Readers Question / Comment - Is the time of Jacob's trouble already past with the holocaust of WWII?
Hi, I have just read an article that believes that the holocaust was 'the time of Jacob's trouble' spoken of in scripture and that the Jews coming back into the land of Israel will not be faced with another such time.
In short, they think that the times of Jacob's trouble is past, not future. Can you let me know what you think about this please? Here is the link:
I've read it all (though quickly in parts.) It is pretty long so I can't/won't address it all but I'll address that main points and if there are other things you've noticed let me know.
Here are some thoughts after a general quick read:
The author is misguided. He obviously genuinely believes what he does and has quoted quite a few scriptures but seems to be missing the obvious (and leaving out the most important scripture on this topic - what Jesus said) while quoting others from Psalms and Isaiah that, while true about God's future blessing of Israel, don't have any significance concerning his main question: "Is the day of Jacob's trouble past or future?"
There is a key reason right in the text itself why prophecy scholars place the day of Jacob's trouble in the great tribulation. Let's look at the scripture:
Jeremiah 30:4-7 Now these are the words which the LORD spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah: (5) "For thus says the LORD, 'I have heard a sound of terror, Of dread, and there is no peace. (6) 'Ask now, and see If a male can give birth. Why do I see every man With his hands on his loins, as a woman in childbirth? And why have all faces turned pale? (7) 'Alas! for that day is great, There
is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob's distress, But he will be saved from it.
In describing the day of Jacob's trouble, Jeremiah uses this phrase about that day: 'there is none
like it'. Quite a few of the prophets spoke about this time and this phrase about the uniqueness of this time pinpoints it for us. Daniel said it like this:
Daniel 12:1 "Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.
Joel put it like this:
Joel 2:1-2 Blow a trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, For the day of the LORD is coming; Surely it is near, (2) A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness. As the dawn is spread over the mountains, So there is a great and mighty people; There has never been anything like it, Nor will there be again after it
To the years of many generations.
Jesus, speaking of the same time said it like this:
Matthew 24:15-21 "Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), (16) then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. (17) "Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. (18) "Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. (19) "But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! (20) "But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. (21) "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.
I'm sure you will agree that you can only have ONE time that is unlike anything before it or ever will be. You can only have one unique time in this respect. Jeremiah tells us that the time of Jacob's trouble is a time where 'there is none like it'. WWII was terrible. The holocaust was terrible. But it is not the time when Jesus and the prophets said would be totally unique greater than anything before it and with nothing like it in the future. It was (and Hitler was), unfortunately, a type of that which is to come.
Have a look at the conditions that surround this time according to Jesus - You can see this in the Matt 24:15-21 passage above. First you have to have the abomination of desolation. This did not happen in WWII. You have to Judah fleeing for their lives and not even getting things from their homes. This did not happen in WWII - they weren't even back in the land yet. After speaking of the great tribulation Matt 24 goes on just a few verses later to speak of Christ's return. This clearly isn't speaking of WWII.
It is interesting that the author of this article didn't even quote from this passage! But this is the main passage where Jesus puts things in order and gives the conditions from this time for Israel! We see the exact same time in the book of Revelation which speaks of the persecution by the dragon (Satan) against the women (Israel) during this time:
Revelation 12:13-17 And
when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman
who gave birth to the male child. (14) But the two wings of the great eagle were
given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where
she *was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the
serpent. (15) And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. (16) But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. (17) So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
The time frame of 'time and times and half a time' clearly places this time in the 2nd half of the tribulation. So one thing is clear from both Jesus' words and that of Revelation - the Jews in Israel are going to have to flee for their lives and they will have to leave the land of Israel. Thankfully, as you know, God has given them a place to refuge for those that obey. This, based on a few passages, is normally identified as Petra/Edom.
So this article's assertion that the day of Jacob's trouble is past and they will just stay in the land now is pretty misplaced. It is based more on wishful thinking than an analysis of the key scriptures. Basically the only reason that he gave to say that the day of Jacob's trouble is past is because the passage goes on to speak of a gathering of Israel back to Israel for a time of rest. So his argument is 'the day of Jacob's trouble must
be before the regathering of Israel. The regathering has happened in 1948 so the
day of Jacob's trouble must have been before that'. Not trying to be rude, but this seems ignorant of the fact that the Bible speaks of two regatherings of Israel in the last days. This is commonly acknowledged by scholars. The Bible speaks of a regathering of Israel first in unbelief (for judgement) and secondly of a regathering of Israel at the end of the tribulation for blessing and rest.
For example, Dr Arnold Fructenbaum says the following:
"The re-establishment of the Jewish State in 1948 has not
only thrown a wrench into amillennial thinking, but it has also put a chink into
much of premillennial thinking. Amazingly, some Dispensationalists conclude that
the present State of Israel has nothing to do with fulfillment of prophecy. On
what grounds do they so flagrantly dismiss the present State of Israel? The issue
bothering them is that not only do the returning Jews reject Jesus, but the
majority of the returnees are atheists or agnostics, not Orthodox Jews.
Certainly, Israel today does not fit biblical passages speaking of its return as
a regenerated nation. However, this reasoning fails to see that the prophets
spoke of two international returns. First, Israel will regather in unbelief in
preparation for tribulational judgment. A second worldwide regathering in faith
will then follow in preparation for the blessings of the messianic age. Once
recognized that the Bible speaks of two distinct regatherings, the present State
of Israel easily fits into prophecy."
