Sunday, 14 February 2021
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. Revelation 11:11
In the previous verse, John noted that those who dwell on the earth rejoiced over the death of the two witnesses. However, he now says, “Now after the three- and one-half days the breath of life from God entered them.”
The world saw and heard the witness, the prophecy, and the miraculous signs, wonders, and plagues of the two witnesses. However, they disregarded them, fought against them, and eventually killed them. After this, they shamelessly let them lie dead in the streets of Jerusalem for three- and one-half days. The bodies will certainly be in a state of decay and, knowing the way things are handled at such times, people will also probably abuse the dead bodies as well. However, their shameless conduct, along with their gloating, parties, and celebrations, will be short-lived. After this period, the “breath of life from God” will enter them.
If these two witnesses are Enoch and Elijah, meaning real people and not something being spoken of in metaphor, it seems incredible to even imagine. However, such an event is not without biblical precedent –
Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” John 11:38-44
Lazarus really was dead for four days, and yet he was raised to life. From a biblical perspective, there is nothing impossible about the event now being conveyed in Revelation. This is because the God of the Bible is the Creator of all things. In His hand is the power to give life and to restore life. As for the two witnesses, it next says, “and they stood on their feet.”
The wording here carefully and precisely follows that which is recorded in Ezekiel 37 –
Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”’” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. Ezekiel 37:9, 10
First, the breath of life entered the nation, and then they stood upon their feet. Because of the symbolism, it is quite clear that the two accounts are being tied together for Israel to make the connection. Just as Israel was raised to life, became a nation again, and stands upon its feet, so have these two witnesses.
In fact, the death and resurrection of these two witnesses are to be considered the most powerful part of their mission for the evangelization of Israel. If they can see that the same Lord, who reestablished them as a nation, is also the Lord Jesus who these witnesses proclaimed, they will finally come to the point of calling out to Him. So incredible, however, will this event be that John finishes with, “and great fear fell on those who saw them.”
Again, whether two actual people or something else which is spoken of in metaphor, the event will be incredible. In viewing this, the whole world will fear greatly. It will be a clear indication that the God who was proclaimed by these two witnesses is, in fact, fully capable of doing anything. The assumed victory will be short-lived. This revivification of life will be the sign of their sure to come judgment.
Life application: The term “breath” and “spirit” are, at times, used synonymously in the Bible. They come from the same word in both the Hebrew and the Greek languages. The breath referred to here is surely the same breath mentioned at the creation of man in Genesis 2:7, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” These two are given the reanimation of their bodies. The “breath of life from God” surely includes the fact that they are born of the Spirit.
Their resurrection then is an eternal one. They have triumphed over death because Jesus went before them and has granted them the same eternal life that He has. This is an implicit indication that the rapture has already occurred. These two witnesses, Enoch and Elijah, were taken to serve the Lord in Old Testament times and returned to earth to witness. These two came as witnesses to the fact that it is in Jesus Christ alone that true life is found. Their death and resurrection will testify to this.
Paul explains in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 that “the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord.” These two are resurrected, demonstrating that the rapture is something that really happened, and the great delusion spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2 was exactly that. People will be convinced that a “rapture” never happened somehow. This will be proven false by the resurrection of the two witnesses.
All of this may seem incredible, or even impossible from our earthly perspective, but it is what the Bible proclaims. Enoch and Elijah were taken by the Lord in the past, Lazarus was raised, and we too shall be raised to eternal life and raptured to eternal glory. The two witnesses will testify of the truth of God in Christ, they will die, and they will be resurrected. All of this is possible because we serve the Living God. We serve JESUS!
Thank You Lord for the great hope we as believers in Christ Jesus possess – the promise of eternal life through the resurrection of the dead! Why should we fear when we know that Jesus has already triumphed over death for us? We need never fear; our hope is secure in You! Hallelujah and Amen.