BIBLICAL VIEW OF THE "TIME OF JACOB'S TROUBLE".
To our minds, this part of the teaching of the "Pre-tribulation Rapture Theory" is often in error, but has been 'carried over' into other Eschatological teachings as well, without thinking it through carefully?
A. AN INTRODUCTION TO 'JACOB' AS A NAME FOR THE NATION,
NOW KNOWN AS 'ISRAEL'.
A NEW interest in a Renewed Nation!
It is so good that since the re-establishment of the nation of Israel by Jewish people of the 20th Century, Evangelical Christians/Messianics especially, have taken a prayerful interest in how these significant events, fit in with Bible-based teachings of the End times' leading up to the Return of our Saviour and Messiah.
2. The Biblical Names of the Nation,
> Although there is much disagreement on what God calls today's Jewish People, it is clear that God, through the prophets often uses 4 names interchangeably, when referring to His Specially chosen ethnic nation of people.
> Initially, from the book of Exodus (in the last 4 books of the Torah), The Hebrew People were usually called; "Israelites" and this continues through to the end of 2nd Samuel. Also in the first 11 chapter of the book of 1st Kings.
as you may know, the Kingdom was divided into the Kingdoms of Israel,
(10 tribes in the North), and Kingdom of Judah,
(called 2 Tribes, but was actually four, Judah, Benjamin, Simeon and
Levites, plus others *), in the South.
See 2 Chronicles 11: 13 & 14, then 15 -17, also chapter 15: 9 & boxed note below
However, it was during the Exile, that God joined all the tribes
together, so that repeatedly in the Post-exile books, the emphasis
was on "all Israel"!
[In fact it was the literal fulfillment of Ezekiel's vision in ch. 37: 15 - 28, lasting ever since, and confirmed in the N.T. (James 1:1) ~ inspite of other theories you may know of! Cp. Ezra 1: 1-5 - promised in Jer. 29, was fulfilled before Yeshua's birth!]
> Clearly ~ it was during the Exile in Babylon that the 'nick-name' "Jews" from 'Judeans' or 'of Yehuda', was used, as is seen in the books of Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah and Daniel, then throughout the New Testament, or "the tribes of Israel" in Revelation 7, the last reference to them as a separate Nation!
ONE Nation, Several Names, all with meaning.
>> Frequently, in the books of the Prophets, God referred to them in an especially beautiful way as "My People"! He even used the name "God of Jacob" In Psalm 46; and in 10 other places - long after the first Jacob had died!
> Also the Prophets, who were actually reporting God's words, used the names of the nation interchangeably called, 'Israel' or 'Judah' or 'Jacob', (as In Jer. 30.)
> The use of the name 'Jacob' is often very poignant, as it was the name of the first Jacob, son of Isaac from birth, and its meaning was clearly explained in the story in Genesis 25: 26 to mean "deceiver" * and the following chapters to 32, show he was exactly that! So the fact that this name is also used of the Nation in many of the Prophecies is precious! We would think, having been given the new, wonderful name of Isra-el - "one who prevailed with God", God and His prophets would not ever want to use the name 'Jacob' * again? Yet they did!
B. BRIEF THOUGHTS ABOUT THE ENDTIME ~ 'THE LAST DAYS'.
Endtime period of several years are correctly called
"the Last days",
which we believe we are in ~ right now. A time many Scriptures are
2 Timothy 3: 1, and 2 Peter 3: 3, & "last times" in Jude 18. A specific Era of Time.
By our recking, from Revelation 6 and Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, etc, it could even stretch back, from 'The Time of the (so-called) 'Enlightenment' around 1850, to possibly the future years in this Decade. [No one can be dogmatic about it.]
2. The last of "the Last Days" will include 7 years of: "the Time of Tribulation." [Revelation 7: 14.] However Jesus/ Yeshua also called it, "Great Distress", "the Distress of those days", "those days" and 'That Time", in Matthew 24, and in Mark 13, "Birth pangs" and "Days of Distress." This is a very specific bad period of time also referred to in Daniel 9: 27, 2 Thess. 2, etc, and in Jeremiah 30.
3. Another important consideration is: 'Who will suffer in this time?'
a) Scripture makes the answer clear for those who will read very carefully in chapter 13, about the Beast and his worldwide control of the world.
