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The Rest of the Story

 

“And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy [through the 144,000] for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth [during distressing circumstances]. These are the two olive trees [the two phases of the Holy Spirit’s work] and the two lampstands [the Ten Commandments written on two tablets of stone] that stand before  [that is, these items are positioned before] the Lord of the earth [who rules from His temple in Heaven]. If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies [at the appointed time, God will destroy those who reject the testimony of His Witnesses with fire]. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die.” (Revelation 11:3-5; 20:15)

 

The Bible and the Holy Spirit will be supernaturally empowered for 1,260 days. The world has never seen the “latter rain power” of the Holy Spirit or a situation like the one that will be caused by the first four trumpets. God’s wrath will tear down the foolishness that preoccupies people, and overnight, the Bible will become the most important book on Earth. For 1,260 days, 144,000 servants of God will be “gifted” with the empowerment of God’s Two Witnesses and a great contest for souls will unfold. There will be intense hatred for those who choose to obey God, but there will be genuine love among those who receive the gospel of Jesus. Were it not for the special protection that the Holy Spirit will give the 144,000, they would be easy prey. In fact, wicked men would kill the 144,000 long before they could accomplish their task. I believe the language, “If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies” means the 144,000 will remain invincible until they have completed their God given work. (See Jeremiah 5:14) God does not allow anything to stop them from their mission until their job is done and the caricature of a fire-breathing dragon indicates their invincibility.

 

In ancient times, when it was believed that Earth was flat, sailors believed that fire-breathing dragons that lived under the Earth. If a ship sailed too far out in the ocean, the sailors believed it would be consumed by fire breathing beasts that men could not destroy. (See Job 40.) The phrase, “This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die.” is a divine promise. Even though the 144,000 cannot be killed until their work is done, God will treat those attempting to harm God’s servants as though they did harm them because that was their intent. The destiny of these wicked people will be death by fire at the Second Coming (Revelation 19:20) or at the end of the 1,000 years. (Revelation 20:15)

 

“These [the Two Witnesses] men [the word “men” is supplied by translators, it is not in the Greek text] have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying [See 1 Kings 17:1. The Holy Spirit told King Ahab through the prophet Elijah there would be no more rain. God has used famine a number of times to punish nations for their rebellion. See also 2 Samuel 21, Jeremiah 11 and Ezekiel 5:12-17.] And they [like Moses and Aaron, the 144,000 will] have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want. Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast [that is, the lamb-like beast in Revelation 13:11-18] that comes up from the Abyss [Lucifer, the Antichrist, who comes up out of the Abyss at the fifth trumpet. Revelation 9:1-11] will attack them, and overpower and kill them.” (Revelation 11:6,7)

 

Note: In the chapter on the seven trumpets, we investigated the first global earthquake at length – the earthquake marks the commencement of the Great Tribulation. (Revelation 8:5) I present the idea that the first global earthquake will break up the world into 144,000 cells with one of the 144,000 located in each cell. We also investigated the destruction of one third of mankind during the sixth trumpet. (Revelation 9:15) You may recall that Lucifer sets up his theocracy during the sixth trumpet and all who refuse to abandon their religion and worship him as Lord of lords and King of kings will be targeted for slaughter. (Revelation 13:15)

 

These matters congeal in a simple way. When everyone in a given cell has firmly made their decision – for or against the gospel – the prophet working that cell will have completed his assignment. Because everyone in each geographic cell has either been sealed or received the mark of the beast, the work and influence of the Two Witnesses will end. Lucifer’s forces will then be permitted to kill most, if not all, of the 144,000. If any of the 144,000 remains alive, they will not be able to work miracles or speak with power after the 1,260th day. I do not expect all of the 144,000 to die on the same day. I do not expect all of the 144,000 to die on the same day. However, I do believe that most, if not all, of God’s servants will be dead on or before the 1,260th day of the Great Tribulation.

 

It was the custom in ancient times for kings to leave bodies of their enemy lying in the streets to show contempt for their rebellion. In this sense, “Their bodies [of the 144,000, the arms and legs of the Two Witnesses] will lie in the street of the great city [the great whore, the universal city of “Babylon the Great”], which is figuratively called Sodom [because she is like Sodom, full of people controlled by passions of greed and sexual immorality] and Egypt [who, like Pharaoh, hardened his heart ten times], where also their Lord was crucified. [Jesus was not crucified in Sodom or Egypt, however, Jesus did say that spiritually speaking, Jerusalem was worse than Sodom and Egypt! Luke 10:12, 11:31,32] For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation [all over the world] will gaze on their bodies [of God’s servants] and refuse them burial. (Revelation 11:8)

 

Since the topic was addressed near the beginning g of this study, two summary points will be made. First, the great city is the great whore, Lucifer’s theocracy, which will set up during the sixth trumpet. (Revelation 17:18) Lucifer’s theocracy is also called “the image to the beast” a modified replica of Babylon’s original church-state.

(Revelation 13:15) The great city is not a geographical location on Earth. Instead, the great city is a governing system that encompasses the whole world. In other words, the bodies of the Two Witnesses (actually, the bodies of the 144,000 through whom the Two Witnesses speak) are not going to be viewed at a particular street address in a given city. Geographically speaking, the dead bodies of the 144,000 will be found all over the world. 

