Monday, February 4, 2013

"The Sign of the Son of Man"

All the signs which Jesus gave his disciples, should elicit our engaged attention. When nearing the end of his list of indicative signs of the end, he points to a sign of culmination, at Matt.24:30....

"Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

We should greatly desire to understand the meaning of this sign. By means of scripture, I hope to explore some of that meaning.

                PART I

The sign of the son of man- What is it?
We begin to learn what this sign is, at Matt.12:38,39,40...
"Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”
But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

 Rom.10:7; 6:5; Ps.16:10

Here Jesus tells those seeking a physical display, that they will not receive but one.
Just as Jonah was in the belly of the fish (Jonah 1:17); the Messiah will fulfill that prophetic account, by being captive in the Abyss of death/"heart of the earth" for the same literal time period 
(Jonah 2:1,2 *; Luke 9:22,44; 17:25; Rom.10:7 *; 1Pet.3:18,19,20; 2Pet.2:4,9,12,17). * Ps.16:10; Acts 2:27
But if we take another look at Matt.24:30; we see that Jesus is pointing ahead to the "conclusion of a system of things" (Matt.24:3) when the "tribes of the earth will mourn"...and "the Son of Man" will "come" "on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory". 
We must accept that the "sign of the Son of Man" has a fulfillment further than when Jesus died and was buried for three days.

Many recognize that Matthew, chapter 24 is a prophecy....
not only about the end of the Jewish system of worship in Jerusalem (and the conclusion of the covenant it represented),
but also a prophecy about the end of the New Covenant and the system of worship it evoked.
LINK:"End of the New Covenant"
This end is spoken of as a passing away of the "heavens" and "earth" (2Pet.3:10,11,12,13; Rom.13:12; 1Pet.4:7) to be replaced with a "new heavens and new earth".
An event of such significance is not overlooked by Christ. He describes the "signs" leading up to it, in Matthew, chapter 24 (among other places).

So reasonably, we accept that Matt.24:30 points ahead to a fulfillment ....not just about the death of Christ's flesh...but to the "sign of his presence, and of the conclusion of a system of things" (Matt.24:3) to include the dissolution of the "heavens" and "earth" (and the arrival of the "righteous" heavens and earth) (2Pet.3:7,10,12-13; Matt.24:35).
But then we must ask;
If this applies to a sign of Jonah/Jesus Christ taking place at a future "conclusion"...
How can that possibly be fulfilled, since Jesus Christ is not here physically to be killed...and laid in the "heart of the earth" again for 3 days?

Where do we look to see this "sign of the Son of Man" in the time of the end?

We know that the first one to experience this "sign", was Jonah.
We know that the second one to experience this "sign" was Christ.
Who will experience it in the time of the end, and therefore fulfill it's final prophecy?
How will we see the "sign of the Son of Man" at the "conclusion" of our "system of things"?

First, lets look at Matt.12:39.
Jesus speaks of a "wicked and adulterous generation". These would also be present at the "end of all things" (Mark 8:38) (1Pet.4:7; 1Cor.15:24; Matt.23:35-36; Heb.11:4; 1John3:12).
He also spoke of another generation which is righteous (Matt.24:34,35; Psalm 14:5; 112:2; Gal.4:26).
Just as the wicked generation exists until the time of the end, the "righteous" generation also exists until the time of the end (Matt.24:34; 28:20)
Both these generations of seed, exist and battle, until the end 
(Gen.3:15; Rev.12:17,7; John 8:44; Rev.12:11; 1Pet.1:23; Gal.3:29; Matt.25:31-32,41  etc.)
Are those wicked and "adulterous" to their covenant with God (1Cor.6:15,16; Rev.18:3; 17:1,2; Isa.1:21,27,28), limited to the first Century Jews?
No. The Bible's prophecies about the "end" are full of indications that Satan's seed is alive and well, busy persecuting the faithful up until the end (Rev.20:7-9; 11:7-10)

Those adulterous to God's covenant in the time of the end, also keep seeking for physical signs to guide their worship. Because of their fleshly orientation, they will be mislead by the signs provided to them (2Thess.2:9,10; Rev.13:13,14) (
These too, will only receive one authentic tangible sign from God....the "sign of the Son of Man" (Matt.24:30).
Those first Century Jews did see that sign. They saw Christ die (Matt.27:39,40,41,42,43). They knew that he was raised up (Matt.27:50,62,63,64,65,66; 28:1,2,3,4,11,12,13,14,15). They saw the events that took place surrounding his death (Matt.27:51,52,53,54) 
These were events which occurred surrounding the death of Christ....and included the "Sign of the son of Man".

So again we must ask...
How will this be fulfilled at the "end of all things" (1Pet.4:7)?
How will the "sign of the Son of Man" being in "the heart of the earth"/abyss (which was just like Jonah in the belly of the fish); be fulfilled during the conclusion of all things?
How will this sign be given to and clearly seen, to the wicked and adulterous generation in the time of the end?

