According to the Scriptures"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel... By which also ye are saved... unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)


After the Tribulation

“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.... Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:21, 29-31) 

What tribulation is Jesus talking about? In order to understand this we need to back up a little bit. Jesus said, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)  Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:  Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:  Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.  And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!  But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matthew 24:15-21)

The great tribulation that Jesus is speaking about begins when the Jews “shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet”. What did Daniel say about this?

We read of the “abomination of desolation” three times in the book of Daniel. The first time we read about the precise timing of God's dealings with the nation Israel and Jerusalem. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27)

“Seventy weeks” had been determined by God in which He would deal specifically with the Jew's and Jerusalem. This time frame would terminate with the Second coming of Christ (Daniel 9:24). When we come to the Seventieth Week, we read that it begins with one who shall “confirm the covenant... for one week”, but “in the midst of the week” we read that he will break that covenant, by causing the Jew's sacrifice and oblation to cease, when he makes it desolate by his abominations. This desolation will continue “until the consummation” of the Seventy Weeks.

The second time, we read in Daniel that this same one, “shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.” (Daniel 11:31) The third time the “abomination of desolation” is mentioned, Daniel had asked, “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” (Daniel 12:6) He was told, “it shall be for a time, times, and an half... all these things shall be finished... from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up” (Daniel 12:7, 11).

It appears from what we read in the book of Daniel the prophet, that at “the time of the end” (Daniel 12:4), the man of sin will break the covenant in the middle of the 7 years by placing the abomination of desolation in the holy place, that is, in the sanctuary or rebuilt temple where the Jews will be performing their sacrifices. The desolation of the “holy place” shall continue until the consummation of the “Seventy weeks” which have been determined “to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy” (Daniel 9:24).

This seems to agree with the New Testament. In the Revelation we read that there will be a “temple” (Revelation 11:1), and that this Antichrist, “opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4). Also, those who dwell on the earth are told “that they should make an image to the beast... and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (Revelation 13:14-15).

When they see this, Jesus says, “let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains”. We are told of this “beast” that, “there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months [three and one half years]. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:5-8)

This “beast” is “that man of sin”, the “son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3), and is going to be given power by Satan (Revelation 13:2, Daniel 8:23-25), the same power he offered Jesus over the kingdoms of the world (Luke 4:5-6). The Beast will have this power over the nations for 3-1/2 years and at that time he shall make war with the saints (Daniel 7:21, 25). This will be a dictatorship that hates the Jews and the God of the Jews, and all who believe in the true God of the Bible (Daniel 8:24). He will control the government of the world, and will set up a pogrom to eradicate any resemblance of the true God of the Bible and His people. He will control the banking systems of the world and none will be able to buy or sell without receiving his “mark” and worshipping him. This will make it extremely difficult to survive in a materialistic world whose economy is under his total control (Revelation 13:15-17). As Daniel states, this time of trouble will begin in the middle of the seven year covenant, determined upon the Jews and Jerusalem.

It is at this time that “Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7-9, Daniel 8:10-11). When he is cast down to the earth we are told he comes down “having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.” (Revelation 12:12-13) This woman is Israel, who flees into the wilderness and is protected by God for those 3-1/2 years (Revelation 12:14-17).

For the last 3 ½ years, Satan's wrath will be poured out upon God's people, while the wrath of the Lamb is reserved for the unbelieving nations (Zephaniah 3:8, Isaiah 34:2, 8) who have been treasuring up wrath against this Day (Isaiah 13:6-13). They have been treasuring up “wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5). And “when the transgressors are come to the full” (Daniel 11:24), the beast shall make his ascent onto the world scene (Revelation 13:1-2), with his covenant of death (Isaiah 28:14-22). This is when “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1:18). The wrath of God is revealed from heaven when Christ takes the scroll with seven seals (Revelation 5:1-7) and begins to execute His Word on a Christ rejecting world (Revelation 6:1-2).

But for the last 3-1/2 years, Jesus said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:21-22) In the context of this chapter, the “elect” refers to the nation Israel (Isaiah 45:4, Romans 11:25-28). It is the “tribulation” that shall come upon the children of Israel “in the latter days” (Deuteronomy 4:30, Daniel 8:23-24).

