The Revelation of Jesus Christ, Which God Gave Unto Him
1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
I had said in the introduction to the book The Overcoming Remnant Bride:
This material is presented without attempting to fit it into any time-frame, pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation or post-tribulation theory, or pre-millennial, amillennial, post-millennial or Latter Rain theories. The book of Revelation is treated as a prophecy, which it is, rather than from a preterist, historical, idealist, futurist or Dispensationalist or Covenantalist viewpoint. My purpose here is not to assign times, dates, places or to promote yet another theological philosophy. I am attempting to identify the bride of Christ and show that overcomers and the remnant are one and the same with the bride and that this group is the house of faith of the true Israel.
This article is excerpted from the on-line book The Overcoming Remnant Bride which focused on identifying the bride of Christ.
This excerpted version of the book excludes those portions of the text that discuss the virgin bride of Christ, the 24 elders, the four living creatures, the two witnesses, the wedding in heaven, the reign of King David under Christ, rewards of Christ, the measure of the bride, Gods eternal purpose, persecution, tribulation and judgement.
In the multitude of words written to explain the rapture, the Temple in Jerusalem and the 70th week of Daniel, a pattern emerges. Most of what is written relies on the archaic words of the King James Version of the Bible. That is to say, the speculative philosophical articles that are passed off as doctrine are based on how the KJV reads, rather than what the original text says. Some select definitions of words are used mostly to bolster the commentators point of view of what they think the text says. Others are simply flat out presenting a personal point of view based on what they want it to say. This is nothing new, as many, many people fall into the same trap of reading the KJV text and then providing their own meaning to the more than 800 archaic and obsolete words used in that text. Others, who have no idea of what to think about those subjects, simply parrot what somebody else wrote about it without checking out what the Bible really says.
The King James Version is a tremendously rich resource, however, it must be properly used by recognizing its limitations and expanding your research to include the meaning of many of the words used. There is a tendency by some to reject the newer translations as New Age materials. But before such charges are made, please read The Translators To The Reader which was in the original 1611 KJV. In this introduction, the translators explained their philosophy and beliefs about Bible translations. This introduction by the KJV translators themselves, eliminates the objections to updated versions of the Bible in contemporary language. I wont go into it here, but run a search on it and read it for yourselves. Its long and difficult to read, but its tremendously enlightening.
I strongly urge those reading this to download this article and read it at your leisurewith Bible and scriptural dictionaries in hand. Please dont scan through the article to see if there is something you can disagree with and click off elsewhere. Take this seriouslyits important that you understand what is going to happen, according to what the Bible says, not the conjectures of men. If you understand and agree with what Ive written dont blindly parrot what Ive said. Search out the truth according to your understanding, not mine, so you can express it in your own words. If you dont agree with what Ive said, then do your own homework and come to your own understanding, not simply repeating what someone else has writtenagain, so you can explain it in your own words.
The basis of Christianity is Jesus Christ and our being His disciplelearning of Him, following Him, supporting Him and imitating Him. Todays contemporary Christianity is caught up in attempting to do a whole list of mostly foolish thingswood, hay and stubble in the eyes of God. Our life in Jesus Christ is about Him, not a whole range of different emotions, or experiences, or spiritual things. Its about being a human person who knows what Jesus has done for you and who understands that we are a family and families meeting together to minister to each other by one anothering as a family. Each and every one of us is a participating family member in the house of faith of the true Israel. We are not clergy or laity. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a high degree of practical daily living involved in our walk in Christwhich makes it extremely difficult for us to be what God has called us to be. The alternative of creating other things to do for Christ is very attractive when we fail as saved human beings to be what God has called us to be.
But ... youll have to start sometime ... or else consider the consequences of failing to do so. Why not start today?
Please study this article out until you understand what the Bible really says.
The purpose of this article is to excerpt portions of the book The Overcoming Remnant Bride to discuss the events leading up to the rapture of the ekklesia of Jesus Christ and the role of the Temple in Jerusalem as well as a discussion of the 70th week of Daniel. Its presented as a result of attempting to find out for myself what the Bible really says about those subjects, instead of the traditions of men.
The Bride of Christ
It has been taught that there is a bride of Christ, which comes out of the body of Christ. The example of Adam is used, Eve being taken out of him and God building her up as his help meet (Genesis 2:18,20).
Help, ezer means aid, i.e., help or one who helps.
This word help is not speaking of some inferior kind of assistance. On the contrary its used in scripture to describe God Himself as mans help in Exodus 18:4; Deuteronomy 33:7,26,29; Psalms 20:2; 33:20; 70:5; 88:19; 115:9-11; 121:1,2; 124:8; 146:5 and Hosea 13:9.
Strongs Concordance defines meet, neged, as a front, i.e. part opposite; specifically a counterpart, or mate; usually (adverbial, especially with preposition) over against or before.
Vines Expository Dictionary comments in this excerpt: It is used in (Gen. 2:18), where God said He would make Adam a help meet for him, or someone to correspond to him, just as the males and females of the animals corresponded to (matched) one another.
From the understanding of the original words we see that the female was the counterpart of Adam. Not something less than him and not something more than him.
Adam and Eve were co-rulers before the fall:
Genesis 5:2: Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.
Genesis 1:28: And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
The essence of the female was in Adam, but he was only one person. God took part of Adams side, more literally, flank, and built a woman.
Genesis 2:21: And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
From this one person, God made two persons. Their names were Adam (Genesis 5:2), until after the fall when the male renamed the female Eve.
God took of the flank of the man and made (Hebrew: built) he a woman.
Genesis 2:22: And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
Genesis 2:24: Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Matthew 19:6:Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
To summarize, God created one male entity that contained the essence of two persons, male and female. He removed part of the one person, the male, and built it into another person, female. Without God having built the other female person, it would have remained a flank, an isolated part of the male person. These two, male and female, i.e., husband and wife, were now considered to be one person.
In the concept of the body of Christ, however, we have two different entities involved. There is Jesus, Who is one complete Person. He has given the members of the body of Christ His Holy Spirit and His individual disciples are considered to be His corporate body, of which He is the head. Jesus is in heaven, at the right hand of the Father, and His disciples are here on the earth in different places but connected spiritually.
Gods eternal purpose is to bring all things together in one, in Christ. He will display His manifold wisdom through this corporate body of Christ, to the principalities and powers in the heavenlies.
We dont have one male physical entity containing the essence of two persons, male and female, who is going to become two physical entities, i.e., male and female, and viewed by God as one physical entity because of their relationship as husband and wife, or bride and groom.
Instead the process will be reversed and the two will become one. We have two spiritual entities, Christ Himself (male) and the corporate body of Christ (also male), who are now separated. (If God was not involved in the building of the body of Christ, it would remain in spiritual Babylon, isolated from Jesus.)
Jesus, the head, in heaven, and the body of Christ, on earth, are going to become one spiritual entity by Gods sovereign choice. In order to do so, the body of Christ will be as the female was in Adam when he was created. This will happen when Christ and His body are united as bride and Bridegroom. That is why the terminology of the same group of saints changes from being a body to that of being a bride, a wife.
The bride and Bridegroom will be viewed by God as two spiritual entities in their relationship. Scripture says the body of Christ on becoming the bride of Christ will be His servants (literally, bondservants) and will serve Him and will reign with Him for ever and ever.
Revelation 19:5: And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
Serve is latreuo which Vines Expository Dictionary defines as primarily to work for hire (akin to latris, a hired servant), signifies (1) to worship, (2) to serve; in the latter sense it is used of service ... (b) to God and Christ (the Lamb), (Rev. 22:3) ... to serve, to render religious service or homage. ... Notes: (1) The worship of God is nowhere defined in Scripture. A consideration of the above verbs shows that it is not confined to praise; broadly it may be regarded as the direct acknowledgment to God, of His nature, attributes, ways and claims, whether by the outgoing of the heart in praise and thanksgiving or by deed done in such acknowledgment.
We do not become little gods. We will become redeemed and glorified humanity, and as the body of Christ, we will become the bride of Christ and will be His bondservants, serving and worshipping Him while reigning with Him for ever and ever.
Romans 12 introduces the concept of the disciples of Christ being one body.
In the first 4 verses of that letter we are urged by Paul the apostle to dedicate our bodies as pure, holy, well pleasing living sacrifices as our rational, intelligent spiritual worship of God.
We are told to not conform to the shifting, unstable, short-lived and trendy patterns of this world, but instead we are to willingly transform, i.e., renovate and renew our minds, for the better.
We are to prove, or test, ourselves in expectation of approval of Gods good, beneficial, well pleasing, complete and perfect will for us.
We are not to be vain, or arrogant and esteem ourselves beyond what reality dictates but are to exercise restraint in judging our abilities according to the faith God has given us at that particular point in time.
In verses 4 through 6 Paul tells us that we are one body with many members with different functions and gifts, and corporately we are parts of one another. Paul elaborates on this concept in 1 Corinthians 14:12-27 and elsewhere.
