“When they complete their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the bottomless pit will declare war against them, and he will conquer them and kill them. And their bodies will lie in the main street of Jerusalem, the city that is figuratively called “Sodom” and “Egypt,” the city where their Lord was crucified. And for three and a half days, all peoples, tribes, languages, and nations will stare at their bodies. No one will be allowed to bury them. All the people who belong to this world will gloat over them and give presents to each other to celebrate the death of the two prophets who had tormented them.”
Revelation 11:7-10 NLT
John’s vision continues. It was much like a video or film, moving from one scene to the next. So the two witnesses brought their prophecies to the people for three and a half years, and no-one could touch them. The vision doesn’t say to what extent their gifts were used and how much grief was caused to the sinful and wicked people of that time but I can just imagine them underpinning their prophetic words by turning the local reservoir into blood. Or bringing on a resurgence of Covid or some other plagues to the population. Stopping the rain would not have been much of a blessing either. And we read in verse ten, that the people had a big party when the devil killed the witnesses. They gloated, gave presents to each other and felt a great sense of relief that their torment had ended – for now. But notice that it wasn’t just the inhabitants of Jerusalem that were happy about the death of the witnesses. This became global news, with parties everywhere.
Today’s verses start with the message that their testimonies had come to an end. We pilgrims need to make use of the age in which we live, because there will come a time when our testimonies, our messages of hope, will not be required any more. Our messages will be complete. And we read that God then allowed the “beast that comes up out of the bottomless pit” to kill them. It wasn’t a trivial task, it seems, because it involved a war, not just a murder. In the vision, their bodies are just allowed to lie in the street. But who was this “beast”? it can only have been the devil himself. Mankind at that time couldn’t touch the witnesses because they were too powerful and God protected them. And that protection would have continued, even with the devil’s attacks, but their tasks were complete. The bodies were allowed to lie there for three and a half days, which perhaps indicated the lack of respect offered them by the locals. You can just imagine people from all over jetting in to have a look, such was their notoriety with the global population. A damning indictment of mankind at that time.
In his vision, John pulled no punches in his naming of Jerusalem. Jesus wept over this city, but here we are seeing it renamed as Sodom and Egypt. What happened in the city of Sodom? It was destroyed because of the extreme immorality that occurred there. And to the Jews, the country of Egypt would represent their time of slavery. So it seems Jerusalem because a city corrupted by, and in league with, the devil. People living there were enslaved in a place of immorality. John made special mention that Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem, an act that the devil thought was a win for him, but soon found it was him who was the loser.
To us pilgrims, we must always be on our guards, because the devil will always seek to corrupt and enslave us. And he gets very upset if we continue to share our testimonies with those around us. We must constantly pray for God’s protection over our lives and families.
Dear God. We don’t really have any idea what this time will be like. But we’re so grateful that You have everything under control. Amen.