The most obvious place to turn to learn about end-time events, is the book of Revelation.
If we go there, we do not find Jesus being killed, nor any indication that he is placed in the "heart of the "earth"/abyss again (Matt.12:40; Rom.10:7; Jonah 2:6). But we do find the abyss (Rev.9:1,2,11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1,3). And we also find other faithful witnesses (Rev.1:5; John8:40) being mistreated and "killed"/"slain", as Jesus was (Luke 9:22,44) [Rev.2:10 (James 1:12); Rev.6:9,11; 12:4,11; 13:15; 14:13; 16:6; 17:6; 18:24 (Jer.51:49; Matt.23:35); Rev.20:4]

I am citing Rev.11:7,8,9,10,11,12,13 (Matt.27:54) separately because I believe this prophetic account to be the closest tie to the prophecy at Matt.24:30. (More on this later)

Lets look at that verse again to see where we will see the final "sign of the Son of Man"...
"Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven  with power and great glory."

We are being told that the final fulfillment of the culminating sign of the end, will occur and be seen "in heaven", and "on the clouds of heaven".

First, let's see if those being killed as Christ were, can scripturally stand in for the Son of Man, and therefore by their own deaths, fulfill the "sign of the Son of Man".
Second let's see if these saints can also fulfill the "sign" as taking place "in heaven", and "on the clouds of heaven".

Pointing ahead to how the final judgment is rendered, Jesus said;
"I tell you the truth, whatever you did to the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me." (Matt.25:40,45,46)  (Acts 9:5; Luke 10:16; 2Cor.5:20; 1Cor.3:17,16)

When the wicked kill the "two witnesses" who are proclaiming a message from Christ (Rev.11:3,4; 11:7), is that like killing Christ? (1Cor.12:27,12; 6:15 A; Eph.1:22,23; 5:30; Acts 22:7) According to the expressed feelings of Jesus...yes (Acts 9:5).
What is "heaven", and the "clouds of heaven"?
Please read Rev.1:7; Jude 1:14; 2Thess.1:7,10; Eph.2:6; Rev.12:5; Eph.1:3,20; Heb.12:1,22,23,25; Rev.11:12.
At Heb.12:25 (Matt.10:20), we are told that a warning comes from this "heaven" (Eze.33:6,8; Rev.11:3,4; 9:17,20; Zech.4:14,9,6) regarding a threat to salvation (Rev.13:8; 2Thess.2:10,9,8).
That warning "from heaven", in tangible reality, comes from those "of heaven" (Eph.2:6; Heb.12:22-23; John17:24; 1:14; 12:26; 17:22; 2Cor.3:18; Rom.8:9; Luke10:20; Phil.3:20)
(1Tim.4:16; Acts 18:6; 20:26; 2Kings17:13; Rev.14:6-7; 11:3,7)
Rev.20:7-9; 11:5). (

The "sign of the Son of Man", can be fulfilled by others in addition to Christ himself (Jonah 1:17; Matt.12:40; 24:30; Rev.11:7), and is. (Phil.3:10; Rom.6:3,5)
Is this sign actually seen by the "wicked and adulterous generation" in the time of the end,
as it was seen by them in the first century? (Matt.12:39)
But just as that wicked generation of God's house in the first Century refused to acknowledge that sign and it's meaning with Christ;
neither will they initially recognize it's fulfillment in the time of the end (Rev.3:3; Matt.24:43; 1Thess.5:2; Rev.16:15; Luke12:56; Matt.16:3,4).

The wicked Steward has made himself "Master" of the "house". Because of his intoxication with power, he has not kept awake and watchful for the thief (Luke12:39). Satan has broken into the congregational "house", and has robbed the crowns of all the anointed slaves still inside that organizational "house"(Luke12:42,45,46; John10:10 A; Rev.3:11). 
When the true Master returns; he too will resemble a thief (Rev.3:3)....taking whatever is left from the lazy and disobedient slaves (1Cor.3:14-15; Luke16:1-3) (Matt.13:12; Luke 8:18; 19:26; Matt.25:30).

  [John 10:1-3,10; Mark13:34; Joel 2:9; Jer.9:21; Matt.6:19]-[Rev.16:15; Matt.24:43; 1Thess.5:2,4; 2Thess.2:1-3]

Just as Christ bore witness to the truth, and as a consequence, suffered, died, and was buried (fulfilling the "sign of the Son of Man"); so also will all those who become sealed in the "heavens" (1Pet.2:21; Luke 22:28,29).