Those who assemble and congregate with the overcoming remnant body of Christ, which will become the bride of Christ and dont meet the requirements stated in Romans 12:1-6 are not the body of Christ.
They are the fake, or counterfeit body of Christ spoken of throughout the Bible. They are not the genuine body of Christ.
They profess Christ, and they are visible, but they are nominal Christians, i.e., Christians in name only. They are not disciples of Christ. They are not the body of Christ. They will not become the bride of Christ.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
The counterfeit Christians are not doing the will of the Father and they are not pursuing the Fathers eternal purpose. Instead they are pursuing their own agendas, their own wills and their own purposes.
The thesis that the bride of Christ is a smaller portion of believers that comes out of the greater body of Christ is not correct. God doesnt have first-class and second-class accommodations for His saints in heaven. They are all first-class.
The differentiation between saints comes in the area of rewards, not body versus bride. Those who are genuine members of the body of Christ, by reason of having met clearly stated scriptural requirements, will become the bride of Christ.
The only distinction that can be correctly made is here on earth, between the counterfeit and genuine members of the body of Christ.
Its useless to argue or discuss this with the counterfeit members of the body of Christ because they have been sent a strong delusion from God Himself as they do not have a love of the truth (2 Thessalonians 10-12).
Going Up To Heaven
In John 6:62 and 20:17 Jesus speaks of Himself: ... see the Son of man ascend up ... and ... I am not yet ascended ... and ... I ascend unto My Father ... In Ephesians 4:8-10 the term ascended is used in speaking of Jesus. The term used in these texts is anabaino, to go up, to ascend, the same word as the one used in Revelation 4:1, speaking of John, and Revelation 11:12 in the phrase Come up hither and also ... they ascended up to heaven ... in Revelation 11:12, speaking of the two witnesses.
Jesus is also spoken of as having been received up or taken up into heaven in Mark 16:19; Acts 1:2,11,22; 1 Timothy 3:16. The word used for these phrases is analambano, meaning to take up and variously translated as noted. In Luke Jesus is said to have been carried up into heaven. Luke 24:51: And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. This is a different word, anaphero, but means the same thing, i.e., to take up.
In Acts 1:9, Jesus is taken up: And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. The word for taken up here is epairo, meaning to raise up.
The word rapture is from the Vulgate translation (Latin) in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. In the Greek its harpazo, and translated caught up.
Vines Expository Dictionary comments on the word we use for rapture:
The word harpazo, to snatch or catch away, is said of the act of the Spirit of the Lord in regard to Philip in (Acts 8:39); of Paul in being caught up to paradise, (2 Cor. 12:2,4); of the rapture of the saints at the return of the Lord, (1 Thes. 4:17); of the rapture of the man child in the vision of (Rev. 12:5). This verb conveys the idea of force suddenly exercised, as in (Matt. 11:12), take (it) by force; (12:29), spoil (some mss. have diarpazo here), in (13:19), RV, snatcheth; for forceful seizure, see also (John 6:15; 10:12,28-29; Acts 23:10); in (Jude 23), RV, snatching.
In the Old Testament, speaking of Enoch and Elijah, there are other words used:
23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
Vines Expository Dictionary has this comment on the word took, laqach, to take, receive, take away.
Of special interest is the use of the verb in the absolute sense: God took away Enoch so that he was not found on earth (Gen. 5:24). This meaning of receiving one into heaven to Himself seems to be the force of (Ps. 73:24) and perhaps of (Ps. 49:15).
[Psalm 73:24: Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
Psalm 49:15: But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.]
2 Kings 2:11: And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
Vines Expository Dictionary defines went up as alah, to go up, ascend, offer up.
The New Testament, speaking of Enoch, uses yet another term for his being caught up to God:
Hebrews 11:5: By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Vines Expository Dictionary says translated, is metatithemi, to transfer to another place.
We can see from the many varied uses of harpazo that it isnt used exclusively with the meaning of being snatched, or caught away, to meet the Lord in the air. The meaning relative to Philip and Paul adds another dimension to this word. And the different Hebrew and Greek words used to indicate what we have come to call a rapture indicate that we have limited our understanding of going up to heaven as always being caught up by God.
Revelation 12:5 is the one and only time in the book of Revelation the word harpazo is used.
There are some who attempt to explain Revelation 3:10 as the rapture of the ekklesia:
Revelation 3:10: Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
However, John was given specific instructions in Revelation 1:19:
Revelation 1:19: Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
The seven churches in Asia fall into the category of the things which are. Its not until Revelation 4:1 that John is shown things which must be hereafter.
Revelation 4:1: After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
Revelation 3:10 is a prophecy to a then existing assembly in Philadelphia, who were told that because they kept the word of my patience that Jesus would keep thee from the hour of temptation. Temptation is peirasmos, meaning trials, testing or temptation. Its not a reference to tribulation which is thlipsis, as pressure, metaphorically, oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress, straits.
Whatever this peirasmos was which shall come upon all the world, it, along with the assembly in Philadelphia, no longer exists.
There are some who theorize that John was raptured in Revelation 4:1, as a type of the ekklesia of God being raptured.
Revelation 4:1 (New International Version): After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.
There is no idea of a trumpet being introduced here as the King James Version would lead us to believe. John had heard the same voice before in Revelation 1:10: I was in the Spirit on the Lords day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet ...
Johns experience is an actual experience he had, not a symbolic one.
John was already in the spirit when he first heard the voice, as of a trumpet. When he was told to come up, i.e., to ascend, Revelation 4:2 again says he was in the spirit and in front of a throne in heaven. That he went up to heaven, i.e., ascended, is clear from the text. To attempt to apply Johns personal experience of going, in the spirit, up to heaven as an example of the rapture of the ekklesia is illogical.
Revelation 4:2: And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
John uses the same phrase in the spirit two more times:
Revelation 17:3: So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
Revelation 21:10: And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
It doesnt make sense then that while John is in heaven that there he would be raptured two more times. Or that the term could be applied to the ekklesia as being a rapture.
Its obvious that John descended at some point in time in order to write and deliver the letters to the seven churches.
To say that since the church is not seen on earth after Revelation 4:1 is like saying a car is full of passengers but there are no people in it. This is an illogical semantical device that uses word symbols to confuse their hearers.
In Revelation mention is made of those wearing white robes or raiment, martyred saints, the two witnesses and the 144,000. These are all on this earth before they go to heaven. Conventional thinking of the church as some sort of building, or organization, or whatever the mindset is, prevents us from understanding that these people referred to are the church, i.e., the ekklesia of God, a called out assembly.
Some see a rapture in one of the two harvests in Revelation, chapter 14:
13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
There are excellent arguments comparing this passage with Joel 3:11-16 and concluding that Revelation 14:6-20 deals with the judgement of the wicked.
There are equally convincing arguments stating the harvest is the righteous and the grape gathering is the unrighteous.
Within the context of Revelation 14:6-20, however, verse 7 tells of the hour of Gods judgment that has come. Verse 8 states Babylon has fallen. Verses 9-11 explain the horrible eternal consequences of worshipping the beast and receiving his image. In verse 12 the saints are encouraged (New International Version): This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey Gods commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. This was spoken of in Revelation 13:7-10.
The choice implied here is to either accept the mark of the beast or to patiently endure and keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
In verse 13 a voice from heaven tells John, ... Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
God, in His mercy, continues to encourage His saints and to offer His salvation to unrepentant mankind.
In verse 14 we see a figure who appears to be Jesus with a sharp sickle. There is some controversy as to whether this is Christ.
In verse 15 an angel appears and cries out to Jesus (apparently delivering a message from God the Father since an angel would not issue orders to Jesus) that the time has come for Jesus to reap the harvest, which He does in verse 16.
In verse 17 an angel now appears with a sharp sickle. In verse 18 another angel appears and cries out to this angel to ... Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
After having done so, in verse 19, the angel ... gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God where in verse 20 ... blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles ...
This symbolic scene shows us Jesus reaping a harvest, and then an angel reaping the vine of the earth which is subjected to the wrath of God.
Joel 3:11-16 greatly parallels the terminology of Revelation 14:14-20, indicating judgement of the wicked in both the harvest and the grape gathering.
In verse 15 speaking of the harvest of Jesus the word for ripe is xeraino, meaning to desiccate; by implication to shrivel, to mature. Its used elsewhere in the New Testament of drying up or withering.
Statements by Jesus, James and Peter use this word xeraino in a bad context:
John 15:6: If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered [xeraino]; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. (There is no idea of men gather(ing) them in the original, rather the branches are gathered up.)
James 1:11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth [xeraino] the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
1 Peter 1:24,25:
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth [xeraino], and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
The grapes in Revelation 14:18 are fully ripe, akmazo, meaning to be at the prime, coming to maturity, which corresponds to the intent of Joel 3:13 that their wickedness is great.
