Rev 11:12-14 The Rapture of the Two Witnesses 11/27/2005 ßà
#1. Come Up Hither (Rev 11:12, 1Thes 4:13-18, 1Cor 15:51-53, John 5:28-29, 6:39,40,44,54)
#2. A Great Earthquake (Rev 11:13, Mat 24:29-31, Rev 6:12, 11:19, 16:18, 1King 19:18, Phil 2:9-11)
#3. The Second Woe Is Past (Rev 11:14, Jer 25:15-19, 26, 28-29, 6¸ John 6:37)
Please open your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 11:3 (2X). In Rev 11 God gives us a historical overview of the entire NT period of time. Last week we saw that the two witnesses, who represent the NT body of believers, are killed by the beast that comes up out of the Bottomless Pit. The beast represents Antichrist, who is the embodiment of Satan in human flesh. But God will not abandon His faithful servants, and therefore God will resurrect His two witnesses. First they are resurrected in human flesh: they stand upon their feet and proclaim the message of the true Gospel. This means that God will raise up faithful servants who will defy the power of Antichrist and they will preach the true Gospel. Last week we did not come further than at this point in future history. But then God calls them up to heaven. What is this a picture of? It is a picture of the rapture. Most people of the premillennial persuasion think that we, who are of the amillennial persuasion, do not believe in a rapture. Of course we believe in a rapture, but we see in the Bible only one rapture at the end of the world. We read in:
Re 11:3-4 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
Re 11:5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
Re 11:6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
Re 11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
Re 11:8 And
their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which
spiritually is called
Re 11:9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
Re 11:10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
Re 11:11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
Re 11:12 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.
Re 11:13-14 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
They heard a great voice, a mega-voice, a loud voice, as the voice of Christ, saying unto them:
#1. Come Up Hither (1Thes 4:13-18, Rom 14:10, 1Cor 15:51-53, John 5:28-29, 6:39,40,44,54)
Please turn in your Bibles to the 1st Epistle to the Thessalonians, 1Thes 4:13 (2X). You find 1Thes as #8 of the Epistles of Paul to the NT churches. That this great voice is the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ is without any question. We read about the true scenario of the rapture here in 1Thes 4:13-18.
1Th 4:13-14 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1Th 4:15-17 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
The 1st message in this passage is this: “And so
shall we ever be with the Lord.” This should be a great comfort to us.
Although we read in Rom 14:10, “For we shall all stand before the
judgment seat of Christ”, the literal translation from the Greek text is this: For
all shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” It is true that every
human being must stand, before the judgment seat of Christ, but not all at the
same time. The fact is that we did stand for judgment in the person of the Lord
Jesus Christ in AD 33. Christ was found guilty with our sins and He paid the
penalty in full for us by suffering the equivalent of an eternity in Hell in
our place on the cross. Therefore, if we truly have been saved there is not one
moment in the future that we shall stand before the judgment throne. The 2nd
message in this passage is this: If one of your brothers or sisters in
Christ dies, “sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” Do not
howl and wail as those who have no hope. They have a reason to howl and wail,
for their destiny is horrible. But we must not sorrow like they do, for we
shall be bodily resurrected and be with Christ forever. The 3rd
message in this passage is: At this point in time Christ and all His
armies, all the angels and all the saints in heaven shall come out of heaven
with a shout. God wrote about this shout about 3400 years ago, when the
1Co 15:51 ¶ Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
1Co 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1Co 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
This change in our body, from earthly bodies to glorified bodies, like Christ has, this change of our body that we already saw in 1Thes 4:17, is now shown to us more specifically. We will receive bodies that are incorruptible, and immortal, and full of glory, like the body of Christ was changed when He ascended into heaven. Our bodies will not be made from materials of this universe, for these materials are corruptible. Each one of the 92 elements of this universe can be altered by nuclear radiation. But the bodies that we will receive shall be alive and active throughout eternity, without needing sleep, for we will never be tired, and without the need for food or drink, for we will receive our energy from Christ, and not from food. And thus, we will receive bodies that do not exist in this universe. We will exist in a totally different universe, not understandable in terms of this universe, for the laws of conservation of matter and energy of this universe will not apply there. That is the meaning of 1Cor 15:53. And when will this occur? 1Cor 15:52 says, “At the last trump”. Unquestionably this refers to the 7th trumpet sound, which is at the end of the world. And now we see how 1Cor 15:52 ties in with 1Thes 4:16, and with Rev 11:15. Please turn now to the Gospel according to John, John 5:28 (2X). Will the unsaved multitudes of the world also be changed on the day that the saints receive their glorified bodies? This is indeed the case. The Bible is very clear on this matter of the timing of the rapture. The entire NT does not agree with a rapture that is 1000 years before the end of time. We read in Joh 5:28,
Joh 5:28-29 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which ALL that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
All that are in the graves shall hear the voice of Christ, both the saved as well as the unsaved. And thus it is very clear that the rapture of the saints occurs in the same hour, or at least on the same day, as the resurrection of the unsaved. Moreover, if you turn the page to John 6, verse 39, and verse 40, and verse 44, and verse 54, you find that the Lord Jesus says here four times, “And I will raise him up at the last day”. This cannot be misunderstood: The resurrection of the saints as well as the unsaved occurs on the same day, which is the Last Day. Please turn again to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 11:12 (2X). When their task has been completed the Lord Jesus calls them fr.he: “Come up hither”
Re 11:12 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.
