Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
January 31, 1998
Last Updated :
August 24, 2016
Woman In The Wilderness And 144,000, Joseph's Dream, Herod the Great Persecutes Joseph And Mary, Red Dragon: Satan And Worldly Leaders, Length Of The Beast's Reign Of Persecution, Definition Of A Jewish Year And Related Biblical Phrases, In The Midst Of The Week, My Understanding Of The Events Of The Prophet Daniel's "70th Week", General Titus Roman Legions And First Jewish-Roman War, Destruction Of Jerusalem And Temple Mount, Temple Sacrifices And Oblation Ceased, Broken Covenant And Deceptive Negotiations, Traitorous Herod Agrippa II, Ten Horns Side With Beast To Destroy Babylon The Great With Fire, Significance Of Jerusalem's Destruction On The Jewish Psyche, A Message Of Darkness Tribulation Hope Salvation Deliverance
As I explain in the series "Jesus Christ's Return: Have We Been Deceived?", as well as in "Tradition or Truth? Old Wine or New Wine?", while for many years I embraced the Futurist theological perspective -- and thus believed that many Bible prophecies remained unfulfilled -- in recent years, by God's Grace, and through a more diligent study of the Scriptures, I arrived at the conclusion that my understanding was rather flawed. As a result, I have been forced to alter my position on a number of different prophecy-related issues. Thus, as I explain in the series "The Woman in the Wilderness and the 144,000", I now believe that these Christians of the First Century who obeyed Jesus' warning -- which He had given them forty years earlier -- and who took flight from the wrath of the Roman Beast, represent the 144,000 and the Woman in the Wilderness. Consider the following verses where she and they are described in the Book of Revelation:
"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."
Revelation 12:1-17, KJV
"And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel."
Revelation 7:2-4, KJV
More specifically, following my practice of comparing verse with verse, I came to the conclusion that this woman actually represents First Century Israel -- and Mary in particular -- which not only gave birth to the Messiah -- the "man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron . . . [who] was caught up unto God, and to his throne" -- but also to the First Century Christian Church as well. This seems rather evident when we consider a dream which Joseph had in the Book of Genesis, as we see here:
"And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying."
Genesis 37:9-11, KJV
In this dream, Joseph's eleven brethren are represented by eleven stars. Therefore, it is obvious that Joseph must be the twelfth star. In like manner, the Sun represents Jacob -- Joseph's father -- and the Moon must represent his mother, according to Jacob's own words. In short, this is a symbolic picture of the nation of Israel, of which Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a part. If you have a sharp eye, you will have already noticed that the woman in Revelation is represented by the very same three symbols as we see in Joseph's dream; that is, the Sun, the Moon, and twelve stars. So again, I believe that even though their accounts were written about 1,700 years apart, the Patriarch Joseph and the Apostle John are describing the very same thing; that is, Israel.
It is also common knowledge that Joseph and Mary were in fact persecuted by evil King Herod the Great when Jesus was about two years old. Perhaps it was at that time that they put the gifts of the three magi to good use when they fled into Egypt until Herod was dead. Consider the following verses:
"And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son . . . But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life."
Matthew 2:13-15, 19-20, KJV
Concerning the Red Dragon, as you should already know, and as I point out in a number of articles, such as "Satan: His Origin, Purpose and Future", "Leviathan: An Ancient Dragon of the Sea?" and "When Was Satan Cast Out of Heaven?", this beast represents Satan himself. Verse nine in the previous group of verses is not the only place in Revelation where Satan is called a dragon or serpent. This very same kind of symbolism is repeated in chapter twenty, as we see here:
"And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,"
Revelation 20:2, KJV
However, we also know from the Scriptures that this word "dragon" is likewise sometimes used to describe the nature of the leaders of nations as well, all of whom merely serve as puppets of the great Red Dragon himself. These worldly "dragons" dwell in the "rivers" and "seas" of people over whom they rule. Consider the following two verses which prove this point:
"Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself."
Ezekiel 29:3, KJV
"And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."
Revelation 17:15, KJV
Thus, while the Red Dragon in the Book of Revelation is a symbol for Satan, it can likewise represent King Herod who was indeed a dragon in Israel who persecuted Joseph, Mary and the Christ child. Furthermore, it was Herod the Great's descendants -- there were seven of them in all -- who also persecuted the seed of the fledgling Christian Church. We know that the phrase "remnant of her seed" represents the First Century Church, due to the fact that John writes that they "have the testimony of Jesus Christ". Therefore, they must be Christians.
Before returning to our main discussion regarding the vile deceiver known as the Antichrist, or Son of Perdition, let me call your attention to one more important point regarding the previous verses from the Book of Revelation. You will notice that we are told that the dragon persecutes the seed of the woman "for a time, and times, and half a time". So exactly what does this mean?
