Sunday, December 29, 2013

Day 363: Revelation 11, 12, 13 and 14

The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts (Revelation 11:10).

Our selection for today begins with the apparent deaths of the two witnesses (11:3) – or olive trees or lampstands (v. 4), or prophets (v. 10. We first read about the two olive trees in Zechariah where they symbolize Zerubbabel and Joshua. Zerubbabel governed (a descendant of King David) the exiles who had returned from Babylon and Joshua was the High Priest, symbolic of joint godly leadership in both the political and the spiritual realms.

What I find particularly telling about this passage is the reaction of the inhabitants of the earth (symbolic of the unbelieving population of Rome – or Rome itself). After their deaths, these scoffers will party and send one another gifts in celebration that these two prophets are seemingly dead. But after three and a half days – Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) wreaked havoc on Jerusalem for three and a half years; three and a half days and 42 months are both symbolic of significant persecution – things would start looking up. If the inhabitants of the earth symbolize Rome, then the prophets (olive trees, lampstands, prophets, etc.) symbolize the church.

Though the church’s defeat looked like a sure thing – enough that its enemies were already congratulating themselves with a victory celebration, after three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them (11:11).

Give thanks that even when evil prematurely throws a party thinking you’re down and out, with God’s help, you’re still here.

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