This “great tribulation” is also referred to as “a time of trouble” (Daniel 12:1), in fact it is called the “time of Jacob's trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7) and is focused on the people in the land of Zion during the “Day of the Lord” (Joel 2:1-2). It is not the same as the tribulation or trouble that all believers face to some degree in their lifetime (John 16:33; 2 Timothy 3:12, Acts 14:22; 2 Cor. 7:4; 1 Thessalonians 3:4; 2 Thessalonians 1:5; 1 Peter 4:16-19, Hebrews 10:32-33; 11:25-26, 36-38) because of their testimony, but it is “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time” (Daniel 12:1). The Bible says that, “that day is great, so that none is like it” (Jeremiah 30:7), it is a day in which “there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it” (Joel 2:1-2).

This is the Day Jesus was talking about in Matthew 24:21, a time of “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” It encompasses the last 3-1/2 years of Daniel's Seventieth Week, during which time Satan comes down to earth having great wrath, which he vents upon the people of God during that period. So when Jesus says, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days” (Matthew 24:29), we know exactly what days He is talking about. We know He is talking about the last 3-1/2 years of the 7 year tribulation (Daniel's 70th Week: “whoso readeth, let him understand”) before He returns in power and great glory.

“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be... Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:29-31)

So it is quite clear that Jesus returns from heaven, as He promised, at the end of the Seventieth Week of Daniel's prophecy. At that time the sun and moon shall be darkened, then shall heaven be opened and Christ shall return with power and great glory. When He returns, it will be with His saints (1 Thessalonians 3:13, Zechariah 14:3-5), that is, the Church, who were raptured before the Seventieth Week and His “wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10, Romans 5:9).

By the end of the Seventy Weeks, many Israelites shall have been sold into captivity by the Gentiles (Zechariah 14:2, Joel 3:1-3, 6-7), two thirds shall have been slain (Zechariah 13:8-9) and Judah and Jerusalem shall be in the siege (Zechariah 12:2-3). As Jesus said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). He said this was spoken of by Daniel the prophet who was told that this “shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered” (Daniel 12:1). At that time there shall be a remnant of Jews who “shall be saved out of it” (Jeremiah 30:7).

When Christ returns, it shall be to save His people Israel (Zechariah 14:2-5). He shall defend the remnant who are besieged in Jerusalem and will destroy those nations who are come against Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:8-9). When He returns we find “the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him” (Revelation 19:19), but they shall be “broken without hand” (Daniel 8:25), and slain by the sword out of His mouth (Isaiah 11:4, Revelation 19: 15, 21) which is the Word of God (Psalm 2:5, 9).

When Christ returns, not only will Israel find deliverance from their enemies, they shall find deliverance from their sins. “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart” (Zechariah 12:10-12). They shall see Him coming in the clouds and mourn (Revelation 1:7, Matthew 24:30, Romans 11:26-28) for the one they had rejected and crucified (Zechariah 13:6), who has now come to save them, and the realization sinks down into their soul that it was for their sins He was nailed to the tree (1 Peter 2:24, Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:21). “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness” (Zechariah 13:1).

Christ Gathers Israel out from the Nations

Not only will Christ destroy those nations who come against Jerusalem when He returns to save His people, He shall gather them from the four corners of the earth (Matthew 24:31). Many had been sold again into captivity during the great tribulation (Zechariah 14:2, Joel 3:1-3, 6-7), and scattered to the four corners of the earth (Daniel 12:7). Others had fled into the wilderness (Luke 21:21, Revelation 12:14). There shall also have been many who had never returned to Israel, and remained dispersed among the nations until this day. These all shall be gathered back to the land when Christ returns.

“And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;  That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.  If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:  And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” (Deuteronomy 30:1-6)

It is quite clear that these things “shall come to pass”. Although Israel has once again become a nation and many are gathered back to the land, for the most part, they are still blind and in unbelief. From the Scriptures we believe it to be quite clear that in the “great tribulation” Israel shall go back into captivity. It says that when they are among all nations where they had been driven, that they shall call these things to mind and return unto the Lord and obey His voice with all their heart and soul. Then they shall call upon the name of the Lord and be saved when He circumcises their heart. Listen, “That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity... and will return and gather thee from all the nations”. Their captivity will end only when He returns. THEN He will gather them from the four corners of the earth. This same people He had beforetime brought out of Egypt (Deuteronomy 29:2, 25) and brought them into the land of Canaan which He gave to their fathers. In the latter days He shall gather them from the nations where He scattered them and bring them into the land that their fathers possessed, that is, the land of Israel. When they return to the Lord their God, He will return unto them and gather them. Although many have returned unto the land, they have not returned unto Him. Therefore, we believe they are yet to be scattered during the time of their affliction, during the “great tribulation”, and “they shall remember me in far countries; and they shall live with their children, and turn again.” (Zechariah 10:9)

