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The Three Witnesses to Jacob’s Trouble – Daniel, Jesus, and John – Part 2
By Randy Nettles
In Matthew 24:42-44, Jesus tells his disciples to “watch” and “be ready,” for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. If Jesus was talking about the 2nd Coming and not the Rapture, why would he warn his followers to do these things? Christians will already be gone in the Rapture at this point (2nd Coming).
Of course, this is only true if one is a pre-tribulation believer, as I am. Also, people living during the end times should be able to count 1,290 days from the abomination of desolation until the end of Jacob’s trouble, according to Daniel 12:11. The only way this might not be possible is if the conditions are so bad on earth that it is no longer possible to keep track of time, especially if it goes dark for an indefinite amount of time before His return. Mark 13 and Luke 24 give similar testimonies with a few added details. Jesus never mentions any time duration for the events of the Day of the Lord.
As I mentioned in part 1, the Day of the Lord begins with the Rapture. In Revelation 4, John’s spirit was transported to heaven, as a typology of the Rapture, where he saw God in His glory. He also saw 24 elders in white robes sitting on thrones, and they had crowns of gold on their heads. The Rapture must have already occurred as these saints were wearing crowns that symbolize their rewards that believers will receive at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
John also witnessed the seven Spirits of God and the 4 cherubim. The elders and the cherubim were all worshiping their Lord God. What a sight that must have been (and will be, when we witness it). By the way, 4 is the Biblical number for creation, so here we have God’s created beings, man and Cherubim (representing angels) worshipping God. There were 24 (4 x 6) elders representing man (man’s number is 6).
Immediately following this Rapture typology, John witnessed the unsealing of the judgment scrolls by the only one in heaven and earth that was worthy enough to open it, Jesus Christ. This occurs in Revelation 5. The number 5 is the Biblical number for grace. By God’s grace, Jesus was able to open the seals so God’s ultimate plan for redeeming mankind could be realized and finalized.
When Jesus had taken the scrolls, the 4 cherubim and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb, each having harps and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song as described in Revelation 5:9-10. “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us king and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.”
“Then John looked and heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures (cherubim), and the elders, and the number of them were ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands (innumerable) saying with a loud voice: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!’ And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!’ Then the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever” (Revelation 5:11-14).
This great gathering and worship service takes place immediately before Jesus opens the seals, which contain the wrath and judgment of God against unrepentant man. Before it’s over, all of God’s creation will be affected, including man, animals, fallen angels, and all of the earth.
It is widely believed by most Bible scholars that Jacob’s trouble begins with the Antichrist signing the covenant with the many (Israel and others) as described in Daniel 9:27. Shortly thereafter, the A.C. (the first horseman of the apocalypse in Revelation 6:2) rides out in conquest after the opening of the first seal by Jesus Christ. The first half of Jacob’s trouble consists of the horrendous 7 seal and 7 trumpet judgments being poured out upon the earth and its inhabitants. Other events, such as the 10 kings’ one-world government, 144,000 messianic Jewish evangelicals and worldwide revival, religious system of Ecclesiastical Babylon, and the ministry of the two witnesses in Jerusalem, also take place in the first half of Jacob’s trouble. These judgments and events are described by John in Revelation 6-11.
Revelation 11:1-2 describes the newly built third temple of God in Jerusalem and the court which is outside the temple. The first mention of a time duration is given here, as the Gentiles will tread the holy city underfoot for 42 months (approximately 3.5 years) during the last half of Jacob’s Trouble. Revelation 11:3 talks about the two witnesses prophesying during the first part of Jacob’s Trouble for exactly 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.
When the two witnesses finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. “And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified” (Revelation 11:8). Of course, this verse is referring to Jerusalem. Thanks to today’s technology, all peoples of the earth will see their dead bodies, and those in charge will not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves.
“Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them” (Revelation 11:11-12). Here we see another typology of the Rapture. Earlier, John was raptured (spirit only) alive into heaven, and now the two witnesses, who were dead, are brought back to life and then raptured into heaven. In both cases, a loud voice from heaven said, “Come up here.” Just as when Jesus ascended into heaven (10 days before the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost) “in a cloud,” so do the two witnesses ascend into heaven in a cloud.
Let’s not forget our (Christians of all ages) future rapture as described by Paul: “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
“In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly” (Revelation 11:13-14).
Seventh Trumpet: The Kingdom Proclaimed
“Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’” (Revelation 11:15).
“And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: ‘We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth’” (Revelation 11:16-18)
“Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail” (Revelation 11:19).
The 7th Trumpet ends the first part of Jacob’s Trouble. This is when the Antichrist takes absolute control of the world government system from the remaining 7 kings and begins his hellish reign on earth. However, in heaven, the inhabitants are celebrating Jesus’ kingdom as if it has already begun, as per Revelation 11:15. I believe this is because they know how things are going to end. They know Jesus wins, and Satan loses.