Because of the use of the word xeraino for the harvest, and the close parallel with the language of Joel, chapter 3, this appears to be judgement of the wicked. In fact, the harvest by Jesus Himself may be judgement upon those who have fallen away from the faith, i.e., those who no longer abide in Jesus. In Revelation 14:18 the angel which had power over fire may be an indication that these, like the withered branches of John 15:6, are cast into the fire, and they are burned.
I would not be dogmatic in this conclusion. This could be a second instance of God gathering His people to heaven from the earth, i.e., going up to heaven. There is nothing in the Bible to preclude this. The rapture has occurred in Revelation 12:5. The firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb have been redeemed and are in heaven (Revelation 14:1,4). The beast and false prophet have come into power on the earth. The hour of Gods judgement has come. The group constituting this harvest see themselves as having missed the rapture. Their faith has withered and shriveled up and this harvest of the earth is ripe (xeraino). The warning has gone forth to not take the mark of the beast because of the horrible eternal consequences. They are looking death in the face, from the beast. The saints are encouraged to be patient. They are reminded that there are blessings from dying in the Lord, and that their works follow them.
In their determination to hold onto their faith in Jesus in patient endurance in the face of overwhelming odds and certain death, suddenly they find themselves going up to heaven.
Their faith and patient endurance has brought them a reward they didnt foresee.
This fits into the antitype of firstfruits of the type in Leviticus 23, particularly verses 10 and 17, regarding two firstfruits. Ill discuss this later.
If this is a harvest of the righteous it would broaden the scope of the concept of the antitypical two firstfruits.
(From Revelation 10:2 to 14:20 there are 2 books (Revelation 10:2,8-10; 13:8), 2 witnesses, 2 olive trees, 2 lampstands, 2 prophets, 2 cities, 2 woes, 2 signs, 2 armies of angels, 2 wings (of a great eagle), 2 beasts, 2 horns, 2 sets of 2 mouths (the mouth of the serpent (dragon), and the mouth of the earth in chapter 12, and the mouth of the beast speaking great things and blasphemies in chapter 13, and the mouth of the 144,000 in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God in chapter 14), and 2 harvests. This series of 2s appears to underscore the saints need to remain faithful and constant in patient endurance in their witness during this very trying time as revealed in those chapters.)
Careful reading of the text in Matthew 13 shows this is not the wheat spoken of there.
In Matthew 13, the parable of the wheat and tares, in verse 30 the tares are bound up in bundles and the wheat stored in Jesus barn.
In Matthew 13:39-43 we read:
39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Here, Jesus identifies this harvest at the end of the world and the reapers as angels. Jesus sends His angels and they gather out of his kingdom, first the offending tares, which are burned up. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
There is only one scene that this action fits and that is the battle of Gog and Magog in Revelation 20. The only time the offending tares can come against the kingdom of God when it is established here on the earth is that particular time period. And the only time the offending tares are burned up first and the righteous are left to shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. After that its the end of this world and there is a new heavens and new earth: And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea (Revelation 21:1.)
The devil is bound for 1,000 years and then:
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Other references to a harvest by Jesus all seem to refer to evangelism.
The perennial question of the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation has been the subject of much controversy. This group is specifically mentioned in Revelation 7:1-8 and Revelation 14:1-5. In chapter 7 they are here on the earth and the angels of God put a seal upon their foreheads referring to them as servants of God.
Revelation 7:4: And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
The word children is huios, meaning son. This 144,000, then, is 12,000 sons of the 12 tribes of Israel.
In chapter 14, the first verse, the 144,000 are with Jesus standing on Mount Zion with His Fathers name written on their foreheads. The mount Sion referred to is in heaven, not the earth, as they sung as it were a new song before the throne (verse 3), and before the four beasts, and the elders.
1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Fathers name written in their foreheads.
2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:
3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
Some have commented that this is a different group of 144,000 because the first group was sealed and the second group had the Fathers name written on their foreheads. However, sealed, sphragizo means to stamp (with a signet or private mark). Written is grapho, a primary verb; to grave, especially to write; figuratively, to describe. The word grave means to carve out; sculpture; to engrave; incise; to impress sharply and clearly. The very argument made to indicate two different groups is negated by the complementary meanings of the two words. Obviously seal was the method and written was the result.
Here the 144,000 sing a new song that no one else could learn. And a curious statement is made about them in verse 4: These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
Since the 144,000 are a symbol their representation as virgins is also symbolic.
Virgin is parthenos, a virgin. Ungers Bible Dictionary remarks on this passage: In (Rev. 14:4) it is used in the sense of a man who has abstained from all uncleanness and whoredom attendant upon idolatry, and so has kept his chastity.
Fornication is porneia, about which Vines Expository Dictionary says: ... is used ... of illicit sexual intercourse, ... metaphorically, of the association of pagan idolatry with doctrines of, and professed adherence to, the Christian faith, (Rev. 14:8; 17:2,4; 18:3; 19:2); some suggest this as the sense in (2:21).
The symbolism of a virgin is probably used to contrast it with Babylon in verse 8:
Revelation 14:8: And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
Revelation 17:5: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
Ill discuss the 144,000 in depth later.
A Great Wonder In Heaven
The Greek word semeion, according to Thayers Definition means a sign, a mark, a token (a) that by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others and is known (b) a sign, a prodigy, a portent, that is, an unusual occurrence, transcending the common course of nature (1) used of signs portending remarkable events soon to happen (2) used of miracles and wonders by which God authenticates the men sent by him, or by which men prove that the cause they are pleading is Gods cause.
This word is translated wonder in Revelation 12:1 and 12:3. In Revelation 15:1 its translated sign. In these verses they are signs that John saw in heaven.
Semeion, is also used in Revelation 13:13 translated there as wonders in reference to the second beast (the false prophet). In Revelation 13:14; 16:14 and 19:20 its translated as miracles also in reference to the dragon, or the beast or the false prophet (or all three).
In the sense that John uses the word, i.e., signs which he saw in heaven, its used primarily in the sense of portending remarkable events soon to happen.
The events of Revelation 12 are further explained in Revelation, chapters 13 and 14. Revelation 13 expands on the dragon in explaining the beasts. Revelation 14:1-5 expands on the 144,000. Revelation 14:6-13 introduces three angels who proclaim the Gospel, announce the arrival of the time of Gods judgement, the fall of Babylon and warnings against taking the mark of the beast. There is also a call for patient endurance in the faith of Jesus for Gods people and blessings for those who die in the Lord. Revelation14:14-20 describes two harvests.
(The sign in Revelation 15 is also used primarily in the sense of portending remarkable events soon to happen. They are expanded upon in Revelation, chapters 16 through 18.)
Note the contrast in Revelation 16:9-11,21 where men curse God for their pain and in Revelation 16:15 and 18:4 where the righteous are urged to be ready for Jesus and to come out of Babylon. Our God continues to offer His salvation to those who will repent.
1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
In Revelation 12 there are four symbols that need defining: the woman, the man child, the wilderness in verse 6 and the remnant of her seed in verse 17. The reference to the great red dragon is obviously the devil, represented by the beast of Revelation 13.
John continues to speak of future things and draws heavily upon biblical symbology to paint the background of a vivid picture of ... things which shall be hereafter ... Many commentators violate this continuity to insert past historical events or the actions of past historical persons. In so doing they arrive at erroneous conclusions by leaps into the past and also by usage of symbols for some things and actual persons for others, i.e., mixing metaphors.
This chapter begins with a strong symbolic picture of the nation of Israel as the woman. (Compare to Genesis 37:9,10 when Joseph related his dreams to his family:
9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.
10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?).
The crown upon her head is stephanos, signifying victory and honor. The woman, Israel, has been at odds with God throughout scriptural and natural history. God, however, still sees her as victorious and honors her.
The term man child in the Greek in verse 5 is literally a son, a male. Some scholars classify the choice of these words as constituting bad grammar in Greek. Especially since correct grammar is used in the Greek in verse 13 for man child, i.e., a male.
The point is made that the bad grammar was a deliberate choice utilized in order to draw the hearer/readers attention to the usage of the same terminology in Isaiah 66 (in the Septuagint version, from which the first century believers read):
7 Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.
8 Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children [Hebrew, ben, a son].
9 Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.
10 Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her:
11 That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.
12 For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.
13 As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
With the symbology of Genesis 37:9,10 and an apparently intentional reference to the passage in Isaiah 66:7 agreeing with the description of the woman and man child in Revelation 12, its clear the woman represents the nation of Israel, identified as Zion in Isaiah 66:8.
