The Two Witnesses and the 144,000 Evangelists
Regathering of Israel – Israel will be regathered to the land of Palestine. Anti-Christ will make his covenant with her and curry favor with her by securing her borders, ending the Arab-Israeli conflict, rebuilding the temple, reinstituting animal sacrifices, reestablishing a priesthood. Israel will lower her military guard – trusting in the Anti-Christ and his military might to keep her secure.
Invasion of Israel – Israel will be invaded by Russia and her allies (see “World Peace and the Satanic Alliance of Nations”). The Lord will intervene and provide supernatural deliverance. This battle begins just before the mid-point of the Great Tribulation and concludes at Armageddon.
The Two Witnesses—During the last 3½ years of the Great Tribulation, God will raise up two witness who will preach the gospel in Jerusalem. They are the two most highly regarded, respected men in all the Old Testament. If the Jewish people and the world will listen to anyone it will be to them. Who are these two witnesses? Revelation 11:3-13 describes them. They have the power to shut up the sky so that it does not rain during the days of their preaching. Who did that in the Old Testament? Elijah. In 1 Kings 17:1 Elijah calls for a drought upon the land in response to wicked king Ahab. So Elijah, the great prophet, is one of the two witnesses. They have the power to turn water into blood and call down plagues upon the earth. Who did that in the Old Testament? Moses. In Exodus 7:17-19 Moses turns the Nile and all the rivers of Egypt to blood in the first of 10 plagues poured out upon Egypt. In Matthew 17:3 when Jesus was on the Mount of Transfiguration with Peter, James, and John, He met with Moses and Elijah and they discussed His coming departure. These same two will bear witness to Jesus during the Great Tribulation.
The 144, 000 Jewish Evangelists—The Jewish Remnant – During the Great Tribulation, a remnant of Israel (144,000) will believe in Jesus as the promised Jewish Messiah (Revelation 7:1-8, 14:1-5). These 144,000 are celibate men who have opted not to marry so they may devote themselves to Christ. These 144,000 are the “first fruits” or vanguard of a larger group of Israelites who will turn to the Lord and enter the Millennium with Him.
Several interesting facts about the 12 tribes listed in Revelation 7:1-8. There is no mention of the tribe of Dan. Why? Two thoughts put forth by Bible scholars are that Dan was guilty of idolatry on numerous occasions (Leviticus 24:11, Judges 18, 1 Kings 12:28, 29). The second reason for Dan’s exclusion is more intriguing. In Jacob’s prophetic blessing of his 12 sons prior to his death, Jacob calls Dan “a serpent in the way” one who bites the horse’s heel. What makes this interesting is that Satan appears to Adam and Eve as a serpent. Satan is also described in Revelation 12:15 as a serpent. The thinking is that Dan is the Serpent’s tribe from which the Anti-Christ will come. He is Satan’s useful pawn.
Another interesting fact about the 12 tribes listed in Revelation 7 is that Joseph is listed in place of his younger son, Ephraim, yet Manasseh, his older son is included in the list. Why? Some have suggested that this means the list of 12 tribes is symbolic of the church. Others that it is literal Israel and Joseph has taken Ephraim’s place due to Ephraim’s sin on their part in dividing the kingdom into two parts with Jeroboam and Rehoboam as kings of the north and south respectively. The northern 10 tribes of Israel are interchangeably called Israel or Ephraim. Dan was one of the 10 tribes which broke away from the southern 2 tribes.
The Persecution of Israel – Following the Abomination of Desolation, Israel will undergo great persecution and a wave of Anti-Semitism such as was unknown even in the days of Hitler will sweep across the world. Jews will be blamed for the woes of the world, for giving Jesus to the world and for the two witnesses who had tormented the world by their preaching. They will be persecuted and martyred.
The Great Escape – For 3 ½ years Israel will flee the wrath of Anti-Christ and the nations. She will find refuge in the wilderness. Many believe that this wilderness refuge is Petra, the ancient capital city of the nation of Edom. The refuge site, however, is never named in the Bible. Jerusalem will be taken by the Gentile armies of the world and her riches divided among them.