Revelation 12 describes the events to take place during the mid-point of Jacob’s Trouble. In the Bible, 12 is the number for government perfection and rule, especially the 12 tribes of Israel; so this chapter is aptly numbered as it deals mainly with Israel and Jacob’s trouble. Revelation 12:1-6 reads like a great pageant or production in heaven that portrays the mid-Tribulation events that are happening on the earth. The woman (clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and a crown of 12 stars on her head) in verse 1 represents Israel.
This description is reminiscent of the dream young Joseph had when he was 17 years old in the land of Canaan. “Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, ‘Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.‘ So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, ‘What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?’ And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind” (Genesis 37:9-11). This dream did come true as his brothers and father did bow down to Joseph in the land of Egypt. Of course, in Revelation 12:1, Joseph himself is the 12th star.
The child (a male child, who will rule the nations with an iron scepter) in vs. 2 is Jesus. This prophecy of Lord Jesus was first given by David in Psalm 2:8-9. “The Lord [God, the Father] has said to Me, You are My son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
The dragon in vs. 3 is Satan, and he is described as having 7 heads, 10 horns, and 7 diadems on his heads. This is referring to the Antichrist, whom Satan is controlling at this point.
Satan tries to destroy the woman, Israel, but “the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days” (Revelation 12:6). Revelation 12:7-17 describes Satan and his angels fighting a war in heaven against Michael and his angels. Satan loses the war and is cast to the earth with his fallen angels, where they persecute the woman.
“But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent” (Revelation 12:14). This reinforces Daniel’s prophecy of the saints being given unto the hands of the beast for a “time, times, and half a time” (Daniel 7:25). “The dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17).
Revelation 13 (the number for apostasy and rebellion) describes the two beasts of the end times. They are commonly called the Antichrist and the false prophet. The first beast is seen rising up out of the sea, indicating he is a Gentile. Revelation 13:2 describes the Gentile beast as having the same military characteristics as the first four beasts of Daniel 4-6. He will have the quickness and skill of a leopard to strike at his opponents, as did ancient Greece under Alexander the Great. The A.C. will have the strength and power of a bear like Darius the Mead and Cyrus the Persian. He will have the ferociousness of a lion, as did Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The A.C. will have the might to crush his enemies, as did the emperors of ancient Rome.
He is the beast that rises like the phoenix out of the ashes of the old Roman Empire, for he will be a descendant of the empire that was Rome. He could come from the lineage of the Western (Italy/Rome) empire or the Eastern (Byzantine) empire.
God will use the Antichrist to accomplish His will and judgment upon Israel and the nations who oppose God’s chosen people, just as He did with Nebuchadnezzar, Darius, Cyrus, and Alexander. At this stage (mid-tribulation), the A.C. has killed 3 of the 10 Kings who have ruled during the first part of Jacob’s Trouble. The 7 heads of Revelation 13:1 refer to the remaining 7 kings that have given their crowns (authority) to the beast. He now has all 10 crowns and absolute power and authority over the earth.
“Authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation” (Revelation 13:7). Daniel 7 also describes this same beast with the 10 horns who subdues 3 of the horns/kings. John, who represents the New Testament, and Daniel, who represents the Old Testament, are in perfect harmony regarding the end of days known as the Day of the Lord.
The A.C. receives supernatural help from Satan. “The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority” (Revelation 13:2). It is at this point the A.C. receives a mortal wound and is killed, but his deadly wound is healed, and he is resurrected from the dead. I believe this is when Satan indwells the body of the A.C. “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).
The A.C. is strengthened supernaturally by another beast coming up out of the earth. Many scholars believe this beast will be a Jew as he is said to come out of the earth, which symbolically speaks of Israel. He causes the peoples of the earth to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. “He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived” (Revelation 13:13-14).
This is a great sin against God, for it breaks the first 2 of the 10 Commandments: 1) “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). 2) “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them” (Exodus 20:4-5).
The false prophet was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should speak and cause all those who would not worship the image to be killed. I believe this “image” could be some kind of a kit that people can assemble that contains a smart chip computer link that can cause the image to talk and to listen in on their conversations to see if they are worshipping the beast or not. It could even be a robot or android that resembles the A.C., or even possibly a hologram.
“He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666″ (Revelation 13:16-18).
Of course, you know, 6 is the number for man. It is 1 shy of God’s perfect number 7. The number 3 (or 3 times) represents divine perfection. This 666 man will duplicate Satan’s error by attempting to take the place of God; and for this, he (and Satan) will pay the ultimate price…with his eternal soul, in a place called the Lake of Fire.