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The Interlude Part 2
A bum, obviously under the influence of alcohol, approached evangelist D.L. Moody. "Mr. Moody," he said, "you're the man who saved me." As the great evangelist observed the bearded face, bloodshot eyes, unkempt hair, and torn clothes, he replied, "Yes, it looks as if I did save you. If the Lord had, you wouldn't be in this condition."
A. The world is lost! There are millions like this fellow who either don't know Jesus, or think they do, but they are lost and dying without the savior!
1. When was the last time we lost a night's sleep over them?
2. When was the last time we wept over their lost souls?
B. This morning we continue with the "interlude" between the 6th and 7 trumpet judgments.
1. William Barclay says about this chapter, ". .it is at one and the same time the most difficult and the most important chapter in the Revelation."
2. It is a continuation of the "interlude" in chapter 10 and doesn't end until the 7th trumpet is sounded in verse 15.
a) Barklay said it was "difficult", not impossible!
b) He also said it was the most "important" chapter in the book of Revelation so we cant afford to miss it so let's begin our study!
A. Rev_11:1-2 Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, "Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there.
2 "But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. (NKJV)
1. A little history is in order here:
a) At the very time John is being given this Revelation, the magnificent temple in Jerusalem was a 25 year old memory!
b) The Roman armies had destroyed it in A.D.70 just as Jesus had prophesied in Mat_24:2 And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down." (NKJV)
c) Yet, the prophets had written of a new temple that would be around during the "last days".
d) It would be at least 19 centuries after John's death before the temple would be rebuilt, but John saw it here in this verse!
2. It is at some point during the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation when this specific temple is erected in the "holy city" (Jerusalem), and it is strictly Jewish in it's worship!
a) This temple will be the result of a 7 year "peace treaty" made between Israel and 10 European nations, of which one man will rise to the top their leader!
b) Scripture has already told us that He will break that treaty after only 3 1/2 years!
(1) 2Th_2:4 tells us that he . . . opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. (NKJV)
(2) Joh_5:43 tells us the he will come in his own name and the majority of people will accept and worship him.
c) It is hard to believe, but modern men and women will once again begin to participate in animal, blood sacrifices but they will.
d) But, unlike the rituals of old, these will be satanic and demonic!
(1) You see, they were once given by the Lord as atonement for sins.
(2) But since the cross, they will are unnecessary. And any spilling of blood for the forgiveness of sins will be instigated by satan, for his purposes!
(3) It is in this scene: this temple that John is told to "measure"!
3. 1Pe_4:17 tells us that . . . the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; . . . (NKJV)
a) That is exactly what John begins to "measure up"! The temple in Jerusalem. ONCE GODLY, ONCE GOD'S PEOPLE!!
b) John was told in Rev_10:11 . . ."You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings." (NKJV) Israel is the first nation!
(1) It is not mere dimensions that John is measuring. He is measuring spiritually.
(2) How does any one measure up "spiritually" without Jesus Christ?
(a) Rom_3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (NKJV)
(3) The Gentiles are not being excluded from judgment, they are simply being used by the Lord to judge Israel ( Zec_14:1-2 ). From this time on much of the remaining judgment in Revelation deals with the Gentiles!
B. Rev_11:3 "And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." (NKJV)
1. Who are these 2 witnesses that are given miraculous power for 31/2 years?
a) Their clothing of sackcloth is for mourning!
b) Traditionally prophets clothed as such, were in mourning for the sins of their nation!
(1) These 2 witnesses are prophets of the judgment of God on an un-repentant world!
(2) Every single day for 3 1/2 years they preach repentance and proclaim the goodness of God!
C. Rev_11:4 These are the two olive trees and the two lamp stands standing before the God of the earth. (NKJV)
1. They have mouths, they are heard, touched, and hated: THEY ARE REAL PEOPLE!!!
a) Zec_4:11-14 gives us a little more information; 11 Then I answered and said to him, "What are these two olive trees -- at the right of the lampstand and at its left?"
12 And I further answered and said to him, "What are these two olive branches that drip into the receptacles of the two gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?"
13 Then he answered me and said, "Do you not know what these are?" And I said, "No, my lord."
14 So he said, "These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth." (NKJV)
(1) The 2 "olive trees" are witnesses against the god of this world; satan and his antichrist!!
(2) Lampstands give illumination! So do these 2 witnesses!
(a) Mar_4:21-22 Also He said to them, "Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand?
22 "For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. (NKJV)
b) Many believe they are Elijah and Enoch!
(a) Elijah did not experience physical death and since Heb_9:27 tells us that . . .it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, (NKJV) then Elijah must return to experience physical death as do these 2 witnesses.
(b) Malachi prophesied that Elijah would appear on the earth to prepare for the Messiah's second coming!
