Graceful Perseverance: The Bible, New Testament; Part 2 – 8/11
Welcome to this week’s blog. For the next several weeks, I will continue to focus on my favorite book, the Bible.
This week I will continue with part two of the Bible, the New Testament (the Bible, Part 2). I will identify the purpose of each book, the author of each book, the date written, key verses and key people involved to help give you a better understanding of the Bible before you dive into it on your own.
When you open your Bible, you will find the New Testament has 27 books, starting with Matthew (28 chapters) and ending with Revelation (22 chapters). To date, I’ve completed the overview of the Old Testament, 39 books, Genesis (50 chapters) and ending with Malachi (4 chapters). In regards to the New Testament, I’ve completed the overview of 26 books, starting with the book of Matthew through the book of Jude.
If you wish to revisit any of the Old Testament or New Testament blogs, you can find them on my website: https://www.thewitnesstoday.com/blog-archives.
The author and compiler of the final book of the New Testament is John, from the Island of Patmos. For hundreds of centuries there have been many approaches to interpreting the book of Revelation. Many of these approaches have supporters, but none of which have proved to be the only way to interpret or read this last book of the Bible.
The book of Revelation is written in “apocalyptic” form – a type of Jewish literature that uses symbolic imagery to communicate hope (in the ultimate triumph of God) for all of us who will be in the midst of persecution. The events in Revelation are ordered according to literary, rather than a traditional, chronological timeline. Revelation provides a powerful message of warning and instruction for end times or otherwise known as judgment day.
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. – Revelation 1:3 (NIV).
The purpose of the book of Revelation is to reveal the full identity of Christ, and to give warning and hope to believers. The author, Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation approximately 95 A.D. (From the Latin word annō Dominī – stands for “In the year of the Lord”), from the Island of Patmos.
Below is the chapter I have covered in this week’s blog. This format will help readers move through the book of Revelation at their own pace. I encourage you to study and jot down your questions as you go through each chapter and the supporting scripture.
Revelation - Chapter 11: The Two Witnesses & The Seventh Trumpet
For centuries biblical scholars, teachers, priests, and many believers have been trying to solve the mystery of who or what are the two olive trees, and the seven lampstands. Let’s see what John writes in the Book of Revelation.
Many believe the two olive trees symbolize Moses and Elijah or Enoch and Elijah? Why? Because all four of them were God’s mighty prophets. With God’s power, Moses called plagues down upon the nation of Egypt (Exodus 8-11). Moses also performed many miracles, and was transfigured and was seen talking with Jesus after his death. For Elijah, he defeated the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18), and was also transfigured, and was seen talking with Jesus after his death. Both, Moses and Elijah appeared with Christ at His transfiguration in Matthew 17:1-9 (NKJV).
Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them.
His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.
Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.
While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him! And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them and said, Arise, and do not be afraid. When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead. – Matthew 17:1-9 (NKJV).
Many believe because Elijah actually never died, but ascended into heaven therefore he could be one of the olive trees, because he never suffered death as we know it. But Matthew (17:10-13) does tell us that Elijah did come back to restore all things. But he came back as John the Baptist, and the people did not recognize him. Therefore, some believe Elijah is one of the olive trees. We believe that Elijah is not one of the olive trees because of the following scripture tells us otherwise.
The disciples asked him, Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first? Jesus replied, To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things.
But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands. Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist. – Matthew 17:10-13 (NIV).
There is one viewpoint that we are more supportive of because we do know in the beginning of the 7-Year Tribulation, the two olive trees are worshipping and leading people to Christ. Again, the Bible is filled with symbolic prophecy. Of course, we all know that two olive trees are not “literal.” And we do not believe just two people can prophesize to the nations, and be as effective unless they come in the millions. We are convinced through scripture that there were more than two people that represented the two olive trees.
We have done ample research, and it is our belief that the two olive trees are the Israelites (Jews), and the Gentiles. Jewish people are God’s holy people, because Jesus was also Jewish. Gentiles are everyone but that of a Jewish descent. But of course, both are God’s holy people. These two groups or these two olive trees, are once again symbolic of God’s people. He is the branch, and we are the vine. The two olive trees bear fruit. The two olive trees also have wild olive shoots. The wild olive shoots are symbolic of God’s people, whether a Jew or a Gentile. These are the ones who are feverishly out in the world sharing the gospel throughout the nations. Some branches of the olive trees have been broken off due to disbelief, or the falling away from God, and refusing to repent so they could be grafted in again (both Jews and Gentiles). But the only way God’s people can be grafted back in, is through repentance, and the following of Christ. The natural branches of one olive tree (Jews) can be grafted back in again by faith.