It uses the phrase: "Men worshipped the Dragon... and they also worshipped the Beast", and sums up what will be involved in vss.13 -18. "He deceived the inhabitants of the Earth... he was given power to give breath to the Image of the first Beast... and caused all who refused to worship the Image to be killed." From this several Scriptures, it is clear it is true Christians who will suffer.
Therefore, Revelation 7 has a great contrasting description of an amazing, vast, crowd of people at the glorious Heavenly Celebration in front of the Throne of God and the Lamb. It is almost beyond our imagination for the love and joy for all!
The Elder told John; "These are those who have come out of the great Tribulation..." Yes, they had suffered in awful persecution, but now are free!
[We now use colours to differentiate between groups of people mentioned and red is for Redeemed Believers in Yeshua Ha Meshiach, Jesus the Messiah.]
Therefore it is Gentile Christians in this context who have been in the "Great Tribulation"~ as opposed to the equally special representative Israeli "servants" ~ of verses 3 - 8, who we believe - (see later notes) will NOT suffer in the Tribulation. The full number of other Jewish Redeemed people will be vast, too.
[Its possible the 144, 000 servants will minister to persecuted Christians, for Israel.]
b) We have good reasons for saying that the Jewish people (at the time of the Anti-christ), will be safe in Israel, a separate Nation, in their own Land, as by then, they will all be Believers in Yeshua as Saviour and Messiah! [See Ezekiel 39: 27 - 29.] This is partly what this study is about, so please be patient as we unfold this part of God's exciting Plan! [See: 'Sequel to the Ezekiel war' here.]
Just to give you a brief passage to enforce this concept, here is Isaiah 60:1- 3.
"Arise, shine for your light has come, and the glory of ADONAI rises upon YOU. See darkness covers the [rest of] the Earth, and thick darkness is over the peoples, [plural] but the LORD rises upon YOU, and His glory appears over you." * [See below.] The world suffers the dark night of Tribulation, but Israel is free, independent, and holy as described in Ezekiel 36 & Isaiah 62, before the actual Return of Yeshua when then finally, the entire world will be filled with His glory!
Also please see here.
WHERE DOES THE PHRASE 'JACOB'S TROUBLE' COME FROM?
This phrase is only mentioned once in Jeremiah chapter 30: 7, "A Time of Trouble for Jacob..." [NIV] "The time of Jacob's Trouble..." [KJV]
half verse in question in Jeremiah comes from verse 7, but
after a glorious introduction of 3 verses ~ clearly
teaching a Sovereign work of God! From vs.1: "This
is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD.
This what the LORD the God of Israel says:
'Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you
'The days are coming' declares ADONAI, 'when I WILL bring My People Israel and Judah back from captivity, and restore them to the Land I gave to their forefathers to possess' says ADONAI". God has been doing this since before 1948, when they actually, at last, were established as a modern nation, in their own Land! For going on to 70 years, God is fulfilling all His promises! It is wonderful!
2. But next, God paints a serious picture of a special, unique time of fearful testing which will happen first ~ for 'Jacob' * ~ Israel's darkest hour before a wonderful dawn of deliverance and freedom from fear and enemy nations forever!
must not separate the two aspects of
what God will do! Vs. 4:
"These are the words the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah [together!]
This is what ADONAI says: [repeated twice!]
'Cries of fear are heard - terror, not peace. Ask and see:
Can a man bear children?
Then why do I see every strong man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labour,
every face turned deathly pale?
How awful that DAY will be!
It will be a time of trouble for Jacob * BUT HE WILL BE SAVED OUT OF IT'."
you to read it in any translation.
* God was making a serious announcement especially and only for 'Jacob' *!
* It does not end after the word 'Jacob' *.
* It does not say how long it will be.
* It does not say what the occasion for the Endtime terrific fear is, either.
* It presumes the Jewish People will know what "Jacob's Trouble" was, and meant.
* It does indicate the unified Nation * is in the Land, having been "brought back" to possess the LAND ~ and soon they will enjoy 'Restoration' ~ to be freed from any more captivity! [Or subjection to pressure from other nations.]
