This brings us to the end of a major section, what we have been waiting for - the blowing of the 11th trumpet.

In chapter 7 we had an interlude before the seventh seal, here we have another pause in the story before the seventh trumpet. Both of these interlude serve the same purpose to show the security of Jesus' church in face of the very intense realities we encounter.

The trumpets depict what is going on in our world today, the focus is on repentance not judgement. Father God wants us to see that our brokeness is not surface, but systemic, we cannot fix it, we need to change course and turn back to our creator.

The church has a major role to play in the restoration of all things, works alongside Father God. No Christian ever works a 'dead end' job, no Christian lives without purpose, no Christian is ever unemployed. We need to embrace how high a calling we have. Here we address this by looking at three questions - who, why and where.

Unlike other books of the New Testament the book of revelation does not directly quote the Old Testament, however it contains many familiar Old Testament images (there maybe around 500 of such) which John uses to try to make sense of what he sees.

Revelation 11

Some refer to this as being the most complicated chapter in the book.

Who are we?

Verse 1 echoes the symbolism of Zechariah 2.
In Revelation 11 John is the man with the measuring line. Why, whats the point?
No measurements are given, the measurements are not the point, the point is that the measurements are taken.
God is reassuring his church, he is a wall around it (Zechariah 2:5), despite everything which seems to be unravelling around us.
To belong to God means that we are sealed and eternally secure - not one will be lost (Revelation 7).

Verse 2 why this explicit instruction not to measure the outer courts?
Numbers throughout the book are symbolic.
The number 42 occurs elsewhere in scripture
There were 42 stages in Israel's journey from Egypt to the promised land (Numbers 33).
Elijah stopped rain for 42 months (1 Kings, Luke 4:25) while we called nation to repentance.
Matthew's genealogy of Jesus is in 3 steps of 14, making 42 (Matthew 1).
Matthew wanted to make the point that Jesus' birth was the end of time waiting for the Messiah.
The number 42 marks the end of time in any stage of redemptive history.
The 42 months symbolically represents the period of time we live in (between resurrection & second coming).

This is a time when the church, although secure, will be under increasing pressure and persecution.
The church is simultaneously both invincible and very vulnerable.
We are lambs in the midst of wolves (Matthew 10:16).
We are not called to fight back / defend ourselves.
We walk in the way of the lamb - immitating our King.

In verse 3 we have the number 1260 = (42 * 30) - 30 in ancient world is number of days in a month.
Elsewhere we have the number "Times, time and half a time" (Revelation 12:14, Daniel 7:25, Daniel 12:7).
Each of these numbers represent the same reality.

In verse 3 the two witnesses are called to prophesy through the whole period until Jesus returns.
In verse 4 the two witnesses are described both as an olive tree (representing God's convenant people - Israel Romans 11:24) and as a lampstand (representing the local church Revelation 1-2). But why two? Ancient Israel required two witnesses for a charge to be legally established (Deuteronomy 19:15, Mark 9:4). The entire church (Old Testament and New Testament) are in view here.

So to answer the question "who are we?" - we are witnesses.
Witnesses are only needed when someone on trial - who is on trial here?
Jesus is on trial before the eyes of the world because he claimed to be the answer to our systemic brokeness.
Jesus also claimed to be God (Jn 4:25-26, Mt 16:15-17, Jn 10L24-38, Jn 13:13, Mk 2:5-11, Lk 5:20-24, Jn 8:57-58, Jn 6:46).
The Messiah has to be divinity (Matthew 22:41-46, Psalm 110, Isaiah 11) in the flesh.
He has filled the world with witnesses - John 3:16,we point the world to him, embodiment of the love of God.

We prophecy by declaring the word of God by both our lives and our mouths.

The two witnesses are clothed in sackcloth.
Sackcloth represents the office of prophet and repentance - people leading lives of continual repentance.
Repentance is not something we do for God (evidence of failure, leads to spiritual burnout, sense of powerlessness).
Biblical repentance is continual acknowledgement that the Gospel is true, not true once, but true today.
It reminds us what God has done for us - by the blood of the lamb, we are not strong enough.
We find time and again that despite our good intentions we fail, we are not strong enough.
We realise we are just as much failures now as we were before we turned to Jesus and got baptised.
We confess what God has done for us. Jesus' blood covers us then, now and forever.

Nothing displays the Gospel better than broken men and women running back to God because he loves us in the middle of our mess.
We need to fall more deeply in love with the God who loves us despite our behaviour.
Get accustomed to feeling of inexhaustable forgiveness, inexhaustable grace (Romans 5:20).
Exchange the slavery of sin with the freedom in Christ.

In Zechariah 4:2 we see the lampstands and olive trees. The olive trees provide the oil so the lampstands can continue burning. What is the source of our joy, power, life? Zechariah 4:6 the source of our witness is the power of the Holy Spirit. We are not the ones to make this happen, nor by our power or desire. Jesus is sold out for me - I am not sold out for him!

Verses 5 and 6. What's the deal here? Same miracles?
Ministries of Moses and Elijah - what was the point?
God wants to accomplish the same things (accomplish not do).
God wants to validate the Gospel through each one of us.

We are spirit empowered, joyfully repentant, prophetic witnesses of Jesus.

Why are we here?

What should our lives look like?

Verses 7-10
Our lives have been given to us to be poured out.
We are here to die for our witness! Depressing.
We immitate our God in his death.
Those who bring Good News are hated for it.

Verses 11-12
We are also called to immitate Jesus in his resurrection.

A physical bodily resurrection to a new life that will not end is critical in the Gospel, there is no Gospel without it (1Corinthians 35-58).

God is giving everyone an opportunity for repentance and to turn to him (verse 13b, Phillipians 2:1-11).

Will you leave it too late? When he comes back it will be as a lion, that is why he delays so long.

Where is it all going?

Verse 15-19
The consummation of God's Kingdom.
We are written into God's story as the main characters - the two witness, clothed in sackcloth.
Us falling short is the raw material the Holy Spirit uses to fuel joy filled, constant, continual repentance which is the greates witness there is.

Your God is a consuming fire all around you (the walls) who has given your life a purpose. God has made you to be his witness.

For God so loved the world...
He sent his son.
He sends me, in my weakness, to be the most powerful light the world has ever known.
He will send his son again, but in his love he waits.

Come Lord Jesus.
We need your help.

Further Reading

Hebrews 13:9-16
Zecgariah 4:2-14
Matthew 24:9-22
Luke 1:31-35