The First Half of the Tribulation: The Lamb and His Witnesses



by  Ron Rhodes


IN THIS CHAPTER



The Lamb and the Seven-Sealed Scroll  

The 144,000 Jewish Evangelists  

Gods Two Prophetic Witnesses  



The Lamb and the Seven-Sealed Scroll


In Revelation 5, we witness an awe-inspiring, Christ-exalting scene that takes place in heaven early in the tribulation period: Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, receives the seven-sealed scroll.


Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?" And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, "Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe ofJudah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals."


And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had Deen slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,

"Worthy are you to take the scroll

and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.


Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" And the four living creatures said, "Amen!" and the elders fell down and worshiped.

The references to Christ as a Lamb and Lion refer to Christ's first coming and second coming respectively........



(AND  YES  CORRECT  -  Keith Hunt)



The 144,000 Jewish Evangelists



In Revelation 7A (niv), the aposde John writes, "Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel." Who are these 144,000?



(WELL  YOU  WILL  NOTICE  RIGHT  AWAY.....THEY  ARE  ACCORDING  TO  FUNDAMENTAL  CHRISTIAN  PROPHETS....ALL  JEWS!!!  NOTHING  COULD  BE  FURTHER  FROM  THE  TRUTH!!  Keith Hunt)



Some Christians have taken this as metaphorically referring to the church. However, the context indicates the verse is referring to 144,000 Jewish men—12,000 from each tribe—who live during the future tribulation period (see Revelation 14:4). The very fact that specific tribes are mentioned in this context, along with specific numbers for those tribes, removes all possibility that this is a figure of speech. Nowhere else in the Bible does a reference to 12 tribes of Israel mean anything but 12 tribes of Israel. Indeed, the word tribe is never used of anything but a literal ethnic group in Scripture.



(NOW  HOW  CAN  THEY  BE  JEWS  IF  THE  JEWS  HAVE ALREADY  GONE  THROUGH  EZEKIEL  38  AND  39,  WHERE  GOD  HAS  GIVEN  THEM  HIS  SPIRIT [EZ. 39:29]  - THEY  WOULD  HAVE  DISAPPEARED  FROM  EARTH  IN  THE  "SECRET"  RAPTURE  BEFORE  THE  TRIBULATION  BEGINS  ACCORDING  TO  THE  TEACHING  OF  MOST  PROTESTANT  PROPHETS....WELL  I  GUESS  YOU  COULD  ARGUE  THEY  ARE  JEWS  IN  OTHER  NATIONS  OF  THE  EARTH  -  Keith Hunt)



The backdrop to a proper understanding of the 144,000 during the tribulation is that God had originally chosen the Jews to be His witnesses. He appointed them to share the good news of God with all other people around the world (see Isaiah 42:6; 43:10). The Jews were to be Gods representatives to the Gentile peoples. Biblical history reveals that the Jews failed at this task, especially when they didn't recognize Jesus as the divine Messiah. During the future tribulation, these 144,000 Jews—who become believers in Jesus the divine Messiah sometime following the rapture—will finally fulfill this mandate from God and be His witnesses all around the world. Their work will yield a mighty harvest of souls (see Revelation 7:9-14).

These witnesses will be "sealed" (divinely protected) by God as they carry out their service for Him during the tribulation (Revelation 14:1-4; see also 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30).



(NOW  THE  FULL  TRUTH  IS  THEY  ARE  PEOPLE  FROM  12  TRIBES  OF  ISRAEL,  AND  JEWS  ARE  ONLY  FROM  THE  TRIBE  OF  JUDAH,  WITH  LEVI  AND  BENJAMIN  AMONG  THEM.  FOR  THE  WJOLE  TRUTH  OF  THIS  AND ALL  THE  BIBLE  PROPHETS,  SEE  MY  EXPOUNDING  OF  THEM  ALL  FOR  YOU  ON  MY  WEBSITE  -  Keith Hunt)



Some have wondered why the Old Testament tribes of Dan and Ephraim are omitted from this list of Jewish tribes. The Old Testament has some 20 variant lists of tribes, so no two lists of the 12 tribes of Israel must be identical. Most scholars today agree that Dans tribe was omitted because that tribe was guilty of idolatry on many occasions and, as a result, was largely obliterated (Leviticus 24:11; Judges 18:1,30; see also 1 Kings 12:28-29). To engage in unrepentant idolatry is to be  cut off from Gods blessing. The tribe of Ephraim was also involved in idolatry and paganized worship (Judges 17; Hosea 4:17). This is probably why both tribes were omitted from Revelation 7.