As I point out in the articles "Abomination of Desolation: Explained!", "The Great Tribulation and the Rapture" and "Do You Want Love and Light, Or Rod and Wrath?", it is Biblical code which represents the duration of the Beast's reign of terror and persecution against the Church in Israel during the seven-year First Jewish-Roman War. This phrase is equal to the same amount of time as the "thousand two hundred and threescore days" which are likewise mentioned in those same verses we read earlier in Revelation chapter twelve. Please note that I am not saying that this period signifies the full length of time that the Beast maintains political power. It is simply the amount of time that he is permitted by God to persecute the Church.
Aside from persecuting the Saints of God, both the Books of Daniel and Revelation inform us that the Beast puts an end to the Daily Sacrifice in the Temple in Jerusalem, sets up the Abomination of Desolation, and blasphemes against God for a period of three and a half Jewish years. This period is mentioned in these prophetic books in all of these ways:
1. "forty-two months"
2. "1,260 days"
3. "time and times and the dividing of time" (3 1/2)
4. "time, times, and an half" (3 1/2)
If you take the time to do the math yourself, what you will discover is that forty-two months is actually the same as Revelation's and Daniel's 1,260 days, and equates to three and a half Jewish years, or "time and times and the dividing of time", or "time, times, and an half". The reason why this is so is because unlike our modern year, the Jewish year in the Bible consists of twelve thirty-day months, for a total of 360 days per year. Thus, three and a half years in the Jewish lunar calendar equates to exactly 1,260 days.
Aside from the verses I already shared with you from the twelfth chapter of Revelation, following are the additional verses where these various phrases are found:
"And he [the Beast] shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until A TIME AND TIMES AND THE DIVIDING OF TIME."
Daniel 7:25, KJV
"And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for A TIME, TIMES, AND AN HALF; and when he [the Beast] shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished."
Daniel 12:7, KJV
"But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot FORTY AND TWO MONTHS. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth."
Revelation 11:2-3, KJV
"And there was given unto him [the Beast] a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue FORTY AND TWO MONTHS. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations."
Revelation 13:5-7, KJV
In fact, the Prophet Daniel mentions two other very short periods which follow right after this 1,260-day period. The first lasts for thirty days -- bringing us to 1,290 days -- and the second one lasts for an additional forty-five days, bringing us to a total of 1,335 days. For many years now, I have wondered what these two additional short periods of time represent, and what happens during them. While I have made a few guesses over the years, I cannot say that I know with absolute certainty. Following are the verses from the Book of Daniel where these extra time periods are mentioned:
"And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days."
Daniel 12:11-12, KJV
As I explain in some of the aforementioned articles, directly related to these various Biblical phrases which represent the same amount of time, is the phrase "in the midst of the week", as we see here:
". . . and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and IN THE MIDST OF THE WEEK he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease . . ."
Daniel 9:26-27, KJV
If you have read some of my related articles, then you will already know that at this current time, I lean towards the following understanding regarding the previous two verses:
• The phrase "the people of the prince that shall come" is a direct reference to General Titus and his Roman legions.
• The phrase "destroy the city and the sanctuary" obviously refers to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in the year 70 AD, or close to it. It really depends on the accuracy of the historical record. I accept this date by faith.
• The phrase "with a flood" refers to a wave of Roman armies or legions, as I explain in a number of other articles.
• The phrase "unto the end of the war" is referring to the First Jewish-Roman War.
• The phrase "desolations are determined" refers to the great destruction which will be wrought by the Romans, resulting in both the Temple Mount and Jerusalem being left in ruins and barren, and much of Israel being left bereft of a significant Jewish population for a substantial period of time. In fact, in recent years, and contrary to the Futurist point of view, I have been leaning towards the belief that the Temple won't ever be built again. My reasons are explained in the article entitled "Revelation's Babylon the Great".
• The phrase "the week" refers to the 70th week, or the final seven-year period of that 490-year Prophetic Age, which the Prophet Daniel describes in his "Seventy Weeks" prophecy. I discuss Daniel's prophecy more fully in other articles which I have already mentioned here, so please refer to them for additional details. You will find them listed at the end of this current series. Suffice it to say that I believe that this final 70th week, or seven-year period, was fulfilled in the First Jewish-Roman War, which lasted exactly that amount of time.
• The phrase "midst of the week" refers to the middle of that final seven-year period; that is, right at the middle of the First Jewish-Roman War, which lasted from 66 AD to 73 AD.
• The phrase "cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease" obviously refers to the Temple sacrifices and oblations being put to an end in the middle of this seven-year period. Given that the historical record indicates that the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD, this would seem to be when the sacrifice and the oblation ceased.
• The phrase "the covenant" is one item I am not so certain about. Based upon a few other verses, my current leaning is that it may refer to an agreement that General Titus may have possibly made with Herod Agrippa II and other of his allies, regarding the invasion of Jerusalem. Please note that this Herod actually sided with Titus, and Herod's armies fought right along side of Titus' troops. In fact, to prove what a traitor he was, following Jerusalem's fall, both Herod and his sister Bernice went to live in Rome. Again, this is a historical fact.
