The World Celebrates The Deaths of the Two Witnesses

Ladies, I hope you are praying about joining me in September for the Come Away {retreat for women}. It will be a sweet time of intimacy with Jesus in the mountains of North Georgia. Click HERE or see the link in the side bar of my website to learn more.

 

We are back today to visit a bit more with the two witnesses of Revelation 11. We started last week by looking at the powers that God gives them during their tenure on earth. Today we move on through the chapter and learn about what happens to them as a result of their prophesying.

 

The World Celebrates the Death of the Two Witnesses

 

 

 

Vignette #2 ~ The Death of the Two Witnesses

Here is the passage that describes their deaths.

7 And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them,

8 and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified.

9 For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb,

10 and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth.

 

As a result of their testimony during the 3 ½ years they are on earth, they are killed by ‘the beast that rises from the bottomless pit’. A great question here would be ‘who is the beast?’. We are going to learn much more about this person in coming lessons, but scholars generally agree that this is antichrist. These two witnesses likely preach against antichrist and he is not happy about it, so he kills them.

Instead of being buried immediately, the bodies of these two witnesses lie in the streets of Jerusalem for 3 ½ days. The people of the world throw a big ole party to celebrate their deaths. The Scripture tells us that people exchange gifts to mark the deaths of the two who have tormented them for 3 ½ years. It is hard to imagine such a celebration over the deaths of two people, but it will happen.

 

Vignette #3 ~ The Resurrection of the Two Witnesses

11 But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.

12 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.

After 3 ½ days of a worldwide celebration of the deaths of these two guys, God says, ‘Enough’ and causes them to be resurrected from the dead. The celebration by the world turns to great fear. Suddenly, as the world watches, the two living witnesses are called to heaven and taken up in a cloud. As you might imagine this leads to….

 

Vignette #4 ~ The World Situation

13 And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

14 The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come.

In the same hour that God calls these two witnesses to heaven, there is a great earthquake that seems to be centered in the city of Jerusalem. One tenth of the city is destroyed and seven thousand people are killed. Up to now the people in the world have done everything but give glory to God. Now, it seems this event has, at the very least, opened their eyes to the power and majesty of God.

This vignette closes by telling us that Woe #2 (the 6th trumpet) is now finished and the third, and final, woe is to come. Next week we will finish our study of Revelation 11. I hope you will join me then.

SDG/FCA!!

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

 

Whether one agrees with Jenkins and LaHaye’s timing and interpretations of the events of the end times or not, The Left Behind Series is a wonderful collection of end times fiction that makes for riveting reading. Check it out.

Does Your Life Flow Inward or Outward?

I don’t know about you, but for me, it is so easy to fall into the world’s line of thinking.

 

I got mine, you get yours.

 

It’s all about me.

 

What’s in it for me?

 

Problem is, for a Christian, this way of thinking is completely contrary to what Jesus taught. It is also contrary to what I had modeled for me growing up. Although I never fully realized the scope of what my parents did for others until they were gone, I knew they were generous toward those who were in need…both in the body of Christ and outside of it.

 

 

Does Your Life Flow Inward or Outward

 

 

At my Daddy’s funeral, my Mother, Sister, and I greeted hundreds who came to pay their respects. Over and over people told us how my Daddy had helped them.

He paid my house payment when I was about to lose my home.

 

He came to my appliance store, bought a refrigerator, and told me where to deliver it. But he said that I was not to tell the recipients who provided it.

 

When my electricity was about to be cut off, he paid my bill.

 

He bailed me out of jail when I made a poor choice.

Then, when my Mother died, many shared similar stories of her love and generosity.

These testimonies, and so many more, were evidence of Romans 12:13 in the life of my parents.

 

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

I love the reminder offered by John MacArthur in his commentary on the book of Romans.

 

The flow of the supernatural life is outward, not inward.

 

It is true. The life modeled after Jesus is not a life of selfish ambition, but one of self-less sacrifice and offering.

Billy Graham said:

 

The smallest package I ever saw was a man wrapped up wholly in himself.

