Prophecies in Daniel:

In 605 BC Daniel and members of the Jewish nobility were deported to Babylon. In subsequent years more Jews were deported to Babylon until only the poorest Jews remained in their land. Jeremiah declared that the exile was punishment for their idolatry and rebellion against God, and prophesied it would last 70 years.

In the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede, Daniel suddenly realized that the 70 years of captivity prophesied by Jeremiah were nearly over.[1] He therefore prayed to God in confession of his and Israel’s sin, and asked God to complete his plans of deliverance.[2]

In response, God sent the angel Gabriel to instruct Daniel. Gabriel began by saying, “‘Seventy sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, …to bring in everlasting righteousness, …and to anoint the most holy.”[3]

In effect Gabriel told him, “Seventy years is not enough.” It has cured Israel of idolatry—to this day Jews shun all idolatrous worship. But it has not cured Israel of its basic rebelliousness against God. To do that—“to finish transgression” and “to bring in everlasting righteousness”—requires “70 sevens” of years. That can only be done through “Messiah, the Prince,”[4] the Most Holy One.

The first 69 “sevens” ended with Jesus’ death on the cross—Messiah was “cut off.”[5] Forty years later the Romans, “the people of the ruler who will come,” destroyed the city of Jerusalem and its Temple.

But there is one “seven” still to come. In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia,[6] Gabriel brought Daniel more information concerning the end times. Speaking of the last “seven,” Gabriel said, “There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people [the Jews]—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered… Those who are wise”—the margin says, “those who impart wisdom”—will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.”[7]

Someone asks: “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?”

The answer: “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed…

“Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.”[8]

Now almost 2000 years later, the time for the 70th “seven” is at hand. It is time for the nation of Israel to accept that Jesus is their Messiah. Who will help the wise to understand? The two witnesses in Jerusalem and the 144,000. They will “impart wisdom” and “lead many to righteousness.”

 

Revelation chapter 12

 

Revelation chapter 11 describes what is happening in Jerusalem during the first half of the Tribulation. For 42 months, or 1260 days, two witnesses are preaching like Elijah did against Ahab. Like Elijah, the two witnesses have the power to shut up the sky so it doesn’t rain. Like Moses, they have the power to turn water into blood and strike the earth with plagues.

Revelation chapter 12 describes in symbolic images what is happening in the Jewish world outside of Jerusalem. The “woman” is the one prophesied in Genesis 3:15 whose offspring will crush the serpent’s head. The fulfillment of this prophecy began with a woman, Mary, giving birth to Jesus, who crushed the serpent’s power by dying on the cross and rising again. The fulfillment continues as the woman, this time Israel, gives birth to a “male child” who is destined to “rule all the nations with an iron scepter.”

 

Who is this male child?

  1. Not Jesus

The male child is not Jesus. Though Jesus rose from the dead, He was not “snatched up to God and to his throne.” After the resurrection Jesus lived on earth for another forty days. When He ascended to heaven for good, Jesus did so as people watched until a cloud hid Him from sight.[9] He was not gone “in the twinkling of an eye”[10] as will occur with the rapture.

Though Jesus will rule with an iron scepter,[11] He is not the only one. As the angel told the church in Thyatira, he “who overcomes and does my will to the end” will also be given authority to rule over the nations with an iron scepter.[12] The “male child” is one of those who qualifies as an overcomer.

 

  1. A collective image

Most Bible scholars agree that the male child is not an individual but a collective image. The most likely candidate for the “male child” is the 144,000. This “child,” born at the beginning of the Tribulation, is sealed by the angel of God in chapter 7 both for protection and for a specific ministry.

 

  1. A group in sharp contrast to those around them

Another clue to the identity of the male child is found in the word arrhen translated ‘male’ or ‘man.’ This word is used in only three places in the Bible: two in Revelation 12 in the context of the male child,[13] and the other in a most unexpected place—in the passage in Romans which describes God’s wrath.

The passage begins: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools… Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.”

“Because of this,” the passage continues, “God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men (arrhen) also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” [14]

Using the same word arrhen to denote sexual perverts and the male child puts these two groups in sharp contrast.

  • The wrath of God is being revealed against those who “suppress the truth by their wickedness.” The 144,000 end up in heaven, “purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb” (Rev. 14:4).
  • The sexual perverts suppress the truth, whereas the 144,000 are defined by truth. “No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless” (Rev. 14:5).
  • The sexual perverts follow their “sinful desires;” the 144,000 “follow the Lamb wherever he goes” (Rev. 14:4).
  • The sexual perverts degrade their bodies with one another; the 144,000 “did not defile themselves with women” (Rev. 14:4). Nor did they defile themselves with other men—that would be unthinkable—“they kept themselves pure.”

 

Is this passage in Romans part of the message that the 144,000 preach? Is that part of the reason why the 144,000 need to be sealed with God’s protection?

Standing up for the Bible definition of marriage—one man with one woman, and any sex outside of that context is wrong—raises the ire of society now. How much more when all Christians are removed from the earth!

 

  1. Babes in Christ

The “male child” is pictured as a newborn. These are brand new Christians—babes in Christ. Conditions in the Tribulation force them to grow up very quickly. By the time the male child is referred to again (Rev. 12:13), the word “child” has been dropped. The King James Version shows this by putting child in italics to show that the word was added by the translation team; it is not in the original Greek.

