Explaining the mystery and meaning of Babylon in Revelation chapters 17 and 18. What is Babylon? When will Babylon appear? What will the mystery Babylon be like? In this bible study we examine the spirit of Babylon, the system of Babylon and the secret of Babylon. Practically we see the need for separation and Holiness from the corruption of the world's systems. Dr J Stewart Gillespie
Bible teaching from Revelation chapter 21 verses 4 to 8. In these verses we see God's purpose and plan for the world and the universe. God looks back at a world broken by sin, suffering, death, disease and dissapointment. The disasters of this world are not God's fault but God will fix them by the only means by which He can and will, by the power of His Son Jesus Christ.
Revelation chapter 17 and the prophetic future of Babylon, what it is and who it is controlled by and the challenges presented by Babylon today. From our systematic series of bible teaching messages in the book of Revelation.
The joy of believers in the presence of the Lamb seated upon the throne of heaven in Revelation chapter 5 contrasts with the disappointment, despair, death and loss of those who pursue the world with its passing atheism, materialism and hedonism. We cannot have both heaven and earth as our part and portion, a wise man will chose that which lasts the longest (Jim Elliot) - J Stewart Gillespie
The world looks on and wonders, surprised at the residence and presidence of the demonic beast's take over of Babylon. The most surprising aspect of Revelation 17 is that the world is surprised! Having fashioned a world system of atheism, humanism, hedonism and materialism nothing could be more predictable than that system would become a perfect habitation for the demonic. Anyone surely could predict this, except the world itself! Satan had mankind fashion his anti-church, his anti-kingdom on his behalf. Here was a place of safety, security, and salvation (17:4). Babylon offered everything a soul could wish for! Here was a false saviour and a false salvation! Here was Satan's master piece, the work of millenia! The angel (17:1) pauses from his busy schedule to emphasise to John that whilst the wheels of Divine justice may well turn slow, they turn certain and sure. There is nothing more certain than Divine justice played out in time and in eternity. Dr J Stewart Gillespie, www.graceinchrist.org.
Although set in a future time of judgment and tribulation, chapter 15 of Revelation contains truths and insights too good to be left till the future. This is a chapter which shows us afresh of God's power to turn victims into victors and which demonstrates God's sovereign power over the wickedness of men. Men may plot and persecute to have God's people put out of this world but an exit from this world quickly becomes an entrance into the Glory of heaven under teh hand of a sovereign God!
We glimpse the Glory of the Divine character in chapter 15. Judgment emerges from an unexpected source here! Out of the sanctuary and the Divine Glory and presence the vials of God's wrath are carried and consecrated by angel's hands! Divine wrath and justice is displayed before the world as the awful and awsome consequence of Divine holiness.
Revelation chapter 15 vs 1 to 4 traces the destiny of those who trusted the God of their strength, never flinching and refusing to let go until He became their salvation. As they stand upon the the crystal sea now mixed with the fires of affliction, they stand perpetual testimony to the God who is able to turn the victim into a victor. Here is the great secret of Christian trial and affliction that we have a God who is able to empower us to emerge butterfly like from the catastrophe of persecution and turmoil. The enemy in his hatred and cruelty may well have chased them to the brink of extinction at the edge of the sea but this was merely God's preamble to opening up the path before them for an eternal entrance to the habitation of God. They were like the Covenanter Martyrs of 1685, Corson and Hair; "Unknown till persecution dragged them into fame and chased them up to heaven"
What a God! What a Saviour! What a Lamb!
A message preached as part of our systematic study series on the book of Revelation by Dr J Stewart Gillespie
Bible teaching from Revelation chapter 14 verses 14 to 20; the two judgments of Revelation chapter 14 of the world and of Israel. Man may be impatient for judgement, God is not! He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness. God does not merely react to sin! God is sovereign over man and works purpose through even a world in rebellion. We ought not to underestemate the sovereign power of a God who is able to bring good from the slavery and betrayal of Joseph, the murder by Moses and the rebellion of Jonah. After cries which echoe through the Psalms of David, the service of the disciples, the sanctuary of Daniel and the sousl of the saints of Revelation chapter 6; cries of "how long?" finally the answer is "now". Here is God's perfect judgment in God's time. From a systematic exposition of Revelation by Dr J Stewart Gillespie.
Take a step down from the mid heaven of the lamb and the 144,000 gives a completely different view of the future, not for the redeemed but for those marked for judgement. The middle section of chapter 14 is a story of missed opportunities, misstaken allegiences and men marked for judgement. The everlasting gospel is declared, but symbolically out of reach of those upon the earth. This is a gospel declared in the mid heaven, a gospel of conviction but with no conversion of fear but no faith. Dissolving before the eyes of men is the delusion of safety in the crowd. There is no longer comfort and security in the demonically inspired Babylon, the world and it's systems have fallen, fallen and with it all who took shelter in it. A bible teaching message preached as part of our systematic series of studies in the book of Revelation - Dr J Stewart Gillespie, Bridgend Gospel Hall, New Cumnock. Graceinchrist.org
Christian hymns, Old Testament Psalms (Psalm 2) and Biblical prophecies all look forward to Christ reigning in Zion; the Holy and royal mountain of Jerusalem. Well here He is; Christ in Zion, in Revelation chapter 14. John paints the picture, gives us a snapshot of Christ on mount Zion! It’s here He has finally arrived, but it's not what I would expect of:
The Son of God
The King of Kings
The Lord of Lords
Judge of all things
It’s the picture I might anticipate of one who is:
“Yet have I set my King upon my Holy hill of Zion” (Psalm 2:6)
I wasn’t expecting to see a lamb there! Maybe a lion!
Yet the path from earth to heaven and glory, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords has taken as a lamb.
That’s interesting that we should find the lamb on Mt Zion
We find the lamb in all sorts of places:
On the altar (Gen 22) – sacrifice
In the fire and flame (Ex 12) – suffering
In the mouth of the lion (1 Sam 17) – Satanic attack
Led to the slaughter (Isaiah 53)
Bearing away the sin of the world - As the Substitute
Finally we find the lamb here; on the throne (Revelation 4); in heaven (Revelation 14)
This path of the lamb by way of:
Is the path followed by those whom we find here in heaven. The route to the destination is the same.
They have followed the lamb all the way to Zion.
Some claim that we ought not to be ‘prisoners to our past, it’s a lesson, not a life sentence.’ There is some truth in that, but not much!
The biblical view of our past is far higher than being ‘free from the prison’ of the past and the past is certainly no lesson, it is the real thing!
If the past is but a lesson for today and today is but a lesson for the future. Where is it that we put into practice these so called lessons? When do we actually graduate from school into the real world! This of course is the real world!
No doubt lessons should be learned but regarding our life as merely a lesson is way short of the profound depths which God attaches to our life here and now.
Our past is not a prison from which we ought to regard ourselves as liberated from, our past is
what in part moulds and shapes us and produces character in us (Romans 5:1ff).
Theatre in which is worked out our service for God, the race is run, and as such reward can follow on.
The arena of sin and error; a place where ripples extend out into eternity, to the judgment seat and to others
Our past is way more serious than a prison from which we might seek freedom.
Our past does indeed teach lessons, but it has eternal consequences for us and consequences for others, which we cannot ignore nor erase. Consequences not only of:
Once we face up to the reality of this, once we grasp the truth of this, this will lead us to:
As well as
There is by far the greater path of:
We are far more than prisoners of our past
We are products of our past
A past that is not merely a lesson in life but a past that is life itself, real life with ripples running off into eternity.
The 144,000 arrive in heaven, sounding like the lamb (14:2) with a “voice of many waters” and with a “new song” that no man could learn.
Anyone could read the lyrics but they could not learn the song
Anyone could learn words but they could not learn the song!
Anyone could follow a tune but they could not learn this song!
Many could play the music but they could not learn the song.
This was a song played on the heart, not only upon the harp (v2)
Like Christ who ‘learned obedience by the things which He suffered’
Learning is a change brought about from experience
At times in life we complain, we are resentful, become bitter, get discouraged.
At times we desire an:
To take it a little easier
Put our feet up
A bit less hassle
This path is the path to mount Sinai
This is the path which brought the Son of God to Glory
This song was and is the product of their lives.
This is the song that makes us sound like Christ!
Bass notes of suffering
The treble clef of lifes melody
The sharps of excitement
The flats of disappointment
The rests of recuperation
The repeats of routine
The majors of life’s dominant themes
The minors of less significant
We may be an epistle written and read as Paul reminds us but our life also produces a song that is sung and nothing need be wasted.
From a systematic bible teaching series from the letter of Revelation by Dr J Stewart Gillespie, preached at the Bridgend Gospel Hall, New Cumnock. Free to download messages and free to view online.
