It is written concerning Jesus, in Isa. 8:18, “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel.” In Matt. 12, when the Scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus for a Sign, He told them that He would spend three days and three nights in the grave, and that would be the only sign they would get. In a similar manner, God has used, and is using, the nation of Israel for signs to us concerning His work in these last days.
Throughout the Old and New Testaments God used the fig tree to represent the nation of Israel. Note particularly Hosea 9, Joel 1, Matt. 21, Mark 11 and Luke 13. In Matt. 24, Jesus’ disciples asked Him about “the end of the world.” In answer to which He said, in verse 32, “Now learn a Parable of The Fig Tree; When his branch is yet tender and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh.” Whatever other signs of summer there might be, Jesus used the fig tree for the sign of the nearness of summer, and in Jer. 8:20, God used summer as a figure to represent the last few years of the Grace Age, saying, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” Therefore, we must view events pertaining to Israel as God’s signs to us about the end of this age.
In Matt. 13:39, Jesus said, “The harvest is the end of the world.” Therefore, Israel must “put forth her leaves” shortly before the Harvest begins. Did they? They certainly did. In 1948, Israel became a nation. It was our first clear and easily discernable sign that the harvest, first the tares and then the wheat, would begin soon.
Fourteen years later, in the spring of 1962, The Lord spoke to me as I waited to deliver my Sunday sermon, saying, “Preach Barley Harvest!” He immediately revealed to me the prophetic intent of that subject in the Bible, and I shortly arose and preached that revelation to my congregation. I explained to them that the Lord was beginning a series of seven-year periods of time (seven weeks of years), near the end of which He would break them down to a series of three-and-a-half year periods. (The revelation of the Feast of Weeks in Exodus 34:22, and the revelation of Jubilee in Leviticus 25, are both a prophecy of the Harvest, which is a period of forty-nine years plus one: the last fifty years of the sixth millennium from the creation of Adam. The six-thousandth year being the year of Jubilee.) Shortly thereafter, in that same year, the beginning of the harvest was indelibly marked by the beginning of the “Christian” Ecumenical Movement.
There are three distinct periods of three and a half years detailed for us in the eleventh and twelfth chapters of The Revelation of Jesus Christ. That is why three different terms are used to talk about them: forty and two months; a thousand two hundred and threescore days; and time, and times, and half a time. There is cursory mention of these three periods in Rev. 2:10, where God said “Ye shall have tribulation ten days.” To him “that hath an ear to hear,” it is heard as ten years. In the prophecy concerning Jubilee, by the timing of blowing of the trumpet of Jubilee, God reveals that the ten and a half years will be shortened by six months. That is the “half a time” in chapter twelve.
God has ordered those time periods in such a way that they will serve not only as the fulfillment of prophecy, but that they are also themselves signs of the very end of the Grace Age. The first of those three and a half year periods is the “forty and two months.” Here again, God uses Israel for a sign. It is the sign to those who have eyes to see, that the time of the prophecy of the two witnesses will immediately follow. (Rev. 11:2,3)
The angel of Jesus said unto John, in Rev. 11:2, concerning the Gentiles, “The holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” Whatever else is revealed in this passage, we see clearly that for this very specific period of time Jerusalem shall be overrun by some kind of invasion. Generally speaking, Gentiles have walked in that city ever since there has been a distinction between Jews and Gentiles. So it is not about tourism or even foreign control of Jerusalem. It is about an intrusive attack, or, perhaps more perfectly, a series of attacks.
This war against Jerusalem is one of the last great signs that the time of Christianity is coming to a close, and it began on October 1, 2000, when Yaser Arafat declared the present Intifada. Eighteen months have passed, and about two years remain. In that time this abuse of Jerusalem must accomplish whatever God intends should be accomplished by it. Whatever else it is, it is a sign to us concerning the next two three-and-a-half-year periods which shall immediately follow it.
At the end of that forty and two months, the woman, the Elect, in Rev. 12:1-6, will flee into the “wilderness,” where, for a thousand two hundred and threescore days, she shall be protected and provided for. As you can see from the text, her stay in the wilderness, and the time of the work of the two witnesses is the same period of time. During that time, the two witness will accomplish their real mission by bringing those “five wise virgins” to her there. (Luke 17:28-37)
The work of the two witnesses will include miracles and plagues, but that is no more their mission than pouring out the plagues upon Egypt was the primary mission of Moses and Aaron. Their mission was to get the people of God to go out to meet with God, and was a prophecy of the work of the two witnesses, who will make the midnight cry when everything is ready for the wedding: “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.”
“Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke [cloud], because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount.” And during the time that the Children of Israel stayed at the foot of that mountain, and the marriage covenant was made. (Exodus 19:17-20; 34:28; 1 Thess. 4:14-18)
The final prophecies of this age are already in motion. We need to inquire of the those whom God has given understanding of the signs of our time, as they did of Jesus and His disciples, “What shall we do?”