The Importance of Chronology in Prophetic Fulfillment

Regarding your recent article on Jacob’s Trouble, see my note in red.

“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 {some of us do not believe this!} the sure word of prophecy requires. So the difference seems primarily one of degree and severity.”

Dear Jeff. Permit me to qualify my intention in one of my statements. I’m not intending to suggest that any private interpretation is equivalent to the ‘sure word of prophecy’. Admittedly, that can sound arrogant to anyone that has not had the opportunity to consider the evidence. But I was thinking of the increasingly popular view that all prophecy is open ended and conditional. That I believe is serious error. True, much is conditional and contingent on prayer and obedience of the faithful, but there is a view that so ‘conditionalizes’ the prophetic scripture that some have even proposed to remove the future necessity for Israel’s experience of ‘great tribulation’ through united corporate prayer. However, Jesus said that heaven and earth would sooner pass away before “all these things” should fail of certain fulfillment. And while the believing remnant in the Land are instructed to pray that their flight “be not in winter or on the Sabbath”, it would be futile to pray that their flight be not. So believing that not all prophecy is conditional (see Dan 11:36; “that which is determined shall be done”), I only meant to say that if this unequaled tribulation is indeed future and without precedent or equal (please review in context Jer 30:7; Dan 12:1; Mt 24:21), then it is inexorably sure, regardless of our ability to fathom it.

Please understand how painful and also repugnant it is to hold this view. But if the context makes plain that the unequaled tribulation terminates in nothing short of the second coming and the resurrection, then how else am I to understand the language of these manifestly parallel prophecies? But here’s the good news: Admittedly, such unprecedented judgement and devastation is part of the unfathomable ‘severity’ of God, but where in all the history of the world has an entire third of a people’s population been born again in one day? (see Isa 66:8; Zech 3:9; 12:10; Ezek 39:22-29 etc.). Without such severe intervention, the far greater population of Israel would have continued to slip out into a Christless eternity through natural death.

I have found that some of the ‘hardest words’ of God are also the most clear and forthright, but also the most inconceivable and thus disbelieved, all of which only further vindicates the scripture’s claim to be the very Word of God. Our view is not original with Art, but is the consensus report of the far greater number of premillennial writers over the centuries. Ours is not the novel view. The view that the unequaled tribulation was fulfilled in the WWII Holocaust is obviously very recent, and it has relaxed the critical vigilance of many living in Israel, where it has received greatest acceptance. To be wrong on this matter has serious implications indeed, requiring our utmost in prayer and diligence to study. “Whosoever reads, let him understand” (Mt 24:15). “And they that understand among the people shall instruct many” (Dan 11:33; 12:3).

In brotherly affection, Reggie

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