 

As I think about the life that Jesus lived, I see a life of service and hospitality to others:

He healed

He restored life

He taught

He loved

He wept

He ate with the outcast

He never heaped shame on those who sought Him out

He took my place on the cross and paid the fine for my sin

 

So, really, how can I justify being selfish and self-serving? Everything I have…my body, my money, my talents, my time, my home, everything…..is on loan to me from God. None of it is really mine, so if the Jesus-life tells me to be generous in giving and hospitable to others, how can I do otherwise?

The question then becomes whether the flow of my life is outward or inward. It is the question for your life, as well.

Outward or Inward?

 

One of the ways I seek to help women develop that outward flowing life is to encourage them to walk more intimately with Christ. September 15-17, 2017 the Come Away retreat for women will offer ladies an opportunity to lean into Jesus in a beautiful, relaxed setting. In our world of constant stimulation and social media, one must be intentional in their pursuit of Christ. Come Away with Jesus for a weekend! Click HERE to learn more.

 

SDG/FCA!!

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

When Life Looks Different Than What You Had Planned

Every week I am privileged to spend an hour or so of private time with my pastor’s sweet wife, Becca. We talk, we share, we cry, we pray, we simply do life together. She is young enough to be my daughter, and I love her as if she were. She is a beautiful, honest, all-out-crazy-for-Jesus young woman. Her heart is very much for seeing those who do not know Jesus come to Him, and she is a blessing to me in a dozen different ways.

Recently we were talking about how God’s plans often end up looking very different from the plans that we make for our life. I shared with her how true that is for me, especially in regard to ministry.

 

When Life Looks Different Than What you Had Planned

 

I told her that when the Lord called me into ministry in 2007, He made it so clear that I was to speak and teach God’s Word. He confirmed it through several avenues, and so I stepped boldly into that calling. To be very transparent, I secretly hoped I would be the next Christian teacher ‘star’….’the next Beth Moore’, as so many told me at my speaking engagements. I know….ten years into this wild ministry ride, I see how ridiculous and prideful that sounds, but I’m just being honest with you.

For about seven years all of my dreams seemed to be on track. I spoke at ladies events all over the southeast. I was blessed to write and publish four books. Ministry life was good and going according to ‘my plans’. I held on tightly to a quote I read on a flip calendar somewhere. It said something like this: It can take ten years to be an ‘overnight sensation’.

As Becca and I talked, I shared with her that when my ministry began to change, at first I was not happy with God about it. I saw other speakers going on to bigger and better things, while God seemed to be drawing down my ministry. Oh, He was not pulling me out of ministry. Rather, He was changing what ministry looked like for me. Instead of the big stage, it was more one-on-one and small group ministry. Instead of preparing messages to be delivered to a few hundred women, I was pulling together ingredients for making biscuits and pound cakes and chicken and dressing. Instead of spending time writing more books, I am spending face-to-face and shoulder-to-shoulder time loving on, mentoring, and doing life with women. And you know what, now I love it and I cannot imagine doing anything else.

 

God uses broken things

 

 

I had a choice about how I would respond when God changed up ministry. I could have been angry with Him and pouted. (yeah, that would have worked out well!) I could have been jealous over the speaking opportunities and book contracts that other people received. (hmmm, that would have been pretty!) Instead I bent my knee to God’s plan and have found incredible peace and satisfaction in ministry. Don’t misunderstand me, there were fleeting moments of ‘why, God?’ questions and green-with-envy jealousy, but those were only for a moment. I knew that God sees the big picture, and whatever He ordains for me is for my good and for His glory. I realized that to grasp for anything else is relational suicide as far as my relationship with God goes.

Sometime after Becca and I shared that conversation I received a text from her that made my heart so full of love for her and gratitude to God for how He is allowing me to serve His kingdom.

I love you so much, Leah. I’m so, so, so, so thankful God didn’t make you the ‘next Beth Moore” because our time on the porch feels like the closest thing to Heaven on earth to me. I am so glad you’re in my life. Thank you.

I do not always do life and ministry perfectly, but I love that He trusts me with it at all. Me! A woman who has made her share of mistakes and oopsies in life, but who falls so heavily on the grace and mercy of Jesus.

Part of the ‘new’ look for ministry for me is the upcoming Come Away retreat that I am hosting in September. I’d love for you to pray about attending.