Those seeking physical signs in this world (treasures on earth), do not recognize this true sign of the faithful Sons of God. Their "glory" is simply the same as Christ's was while in this world...the glory of "grace and truth" (John17:22; 1:14; 1Cor.4:10,11,12,13,14; 1Cor.1:18,23; 2Cor.6:4,5,6,7,8,9,10; Rev.11:10; Rom.8:19). (Not power, riches, nor dominion)
The unfaithful desire glorious signs that bless them in this world. Satan will provide them, and by means of them; the physical, wicked, and adulterous Chosen Ones, will be mislead.
(James 4:4; 1John2:15; 1Cor.2:14,13,12; Rev.13:13-14; 19:20; 20:7-8; Dan.11:27,10; Rev.12:15; 2Thess.2:9; Matt.24:24) Acts

If a prophets teaches "world realities", rather than "spiritual realities" (1Cor.2:13), that one is clearly a physical man. He has left union with the spirit of Christ (John15:4,5; Rom.11:17), and is on "the wrong side of the fence".
The day is rapidly approaching however, when these will not escape the truth of what they have done to their faithful brothers (Rev.17:6; 18:3; 17:2; Jer.51:7), whom, in their eyes, are preaching "foolishness" (1Cor.2:14; Prov.19:29; Luke12:45; Ex.21:20; Rev.18:24; 16:6). When that day comes...then they will mourn (Matt.24:30; Zech.12:10; Rev.1:7; Luke13:28; Matt.8:12; 13:42).

Review: (Rev.3:3; John10:10; Luke19:41-43; 21:20; Matt.24:15; Rev.20:7-9)

-  -  -  -  -  -  -

But you may have noticed two glaring differences in the last "sign of the Son of Man",
from when Christ fulfilled it.
First....during the second 3 1/2 "times", the two witnesses are refused burial "in the heart of the earth"/abyss, but rather, are publicly displayed as a reproach "on the Broadway of the Great City" (Rev.11:8; Ps.79:1-3; Eze.37:4-5; Rev.11:11; Eze.37:11-12,13-14).
Second.....the two witnesses are "dead" 3 and a half  days...not three (Rev.11:9,11).
The three days of Jonah and Jesus were literal.
The three and a half days of the two witnesses are symbolic.
The book of Revelation being symbolic, what do these time differences mean?

                     PART II

As stated in Part I, both Jesus and Jonah were held captive in the abyss/Sheol/Hades (Jonah 2:5,2; Rom.10:7; Acts 2:31). "Sheol" and "Hades" are the same (Acts 2:27; Ps.16:10). 
       (Jonah was held in the Deep/Sea, by the "great sea creature" -Jonah 1:17) 
       (Jesus, "in the heart of the earth" for three days. -Matt.12:40)
To understand the Sea of Revelation, it is vital to see that Sheol, Hades, Abyss, the Deep, and the Sea,
are all the same realm of the wicked... the spiritual realm containing those in darkness and under sin and spiritual death (Isa.57:20; Rev.13:1; 11:7).

   Note: the great sea "creature" which held Jonah captive is derived from
               the Hebrew word  which follows:

               Strong's Number:   01711              
           Dagah TWOT - 401
                (Qal) to multiply, increase; a primitive root
                         Due to the root meaning of this "fish", we see that liberties were taken
                         when translating this creature as a fish. Such an assumption is
                         understandable, when the context says that Jonah was "swallowed" and
                         that this creature was "in the sea". But the original word (which is only found
                         in this one place in the Bible) essentially means a root/origin,
                         which is growing/spreading. Prov.29:16)
                         (I submit to you that this "great sea creature", was "Leviathan"...
                          "king" of the "abyss"/"sea"/"deep"...the hunter of God's sons.)
                         LINK: (Who is "Leviathan"?) (Rev.2:10; 13:10; 9:14; Ps.124:7;
                                   Prov.6:5,4; 1Thess.5:6; Luke 21:36,34; Mark 13:37)

We have already noted that the "sign of the Son of Man", will be made manifested in the "end".
We have already noted that the final prophets can stand in for Christ, and fulfill the final manifestation of this sign. We have noted that the sign represents a hopeless condition previous to a release.
(This happens in two ways for the two witnesses. Each of those ways, is represented by a period of "3 1/2 times".    3 1/2 + 3 1/2 = "7 times"= completion of what is required of them.)(Dan.9:24,27)

Both Jonah and Jesus were held in what is referred to as the sea/abyss/Sheol/Hades.
The "two witnesses" also, (Rev.11:3) were held for a time under the power this abyss/sea/sheol by it's representatives (Rev.13:1,7,10; 9:1,3,10). This spiritual realm (abyss/sea/deep/pit), is the realm of those spiritually "dead" (Eph.2:1-3). Those "dead" can be physically dead, or physically alive. 
(what-is-sheol-hell-hades) (where-is-hades) (The-night)
Why then are the two witnesses spoken of as being dead to the Nations/Gentiles/earth (Rev.11:7,8,9) for 3 1/2 days? (Instead of 3 days, like Jesus and Jonah)
The previous pattern we have for 3 1/2, is the length of Christ's ministry when he was on earth. During that time, he was presenting God's truths to God's wayward nation (Matt.15:24; John1:9,11-13). It is the same audience in the time of the End (Matt.10:23)... a presentation of God's truths to God's wayward nation of spiritual Jews (Rom.2:28-29; Col.2:11).
Why is the time of death for the 2 witnesses, symbolized by 3 1/2?
While they are under the power of the Abyss and Beast of the sea, they are being trampled by the Gentiles. While under Satan's dark realm, they are spiritually dead. 

