Authority. That’s the word that caught my attention this morning — I’m guessing, prompted by the Spirit who is the One who illuminates God’s word. And, in kind of a circuitous route, found that authority and peace can be closely related.
Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant authority to My two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”
(Revelation 11:1-3 ESV)
I will grant authority.
Though the two witnesses are the main focus of the passage, for some reason I will grant authority caught my eye and captured my attention. And I ask myself, “Self, who’s speaking here? Who’s granting these two witnesses their authority?” — because it’s not always clear, in this wild ride of a vision John is having, who John is listening to or who he hears speaking. But then, another Scripture speaking of authority comes to mind:
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.”
(Matthew 28:18 ESV)
And I’m thinking, is this Jesus talking to John? Would make sense that the One who has been given “all authority in heaven and earth” should give power from heaven to these two witnesses to do wonders on earth. They would have “the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall.” The power “over the waters to turn them into blood.” And even the power to “strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire” (Rev. 11:6). Yup, I’m thinking this is Jesus, the One who has all authority giving authority to His two witnesses.
But then I think, when did He come on this scene? And so I trace back and I think it’s at the beginning of Revelation 10:
Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, surrounded by a cloud, with a rainbow over his head. His face shone like the sun, and his feet were like pillars of fire.
(Revelation 10:1 ESV)
Pretty sure this is one talking to John in Revelation 11. Buy I missed the Lamb being at the head of this parade because He was referred to as a “another mighty angel.” Could the Creator of mighty angels be seen here as “another in kind” of these awesome beings? So, I consider the credentials of this mighty angel of a different kind:
- coming down from heaven — Jesus had already set the precedent that in order to fulfill His work He would “come down from heaven” to do the will of the Father who had sent Him (Jn. 6:38).
- surrounded by a cloud — Clouds and Jesus kind of go hand in hand. On the Mount of Transfiguration clouds overshadowed those who looked upon the Christ revealed in His majesty, as a voice from heaven declared, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him” (Matt. 17:5). When Jesus ascended, He ascended into clouds (Acts 1:9). And Jesus Himself said that in that day when men shall behold the Son of Man coming with power and and glory, it will be “in a cloud” (Lk. 21:27).
- a rainbow over his head — A rainbow, the symbol of peace given after the flood, appropriate for the One who would be the Prince of Peace. A bow pointed toward heaven indicating to Noah, and those with ears to hear, that the arrows of a future judgment for the sins of the earth would be directed toward heaven. Suitable for the One who will forever be known as the Lamb of God.
- face shining like the sun and his feet on fire — just how John describes the One who walks “in the midst of the lampstands” (Rev. 1:15a, 16b).
- and, the one who has all authority and thus can give authority (Matt. 28:18).
Thinking it’s Jesus. Maybe not, couldn’t be too dogmatic, but thinking so.
And if so, then He is the one who has “His right foot on the sea, and His left foot on the land” (Rev. 10:2). The One who has been given all authority is present. Nothing happening on this earth — past, present, or future — where this Mighty Messenger of God, God Himself, is not calling the shots.
Thus, it is well . . . . it is well, with my soul.
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:20b ESV)
Because He has all authority, I can have a peace that passes understanding.
By His grace. For His glory.