(THERE  IS  NO  ANSWER  FOR  DAN  BEING  OMITTED,  WE  SHALL  NEED  TO  WAIT  FOR  JESUS  TO  RETURN  TO  ASK  HIM  THAT  QUESTION.  EPHRAIM  IS  NOT  OMITTED,  THEY  ARE  IN  THE  NAME  "JOSEPH"  -  Keith  Hunt)



Others have wondered why the tribe of Levi was included in this list of Jewish tribes rather than rnamtaining its special status as a priestly tribe under the Mosaic law. Levi is probably included here because the priestly functions of the tribe of Levi ceased with the coming of Christ, the ultimate high priest. Indeed, the Levitical priesthood was fulfilled in the person of Christ (Hebrews 7—10). With no further need for the services of the tribe of Levi as priests, God had no further reason for keeping this tribe distinct and separate from the others. This is probably why they were properly included in the tribal listing in the book of Revelation.


As for the chronology of when these 144,000 Jewish evangelists emerge on the scene, I personally believe this event occurs in the early part of the tribulation period, sometime after the rapture. Some Bible expositors suggest that the 144,000 must engage in their work of evangelism early in the tribulation, for the believers who are martyred in the fifth seal judgment (Revelation 6:9-11) are among the fruit of their labors, and the seal judgments are definitely in the first half of the tribulation period.



(AGAIN.....WE'VE  HAD  THE  "RAPTURE" [THE  ONE  THAT  IS  SECRET,  INVISIBLE,  ANY  SECOND  COMING  OF  CHRIST  AS  THEY  TEACH  IT]  AND  THE  "JEWS"  [TO THEM]  HAVE  GONE  THROUGH  EZEKIEL  38 AND 39 [ACCORDING  TO  THE  AUTHOR]  -  SO  HAVING  RECEIVED  GOD'S  SPIRIT [EZ.39:29]  THEY  ARE  IN  THE  "RAPTURE"  -  IN  HEAVEN  AND  NOT  ON  EARTH.  SO  THE  144,000  "JEWS" [TO  THEM]  CANNOT  BE,  UNLESS  YOU  ARGUE  THEY  ARE  IN  DIFFERENT  NATIONS  AND  DID  NOT  RETURN  TO  THE  HOLY  LAND  BEFORE  ALL  THIS  TAKES  PALCE  -  Keith Hunt)



These Jews will probably become believers in Jesus in a way similar to that of the aposde Paul, himself a Jew, who had a Damascus-road encounter with the risen Christ (see Acts 9:1-9). Interestingly, in 1 Corinthians 15:8, the apostle Paul refers to himself in his conversion to Christ as "one untimely born." Some Bible expositors, such as J. Dwight Pentecost, believe Paul may have been alluding to his 144,000 Jewish tribulation brethren, who would be spiritually "born" in a way similar to him—only Paul was spiritually born far before them.



(DO  YOU  SEE  THE  BRANDED  MIND-SET  OF  PEOPLE?  THOUGH  EACH  TRIBE [BUT  DAN]  IS  MENTIONED,  THEY  ARE  ALL  JEWS  TO  THEM.  HOW  CAN  SOMEONE FROM  ISSACHAR,  OR  SIMEON,  OR  JOSEPH,  BE  A  JEW?

IT  IS  TRUE  THAT  THREE  TRIBES [JUDAH,  BENJAMIN,  AND  LEVI]  BECAME  KNOWN  AS  "JEWS"  IN  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  TIME;  BUT  THE  OTHER  TRIBES  OF  ISRAEL,  THE  SO-CALLED  "LOST  TEN  TRIBES  OF  ISRAEL"  NEVER  RETURNED  EN MASS,  WITH  JUDAH  TO  THE  HOLY  LAND,  AFTER  THE  70  YEARS  CAPTIVITY  IN  BABYLON;  WHY  EVEN  MANY  JEWS  DID  NOT  RETURN.  THAT  IS  ANOTHER  SUBJECT  COVERED  ON  MY  WEBSITE  -  Keith Hunt)



God's Two Prophetic Witnesses



During the tribulation period, God will raise up two mighty witnesses who will testify to the true God with astounding power. In fact, the power of these witnesses bring to mind Elijah (1 Kings 17; Mal-achi 4:5) and Moses (Exodus 7—11). In the Old Testament, two witnesses were required to confirm testimony (see Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15; Matthew 18:16; John 8:17; Hebrews 10:28).

I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.

These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire (Revelation 11:3-6).


These witnesses will wear clothing made of goat or camel hair, garments that symbolically express mourning over the wretched condition and lack of repentance in the world. The reference to olive trees and lampstands is intended to symbolize the light of spiritual revival. Those who stand against these two witnesses will encounter a fiery response!


Many expositors believe the two witnesses will actually be Moses and Elijah. Here are three of the reasons for this view.

The tribulation is a period in which God deals with the Jews—just as He did in the first 69 weeks (that is, weeks of years) of Daniel. Moses and Elijah are two of the most influential figures in Jewish history.

