Scripture: Revelation 11:1-19
In chapter 11 of John’s revelation, he is given a ruler or a reed like a rod to measure the temple of God, the altar, and those that worship therein (v.1). His measuring of the temple, according to New Testament scholar Christopher Rowland, gives visionary imagination to a possible blueprint for a New Jerusalem and a New Temple of God.
The Lord reveals to John that in the end times, He will send two witnesses clothed in sackcloth to prophesy for a specific time and He will give these two witnesses power (v. 3).
These witnesses, according to John’s revelation, are not just given power, but they are given power to shut up heaven that it rain not in the days of their prophesy (v. 6a). These witnesses are given power over the waters to turn them to blood and to smite the earth with all plagues as often as they will (v.6b).
When God calls us to do what God purposes us to do, God gives us the power to do it. John says that God gives these two witnesses power the same time that God gives them their purpose to prophesy. There is power in our purpose.
In verse 7, John reveals that the prophesying of these witnesses was not without consequences. After they finish their testimony, the adversary of God; the beast from the bottomless pit makes war against them, overcomes them, and kills them. Their bodies lie in the street for three and a half days. Their enemies and their haters rejoice over them and send gifts to each other because of them (v.10).
Fulfilling God’s purpose for your life is not without consequences. You may be ostracized and criticized. You may even be crucified. But, God always has the final word.
Three and a half days later, John says that the Spirit of life from God entered into them and they stood on their feet and great fear fell upon them that saw them (v.11). God’s final word is a word of resurrection, vindication and revelation.
As the witnesses ascended up to heaven in a cloud as their enemies/haters watched them, verse 13 says that there was a whole lot of shaking going on. For at the same hour [the witnesses ascended], there was an earthquake and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake 7,000 men were slain.
And then the seventh angel sounded his trumpet as a proclamation that the second woe had past and the third woe was soon coming (v.14). John heard great voices in heaven saying, the kingdoms of this world are becoming the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ and He shall reign forever (v.15).
I was as shocked, as was many in our nation on June 17, when I learned that another incident of gun violence had occurred, this time at Mother Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Nine people were violently murdered at a Bible Study class.
The actions of the shooter were selfish, and senseless, and sinful. His twisted actions have caused great pain and anguish to the families of those slain and to the country as a whole.
In this time of national mourning, I want to remind the families of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Rev. De Payne Middleton Doctor, Tywaza Sanders, Rev. Daniel “Super” Simmons, Rev. Sharonda Singleton, and Myra Thompson of the words of the text; that the kingdoms of the world are becoming the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ. Even though we mourn now, one of these old days, the kingdoms of the world will be the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ.
The Rev. Dr. Kelvin T. Calloway, Sr., is the senior pastor of Bethel A.M.E. Church, 7900 South Western Avenue in Los Angeles.