And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” They are “the two olive trees” and “the two lampstands”, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.” If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want." Revelation 11:3-6
I believe that the 2 witnesses are Israel and the Church, more specifically the Jews who come to Christ during the Great Tribulation and the true Gentile believers in Christ. Throughout the Scriptures, in both the Old and New Testaments, the Bible teaches that Israel is the olive tree. Revelation teaches that the Church is the lampstand. The two olive trees are the Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ (see Romans 11). The 2 lampstands are the Jewish Church and the Gentile Church (see Revelation 1:20). The olive trees and lampstands are one and the same, representing the same thing – God’s anointed and chosen people.The two witnesses, who are two lampstands (churches) and two olive trees (Gentile and Jewish converts to Jesus) are the anointed ones who prophesy and pronounce God’s judgment upon the nations during the 42 months prior to their death. Rev 12:17 “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” The rest of her offspring are the Christians who are left-behind at the Rapture and those who accept Christ during the Great Tribulation.
The reason the remnant is most likely the same as the two witnesses, is because the time frame is the same, and because the remnant also ends up being killed by the beast in Rev. 13:7: “And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them; and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.” Revelation 11:7 “Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them.” What the Lord is saying here is that the Church during the tribulation will receive a double portion of His anointing to do great signs and wonders and preach with authority like never before. This is the "fire" that comes out of their mouths. The Holy Spirit speaks through them and brings conviction with power when they preach. It devours demons and every enemy force. Any demonic force that would come against them will suffer great harm and suffer an even greater eternal punishment for attacking them. We know that demons are afraid of their coming judgment as they begged Christ to not send them to the Abyss before the appointed time. The Lord is warning the demonic forces that will be unleashed on the earth at this time to not harm His people. He is also warning people on the earth that whoever harms His anointed, chosen people will suffer the eternal fire of hell. These 2 witnesses (Jewish and Gentile believers) will be operating in the authority and anointing of Jesus in a powerful way. They will have authority even to speak to weather systems and cause rain to fall or stop as Elijah did.
No one can harm them. Even if they are killed for their faith, as Paul said, "Death, where is your victory? Where is your sting?" And again, "For me to live is Christ and to die is GAIN." Many WILL BE martyred for their faith, but there is no greater honor for all eternity than to be a martyr for Jesus, so it does not harm them AT ALL, only brings them incredible gain.
At the end of the 1260 days of testimony to the world, the people of the world are entirely sick of these 2 witnesses and their message and they are very happy that they are all killed or Raptured and their message has been silenced.
I believe the 1260 days should have started on May 2, 2013, and ended on the Day of Atonement in 2016. The 1335 days would have then ended on the first day of Hanukkah in 2016. May 2, 2013, was the true 7th day of Unleavened Bread on God's calendar and was the day that the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, and the day when the walls of Jericho fell and the people ascended, and was also the day that Peter escaped from prison when he was rescued by an angel. These 3 events all foreshadow the Rapture of the firstfruits Bride of Christ.
However, the Lord told us that unless He shortened the days of Tribulation, no flesh would be saved. Matthew 24:22 – “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.” He also told us in Revelation 10:6 and Matthew 25 that the Bridegroom would be delayed. Revelation 10:6 - “And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, "There will be no more delay!” Matthew 25:5 – “As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept.”
The book of Revelation is full of symbolism. We see dragons and beasts with 10 heads and 7 horns, a woman who is given eagles’ wings, we see a sword coming out of Jesus’ mouth, 2 witnesses breathing fire out of their mouths, 144,000 virgins standing with a lamb on Mt. Zion. Most people who have read the book of Revelation understand that these things are symbolic, and that they represent something other than the literal interpretation of what is being read. Most people understand that there will not actually be a beast come out of the sea with 10 heads and 7 horns. But, for some reason, when it comes to the 2 witnesses in Revelation 11 or the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation 7 and 14, many believers cannot see or understand that these are also symbolic. Many believers are very confused when they read the book of Revelation. For example, in Revelation 21, we see the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven and the New Jerusalem is referred to as the wife of the Lamb. Many believers know that the Bride of Christ is the Church, but are confused by this passage that says the Bride is a city.