Moses and Elijah appeared on the mount of transfiguration with Jesus. This shows their centrality.

The miracles portrayed in Revelation 11 are very similar to those previously performed by Moses and Elijah in Old Testament times.



(MOSES  AND  ELIJAH  ARE  DEAD!  THEY  ARE  NOT  IN HEAVEN!  THEY  WILL  NOT  BE  THESE  TWO  WITNESSES,  THAT  I  GUARANTEE  YOU!  THE  SUBJECT  OF  WHAT  IS  DEATH,  AND  ARE  MOSES,  ENOCH,  AND  ELIJAH,  IN  HEAVEN,  IS  COVERED  IN  STUDIES  ON  MY  WEBSITE  -  Keith Hunt)



These reasons are valid, but one cannot be dogmatic. The two witnesses maybe two entirely new prophets of God.



(THEY  WILL  INDEED  BE  -  Keith Hunt)



Scholars debate whether the ministry of the two witnesses belongs in the first half or the second half of the tribulation. Their ministry will last 1260 days, which measures out to precisely three and a half years.

Obviously, this is equivalent to half of the tribulation period. However, the context of Revelation 11 does not reveal whether this is the first or second half of the tribulation.

Most prophecy scholars conclude that the two witnesses do their miraculous work during the first three and a half years. The reason is that the antichrists execution of them seems to fit best with other events that will transpire in the middle of the tribulation—such as the antichrist's exaltation of himself to godhood in defiance of the true God and His witnesses.



(SO  HERE  WE  GO  AGAIN  WITH  THIS  7  YEAR  TRIBULATION  PERIOD,  THAT  IS  NO  WHERE  MENTIONED  IN  THE  BIBLE.  THE  PROTESTANT  PROPHETS  HAVE  DANIEL  9  ALL  MESSED  UP.  THEY  DO  NOT  EVEN  READ  THEIR  OWN  OLD  SCHOLARS  BIBLE  COMMENTARIES,  SUCH  AS  ADAM  CLARKE  AND  MATTHEW  HENRY,  FOR  THE  TRUTH  OF  DANIEL  9.  THE  BOOK  OF  REVELATION  ONLY  GIVES  US  42  MONTHS,  1260  DAYS,  TIME, TIMES, AND HALF A TIME = 3  AND  1/2  YEARS.  THE  TWO  WITNESSES  PREACH  DURING  THE  LAST  3  AND  1/2  YEARS  OF  THIS  AGE  -  Keith Hunt)



Moreover, the resurrection of the two witnesses—after being dead for three days—would make a much bigger impact on the world in the middle of the tribulation than at the end, when Armageddon is in full swing, just prior to the second coming of Christ.



(WELL  IT  WILL  BE  AT  THE  END  OF  THE  ONLY  3  AND  1/2  YEARS  GIVEN  IN  THE  BIBLE  FOR  THE  TRIBULATION  AND  DAY  OF  THE  LORD.  THEY  WILL  BE  RESURRECTED  TO  LIFE  [PHYSICAL  -  IT  DOES  NOT  SAY  IMMORTAL  LIFE]  SHORTLY  BEFORE  JESUS  RETURNS  [DANIEL  12  -  LAST  VERSES]   ADDS  ADDITIONAL  DAYS  YET  TO  BE  ADDED  TO  THE  42  MONTHS  OR  1260  DAYS,  BEFORE  DANIEL  STANDS [IS  RESURRECTED]  AT  THE  COMING  OF  THE  ONLY  COMING  OF  CHRIST  GIVEN  IN  THE  BIBLE  TO  ESTABLISH  THE  KINGDOM  OF  GOD  ON  EARTH  -  Keith Hunt)



In any event, the martyrdom of the two witnesses—apparently at the midpoint of the tribulation—is described in detail in Revelation 11:7-12:



(THERE  IS  NO  MID-POINT!  THERE  IS  ONLY  42  MONTHS,  OR  1260  PLUS  MORE  DAYS  GIVEN  IN  DANIEL  12,  TO  END  THIS  AGE,  AND  THE  ONLY  ONE  COMING  AGAIN  OF  CHRIST  -  Keith Hunt)



When they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here!" And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them.



(NOTICE  "CLOUD"  AND  "HEAVEN"  -  IT  DOES  NOT  SAY  INTO  THE  HEAVEN  WHERE  GOD  LIVES  -  Keith Hunt)



This resurrection will serve as a mighty testimony to the power of God during the tribulation. How awesome a day this will be. (I will address these two witnesses again in chapter 11, which deals with events at the midpoint of the tribulation.)

..........



AND  I  WILL  ANSWER  HIS  CHAPTER  11  WHEN  WE  GET  TO  IT  -  Keith  Hunt