I don’t know if my generation will be the ones who enter into Daniel’s 70th week. It is very hard to believe that I won’t see that in my life time but that’s not up to me. I specifically remember hearing some discussions about in the time of Jacob’s trouble the believers having a role to play. And that role being helping out Jews that are inflight or fleeing. When I first heard that it felt like it sent shock waves through my spirit (in a good way). Would you mind to comment on your thoughts on this and what could that practically look like for a believer in the time of their great distress/tribulation, maybe even specifically for our situation in the US? (I very much love the testimony of the Ten Boom family and it seems like that may be a good picture of what it could be like).
Yes, the story of the Ten Boom family is no accident, nor is the carefully archived history of Nazi Europe. It was a divinely ordained pre-view of the mystery of lawlessness as it will be most fully embodied and revealed in the coming ‘man of lawlessness’. Along with all the general mayhem and lawlessness that will abound (is abounding!), international hatred of the Jew will once more, as never before, be front and center.
Knowing then what the scripture teaches concerning the coming flight of the woman, and the sure promise of divine provision for refuge and survival (Rev 12:6, 14), we ask, “Where is this place? and who are “they” who are appointed to “feed her there”? Will it be ravens, angels, or saints who have “foreseen the evil and hid themselves”? (Prov 22:3; 27:12).
This flight, we expect, will not only be out of Judea into the neighboring wilderness (Mt 24:15-16; for OT background compare Isa 16:1-5; 42:10-14; Dan 11:41 KJV), but from all the great population centers, as far as the long arm of the Antichrist will reach. Jews, with any who harbor them, will be the special target of Antichrist fury and pursuit. This is because Satan’s great dread is for the elect remnant to reach their destination of national salvation at the end of the tribulation. He knows so much better than the church that if the Word concerning Israel’s post-tribulational salvation can fail, so fails the Word of God that condemns him to the lake of fire.
The end that God has appointed is the ultimate, climatic convergence of all the great themes, principles and patterns of the past in final, open demonstration. For Israel, the church, and the world, it is the ultimate test on the widest possible scale.
You ask, “how I expect the believer’s relation to Jews in flight may look, especially in the US?” I suspect it will look very much like it did in the story of the Hiding Place. Yet, I would think it very unfortunate if great lessons are not taken. For example, on a visit to an Ann Franke exhibit, I made note of the great statistical disparity between the rate of Jewish survival within the population centers and those who managed to escape into the countryside. So there’s much practical wisdom that can be gleaned if even a relative certainty concerning the time could be known in advance, but that’s precisely the problem. I’ll come back to this.
Some years back I wrote an article that Art was very keen to post on our website at the time. It was entitled, “A Prophetic Call to Practical Preparation.” As evident in the Corrie Ten Boom story, the “Hiding Place”, there is a practical side to our faith that goes beyond all the inferences and speculations on many of the details that will always be debated. It centers on the substance and essence of what we really believe and expect and what our response should be.
Of course, as always, the only thing ultimately decisive is the issue of being “led by the Spirit”. This may be different in many particulars for different ones in different places, but with any divine trust of revealed truth there comes a corresponding responsibility. If God has spoken, if the lion has roared, if the trumpet has given a certain sound, who can justify the complacency of neglect that accompanies unbelief? The only ultimately decisive question is “has God really said?” All else is relative to that.
So before we can be concerned with what the church ‘should’ believe, our first responsibility is to what we have heard personally and understood for ourselves. The question is never ‘what shall this man do?”, but “you follow Me”.
If we know that the woman will be pursued into a prepared place of hiding, and if we believe this has a world wide application, it follows that the great witness to Israel and the world will be the expectancy and preparation of believers, as based on the sure word of prophecy, most particularly Jesus’ strategic directive in Mt 24:15, “let the reader understand” (Mt 24:15). The Lord expects us to go to Daniel, locate and ‘understand’ this event. By so directing, Jesus knows that we will find much more than this particular event. To understand the abomination of desolation is also to see what precedes and what follows this event, and therefore an entire context that centers around God’s special covenant with the Jews and the meaning of “those days” and the use of this knowledge to “instruct many” and “turn many to righteousness” (Dan 11:32-33; 12:3, 10).
Never will there be a greater opportunity for believers to move Jews to emulation than by the practical provision made by the mouth of their own, rejected Joseph-Messiah. But as long as the wise virgins remain asleep, and as long as there remains great confusion as to the time and order of events that signal the time, it is as the scripture says, “if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to battle?” (ICor 14:8).
I would personally despair of hope of a mobilized army of prophetically prepared forerunners if I did not believe that God has, in unspeakable kindness and mercy, given us the first half of Daniel’s 70th week to awaken and prepare for the second half of the last seven years. The importance of this could hardly be too stressed.
Yet, not surprisingly, it is the most scorned and denied of all the competing interpretations among ‘futurists’ (those believing in a future tribulation). Not only does the battle rage over Daniel’s authenticity, but over its interpretation, and nowhere else is this more the case than in the question of whether a gap (hidden age) exists between the 69th and 70th weeks of Dan 9:24-27. But so much depends on this crucial knowledge that is key to the preparation of the remnant of the ‘maskilim’ (those having understanding) in those critical, ultimately transitional days.