I would like to look at some of these difficult passages and do my best to explain them from my own understanding. I do not claim to understand everything written in the book of Revelation and will admit right now that my interpretation may not be correct; only the Lord has full knowledge of what all of the symbolism represents. We must allow Scripture to interpret Scripture and try to understand these difficult passages. We need to stop trying to fit God into our little box, continually insisting that everything we read in the book of Revelation is literal and not symbolic and that to think otherwise is heresy. This is the same attitude that the Pharisees had and was why they were unable to see the Messiah for who He was when He first came to the earth. Their legalistic narrow-minded interpretation of the Scriptures did not fit with what Jesus was doing and who He was claiming to be, and they could not see that He was the fulfillment of the prophecies. The entire Bible is full of symbolism, especially in the prophecies. Jesus loved to speak to people in parables. These parables were stories that had deeper meaning and the people and things in His parables represented something. Jesus, the Word of God, is an incredible story-teller. And the written Word of God is His story to us, and it’s full of symbolism and parables. God is the most amazing story-teller of all time and this book that He wrote is the world’s greatest story – it’s His Story.
OK, so let’s first take a look at these 2 witnesses in Revelation and allow the Scripture to interpret itself. Revelation 11 says, “I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.”
This is a very clear reference to Zechariah 4: Then the angel who talked with me returned and woke me up, like someone awakened from sleep. He asked me, “What do you see?”
I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lamps on it, with seven channels to the lamps. Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.” ….
Then I asked the angel, “What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?”
Again I asked him, “What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?”
He replied, “Do you not know what these are?”
“No, my lord,” I said.
So he said, “These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth.”
So, these 2 lampstands and 2 olive trees stand before the Lord of the earth and are anointed to serve Him. And what does the Scripture teach us is the lampstand and the olive tree? In Revelation 1, we read: I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
And in Romans 11, we read: If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
So, Jesus Himself tells us that the lampstand represents the church and Paul tells us that the olive tree represents those who believe in Christ, both Jewish and Gentile. Paul tells us that the Lord cut off those in Israel who did not accept the Messiah and He has grafted in those Gentiles who do believe. Therefore, the olive tree also represents the Church, both Jewish and Gentile believers. So, why are there 2 olive trees and 2 lampstands? My thought on this is that one lampstand represents the Jewish believers in the Messiah and the other represents the Gentile believers in the Messiah. Likewise, one olive tree represents the Jewish believers in the Messiah and the other represents the Gentile believers in the Messiah. Jesus is the Head of the Church and we are His body. But every body has 2 arms and 2 legs, 2 hands and 2 feet. The 2 olive trees and the 2 lampstands represent the whole body of Christ, both Jewish and Gentile.
Revelation 11 tells us that these 2 witnesses will be clothed in sackcloth. In the Scriptures, sackcloth represents repentance. Someone wanting to show his repentant heart would often wear sackcloth, sit in ashes, and put ashes on top of his head. Esther 4:1, for instance, describes Mordecai tearing his clothes, putting on sackcloth and ashes, and walking out into the city “wailing loudly and bitterly.” This was Mordecai’s reaction to King Xerxes’ declaration giving the wicked Haman authority to destroy the Jews. Mordecai was not the only one who grieved. Esther 4:3 tells us that, “In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.” The Jews responded to the devastating news concerning their race with sackcloth and ashes, showing their intense grief and distress.
Sackcloth and ashes were also used as a public sign of repentance and humility before God. When Jonah declared to the people of Nineveh that God was going to destroy them for their wickedness, everyone from the king on down responded with repentance, fasting, and sackcloth and ashes (Jonah 3:5-7). They even put sackcloth on their animals (verse 8). Their reasoning was, “Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish” (verse 9). This is interesting because the Bible never says that Jonah’s message included any mention of God’s mercy; but mercy is what they received. It’s clear that the Ninevites’ donning of sackcloth and ashes was not a meaningless show. God saw genuine change—a humble change of heart represented by the sackcloth and ashes—and it caused Him to “relent” and not bring about His plan to destroy them (Jonah 3:10).
