Vs. 3, “And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” Much is covered in this chapter, but a huge question looms. Question: Who are these two witnesses? The book of Revelation has strong differing opinions from biblical scholars. Some believe that John is approaching this particular chapter metaphorically, while others believe in a more literal approach. A wide belief over the centuries have been that the two witnesses are Moses (Law) and Elijah (Prophets). Their purpose is to display the power of God during this time of Tribulation. The antichrist will seemingly defeat them in the middle of the Tribulation, but God had different plans for them (vs. 7-14).
From an historical point of view, the purpose of trumpets were used to acknowledge the ascent of a king to the throne. This event looks to the future as God’s wrath will be poured out upon the evil that is in rebellion towards God. We see the ark of God’s covenant which symbolized God’s presence with His people.
Regarding application…Bearing Witness.Vs. 3, “And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” In the face of trial and persecution, they set the example for us. For Jesus Himself gave us the responsibility to bear witness to this world too (Acts 1:8). The two witnesses remind us that God will give us power. However, the temporal outcome looked grim. But God raised them up and He will raise us up too! Brothers and sisters, let us not grow weary in bearing witness about our Lord and Savior! What area in your life today can you share the love of Christ?
Vs. 1, “The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss.”
Scholars speculate what the significance and identification of this invasion. Some speculate it could refer to Satan. The locusts represent an army, most likely of fallen angels. However, there are those that believe it could refer to a human army.
The identity of the four angels could be four fallen angels who are still under the control of God. They were to kill an additional 1/3 of the population on top of the 1/4 earlier in chapter 6. If you hold to the seven years of Tribulation, this event would fall at about the halfway point.
Regarding application…Godly Fear. Vs. 20, “The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk.” It’s important to remember who the original audience was? Revelation was not written to unbelievers for a future time. Revelation was written to Christians. This message of doom is a sober reminder of how important it is to fear God correctly. All these catastrophes are not happen-chance or evil conquering good. God is showing His sovereignty and power of all created things, even evil. Rather than curse God’s name or grow a hardened heart, we should remember that God is in control.
Vs. 2, “After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain.” They reach Mount Sinai and here they would stay for over a year. God was preparing them. Moses would go up to the mountain and back down three times in our chapter. The purpose is to deliver clear messages from the LORD. I like the first message with the image of an eagle (vs. 4), I’m thinking this would probably been what J.R.R. Tolkien might have had in mind when the eagle came swooping down to rescue Frodo and Samwise Gamgee at Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Lord is keeping His promise that He gave originally to Abraham (vs. 5-6). We also see the LORD manifest Himself evidently to the people with a display of power and awe (vs. 9-15). If the people had any doubt at all, this was intended to erase it. It’s also notable the repeated warnings throughtout the chapter the LORD gives to ensure the people respect and obey His instructions.
Regarding application…Power of God. Vs. 16, “On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled.” Jesus called us His friends. We have amazing access to the LORD. Yet, we must also balance this with the awe and respect that the LORD deserves. When I was little, I used to feel quite powerful stepping on pesky little ants that were invading my mom’s flowerbeds. To the ants, I was all powerful…I had the choice to let them live or die. God can smite us off the face of the earth, yet His grace abounds. The more we know the LORD, the more I believe we are cognizant of His power. It’s this power that brings the right type of fear in our lives. The fear that we must submit and shake in godly fear before an all powerful God. Let us approach the Lord with a balance of friendship yet awe!
Vs. 3, “But Israel has rejected what is good; an enemy will pursue him.” Hosea’s reminders are not easy to read. We would much rather focus on the grace of God, but here we are reminded of the power of God. He alone is worthy of ALL of our attention. Israel had become bankrupt and their ungodly acts that we have seen in Hosea would bring destruction. They had the opportunity to turn back, but they took the freedom God had given them and chose unwisely (vs. 4). They were no longer turning to God for guidance. They thought they could have friendship with the world and still appease God by empty sacrifices (vs. 7-11).
Regarding application…Awakening. Vs. 1, “Put the trumpet to your lips! An eagle is over the house of the LORD because the people have broken my covenant and rebelled against my law.” Question: What was the trumpet for? A blast of the trumpet was meant to alert the people to wake up! The enemy (Assyrians) were coming. Israel was spiritually asleep. I read an example of a Pastor comparing this to losing something and then forgetting where you put it. The item is not technically lost. It’s like the concept, “Out of sight, out of mind.” When you don’t have God in your sights on a daily basis, you no longer have the mind of turning to God. Question: Do you hear the trumpet call? I am reminded of the Apostle Paul’s encouragement to the Colossians, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”