In the previous article we saw God’s two anointed witnesses: the Word of God and the Spirit of God, be totally disrespected by the spirit of hypocrisy. This type of total disrespect will kill the ability of any true conviction upon sinners. Consequently sinners will have no fear to become religious hypocrites who call themselves “Christian”.
But now we see that God ended this day of hypocritical darkness. Spiritually this period of time of disrespect towards the Word and the Spirit lasted three and a half days. But now the day of God’s wrath and judgement upon hypocrisy had come!
“And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.” ~ Revelation 11:11
This event parallels the opening of the sixth seal, shown earlier in Revelation 6:12-17 where the final part reads:
“For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” ~ Revelation 6:17
So how did it happen that the two witnesses were brought to life in the hearts of people?
First a true ministry stood up and began to declare the full truth of the gospel: including the message that there is still only one church! Their message declared an end to hypocrisy and an end to man rule in the church. The spiritual New Jerusalem was preached with walls of salvation. And the gates of righteous judgement were established to keep hypocrisy out. Within this city is only sin-free holiness because of the very presence of Almighty God in their midst.
People began to repent of their separate Protestant and Catholic identities at the call:
“And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Revelation 18:2-4
As people came out, a spiritual cloud of witnesses was formed (see Hebrews 12:1) and the two anointed witnesses began to be highly honored and to rise above the confusion of spiritual Sodom and Egypt (see Revelation 11:8) where they had been left dead.
“And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.” ~ Revelation 11:12
This is exactly what Jesus told the hypocritical Chief Priest (one of his enemies) before his crucifixion.
“…Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” ~ Matthew 26:64
The cloud of witnesses is referred to in a number of places in scripture. Also in many places in scripture the witness of God’s mighty power is often shown within the context of powerful storm clouds.
It is all showing the difference it makes when God’s Word is fully respected and obeyed, and his Holy Spirit is powerfully working true righteousness among his people.
At this time many people got delivered from the bondage of false Christianity and “came out of Babylon” to stand separate and completely for the full gospel truth.
Consequently, at that time a significant part of false Christianity fell away from a false profession and fully died out to the self-life so that they could fully consecrate to the Lord.
“And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.” Revelation 11:13
The spiritual earthquakes God sends are not intended to physically kill anyone. They are intended to wake up people to their need to repent of all sin and to fully consecrate their lives to God. When people do this, they die to their own way, so that they might live a new resurrected life in Christ Jesus.
- “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” ~ Romans 6:1-4
- “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17
In Revelation 11:13 it states:
“And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand…”
It is stating that a tenth part of the city fell (the city of spiritual Jerusalem that at one time was holy and good, but now become like Sodom and Egypt). This is talking about a tenth of the people who were part of the evil city, but have now been awakened back to true righteousness. They have now been separated from the rest of the fallen city. This tenth part is also reflected in Old Testament prophecy.
“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, And the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.” ~ Isaiah 6:8-13
So this tenth also represents the 7,000 “slain” remnant that were spiritually consecrated to the Lord; meaning they died to sin and self so that only the life of Christ might be shown in them. They represent in particular the ministry that determined to not partake with the idols of hypocrisy. They spiritually represent a ministry that stays true even when hypocrisy is rampant among others who claim to be the church. This number of 7,000 helps us to understand the meaning of this Revelation passage, by tying it to the same number that stood true during Elijah’s day.
“Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” ~ 1 Kings 19:18
Note: remember from a previous article “Woe, Woe, Woe from the Three Trumpet Angel Messengers” that this “second woe” (which includes Revelation 11:1-13) is after the spiritual temple of God had been purged and cleaned by the judgments of the “first woe”. So the completion of the purging of the people of the city is happening via the judgments of this “second woe”.
This notion of consecration completely to God (dieing out to your own self-life) is critical to the identity and success of the true church of God. “Church” in the original means “the called out assembly” or those who fully answer the call from God to serve him in true holiness and unity.
The only way to complete the calling of God is to both:
- Come out of spiritual Babylon (false Christianity)
- Come to true holiness and the undivided gathering of God’s true people in unity
Too many people today are willing to identify spiritual Babylon (showing all her wickedness), but they are not willing to completely die out to themselves. Consequently they are not consecrating to holy living and they are not willing to endeavor for the unity of the faith.