“And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.  And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:10-12)

This prophecy was given even before Israel's first exile during their Babylonian captivity. After this they returned under Cyrus the Persian (Isaiah 44:28) in the days of Ezra, Nehemiah and Zerubbabel. But this prophecy looked beyond that, to the time of the end, when they would be gathered back “the second time”, not from Babylon and the surrounding nations, but from “the four corners of the earth”. Their second exile began in 70 AD and was concluded in 135 AD. Now they have long been in the nations but after World War One they began trickling back to the land of their fathers, with another resurgence after World War Two, when they were declared a nation. But the greater gathering will be “in that day”, which day begins with the tribulation, before they return to the Lord, “and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” (Genesis 49:10) Today many Jews are returning to Israel, but in the time of “Jacob's trouble” they shall be scattered again and go into captivity. When they are gathered the “second time”, it will not be so much as, back to the land, but they shall be gathered "unto Him", their Saviour Jesus Christ.

“And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.  And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.  Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.  In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.  Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;  But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.” (Jeremiah 23:3-8)

This prophecy mentions the same “Branch” that Isaiah mentioned (Isaiah 11:1-5) which is the Lord Jesus Christ. In His day, Judah and Israel “shall be saved” when they shall no longer trust in their own righteousness which is of the Law (Romans 3:19-22), and He shall bring them up out of all countries and they shall “dwell safely” in their own land. Today, the majority of Jews still live in other countries, but “none” (Ezekiel 39:28) shall be left there when He returns and gathers them back to their land.

“For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. And these are the words that the LORD spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah.  For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace.  Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?  Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.  For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them. Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid. For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished. For thus saith the LORD, Thy bruise is incurable, and thy wound is grievous.  There is none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing medicines.  All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased. Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity: because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee.  Therefore all they that devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey.  For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after. Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwelling places; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof. And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them.  And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the LORD. And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.  Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it.” (Jeremiah 30:3-24)

Jeremiah 30 is such a fantastic chapter. In verse three we have the summary of the whole chapter. “For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.” The rest of the chapter we have given to us the details.

The context and timing of it is in “the time of Jacob's trouble”, “in that day”, “in the latter days”. Here we read of their return from their captivity to the land He gave to their fathers. But when they return, they shall go through the “time of Jacob's trouble” where they shall be “chastised”, “punished” and “corrected” “for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased”. Even though the Lord has brought them back into their land, they remained indifferent to the Lord, in fact, their “sins were increased”. Neither had they any medicine to heal their grievous wound (Isaiah 1:2-6). Because of this, they shall go through a time of “sorrow” and “affliction”  (Jeremiah 30:15, Matthew 24:8-9, Mark 13:19) as a “woman in travail”.

In our day Israel is prospering and they are finding many friends in the world, but in the time of their “trouble” their "lovers" will abandon and forget Israel and their "adversaries" shall "spoil" and "devour" them as a "prey" and they shall go again into "captivity" and bondage where strangers shall serve themselves of them.

But then, because of the Lord's mercies, He will “restore” and “heal” them. They shall be “saved out of” the “time of Jacob's trouble”. The Lord says, “I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid.” When He saves them it shall be “from afar”, “from the land of their captivity”.  Many in that day shall be scattered and go back into captivity (Joel 3:1-3, 6-7, Daniel 12:7), even half of those in the city of Jerusalem at that time. “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.”  (Zechariah 14:2) 

Daniel speaking of this time said, “And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.  Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.  And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.” (Daniel 11:33-35)

We believe there will be “two witnesses” (Revelation 11:3-13) that shall instruct many during the first half of the tribulation, but they shall be slain by the “beast” when He receives his power from Satan. The beast makes war with them and overcomes them and the world wonders after him when he rids the earth of their two tormentors. “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” (Revelation 13:4-7) Some shall understand and be sealed and make it through the tribulation (144,000 Jews Revelation 11:3-13), but many more shall be martyred (Revelation 6:9-11).