After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree! – Romans 11:24 (NIV).
Now that we have a better understanding of the symbolism of the two olive trees, we also know through studying scripture that both olive trees are ready – the Jews of Israel and the Gentiles. Ready for what? As the “Two Witnesses,” they are ready to share their testimony, through the Holy Spirit who will help them release their testimony at the start of the 7-Year Tribulation, the first 3.5 years or 1,260 days.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. – Acts 1:8 (NIV).
And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. They are ‘the two olive trees’ and the two lampstands, and ‘they stand before the Lord of the earth.’ – Revelation 11:3-4 (NIV).
We did cover in earlier blogs how Revelation is very symbolic and mystical. The Book of Revelation is also very number symbolic, rather than literal. The 42 months of the 7-Year Tribulation or 1,260 days in biblical numbers equates to 3.5 years. Days in the Bible are actually referring to years. In the Bible, seven is considered to be a perfect number in God’s Word. Half of seven, which is 3.5 in the Bible, is considered incomplete, imperfect and even evil. This is because in the 7-Year Tribulation, the first 3.5 years, the two olive trees are spreading the gospel before their persecution. And then death for their faith when the ‘Abomination Desolation’ begins in the last 3.5 years of the Tribulation.
The LORD called you a thriving olive tree with fruit beautiful in form. But with the roar of a mighty storm he will set it on fire, and its branches will be broken. The LORD Almighty, who planted you, has decreed disaster for you, because the people of both Israel and Judah have done evil and aroused my anger by burning incense to Baal. – Jeremiah 11:16-17 (NIV).
Now let’s take a look at the seven lampstands. Again, we know by now that the seven lampstands are important, and also symbolic.
Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.
His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.
But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.
The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches. – Revelation 1:12-20 (NKJV).
Let’s do a quick recap. We know now that the two olive trees are symbolic of the Lord’s people, a body of believers made up of the Jewish descent, and then everyone who is not of the Jewish descent. In the first 3.5 years of the 7-Year Tribulation, the Lord’s people will be spreading their testimonies, and prophesying God’s word to as many who will listen. Christians and martyrs around the world will be spreading the good news, the Word of God, so as to lead as many to Christ as we can before the “Day of the Lord.”
We also learned in previous blogs that there are seven churches (Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea). Remember, each church is a body of believers, not a structural building. Each church has categorized mankind, in which some will be reprimanded on judgment day, and some who will not receive reprimands.
For each church, there are seven angels, who are God’s messengers sent on our behalf. In John’s vision, the Son of Man is before him. With great detail, the angel lets John know the meaning of the seven stars held in His right hand, and the double-edged sword coming out of His mouth.
The symbolic definition of a double-edged sword coming out of the Lord’s mouth is His word, His power. When He speaks, we shall fear the Lord.
The angel tells John to write down what he just saw, and what he has been shown, what is now, and what will take place later. The angel also lets John know that the seven stars in His right hand are the seven angels of the church, and the seven golden lampstands are the seven churches (people), or group of believers.
Based off scripture, here’s what we believe are the two olive trees, and the two golden lampstands.
And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth.
And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.
When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.
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. – Revelation 11:3-12 (NKJV).
At that very hour there was a severe earthquake, and one-tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people died, and many were terrified, and gave glory to God in heaven. This event that marks the 2nd WOE. At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon. – Revelation 11:13-14 (NIV).
Then the angel who talked with me returned and woke me up, like someone awakened from sleep. He asked me, What do you see? I answered, I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lamps on it, with seven channels to the lamps. Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left. I asked the angel who talked with me, What are these, my lord? He answered, Do you not know what these are? No, my lord, I replied. – Zechariah 4:1-5 (NIV).
Then I asked the angel, What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand? Again, I asked him, What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil? He replied, Do you not know what these are? No, my lord, I said. So he said, These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth. – Zechariah 4:11-14 (NIV).
Let’s recap. This week we covered Chapter 11 of Revelation (The Two Witnesses & The Seventh Trumpet) in the New Testament. Next week I will move onto Chapter 15-19 (7 Plagues & 7 Bowls of Wrath).
I am hopeful that you are finding this format an easy, quick overview of the New Testament.
Blessings until next week,
Debra Pauli Unstoppable Believer
Scripture Quoted From: New International Version Bible (NIV) Archived Blogs: https://www.thewitnesstoday.com/blog-archives