For the two witnesses, there are two deaths...
The first, is a spiritual death, while they are cut off from the light, life, and spirit of Christ.
During that time, they seek a death for Christ and the spiritual birth that results (Mark8:35; Rom.6:5; Rev.9:6) but they seek it in vain while under darkness.
How is their time of spiritual death (3 1/2), a testimony to the Beast and it's slaves as regards the identity of the genuine "two witnesses"?
God's prophecy tells every reader, that the Beast does 3 things to God's witnesses.
    Rev.11:7 says "make war", "conquer", and "kill".
By the end of those 3 events, they are finished with their testimony to the Beast.
By means of the two witnesses being battled against, conquered, and killed...
the Beast has received sufficient testimony, as to the identity of the two witnesses.
During spiritual warfare originating with Satan (Rev.12:17,15), the faithful are deceived.
Jer.11:4; Ps12:6; Zech.13:9; Isa.48:10; Jer.9:7; Deut.4:20; Rev.9:2; Hab.1:15-17; Eze.21:21
When they are conquered (Rev.13:7), they are taken captive (Rev.13:10; Col.2:8).
The second death, is a second form of death 
This reverses the previous spiritual death. It is a spiritual birth and God's seal, to those who die to the world in order to live for Christ.
The last testimony that the enemy will witness, are the death sentence to the faithful, thereby establishing the sign of the Son of Man.
When all 3 attacks are accomplished (Rev.11:7), the two witnesses have finished their testimony to the Beast and it's worshipers.
Oddly enough, their time of being trampled, IS a testimony (Rev.3:9; Heb.12:6; Zech.13:9; Rev.9:15,18,20-21)
Even though the first 3 1/2 times for the two witnesses is under the Great Tribulation, it is still a time of their giving testimony. It is therefore, symbolized by 3 1/2, following the pattern of Christ's period of testimony on earth.
Jonah's time in the belly of Leviathan was not a testimony.
Christ's time in the abyss, was patterned after Jonah.

There is a second symbolic period of 3 1/2 for the two witnesses.
This is after their death sentence. At that point they are sealed as subjects of God's laws, and ready to ride forth with Christ in his heavenly army.

-  -  -  -  -  -  - **** -  -  -  -  -  -  -

First, we note that 3 1/2 "times" is the same period that the two witnesses are prophesying.
(3 1/2 "times" are 1,260 days and also are 42 months, according to 7 times = 2,520 days. A Jewish month is thirty days, and a Jewish year/time is 360 days.)

We are told (Rev.11:10) that these two witnesses "torment" those who inhabit the earth.
To understand this fully, we should look at the original word used for "torment":

Strong's Number:   928
Original Word Word Origin
basanivzw from (931)
Transliterated Word TDNT Entry
to test (metals) by the touchstone, which is a black siliceous stone used to test the purity of gold or silver by the colour of the streak produced while rubbing it upon either metal
in question.
to torture by revealing defect or deficiency
to vex with grievous pains (of body or mind), to torment
to be harassed, distressed
as those who at sea are struggling with a head wind

What a perfect Greek word to describe the test brought upon God's wayward people, as they are being "tested" by the Truth coming from the "two witnesses" (Rev.11:3,5; Jer.23:29;  Jer.6:27ESV ; Mal.3:2-3,5). These two witnesses are held in the lowest regard by "Jehovah's Witnesses", who estimate these so-called "apostates" as spiritually dead (Rev.11:7-9; Ps.79:1-3) (Link: "Symbolic-Death"). 
These two witnesses of Truth vex/torment by testing and exposing as false, the very doctrine that their former captors, esteem. 
(1John4:1; Eph.5:11; Col.2:18-20,21-23; Matt.5:13; 2Cor.11:3-4,13,20; Ecc.10:5-7; Prov.6:3; Luke12:35). 
The two witnesses call into question those doctrines...subjecting them to "heat" [1Cor.3:13; Rev.11:5; Jer.5:14NIV ; 2Pet.3:10NIV 2Pet.3:12 (Rev.10:2-3)] ...tests of purity, as a wind of Holy Spirit tests those struggling to keep their ship of faith afloat at "sea" 
(1Tim.1:18-19; 4:1; Isa.2:12,13,14,15,16,17,18; Rev.8:9; Zech.13:9). 
 God's Word and standards (Deut.11:18) through the testimony of these two, is the "touchstone"/plumbstone/measuring rod, by which the rest will be appraised (Jer.6:27ESV ). This is why this test cannot come upon the earth, until after these testify fully and are sealed as slaves to the Laws of God and through their testimony to them, present a touchstone/capstone/plumb-line (Zech.4:7,10; Amos 7:7-8). 