See here, page 15,16 for some scriptural references to the regatherings of the last days
So which regathering is the Jeremiah passage speaking of? Note the parts highlighted:
Jeremiah 30:8-10 'It shall come about on that
day,' declares the LORD of hosts, 'that I will break his yoke from off their neck and will tear off their bonds; and strangers will no
longer make them their slaves. (9) 'But they shall serve the LORD
their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them. (10) 'Fear not, O Jacob My servant,' declares the LORD, 'And do not be dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you from afar And your
offspring from the land of their captivity. And Jacob will return and will be
quiet and at ease, And no one will make him afraid.
That DOES NOT describe Israel today after the first regathering. They are not serving the Lord. God hasn't raised up David their King. Their regathering has never been to 'quiet and ease!' Just the opposite! And it is not to a situation where 'no one will make them afraid'. Goodness... far from it! So the author, is completely wrong in trying to use this passage of Israel's regathering in 1948. It will be fulfilled in the 2nd regathering when their Davidic King DOES REIGN and there is PEACE and EASE and no one to make THEM AFRAID!
Concerning the one third through the fire passage, here it is:
Zechariah 13:7-9 "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, And
against the man, My Associate," Declares the LORD of hosts. "Strike the
Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; And I will turn My hand against the
little ones. (8) "It will come about in all the land," Declares the
LORD, "That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will
be left in it. (9) "And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine
them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My
name, And I will answer them; I will say, 'They are My people,' And
they will say, 'The LORD is my God.'"
The author of the article says that this was a combination of 70AD and 135AD. He says that the population of those living in Israel was reduced to one third. Maybe it was. I don't know. But let's say he is right there. So we need to examine what scripture says of that remaining 'third'. It says that they will be refined as silver and gold and they will call on God's name and God will answer them and they will be His people and they will say that the Lord is my God. That is quite an amazing thing that happens to this remaining third in the land. So did this happen during the 1st century or in 135AD? Was there an amazing revival where the entire nation of Israel that remained turned back to the Lord and knew Him? In short, no. It is true that verse 7 is quoted concerning the cross by Jesus but that doesn't automatically mean that the next verse is at that time. Scripture often has 1st coming and 2nd coming verses side by side (a classic of this, in the same book of Zechariah, is 9:9-10).
Most prophecy scholars see that Zech 13:9 hasn't been fulfilled yet. And because of other scriptures speaking of a wholesale turning to the Lord at the end (ie 'All Israel will be saved') they rightly, in my opinion, place this passage of testing in 'the time of Jacob's trouble' at the end of the age. Having read it again, it could be that verse 8 has 'a' fulfillment in the events of the first 70AD/135AD but it is not the ultimate fulfillment and verse 9, in my opinion, has no fulfillment in that time.
Also remember the scripture I quoted this morning for it speaks of the conditions and reason why Israel, as a whole, turns back to the Lord:
Hosea 5:15-6:3 I will go away and return to My place Until they acknowledge
their guilt and seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me. (6:1) "Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. (2) "He
will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, That we may
live before Him. (3) "So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His
going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like
the spring rain watering the earth."
The turning of Israel to the Lord, so that He returns, is in THEIR AFFLICTION. Scripture says they will be torn, wounded, but he will heal them. Daniel actually gives this as one of the primary purposes of the tribulation:
Daniel 12:6-7 And one said to
the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, "How
long will it be until the end of these wonders?" (7) I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they
finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be
Daniel was asking how long until these incredible things are complete. Note the time frame given just as in the Revelation passage above - 'a time, times, and half a time' - in other words, 3 1/2 years (the second half of the tribulation). But especially note WHAT has to happen in that time - as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed. The 'Holy People' in this context, are Daniel's people, Israel. Their incredibly strong power (their resourcefulness, their military might, their inventiveness and strong wills - everything they are apart from God) has to be shattered. They have to be brought to the place where they will look to the ONE they have pierced to save them and not themselves - and, unfortunately, this involves a 'shattering' of their power.
Last thought: Reading these scriptures again has given me a little insight I didn't have before. Previously when I've thought about the 2/3's in the land getting cut off and 1/3 coming through, I've thought of that in terms of numbers in Israel today. So I've thought of 2/3's of Israel's current 8 million perishing. But in looking at these scriptures again, it was clear that the two thirds that perish are those who do not obey Jesus' command to flee at this time. Not only that but the passage in Revelation makes it clear that God has a place for 'the woman' where she does go to that is safe from the Antichrist. Read it again:
Revelation 12:13-17 And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. (14) But the two wings of the great eagle were given
to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she
*was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the
serpent. (15) And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. (16) But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank
up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. (17) So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
So it could be that during the first half of the tribulation, the message of the two witnesses and even that of the 144,000 will include the warning that Jesus gave in Matt 24 to flee to the place God has prepared for her for safety. We don't know how many obey this command but with Revelation saying that 'two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman' so 'she was nourished for a time and times and half a time' 'FROM the presence of the serpent' it makes it clear that a good part of Israel will flee as commanded. Thus, we don't know how many disobey and remain in the land of Israel but it isn't going to be the whole 8 million that is currently there.
God does have a place where they can be safe, out of the Antichrist's reach, during this time if they obey. That is like God.
Right... that's more than enough on this topic - didn't mean to write so much! Hope it is clear/helps though.