 

  1. All males, warriors

We know the 144,000 are male because we are told that they “did not defile themselves with women.”[15] That is not something that would be said of females. Why is it necessary that he be male? Because warriors in Bible times were exclusively male, and this “child” is in for a historic fight.

The Bible does not describe their battle, which rages during the first half of the Tribulation, but the Bible does describe what is going on in a parallel universe in the heavenlies. There is “war in heaven” as Michael, the great prince who protects the Jewish people,[16] fights the dragon and his angels. The war on earth is a battle for the souls of mankind. The Tribulation is mankind’s last chance to turn to God. It is now or never.

The male child will “fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,”[17] and will be persecuted fiercely for doing so.

 

  1. Evangelists, especially to the Jews

The male child has a specific ministry. For thousands of years God has been promising to make His people a holy nation. Now He is fulfilling that promise, and using the 144,000 as part of that process. The 144,000 will be evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the absence of the Church. While the two witnesses are preaching in Jerusalem, the 144,000 are preaching throughout the world.

The “time of Jacob’s trouble” will refine God’s chosen people. Jeremiah describes the time of the restoration of Israel, beginning with the image of the pain of childbirth.

 

“Can a man bear children? Then why do I see every strong man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor, every face turned deathly pale? How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it.

“‘In that day,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘I will break the yoke off their necks and will tear off their bonds… Instead they will serve the LORD their God and David their king… Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished… Because of your great guilt and many sins I have done these things to you. But all who devour you will be devoured… Those who plunder you will be plundered; all who make spoil of you I will despoil. But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds… So you will be my people, and I will be your God… The fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart… At that time,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they will be my people.’”[18]

 

In the middle of the seven years the two witnesses are snatched up to heaven, and the survivors of the earthquake which accompanies that event give glory to the God of heaven.[19] The two witnesses have succeeded in bringing many into the Kingdom.

At the same time, the 144,000 are snatched up, leaving “the woman” (believing Jews) on earth as the remaining target of the dragon’s hate. The woman flees “into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.” The woman flies by airplane—“the two wings of a great eagle”—“to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach.” When God miraculously protects the woman from the dragon, he stomps off in a rage “to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” [20] This wording suggests that “her offspring” are converted Gentiles.

With the two witnesses and the 144,000 safe in heaven and the woman safe in the desert, the “beast out of the sea,”—the Anti-Christ, Satan’s human agent on earth—makes war on the saints who are not protected. This war lasts 42 months. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.[21]

These saints are of the later crop. The “wheat” has already been harvested.[22]

 

Revelation chapter 14

 

144,000 in Heaven

Chapter 14 gives us the final picture of the male child, who has been snatched up into heaven. The 144,000 are given a special audience with the King of kings. There “before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders” the 144,000 perform a new song which no one has heard before.

Usually once a song has been composed anyone can sing it, but this song is different. “No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.”[23] What the 144,000 have accomplished and what they have experienced is so unique that the rest of us believers will not be able to truthfully sing the words of their song. The 144,000 have been uniquely pure from a sexual standpoint, uniquely truthful, uniquely blameless, and uniquely dedicated to following “the Lamb wherever he goes.”

 

Postscript

With the 144,000 gone and the remaining saints hunkered down to survive the rage of the dragon, God in His mercy has not left the world without a witness to the truth. With the evangelists gone, angels give warning.

One angel flies in midair, proclaiming the eternal gospel “to every nation, tribe, language and people.” Another angel warns against the danger of capitulating to the world empire, described as “Babylon the Great,” an empire which is as good as dead. A third angel warns against worshiping the beast and receiving his mark on the forehead or on the hand.

Those who don’t heed the angels’ warnings will face the final seven bowls of God’s wrath.

After the battle of Armageddon and the physical return of Jesus to earth, Satan will be bound for a thousand years. At the beginning of the thousand years, often referred to as the Millennium, the 144,000 and the Tribulation saints will be raised from the dead. Then they will reign with Christ on earth for a thousand years.

John says, “I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”[24]

 

 

[1] Dan. 9:1-2. NIV unless otherwise noted.

[2] Dan. 9:17-19

[3] Dan. 9:24, emphasis added.

[4] Dan. 9:25, KJV

[5] Dan. 9:26

[6] Dan. 10:1. The message is in ch. 10-12.

[7] Dan. 12:1-4

[8] Dan. 12:6-7, 9-10

[9] Acts 1:9

[10] 1 Cor. 15:52

[11] Rev. 19:15

[12] Rev. 2:26-27

[13] Rev. 12:5, 13

[14] Rom. 1:18-22, 24, 26-27

[15] Rev. 14:4

[16] Dan. 12:1

[17] Eph. 6:19

[18] Jer. 30:6-9, 11, 15-17, 22, 24; 31:1

[19] Rev. 11:12-13

[20] Rev. 12:6, 14-17. Emphasis added.

[21] Rev. 13:1, 5, 7, 10; 14:12-13

[22] For a fuller explanation, see “Firstfruits of Later Crops,” Part 5 in a series by Elsa Henderson. See also “Time and Harvest” and “Wheat and Tares.”

[23] Rev. 14:3

[24] Rev. 20:4

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