The "sea" and the "abyss" are equated as the same realm 
(Rev.13:1; 11:7; 17:8; Isa.51:9,10; 63:12,13; Eze.26:19; Psalm 42:7; 71:20; Matt.12:40). 
This comparison will be seen more clearly as we learn more about Leviathan.
Jonah was in the sea/abyss BEFORE he gave his witness (Jonah 2:5,2)(Ps.16:10; Acts 2:27; Rom.10:7). (3 days Hades + 3 days Nineveh = 6)
Jesus was also in the realm of the dead/abyss (1Cor.15:3; Eph.1:20; Rom.10:7; Psalm 16:10)...
but it was AFTER he finished his 3 1/2 year "witness" to the Jews. (Rev.1:5)(Matt.24:14NKJV ; Rev.11:3). 
After that testimony and death, Jesus also gave a testimony while IN the abyss, 
to the demons that sinned in the time of Noah (3 1/2 days/years/times + 3 days = 6.5)
This place (abyss/death/sea/deep/sheol) is also said to be, "the heart of the earth" (Matt.12:40; James 3:15; John8:23).

What about the two witnesses? Are they like Jonah, in that they are in the abyss 3 days before their witness? (Rev.11:3 -testimony after repentance and death by the beast) Or, are they like Jesus, who entered the abyss to give a testimony to demons for 3 days, after his witness and death? (Rev.11:7-10; Ps.79:1-3)
In a sense, Both. But in another sense, more than both. 
The two witnesses have two separate periods of giving a testimony. During both, they are being chastened for their previous idolatry (3 1/2 + 3 1/2 =7) (meaning of 7 is below).

The spiritual death state of the two witnesses while under the power of Hades, is assigned the number of giving a witness (3 1/2), because of their fulfilling the prophecies regarding the Great Tribulation. Like Jonah, they are captive to Hades during that Tribulation. Like Jonah, this is previous to their giving their Armageddon testimony.

These 'two witnesses' give a testimony for two periods of 3 1/2 each...
  DURING the great tribulation... the time that they are captive under the Gentile army of Hades, 
  During Armageddon, while they continue to be opposed by the Gentiles who are still in power, after the Beast sentenced them to death, through which they gain spiritual life (Mark 8:35; Rom.6:5).
    (3 1/2 times + 3 1/2 times = 7)

Even while captive under the Great Tribulation, they are fulfilling prophecy (Luke 21:24; Rev.13:10; Dan.8:24; 12:7), and providing prophetic evidence of their identity. 
The Beast's death sentence at the end of that period of test, also provides the sign of the son of man. Like Jesus, they too, were captive to the symbolic sea/Hades/abyss. They are released from spiritual death by their sacrifice for truth, and empowered to battle (Rev.11:3).
During all 7 times, the Gentiles are still ruling with greater power over God's nation.

After their being symbolically killed by the beast (John16:2; Matt.10:22; Rev.11:7; 13:10; 6:11) due to their standing up and refusing to continue their idolatry (Rev.13:15); the secondary period of 3 1/2 ensues. That's because after that death of faithfulness, they begin a new period of testimony. In this second period, they battle in Armageddon, to expose the false teachings to which they were previously held captive (Col.2:8; Rev.13:10; Luke21:24).


The ministry and testimony of Christ can be symbolized by 3 1/2 "times" (see below)
  It is Jesus who is again providing testimony, through the 2 periods of experience by the two witnesses, as they fulfill all Christ's prophetic words found in Revelation (Rev.1:1-2; 22:16,20; John 16:7,12-14). 
The full testimony of the 2 witnesses, adds up to 7. 
Because of their experience through the discipline of the great tribulation (3 1/2) and their testimony during Armageddon (3 1/2); their previous sin of idolatry and spiritual fornication, is atoned for.
(Eze.43:26; 45:20; Lev.26:28; 16:19; 14:51-52; Rev.16:2; Lev.14:7; 2King5:10,14; Eph.5:26; Job 33:22-25; 2Kings5:14; Ps.66:10; 12:6; Isa.1:25-26; Job 23:10; Dan.9:24-25) 

