempted past what you can bear.
He gives the way of escape.