 

Second, the language, “bodies lying in the street,” shows gross contempt. Consider these two passages that speak of God’s anger toward Israel: “Therefore the Lord’s anger burns against his people; his hand is raised and he strikes them down. The mountains shake, and the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.” (Isaiah 5:25)

 

“Therefore, this is what the Lord says about the prophets who are prophesying in my name: I did not send them, yet they are saying, “No sword or famine will touch this land.’ Those same prophets will perish by sword and famine. And the people are prophesying to will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and sword. There will be no one to bury them or their wives, their sons or their daughters. I will pour out on them the calamity they deserve.” (Jeremiah 14:15,16, italics mine)

 

When the 144,000 are killed, no one will care enough to even bury them. The wicked will despise the 144,000 and the remaining saints will be hiding from the wicked. Finally, notice that Jesus will avenge the death of His servants. (Jeremiah 51:6; Revelation 18:6) When Jesus arrives at the Second Coming, He will throw the beast (the leopard-like beast, Babylon) and the false prophet (Lucifer) into a lake of fire and He will kill the remaining wicked with a command that comes out of His mouth. (Revelation 19:19-21) The bodies of the wicked will also lie in the street of the great city “…. and the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.” (Revelation 19:21) The righteous meet the Lord in the air before the wicked are slain. No one will be left on Earth to bury the dead. 

 

Day 1,265

 

“The inhabitants of the earth will gloat [rejoice] over them [the bodies of the 144,000] and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. [For 1,260 days, the Holy Spirit and God’s Word will torment each person spiritually until he or she either (1) submits to the gospel of Jesus, or (2) grieves away the Holy Spirit and commits the unpardonable sin.

(Revelation 14:11) By the time the 1,26oth day is reached, every decision will have been made and a large majority will rejoice to be set free from the torment caused by the Two Witnesses.] But [their celebration over the deaths of the 144,000 will prove to be premature because] after three and half days a breath of life from God entered them [the 144,000], and they [came to life and] stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them [the wicked, particularly those who participated in killing them].

(Revelation 11:10,11) 

 

What is the point of gazing on the bodies of the 144,000 for three and one-half days? Why is there a factional part of a day in this prophecy when all other prophetic time periods in Daniel and Revelation are given as whole days? There may be several reasons behind God’s plan for doing this, but I can think of one. We know that God measures a day from sundown to sundown. (Genesis 1; Leviticus 23:32) For the sake of discussion, suppose the 1,260 days end on a Tuesday, February 3 at sundown (local time). About twelve hours later, at sunrise local time, Wednesday morning, February 4, Lucifer announces the 144,000 have been annihilated and the wicked begin celebrating. Their drunken celebration continues through Wednesday (the day light part, that is, half a day), Thursday, Friday, and Sabbath. After three and one-half days end, the 144,000 are resurrected during the early morning hours) like Jesus) on Sunday, February 8. I like to imagine something like this happening: Even though it is still dark, a glorious light illumines each dead prophet as he or she comes to life. They walk about. Word breaks out and everyone goes out to see them. The wicked are totally undone – overcome with trembling and anxiety. Then, a loud voice from Heaven says to the 144,000, “Come up here.”

 

If this scenario is possible, the timing becomes interesting because first fruits were always presented to the Lord on a Sunday in ancient times. Jesus Himself, the first fruits of the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20), presented Himself to the Father on Sunday morning! (John 20: 1,17) Since the 144,000 will be the first fruits of a numberless multitude who will come out of the Great Tribulation, it is more than coincidental that they should be presented to God on Sunday. “These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.” (Revelation 14:4, italics mine)

 

“Then they [the 144,000] heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they went to heaven in a cloud [of glory], while their enemies looked on. At that very hour [all over the world] there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city [a portion of the great whore] collapsed. Seven thousand people {Lucifer’s employees] were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors [the saints who are in hiding or awaiting death in dungeons and prisons] were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe [the sixth trumpet] has passed; the third woe [the seven bowls] is coming soon.” (Revelation 11:12-14)

 

Seventh Trumpet

 

We examined the details of the seventh trumpet (which follows the resurrection and ascension of the 144,000) in the previous study. There is no need to go over those details again. However, there is one interesting point that should be emphasized. During the seventh trumpet, the Ark of the Covenant will be displayed from Heaven. The whole world will be the box that contains one of the Two Witnesses! Even though this matter was also discussed at length in the previous study, it is important to understand that the people on Earth will be clearly divided. One group will have the plumb line of God’s law written in their hearts and minds (Hebrews 8:10-12) while the other group will be branded with an indelible tattoo showing that they preferred rebellion and defiance.

 

Finally, it is important to notice that the 144,000 will be glorified in the eyes of the wicked before they are taken to Heaven. God’s true prophets will be taken to Heaven to watch the destruction of the false prophet, Lucifer. Their grueling 1,260 days are over and all that remains to be done on Earth is the execution of the seven bowls – God’s merciless vengeance on then wicked. When Jesus appears at the Second Coming, 144,000 ordinary prophets will return with Him. At that time, a numberless multitude of people from every nation, people, language, and tribe who heard and received salvation through the sacrifice and suffering of 144,000 ordinary people, will rise in the air to meet the 144,000, who were empowered by the Holy Spirit to preach the law of God. Given the miserable failures of Israel (the single lampstand) and Christians (the seven lampstands), the harvest produced by God’s Two Witnesses will be awesome – and the word awesome will prove to be a gross understatement.

 

“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29)           

 

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