Dan.9:25 is 69 (7+62=69) weeks until the return of Christ to his temple. Dan.9:24 mentions that 70 weeks are needed to complete the Temple without sin. Christ returns to defend his priests in "troublesome times" at the Great Tribulation (Dan.9:25; 12:1-4). 
70 weeks minus the 69 weeks before Christ's return, leaves one week or, 7 days/times/years of cleansing (Num.14:34). 
The final 7 days of cleansing, are the days of the two witnesses and their 3 1/2 + 3 1/2 .
    We may wonder why the 144000 need refinement and redemption, since they are depicted at Rev.14:5 as chaste. But if we consider Rev.14:4, we learn that despite their never having been marked by the beast (Rev.20:4); they did need to be redeemed. Rev.6:9-11 shows us how their spiritual, white robe of righteousness was attained (Rev.19:8; 6:11; Rom.6:5). All successful heirs of the kingdom, must have gone through preparation 
(2Pet.3:18; 1Pet.5:10; Heb.12:7; 10:36; 2Tim.4:6-8 etc.).

Three and a half times, as a symbol of testimony:  
"When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age . . . " (Luke 3:23).
In what season of the year did He begin His ministry? In order to know that, we have to know the time or the season of the year when He was born. We do not know the exact time of His birth but there are clues in the first chapter of Luke that can tell us the season. Luke 1:5 states:

"In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah, and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth."
1Chron. 24:1-19 tells us that King David divided Levitcal duties by lot into 24 courses, or shifts, that required each course to work one full week twice a year from Sabbath noon to Sabbath noon beginning with the first week of the Hebrew calendar (Talmud, Sukkah) which always began in the fall on the Feast of Trumpets. The Talmud further states that all the courses worked during the three holy day seasons: Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. The course of Abijah worked the ninth and tenth weeks of the year which was during Pentecost (early summer). 

Luke 1:24 tells us that Elizabeth became pregnant around the time of the end of Zacharias' service. Verses 26-38 foretell of the birth of Jesus to Mary. Verse 26 says that the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary in the sixth month (of Elizabeth's pregnancy, Nov. -- Dec.) to announce the birth of Jesus. Mary became pregnant by the holy spirit about this time. Nine months later would place the birth of Jesus in the autumn of the year, or in the months of September/October.
Passover always falls in the Spring of the year (in the month of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar). Jesus' first Passover observance is recorded in John 2:13, which is about 6 months after his ministry began in the fall of the previous year. Jesus kept three OTHER Passovers (for a total of four Passovers): His second Passover observance is recorded in John 5:1, His Third is recorded in John 6:4 and the fourth (and last) one with His disciples is recorded in John 11:55.

We therefore have about 6 months from about age 30 (and beginning of his ministry) to His first Passover, then three full years from Passover to Passover, making for a ministry of three and one-half years. It is true that our Savior's ministry on the earth lasted this short 3 1/2 year period. 
If we were to calculate how many months, or how many days the ministry of Jesus lasted, it would be 3 1/2 multiplied by 12 months, which equals 42 months. If we multiply 3 1/2 by 360 days (a Jewish year), it is, 1,260 days.

Now let's look at how long the two witnesses prophesy. (Rev.11:3; 12:6,14)
Rev.11:2 tells us that the two witnesses (the "Holy Place"/"Temple" 1Cor.3:16) is "trampled" for 42 months. This is also the 3 1/2 times (12X3.5=42). They are "trampled" the whole time that they are providing evidence of fulfilling prophecy (Rev.11:2; 13:7,10; Col.2:8; Luke 21:24).
Of course, the "seven times" must be explained in detail in it's own article. I see now that this is an essential support to understanding how the two witnesses fulfill the sign of the son of man.
  Hopefully readers will at least be able to take away from this, that the two witnesses are as dead, while they give their witness. This means that in two different ways, they are regarded as dead, during the entire course of fulfilling prophecy (which is in two periods- 3.5 (dead to God) +3.5 (dead to men) =7). They establish their role in prophecy during the time that they are despised and cut off (or, "dead").
How do we know this?

Remember that no one can teach/"sell" anything, unless it is both marked and sanctioned by the Beast? (Rev.13:16,17,18; Isa.44:20; Psalm144:8) (
Defying this, the two witnesses are killed by the Beast (Rev.13:15; 11:7), half way into the "7 times".
These are not killed after openly prophesying for 3 1/2 times. The Beast would never tolerate that long period of rebellion!
No...they are killed as soon as they start their second period of witnessing, when defying the law of the Beast, with the beginning of their so called "apostate" ministry (the second 3 1/2 time period).
The first 3 1/2 times, the evidence of their identity is to those inside the Org./"city", up until the time they are killed by the Beast for their refusing to keep it's mark.
The second 3 1/2 times, is the witness they give while considered dead by that Org./"city" (Gal.6:14NIV ; Col.2:20),
after their expulsion from it. It is then when ironically, they come alive to God (Mark 8:35; Rev.11:11-12; Eph.2:6; Rev.3:21).

