A Short Study of Revelation 11:7-10
Revelation 11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall overcome them, and kill them.
Revelation 11:8 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.
Revelation 11:9 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 11:10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two false prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
The beast of verse 7 is Satan’s Antichrist which we shall see in greater clarity in later chapters. For now, suffice it to say that Antichrist is manifested in all false religion and all self-righteous attempts to reach heaven without the Christ of God. This beast ascends from the bottomless pit (v. 7), makes war on God’s two witnesses, overcomes them and kills them. The witnesses’ dead bodies lie unburied in the street of the world’s ‘city’, the metropolis of peoples that reject the true God. Symbolically, and spiritually, this city is Sodom, it is Egypt, it is even Jerusalem where our Lord was crucified, it is the God-rejecting, gospel-rejecting, world we see all around us today. And seeing the witnesses’ bodies lying openly in the street, the world’s people refuse to let them be buried out of sight. They go so far (v. 10) as celebrating the death of the witnesses because the message of grace and warning that so tormented them has been silenced, seemingly forever. Their sin can now progress without restraint, or so they think. We are speaking of a time when the true church and its ministers are effectively silenced, disrupted and made to be non-functioning as living, visible, churches bearing God’s testimony. It is my conviction that in the UK today the church which stands solidly for the true gospel is as good as ‘lying dead in the street’. Even 30 years ago, you could find churches ministering the gospel of free sovereign grace widely distributed. Today you struggle to find a handful remaining true. Even where the witness is upheld, it is often the case that the fellowships concerned are unable to function as a living church with building, structure, a good number of members and a visible life as a church. That is the case with our own gathering. Here in the UK we meet in a home on Sunday mornings only, with barely ten adults meeting together. To the world and false religion, we are ‘lying dead in the street’. Even when we had a regular meeting place, Satan’s beast contrived to make it practically impossible for us to hold public meetings there throughout the 9-month rugby football season! Even in the USA where there is a thriving association of independent free grace churches and pastors, the numbers involved are miniscule compared to the population of the country and the populous swathes of Arminian, Catholic, Episcopalian, Reformed and Presbyterian churches claiming to represent modern ‘Christianity’. I believe we are living in the days described here in Revelation 11:7-10.