Revelation 11: I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.” If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.
The 1260 days of repentance, symbolized by the sackcloth worn by the 2 witnesses, have been shortened to just over a year. The judgment has been delayed against America and against the world because of the world-wide 3-day prayer and fasting that took place between April 30th and May 2nd in 2013, at the end of the 40-day period of probation that started on March 22, 2013, when the abomination was set up. Just as the Lord delayed His judgment against Ninevah after a 40-day wait because they repented, so also He has delayed His judgment again because of the nationwide and worldwide repentance that took place between April 30th and May 2nd 2013.
“They stand before the Lord of the earth”. This is another big clue to us of who these 2 witnesses are. Psalm 24:3-4 says, “Who may ascend to the mountain of the Lord, who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.” At the opening of the 6th seal, the leaders of the world cry out, “The day of his wrath has come and who can stand?” Jesus said to pray that you be found worthy to escape all these things and to stand before the Son of Man. The Bride of Christ, the church, the pure in heart are those who stand before the Lord. “These are those who stand before the Lord of the earth.”
“If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die.”
The fire that comes from the mouth of the 2 witnesses is the Word of God that they proclaim. Jeremiah 23:29 says, “Is not my word like fire," declares the LORD, "and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?”
The Word of God destroys the enemies of the Church. Nothing, not even the gates of hell, can overpower or prevail against the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew 16:18 says, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Even though Satan will have total freedom to do as he pleases during the Day of the Lord as Jesus is no longer restraining him, the Church of Jesus Christ will never be overcome or defeated.
“They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.”
The Lord is encouraging His left-behind church that after they repent and return to the Lord that they still carry His authority and the Lord will do amazing miracles through them.
James 5:16-18 - The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
The Lord wants His people who are alive on earth during the Day of the Lord, the foolish virgins who were left behind, to know that once they repent and get their hearts pure before Him, He intends to use them to do great things and bring many souls into His Kingdom.
Sackcloth was one way in the Old Testament of showing repentance. Another sign of repentance in the Bible was when people would tear their clothes or rend their garments. We see this happen when Elijah is taken to heaven in a chariot and Elisha is left behind to witness this event.
In 2 Kings chapter 2 we read, “As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two.”
This is symbolic of the repentance that will take place for those who are left behind after the rapture happens. I believe that the 2 witnesses in Revelation 11 are the left behind church, both Jewish and Gentile, those believers who need to repent and those who come to faith in Christ during the great and dreadful day of the Lord. They were to have worn sackcloth for 1260 days, but this has been shortened to just over a year. We see how that Elisha was given a double anointing from the Lord after Elijah was taken to heaven. The left-behind church will be anointed by God to do incredible things and see great miracles take place through their ministry during the final day of the Lord before Satan is bound for 1000 years and the New Millennium begins.
Revelation 11: Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on. At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.
The final part of this passage concerns a 3 ½ day period in which the 2 witnesses lay dead but are refused burial. At the end of this 3 ½ day period, they are brought back to life and told to come up to heaven. My own interpretation of this part of the passage is that the 3 ½ days represent the final 3 ½ days of Daniel’s 70th week. It’s the same 1260 days mentioned earlier in the passage. These 3 ½ days have been shortened to just over one day in length, or 1/3 of the time in fulfillment of the 4th trumpet judgment of Revelation. The end of the 1260 days is October 12, 2016, which is the Day of Atonement in 2016. I believe there will be a second rapture event that takes place on this day for those who were left behind or came to faith in Christ during the Day of the Lord, or the final day of Daniel’s 70th week. This is when they will be told to “Come up here!” and will raise back to life. When each believer has finished their testimony, they will be killed during the day of the Lord. But just as the Lord came back to life after 3 days and His body was not buried, but rather was laid in a tomb, so also His body, the Church, will not be buried but will rise again after these days of darkness. Those who have been left behind, will suffer horribly and most believers will die for their faith in Christ. But He will raise His body after 3 ½ days. Again, this 3 ½ days equals 3 ½ years and has been shortened to just over a year in fulfillment of many other passages of Scripture.