If God has been so specific in the past (e.g., the 70 years of Jeremiah, the 70 weeks of Daniel, etc.), can it be that He has given His people sufficient sign posts, time markers to show the time that preparation of an unusual and urgent kind should be made? Some of us believe God has revealed (in a somewhat hidden way) a substantial and compelling case that the two days of Hos 6:2 represents the whole time of Jesus’ session at God’s right hand, from the time of Israel’s stumbling to the time of their return when they will enter upon the ‘third day’ as a raised and revived nation fulfilling their millennial destiny (Hos 5:15-6:2; Mic 5:1-4; Zech 3:9; 12:10; Mt 23:39; Ro 11:26; Rev 1:7)
The argumentation for this, not so well known or well agreed, is based on more solid and compelling evidence than many suspect, too much to go into here (see “Simple Layman: Teaching the Prophetic Time-line” on youtube). But if true, then God has indeed given something more definite as to the time than most have been led to believe possible, or even conceive as orthodox (“but of that day and hour …”).
Whether such a view can be vindicated remains to be seen. Still, it is something worth keeping an eye on, lest we hastily dismiss God’s provision for His people, but even more His own greater glory in so precisely and completely foretelling all things in advance (Mk 13:23). In any event, God has provided protection against the false alarms of prophetic speculation by a tightly connected constellation of events that will either confirm or deny the presumption that the end of the two days is very near. Yet, unless clarity comes as to the time (when it is time to know the time), it is unlikely that there will be any real, unified, mobilization of the church, even the true body, until very late at best.
The very great doctrinal divide, particularly in the chaos of eschatology, virtually ensures that the time will not only come upon the world as a thief, but many who profess Christ (contrast the two servants of Lk 12:42-48). Even the five wise virgins are depicted as also sleeping when the time arrives. But we may take hope that from some source that is not sleeping comes the midnight call, “Behold, the bridegroom comes! Go out to meet Him!”
There is one thing that greatly puzzles me. It is the fact that quite apart from anything very definite as to the time, I think of young king Josiah when he found the lost book of the law. He had no definite prophetic timeline, no books of Daniel or Revelation. It was enough that he read the proverbial writing on the wall in the threats of the broken covenant (Lev 26; Deut 28-32). This stirred him to sober trembling and repentance. He fled for refuge, not to the wilderness but to righteousness.
Yet, today, even if it were questioned whether we have entered upon the time of the preceding birth pangs. Even if we imagine the time when none may buy or sell might indeed be a good ways off. Still, what do the wise do when they foresee, not perhaps specifically defined prophetic time markers, but a culture and civilization teetering on the brink, under ominously looming judgment? “A prudent man foresees the evil and hides himself but the simple pass on and are punished” (Prov 22:3; 27:12).
Isn’t that enough to greatly question how far invested we have become in a highly integrated, highly interdependent world system under such manifestly looming judgment? (Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? Jeremiah 5:9, 29; 9:9). Isn’t that enough to think of practical measures of practical preparation, not as flight, but as wisdom for the sake of the vulnerable and the weak who may not be called to go into places of radical obedience ‘where angels fear to tread’?
The command to flee the proverbial ‘city of destruction’, as the symbolic city of man is first and foremost spiritual, of course, but there comes a time when it is unbelief and sin not to expect plague and curse and calamity when a nation’s cup of iniquity has reached its tilting point. So it is a question much to be considered among the brethren, how, and in what ways can practical measures be taken to provide for our own (Gal 6:10; 1Tim 5:8), and this includes the Lord’s brethren, the hated, hunted Jews of “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Mt 25:40 with Isa 26:16-17; 66:7; 30:6-7; Mic 5:3-4).
When it comes to the wisdom of practical preparation, not as means of escaping persecution, or anything God has ordained, such as the certainty of tribulation (Acts 14:22), of course, but as a practical corollary and witness to what is surely believed (“and being warned of God of things not seen as yet”), isn’t it enough to know the words of the Psalmist concerning the fate of any nation that forgets God? “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Ps 9:17).
Add these fundamental principles to the never before fulfilled prophecies that are so clearly before us and developing rapidly along an inexorable trajectory of utmost prophetic certainty, it is hard to see how we can continue as though “all things continue”. Is it not time to put feet to our faith and prepare now for the flight of the Jews and our own flight from foolish, excessive, and unnecessary dependency on the world’s system, as though only the last 3 ½ years is our only concern?
And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do … (1 Chron 12:32).
Whoever keeps the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerns both time and judgment. Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. For he knows not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be? (Ecclesiastes 8:5-7)
These two things, time and judgment, are particularly hard to bring together. Even if the time is known, what if it is not known what should be done? And even if what should be done is agreed, is the time right?
Our prayer is for the raising up, not merely those who assume to know much about the time, whether general or specific, but those who can instruct and advise, not only in spiritual matters but of practical preparation. Paul says, “you have many teachers but not many fathers.” Where there is hardly, if any agreement concerning the time, or even the possibility of knowing anything at all about the time, there is not likely to be much clarity on what should be done of a practical nature. So until such agreement emerges, perhaps very late into the seven years, each one must answer that question for themselves. I believe we will look back and realize how much was indeed knowable except for our condition to know it.
Yours in the Beloved, Reggie