WHAT COULD BE THE CAUSE OF THE SHEER TERROR BEING DESCRIBED FOR THE 'JACOB' NATION ~ IN JEREMIAH 30?
WHAT MOST BIBLE TEACHERS BELIEVE: It is 'The Time of Tribulation'.
~ is the point of view that all Jews will suffer during
the 'Tribulation' accurate?
1. We agree that the descriptions in Scripture of the 'Time of Tribulation' and 'Distress' are far more horrific than many Bible readers, ever comprehend. Yes, worse that the Shoah ['Holocaust']... Jesus Himself described it: "How dreadful it will be in those days... For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now - and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the Elect, those days will be shortened," Matthew 24: 19 - 22. But there are Scriptures revealing that Jews ['Jacob'] will not suffer in that time, such as Isaiah 58: 8 - 14 *, 60:1 - 3. Psalm 36: 5 - 10, Revelation 12: 6 & 13 -14.
3. But in
line with other Scriptures, 'The
Time of Tribulation' refers to the whole Gentile world in Endtimes,
under an evil Monster, called 'the Beast'.
Rev. 13: 1. "And I saw a Beast coming out of the sea," [of people], matching the Fourth Beast Daniel writes about in ch. 7:7 -8. He is obviously the final 'Anti-Christ', [or 'Lawless one', as in 2 Thess. 2: 3 - 9, and in other places in the Epistles.]
4. BUT please note, the second half of our verse, after - ["It will be a time of trouble for Jacob", - no hint of any other group of people - note] - "but he will be delivered out of it." If you had never heard any explanation of this verse, it would be easy to imagine the trouble passes quickly, (even though it seemed very serious), and it actually has a good result! The very next verse says: " 'In that day' declares the LORD Almighty, [ADONAI El Shaddai] 'I will break the yolk off their necks, and will tear off their bonds." A sudden, dramatic freeing action!
WHY IS IT CALLED THE TIME OF "JACOB'S TROUBLE"?
Surely the first, original 'Patriarch'/ Father of the nation could explain it!
would surely tell you "O the worst night was when I was
returning to my own Land, - just after I had carefully planned to
meet, and make peace with my brother who hated me and wanted to kill
me. I knew it was a special time in my life, because of the prayer
I had prayed when I left, after the amazing vision of the
Staircase to Heaven with the angels on it, but most of all, there
above it "stood the LORD. And He
said: 'I AM ADONAI, the
God of your father Abraham, and the God of Isaac, I will give you and
your descendants the Land on which you are lying..." You
can still read about that night, for yourself, and my (Jacob's) vow,
to God as a result of God's amazing promises to me Jacob in Genesis
28: 10 - 21!"
Secondly, Jacob would tell you, "I thought I was all alone, but suddenly I found myself wrestling all night with a Man! When He could not over-power me, He just touched the socket of my hip, and it wrenched out of place." (Oh, how painful that was!) "But I was not going to let this Man go, because I knew He could give me a blessing, far more than I deserved. (I had to tell Him my name was 'Jacob' - the 'trickster'). Then the Man said, 'your name will no longer be 'Jacob', but ISRA-EL... Then He blessed me there! So I called the Place 'Peni-EL' because I had seen the Face of God", See Genesis 32: 22 -32!"
[By the way, this name 'Peniel' ('Seeing God') is in the plural form, did you know?
Please see the article on "Who is the Face of God" here.]
THE PHRASE, "THE TIME OF JACOB'S TROUBLE" BE LINKED TO THE
EXPERIENCE OF THE FIRST JACOB?
~ This is where we have to summarise some Scripture Principles. ~
God's Priority is to glorify Himself through Israel, by fulfilling
ALL the promises made to them, including showing Himself HOLY
Please see Deuteronomy 7: 7 - 12. Ezekiel 36: 22 & 23.
2. 'Jacob' was still an alternative name for 'Israel', right through to Malachi 3, verse 6, "'I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob * are not destroyed. Return to Me and I will return to you', says the LORD."
NOTE: this is the ONLY way that Israel will ever become God's Holy Nation!
3. Therefore God's over-riding priority always was for them to have a close relationship with Himself! [In Jer. 3: 19 God is weeping and in Hosea 11: 1 -3.]
