I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. 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.” If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.
- Revelation 11:1-6
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
- Luke 24:36-49
I have no idea how many times my sons have groaned, and my wife would say, “You are telling it wrong. I ought to know! I was there.”
Then in her version of the story, based on her perspective, memory (that is leaking a bit), and her viewpoint, she might way that we only had five watermelons in the trunk instead of a half dozen (6). I could not remember how many, just that it was a lot and I got close when I said a half dozen. It is like the fish catching story where, without the fish right there, the fish may get a little bigger in retelling the story and never any smaller. Note: I do not think that I have a “watermelons in the trunk of a car story.” I am just using that as an illustration.
It is really poor story telling technique to get to the point of loading watermelons in the trunk of the car and saying that it was 4, 5, or 6 watermelons, because you were not counting them at the time. People would immediately start thinking you were making it up as you went along. Thus, in storytelling, stick to the facts as much as you can remember and in the estimates of volume, quantity, or size, do not get carried away as to be unbelievable. There may be a listener or reader who was there and could rightfully tell you that you were telling it wrong.
My wife thinks some of my stories are completely made up. She swears that I never told her the story about the “Ancient Order of the Spoon,” but the exercise was classified, and if the others heard my wife talking about a spoon in my pocket and being dressed down by the LTC, the others would wonder what else I had mentioned. And many, many years later, after what we did for that time away from home lacks any real important information, the situation in the world has completely changed, making it moot. Yet, I divulged none of the classified information if you read the story.
But the two Scriptures are interesting. The two witnesses come to prophesy in the End Times. While they breathe fire to consume anyone who challenges them, the next few verses after what is copied tell of the beast killing them, but three and a half days later, they rise from the dead. It has been guessed by some that since Enoch and Elijah never died, they might be the two witnesses. If they have been sitting next to God to watch everything that has happened since they left earth, they would have a lot to tell. They could tell it right, because they saw what we did, and they saw what God did. No wonder they had the power to consume detractors in fire.
No one could ever say that they were telling it wrong. In today’s world, many would try. An alarming majority think that there is no objective truth. Odd, a statement saying that there is no objective truth is a assertion that the statement in objectively true. But I digress. Many in the secular progressive world would get consumed in fire because the first half dozen (meaning anywhere from four to eight) would think that the flame thrower in the witnesses’ mouths had run out of juice. Besides, these secular folks think it is the Christians that are stupid, and they need to be told the “right” way of thinking. Make that a dozen or more. Estimated on sheer arrogance alone.
But which other group were also witnesses? The disciples. They had been with Jesus for three years, give or take a bit. They witnessed the miracles. They heard the parables. They sat at Jesus’ feet as He taught them. They saw Jesus betrayed, arrested, crucified, dead and buried, and as Jesus is saying these words in the second Scripture above, the disciples are there in the presence of the risen Savior. Who could tell them that they were telling it wrong. As Jesus said, “You are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:48).
And while I am on the subject, I have talked to countless people about Jesus, and I have often gotten the response that they tried Jesus and He failed. For one thing, you cannot try Jesus like you try a shampoo by picking up a free sample and using it once. You only get Jesus when you make a 100% commitment – no take-backs or backsies or whatever they call it. I learned that one the hard way. Thus, no one tries Jesus without getting Jesus, unless you think that you had tried while only hanging toes over the edge of the pool, while diving in at the deep end was required. Those folks never got wet, yet they “tried Jesus and He failed.” When they say that, I think of saying “You are telling it wrong,” but I refrain. I can pray for them, hoping that someday Jesus will help them understand that their strong will and ego got in the way, and they had never really experienced the true Jesus.
I know that my zeal to spread the Word has led to me having my strong will and ego get in the way, forgetting that it is God that does the heavy lifting. We are just there in support. But you can get carried away when it is someone close to you.
What are we to do? Spread the Gospel. But we spread the Gospel in prayer that God has already prepared the fields for harvest, and that He has maintained the harvesting equipment, and all we must do is lend a hand.
In fact, we should be bold in what we say, for we are “witnesses to these things.” Not an eyewitness on that first Easter, but a witness to what God has done within us.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.