November 2, 2020
Revelation 11:11-12
But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them.  Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.
New International Version (NIV)
               God has never been without a witness.  John envisions a day when God sends two witnesses to proclaim to the world.  Their message is powerful until they are destroyed by a beast from the Abyss.  Once again, all hope seems to be lost.  The powers that killed them are guarding them to make sure they stay dead.  (Does this sound familiar?)  Then the same God who brought his only Son to life breathes life into them and takes them up to heaven while their enemies watch.

                When will this happen?  What does this mean?  Good questions.  Sometimes as we interpret Revelation it is hard to know what has already happened, what is happening now and what will happen.  In my lifetime, most pastors have defaulted to a literal interpretation of Revelation as a picture of the future.  This is certainly part of the book.  Still, Revelation had to mean something to the original readers.  It was originally written to encourage persecuted believers to trust God even when the world was trying to harm them.  This has made Revelation helpful to persecuted believers for many generations.  If we are persecuted as believers someday, God’s promises here will surely sustain us, as well.

                Throughout history God’s faithful servants have often been mistreated for the sake of Christ.  In John’s vision, these powerful, faithful servants of God are slain.  But after they are slain, they live again.  This is the promise of Christ.  In the early centuries of the church, Roman Emperors like Nero, Vespasian, Trajan and Diocletian killed God’s servants.  But Christ have not been afraid precisely because we serve the God who knows his way out of the grave.  Even if we die, we live.  This is why Paul wrote to the Philippians, “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” 

                How then shall we live?  We live with boldness as we trust God’s promise of life.  A custodian at a seminary was reading the Bible as he waited for the young preachers in training to finish a basketball game.  When the ball went out of bounds, a player asked the custodian what he was reading.  He answered, “Revelation.”  “Do you understand what it means?” the seminary student asked.  “It means:  we win in the end.”  So it does.  Can God get a witness?  
Pray with me:         
Father, we thank you for the promise of life.  Deepen our trust in you.  Make us faithful and bold to share your story with a world that needs to hear.  Make us credible witnesses of the truth of your word.  May our lives validate and confirm the truth we speak, we pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.  
Join us in memorizing the Word.  Scripture for this week:    
Matthew 7:13-14
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Our 2020 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations New Testament reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy at REPLICATE.ORG 
We would love for you to join us as we read the New Testament through this year, five chapters a week.  In addition I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  Use Robby Gallaty’s H. E. A. R. plan to study each chapter (also found at REPLICATE.ORG). Highlight verses which speak to you, explain what they mean in your own words in a journal, apply them to your own life, then respond by doing what God tells you to do.  
Joyfully, 
Duane 

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