This last week terrible images have flowed out of Afghanistan, looking like pictures from John’s visions in Revelation. How we need to pray for them, and also remember:
In Rev. 11, we’re shown the “crunch time” just before Christ’s return.
The world will seem to be winning. But as we look forward to this time for either ourselves or future generations, this is when we need to believe, more than ever, the promise. The 7th Trumpet will blow, judgment will come, and true believers will live forever with Christ in the glorious new Kingdom on earth.
Those who believe the pictures and numbers in Revelation are literal see this differently than those who believe the pictures and numbers are symbolic. The first group sees the actual temple in Jerusalem being rebuilt and two, and only two, actual men being the two witnesses. Those who see the pictures and numbers in Revelation as symbolic believe the temple and the two witnesses represent God’s people, the True Church.
Still, whichever way you believe, it does not change the final promise that His Kingdom is coming to earth and He will reign forever and ever. This is what we must hold onto when things get hard! Honestly, this week is a bit frightening, and I even had a nightmare after studying it, so I wish we could do next week right away to help, but that would be way too much work. So, just believe, it’s going to get much better!
Let’s jump into Revelation 11. We will spend two weeks here so as not to overwhelm you. The sermon is optional. Do what works for you. (It’s better to keep up as well as you can rather than to give up! You are almost halfway through Revelation!)
Thanks so much for your input on Romans. I heard from many of your privately as well as on this blog.
There are STRONG opinions both ways, with slightly more asking for a break. That told me that no matter what I did, since raising the option, was going to disappoint some. I don’t like that, but I did it! However, that forced me to seek God with all my heart. I did so appreciate how many of you said that you would be supportive of either decision. I do believe God has given me a compromise so that we neither miss Paige nor lose momentum in Revelation.
One of the things that always fills me with awe and gives me confidence in God’s Word is how it is one story from Genesis through Revelation. Revelation in many ways is a summary of the whole Bible. Even just last week Dr. Campbell tied Romans 16 together with Revelation 11.
So here is the plan about which God has given me peace. I don’t think it is coincidental that we are reaching Revelation’s mid-point as Paige begins her lectures. We will listen to Paige and answer questions about Romans here. But I will intersperse some review questions on the first half of Revelation that tie to the Romans passage each week, putting them in purple. I’m stepping out on faith that I can do this, but I truly think I can, for the Bible is one story, by one Great Author, and so we will learn Romans and review Revelation simultaneously. Those who are just joining us for Romans can skip the Revelation questions or get a review so they can stay with us when we plunge back into Revelation 12 in November and then keep going through the end and the new heaven and the new earth!
I know this isn’t what some of you wanted, and I am regretting that, but truly I don’t want you to miss Paige’s gifting for Romans, and I think we all will be so blessed. Please keep praying for God to guide me and us! Thank you so for your grace.
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
Monday: Actual or Symbolic?
This seems to be the big question that separates the different views here. To me, and I welcome differing views, is that it would inconsistent to switch between a literal and symbolic interpretation of Revelation as we know some numbers and pictures must be symbolic, for there are more than 7 churches, more than 144,000 believers and the Lamb symbolizes Christ, and the New Jerusalem dressed as a bride symbolizes the true Church.
2. Read Revelation 11:1-6
A. What is John told to do in verses 1-2?
B. What will the Gentiles and the Two Witnesses do for 42 months? (verses 2-3)
C. To what are the two witnesses compared in verse 4?
D. What kind of protection and power will these two witnesses have? (verses 5-6)
3. How have you interpreted all this in the past, if you have?
4. In Mystery Explained, read everything under The Measuring of the Temple.
A. How do the futurists interpret this passage?
B. Why does Dr. Campbell think the olive trees and the lampstands support the belief that the temple represents the true Church rather than a building?
C. What view do you take and why?
Tuesday: The Forty-Two Months
5. Read Revelation 11:7-10.
A. What does John see happening in this passage?
B. Why might it seem at this point like the world has won?
6. Read in Mystery Explained, the paragraph under The Forty-Two Months.
A. When did John see this time beginning in contrast to Daniel?
B. Why does Dr. Campbell think the numbers in Revelation are symbolic?
C. How does Dr. Campbell see the witnesses of Moses and Elijah linked with the witness of the Church?
D. Dr. Campbell finds support from verse 8 that the tribulation began after Christ’s death. What is it?
E. What is your view and why?
Wednesday: The Two Witnesses
7. Read again Revelation 11:1-6 and also, in Mystery Explained, everything under “The Two Witnesses” up to “The powers given to the witnesses in verses 5-6”)
A. How are the witnesses protected according to this passage and Dr. Campbell’s first paragraph?
B. Why does Dr. Campbell believe these two witnesses are the true Church rather than just two individuals? How does he support this from this passage?
C. How does he explain, legally and scripturally, why God would use the number two?
8. Read Rev. 11:5-6 again and the rest from Dr. Campbell under “The Two Witnesses” and answer:
A. What does the fire the comes from the mouths of the witnesses represent?
B. How can you see verse 6 as identified with Elijah and Moses? (Campbell can help!)
C. Dr. Campbell refers to the incident in Luke 9 when the disciples wanted to call down fire on the Samaritans. What parallel does Dr. Campbell see with these witnesses at the end of time?
D. Does anything else from this section stand out to you? If so, what?
Thursday/Friday Sermon from Westside Church (optional)
9. Watch or listen to the above and share your notes and comments.
10. What is your take-a-way and why?