1Then 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, 2but 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. 3And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” — Revelation 11:1-3
Revelation 11 records a crucial episode in God’s management of the last days. People might be thinking that things are completely out of control, but God will still be calling the shots. We have an expression in Chicago that goes, “That’s not gonna happen!” It’s a kind of a special Midwestern way of responding to a difficult request.
“Can I get a refill on this coffee?”
“That’s not gonna happen!”
I’m using the phrase here to show that God decides not only what will occur in history, He also decides what’s not going to happen. Here’s a quick survey of Satan’s efforts to cause complete mayhem and God’s ways of saying, “That’s not gonna happen!” Check out each of the passages in Revelation 11.
First, God’s protection will not be thwarted (vv. 1–2). Notice that God “will grant authority” to His witnesses and will also allow the nations to trample the holy city—but God will remain in control of the schedule.
Second, God’s witnesses will not be stopped (vv. 3–6). The duration of the ministry of the two witnesses will be God’s timetable—not a minute more; nor less.
Third, God’s enemies will not be reached (vv.7–10). They are going to get an earful and an eye-full of God’s message, but they will not repent.
Fourth, God’s name will not be mocked (vv.11–14). The witnesses will have been defeated and killed. The forces of evil will declare victory, just as they did at the cross. But they will be proven dead wrong.
Fifth, God’s Son will not be denied (vv.15–17). The real victor will be apparent in the end. What a great declaration: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever” (v. 15b).
Satan’s got plans—but that’s not gonna happen. God’s measuring, timing, and running the show. I want to be counted among God’s servants—don’t you?
— James MacDonald
Lord, what a privilege to look into the future and know that You will be in control. History as we know it will come to a close by Your timing. I can live with not knowing when as long as I remember that You will have the last word and I’m trusting You. Amen.