(c) And the 2 witnesses have the same kind of power that Elijah had, namely withholding rain for 3 1/2 years!
(a) Enoch also did not experience physical death!
(b) Like Elijah, Enoch was a prophet of judgment consistent with the ministry of these 2 witnesses!
D. Rev_11:5-6 And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner.
6 These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire. (NKJV)
1. They are powerful! The whole world is against them but they are empowered by the Lord to hold back the rain, turn the water into blood, and to plague the earth mas God's judgment.
2. They are UNSTOPPABLE until, their ministry is completed!
This should be a testimony to us! Unless the Lord wills it, nothing can harm us!
E. Rev_11:7-10 When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.
8 And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
9 Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves.
10 And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. (NKJV)
1. For the first time in Revelation we are introduced to this character referred to as "the beast"!
2. Daniel describes him as a "prince" in Dan_9:26 .
a) He has gained tremendous political and social power for the first 3 1/2 years of his treaty with Israel and now these 2 witnesses are really messing things up by exposing his sin!
b) He launches all out war against them and many are caught in the cross-fire as his demonic horsemen under the 6th trumpet are unleashed upon the earth, killing 1/3 of the world's population!
c) The beast is "allowed" to take their lives!
d) Their bodies lie in the streets of a spiritually dead Jerusalem (Sodom & Egypt) for 3 1/2 days! And the beast will not even allow their bodies to be buried as he gloats over his victory!
(1) The unrepentant world will be ecstatic to have relief from these prophets and their plagues!
(2) So happy in fact, there will be worldwide "beastmas" = gift exchange in the name of the beast!
A. Rev_11:11-14 Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.
12 And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.
13 In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.
14 The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly. (NKJV)
1. All the cameras of earth will trained upon the 2 witnesses.
a) Imagine the terror of those rejoicing in their pompous belief that there is no God, when the dead bodies of the 2 witnesses begin to move, then stand up!!!
b) And if that's not enough, the Lord calls them home, audibly, then takes them home visibly!!!
(1) No wander men's hearts fail them from fear!
2. An earthquake follows and kills 7 thousand (men) in Jerusalem alone. This does not include women and children!
a) If this is 1/10 as the text says it is, the population could well be over 300,000 people!
b) The remaining that were affected, they "gave glory to the God of heaven"
(1) Unfortunately Rev_16:11 tell us that they "blaspheme the God of heaven" once again as they begin to experience His Judgments again.
(2) There is a lot of difference in being "sorry" and truly repentant!
(3) The 14th verse gives us a clue to the human heart: Rev_11:14 The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly. (NKJV)
(a) When the heat is off it is so easy to go on about our business!
B. If the Lord was to send the Apostle John today to "measure" the temple of John Brown's heart: what would he find?? How would I measure up?
1. The only way I could satisfy the Lord's demand for righteousness is having the heart of Christ!
2. I got that when I invited Jesus into my life!
3. How do I know I have the heart of Christ?
C. What is my reaction to the 2 "witnesses" ?
1. In other words, am I ashamed when I hear the witness of the cross and of Jesus?
2. Or can I say AMEN!!
John Knox said, "Lord, give me Scotland or else I die!"
Jesus didn't commit the gospel to an advertising agency; He commissioned you and I. He didn't command us to put up signs or pass out tracks; he told us to BE His witnesses!!
The Rewards of Service
A. This morning's service will be somewhat unique!
1. We are going to start where we left off last week in Rev_12:15 and finish the chapter , but then we are going to "key" into verse 18 and study something very specific!
a) And that study is going to be about what it means to be a servant of the Lord, and the rewards that come from that service!
II. TEXT VR. 15-19
A. Who are the saints?
1. They are not just a select few that a church has named as saints, but they are all of those who have put their faith and trust in Jesus.
2. It is the church! The saints are you and I!
3. Notice there is promise of "REWARD"!
a) But, before we take a look at the rewards, we must first see what they are for!
b) Verse 18 tells us the rewards are for "service", as the prophets and the saints are called "servants".
B. Php_2:5-11 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (NKJV)
1. I would like for you to consider this: Jesus could have come to the earth in any form and with any "personality" that He wanted!
a) In other words, His ministry could have taken any shape!
2. But will all the resources of heaven at His disposal, He chose being a servant!
a) Joh_4:34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. (NKJV)
b) That means HE felt being a servant would be the best way to represent heaven and glorify His Father!!
c) Do you think you or I, if we are looking for a way to glorify the Lord could find a better choice?
(1) Jesus didn't think so: Mat_12:48-50 But He answered and said to the one who told Him, "Who is My mother and who are My brothers?"
49 And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, "Here are My mother and My brothers!
50 "For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother." (NKJV)
d) With this in mind, it seems as Christians we should make the study, and even more importantly, the practice of servanthhood our life's work!