> THIS is why God longed so much for them to know Him closely as a Father, that He allowed His Jewish, Divine Son, Yeshua, to die to make it possible for them!
> THIS is why God's Jewish Rabbi- servant, Sha-ul (Paul) wrote the chapters we call Romans 9 - 11, especially 10: 1 & 9, "Brothers my hearts desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they might be saved! ~ The Word is near you... that is the Word of faith... that if you confess with your mouth, 'Yeshua/ Jesus is ADONAI - LORD', and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the Dead, you will be saved." It has to be a deep inner conviction - shared!
>> For Israel, THIS is the hardest part of really being close to God. Talk to any honest Jewish person anywhere in the world and they will tell you the last thing Jews want to do is acknowledge Yeshua/ Jesus, is God's Divine Son that has been alive in Heaven for nearly 2,000 years, ever since He died in Jerusalem on a cross for the sins of people, including His own Jewish People, to save them!
>> Jewish People really have to wrestle with that concept, which is hard for them!
5. Israel has
faced many dark Days of terror and war and threats, since 1948!
But always, however unprepared, like in 1948 or 1973 (the 'Yom Kippur War'), at least She could fight desperately, just as the first Jacob wrestled all night with the Man! [Israel is so proud of and confident in the Israeli Defence Forces - their 'god'?]
But in this future time, it seems she will NOT be able to do any fighting!
THIS is why the Prophet sees men in a pose of unbelievable, helpless fear.
"Cries of fear are heard - terror, not peace. Ask and see: Can a man bear children? Then why do I see every strong man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labour, every face turned pale?" [Jer. 30: 5 & 6.]
6. Yet, do you remember the words of the Jewish Rabbi Sha'ul above?
Not only did he long for Israel ~ the entire Jewish nation to be saved, he spelt out clearly exactly the only way to be saved! By being restored to a Holy God, in His mercy He'll do this both spiritually, and physically! He longs for them to be HOLY.
Therefore finally, the only way for Israel to be saved, ~ to really be His Holy People ~ will be by acknowledging GOD's way ~ of escape from disaster.
Only by wrestling with their doubts and fears about accepting Yeshua as the One to bless them, and believing in their hearts that He is alive and risen from the dead, and like Jacob, by finally by clinging on by faith to that Man ~ and pleading for His blessing will they have "the yoke of fear broken off their necks, and they will no longer be enslaved by foreigners." Jeremiah 30: vs. 8, describes this one result. Spiritually God will make them a HOLY Nation ~ Isra-EL!
> Israel's/ 'Jacob's' time of Distress and Trouble will be before the Magog War, when they truly believe they will be destroyed as a nation! See Ezekiel 38!
That is when they are in great fear, but this is when "they will call on the Name of the Lord"! Rabbi Sha'ul/ Paul wrote about this too! It is in Romans 10.
"Everyone who calls on the Name of ADONAI, will be saved."
> 'The Time of Jacob's Trouble', will not be the years of the same Tribulation as for the rest of the rebellious World under the power seeking, evil 'False- messiah', (called 'the Beast'). It does not match up with so many Scriptures!
>Israel's time of Distress will be over quickly in the short time before God destroys the 'Magog Army', before they could lift a weapon to fire at Israel! The contrast from the impossible, serious threat to the nation, will be extreme ~ from abject fear and near panic ~ to Glorious Deliverance and Freedom from evil Islam ever, any more. ALL BECAUSE they finally, individually, but as a nation called on their own God to forgive them for rejecting His Son, and by trust ~ accept Yeshua as their own Saviour ~ saved from sin - and the evil Army!
Compare Psalm 29, 60, 80, 83, 85, [re the Army & God's victory.] Isaiah 33 too.
INSTEAD ~ as Isaiah 60: 1 - 3 (quoted above) and Ezekiel 36 explains clearly that Israel will become a glorious Holy nation in their own Land! FREE at last!
SO WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ISRAEL DURING THE 'TIME OF TRIBULATION'?
It is generally understood that the Christians will all be taken to Heaven before the Beastly take-over of the world. [Revelation 13.] There are many ideas about what this would mean, described by those who believe in a "Pre-Tribulation Rapture for Christians". One idea is, that it is then that all Jews become Believers in Yeshua, ~ when they see Him. But this eliminates any kind of real TRUST or 'faith' ~ "For without faith NO one can please God". Hebrews 11 explains this clearly! Therefore, God uses Ezekiel 39, to bring Israel to Himself (vs. 29) before the 'Time of Tribulation', and then during that time Israel will glorify God!