In the book of Revelation, we read that there are 3 woes. We are told that right after these 2 witnesses go up to heaven, that the second woe has passed. If we look back in Revelation 9, we see the first woe takes place at the time of an alien invasion. I believe the first woe happens in the fall of 2015, during the first rapture event. The second woe happens in the fall of 2016, at the second rapture event. Revelation does not mention to us when the third woe takes place, but I believe that it will take place at the Second Coming of Christ to the earth during Hanukkah in 2016.
Who are the 144,000 of Revelation 7 & 14 and what is the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21?
Revelation 7: After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel. From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben 12,000, from the tribe of Gad 12,000, from the tribe of Asher 12,000, from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000, from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000, from the tribe of Simeon 12,000, from the tribe of Levi 12,000, from the tribe of Issachar 12,000, from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000, from the tribe of Joseph 12,000, from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000. After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”
I answered, “Sir, you know.”
And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore,
“they are before the throne of God
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne
will shelter them with his presence.
‘Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”
Revelation 14: Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.
Revelation 21: One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone.
The New Jerusalem is the Bride of Christ, the Church. It’s wall is 144 cubits, a representation of the 144,000 pureheart virgins that are redeemed from the earth. The Gentile believers have been grafted into the olive tree and we are part of the 12 tribes of Israel. The unbelieving Jews who have rejected their Messiah have been cut off from the olive tree and are no longer a part of the true tribes of Israel, the household of faith.
Matthew 19:28 says, Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Revelation 12:14 says, “The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”
The foundation of the city, or the Bride of Christ, the wife of the Lamb, are the 12 apostles. They were the first believers who went out and proclaimed the gospel to the nations and the Church was built upon their teachings and leadership, which was modeled to them by Jesus. The 12 apostles are the rulers or head of the 12 tribes of Israel, which includes all Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ.
Did the apostles understand this concept and did they teach this through their writings? Absolutely!
Look at who James addresses his letter to: (James 1) James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.
In Galatians 4, we read: These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written:
“Be glad, barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
shout for joy and cry aloud,
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband.”
Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
In Isaiah 62, we read: For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet,
till her vindication shines out like the dawn,
her salvation like a blazing torch.
The nations will see your vindication,
and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.
You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,
and your land Beulah;
for the Lord will take delight in you,
and your land will be married.
As a young man marries a young woman,
so will your Builder marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so will your God rejoice over you.
I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem;
they will never be silent day or night.
You who call on the Lord,
give yourselves no rest,
and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem
and makes her the praise of the earth.
So, who is the New Jerusalem? It is the Bride of Christ, the wife of the lamb, the Church. Who are the 144,000? They are the purehearted virgins from the 12 tribes of Israel who are redeemed from the earth. Are we a part of these 12 tribes of Israel as Gentile believers? Yes, Paul tells us in Romans 4 that the unbelieving Jews have been cut off from the olive tree and we have been grafted in. We are a part of the 12 tribes of Israel. We are the purehearted virgins who will be redeemed from the earth and stand on Mt. Zion with the Lamb. The 12,000 from each tribe is symbolic of completion, or totality. In Bible numerology, the number 12 signifies what is finished or completed forming a harmonious, perfect entity. It symbolizes completion. In the very next verse after we read about the 12,000 from each tribe it says, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” The 12,000 is not an actual number of people; John tells us that the real number of people can not be counted. It is a symbolic number representing the totality of the Bride of Christ, all of those who have been grafted into the olive tree, both Jews and Gentiles that are now a part of the 12 tribes of Israel.