Nelsons Bible Dictionary makes this observation about Zion: Zion [zie un] (fortification)the city of David and the city of God. The meaning of the word Zion underwent a distinct progression in its usage throughout the Bible. The first mention of Zion in the Bible is in (2 Samuel 5:7): David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David). Zion, therefore, was the name of the ancient JEBUSITE fortress situated on the southeast hill of Jerusalem at the junction of the Kidron Valley and the Tyropoeon Valley. The name came to stand not only for the fortress but also for the hill on which the fortress stood. After David captured the stronghold of Zion by defeating the Jebusites, he called Zion the City of David (1 Kin. 8:1; 1 Chr. 11:5; 2 Chr. 5:2). When Solomon built the Temple on MOUNT MORIAH (a hill distinct and separate from Mount Zion), and moved the ark of the covenant there, the word Zion expanded in meaning to include also the Temple and the Temple area (Ps. 2:6; 48:2,11-12; 132:13). It was only a short step until Zion was used as a name for the city of Jerusalem, the land of Judah, and the people of Israel as a whole (Is. 40:9; Jer. 31:12). The prophet Zechariah spoke of the sons of Zion (Zech. 9:13). By this time the word Zion had come to mean the entire nation of Israel. The most important use of the word Zion is in a religious or theological sense. Zion is used figuratively of Israel as the people of God (Is. 60:14). The spiritual meaning of Zion is continued in the New Testament, where it is given the Christian meaning of Gods spiritual kingdom, the church of God, the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22; Rev. 14:1); (Sion, KJV).
The Man Child
This man child is birthed from the nation of Israel, i.e., physical Israel and is immediately caught up to God and to His throne. This man child is to rule all nations with a rod of iron ... (Revelation 12:5). Rule is poimaino; to tend as a shepherd of (figuratively, superviser). This same phrase and meaning is also found in Revelation 2:27 and 19:15.
26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
These verses make it clear that the overcomers will rule with Christ.
Revelation 12:5: And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
Therefore this man child must include those that are identified as overcomers by Jesus.
In Revelation 22:4,5 we read:
4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
This is obviously a reference to those symbolized by the 144,000. In these verses its stated that they shall reign for ever and ever.
The overcomers, the man child and the symbolic 144,000 will rule with Christ.
Revelation 21:7: I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Son in this verse is huios, which according to Vines Expository Dictionary: primarily signifies the relation of offspring to parent (see (John 9:18-20; Gal. 4:3)). It is often used metaphorically of prominent moral characteristics (see below). It is used in the NT of (a) male offspring, (Gal. 4:30); (b) legitimate, as opposed to illegitimate offspring, (Heb. 12:8); (c) descendants, without reference to sex, (Rom. 9:27); (d) friends attending a wedding, (Matt. 9:15); (e) those who enjoy certain privileges, (Acts 3:25); (f) those who act in a certain way, whether evil, (Matt. 23:31), or good, (Gal. 3:7); (g) those who manifest a certain character, whether evil, (Acts 13:10; Eph. 2:2), or good, (Luke 6:35; Acts 4:36; Rom. 8:14); (h) the destiny that corresponds with the character, whether evil, (Matt. 23:15; John 17:12; 2 Thes. 2:3), or good, (Luke 20:36); (i) the dignity of the relationship with God whereinto men are brought by the Holy Spirit when they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, (Rom. 8:19; Gal. 3:26). A comment is also made that in Rev. 21:7 (huios) is a quotation from (2 Sam. 7:14).
In an excerpt from Nelsons Bible Dictionary he states: ... The covenant that God established with David demonstrated Gods purpose through Davids family line; Davids ancestors would be adopted as the sons of God in a special sense (2 Samuel 7). Davids line would continue through the centuries, and his throne would be established forever (2 Sam. 7:13). In the person of Jesus Christ the Messiah, this great covenant came to its fulfillment.
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary on this verse in Revelation 21:7:
I will be his GodGreek, I will be to him a God, that is, all that is implied of blessing in the name God. he shall be my sonHe is emphatic: He in particular and in a peculiar sense, above others: Greek, shall be to me a son, in fullest realization of the promise made in type to Solomon, son of David, and antitypically to the divine Son of David.
God called David a man after His Own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22).
Its apparent that in Revelation 21:7 Jesus is stating that the overcomers will recognize Him as their God, the only source of all blessings, and that they shall be to Him as a son, which is an oblique reference to the special relationship they will enjoy with Him in the same way as those of the offspring of David whose ... house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever (2 Samuel 7:16.)
We have the man child, literally a son, a male. We have the symbolic 144,000 identified as males ... of all the tribes of the children [Greek, huios, sons] of Israel. The overcomers are identified as and he shall be my son.
This emphasis upon a son, a male is for the purpose of stating that these so identified will enjoy a special relationship as scripture reveals in 2 Samuel 7:16.
This concept explains the statement in Isaiah 49:17,18 where children in verse 17 in the King James Version is correctly translated as sons and the intent of the verses is correctly expressed in the New International Version in verse 18:
Isaiah 49:17,18 (New International Version):
17 [ ...]Your sons hasten back, and those who laid you waste depart from you.
18 Lift up your eyes and look around; all your sons gather and come to you. As surely as I live, declares the Lord, you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride.[...]
It also explains the statement in Isaiah 62:5 concerning thy sons marrying thee [Jerusalem] (Isaiah 62:1-5).
Some translators and commentators have apparently had problems with the concepts expressed in these verses and have changed the Hebrew word for sons to read builders.
The overcomers, the man child, and the symbolic 144,000 are all in the same group. They are constituents of the genuine body, the bride, of Christ. This is clear from scripture.
Revelation 12:5 explains how these symbolic 144,000 servants of God, identified as 12,000 of every tribe of the sons of Israel in chapter 7, got to be with Jesus (they were caught up unto God) as the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb (Revelation 14:4.)
Caught up in Revelation 12:5 is harpazo meaning to seize or snatch away. The same word is used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and has come to be known as the rapture.
In Revelation 12:6: And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
In Ezekiel we find the meaning of the wilderness symbol. The wilderness of the people in verse 35 is the deserts Israel would have to cross in returning to Israel from Babylon. The intent of the symbology in Revelation 12:6 would be the same.
35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you [better translated as judge you] face to face.
36 Like as I pleaded with [judged] your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with [judge] you, saith the Lord God.
37 And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant:
38 And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the Lord.
The Remnant Of Her Seed
Backing up to Revelation 12:3 and 4 there is also a symbolic picture (identified in verse 9) of the devil. His tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. This is the first mention of the stars in heaven as a part of the symbolic representation. These are not the stars in her crown, because that would alter the symbology, but the stars of heaven, corresponding to Josephs vision in Genesis 37:9,10.
The third part of the stars of heaven are further identified in Revelation 12:17: And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
There is a reference to this in Daniel 8:9-27. Daniel 8:10: And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Daniel 8:14 (also 26) was fulfilled in December 25, 165 B.C. following the sacrilegious acts of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Hannukah is celebrated each year to commemorate rededication of the second temple. This appears to be a double reference prophecy, partially fulfilled, with the future beast of Revelation 13 identified in Daniel 8:23-25.
Zechariah 13:9 appears to be another double (or more) reference prophecy fulfilled under the Romans and during Word War II, which may, or may not, apply here literally. It does, however, provide the purpose for the selection of the third part.
This is the third part of the stars of heaven remnant of Revelation 12:4,17 about whom God says And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God (Zechariah 13:9).
An Ages Old War
The picture is clear: the woman is Zion, or natural Israel, i.e., the physical descendants of Abraham through Isaac, as she has developed, or evolved at some future point in time, as John saw her.
The man child, who the woman gave birth to, is the fruit of her spiritual womb over thousands of years. The man child is formed from Old Testament saints who were overcomers, i.e., the remnants, and the saints of all ages who were the overcoming remnant. These are the ones who are mentioned as and the dead in Christ shall rise first in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17. The man child also includes the New Testament saints who are overcomers, i.e., the remnants who are alive and remain (alive at the time of the rapture) which is the symbolic 144,000 firstfruits unto God and unto the Lamb.
The man child is a son, a male (Revelation 12:5)
The symbolic 144,000 are sons: ... of all the tribes of the children [Greek, huios, sons] of Israel (Revelation 7:4).
The overcomers are sons: ... and he shall be my son (Revelation 21:7).
The bride, the Lambs wife, the new Jerusalem has 12 gates about which is said: And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children [huios, i.e., sons] of Israel (Revelation 21:12).
And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Revelation 21:14). The twelve Apostles of the Lamb were all males, i.e., sons.
The wall of the city is 144 cubits: And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel (Revelation 21:17).
This emphasis upon a son, a male is for the purpose of stating that these so identified will enjoy a special relationship with God as scripture reveals in 2 Samuel 7:
2 Samuel 7:11b-16:
11b ... Also the Lord telleth thee that he will make thee an house.
12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:
15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
The symbolic 144,000 are firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb (Revelation 14:4). They are raptured in Revelation 12:5. These firstfruits are the New Testament overcoming remnant saints who are alive and remain at the time of the rapture. We can infer from 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 that those mentioned as and the dead in Christ shall rise first includes Old Testament overcoming remnant saints, and the overcoming remnant saints of all ages who have died in Christ and that they will be raptured together with the symbolic living 144,000.
