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Empowered Witnesses (Revelation 11)

Something about Spirit-filled anointed witnesses of Jesus stirs up animosity and opposition from both worldly people and the demonic spirits that have influence over the world. Whether or not the two witnesses of Revelation 11 are literal future figures is debated. But we have no need to anxiously anticipate how these things might be literally fulfilled. The reality is that these things are happening now and have been across centuries and even millennia.

Now, as ever before, God the Holy Spirit is giving power to His witnesses. In that power, they prophesy, and “fire proceeds from their mouths and devours their enemies” (Revelation 11:5). This is speaking of the fire of the Holy Spirit which gives words to cast down every argument that would raise itself against the knowledge of God in Jesus Christ. This was true for men of God like Stephen; he was fiercely opposed when he walked in the power of gospel testimony and miraculous signs, but his enemies “were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke” (Acts 6:10). This tongue of fire is not relegated to special historical figures. Rather, God declares to everyone who serves Him that, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn” (Isaiah 54:17).

We read that the antichrist system and the crazed world finally kill these witnesses, rejoicing (11:7-10). The hatred of worldly people, governments, and even religious authorities toward the true servants of God – even to the point of killing them – is testified and confirmed throughout Christian history, and also before Jesus came, all throughout the events of the Old Testament. Yet, we read next that God resurrects His witnesses, they ascend to heaven, “and their enemies [see] them” (11:12). God miraculously saves, resurrects, and often gives escape when death is inevitable. Our minds may run to the three Hebrew boys who were hated enough for their loyalty to God to be thrown into a blazing furnace, only to walk out completely unscathed and hear the idol-worshiping king testify that he saw the Son of God in the fire with them! Or, our thoughts may carry us thousands of years later to Jim Elliott, Nate Saint and their friends who brought the gospel to the Waodani tribe in the jungle of Ecuador. These men barely had time to communicate anything of the gospel before being speared to death. But the bewildered tribesmen testified later that, after killing the missionaries, they all heard other-worldly singing and saw the sky fill with supernatural “lights” that came down to carry the men’s souls. The killers later became believers.

It is not beyond God to bring two specific witnesses at the end of days if He sees fit. However, the Spirit of God even now is empowering witnesses, giving them a tongue of fire and authority, allowing them to be hated by the world, bringing life out of death for His faithful ones, and testifying even to their enemies of His power and glory. He did it with the faithful of Israel. He is doing it today with the faithful followers of Jesus. And the fact remains for anyone who would cling to comfort and longevity in this life that it will soon by pried out of our hands. But for all who would be fully sold out in love for Jesus, whatever the world takes from us, God replaces with eternal reward, comfort, and life. Father, I want to know You and love You supremely. Jesus, I want to be Your witness. Holy Spirit, come fill me with Your power, and help me trust You in every adversity. Amen.

Alex Mack

Teaching Pastor

The Rock Church

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