They ascended up to heaven in a cloud, reminds us of the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, when a cloud received Him out of their sight. And the promise was that Christ shall come again “in like manner” as they have seen Him go into heaven. It means that He will come with the clouds. But “Christ coming with the clouds” has to do with Judgment Day. It means that the saints who have been raptured to be with the Lord Jesus shall also come down with Him immediately to judge all the unsaved. God says in 1Cor 6:2, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?” It also means that there is no such thing as a secret rapture. “Their enemies beheld them.” This verse in Rev 11 makes it clear that the unsaved shall know very well what has happened, and great fear shall fall upon them for they know that the time has come for them to stand for judgment. They will be judged by Christ and His saints. Some people believe that on Judgment Day all the nations of the world shall stand before Christ as sheep and as goats. They take this from Mat 25 where Christ judges between the sheep and the goats. But we must remember that this passage in Mat 25 is a parable; it is not the true scenario. The true scenario of the Last Day is shown to us in 1Thes 4. The bottom line is this: “And so shall we ever be with the Lord.” And when we shall be transformed and have received our glorified bodies, we shall appear so glorious that, if any human being would see us, they would fall down and worship, for we shall appear like Christ. But the fact is that at the same time that we shall have received our glorified bodies, the unsaved shall have received their immortal bodies that are fit for an eternity in Hell. They shall see how the saints have been transformed, for we read, “And their enemies beheld them.” Therefore they shall be in the same universe that we are, except they will not be with Christ but will be with Satan. And then they will remember that they have lived all their lives as if there is no God. They have removed the existence of God out of their life, they have removed the commandments of God out of their life, they have removed the glory of God out of their concept of nature and they have replaced the power of God with “Mother Nature”. They have removed God out of the life of their children, so that their children grew up not knowing God and not glorifying God, for whom they were made in the first place. The enemies of Christ do not proclaim outright that they are His enemies. O No! That would be an uncivilized thing to do. But by denying the God of the Bible, and relying on their own wisdom, they have in principle created for themselves idols and false concepts of God that they pass off as the forces of nature responsible for the evolution of this universe out of nothing. But throughout all eternity God will make them remember what great dishonor they have been to the God who made them, and who made them specifically for His own glory. But since they have not lived a life to His honor and glory, God will make them see that their life was full of sin. Therefore at this point in time God caused:
#2. A Great Earthquake (Rev 11:13, Mat 24:29-31, Rev 6:12, 11:19, 16:18, 1King 19:18, Phil 2:9-11)
Re 11:13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory
to the God of heaven.
What does this mean that there was a great earthquake? And what tenth part of what city does this refer to? We need to realize that this was at “the same hour” that the saints are raptured to be with Christ. This can only mean that the end of time has arrived. This is the plain teaching of John 5 and 6. Today the popular notion is that after the saints have been raptured, the people “left behind” will have another 1000 year chance to come to repentance and to faith in Christ. But the “Left Behind” series in movies and in literature are in total denial of John 5 and 6, and therefore they are an outright lie. Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel according to Matthew, Mat 24:29 (2X). When will the rapture occur? According to John 6 the rapture will occur on the Last Day. The Lord Jesus says in Mat 24 that the resurrection from the dead and the rapture will occur on the Last Day, immediately after the FTP. We need to take the Lord seriously when He speaks about the times of the end. We read in Mat 24:29,
Mt 24:29-31, Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Immediately after the FTP it will be the end of this earth’s existence. All the tribes of the earth shall mourn, for they shall see that Judgment Day has arrived, just like the Bible has said. And at this time, at the time of the sound of the last trumpet, Christ will send His angels to gather together His elect who have received their new glorified bodies, to gather them to this one place where Christ is. “And so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Please turn again to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 11:13 (2X). And so, the “great earthquake” in Rev 11:13 is only symbolic of the statement in Mat 24:29, that “the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” God uses a great earthquake more often as a symbol of great upheavals in the universe at the end of time. For example We read in Rev 6:12,
Re 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
Re 11:19 And
Re 16:18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
The city in Rev 11:13 is the city of
Php 2:9-11, Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
When will this come to pass? When shall every knee bow to Jesus Christ as Lord? It will be when all shall stand before Christ as the Judge. It will be only on the Last Day that all the wicked shall bow their knee to Christ. Before that day they shall remain obstinate and unrepentant. After the judgment they shall curse Him for casting them into Hell. But on this Last Day, when they are certain that they will have to stand for judgment they are affrighted, and they shall give glory to God by bending the knee to Christ and by confessing that He is the ruler over them all. Before we go on we should have a good overview of the scenario of the end times, the field that is called “Eschatology”. What does Jesus say about the scenario of the end times? Please turn to the Gospel according to Mat, Mat 24:15, (2X).