The scriptural type of firstfruits of Leviticus 23:9-17 is generally acknowledged by most commentators to have been fulfilled by Jesus as the antitype. Or you may prefer to call it shadow and substance. This is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:20-24:
1 Corinthians 15:20-24:
20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christs at his coming.
24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
Verses 23 and 24 give us more details stating that each person in his own order, i.e., first, Christ the firstfruits, after that they that are Christs at his coming (the dead in Christ first, then those who are alive and living), and then comes the end
As stated previously, all those who are Christs are the continuing firstfruits spoken of by Jesus in John 12:24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
The firstfruits of Leviticus 23:9-20 encompass the first harvest (barley, in its natural state) and the second harvest (wheat, in a processed state, i.e., two loaves of bread) separated by a period of time of fifty days (Pentecost) and are really two separate firstfruits.
This type of firstfruits explains the antitype expressed in the man child which is comprised of the overcoming remnant saints of the Old Testament and the New Testament eras.
The end spoken of in 1 Corinthians 15:24 is that time when the unrighteous are resurrected at the end of the 1,000 year period. Prior to that the overcoming remnant saints killed during the reign of the beast will have been resurrected (Revelation 20:4-6). The end is further explained as being that time when Christ has emerged victorious over all who have attempted to assume first place as rulers, exercising their human authority and power. The final end comes when death is destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26).
The symbolic 144,000 will go through the first six seal judgements. Then they are sealed as servants of God in their foreheads by the angel in Revelation 7:3.
At the seventh seal, the fifth trumpet, the abyss (bottomless pit) is opened:
Revelation 9:3: And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
They cannot, however, harm the symbolic 144,000:
4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
The (sealed) symbolic 144,000 then go through the seventh trumpet and second woe before they are raptured.
There is also a remnant of a third of natural Israel who God sovereignly chooses to be purified and refined by warring with the devil.
Then those left of Israel, the natural seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are protected by God as they flee to a safe place of Gods provisions. In that wilderness or desert place, God will rule over them and judge them. This will be for the purpose of bringing them into the bond of the covenant. He will purge out the rebels and the transgressors.
There are some who claim that all Christians are already sealed with the Holy Spirit, quoting Ephesians (and other verses) as the authority for their statement:
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 4:30: And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
2 Corinthians 1:21,22:
21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
Ezekiel, chapters 8 and 9 if carefully read and understood explain the purpose and intent of the seal. Ezekiel 9:4 reads: And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
Jesus makes note of sealing requirements in John 6:26-29:
26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
In his last letter to Timothy Paul the apostle gives us a clear understanding of the responsibility of those that nameth the name of Christ.
Many today name the name of Christ as some kind of magic formula, thinking it wards off evil in their life and earns for them eternal life with Jesus.
If you name the name of Christ you are responsible before God to depart from iniquity, i.e., unrighteousness and injustice.
2 Timothy 2:19: Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
In 2 Timothy 2:14 through to 2 Timothy 4:8 (which I strongly suggest reading again) Paul discusses being a good steward of the things of God, sanctified, and a servant. He also talks about those who name the name of Christ falling away from the faith, false teachers, the last days, and urges Timothy to continue faithfully in the things he has learned from Paul.
The Abrahamic Covenant
God made a unilateral, or unconditional covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12:1-4. Abraham was promised land, specifically Canaan, as shown to Abraham in Genesis 13:12-17.
Abraham was also promised seed or descendants who will make a great nation.
The seed aspect of the Abrahamic covenant is further expanded upon by the Davidic covenant. 2 Samuel 7 confirms Gods promise to Abraham in Genesis 17:6: And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
God also promised Abraham that I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing. In verse 3 God states a condition for being blessed by Abraham in that He will bless those who bless him and curse those who curse him. God also states that in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
The blessing aspect of the Abrahamic covenant is expanded upon by the New Covenant which is stated in Jeremiah 31. In this New Covenant, God internalizes the Mosaic law in His people. He establishes a different, new relationship with His people for they shall know me ... I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. as stated in verse 34.
This covenant is restated, or confirmed to Abraham in Genesis 15:1-21, 17:4-21, 22:15-18. Its also confirmed to Isaac in Genesis 26:3-5,24 and Jacob in Genesis 28:13-15, 35:9-12.
Throughout these covenants and their promises we must realize the scriptural truth that Israel is the vehicle through which they will all be fulfilled.
Despite the problems God has had with the disobedience of the nation of Israel, He will fulfill His promises for the sake of His name.
22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy names sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.
23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.
The totality of Abrahams descendants will come into a fullness in the 1,000 year period and the new heavens and new earth.
We see in Revelation 12 how God is working out the details for the fulfilment of His covenant with Abraham.
In the events of Revelation 12 God raptures the overcoming remnant saints of all ages. Then He deals with one group of natural Israel by a wilderness judgment. He deals with the other group by having the devil war against them as a purging and cleansing process.
The big picture here, of course, is the age old war between the devil and the overcoming remnant saints of God with details provided of what we are to expect in the future.
In Gods dealings with part of natural Israel, the beast of Revelation 13 is an instrument of Gods punishment and judgment. This follows an historical scriptural pattern.
I strongly suggest reading Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28-33. Note in Leviticus 26, verses 18, 21, 24 and 28 where God mentions punishment in terms of seven times. These punishments, plagues and chastisements have been suffered by Gods people throughout the Bible and secular history. They will finally culminate in the series of four seven times in the book of Revelation., i.e., seven seals, seven trumpets, seven plagues and seven bowls.
These last two, the seven plagues and seven (vials) bowls, appear to be a double measure of Gods judgment and wrath:
6 And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.
7 And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.
8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.
Revelation 16:1: And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
Revelation 21:9: And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lambs wife.
In Revelation 15:8 it seems that the seven plagues were separate from the seven bowls by the use of the word fulfilled which is teleo, meaning, to complete, finish, bring to an end. Then in Revelation 16:1 the angels are instructed to pour out the bowls (vials) upon the earth. However, in Revelation 21:9 the seven bowls (vials) were full of the seven last plagues.
This double measure of judgment and wrath is perhaps explained in Isaiah 51:17-20:
17 Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out.
18 There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand of all the sons that she hath brought up.
19 These two things are come unto thee; who shall be sorry for thee? desolation, and destruction, and the famine, and the sword: by whom shall I comfort thee?
20 Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as a wild bull in a net: they are full of the fury of the Lord, the rebuke of thy God.
In Isaiah 51:21-23 God reassures Israel ... thou shalt no more drink it again: But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee ... This finality and retribution of enemies places this double measure judgment and wrath at the time of the beast and Babylon.
There Cannot Be Jew Nor Greek
Galatians 3:28,29 (The Interlinear Bible, Jay P. Green, Sr.):
There cannot be Jew nor Greek; there is no slave nor freeman; there is no male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are of Christ, then you are a seed of Abraham, even heirs according to promise.
Because of the confusion created in our minds concerning the natural descendants of Isaac and the ekklesia of God, we continue to separate what we consider Jew from what we consider to be Gentile. This preconceived mindset prohibits us from realizing that God has only one ekklesia, i.e., the house of Israel and the house of Judah, which constitutes the totality of Abrahams seed through Isaac.
Gentiles have simply been grafted into the existing house of faith of the true Israel.
What we refer to as the church has no place in Gods economy, other than as a spiritual Babylon by which He tests our loyalty to Him and His word. (I discuss the evolvement of the institutional church in my article God by the Spirit of Jesus Christ will build an assembly).
In Daniel 12:1 we read:
1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
Trouble here is tsarah, and according to Strongs Concordance means tightness (i.e. figuratively, trouble); transitively, a female rival. Brown, Driver, Briggs Definition is (1) straits, distress, trouble (2) a vexer, a rival wife.
I personally find the meanings of a rival wife significant. A rival wife is clearly the apostate institutional churches, if one cares to read that into it.
People in these verses is am about which these excerpts from Vines Expository Dictionary says: ... represents a familial relationship. ... may signify those relatives (including women and children) who are grouped together locally whether or not they permanently inhabit a given location:... may refer to the whole of a nation formed and united primarily by their descent from a common ancestor. ... may also include those who enter by religious adoption and marriage. The people of Israel initially were the descendants of Jacob (Israel) and their families: And he said unto his people [Egyptians], Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we (Exod. 1:9). Later the basic unity in a common covenant relationship with God becomes the unifying factor underlying am. When they left Egypt, the people of Israel were joined by many others: And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle (Exod. 12:38). Such individuals and their families were taken into Israel before they observed the Passover: And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land... (Exod. 12:48). There is another mention of this group (perhaps) in (Num. 11:4): And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said....
In Daniel 12:1, the prophet is not singling out the descendants of Isaac. The intent of thy people includes the house of faith of the true Israel. When we apply this scriptural truth to the book of Revelation as it pertains to the symbolic 144,000 it eliminates much confusion.
