We know that the Messiah returns to Jerusalem on Yom Kippur, Tishri 10 (Matt 24.29-31). At the half-way point (Nisan 10) we have the Two Witnesses being killed by the false messiah. The Two Witnesses will prophesy for 1260 days and we are told that, but which 1260 days is it? Is it the first half or the second half of the Birth Pains.
Rev 11.1-13 gives us the information. The Temple has been given over to the non-Jews for 42 months (last 1260 days of the Birth Pains. Israel has fled to the wilderness). This corresponds to the last half of the birth pains (last 1260 days). The Two Witnesses are given power to prophesy for the first half of the birth pains (first 1260 days), and they can call fire down on their enemies, shut up the sky (drought) and turn water into blood. These are the signs of Moses and Elijah. Moses personifies the Torah (Law) and Elijah personifies the Prophets (Nevi’im). The Torah and Prophets testify to us about the redemption. This will be during the first three and a half years of the Birth Pains (first 1260 days).
Why does it say that the bodies of the Two Witnesses will not be buried for three and half days after they are killed? Why not say “four days?” That is an important detail that God has given us. If Yeshua returns on a Yom Kippur, Tishri 10, year 6008, then that means that the Birth Pains begin on a Yom Kippur, Tishri 10, 6001. The exact half way point of the Birth Pains would then be Nisan 10, year 6004. From that mid-point, if you go forward three and a half days you come to Nisan 14, at noon. Passover begins on Nisan 14 and we have already been told that the Temple is standing. Every festival we have begins the evening before, at sunset, except for Passover. Now, understand, when we say “Passover” we are talking about the slaying of the lambs. Passover did not officially begin until noon, or mid-day, on the 14th of Nisan. The lamb had to be slain “between the evenings” which was when the sun began to decline (12 pm) to sunset (6 pm), or 3 pm. The term “between the morning” is about 9 am because “morning” started at sunrise (6 am) to noon (12 pm). So, the Two Witnesses rise from the dead at noon, Nisan 14, three and a half days after they are slain on Nisan 10 (Rev 11.11). So,, their ministry is the first 1260 days of the Birth Pains.
We know by this point that Israel has become a nation that believes in Yeshua corporately because of the victory over Gog and Magog six months before (Ezek 39.22). They will flee into the Jordanian/Moabite wilderness, which will stretch approximately from Pella in the north to Mount Sinai in the south, on Nisan 10. They have a place prepared for them by God, and they will be there 1260 days, the last half of the Birth Pains (Rev 12.14). Israel, from this point on, will be “out of the picture.”
During the first half of the Birth Pains, God will deal with Israel. During the last half of the Birth Pains, God will deal with the nations. That is very similar to Yeshua in his ministry. Yeshua came to Israel for three and a half years. After he is slain and resurrected, he tells his followers to go out to the nations. We have patterns being repeated. One thing about the Lord, he will communicate to us in “patterns” and so in every one we find, we will find something that will tell us something.
During the time of King Yotham, the north is being attacked by Assyria, and Samaria is attacked. During the time of King Ahaz there is a war and those involved are listed in Psalm 83. Assyria is involved in this confederacy also, and are listed there. We have Ahaz coming under the Assyrians because he pays them to come against his enemies. During the time of Hezekiah we have Assyria coming against Judah in the south. We have shown you that Assyria is a picture of the invasion of Gog and Magog of the future (Ezek 38-39).
We know more about the war with Assyria than any other biblical war because of the archaeological record, the Tanak, Josephus, Strabo the geographer and it is written about in many ancient writings, including Sennacherib in his “Prisms.” He also had his palace at Ninevah. There was a room called the “Lachish Room” that recorded in stone his attack on Lachish in the Shephelah Valley. The Shephelah Valley had many fortresses. In order to get to Jerusalem, you had to pass through and take the fortresses there. Normally, an enemy attacked one fort at a time. When one is attacked, a signal fire is lit and another fortress close by would come with reinforcements and attack the attackers. But, the Assyrian army was so large that they could attack all the fortresses at one time, so nobody could come to the rescue of another. Lachish was the largest fortress and the last to fall. Once the Shephelah Valley was secured, the Assyrians could move east and then attack Jerusalem from the north because it was exposed. You had the Hinnom Valley running on the west side of the city to the south, meeting the Kidron Valley that ran to the east of the city. The north side of the city did not have these natural, deep valleys, and therefore exposed. Reliefs of the “Lachish Room” are now in the London Museum. Basically, because there are so many resources, we can read the text from the Assyrian point of view, from the Israeli point of view and from the “outside” looking “in.” So, we have more detail on this than anything else.