Unlike Jonah and Jesus, the symbolic death-state of the two witnesses, is during their entire ministry. This is why their period of being considered dead, is 3 1/2 (not 3, as it was with Jonah and Jesus). During the entire, second "3 1/2 times" in which they preach openly, they are a public reproach and are considered "dead" by the religious world from which they were expelled (John16:2; Mark13:13; Matt.5:11-12; Rev.11:7).
Yet we know that this 3 1/2 is only a half of the "7 times". 
What is going on with the two witnesses during the 3 1/2 times previous to their expulsion? This is the period previous to their being killed by the Beast (Rev.11:7) but during the time that the Beast is granted to "conquer"/"overcome" them (Rev.13:7; 9:5,10; Dan.4:26), previous to their repentance in sackcloth to that subjection (Rev.11:3).
During the first 3 1/2 times, they are also giving a witness. But this other witness is before being killed by the Beast, because that witness is "inside the camp" while they are still in the abyss, unsealed, and marked by the Beast.
While "dead" to men during the second 3 1/2 times....they are not in the abyss...but are on the broadway of the Great City...a public spectacle (Rev.11:8,9; 1Cor.4:9; Rom.6:3,4; 8:36) "outside the Camp" (Heb.13:13; 12:2)(Matt.25:6). To men they are disapproved and dead; but to God, they are finally made alive (Mark8:35; Rom.6:5).

To clarify...the two witnesses give two periods of witnessing (3.5+3.5=7). One is while they belong to "all the earth", are marked and dominated by the Beast, are being stung as of yet, unsealed/spiritually dead to God (Rev.3:1-3), and are "conquered", "overcome" and in bondage (Rev.13:14,8,7,10; 9:4,10; Dan.4:26) ending in a death sentence by the Beast. They are spiritual captives of Hades, the realm of those spiritually blind and spiritually dead.
Jesus and Jonah also lived through that pattern of being captive to Sheol/Hades/the abyss, when they were imprisoned inside the abyss of death 
(and under it's covenant -Isa.28:15; Eze.14:7,10,11,12,13,14,16,21,22,23; Rev.6:1-3,4-6,7-8) Heb.2:14. 

All....Jesus, Jonah, and the "two witnesses", learn obedience from the things which they suffer in association with this "sign" [Heb.5:8; Jonah 2:7,8,9,10; Rev.11:3 ("in sackcloth") Mal.3:1,2,3,4]. 
  But unlike Jesus, both Jonah and the two witnesses initially shrank back from their divine assignment, and need discipline to overcome their fear of men. After this discipline, (received while captive within the abyss of death (1Cor.5:5), they had their faith restored, became obedient, and conveyed Yhwh's words to their audience. 
(Isa.38:18; Psalm 88:11; 69:2,14; 30:9; 30:1,2,3,4,5; 25:11; 142:7; 40:2,3; Isa.12:1; 54:7,8; Hosea 6:2)

During the first 3 1/2 period, the symbolic two witnesses are fulfilling prophecies regarding their refinement while enduring patiently, and half of the two-part "sign of the son of man" by being prisoners of the abyss (Job 14:13,14,15; (Isa.64:8; 2Cor.5:1; Heb.11:10) Zech.9:11,12; Isa.51:14; 24:22; 42:22; 40:2; 61:7; Lam.3:53; Jer.37:16; Rev.9:5,6,10,13,14).

The second 3 1/2 period of bearing witness, the two witnesses have been "killed" (Rev.13:15; 11:7; John16:2; Rom.6:3-5,8; Col.2:20; 3:3; 1Pet.2:24), ...sealed as obedient slaves of God, and giving the second witness contained in prophecy (Rev.6:9,10,11). During this period, they are in the wilderness "outside the camp", busy preparing the way of the Lord, while considered "dead" by the "earth"/"world" which condemned them. (

For the "two witnesses", both periods are a part of their necessary course of refinement and sealing, and both periods are part of their testimony and ministry (each symbolized by 3 1/2
(3.5 + 3.5=7 times Lev.8:11; 14:7; 16:19; 26:18; 2Kings5:10; Ps.12:6; Prov.17:3). 
During all these 7 times, the spiritual "Gentiles" are ruling under the umbrella of Satan's world dominion, successfully hindering and holding back the work of the two witnesses (Rev.13:2,4; 2Thess.2:6NKJV ; 2Thess.2:6,8-10; Dan.11:45). 
Through their completion of both 3.5 time periods, the "two witnesses" provide a "touchstone", that will judge all the world, including the "earth" 
(Heb.11:7; Eze.33:5; 1Pet.3:20; 2Pet.3:10; 1Cor.6:2; Dan.7:22; Rev.20:4) (Matt.12:41).
They provide a legal, divine bases for judgment, that repentance and obedience is possible, even through the great tribulation (Matt.24:24; 19:25-26). Any that turn to God, can and will be rescued.

