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And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
For further study - Revelation 11:3-12
As you will notice we have gone to the eleventh chapter of Revelation in our devotions because we are traveling through the book chronologically, not numerically, which is the only way to study Revelation and understand the book.
As you read our key verse for today, verse 12, it sounds much like the description of the Rapture, Revelation 4:1-2 and I Thessalonians 4:16-17.
However a study of the context in this passage of Scripture indicates that this call from heaven saying to the "two witnesses", "come up hither", takes place at the mid-way point of the seven year Tribulation Period, while the Rapture takes place before the Tribulation Period begins.
This passage reveals the prophecy of the "two witnesses", verse 3, and what is involved in their 1,260 day ministry.
Briefly, there will be "two men" who will give some type of a testimony, which is what a witness does, during the first half of the Tribulation Period. They will be protected by the Lord through various means so that they can reach out from Jerusalem to everybody on earth with the "gospel of the Kingdom", Matthew 24:14.
These two will be kept out of harms way and given miraculous powers so that their ministry will be effective. After these two witnesses are killed, verse 7, and before being resurrected from the dead, verse 11, their dead bodies lay in the Jerusalem streets so that the entire world will see them, via satellite. The "earth dwellers" will "rejoice over them and make merry and bring gifts one to another", verse 10.
The world will "party" and "send gifts", happy that the two witnesses have died. Revelation 7:4-8 tells us that 144,000 Jews from the "twelve tribes of Israel" will be saved and then spread out across the world to reach "all" seven billion people on earth with the Gospel message, Matthew 24:14. This evangelism will be as a result of the ministry of these "two witnesses".
Revelation 7:9 indicates that a large number of people will be saved during these terrible days of judgment. This great time of evangelism all taking place after the Rapture of the Church.
Malachi 4:5 tells us that one of the two witnesses is going to be "Elijah". I believe the other is the Old Testament Gentile, Enoch, Genesis 5:19-24. Therefore, there will be a "Gentile witness" and a "Jewish witness" for the Gentiles and Jews that are left on the Earth after the Rapture.
I believe these two witnesses, who have never died, were transported into the heavens, while still alive. They will return to Jerusalem where they set up their Temple Mount headquarters. Then at the end of their ministry, they die, as every man who has ever lived on earth must do, Hebrews 9:27. Then they will be taken back to heaven at the end of their three and a half years of ministry.
Luke 24:4 records that "two men in white apparel" at the entrance to the tomb of Jesus, saw the resurrection. Acts 1:10 also records that "two men in white apparel" watched as Jesus entered the heavenlies from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
These two, I believe, were Elijah and Enoch who saw the resurrection and the ascension of Christ into heaven telling the disciples the Lord would come back the same way He had just departed.
The "resurrection" and the "Lord's coming" is the message of the "Gospel of the Kingdom". This will be the message of these two witnesses to the world. Remember, they are the only two witnesses that saw these things happen.
The prophecy pertaining to these two witnesses will be fulfilled, sooner rather than later. The only thing that must happen before the ministry of the two witnesses is the Rapture, which could happen very soon, maybe today.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord to be a witness today of Your soon coming to those who need to know You as Lord and Saviour.
1Thessalonians 5:16 -18 Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. KJV
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