We have the Assyrians who will attack under Sennacherib and what we are told is that they have defeated all the Judean armies. 2 Kings 18.7-8 tells us that Hezekiah rebels against Assyria. He defeats the Philistines who are a vassal state with an Assyrian appointed ruler. He knows this will bring the Assyrians and a war. So, he goes to the “strong man” in the area (Egypt) and enters into an alliance with Pharaoh Tirhakah. In the fourth year of Hezekiah’s reign, Shalmaneser the king of Assyria came against Samaria. After three years, they captured it. Then Assyria carried Israel away into exile to Assyria because they did not obey the Lord and the Torah (2 Kings 18.9-12).
In the fourteenth year of Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib comes against all the fortified cities of Judah and seizes them. Hezekiah admits that he has done wrong, and pays the king of Assyria to leave (2 Kings 18.13-16). But Sennacherib comes again and defeats the forts in the Shephelah Valley (2 Kings 18.17). Hezekiah builds a conduit to bring water into the city, preparing for a siege. Sennacherib thought that Hezekiah was tearing down the altars of God, when in reality, he was tearing down the altars of those who mixed paganism with true worship (Isa 36.7). The Assyrians thought he had insulted the God of Israel and he would be of no help to the people of Jerusalem (2 Chr 32.1-19). Sennacherib sends his chief officers to discourage any resistance to Sennacherib (2 Kings 18.17-18). Eliakim was over the household (Prime Minister) and Shebna the Scribe was “Secretary of State.” Joah was the recorder (historian and press secretary). They come out to hear what these officers had to say (2 Kings 18.18-21).
Hezekiah has made an alliance with Tirhakah, the Pharaoh of Egypt, in a military treaty. Remember, we have said that Pharaoh has been presented as Leviathan (Ezek 29, Ezek 32) and so Pharaoh is a picture of the false messiah. This does not mean the false messiah will come from Egypt. There are other pictures of the false messiah in Scripture, like Haman, who is from Persia. Dan 9.27 says the false messiah will come from Rome (“the people of the prince to come”=Europe). He will confirm a military treaty with many (Israel) for “one week” (seven years). This is to protect Israel because the United States has been destroyed. Job 41 talks about Leviathan and a “covenant.” This covenant will be entered into on Yom Kippur, and the countdown for the 2520 days of the Birth Pains begin.
Egypt is called a “crushed reed” and Israel is relying on them (2 Kings 18.21; Isa 36.6))? If you leaned on it, it will go into the hand and pierce it, says Assyria. In other words, Pharaoh was a weak ally, and so will the false messiah in the treaty made in Dan 9.27. On the other hand, Isa 42.1-4 says Yeshua is a bruised reed that won’t break, unlike Pharaoh Tirhakah (false messiah). Another way this concept is put is with the “yotaid” which means a tent peg or nail. Isa 22.15-125 is a prophecy in the Sowd level about the Messiah. Shebna will be a type of the false messiah and Eliakim is a type of Messiah. All the glory of his father’s house, offspring and issue, all the least of the vessels from the bowls to all the jars can be hung on him. In other words, you will be able to rely on Eliakim (Isa 22.24-a type of the Messiah). Isa 22.25 says “in that day” which identifies this as the Day of the Lord. The peg (yotaid) driven in a firm place will give way (the false messiah will be deposed, defeated) and break off (like the reed). It will fall and the load hanging (relying) on it will be cut off (those that depended and followed on the false messiah will fail with him). So, just like Tirhakah against the Assyrians, the false messiah will not be able to help Israel against the coming invasion of Gog and Magog/Russia.
In Part 6 we will pick up here.