#1. The last event before the onset of the return of Christ is called the FTP. During the FTP Antichrist shall have infiltrated the churches and shall make people believe they are worshipping Christ, when in fact they are worshipping Satan. This will be the nature of the FTP. We read in:
Mt 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
Mt 24:16 Then
let them which be in
When we recognize the abomination that makes desolate, we should
flee the church. If those who live in
Mt 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
The church will suffer through the FTP, for the rapture has not yet come. The deception is so great that the great majority in the church will fall for it. This is the nature of the FTP.
#2. When the FTP has come to an end the Lord announces His return first with heavenly disturbances.
Lu 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
Lu 21:26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
#3. But these heavenly disturbances do not last long. We read in Mat 24:29,
Mt 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
This is the timing of the Lord’s return, and the rapture of all the saints, and the transformation of all the unsaved, all at once. In most passages concerning the end the gathering of the elect is the first action of the angels, such as in Rev 11:12. In some other passages, such as in the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, the gathering of the unsaved, to gather them for judgment, is the first action of the angels. We should not make a big deal about which one is first, since both the gathering of the saints as well as the gathering of the unsaved occurs at the same time. I have shown that the new bodies we receive must be from a different universe. If that be the case, then it is not possible for our enemies to beheld us, unless they too have entered this new universe. Thus both the transformation of the saints as well as the transformation of the unsaved must occur at the same time.
#4. After the Rapture and the Lord’s return comes the scene of the Judgment of all the unsaved, where Christ and all the saints will be the judges.
Re 20:11 ¶ And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
Re 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and
another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
#5. We do not know how long the judgment of the unsaved will last. But it is only after their judgment has been fully completed that the marriage ceremony of Christ and His Bride shall take place. The Bride of Christ shall be called “New Jerusalem” and shall be given by the Father to the Son.
Re 21:1-2, And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
These are the five events in the scenario of the end time. All the passages that we find in the Revelation of Jesus Christ must fit within this simple framework of events, for this is the scenario that fits all other passages in the Bible. Please return to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 11:14 (2X).
#3. The Second Woe Is Past (Rev 11:14, Jer 25:15-19, 26, 28-29, 6¸ John 6:37)
Re 11:14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
What is the third woe? From verse 15 we understand that the third
woe is the blowing of the 7th trumpet, which is the last trumpet,
which according to 1Cor 15:52 is the time of the rapture of the saints
and the return of Christ. And thus this woe is for the unsaved world, for the
time of their judgment has come. But what was the 1st woe and the 2nd
woe? Way back in Rev 8:13 the 1st woe and the 2nd
woe were announced as the blowing of the 5th trumpet and the 6th
trumpet, or the plague of the locusts out of the Bottomless Pit and the
plague of the 200 million horsemen, both in Rev 9. Then we arrived at an
interlude of Rev 10, and a historical overview of the NT in Rev 11. The 5th
trumpet released a cloud of demons deceiving the whole world, and the 6th
trumpet released an army of 200 million demons whose task it is primarily to
deceive the Christian church throughout the world. This will bring the great
apostasy of the church, and through this the judgment of the church is
realized. And thus we see that the 6th woe, the army of 200 million
horsemen, whose task it is to devastate the church, is the same satanic event
as the beast that ascendeth out of the Bottomless Pit, who shall make war with
the two witnesses, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And then the world
is ready for the third woe, which is Judgment Day itself. Now that God has
judged the church, the time has come to judge the rest of the world. Please
turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Jeremiah, Jer 25:15 (2X). Just
like the church of the 21st century is ready to be run over by
the world, just like the blowing of the Last trumpet. Let us see what we read here in Jer 25:15,
For thus saith the LORD God of
Jer 25:18 To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as it is this day;
Pharaoh king of
Since God said “all the nations”, we see that God is painting
before Jeremiah, and before us, a picture of the final Judgment Day. Notice
that the judgment begins with
Jer 25:26 And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them.
“All the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the
earth” really refers to all the nations of the earth. Sheshach is another
Jer 25:28-29 And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ye shall certainly drink. For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts.
The sword that God speaks about in this verse is the sword of the Word of God, which Christ shall use to judge the all the unsaved of the world on the Last Day. Effectively, what God is saying is this: “Because of their disobedience, I have even brought judgment on the church that is called by My Name. How can you, with the rest of unsaved mankind who are in total rebellion against Me, expect to escape your penalty? You cannot!” By punishing the church first, God made it clear that there is no way Satan and the unsaved can avoid Judgment Day. This is the third woe that was promised in Rev 11:14. But remember why God brought this judgment on the churches and on all mankind? “Because ye have not heard My words”, and “Because ye continue to go after other gods.” They provoked God by going after other gods of their own designs. But God says in Jer 25:6, “If ye go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands, I will do you no hurt.” If we remain faithful to the teachings of the Bible, we will not be cast off like an apostate church. Remember the words that Jesus spoke in John 6:37, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out”. This should be our greatest comfort if we are careful to remain faithful.
AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.