Listen to what Ezekiel says on this wise. He is here speaking in the time of the battle of Armageddon (Ezekiel 39:17-22, Revelation 16:13-16; 19:11-21). “And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword. According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them.  Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name;  After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid.  When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;  Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.  Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 39:23-29)

At this present time, Israel is dwelling in their land in relative safety, and the strength of their military ranks among the top of the nations of the world so that none is making them afraid. But they are still in unbelief, trusting in the strength of their flesh, and are yet to bear their shame and trespasses which they trespassed against the Lord. They will be given into the hand of their enemies, and many shall perish by the sword. They shall be led into captivity among the heathen, but when the Lord returns He shall “bring them again from the people, and gather them out of their enemies' lands” back into “their own land” with “none” left there anymore. At this time they shall be born again and they shall know “the LORD their God”, and the nations shall understand that Israel went into captivity for their iniquity.

The Lord says, “at that time I will undo all that afflict thee” (Zephaniah 3:19). In that day “all that oppress them” shall be punished because of their treatment of Israel. “Therefore all they that devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey.” The Lord shall go forth as the whirlwind “with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart”. And listen, every adversary of Israel in that day shall go into captivity.

When we read in the Revelation of Antichrist coming to power and warring with the saints, we read, “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” (Revelation 13:10) The beast and kings of the earth may lead the saints back again into captivity during the “great tribulation”,  but they too shall go into captivity, not into all nations, but down to Hades to await the Great White Throne Judgment. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.” (Isaiah 24:21-22) In that Day, Jesus Christ shall judge the nations on the basis of their treatment of His “brethren” (Matthew 25:31-46)

In that day there shall be a radical change. “Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD.” (Zephaniah 3:19-20) And to this all the prophets agree. “And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good... And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.” (Amos 9:4, 14-15)

“As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you:  And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out.  And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face.  Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD.  And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant:  And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.  As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD; Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, and hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto me: but pollute ye my holy name no more with your gifts, and with your idols.  For in mine holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the firstfruits of your oblations, with all your holy things.  I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen.  And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to your fathers.  And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed.  And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have wrought with you for my name's sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O ye house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 20:33-44)

When Israel is gathered out of the countries where they are scattered, it shall be “with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out”. They shall be brought “into the wilderness of the people” where He shall “purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me”. It shall be just like when He brought them out of Egypt where in their wilderness wanderings, He caused all those who were in unbelief, for their carcases to fall in the wilderness that they enter not into the promised land (Hebrews 3:17-19). In the land of their captivity they shall be brought under the rod and be brought into the bond of the covenant. They shall acknowledge their sins and all their evils they have committed wherein they have been defiled, and the Lord shall bring them back into the land He gave to their fathers, they “shall know that I am the LORD” and they shall serve and be accepted by Him. In that day, the Lord shall be sanctified in Israel before the heathen.

In our day we have seen the rebirth of Israel on May 14, 1948. We have seen droves of Jews come back to the land since that time. But the majority of Jews are still dispersed among the nations. This greater gathering will take place “after the tribulation” when Christ returns (Matthew 24:29-31). During the “great tribulation”, two thirds of the Jews will be killed, the rest will be scattered and sold into captivity with just a remnant that are held up in the siege in Jerusalem. Concerning this “time of trouble” (Daniel 12:1) that Daniel was told about, it was asked, “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” (Daniel 12:6). The answer came back, “it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.” (Daniel 12:7) The end shall come with the scattering of the Jews, to the countries and nations, to the four corners of the earth, during the three and one half year reign of Antichrist's terror. Many shall flee into the wilderness and others shall be led captive and sold into slavery (Zechariah 14:2, Joel 3:1-3, 6-7).

But after “the tribulation of those days”, the three and one half years of Antichrists reign, his dominion shall be taken away (Daniel 7:25-27) when Christ returns in power and great glory. It is at that time He shall gather His people Israel from the four corners of the earth, after the time of Jacob's trouble, where many fall and are tried and purged and made white (Daniel 11:33-35).

“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be... Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:29-31)

The post tribbers have sadly confused this “trumpet” with the trumpet  that sounds at the rapture of the Church which is mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-54. This has corrupted their eschatological view point which has caused them to reject any future promises by God to the Jewish nation. Many of them today have become responsible for spreading the evil seeds of anti-Semitism which shall come to its full fruition during the reign of Antichrist.

Rather than confusing this “trumpet” with the rapture of the Church, they need to look to Isaiah 26 and 27. The time when Israel is removed “far unto all the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 26:15). When they are chastened of the Lord and in their time of “trouble” (Isaiah 26:16), when they are laboring in pain (Isaiah 26:17). It is a time when He will protect the remnant of His people (Isaiah 26:20, Revelation 12:12-17), and “punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity” (Isaiah 26:21). “In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent” (Isaiah 27:1, