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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. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly. Revelation 11:11–14.


Under the influence of King Destruction the Protestant churches effectively killed the influence of the two witnesses, the Word and Spirit of God. Their bodies were not allowed to be buried but to lie dead in the streets for 3½ days. The Protestant churches did not do away with the Word and Spirit as did Romanism, but put them distinctly in their creeds and confessions and displayed them in their public worship. But division and ritual effectively nullified the influence of the Word and Spirit, the two witnesses.

Those that dwell on the earth, those that were without a saving relationship with Christ, rejoiced, made merry, and sent gifts. These things are representative of mere professions of faith and church membership that give a façade of Christianity to people that otherwise do not have an experience with God.


The Church Prophesying Again


After the 3½ days the breath of life from God enters the two witnesses causing them to come back to life. This 11th chapter of the Revelation is essentially what Jesus gave John, who represents the church, to prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings. The message is about the importance of church history in understanding the times and nature of the spiritual condition to the visible church world under the sixth seal.

You will recall that the sixth seal opened around 1800 with the beginning of the Primitive Church Movement. This Movement was not just the work of certain preachers although certain ministers were prominent during the nineteenth century; it was a movement that began in the hearts and minds of both ministers and everyday Christian people. The desire of the Movement was to function as the biblical church of God in the mode of the early church. For this reason, the Movement held church history in a position of great importance. While that importance at first was directed toward the early church, as the movement gained strength during the century the full history of the Christian church became prominent in its teaching. The Adventists and the Church of God Reformation Movement held the history of the church in a high degree of prominence with their church-historic views on the Book of Revelation.

So far in this chapter we have seen the history of the church brought out in five lessons:


1.      The early church is seen in the measuring of the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there.

2.      A time of apostasy is seen in the outer court and the Gentiles treading the holy city under foot for 42 months.

3.      We have seen the dominance of Papalism as well as its counterpart in the Orthodox churches, as the two witnesses prophesying in sackcloth for 1260 days.

4.      Then we see the Reformation in the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit giving birth as it were to the great city called Sodom and Egypt. The beast kills the two witnesses leaving their bodies to lie in the streets for 3½ days.

5.      And finally, after the 3 ½ has expired we now come to the resurrection of the two witnesses in the Primitive Church Movement.


The Time References


Before we look at the end of the sixth trumpet we need to explain the time references of the 11th chapter: 42 months, 1260 days, and 3½ days as promised.

The time references are expressed in numbers of days. Teachers of the church-historic approach to the Revelation like to convert symbolic days into literal years and then tie them to specific dates in history.

The significance of these time periods is not the literal duration of time; rather it shows the relative impact of these events on the history of the church. In fact, a literal rendering of these time references ultimately produces the same time period. Using 30 days to the month, 42 months is exactly 1260 days. 1260 days is 1260 days. Using the prophetic symbolism of a day for a year, 3½ days is 3½ years, equal to 42 months or 1260 days.

The time references more properly indicate the relative impact of the period in history on the church.

42 months, or the number 42 is assigned to the time of the Gentiles or the original apostasy of the visible church-at-large. This was very serious but it was not as damaging as what followed.

1260 is assigned to the duration of the dominance of Papalism in its various forms.

Since 42 is less than 1260 this suggests that the duration of the time of apostasy and its effect on the visible church-at-large is less than that of Papalism. Papalism was prominent through the period if history called the Dark Ages. It can be argued that Papalism was either the cause of or the result of the Dark Ages. This was a long time of spiritual darkness and without question had the most devastating impact on the church.

1260 is far greater than 3½ and as assigned to the Reformation. This suggests that the duration and effect of the Reformation was far less than Papalism. Being such a small number it suggests the rapid development in the attitude and perception of Christian people for the need to return to the original concept of church as seen in the New Testament. The negative effects of creeds and division were short lived as the need for unity was soon to be emphasized in the coming Primitive Church Movement.

Regardless of the actual duration of time, it must be recognized that each of these eras was equal in the damage they did to souls for whom Jesus died. (42 months=1260 days, 1260=1260 days, 3½ years=1260 days; all are equal).

Apostasy hurts souls in that it degrades holiness, which is the real fruit and evidence of the gospel.

The darkness of Romanism gave people religion instead of salvation from sin.

Under Protestantism division was offered at the cost of lip service to the Word and Spirit.

During each of these eras countless souls were dragged down to eternal hell and damnation in the name of the Church built by Jesus Christ.


The Resurrection of the Two Witnesses


The Sixth Seal and the advent of the Primitive Church Movement appear in the resurrection of the two witnesses. No time reference is attached to this era because of the uncertainty of its duration.

When we looked at the opening of the seventh seal we saw there was silence for half an hour before anything happened, and even when the angels prepared to sound the seven trumpets there is no indication of how long that preparation was to last. Now in verse 11 we see the breath of God entering the two witnesses causing them to stand on their feet. This is the direct intervention of God as He opened the understanding of people, not just clergy, but all the servants of our God. Tired and disillusioned with formalism, ritual and man-rule in what professed to be the body of Christ, God helped them to see from the Word that the church is the outcome of the experience of salvation and not a religious corporation.

The two witnesses were called up to heaven suggesting that they are now in a position to lead God’s people out of the mess of apostate religion into the realm of Biblical truth and the working of God’s Spirit. This is seen in the opening of the sixth seal. The first thing that happened when the sixth seal was opened was an earthquake (6:12) and in the same hour as the breath of life entered the two witnesses there is an earthquake (11:13)—the same earthquake. Under the sixth seal the mountains fell and here we see a tenth of the city falling (the city being this religious Sodom-Egypt) resulting in seven thousand people being killed.

The one-tenth of the city that fell represents the unorganized Primitive Church Movement (not just the Church of God Reformation Movement) that separated from Sodom-Egypt to be the visible church of God, the body of Christ.

As to the seven thousand that were killed, we know first of all that this is not an actual number, it is a representative number. The Greek text reads “and were killed in the earthquake names of men thousands seven.” It was not men that were killed; rather it was the names of men that were killed. The seven thousand here is representative of the 144,000 of the sixth seal and the “great number which no one could number” (7:9). These are the servants of our God that abandoned the names of their churches and denominations to stand separate and apart as only the biblical church of God.

As the Word and Spirit of God moved in what we call the Primitive Church Movement, many came out of sectarian churches and denominations, but that was a small number in comparison to those that staid in their churches. The rest were afraid and gave glory to God. Vast numbers of people in the visible church-at-large that were truly saved from sin were afraid to leave what they believed was the security of their church membership. They continued to live for God as best they could based on their personal relationship with God and what spiritual sustenance they could find in their churches.


The WHY Behind the Sixth Trumpet


The opening of the sixth seal and the sounding of the sixth trumpet were truly traumatic in the church-world as it shook the foundations of established and formal churches.

The WHY of the sixth trumpet shows that the Primitive Church Movement under its many and diverse sub-movements including the Church of God Reformation Movement failed because of their inability to come together in true unity of the Spirit that actually forms the visible body of Christ.

As we pass from the sixth trumpet to the seventh trumpet we run into the silence of the seventh seal and we must listen for that seventh angel to sound his trumpet. It may be that he has been sounding his notes, but the servants of our God have been so discouraged and distracted that they fail to hear even a whisper of the notes.

This is the second woe. We trust that it is passed but notice that as his melody dies out the third woe comes quickly. Are you ready?