III. WHAT IS A SERVANT?
A. Many of you already know that the Greek word for servant is doulos doo'-los and it means a slave, or person of servile condition.
1. Metaphorically, it means one who gives himself up to do the will of another ;
a) Slaves were bought and sold.
b) They were given as dowry.
c) They were owned by the priests.
d) Even some slaves owned slaves.
(1) In other words, it was their entire mission in life to do the will of their master!
2. There were good slaves and there were bad ones!
a) Joseph was a good servant in the house of Pontifar!
(1) He was a faithful steward of all his master's weath.
b) Elisha was a faithful servant to Elijah!
(1) When the Lord translated him, he was by his side.
c) Ruth was a faithful and selfless servant to her mother-in law!!
(1) Rth_1:16-17 But Ruth said: "Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.
17 Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me." (NKJV)
d) And Onesimus, the runaway slave became faithful to Phileman after he found Jesus as his Savior!
(1) All of these had at least one characteristic in common.
(2) Their desire to please those whom they served!
3. As we said, there were also bad servants!
a) Gehazi the servant of Elisha decided to use his master's healing of Naaman for financial gain!
b) Absalom, David's son turned against his own father for selfish reasons.
c) And even Judas, let money get in the way of his service!
(1) In the parables of the talents and pounds, Jesus praised those who took what they had and multiplied it for His glory!
(2) Likewise he condemned the unfaithful servants who made untrue excuses for not using their talents.
(a) Like the men in Luk_9:59-62 Then He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father."
60 Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God."
61 And another also said, "Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house."
62 But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (NKJV)
B. Every 7 years, slaves were to be set free!
1. Many of them had kind and loving masters who treated them as sons and daughters and they did not want to be set free.
a) In that case they would put their ear against a door post and an awl would be thrust through the ear and from that time on they would be known as a "bond slave".
(1) A bond slave was "slave by choice", not simply a "hired hand" any longer, but a servant of love!
(2) It is this word, "bond slave" that Paul uses in Philippians to describe Jesus!
(3) It is also the word used throughout the book of Revelation to describe the saints standing before the Lord for eternity!
(a) So then, In the context of Christianity, bond slaves or servants can be described as those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing His cause among men; devoted to Him and to others to the disregard of his/her own interests.
(b) Php_2:3-4 gives us a description of the only way servant hood is possible!
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (NKJV)
(i) To be a "servant", one must serve!!
(ii) To be a good servant, it must be motivated out of love for the Lord, His plan on earth, and for His people!
(iii) AND, be more concerned for for His purposes, than even their own!
(4) It is through You and I as "servants of love" for the Lord that the great commission is accomplished!
(a) Lest we might have forgotten the Great Commission lets take a look: Mat_28:19-20 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. (NKJV)
(i) It is "going", it is "baptizing", and it is "teaching", it is the work of the church!!
(ii) How will it get done if we, God's servants, don't do it?
(iii) Which brings us back to our text :
C. Rev_11:18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, . . .
1. At this 7th trumpet, Jesus is coming back to the earth!
a) Mat_16:27 "For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. (NKJV)
b) Salvation and eternity was not given to us to simply keep to ourselves! There is much to be done!
(1) There is "going" to be done. There is "baptizing" to be done, and there is "teaching" to be done!
(2) The Lord is not so much concerned with which of us do which job, only that we do them. 1Co_3:8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. (NKJV)
(a) There's that promise of "reward" again!
(b) There seems to be a "condition" for this reward. It is not just automatic!
(i) 1Co_9:17 For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship (a "job"). (NKJV)
(ii) Once again we see the difference between a "hired-hand" servant, and a "bond slave" servant of love!
A. The Bible also calls these rewards for serving the Lord and His people, "crowns"!
1. There is the "crown of Glory" spoken of in 1Pe_5:4 , that we will receive when the Lord appears.
2. There is the "crown of life" in Jam_1:12 for resisting temptation!
3. 2Ti_4:8 speaks of the "crown of righteousness" for those who look forward to the 2nd coming of the Lord.
4. 1Cor. tell us that we will receive an "imperishable crown" for running the race!
5. And there is the "soul winner's crown" for sowing and reaping in the lives of those who come to the Savior!
a) I want to extend a personal "thank you" Reta, and to Dennis, and to Steve and those who have plowed the ground befor her.
And, I want to thank all of those who have served, and continue to serve in any capacity here at Calvary Chapel Central!
b) To the "bond slaves" of love," I want to say I appreciate your devotion to the Lord, and your service to His people!
c) May we continue to "go and make disciples". May we continue to "baptize" in His name. And may we always be committed to "teach" adults and little children to observe the things written in this book!!!
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Brown, John. "Commentary on Revelation 11". Brown's Commentary on Selected Books of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26