 

Come Away Retreat

 

Come Away will be an intimate time of leaning into Jesus through worship, Scripture study, and prayer. We will set aside tweets and posts and hashtags in order to hear from Jesus about how crazy He is over us. The retreat will be held September 15-17, 2017. Pop over HERE to learn more details.

SDG/FCA!!

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

How Do You Treat Other Christians?

Have you ever watched a sea gull? When in flight he powerfully lifts himself higher and higher with every flap of his wings until he is higher than any other gull. Then, he gracefully circles down to the earth. The gull seems to be all about performing and excelling.

What happens, though, when Mr. Gull gets into a flock of gulls? It is not a pretty sight. There are territorial fights over food that cause feathers to fly everywhere. The word ‘share’ is not in the gull’s vocabulary. Philip Yancey said that ‘they are so fiercely competitive and jealous that if you tie a red ribbon around the leg of one gull, making him stand out, you sentence him to execution. The others in his flock will furiously attack him with claws and beaks, hammering through feathers and flesh to draw blood. They’ll continue until he lies flattened in a bloody heap.”

 

Romans 12 10 How Do you Treat Other Christians

 

By contrast, consider a flock of geese. You’ve seen them flying in a V-formation, honking all the way to wherever they are going. Scientists know that geese fly faster in that V-formation. The lead goose is the one doing all the work, flying against the wind. It is because of this that there is a regular swapping of positions among the geese in the V which allows the flock to fly long distances without stopping to rest. Everyone shares in the tough job.

The geese with the easiest jobs are those in the back…the last one on each end of the V. It has been observed that the stronger geese allow the weaker and older of the flock to stay in these lighter-work positions. All that honking may even be a way for the geese to encourage one another to keep flying.

If a goose becomes too sick or weak to fly, she is not abandoned. A healthy goose will stay on the ground with the sick or weak one until she is ready to fly again. While gulls are individualistic and territorial, geese are concerned about the flock as a whole, as well as their individual goose-friends.

Into this story we insert today’s verse in our Authentic Christianity study. Check out Romans 12:10.

 

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

 

The kind of love that is being spoken of in this verse is the love of a friend or a family member, rather than romantic love. As Christians we are to be tenderly affectionate toward other Christians. We are to seek the good of our Christian brothers and sisters, rather than maligning them and dishonoring them. The apostle Paul echoed this admonition in Philippians 2:3 when he told the believers in Philippi to consider others better than themselves.

I will just tell you that the last part of Romans 12:10 is hugely convicting to me. HUGELY! I fail miserably at showing honor to other people. Oh sure, I honor my parents and those who are older than me. But, I sometimes get a big old ‘F’ when it comes to honoring those who seem to be making poor life choices or are different than me. This should remind us of Romans 12:3 where we are told to ‘not think more highly of ourselves than we ought’.  If we take this verse seriously, we will show real appreciation, respect, and care for others. We will put their welfare before our own, and we will be Jesus-with-skin-on to them.

So, friend, are you a gull or a goose?

 

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Who Are The Two Witnesses of Revelation 11?

Sometimes when I sit to write these lessons I am so overwhelmed by the enormity of what I said ‘yes’ to that I just have to drop my head and remind myself that the Lord will teach it through me. Y’all this is hard stuff to communicate.

I completely forgot to give you the Revelation 11 drawing by Lisa to download and print a couple of weeks ago, so here it is. And by the way, there are two pages rather than our usual one pager.

Today we are going to camp on one verse in Revelation 11, but it is a verse that is pregnant with material to ponder. Let’s take a look at verse 3.

 

And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1260 days, clothed in sackcloth.

 

Two Witnesses of Revelation 11

 

I think the immediate question should be this: Who are the two witnesses? Is it possible to even know their identity?

Great question. So glad you asked, although I will disclose that scholars are divided on the answers, as is the case in so much of The Revelation.

From what I can read, there are about seven generally discussed ideas for the identity of the two witnesses. I am going to list them, along with any other pertinent biblical references, and give you my thumbs up or thumbs down on each. Not that my thumbs mean much of anything!

IDENTITY #1

The Church who has a responsibility to witness to the world.

