Friday, October 10, 2014

Jerusalem rebuilt & 2 witnesses, (Revelation 11, Zechariah 4:2-10, Hebrews 9:3-5)

I found this testimony from Miss Kay (Duck Dynasty) and Phil on Godtube.  We've got some great testimonies in the Church.  I got a few tears, I admit it.  One thing God has done in my life by becoming a Christian, is He made my heart more mushy and compassionate for others.  Makes it hard to be a great photojournalist, but it's worth it to allow my heart to be touched by His love.  

Duck Dynasty Testimonies (link)

One of my favorite verses:
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
Revelation 12:11
Miss Kay's testimony is a wonderful example of how our testimonies, faith, and prayer can help change lives.  God Himself is the ultimate heart healer.  It's so awesome that He's allowed us to contribute : )  

Back to Revelation 11:

This chapter starts out with the Antichrist allowing the Jews to rebuild their temple.  Then Jesus steps in : )  My thanks to Pastor Chuck Smith from Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa.  Your notes are really great.  Love the part about the witnesses speaking on TV.

1 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. 3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.
The Apostle John was given a measuring rod to measure the Temple.  A portrayal of the witnesses was in the Left Behind Series movies.  They stood outside the Jewish Temple, in Jerusalem, prophesying  for around 3 1/2 years which is also how long the Gentiles marched.  Sackcloth is like burlap which would be very itchy.  In the Bible it's usually worn by a prophet who is in mourning to demonstrate God's pain.  I know Elijah, Isaiah and Jeremiah wore sackcloth when Israel was caught in sin.  Gentiles who weren't raptured would be outside in the court.  Those who are on earth at this time will hear what the witnesses prophesy. 

The witnesses took control of the Temple for 42 months.
4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. 5 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.
The 2 lampstands and olive trees symbolize the 2 witnesses.  The drought, plagues and turning water into blood is a reminder of the Exodus with Moses.  It would be a historic example of how God set the Israelites free.  Through our faith in Jesus, we also are set free.  In John's time it would have been impossible for the whole world to hear the witnesses.  In ours, we have TV and the web so they could be heard around the world.
Here's the description from Zechariah of the seven lamps and olive trees: 

1 Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep. 2 And he said to me, “What do you see?”
So I said, “I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. 3 Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.” 4 So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, “What are these, my lord?”
5 Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?”
And I said, “No, my lord.”
6 So he answered and said to me:
“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’Says the Lord of hosts. Zech 4:6 (one of my all time favorite verses).  
7 ‘Who are you, O great mountain?
Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!
And he shall bring forth the capstone
With shouts of “Grace, grace to it!” ’”
8 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
9 “The hands of Zerubbabel
Have laid the foundation of this temple;
His hands shall also finish it.
Then you will know
That the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you.
10 For who has despised the day of small things?
For these seven rejoice to see
The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
They are the eyes of the Lord,
Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.
(Zechariah 4:2-10 NKJV)
Zerubbabel laid the foundation for the temple.  Jesus is the cornerstone.  The next question is, "What will happen when the witnesses stop prophesying?"

7 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.
Ok so the witnesses were very annoying to those on earth during their 3 1/2 years.  When people are addicted to alcohol, drugs, and sex, they seem to be extra annoyed with people who are doing God's will.  Even satan came out to destroy them. In my heart this sounds like a last call, like the people on earth needed to listen.  But, instead chose to go on with drugs, abuse and violence.  God called His beloved city, "a spiritual Sodom and Egypt."  Sodom was filled with evil doers and Egypt held the Hebrews captive as slaves.

However all those drugs went to waste, the witnesses rose again : )  Imagine their surprise!  The party was over.  They saw firsthand that God allowed the witnesses to die, and  then to top it off - He has the power to resurrect whom he chooses.  Maybe they thought it was a hangover so they'd drink more.  Some sobbered up and ...
11 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.
After the witnesses were resurrected, God brought them to Heaven.  A great earthquake took place at the same time, it was so strong a tenth of the city was destroyed and 7000 were killed.  So you heard a bunch of people outside yelling, screaming.  You had a horrible headache and nausea from the night before.  Then the ground started shaking really hard and loud.  The sickness turned to ice as thousands died in the earthquake.  People fell on their knees and gave God glory.  

14 The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.

God took control of all of the earth's kingdoms.  He is also Jesus, "His Christ."  They are one.  A great celebration will take place in Heaven.  God will reign over the earth forever.  The 24 elders worshipped God.
15 Then the seventh angel sounded:  And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” 16 And the twenty- four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying:
“We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.
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,
And those who fear Your name, small and great,And should destroy those who destroy the earth.”
God will give His servants, prophets and saints rewards.  I can't help but notice  verse 18.  The description about the nations being angry and God's wrath has come, the time of the dead has come, they will be judged.  It all reminds me of today, yet in my heart I know things aren't as bad as the description here.  Sometimes, as humans we forget how good it is in our, "Today."  Hug the kids, wives and husbands.  Say an extra thanks today : )

19 Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.
(Revelation 11:1-19 NKJV)

The Ark of the Covenant was made by God's direction to Moses, it went before the Israelites to seek out a place where they could rest as they wandered in the wilderness.  David brought the ark to Jerusalem.  The Philistines tried to steal the ark but this awful plague came out so they took it back to Israel : )  The ark disappeared after the destruction of the first temple. ( Zondervan, The New Compact Bible Dictionary)

This description comes from the Book of Hebrews in the Bible:
3 and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, 4 which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat.  
(Hebrews 9:3-5 NKJV)
I remember seeing the Ark of the Covenant in the, "Indiana Jones," movies as well.  A lot of us are intrigued by it.  When we get to the New Jerusalem we'll see it in person.  If I wasn't so afraid of spiders, I'd love archaeology : )

Dear Heavenly Father,
I thank You for the hope we have in the Bible.  Help us always remember to hug the ones we love and also to remember to get to Church.  Sometimes it's too easy to stay home.  Forgive me and my husband.  Your Word, Your love it's all too awesome to let slide.  Father I pray for wisdom with the Eboli virus from Liberia.  Please help doctors find ways to cure this epidemic.  I pray You will help our President understand what the military is.  Protect them from assignments that are not meant for their training.  Please bless Ukraine.  Protect the Kurds and Turkey.  Help us to be candles in this present darkness.
In Jesus Name, Amen.

This song is from Matt Maher, Hold us together (link)

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