When you talk prophecy among Jewish people and you mention Gog and Magog, you will get everyone’s attention. In the Talmud, the Assyrians were a picture of Gog and Magog (Sanhedrin 97a) which means that Assyria will also be a picture of Russia in the last days. In Ezek 38.17 God spoke of these invasions through what Assyria did. Isa 9.2-6 deals with the festival of Sukkot and the people are rejoicing over the defeat of Assyria, and it says a “son is born.” This alludes to several things. Yeshua was born at Sukkot and Yeshua will be born in the hearts of the people after Russia is defeated before Sukkot. Russia will invade Israel the third year of the birth pains, on Rosh Ha Shannah and be defeated by Yom Kippur (Ezek 39.22).
In Isa 9.7 we have the word “increase.” That is “L’Marbeh” in Hebrew. The “m” in the word is written with a closed mem in Hebrew, something that is only done at the end of a word. Interpreters said God desired to make Hezekiah the Messiah and Sennacherib Gog (Sanhedrin 94a), “Everyman’s Talmud” by Abraham Cohen). We don’t belive that God was considering that at all, but it gives us a clue as to how the Jewish Rabbi’s saw Assyria. So, in the Jewish texts, Gog and Magog will be represented by Assyria.
Now, the king that represents the time period before the birth pains begin is King Uzziah, the father of Yotham. He was a good king and used science and the best technology of the time to develop state of the art weapons in warfare (2 Chr 26.6-15). When you read these verses, it describes Israel today. They were a leader in warfare technology and everybody knew it (2 Chr 26.15). He built towers, hewed cisterns for water and irrigation, he had much livestock in the Shephelah Valley and the plains. He had plowmen and vinedressers in the hill country and the fertile fields because he loved the soil. He also had an army ready for battle.
Uzziah made a mistake and he offered incense in the Temple, something that was only to be done by the priests. As a result, there was a great earthquake. Josephus describes it in Josephus, Book 9, Chapter 10.4, where it says, ” a great earthquake shook the ground and a rent was made in the Temple (there was no “tear” in the Temple building, this was the veil, just like when Yeshua died. However, the building was damaged), and the bright rays of the sun shone through it, and fell upon the king’s face, insomuch that the leprosy seized upon him immediately; and before the city at a place called Eroge, half the mountain broke off from the rest on the west, and rolled itself four furlongs, and stood still at the east mountain, till the roads, as well as the king’s gardens, were spoiled by the obstruction.” This earthquake is mentioned in Scripture in Zech 14.4-5 and Amos 1.1. The veil of the Temple was torn and the Temple building was severely damaged.
If Uzziah is a picture of the days leading up to the birth-pains and the days we are living in now, it is possible that there will be an earthquake before the Day of the Lord begins that will affect the Temple Mount. Could this earthquake be what causes the Dome of the Rock to be destroyed? The Arabs couldn’t blame Israel for an earthquake. Looking at his reign, we see that Israel was good at war (2 Chr 26.9-15); the land prospered (2 Chr 26.10-11); but he got lifted up in pride (offered incense in Temple); made inventions that were famous (2 Chr 26.15); had war with the Philistines (Palestinians) and the Arabs (2 Chr 26.7).
One of the problems with the Temple Mount is the Israeli government. They treat the Muslims on the Temple Mount different than anyone else because they don’t want a war. As a result, the Arabs get away with things and make false claims. What if Israel’s stand on things today actually leads to the events in the birth pains? Something has to happen to the Dome of the Rock for Israel to have the Temple Mount in order to build the Temple. That would include all the other Moslem sites on the mount, like the Al-Aqsa mosque, and other sites. What if the earthquake in Uzziah’s day was a forerunner for what might take place? We don’t know, but if these last 10 kings of Judah are a pattern for the birth pains, we need to look at Uzziah also.
The first year of the birth pains is represented by King Yotham. In Isaiah 1.1, he deals with the days leading up to the birth pains and the first three years of it because he mentions the vision he say took place during the reigns of Uzziah, Yotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Micah 1.1 deals with the first three years of the birth-pains because it says, “The word of the Lord which came to Micah of Moreshet in the days of Yotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.”
We are going to have double reference prophecies in Isaiah (just like in other books). Isa 2.2 says “In the last days” giving us a time reference, the Day of the Lord. Isa 2.10 says “on that day” for a second reference. The Jewish Encyclopedia, the Encyclopedia Judaica and Tyndales says that the Day of the Lord (the last 1000 years called the Atid Lavo) is often referred to as “in that day”, “on that day” or “in the last days.” So, there is a prophecy that will deal with the Assyrian problem in the reign of Uzziah, Yotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. But also, it will be a prophecy about the “latter days” or “on that day.” This day is referred to in other verses like Isa 2.12 (day of reckoning); 2.17 (in that day); 2.20 (in that day); 3.7 (on that day); 3.18 (in that day); 4.1 (in that day); 4.2 (in that day) and 5.30 (in that day). What is being established here is that these are going to be double reference prophecies throughout the book.
Now we get to Isa 6.1-13, which is not a happy prophecy, but we have the commissioning of Isaiah with the death of Uzziah and right at the beginning of the reign of Yotham. What does that tell us? What we have is once the days of Uzziah (our days) is over, and right at the very beginning of the reign of Yotham (year one of the birth pains) we will have the commissioning of someone to “go out.” We have the Two Witnesses who go out in Rev 11.1-14. Now, can you have something in the Gospels and Epistles that is not in the Tanak? The answer is “No.” In fact, when Yeshua, Paul or the writers of the Gospels and Epistles taught, they had to establish it from the Tanak (Acts 17.10-11). So, if it is taught in the Gospels and Epistles, it has to be in the Tanak somewhere.
The Two Witnesses are killed at the end of the first 1260 days of the birth pains, on Nisan 10. That means they start their ministry at the beginning of the first half of the birth pains, on Yom Kippur. As a result, that means that the prophecy in Isaiah 6 with the commissioning of Isaiah is a double reference prophecy about the Two Witnesses, and the 144,000. It happens at the death (end) of the days of Uzziah, and at the beginning of Yotham’s reign (he is not even called “King Yotham” yet). This would be sometime between Rosh Ha Shannah and Yom Kippur, right after the Natzal (the “gathering” or catching away, also known in Christianity as the “Rapture”). The Two Witnesses will come in the spirit and power of Elijah (Rev 11.5-6) and Moses (Rev 11.6). Who had the power to call fire down from Heaven? Who had the power to turn water into blood and call down plagues? Moses personifies the Torah, and Elijah personifies the prophets. These are the two witnesses of the Torah and the Prophets (Rom 3.21). These two witnesses will not be Moses and Elijah, but they will minister in the power and spirit (attitude) of Moses and elijah. In the transfiguration, you have a vision where the Talmidim saw Yeshua talking with Moses and Elijah about what was to come, the Torah and the Prophets (Matt 17.1-13).
We are not told much about their mission in Rev 11 because it is given to us in the Tanak. We also have the 144,000 in Rev 7 and Rev 14 and they are “witnesses” also. So, in Isa 6 we have a picture of the commissioning of the Two Witnesses and the 144,000 right after King Uzziah (the days before the birth pains, our days today) and right before Yotham begins to reign (a picture of year one of the birth pains).
In Part 3 we pill pick up with year two of the birth pains found in the reign of King Ahaz.