Great songs are born of deep experience. Some of the richest treasures of human expression arise from our deepest emotions of love, both fulfilled and frustrated. From lessons learned in deep anguish arise the expressions of heart uniquely tuned in the life and experience of every believer. To heaven these 144 000 bring a song so unique that only their life and their experience is able to give expression to it.
Dr J Stewart Gillespie at Faskally House Families Week 2022 - Tell me There's a Heaven.
Trace back the fuse wire to the detonator that triggered the pouring out of the 7 vials of judgment, the fall of Babylon the Great, the battle of Armageddon, the sounding of the 7 trumpets, and the opening of the 7 seals, will lead you to this book in the hand of God in Revelation chapter 5. Whatever this book is, it contains the secret of all subsequent judgments and catastrophes in the book of Revelation which are to befall the world. Whatever it is, this book is important. Despite the fact that loosening the seals to open the book leads to global environmental, economic and spiritual melt down following in the wake of war, famine, disease and demonic attack, this is a risk worth taking.
The 4th message in a series of studies in the book of Revelation given at Faskally Family week 2022 on the theme of "Tell me There's a Heaven" by Dr J Stewart Gillespie.
The lion of the tribe of Judah reigns sovereign and supreme from the throne of the Universe in Revelation chapter 5. His sovereignty has suffered and sacrificed through time and humanity. To the throne of heaven He brings Divine right and appointment fused with moral right and authority. He is the King who wore the crown of thorns ever before He bore the royal diadem. His reign in Righteousness is above fault and criticism, He was both given this right to reign, and He died for this right to reign. As the Lamb He concludes His retribution with redemption, His purpose in time for the universe collectively and for us individually will not be revealed in the raw power of destruction but rather every pain, each sorrow, every disappointment, all trials and affliction ultimately work together for good and Glory.
The 3rd message given at Faskally House Family Week in 2022, by Dr J Stewart Gillespie on the theme of
"Tell me there's a Heaven" - studies in the book of Revelation.
The anticipated ecstasy of hymns, the crystal sea pictures the absolute, transparent holiness of God. Solomon was commissioned to reflect the pattern in the sea of his temple, provided for the cleansing of the priesthood. In this solid sea of glass, washing from sin and defilement is eternally out of the question. Nothing that defiles can enter into the dwelling place of God. Access to God's Heaven has as it's requirement holiness. It is a condition of entry and not a consequence. Absolute purity, the kind of righteousness that only Jesus Christ can provide, purchased by His blood and freely given to those willing to receive salvation by faith alone.
This crystal sea marks the boundary conditions of heaven. It is both heaven's floor and earth's ceiling. It is the extent of man's experience of the Divine when sought without Christ; a barrier of solid holiness. Revelation chapter 5 paints a picture of the character and nature of the God of heaven:
Lion like in His Sovereignty
Calf like in His salvation
Man like in His incarnation
Eagle like in the transcendence of His Spirit
Get a glimpse of Glory Get a glimpse of God
From a series of messages presented at Faskally House Family Week 2022 by Dr J Stewart Gillespie on the theme:
It has taken 4000 years for the Spirit of God to introduce us to heaven. Heaven is a place of many surprises, but perhaps the greatest of all surprises is that there are so few surprises! Heaven has a door; a door we know of well from John's gospel. Heaven opens with a voice familiar; that of Jesus Christ. Heaven is the throne room of God. Upon the throne of heaven we see one like a Jasper and Sardine stone; one who is the Son of God's right hand and the Son of His mother's sorrow. The throne is surrounded by a rainbow of covenant keeping glory; echoing the one who is life and light.
Here is heaven.
Here is the God of heaven.
This is the God we know.
This is Jesus Christ.
The first of 6 studies in the book of Revelation presented at Faskally House, families week in 2022, by Dr J Stewart Gillespie.