Another reason why I tend to believe that this covenant may be a military deal, is because we are told by Daniel that this leader secretly works against it after it is made. This leads me to believe that it was just a Roman ploy all along. Consider the following verses which may possibly be related to the covenant that is mentioned in Daniel 9:27:
"And both these kings’ hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed. Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land. At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter. For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits."
Daniel 11:27-32, KJV
In my view, what adds weight to the possibility of this being a military deal is the fact that in the Book of Revelation, we are told by John that Ten Horns -- that is, ten kings or possibly military leaders -- side with the Beast as a result of their mutual hatred of Babylon the Great. Their ultimate goal, of course, is to destroy the mysterious Babylon -- by fire, no less -- as we see by the following verses:
"And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and TEN HORNS, and seven crowns upon his heads."
Revelation 12:3, KJV
"And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and TEN HORNS, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy."
Revelation 13:1, KJV
"So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and TEN HORNS . . . And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and TEN HORNS . . . And the TEN HORNs which thou sawest are TEN KINGS, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast . . . And the TEN HORNS which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire."
Revelation 17:3, 7, 12, 16, KJV
Now, if, as I currently believe, Babylon was indeed a code name used by the Apostles for the city of Jerusalem, and for the Temple compound in particular, then what I have described in the previous few paragraphs fits together like a hand in a glove. Why? Because they were indeed burned down with literal fire by the Roman soldiers.
As I explain in "Abomination of Desolation: Explained!", all of these verses appear to be describing the same people -- that is, General Titus and the Romans -- the same war -- the seven-year First Jewish-Roman War -- the same Jewish Temple in First Century Jerusalem, the same daily sacrifice and oblation being ceased, and likewise the same Abomination of Desolation. All of these events were prophesied to occur sometime during the 70th week -- the last seven-year period -- of Daniel's "Seventy Weeks" prophecy. Some of them took place during the first three and a half years, while others occurred during the final three and a half years.
That is why in Daniel, the phrase "in the midst of the week" is used. The destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in the middle of the week marked a turning point in that first war. Jerusalem and the Temple were the spiritual center of Israel, even if it was a very corrupt center, which is why God chose to destroy it in the first place. No doubt their destruction broke the spirit and will of many Israelites, even though the radicals continued fighting until the fall of Masada a few years later in 73 AD. This marked the completion of the First Jewish-Roman War. The Jews had finally been broken; at least for the time being.
But some important questions remain. Why did God provide the Jews -- and more specifically, the First Century Church -- with such precise time-related details regarding this period? Exactly what was so important about the end of that Prophetic Age? Furthermore, why did this period of trouble -- that is, tribulation -- last precisely three and a half years and not go on longer? Why did this Roman Beast's reign of persecution and terror only endure for those 1,260 days? Why did Daniel write that those people who arrived at the 1,290 days would be blessed? Again, the Holy Scriptures provide us with a very clear and amazing answer. Consider the following verses. For your benefit, I have added some short comments in brackets in a few places, and placed some important words in uppercase:
"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: [who defeated Satan in Revelation 12] and there shall be a time of trouble [the First Jewish-Roman War], such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered [from this world], every one that shall be found written in the book [the Book of Life]. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever."
Daniel 12:1-3, KJV
"And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD SHALL BE DELIVERED: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem SHALL BE DELIVERANCE, as the LORD hath said, and in the REMNANT whom the LORD shall call."
Joel 2:30-32, KJV
In the following verses, please notice how Jesus is in fact quoting directly from both Daniel and Joel, just as we later see the Apostles doing in the Book of Acts:
"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake THOSE DAYS SHALL BE SHORTENED . . . Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
Matthew 24:21-22, 29-31, KJV
"For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: BUT FOR THE ELECT’S SAKE, WHOM HE HATH CHOSEN, HE HATH SHORTENED THE DAYS . . . But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven."
Mark 13:19-20, 24-27, KJV
"For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."
Luke 21:22-28, KJV
"And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Acts 2:19-21, KJV
"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
1 Thessalonians 4:14-18, KJV
"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. BLESSED ARE THOSE SERVANTS, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, BLESSED ARE THOSE SERVANTS."
Luke 12:35-38, KJV
"BLESSED is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days."
Daniel 12:12, KJV
Collectively-speaking, the previous Scriptures answer every question that I asked earlier. While the prophecies we find in Daniel, Revelation and elsewhere, and the warnings which Jesus issued in the Gospels all paint a rather dark picture for Israel of the late First Century, at the same time, they offer a wonderful message of hope, deliverance and Salvation for every person who embraced Christ during that same period. In so many words, Jesus was saying "It is going to get very bad for you; but don't give up, and don't lose your faith, because I am coming back for you, exactly as I promised to do. Count the days, remember the prophecies, and you will know when the blessed day of my Return is drawing near."
My friends, personally, I have no doubt that this is exactly what happened, and right on God's schedule, according to the timeline that is outlined in the previous prophecies. In my view, to believe otherwise is to call God a liar.
Please go to part four for the continuation of this series.
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