As we come to the final post in our trip (both meanings intended) through Revelation 4-11, we get to the seventh trumpet. Finally. (The sixth was way back in chapter 9.) In the interim, the church has been commissioned with a message, persecuted for preaching it, left for dead, and then raised back to life through the power of Jesus’ own resurrection. Now, all that’s left is the final trumpet.
At the end of yesterday’s post, we saw that God’s two witnesses (symbolising his church-on-mission) ended up suffering the same fate that Jesus himself did: killed in Jerusalem. Their bodies weren’t even buried, adding to the shame, and their enemies gloated over their destruction. (A bit like the gloating that happens in some quarters these days whenever Christians take a hit.) But… just like that weird story about Elijah and Enoch, and more importantly, just like Jesus… that isn’t the end of the story.
Yesterday we saw that although our mission to preach the little scroll to the world might get a little dangerous (involving the odd bit of metaphorical trampling-by-Gentiles), God has again measured us – his inner shrine – for protection. For we are to be his witnesses:Rev 11:3 “And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”
This verse does explain the general bad fashion sense of the church, but that’s not the main point. Here, we’re introduced to two witnesses who symbolise the church. But why two?
We’re almost finished with our series through what is often called the “first cycle of visions” in Revelation; just one chapter to go. So here’s the lightning-fast recap:
- Chapter 4: Is God in control? He sure is, seated on his throne surrounded by throngs of worshippers.
- Chapter 5: If he is, then what’s he doing about all the injustice in the world – particularly the injustice done to him and to his people? He’s already done something, through the slain-yet-risen Lamb.
- Chapter 6: But it looks like his rebellious world is getting away with it. What’s going on? He’s judging them as we speak, giving a foretaste of the final judgement if they don’t repent.
- Chapter 7: Isn’t that going to affect us, too? Yes, but God has sealed you for protection, and you have a glorious future to hold on to.
- Chapter 8: What happens if people ignore God’s warning? He’ll send even greater judgement.
- Chapter 9: How’s that working out so far? Not too well – they still won’t repent.
- Chapter 10: So what’s God going to do next? He’s sending his church on a mission to explain why the world is like it is, and call them to repent. Here, eat this scroll, ’cause that includes you.