God recognizes His ekklesia as all the remnant overcoming saints throughout the ages.
However, God has reserved a special place in His heart for the patriarchs of natural, physical Israel which extends to their sons and daughters of today and tomorrow. Paul says, For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in (Romans 11:25). Paul reveals how God will deal with national Israel at some future time.
The blindness (partial hardening) of Israel is until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
However, because of its favored status with God natural Israel will continue to have the opportunity to be saved. In this sense, then, natural Israel is still holy and consecrated unto God.
Like it or not, those of natural Israelhowever God defines them in His divine wisdomwill have to become spiritual Israel, i.e., members of the household of faith of the true Israel (in accordance with Paul the apostles scriptural definition of a Jew). They must be overcoming remnants, and by faith, accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah in order to enjoy the special relationship with God as scripture reveals in 2 Samuel 7 and obliquely referred to in Revelation 21:7.
By biblical definition those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord of our lives are now Jews and we are the constituents of the true house of Israel. Argument against this biblical truth is fruitless. Only God truly knows the answer to the question of what constitutes natural Israel.
God has a timetable for dealing with natural Israel and God has a timetable for the living stones of the house of faith of the true Israel. Dispensationalist and covenantal theological views contain and exclude truth, contradict each other, and each uses the theology of the other in certain points to bolster their argument. As such they are unacceptable, inappropriate and irrational in explaining Gods eternal purpose.
The promises of God to natural Israel and the promises to the true house of Israel will be fulfilled according to Gods timing, in His way. Neither identity has replaced the other. The details of the working dynamics of this spiritual process are known only to God.
God uses natural things many times as a precursor of that which will occur in the supernatural (1 Corinthians 15:46). So it is with the natural and the true Israel. There is a relationship there and should be understood as such. To think that one replaces the other is flawed logic.
Martyrs And Tribulation
9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
Slain is sphazo, a primary verb; to butcher (especially an animal for food or in sacrifice) or (generally) to slaughter, or (specifically) to maim (violently). They appear to have been martyred for their faith.
These martyrs of Revelation 6:11 are probably part of the great multitude spoken of in Revelation 7:9: After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.
We see in Revelation 7:13,14 this great multitude came out of great tribulation:
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
In the original text, however, the phrase the great tribulation is used.
This is a confusing term, especially for preconceived theological mindsets.
Strongs Dictionary defines tribulation, thlipsis, as pressure (literally or figuratively). Thayers definition expands that to: (1) a pressing, a pressing together, pressure; (2) metaphorically, oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress, straits.
In the following verses the same word tribulation is used, in some verses translated as a different word.
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted (thlipsis), and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my names sake.
21 For then shall be great tribulation (thlipsis), such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
29 Immediately after the tribulation (thlipsis) of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
19 For in those days shall be affliction (thlipsis), such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.
24 But in those days, after that tribulation (thlipsis), the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,
John 16:33: These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation (thlipsis): but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Acts 14:22: Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation (thlipsis) enter into the kingdom of God.
2 Corinthians 1:3,4:
3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation (thlipsis), that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble (thlipsis), by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
2 Corinthians 4:17: For our light affliction (thlipsis), which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
2 Thessalonians 1:4: So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations (thlipsis) that ye endure:
Revelation 1:9: I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation (thlipsis), and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 2:9: I know thy works, and tribulation (thlipsis), and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
Revelation 2:10: Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation (thlipsis) ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
Revelation 2:22: Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation (thlipsis), except they repent of their deeds.
Matthew 24:21 is great tribulation, Matthew 24:29 is the tribulation, Mark 13:24 has the article the and should be the tribulation, Acts 14:22 is much tribulation, 2 Corinthians 1:4 is also the tribulation, Revelation 1:9 and 2:9 are also the tribulation.
Acts 14:22 indicates the saints must go through much tribulation to enter the kingdom of God. 2 Corinthians 1:3,4 counsels the saints that God will comfort us in all the tribulation so we may be able to comfort others which are in all tribulation. 2 Corinthians 4:17 tells us our light tribulations will result in a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. In 2 Thessalonians 1:4 the saints are commended for their patience and faith in all your persecutions and the tribulations they endure. John, in Revelation 1:9, is our brother, and companion [i.e., partaker] in the tribulation. In Revelation 2:9, the church in Smyrna suffers the tribulation and poverty. They also face the prospect of prison, more tribulation and are urged to be faithful unto death in order to receive a crown of life from Jesus.
Revelation 2:22 says that Jezebel and her followers shall suffer great tribulation.
Scripture is clear there will be a period of time which Jesus refers to as the great tribulation in Matthew 24:21,29 and Mark 13:19,24.
The references by Jesus and others to the great tribulation, to be afflicted (thlipsis), the tribulation (thlipsis), affliction (thlipsis), [the] tribulation (thlipsis) are not limited to only one specific period of time. The same term (much) tribulation is also used to indicate personal suffering by individual saints of God apart from a particular period of time.
The entire first chapter of 2 Thessalonians gives us the perspective of Paul the apostle.
2 Thessalonians 1:6-8: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation (thlipsis) to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled [(thlibo, to crowd, to afflict) from which we get thlipsis] rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
When the angel tells John in Revelation 7:14: ... These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb it does not preclude tribulation, in a general sense, of the saints of all ages who have suffered tribulation in their lives. It does, however, refer specifically to the time of Jacobs trouble.
Revelation 7:15-17 (Amplified Bible):
15 For this reason they are [now] before the [very] throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His (temple) sanctuary; and He Who is sitting upon the throne will protect and spread His tabernacle over and shelter them with His presence.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun smite them, nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb Who is in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to the springs of the waters of Life; and God will wipe every tear away from their eyes.
They are, literally, face to face before God. There is day and night, a temple and God is a tabernacle over them. This description doesnt fit the new Jerusalem. (In Revelation 21:3, in the new Jerusalem, the tabernacle of God is with (all) men, i.e., mankind, not just those who suffered great tribulation). This is comfort and consolation limited to the 1,000 year period for those who suffered great tribulation.
That the great multitude mentioned in Revelation 7:9 (which includes the martyrs of Revelation 6:9-11) had palms in their hands is significant. Nelsons Bible Dictionary says about palm branches in this excerpt: Palm branches were considered a symbol of victory (John 12:13; Rev. 7:9).
In Revelation 15 and 20 there are those who had gotten the victory over the beast. ... gotten the victory ... is, nikao, overcome. These referred to are overcomers.
Revelation 15:2: And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
This is the same group later mentioned in Revelation 20:4-6:
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Revelation 2:11: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
This emphasizes they are the same overcoming group mentioned in Revelation 15.
That they were martyred and suffered tribulation is to be inferred although the text doesnt specifically say so.
There are many who have read into Jesus references to the abomination of desolation spoken of in Daniel, that another earthly temple must be built by the Jews on the temple mount in Jerusalem. References in the New Testament to a temple have been misunderstood and misapplied. The use of the word temple is used allegorically and of the believer himself. Its also used to describe the temple of God in heaven in the book of Revelation and the new Jerusalem. Statements by commentators say there is no temple in Revelation 21:22: And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. Question: Is there a temple in the new Jerusalem? John looked for a temple there which means he was looking for a physical building with a familiar look of a typically built temple. What did he say? I saw no temple therein. Meaning he didnt see a familiar looking physical building. What was his next statement. ... the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple. What does that mean? It means there is a temple in the new Jerusalem and that temple is the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb.
The only other temple here on earth is the temple spoken of in Ezekiel, chapters 40 through 47. In chapter 43 its clear that God will enter the temple through the east gate. Then in Ezekiel 43:7 the text reads: And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.
In addition to this the text is clear that animal sacrifices and other religious observances related to the law, including circumcision, will be established. The Levitical priests are relegated to a position below that of the Zadokites.
If God Himself inhabits the temple, He would never resort to the blood of animals as sacrificial animalsfor His saintsbecause that would tacitly express the thought that the shed blood of Jesus, His only begotten Son was not sufficient. This is obviously a basic doctrine. Contradicting, or negating it would invalidate Christianity itself.
Since God will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever in this temple and the temple in the new heavens and new earth is God Himself, this temple can only be a forerunner of the new Jerusalem. Apparently there is a spiritual dimension to this temple in Ezekiel.
The only place in time this temple in Ezekiel can be placed is the 1,000 year period.
And then the question arises as to why the reestablishment of some provisions of the law?
In the events of Revelation, chapter 12 God raptures the overcoming remnant saints of all ages, deals with one group of natural Israel by a wilderness judgment and deals with the other group by having the devil war against them as a purging and cleansing process.
Of the two groups left on earth, God will judge and purge one group and the devil will purge the other group. The second group, the third part of the stars of heaven, will probably be martyred during the time of the reign of the beast.
In Gods covenant with Abraham he was promised land, seed or descendants who will make a great nation. God also promised Abraham that I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing. Israel is the vehicle through which these promises will all be fulfilled, despite the disobedience of the nation of Israel.