From the lands of the Mediterranean Sea there will arise a Beast, the AntiChrist, the Man of Sin. Echoing features of empires past he will move quickly like the armies and empire of Alexander the Great, as pictured in the Leopard. His geographical domain is likely to be that of the Medo-Persian Empire of centuries ago, standing bear like, with his feet gripping the lands of Turkey, Iran and Iraq. This is Satan's one world dictator, a man with universal political (Revelation 13:2) and spiritual authority (Revelation 13:8) over the worlds. It is interesting to speculate how such a universal dictatorship could arise. The world of Revelation chapter 13, whilst echoed by events in the past century is very unlike the political landscape we see today. This is a world decimated by judgment, wars, disease and famine. between the judgments of the fourth scroll and 6th trumpet, one half of the world's population has been destroyed. Food production has been decimated by poisoned seas and rivers, nuclear explosions have polluted and destroyed productive agriculture and lands. This is a post-apocalyptic landscape, the leadership of which has been grasped, probably out of necessity to restore law and order and distribute evenly what resources there are. Here is Satan's finest hour, achieving his goal from the garden of Eden. This is his takeover of God's creation. Satan's Kingdom has come! Whilst this may be Satan's greatest moment, it is undoubtedly earth's most awful moment. A message preached as part of our series of systematic bible studies in the book of Revelation. Dr J Stewart Gillespie graceinchrist.org
Perhaps like myself you find the book of Revelation somewhat daunting with it's ultiplicity of interpretations which is somewhat off putting! Perhaps you can identify with the sentiment of one writer who quipped that there was only one person who understood Revelation and he is at home in the glory! It is a book of complex symbols and language. The subject matter; doesn’t really make for easy reading and is not overtly comforting, at least on the surface that is! This is perhaps typified by the transmission of the Greek title for Revelation “ἀποκάλυψις” into the English language, and is now used for catastrophe and disaster in epic proportions.
Revelation is indeed a book of catastrophe and disaster for the world:
Revelation is a boook containing the extremes of:
Personalities – Christ and the Devil
Places – Heaven and Hell
Problems – global and eternal destruction
7 seals 7 trumpets 3 woes 7 vials 4th Seal sees ¼ of the world’s population destroyed
6th trumpet witnesses 1/3 of the world’s population destroyed! By the time we reach chapter 12, at least ½ of the world’s population has been wiped out! It’s not a cheery read!
Don’t let that put you off!
Ignore the book of Revelation at your peril!
There is at least one great reason not to ignore this book:
Revelation at least in part deals with the extremes of disaster and catastrophe!
If you believe, as I do that God is:
Sovereign over the problems of life “all things work together for good”
Sufficient in His grace “my grace is sufficient for you”
Supreme in His power “all power is given unto me…”
Solution to all of our problems “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Then in these extreme experiences of:
We see God’s extreme solutions!
If God is able to deal with the extremes, He is surely sufficient for our problems and our needs too!
In Revelation chapter 12 people experience:
Personal Failure – The Flesh
Satanic Fury – The Devil
Persecutory Flood – The World
God has His provision and His solution in the extremes of these conditions and experiences!
Fury of the Devil
Flood from the World
Failure of the Flesh
All 3 are inter-related!
It is the fury of Satan which directly causes the flood of persecution from the world (vs12-15).
It is the failure of the flesh that hinders victory over Satan and gives the accuser fuel for his fire (v10-11).
Power to overcome the accuser (v11) holds the key to their personal victory!
The flood of persecution is the product of Satanic fury!
Israel couldn’t see that of course in Revelation chapter 12, but nonetheless the spiritual battle was happening above them, over them and they were caught in the crossfire between heaven and hell. There will be many spiritual battles of which we are unaware but feel the shockwaves in our lives and souls.
Cosider the fury of Satan revealed here in Revelation chapter 12:
Know your adversary
Don’t imitate his character
Note the description of his character:
Destroyer (v4) cf. John 10
Satan characterised as deceiver.
Deception often linked with intelligence! It is so here of course.
Intelligence is often required to pass off a good deception!
Spoof emails and phone calls, fake social media accounts, malicious phone calls etc!
Normally intelligence employs deception for the goal of personal gain. They want what you have! For Satan though the scenario is different!
Satan is under no delusion that he could stand ultimately to gain from these deceptions (12:12), he knows that his time is short. Ultimate gain is not on the horizon for him!
What could possibly motivate him?
The very essence of Satanic character: malicious envy!
Satan isn’t deceiving to personally profit from it but rather that you might lose, that you might be destroyed. This is malicious, destructive, satanic, envy!
Cf John 10:10
Sufficient for Satan to drag you down, bring you down, get you down and keep you down! He will strive to ruin you at every turn!
Flood of persecution in the world
Satan having fallen from heaven (12:9), turns upon the people of God.
Satan falls from heaven to earth and to hell.
It is interesting that as Satan falls further and further, the glory of Christ fills the void, as the morning star and as King of Kings and Lord of Lords on the earth.
