The breath of life from God entered them — Revelation 11:11-12

Previously: The beast will conquer and kill them — Rev. 11:7-10

The scripture

Rev. 11:11 — But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet. So great fear fell on those who saw them. 12Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” They went up to heaven in a cloud while their enemies watched them. (HCSB)

The breath of life from God entered them

John records that “after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet. So great fear fell on those who saw them” (v. 11). Various interpretations are offered. For some, this resurrection is the restoration of political and religious order following the anarchy of the Jewish War, or perhaps the ultimate political and spiritual revival of Israel (see Eze. 37:10-11). For others, it is the resurrection of Christ and the Spirit-infused testimony of the church constituting the two witnesses. Still others argue that after three and a half years of uncontested papal rule following the declaration of the Fifth Lateran Council in 1514, Martin Luther nails his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg church, igniting the Reformation. Spiritualists contend that the events in Revelation 11 symbolize the many times in church history that the Body of Christ has been beaten down by the world, only to rise stronger and rightly vindicated.

But as we have said before, it seems best to view the two witnesses as persons, and so their resurrection must be real. Just as the Lord breathes life into Adam’s nostrils and he becomes a living being (Gen. 2:7), the Lord causes His life-giving breath to enter the two witnesses, who stand on their feet. This causes great fear among those who see this miraculous event.

Then the risen witnesses hear a loud voice from heaven saying, “Come up here.” They go up into heaven in a cloud while their enemies watch (v. 12). Isn’t it interesting that the friends of Jesus watch Him ascend into heaven in a cloud (Acts 1:9-12), while the enemies of the two witnesses see them taken up in a similar fashion. We have addressed the cloud in previous lessons. This could very likely be the Shekinah glory – the presence of God that Moses sees in the burning bush; that protects and leads the children of Israel through the desert; that flashes on Mt. Sinai at the giving of the law; that fills the tabernacle, and later the holy of holies in the first and second temples; that descends on the Mount of Transfiguration; and that escorts the Son of Man in His glorious return to earth. The Encyclopedia Judaica defines the Shekinah as “the Divine Presence … a revelation of the holy in the midst of the profane” (Volume 14, pp. 1349-1351). And so it is. The two witnesses share the unique privilege of being escorted into heaven on this holy cloud.

Next: A violent earthquake took place — Rev. 11:13

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