The Time of Jacob’s (Unequaled) Trouble

Reggie,
I have followed the Israel Mandate conference In Kansas City for a number of years and have listened carefully to speakers like Mike Bickle, Dan Juster and Anton Shiskoff [sp]. This weekend Dr. Juster presented a very informative word on Zionism, the Land and Israel’s covenant promises. This in itself was a wonderful history lesson coupled with significant exegete. As I have also tried to listen carefully to both you and Art [Katz] and your takes on the future of the Covenant Nation I must be sure I understand the differences, where they are minimal and where they are significant. It seems both Juster and Shiskoff are adamant about a post tribulational rapture return and restoration of all things [as you teach], however they do not mention [at least not this weekend] of a shaking that will necessitate the People be again scattered under great persecution. Perhaps they were not trying to raise controversy or perhaps, as Messianic Jews they believe there will not be a persecution of a kind that will again send Jews and those who identify with them, throughout the nations. I’m sure you can help me on this one. I know you have mentioned in past writings that many Messianic Jews in the Land are at odds with what you and Art believe is the future outcome. Help me understand where I can be in agreement.
Bill N.

I’m not sure of the differences that may exist, but I do know that most of those in Israel that see Jacob’s trouble as past typically recognize another yet future world wide tribulation. It is also true that most in the Land do not expect the church to be raptured first, as so commonly believed here in the states. However, it is rare for any of those actually living in the Land to see this future tribulation as particularly concentrated in the Land. Many fail to regard any future troubles for Israel as unequaled and on an unprecedented scale as we believe the sure word of prophecy requires. So the difference seems primarily one of degree and severity. Again, Daniel is very clear: The unequaled tribulation occurs when Michael stands up (Dan 12:1; see also Rev 12) in the ‘midst of the week’ (Dan 9:27). Thereupon, the Antichrist breaks his league by placing the desolating sacrilege that begins the unequaled tribulation, which is the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week. This is the classic view of the greater part of pre-millennial writers over the recent centuries. A future seven year period and the unequaled severity of the last 3 1/2 years was the consensus report of the earliest church fathers (see ante-Nicene Fathers vols 1 & 5).

Note that the unequaled trouble lasts a brief 3 1/2 years and ends in nothing short of the resurrection of the righteous (Dan 12:1-2, 11-13). So Jeremiah’s reference to a coming ‘time of Jacob’s trouble’, also described as without equal (Jer 30:7) is shown in Daniel as concluding the last half of the final week of years. In language almost identical to Daniel and Jeremiah, Jesus refers explicitly to Daniel’s prophecy of the abomination of desolation as marking the start of the unequaled tribulation (Mt 24:15, 21), which ends with His return (Mt 24:29-31), as also Paul in 2Thes 2:1-8. Most of John’s revelation is primarily occupied with the same brief period of 3 1/2 years (Rev 6-19).

If the Antichrist actually invades Israel and establishes his headquarters in Jerusalem (Dan 11:45; Rev 11:2, 7), it is hard to see how Israel can be the so-called “Ark of safety” as described by many Christians facilitating and financing Jewish return (aliyah) today. If a believer feels led to help Jews return to the Land, that is one thing that may have to do with a much larger divine providence. However, when Christians are so naive concerning the covenant vengeance that await those that return to the Land (Lev 26:25; Zeph 2:1-2; Mt 24:15; Lk 21:22-24; Rev 11:2, 7; 13:5), well, that’s another matter altogether, which says much about the condition of the church, not only concerning its view of Israel but of God, because it reveals a certain presumption that reflects a naive optimism concerning human nature and the kind of severity that is required to purge sin and penetrate the veil that stands in the power of self sufficient humanism, particular when it is a powerfully religious humanism. It will not seem strange to the believer that is taught of God that the once and for all breaking of the pride of Israel’s power (Lev 26:19; Deut 32:36; Dan 12:7) comes only at tremendous cost (Zech 13:8-9).

I was sharing with my other elder today that it is not enough that the secular state fail. It is particularly the revived religious theocracy that must fail, and this will follow the covenant with death and hell between the religious leadership and the Antichrist. Prophecy leads me to expect that secular control of at least the southern part of Israel (Judea) will at some point pass into the hands of the ultra orthodox. This could come as a result of a war that Israel will win at great expense, which will justify renewed Jewish intransigence over the question of Jerusalem, and this will in turn outrage Israel’s Arab neighbors, setting the final stage for Jacob’s trouble. That’s when we will see the ill-fated league with the Antichrist who will pretentiously confirm the ‘holy covenant’ (the oath of Israel’s covenant claim to the Land, the city, and the holy places) only to break this deceitful agreement after three and half years of presumptuous false security. When I can get to it, I’ll show the scriptural case for this general scenario, but must leave it there for now.

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