When the world and the Devil send the flood God always has His refuge for His people
“And a man shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Isaiah 32:2
Jacob and his sons in famine there was provision in Egypt Moses on the run as a fugitive there was refuge in the backside of the desert. Israel caught between the armies of Pharoah and the Red Sea, there was a path through to the promised land Samaria in the famine and siege of 2 Kings chp 7 – respite and refuge comes through the actions of 4 lepers at the gate of the city. David there was the cave of Adullam Jonah there was the provision of the whale Elijah a morsel of meal in the widow of Zarephath’s house Elisha a place in the home of the Shunammite
Israel a way through the red sea and ultimately into the promised land Elijah a way up Jonah a way down and out of the depths Daniel a way out of the lion’s den Thief on the cross a way into heaven Noah a way over the flood
God is always able to provide a refuge in the storm, always able, since His refuge is a person!
“And a man shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Isaiah 32:2
If a man is a hiding place, then that hiding place, isn’t restricted to a place, but is always available as a person!
Sometimes the means of that provision comes from the most unexpected of sources!
The unlikely gentile widow The unexpected provision from Joseph, a son sold as a slave The terrifying whale An unassuming little maid of Naaman An improbable coin in a fishes mouth
Failure of the flesh
The failure of the flesh give substance to the accuser, adds fuel to the fire and keeps the believer down, hinders their recovery.
There is overcoming victory (v11) by
Blood of the lamb
Provision for forgiveness and recovery
Word of Testimony
Power of a changed life
Proof of nothing being more important than the Lord
There are not that many passages of the scriptures that deal with the Satanic personality, although in many places we perceive his influence.
Revelation chapter 12 gives us a glimpse into the:
In chapter 12 we learn to recognise Satan as God reckons with Satan.
We gain a glimpse into the ultimate destiny of Satan elsewhere in the scriptures although we do have to join the dots and put the pieces together.
The man of the Gadarenes – those who follow Satan and who are obedient to him, must yet bow to a supreme authority, that of Christ! That does not bode well for Satan! Their end is in the Abyss The testing of Christ in the wilderness – we often perhaps reflect on the character and nature of that temptation, the opportunism of Satan after 40 days of fasting, Satan’s misuse of the word of God and the means of defeating Satan with the sword of the Spirit and the Word of God! One simple of aspect of the testing of Christ in the wilderness that we ought not to miss of course “Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat” (Luke 22:31) We note the attack on Peter, but perhaps we ought also to note the ultimate victory of the Spirit of God in the life of Peter, as Peter knows recovery and restoration and becomes stronger for the experience!
Satanic activity is sovereignly controlled and attenuated
We need perhaps to put these pieces together to see the whole story.
Here in verse 1 we have a symbol of Satanic destiny
Sometimes looking back we see a significance that perhaps we don’t see at the time.
“moon under her feet”
The glory of Israel is in the sun (v1), the brightest and most glorious natural object which is known to us.
The moon is under her feet; the moon once worshipped by Israel, the moon that rules the night is under her feet! Israel has dominion and victory over the one who rules the night. Victory is guaranteed! The end is declared from the beginning!
Notice the principle of spiritual gravity which we find here in Revelation chapter 12, seen so clearly in the rise and fall of Satan, but which we can also perceive in the rest of the word of God.
You can pretty accurately predict the destiny of a personality from the impact they make on the lives of others. You can predict an individuals destiny from the direction they give to others,
If you want to know where they are going, look at where they are taking others!
Where they are sending others is where they are heading themselves.
Pharaoh – cast the children into the river Nile (Ex 1:22), into a watery grave is where Pharaoh and his armies ended up! (Exodus 14:28) Ahab and Jezebel – lead the nation into Baal worship and the pursuit of the demonic, unfaithful to their God. Ultimately Jezebels subjects proved equally as unfaithful to her and that was her undoing. The authority of God and His commandments which she undermined and destroyed, was the foundation of all human authority and order, as is the case today. Belshazzer led his people into blaspheming the items of the temple; he and many of his subjects died under Divine judgment. Elimelech led his family to Moab and he died there.
Consider also on the positive side:
It was the apostle Paul who lifted so many up, and led so many to Christ. Is it not so appropriate that he himself was taken up into the 3rd heaven! What about the apostle John? It is John who is the disciple of love, life and light. It is John in his gospel who leads us to the Deity and glory of the Lord Jesus. How apt it is that it is John who gives us the book of Revelation, leading us into heaven itself! Here is the principle of spiritual gravity!
We can predict a personal destiny from the direction they point other.
It is difficult to take others or direct others in a direction we are not travelling in ourselves.