Another mistaken idea is about the one Daniel calls 'the Ruler' who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. (The one also called 'the Anti-christ') will make a different kind of special 'covenant' with Israel on its own, not as people say.
Daniel 9: 27 is the well-known verse that describes this. However, again, an often-repeated explanation is inserted into the phrase. "He [the Evil Ruler/ Anti-christ] - "Will confirm a covenant (treaty) with MANY for one 'seven' [years]", by teaching that the 'many' means Israel! There is no reason to accept that.
> Actually he makes a different Treaty (or 'Covenant agreement)' with Israel after this 'Magog war'. God will arrange it, by winning all Jews to Himself as written above, and confirmed in Romans 11: 12, 15, and 26, especially! This will be: to allow Israel to be a separate nation, NOT part of the Beast's Kingdom.
> The covenant with 'MANY'' could mean the entire world, as Revelation 13: 7 shows. "He was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the Earth..." So - all the nations of the world will make a 'covenant' agreement with this 'False-messiah' to give him their Sovereignty.
> Please notice, that no-where in Scripture is it called 'a PEACE' covenant.
> With modern knowledge and developments toward a "One World Government" -we now know it is an 'agreement' to give 'sovereignty' to the Evil World Leader.
> But Israel, (now all Believers in their Saviour and Messiah, Yeshua), will say, "No, we want a different covenant, an agreement to have our own Land, and build our Temple and be separate from your (beastly) kingdom." [Check back to Jer.30?]
> The Bible indicates 'The False Ruler' - or the 'Anti-christ' will agree to make a different treaty, with a condition: demanding that every Jew must go to Israel!
This will fulfill Ezekiel 39: 26 - 29! GOD says, " 'I WILL gather them to their own Land, NOT leaving ANY behind. I will no longer hide my Face from them, for I will pour out My Spirit on the House of Israel' declares the Sovereign LORD."
WE REST OUR CASE, FOR YOU TO BRING THESE ISSUES TO GOD.
First, we have already had criticism of these understandings. We do respect the rights of any one to have their own beliefs. We trust you will allow us to openly and as honestly as we can, express the results of our study and prayer though different.
Secondly, because we did not want the article to be too long and involved, we have not gone into deeper 'arguments', or even quoted many other Scriptures. But we hope you will look up the references we have given. Checking other articles on this web site could help, as we try hard to be totally consistent, in dealing with these very big, and sometimes-difficult subjects, especially when there are SO many different points of view available now on the Internet.
Thirdly, we do hope this study and our belief in a Glorious Future for Israel, and all Jewish people, here in this world before the Return of Yeshua, to reign from Jerusalem, will be great joy and encouragement to all people who love God's Jewish people. May the realisation that as a nation, Israel will NOT suffer any more trouble and sorrow once they turn to their own Saviour and Messiah comfort many Jewish people. We believe this strongly from just SO many Prophetic Scriptures!
Lastly, this belief we have tried to explain here, with this explanation, will only be proved true, when the events actually happen, ("before the eyes of the world" according to the faithful Prophet Ezekiel). We repeat, we only enlarge on this subject, hoping that it will honour God's Word, and be a blessing to some people.
If Israel does not have to suffer in the Tribulation, surely that will GLORIFY GOD!
the point of view of this writer ALL God's promises to Israel, need
to be fulfilled in this world like it is, and not only in the
Millennial Reign of Yeshua? One clue for those who can
follow it, is that Resurrected Believers will not 'pro-create' in
that Future Millennial time. [Luke 20: 34-36] So even just the
promises of increased families now, as Israeli Jews return to their
own Land will be proof!
[Isaiah 29: 22-24, and ch 49!] Many other prophetic promises will also come true.
We especially hope this will bless and encourage Messianic Believers, now.
For more thoughts on this see 'Israel's Glorious Future' or
'Israel Endtime Timeline'.
OR you are welcome to send us an e-mail to: email@example.com
Most of all, May God bless you in every way, wherever you are!