The totality of Abrahams descendants will come into a fullness in the 1,000 year period and the new heavens and new earth.
These natural descendants of Abraham, through Isaac, will be among those who God has judged in the wilderness mentioned in Revelation, chapter 12.
Some of this group may accept Jesus by faith in Him as their Saviour.
Others of this group will not have accepted Jesus as their Saviour by faith. Only after they see Him with their very own natural eyes do they then accept Jesus as the Messiah.
Its this natural group that will continue on into the 1,000 year period. However, there is a problem in that they will not have accepted Jesus as their Saviour by faithonly when they saw Him personally and visibly.
But Gods promises to Abraham will have been fulfilled, and those of the nation of natural Israel who did not accept Jesus by faith will have to serve Him under the (modified) Law. In the millennium temple of Ezekiel. With a distinction between the Levites and the Zadokites.
Those Jews who wait to accept Jesus upon His personal, visible return will not be a part of the overcoming remnant bride. They may be part of the nations and their kings and implied citizens, or subjects spoken of in Revelation 21:24-27:
24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lambs book of life.
Ungers Bible Dictionary comments on Herods Temple:
Herods Temple. The Temple as it existed after the captivity was not such as would satisfy a man as vain and fond of display as Herod the Great; and he accordingly undertook the task of rebuilding it on a grander scale. Although the reconstruction was practically equivalent to an entire rebuilding, still this Temple cannot be spoken of as a third one, for Herod himself said, in so many words, that it was only intended to be regarded as an enlarging and further beautifying of that of Zerubbabel. After the necessary preparation the work of building was begun in the eighteenth year of Herods reign (20 or 21 B.C.). The Temple proper, in which priests and Levites were employed, was finished in a year and a half, and the courts in the course of eight years. Subsidiary buildings were gradually erected, added to through the reigns of his successors, so that the entire undertaking was not completed till the time of Agrippa II and the procurator Albinus (A.D. 64). For our knowledge of the last and greatest of the Jewish Temples we are indebted almost wholly to the works of Josephus, with an occasional hint from the Talmud. The Bible unfortunately contains nothing to assist in this respect.
Paul the apostle is quoted as proof that a new temple will be built:
2 Thessalonians 2:3,4:
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Paul is simply alluding to Old Testament scriptures which incorporate that same thought:
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
2 Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord God; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:
6 Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God;
9 Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee.
Daniel 11:36: And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
There is no reason to attempt to interpret his allegorical description of the thoughts and ambitions of the son of perdition outside of the clear scriptural references. Paul also uses the same word temple in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 allegorically in other scriptures:
1 Corinthians 3:16,17:
16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
1 Corinthians 6:19: What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
2 Corinthians 6:16: And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
My point is that in our attempts to focus upon the building of another temple in Jerusalem, we have sidestepped valid principles of understanding scripture by a random assortment of unrelated verses and created an unscriptural assortment of straw men.
With all the different straw mens theological opinions, each camp continues to try to knock down the other straw men that are vying for competition.
If the expected temple fails to be built and no one signs a seven year peace treaty with Israel and the expected broken treaty is not realized, many will be tremendously shaken in their faith.
These straw men of foundational sand set aside the priority of Gods eternal purpose for human ego fulfillment of who is right. As inheritors of the kingdom of God, we have a responsibility to our Creator to fulfill Him, and His purposes, not our own purposes.
This sand upon which foundational faith is built will begin to erode in the earthly and spiritual tide of latter times events. Many will depart from the faith. Others will continue to fabricate straw men to accommodate their followers.
The Seventieth Week Of Daniel
Within theological circles there is much debate about the seventy weeks spoken of by Daniel. Some feel Daniels prophecy and the prophecy of the book of Revelation have been fulfilled. Others teach that its been partially fulfilled. And there are many other variations upon that theme.
If it has been fulfilled then it would have to have been symbolically. If thats so, then those who think Jesus has come and gone back to heaven and the Great White Throne Judgement is behind us are either in their symbolical new heavens and new earth or in their symbolical lake of fire. So if they are happy with their symbolical done deal then I hope theyre happy with where they symbolically are.
In an article about the seventy weeks of Daniel, Ungers Bible Dictionary makes this comment: It is thus apparent that (Dan. 9:27) is a battleground between the various millennial schools of eschatological thought.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
The truth is that nobody really knows what it says in the text. Different manuscripts, interpretations, different pre-, post-, mid- and etc., predetermined theological mindsets simply continue to play semantical chess in a fruitless attempt to checkmate each other.
There appear to be two rational arguments in this theological free-for-all. One is that there is only one week of seven years left of the seventy. The other is that there is only one-half week, or 3 1/2 years left of the seventy.
Arguments for both of these positions are very good.
When the book of Revelation is approached from either one of these two mindsets, the interpretation of prophecy of the book of Revelation is interpreted from the point of view of that mindset.
A Known Time Line
There is a time line laid down in Revelation that should be clear:
3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
These two witnesses will prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
Then when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
They will prophecy 1,260 days, or 42 months here on this earth and then the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit will kill them.
Who is this beast?
Revelation 13:1: And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
In Revelation 17:1 we read: And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
This beast is obviously the same one as in Revelation 13:1 that came out of the sea. There is different terminology because the symbolical meanings of sea and bottomless pit are meant to be different (but complementary).
There is an angel of the bottomless pit, and there is another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb.
Revelation 9:11: And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
Revelation 13:11: And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
Neither of these is ever referred to as the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit.
So the beast that kills the two witnesses is identified in Revelation 13:1.
Revelation 13:5 says about this beast: And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
The two witnesses will prophecy 1,260 days, or 42 months here on earth and then the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit will kill them. ... and power was given unto him [the beast] to continue forty and two months.
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary under verse 5: to continueGreek, poiesai, to act, or work. B reads, to make war (compare Re 13:4). But A, C, Vulgate, Syriac, and ANDREAS omit war.
It should be clear that these are not the same 42 months and when the two witnesses complete their 42 months testimony, the beast will kill them and he will have power 42 months. This is a total of seven years.
There are some who teach that the antichrist is identified in Matthew 24:5,24, Mark 13:6,22 and Luke 21:8. In these verses Jesus is speaking of those who will come in His name and those He calls false Christs.
Vines Expository Dictionary says about the antichrist: antichristos can mean either against Christ or instead of Christ, or perhaps, combining the two, one who, assuming the guise of Christ, opposes Christ (Westcott). The word is found only in Johns epistles, (a) of the many antichrists who are forerunners of the Antichrist himself, (1 John 2:18, 22; 2 John 7); (b) of the evil power which already operates anticipatively of the Antichrist, (1 John 4:3).
What the apostle says of him so closely resembles what he says of the first beast in (Rev. 13), and what the apostle Paul says of the Man of Sin in (2 Thes. 2), that the same person seems to be in view in all these passages, rather than the second beast in (Rev. 13), the false prophet; for the latter supports the former in all his Antichristian assumptions.
Note: The term pseudochristos, a false Christ, is to be distinguished from the above; it is found in (Matt. 24:24) and (Mark 13:22). The false Christ does not deny the existence of Christ, he trades upon the expectation of His appearance, affirming that he is the Christ. The Antichrist denies the existence of the true God (Trench, Syn. Sec. xxx).
In 2 Thessalonians 2:3 the man of sin is also called the son of perdition.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-9:
1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
In Revelation the beast is referred to as going into perdition.
8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
The antichrist, who is the man of sin, and the son of perdition appears to be the leader or ruler of the symbolic beast system of Revelation 13.
The false Christs and those who come in Jesus name are not the antichrist who is introduced into the biblical account in Revelation 13.
An Unknown Time Line
As mentioned before, the two witnesses will have gone through the seven seal judgements and the first six trumpet judgements and the second woe. This is before they start their 42 months testimony, which is followed by the beasts 42 months being in power.
There is apparently an undetermined period of time for the seven seal judgements and the first six trumpet judgements and the second woe to take place. This is followed by two consecutive 42 month, i.e., 3 1/2 year, periods of time for a total of 7 sequential years.
The description in Matthew 24:4-8 (see also Mark 13:5-8; Luke 21:8-11) by Jesus closely parallels the first four seals of Revelation 6:1-8. Jesus describes this time in Matthew 24:8 as the beginning of sorrows, more literally birth pains.
In Matthew 24:9 Jesus says: Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted [thlipsis, i.e., tribulation], and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my names sake.
Jesus continues in Matthew 24:10: And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
Excerpts from Vines Expository Dictionary explain the word offended. ... is skandalizo, from skandalon offense, signifies to put a snare or stumblingblock in the way, always metaphorically in the NT, in the same ways as the noun, skandalon, originally ... the name of the part of a trap to which the bait is attached, hence, the trap or snare itself, as in (Rom. 11:9), RV, stumblingblock, quoted from (Psa. 69:22), and in (Rev. 2:14), for Balaams device was rather a trap for Israel than a stumblingblock to them, and in (Matt. 16:23), for in Peters words the Lord perceived a snare laid for Him by Satan ... In [the] NT skandalon is always used metaphorically, and ordinarily of anything that arouses prejudice, or becomes a hindrance to others, or causes them to fall by the way ...