We can predict a persons destiny form the direction they give to others. Here we have this principle worked out in the spiritual realm. It is Satan with his malevolent influence who draws down a third of the stars from heaven to earth. You could predict his end I am sure from this! After the angelic host are cast down (12:4) Satan follows the same trajectory, downward to the earth (12:9)!
Notice also in Revelation chapter 12 the principle of spiritual gravity:
It was no coincidence that as Moses descended Mount Sinai with the two tables of law written by the finger of God, that Satan had made a pre-emptive strike and that waiting there for Moses was a pre-constructed golden calf!
It was no coincidence that placed next to the throne of Egypt were two Satanically inspired magicians; Jannes and Jambres, ready to sway the mind of Pharaoh as the voice of God echoed throughout the land in plague and pestilence.
It was no coincidence that Tobiah and Sanballat were on hand to discourage and to attempt to destroy the walls of Jerusalem as Nehemiah fulfilled his commission to rebuild for God!
Here too in Revelation chapter 12 we perceive exactly the same process at work. As the time approaches for Israel to bring forth Messiah; "when the fullness of the time was come..." in Revelation 12:2; God was ready. At that moment so too was Satan ready; ready with an attempt at annihilation, with the slaughter of the innocents, ready with persecution, temptation in the wilderness, rejection from the synagogue, isolation from society, false accusations, and ultimate execution at Calvary!
If we share the life of that same Saviour we too can anticipate to share the unwanted attention of Satan! Be ready! Be prepared, but not only for attack, but ultimately for victory through Christ!
From our systematic bible study series in the book of Revelation
Grace upon grace, God has poured out on a fallen world. Generation after generation, God adds to His grace. It is almost as if century upon century God is declaring that He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). By the time we reach Revelation chapter 11 many a mercy has moved towards man. God's dispensations or administrations have rolled through creation, conscience, government, law, grace and tribulation. In each movement of the Divine hand God calls men to repentance and to Himself.
Here in Revelation chapter 11, God brings all of His movements of mercy to a pinnacle. The miracles of Moses, the signs and wonders of Elijah (11:5-6), the plagues of blood and drought, the power of the Spirit of God (11:4) and all under the shadow of the cross, rain down upon man. Some respond, a remnant turn to give Glory to the God of heaven (11:13).
Tragically many reject the message of God. With even greater catastrophe they confuse the message as the product of the messenger and not as the revelation of God. Gloating and glorying over their corpses, the product of the satanic attack of the Beast, the rejoicing of the world is premature. God is still on His throne and 3 and a half days into their death, resurrection power raises them again from the dead.
A study in Revelation chapter 11 from our systematic series of expository bible studies in the book of Revelation.
It's not every day that a man out does God! Death defying is a frequently used phrase but on only two historical occasions have men actually achieved that feat! The Old Testament contains two strange anomalies. Both Enoch (Genesis 5) and Elijah (2 Kings 2) pass from earth to heaven, from time to the eternal without passing through death. This is not only an intriguing record but it also challenges the truth of Hebrews 9 :27 "it is appointed unto man once to die". Did they manage to escape and defy death? Mor importantly did they find a way around conforming to the pattern of Hebrews 9? Fast forward a few thousand years to Revelation chapter 11. Two witnesses appear in Jerusalem at the mid point of the tribulation period. There is something distinctly familiar about this pair! The impact of their ministry extends for a period of 3 and a half years, like that of Elijah (James 5:17), they call down fire from heaven; like that of Elijah (2 Kings 1), they stop the rain, again like Elijah and stand alone against the world, again reminiscent of Elijah in 1 Kings 19. Could we have here these two old testament characters? Does this solve the bible long mystery? Have these men, not so much escaped death, but been reserved and set apart for a future service and ministry in the last days? John observes, John records but perhaps like us, John participates in what God is doing (Revelation 11:1) in this chapter. He measures what belongs to God. It isn't big in the eyes of men. An inner court of 30 by 30 feet, yet it is God's patch, God's place and God's people. God values what belongs to Him, so does John and so do the two witnesses. The interest they have in time, as an interest that continues into forever (11:12). In chapter 11 it is only those with an interest in God's people and place on earth who continue to enjoy that place in heaven! Revelation chapter 11 looks off into future days of tribulation, yet the character, the interests of these witnesses is not foreign or new to us. They have an interest in God's work and worship here and serve God in His power and by His Spirit. Yours by Grace in Christ Dr J Stewart Gillespie From a series of systematic bible expositions in the book of Revelation, free to download audio mp3 and free to watch online at graceinchrist.org