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We concluded Part 1 of this article discussing who will make up the 144,000 Jewish evangelists who will be left on the earth after the church is raptured.

We also see that the 144,000 are all single men. This is at a period of time when the Antichrist reigns supreme and his spirit is throughout the earth. Yet their walks of holiness as ones not defiled with women make them witnesses for the Lord Jesus.

Now, I want you to see how they leave the earth, because it is different than what we see for other Tribulation believers. The only way out of the Tribulation for a believer is martyrdom. But that is not true for this group; they are the exception. Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. (Rev. 12:1)

The woman described in this verse is the nation of Israel. The twelve stars on her head are the twelve tribes, from each of which 12,000 were taken. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. (Rev. 12:2)

This is during the Tribulation period. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. (Rev. 12:5)

We just read that the 144,000 are all men, and this is referring to the Jewish evangelists who were sealed in chapter 7. These are the ones whom the nation of Israel will bring forth during the Tribulation.

To rule all nations with a rod of iron is simply a reference to a truth which applies to any believer. We are going to rule and reign with Jesus. There are other parts of the Scripture which use this same terminology.

A rod of iron does not imply a harsh or dictatorial kind of rule or suppression of some sort. It refers to an unbending, uncompromising position. Part of ruling and reigning with Him is obedience to the law of God, which will be unbending. It will be unyielding and true for everyone on this earth, and it will be enforced impartially.

Peace will prevail. It will be a time of peace, so it will not be an imposition of rule on anyone, even though the terminology makes it sound that way.

Exit Stage “Up”
But I want you to see how the woman leaves the earth. Scripture says her child will be caught up to God and His throne. This occurs at the midpoint of the Tribulation. The 144,000 are going to evangelize the earth for three-and-a-half years and then get caught up to God. They will not die.

The Greek word translated caught up is the same word used to describe the Rapture in other places, it is the act of being caught away, to be with the Lord without experiencing physical death on this earth.

Those who would suggest there may be a mid-Tribulation Rapture should realize it is just for the 144,000. When these men finish their evangelism and multitudes more have come to God, then they will be caught up out of the earth just as the end-time church will have previously been caught up in the Rapture.

All the other believers are going to get out of the Tribulation by holding on to their faith until the end or by being martyred.

Chapter 20 talks about the ones who are saved because of the 144,000, the Tribulation saints.
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshipped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their forehead or their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Rev. 20:4)
This verse is a direct reference to the millennial reign of Christ, and here John is talking about the martyrs who come out of the Tribulation.

Notice that he saw their souls. They were not raptured. Their bodies were not caught away as in the Rapture. He just saw their souls because they will not get their glorified bodies until Jesus establishes His earthly reign.

Two Resurrections
But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. (Rev. 20:5)

At the end of the 1000-year reign of Christ, there are two resurrections. The first resurrection is for those who have become believers during the Tribulation. But if there is a first resurrection, what is the second?
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Rev. 20:11-15)
This second resurrection is the resurrection of the unbelievers to stand before the Great White Throne, and they will experience something called the second death.


Source: The Last Millennium by Mac Hammond
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
 
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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