The Church of Jesus Christ does have a responsibility to witness to the world, however there is no mention of the church since Revelation 3. The church’s job is not to be destructive, but redemptive. In addition, physical descriptions such as what they do and their clothing are given for these witnesses which leads me to give a THUMBS DOWN to this identity.

 

IDENTITY #2

An historical figure or group.

This, too, would be a hard sell, so THUMBS DOWN.

 

IDENTITY #3

The Old and New Testaments, or perhaps the Law and the Prophets

Again, there is a definite physical description of these witnesses and we are told that the witnesses are eventually martyred, so THUMBS DOWN.

 

IDENTITY #4

Zerubbabel, a civic leader, and Joshua, the high priest from Zechariah 4

This is loosely based on the similarities between the descriptions in Zechariah 4 and Revelation 11 of the witnesses. They are described as two olive trees and two lampstands in Revelation, but two olive trees and a seven-branched lampstand in Zechariah. No other similarities seem to exist to me, so THUMBS DOWN.

 

IDENTITY #5

Enoch and Elijah – Genesis 5:24 and 2 Kings 2:11

These two men did not experience death the way the rest of us do. Enoch walked with God and was no more, while Elijah was taken in a whirlwind. These two witnesses will be martyred and experience a death and a resurrection. This sets them up as loose possibilities, in my mind, for being the two witnesses, but again, I give this a THUMBS DOWN.

 

IDENTITY #6

Moses and Elijah

This identification is the most popular one and makes really good sense to me. Allow me to give you some commentary from The New American Commentary – Revelation for your pondering pleasure. (See link to order this commentary below.)

 

The rationale for such identification is that Moses and Elijah represent the Law and the Prophets, one of the major ways by which the Hebrew canon was divided. The Law and the Prophets witnessed to Christ, and hence Moses and Elijah would be representative of those who have borne witness to Christ across the ages. Additionally, the transfiguration narrative (Matthew 17) provides a previous appearance of the two witnessing that Christ is the fulfillment of both the Law and the Prophets and conceivably even indicating the two different kinds of circumstances that exist for the transfer of the saints to glory: Moses prefigures those who die in the Lord, and Elijah represents those who are taken immediately into heaven at the return of Christ. However, the most convincing argument resides in the nature of the work of the witnesses. Like Elijah, they shut up the sky so that it does not rain; like Moses, they turn the waters into blood and strike the earth with other kinds of plagues as often as they wish. (emphasis, mine)

I’m giving this one a THUMBS UP, but also remembering that God doesn’t have to work in ways that make sense to humans. Therefore,

 

IDENTITY #7

It is impossible and unnecessary to identify the witnesses, leaving us to focus on their tasks rather than their identity.

 

Important side note: The word ‘witness’ comes from the Greek word martus, from which we glean our word ‘martyr’.

Okay, it is your turn. Which of these identities for the two witnesses makes the most sense to you?

We will visit with these two dudes again next week.

SDG/FCA!! 

 

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. 

 

Easter, Accountability and A Gift for YOU!

NOTE: If you are reading this post via email, you will need go to my website in order to see the video and access the GIFT I have for you. Click HERE to go to my website. When you arrive there, please look for the Friday, April 14th post.

Today I wanted to offer a video post because I hope to be able to convey how important I believe this week’s posts have been. Surely, I am not the only one out there who is desperately in need of a word make-over! Surely, I am not the only one in need of grace for her tongue. Surely, I am not the only one who needs accountability in her life?

 

Easter, Accountability and A Gift for You!

 

I hope you will take the time to watch the video. I also hope you will be sensitive to the workings of the Holy Spirit in your own heart. Here are links to my Monday and Wednesday posts that I reference in the video.

I would love to hear from you if you decide to take a journey similar to mine. You can use these principles for more than just changing words. They can be used to break free of all kinds of strongholds…lying, anger, alcoholism, adultery, pornography, overeating and so much more. Scripture memorization, prayer, and accountability. Three tools that have the blessing of God for you, His child.

 

 

May this gift will be a blessing to you, my readers. I hope it will help you in your journey toward words of grace. Please click the blue button below and follow the prompts to download and print your Grace-Full Scripture Cards.