[Rev. 11:1] ¶ Then a measuring rod like a staff was given to me, and I was told, “Get up and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and the ones who worship there. [Rev. 11:2] But do not measure the outer courtyard of the temple; leave it out, because it has been given to the Gentiles, and they will trample on the holy city for forty-two months. [Rev. 11:3] And I will grant my two witnesses authority to prophesy for 1,260 days, dressed in sackcloth. [Rev. 11:4] (These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.) [Rev. 11:5] If anyone wants to harm them, fire comes out of their mouths and completely consumes their enemies. If anyone wants to harm them, they must be killed this way. [Rev. 11:6] These two have the power to close up the sky so that it does not rain during the time they are prophesying. They have power to turn the waters to blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague whenever they want. [Rev. 11:7] When they have completed their testimony, the beast that comes up from the abyss will make war on them and conquer them and kill them. [Rev. 11:8] Their corpses will lie in the street of the great city that is symbolically called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was also crucified. [Rev. 11:9] For three and a half days those from every people, tribe, nation, and language will look at their corpses, because they will not permit them to be placed in a tomb. [Rev. 11:10] And those who live on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate, even sending gifts to each other, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. [Rev. 11:11] But after three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and tremendous fear seized those who were watching them. [Rev. 11:12] Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them: “Come up here!” So the two prophets went up to heaven in a cloud while their enemies stared at them. [Rev. 11:13] Just then a major earthquake took place and a tenth of the city collapsed; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. [Rev. 11:14] ¶ The second woe has come and gone; the third is coming quickly.
The world rejoices at all the wrong things and despises the things that are worthy of rejoicing. The Lord reigns, the Psalmist declared (Ps. 97:1) so the earth should rejoice. But it’s precisely because the Lord reigns that the wicked don’t rejoice! Instead, they rejoice in doing what God has forbidden (Prov. 2:14).
Believers are told to rejoice with those rejoice (Rom.12:15) but all too often we find it difficult to rejoice for those who are doing better than us. Rejoicing with and for others takes humility and humility is one of the crowning virtues of a mature believer. This is perhaps why the New Testament stresses rejoicing as a Christian discipline to be developed. “Rejoice! Again I say, rejoice!” wrote Paul to the Philippians (Phil. 4:4).
The world rejoices when it seems like the Church has failed. But we shouldn’t. When a brother in Christ publicly fails it should cause us heart-ache, not to rejoice.
What are you rejoicing about at this point in your life and walk with Christ? Do you rejoice that the Lord reigns? Do you rejoice when a brother in Christ whom you don’t like, fails? Knowing what to rejoice over and what not to rejoice over may well be one the clearest indications to others of what is truly in your heart when they see you rejoicing based on what you know to be right and good.