The Resurrection of the Two Witnesses:

The Third Sign of Jonah

11: 7-13

   DIG: What happens to these two witnesses? Why? What results from their death and resurrection? How does the world react to their death? Their resurrection?

   REFLECT: What does it say, when non-believers gloat over your misfortune or misery? If they know you are a believer, who are they really mocking? How do you think they want you to react? How should you react? What difference does it make? Who is watching?

    In order to gain further religious allegiance of the people of the world, the antichrist will attack the two witnesses who, because of their supernatural abilities, will cause chaos for the inhabitants of the earth during the first half of the Great Tribulation.

    Like all the prophets before them, these two end-time prophets will frustrate their enemies. Being invincible and unstoppable for the duration of their God-empowered ministries, they will be immune to death. Yet when ADONAI says, “Mission accomplished,” He will lift His hand of protection from them and their enemies will be permitted to kill them. Now when they have finished their testimony, the antichrist, or the beast that comes up from the Abyss (9:1, 9:2, 9:11, here, 17:8, 20:1 and 20:3), will attack them and overpower and kill them. Although he is a man born of woman, the antichrist will be energized by Satan himself. To the great relief of the sinful world, the antichrist will finally overpower and kill the two witnesses (11:7). Along with his supposed resurrection, the killing of the two witnesses will provide another reason for the world to worship him.299

    Perhaps to show his new found power, the antichrist will not allow the bodies of the two witnesses to be buried. After their deaths, their bodies will be contemptuously left to lie as rotting corpses in the street (11:8). This will further pollute the great City of Jerusalem, which will spiritually be equivalent to Sodom and Egypt at that time (Jeremiah 23:14; Ezekiel 16:49). Their spiritual condition will be like that of Sodom, where sexual sin and misuse of people were rife, and Egypt, where false religion, hatred of the one true God and anti-Semitism will flourish.300 In the ancient world, exposing an enemy’s dead body was the ultimate way of dishonoring him. ADONAI would not allow the Israelites to do such a thing (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). Like Christ, the two witnesses will return to the same great City to die where their Lord was crucified. This suggests that Jerusalem will be the focus of their ministry as it was their Lord's.

    The gloating of the happy spectators will know no bounds. For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial (11:9). The two witnesses preached for three and a half years, and then were put to death for three and a half days. They had been hated like no one else. The world would celebrate, “Free at last!” The news of their death would spread instantaneously throughout the world, carried by satellite to television screens, computers and public places everywhere. Believers who will attempt to give their bodies a decent burial will be driven off (Psalm 79:2-3).

    The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth (11:10). The celebration will be like Christmas or Hanukkah. The anti-Christmas will be led by the antichrist, who will solidify his position as an international hero. His triumph will be complete: “Joy to the world, the Lord is dead!” Men and women, who once celebrated the birth of Yeshua in a superficial way, will then celebrate His death with gusto. No more will they have to hide in caves from His wrath. No more angels will be flying through the air condemning them. The stinging scorpions and the frightening demon-locusts will be just a bad memory that will never torment them again. This is the only rejoicing that will be seen on the earth in the entire book of Revelation, which will be an indictment of their spiritual condition.

    The visual media will continue their daily vigil at the scene of triumph, bringing the spectacle onto everyone in the world. The broadcast will feed twenty-four hours a day, but they will not be able to get enough of the coverage. It will be an orgy of celebration; a feeding frenzy of festivities. But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them (Ezekiel 37:9-10). The drunken onlookers will watch in horror as their bodies begin to stir. The world will gaze in disbelief as the two prophets slowly rise to their feet (11:11). The mob around them will shrink back in amazement. Cameras will zoom in on the faces of the two witnesses and four piercing eyes will glare back out to millions of television screens, computer monitors and cell phones all over the world. And as with one voice, the inhabitants of the earth will scream: “Noooooooo!”

    Not only will the viewers see the two witnesses rise to their feet, but they will also hear a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." Having finally died, the Messiah’s two witnesses will then be alive forever, resurrected just like their Savior. Their service on the earth will be done and they can return to His presence. And not unlike Yeshua (Acts 1:9-11), they will be taken up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies look on in terror (11:12). The Rapture will be repeated for these two witnesses. But this time it will not be done in the twinkling of an eye (First Corinthians 15:52); instead, the whole world will watch them as they slowly rise to their feet, and then ascend to heaven. The Greek word for look on is theoreo. It implies a hypnotic stare, and will strike fear into the most rebellious of their enemies. Jesus triumphed again. The three and a half days of celebration are about to be followed by another three and a half years of judgment, even more terrible than before.301

    We can learn a very valuable lesson from this account. ADONAI transforms tragic situations into triumphant events. Underdogs become overcomers. Weakness becomes strength. Overwhelming obstacles lead to glorious opportunities. Today, positive thinkers and motivational speakers try to inspire us to accomplish great things, embrace our potential, and achieve our personal goals – all in our own strength. Many leaders even within the body of Christ advocate a life of success, health, wealth, and personal happiness. Yet when we contrast this me-centered philosophy with the heroes of the Bible, like David, Elijah, Gideon, Esther, or Ruth, who accomplished great things for the Lord by His power, both the motivation and the outcome stand out in sharp contrast because all the glory is His and not ours.

    So there will be no question as to cause-and-effect, at that very hour there was a severe earthquake, just as it happened at the resurrection of Messiah (Matthew 28:2). The One the world had been mocking for three and a half days will demonstrate His power once again. As a glimpse of what is to come, a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake. The unbelieving world will be forced to superficially give glory to the God of heaven (11:13), even though they had celebrated the fact that His two servants were put to death just a short time before. So their praise will not be genuine and it will not last. In a short while they will curse the name of God once again as they experience His wrath (16:11). The survivors will be terrified as they realize that they are about to see even greater judgments coming upon the earth.

    Although the appearance of faith lasts only a short time for the unsaved of the earth, the resurrection of the two witness will have a profound affect on the Jews of Tziyon. This is the third sign of Jonah (Luke 11:29-30) to the nation of Isra'el. The first two, the resurrection of Lazarus (see my commentary on The Life of Christ Ia – The Resurrection of Lazarus: The First Sign of Jonah), and the resurrection of Messiah (see my commentary on The Life of Christ Mc – The Women Took Spices to the Tomb: The Second Sign of Jonah), had been rejected.  This third sign of Jonah will be accepted by the Jewish generation of the Great Tribulation. It will lead to the national confession of their sin of the rejection of Christ (see Ev – The Basis for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ), which will, in turn, result in the Second Coming and the setting up of the messianic Kingdom.

    John’s vision of the two witnesses reveals that there will be times when the people of God will suffer setbacks, apparent defeats, and even tragedy. But God’s holy ones can really never be defeated (see Dc – I Will Give Power to My Two Witnesses and They Will Prophecy for 1,260 Days), and it seems that they will do so once again before the coming of the messianic Kingdom. When we are weighed down by failure, or confused about the path we should take, when we feel discouraged or even defeated, we should recall this vision. The enemy’s victory was not the final word. Hold on to your faith and do not lose hope under stressful circumstances. The Lord of history will vindicate His righteous ones.

    ADONAI, we count it a privilege to follow You in good times and bad. We surrender ourselves to You with the prayer of Your Son Jesus: Not My will, Father, but Yours be done (Luke 22:42).302

 

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