Effort is required to both teach and learn these deep things (Heb.5:11; 2Pet.3:16). I hope I am being clear enough. 
If any questions arise, please feel free to ask in the "Comment" section below.


Jesus himself told us what this sign would be (Matt.12:38,39,40) (Rom.6:5; 2Cor.4:10; John15:20; 16:2).

But how would this sign take place at "the end of ALL things"? (1Pet.4:7; Rom.13:12; James5:8; 1Pet.1:13)

Jesus said that this sign of the "Son of Man" would occur when he was "revealed from heaven" with his angels.
"30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matt.24:30)(Heb.12:1; Eph.2:6; 1:3). 
How could Jesus be once again "like Jonah" in the time of the end? (Matt.25:40; 1Cor.12:27; 6:17; Eph.5:30-32)

We know that Jonah was "in the belly of the fish" because he at first, shrunk back from declaring God's message of destruction to the wicked. There was absolute darkness, inside the belly of the one who devoured Jonah.
Jonah was put under the dominion of the "deep" (Sheol/Hades) for discipline (Jonah 2:2)
as are the unsealed (Isa.59:10; Rev.9:1,2-4,10; 13:7,10; Luke 21:24; Rev.13:15; 11:7). 

Jonah repented (as do the 2 witnesses -Rev.11:3; Joel 1:13), and then he obeyed his assignment, after his "release". 
(Ps.30:3; 40:2; Matt.7:24; 1Pet.2:6; Eph.2:20) (Isa.49:9; 1Pet.2:9; Matt.5:14-16; Isa.60:1-3)
(Hosea 14:1; Nehemiah 1:9; Rev.3:19-20; Mark 13:34-36; Matt.25:5-6)

How will this sign be fulfilled at the "end", just as Jesus has prophesied? 
(Eze.22:30; Isa.62:6; ("upceasing not, day or night") Rev.4:8; Rev.8:1-2; Isa.58:1; Rev.15:7; Zech.3:9-10; 4:10; Rev.5:6; 4:5; Eze.1:13-14; Matt.5:15; Rev.1:20; Phil.2:15; Rev.11:11-12; 4:1; Eph.2:6; Rev.3:21) 
(The "saying" that the 4 living creatures never cease doing: )

Thanks for your patience,



  1. This may be a possibility. A great tribulation will come upon the people of the earth, a great tribulation, such as has never been. Then the sign of the Son of man in heaven: all people on earth will see this sign. The last trumpet will blow, and all that is anointed in the tombs will stand up, and all anointed living will soon afterwards be transformed along with them, turned into spirits. The angels will take them and bring them to Jesus, they will meet Jesus in the air. Afterwards they will with Jesus shatter this world.

    1. Your interpretation is still physical. I have left you a reply, at:

    2. Here is a post on what the Greatest Tribulation is:

      Do you know who blows the last trumpet? (Rev.10:7; 8:6; Josh.6:8; Rev.22:6).
      When do the faithful slaves of Christ, become spirit?
      (Rom.8:9; John11:26). When do they become a part of the heavens?
      (Eph.2:6; Col.3:1; John17:24; 1:14; 2Cor.3:18; John17:22; Phil.3:20; Heb.12:22-23)
      When do the faithful "shatter this world" with Jesus?
      (Rev.2:26-27; 12:5; 17:14; 19:15; Heb.4:12; 2Cor.10:3-5; Gen.3:15; Dan.9:26; Ps.110:2; 1Cor.15:24-25)
      How do they do it?
      (Jer.5:14; Rev.11:3,5; Hosea 6:5; Jer.23:29)
      These events cannot be recognized by those asleep, or drunk.
      (Luke 17:20; Rev.3:3; Luke 21:36; 1Thess.5:1-4,6,9)
      The world is already dead (Rom.5:12). Those saved are the ones who will live (Rev.20:12; John 12:48; 5:21; Rev.21:27; Luke 10:20).
      If your perceptions are physical, as they were for the wicked generation, the kingdom will overtake you. (Matt.12:39; 1Cor.2:12-15)

  2. but who are the two witnesses ? how do we discern them and balance it with the truth and the last days of this system etc /

    1. These are essential questions. Here are a few short articles to help you with them...

      You can find links to these and more, in my profile located here.
      To go to that profile and directory of articles, just click on my name in the right column of the Main Page.

      If after reading these articles listed above, you still have a question or need more explanation, please write to me.
      I would be happy to help you further.
      You can write to me at my email address: (
      or by leaving a comment here, or through

      Love in Christ,

    2. I have written much at this Main Page Blog, since offering all those previous links.
      I have also added a search box in the right column.
      Please use it for your subject of interest. If the results are not adequate, you can use the contact form in the same column.

    3. Here is a more direct reply to the question above:


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