Mark 13:9-13 and Luke 21:12-19 express the same thoughts with some differences in description and personal council.
This also closely parallels the fifth seal of Revelation 6:9: And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
In Matthew 24:9 they shall deliver you up, i.e., treacherously delivered over to prison or judgement by previous brothers and sisters in the Lord. To be afflicted (thlipsis), by pressure, tribulation and persecution. You will be killed and hated by all (the) nations.
Something has caused those who Jesus speaks of in these verses to become prejudiced against the word of God, so that it places obstacles in their way and they cant act upon their faith in Gods word. The result is that they fall away from the faith. And betray, i.e., treacherously deliver over to prison or judgement their previous brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Let me depart from the text for a moment to illustrate how the cause of this is stated in Matthew 24:11.
In Matthew 24 Jesus describes the results of what happens in verse 6 and then states the cause in verse 7.
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
In Mark 13, verses 7 and 8 we find the same thing: the result in verse 7, the cause in verse 8.
7 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.
8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.
In Mark 13, the same conditions exist: verses 9-13 reflect the results of what is described as the cause in verses 21 and 22. However, the parenthetical statement by Jesus concerning the abomination of desolation in verses 14 through 20 has to be removed in order to connect the verses.
9 But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.
10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations.
11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.
12 Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.
13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my names sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
(14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:
15 And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house:
16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.
17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
18 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.
19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.
20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elects sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.)
21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:
22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.
Now, back to the text I was discussing:
In Matthew 24:9,10 we find the same sentence structure, i.e., first the results in verses 9 and 10 and then the cause in verse 11.
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my names sake.
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
False prophets are the cause of this prejudice, obstacles and apostasy which brings pressure, tribulation, persecution, hatred and death to the true saints of God who were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held (Revelation 6:9).
Matthew 24:11-14 (Also Mark 13:21-23):
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12 And because iniquity [read: lawlessness] shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
Jesus leaps ahead in time, summarizing His thought:
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Jesus has completed His thread of thought in Matthew 24:14. Having done so, He now interjects a parenthetical warning into His main thought:
Matthew 24:15-22: (Also Mark 13:14-20; Luke 21:20-24)
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elects sake those days shall be shortened.
Jesus now refers back to His statement in Matthew 24:11 concerning the proliferation of false prophets:
23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
25 Behold, I have told you before.
26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
Matthew 24:29 (Also Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-27):
29 Immediately after the tribulation [thlipsis] of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
Jesus continues His thought concerning false prophets (Matthew 24:11,12) by stating what will happen after that time (Matthew 24:23-28). His reference to Immediately after the tribulation of those days in Matthew 24:29 refers to the days of the false prophets (Matthew 24:9(-12)), not to the great tribulation (Matthew 24:21) of those days of Matthew 24:22.
Those days of Matthew 24:22 shall be shortened. From our historical point of view those days were shortened. Jesus had finished talking about that period of time being shortened and then had expanded His statement about false prophets and now refers to those same days of false prophets.
The description in Matthew 24:29 is very similar to the opening of the sixth seal in Revelation 6:12.
Excerpted from the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary on Revelation 6:12:
12. As Re 6:4, 6-8, the sword, famine, and pestilence, answer to Mt 24:6, 7; Re 6:9, 10, as to martyrdoms, answer to Mt 24:9, 10; so this passage, Re 6:12, 17, answers to Mt 24:29, 30, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven; then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming; imagery describing the portents of the immediate coming of the day of the Lord; but not the coming itself until the elect are sealed, and the judgments invoked by the martyrs descend on the earth, the sea, and the trees (Re 7:1-3).
Jesus again leaps ahead in time, summarizing His thoughts in Matthew 24:30,31:
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
My intent in all this is to remove the parenthetical warning about the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:15-22; Mark 13:14-20 and Luke 21:20-24 and skip over it. It is now ancient history, as I will explain. Then connect the texts just before and after these passages and read it as one contiguous block of text.
Define A Time Line
In Matthew 24:15-22 its clear that Jesus is speaking of the then existing temple in Jerusalem:
1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
1 And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!
2 And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
5 And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,
6 As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
The text in Luke also specifies that Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies at the time of its desolation and that the people will fall by the sword and taken captive into all nations:
Luke 21:24: And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
Luke 21:20: And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
In Luke 19:41-44 we read another account by Jesus of the same event:
41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
In Matthew 24:20 the reference to the sabbath day has no significance to Jews today. If necessary to conduct mobile warfare on a sabbath, no one would call a halt to the activities.
In Luke 19:43, the word trench is charax, which according to Vines Expository Dictionary is primarily a pointed stake, hence, a palisade or rampart, is rendered trench in (Luke 19:43), KJV (RV, bank, marg., palisade). In A. D. 70, Titus, the Roman general, surrounded Jerusalem with a palisaded mound (Tyndale, 1.c. renders it mound). The Jews in one of their sorties destroyed this charax, after which Titus surrounded the city with a wall of masonry.
There is sufficient convincing evidence from history that this prophetic utterance by Jesus was fulfilled by the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The significance, however, of the Vespasian/Titus siege and destruction of Jerusalem in relation to the 70th week of Daniel is hotly debated.
One camp says Vespasian and Titus confirmed the Mosaic covenant to the Jews at the beginning of the siege. The word for confirmed is translated strengthened in some translations, which is its primary meaning. So the meaning would be that of telling the Jews that the Greek authorities would allow the Jews to continue their observance of the Mosaic law as Roman citizens. But after 3 1/2 years they were forced to destroy the temple because the people continued to resist them rather than accept Roman rule. They identify the prince that shall come and destroy the city and the sanctuary of Daniel 9:26 as Titus. And that in Daniel 9:27 he confirmed covenant (there is no article the in the original) with many for one week and in the midst of the week caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease (because he had to overcome the resistance of the people and the temple was destroyed).
Another camp says the prince that shall come and destroy the city and the sanctuary refers to Jesus. And that Jesus confirmed covenant for one week and in the midst of the week caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease by His death, making animal sacrifices invalid.
Yet another camp says the prince that shall come and destroy the city and the sanctuary is the antichrist, who is the leader or ruler of the symbolic beast system of Revelation 13, who is yet to be revealed. Advocates of this camp state first, that a new temple will be built upon the site of Zerubbabels temple that was lavishly refurbished by Herod, and that the beast will make a brand new covenant, not related to the Mosiac covenant, with the nation of Israel and after 3 1/2 years will break the treaty he originated and then the tribulation will begin.
This is the most popular and the least plausible of the scenarios because:
It assumes the historical evidence of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D. has no place in fulfillment of prophecy for the Jews. (This was an historical event recorded as one of the most awful times known to mankind. Estimates of the slaughter run from 500,000 to 2,000,000 human beings. Researching this period of time will be a real eye opener for many.)
It also assumes that a new Jewish temple will be built where the Dome of the Rock is now located, or very close to it. Chances for that happening are slim and none. Again, history is our witness. The Dome of the Rock is a tremendously sensitive religious and political issue. Changes in supervision of this piece of real estate will cause greater upheavals of violence. Attempts to build a Jewish temple there would probably result in an openly declared state of war.
It also assumes some type of peace treaty will be originated and written at some future time by the antichrist, i.e., leader or ruler of the beast system of Revelation 13:1-8, who is also the man of sin and son of perdition of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (see also Revelation 17:8-11).
It further assumes this peace treaty must be broken by the beast after 3 1/2 years. Since he only has power for 42 months, i.e., 3 1/2 years, (Revelation 13:5) this idea lacks credibility. The whole concept of this beast from Revelation 13:2 is that he comes on the scene as extremely hostile, swift and mobile (like unto a leopard), powerful (as the feet of a bear), and vocal (as the mouth of a lion). In the first mention of him speaking: And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven (Revelation 13:6).
And, of course, there are variations upon those different themes.
Arguments as to whether there remains of Daniels seventy weeks only one week of years, i.e., seven years, or 3 1/2 weeks, i.e., 3 1/2 years does not make much difference.
If its a full seven years, then start your mental calculations from the inception of the testimony of the two witnesses.
If its only 3 1/2 years, then start your mental calculations from the time of power of the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit.
The end result of the fulfillment of the prophecy of the book of Revelation will be the same either way.
Jesus said: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).
Everything we need added to us comes from seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness as the first priority of our lives.
With that understanding theological minds at odds with one another today can be better utilized in the professing body of Christ as elders, shepherds and overseers of the flock as they provide living examples of the outcome of their being a disciple, i.e., a learner, follower, imitator and supporter of their Teacher, Jesus Christ.