Witnessing Power

The Little Book of the Revelation - Fourteenth in a series

We now return to the verse by verse study of the Little Book.

We read in Revelation 11:3 (post 12) that the Lord would give power to his two witnesses and they would prophesy 1260 days clothed in sackcloth. We explained that, figuratively, these are Christians who 1) belong to God and 2) obey his Word. However, this concept is not presented as doctrine or in a dogmatic way.

  • VERSE 4
    They are the two olive trees, and candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

They have the oil of anointing of the Holy Spirit which continuously keeps aflame their powerful light and witness about Jesus Christ.

  • VERSE 5a
    If any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies:

Their message is a devouring and consuming flame, as is their God’s. (Heb 12:29)

  • For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Heb 4:12)
  • VERSE 5b
    and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed;

The manner or method of killing our enemies must be only by kindly heaping coals of fire on their heads through sharing the Word, that is, the bread of God. Killing with kindness is always right.

Though Christians are often denigrated for speaking truth and there is a need to season our words with salt (Col 4:6), yet even when our words are judgmental (John 7:24), they are kindness to those who have not understood nor believed the Bible.

  • …Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spake forth unto them, saying, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and give ear unto my words. … The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the day of the Lord come, That great and notable day: And it shall be, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as ye yourselves know; him, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay: … Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? (Acts 2:14-37)
  • (Included in this passage are an end-time prophecy and one fulfilled on the day of Pentecost.)

Judgments that ‘prick hearts’

  • VERSE 6
    These have the power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy and power over the waters to turn them to blood and to smite the earth with all plagues as often as they will.

Since it is God who controls the timing of the catastrophes, even that the waters turn to blood (Rev 8:8), we could view God’s witnesses, those who are his, as assisting to instigate the natural disasters which are also judgments, by their prayers— as often as they will, which would never be more or less often than God's will. At this juncture, these judgments are to open the eyes and ears of the rebellious as well as to enforce punishment.

The prayers of the saints were poured out before the first of the seven trumpet blasts that announce each cataclysm (Rev 8:3-5). In Revelation 6 we heard the saints in heaven cry out, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Rev 6:10) The intensity of these cries of God’s people in heaven and on earth will crescendo as the world is overcome by evil, yet they will be salted with tears for the lost (Eze 33:11).

The Lord is judging the earth on behalf of his own, bringing an end to the persecution of his people even as some suffer from the final blows, which are not so terrifying to them as to the ones who have no hope of heaven.

Will some escape the terrors of the last days? (Rev 3:10) If we do not, we can nevertheless advance from strength to strength as God has promised (Ps 84:7), by remaining in his Word and power.

Our God is not a legalist

Job Sees The Light - Thirty-sixth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 35:1-3 NIV In any lengthy proceeding it is easy to lose track. That is why meetings have secretaries, trials have court recorders, and cities have newspaper archives.

The liar can forget what he earlier insisted on, and the honest person may forget the good things he has said. Who can keep track of all our words? Only God.

In Chapter 35, Elihu accuses Job of believing himself to be more righteous than God.

When Job said, What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him? (Job 21:15) he was parroting what the unrighteous say, in effect, when they explain why they behave badly.

For himself, Job understood he was not a perfect man: If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. (Job 9:20) He was confused as to why God put him in his trial (Job 10:15), and he defended his integrity (Job 27:6), but did he ever say there was no reason under heaven to practice good behavior and do right? No.

Elihu believed that Job’s words taken as a whole implied that the Lord was unjust. Some will agree with Elihu, and others will say they heard Job crying out for answers, which we all must do when we are in a trial.

Elihu frowned on Job’s desperate moaning. Stop crying out to God on the basis of your own righteousness — as though your good behavior should merit God’s answer!

Yes, Job had felt that God loved him and heard his prayers because he carefully followed God's ways. Elihu will now explain why that way of thinking is all wrong.

Job 35:4-8 NIV First, why should man assume God is in any way affected by his behavior? He is not! Ones bad or good behavior affects only other people.

Elihu's concept of God is flawed.

If it is true that because God is so great and so high, the innocence or guilt of a petty human being is a matter of profound indifference to his Maker, on the ground that it can bring Him neither gain nor loss, we are landed, we see at once, on a very gloomy shore. We reach a conclusion fatal to all religion. - Bradley (ref)

Next, Elihu denies that God will have regard for the prideful man.

Job 35:9-14 NIV Prideful people like Job do not cry out in praise to God, crediting him for man’s unique capabilities and thankful for his divine watchcare. Therefore God does not answer nor even regard them, and much less will he regard Job who has set God on his own timetable.

Perhaps the best thing we can point out about Elihu's insights is that they are not true. Thank heavens the Lord hears the prayers of the prideful who belong to him. True, he will discipline us, but he will not forsake us.

Job 35:15-16 NIV Elihu, the dogmatist, is waiting for God to lower the boom on Job, and when he does, that will shut Job up.

Some may say that God is like Elihu –or vice versa– in that he promised: “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Mat 12:36-37) In the context of the passage, however, “careless” is defined as those words spoken by legalists who reject Christ.

Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, except for the blasphemy against the Spirit (Mat 12:31) Imagine! EVERY sin and blasphemy except one. God is NOT legalistic. God is love.

The Sum of Comfort

The consolations of God - Third in a series

There are times when only a person — someone who loves us whom we love — can be our comfort. Nothing nor anyone else helps.

Some examples of this based in Scripture are:

  1. When we have lost a loved one, God may send a special person to take his or her place: And Isaac … took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death. (Gen 24:67)
  2. God may replace the love we miss from a special one or refocus the subject of ones heart's desire: Leah was an unloved wife, so God consoled her with children. And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. (Gen 29:31)
  3. God may enlarge our family circle or restore to us a distant member: Naomi was bitter after the loss of her sons and husband, “Call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.” (Ruth 1:20b), but when Ruth (her bereaved daughter-in-law) married Naomi’s kinsman she gained a grandson. Her friends marveled, “And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.” (Ruth 4:15)

God designed us to cherish the comfort of a loved one. Nevertheless, as we go through life we will have times of aloneness even if married and in the midst of a company of people. Then, we need God's comfort, and we understand why he sent his Son to be our brother and savior.

Jesus Christ was, for a time, human as we are, even though the heir of all things by whom God made the world. (Heb 1:2b) For a brief span he was made a little lower than the angels and tested by suffering as we are. (Heb 2:9-10)

That is why he can comfort us. Though our high priest, he can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, having experienced them exactly as we do, but without sin. (Heb 4:15)

Some special people understood from the start who he was. One of those was Simeon, a devout man who was waiting for the consolation of Israel (Luke 2:25). He cradled baby Jesus, saying, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. (Luke 2:25-32)

Jesus is the consolation of Israel, the sum of all comfort, the whole greater than its parts. And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. (Isa 11:2)

When he knew it was his time to die, he promised to send One in his place, the Holy Spirit: And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14:16-18)

He knows our need for consolation and the love of a special Person.

Attention Readers

Have you visited the Biotech Blog on this website? Find information and resources to help you think about biotech as a Christian.

During the summer of 2017, I explored the topic of kidney donation. Is it right for a society to permit that? To encourage it? What do you think? Read the Live Kidney Donation Series!

Should you sign your driver’s license to be an organ donor? Is cremation OK with God? Do these practices undermine the Christian doctrine of the Resurrection?

Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.


Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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