We can know when the spiritual three and a half day period of a dead Word and Spirit began. Let us consider the gospel day timeline to understand: First in the age of Catholic domination, the Word was given in only a small portion. But the Word was for the most part kept under lock and control, and mostly hidden to the general people. Being mostly hidden, most could not totally kill its influence by disrespecting it with a wide open understanding and hypocritical rebellion. So the Word and the Spirit, under persecution, prophesied “clothed in sackcloth” for a time in history of 1,260 years (Revelation 11:3).
But when Protestant sects rose up they had open access to the Word. And instead of highly respecting the witnesses, they openly abused and killed the pure truth of the Word and the Spirit of God. They did this by dividing up into different sects while also using the Word to interject their opinions and creeds, totally disrespecting the Holy Spirit’s direction. Consequently, we read just a few scriptures back that they openly disrespected them and killed their direct influence:
“And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.” ~ Revelation 11:8-9
The first Protestant creed was created and formally adopted around the year 1530. And so the beginning of the spiritual three days and a half begins. And it ended when a ministry finally stood up to proclaim nothing but what the Word says (no creeds or opinions added) and completely consecrated themselves to only follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
In the United States there was such a movement that began to work in just that way in the late 1800s, around the year 1880. It quickly became one of the fastest growing movements initially, because when the Word is completely honored, and the Spirit is obeyed, souls start being delivered! People determined to not create their own identity or creed. They also determined that they would only allow the Lord to add new members to the church, by when they got saved. (Just like it was done on the day of Pentecost.)
“Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” ~ Acts 2:47
This movement had no creed to adopt and rally around. They had no earthly headquarters to get direction from. They had no earthly membership role to sign up new members on. They had no hierarchy of men to govern and control. Yet it grew and spread quickly in numbers as men and women answered the call to repent of all sin, and of the divisions, doctrines, and hypocrisy of Catholicism and Protestant sects. They chose to die out completely to their own identity and to only identify with God’s Spirit and his Word. They answered the call of God to “come out from among them, and be ye separate”:
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” ~ 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
Since they had answered the call, they could only identify with God, as the family of God. Consequently they took the heavenly Father’s name, since that is the only proper identity to have.
“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” ~ Ephesians 3:14-15
So often in the scriptures the family of God is identified by a people called out to God. Often it was translated to in English as the “church of God”:
- “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” ~ Acts 20:28 KJV
- “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:2 KJV
- “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God” ~ 1 Corinthians 10:32 KJV
- “But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.” ~ 1 Corinthians 11:16 KJV
- “What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.” ~ 1 Corinthians 11:22 KJV
“For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:9 KJV
- “ For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it” ~ Galatians 1:13 KJV
- “For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews” ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:14 KJV
“So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure” ~ 2 Thessalonians 1:4 KJV
- “(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” ~ 1 Timothy 3:5 KJV
- “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” ~ 1 Timothy 3:15 KJV
In many ways it is unfortunate that “called out assembly” was translated in English to “church” because most people have an earthly, organizational understanding of the word “church” and have no understanding in their heart of a true calling from the Lord.
And so, as mentioned before, in the late 1800s a people answered the call to separate from the hypocrisy of Protestant and Catholic forms of “Christianity”. Being the “called out assembly of God” they took on the English Bible translation of the name of the church of God. The word “church” in the original is:
From a compound of G1537 and a derivative of G2564; a calling out that is (concretely) a popular meeting especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both): – assembly church.
So “church” from the beginning in the original represented a people that were “called out” to be separate from all other religious identities. A label name “church of God” does not fully identify the church, because anyone can claim a name. The true church is identified by those who answer and obey the calling of God for their life. And the true calling separates us from false “Christianity” by:
- Holiness (obedience to the scriptures, with no mixture of fellowship requirements based on traditions and doctrines not supported by the Bible.)
- Sacrificial love (the example set by Jesus in service, long-suffering, and compassion)
- Unity of the Holy Spirit (people being led by the working, the long-suffering, and the opinion of the Spirit of God; and not the strong dividing opinions of men and women.)
There is nothing wrong with using the label “church of God”, except when the label becomes more important than the fulfillment of the calling. And so unfortunately today, many places that claim attachment to the “calling out“ of the late 1800s, have only a label name and a strong opinion on doctrine and methods of administration. Sadly, they have returned to the same practices that have plagued fallen Christianity of the past! Truly the warning to the church in Laodicea is fulfilled in them:
“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” ~ Revelation 3:16-18
And so the question related to the final “woe” of the next scriptures in Revelation 11 (verses 14 through 19) is “which ministry truly has the authority to sound the final trumpet warning?” And then again: “who still has ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church?”
We will do our best to answer these questions in the next post.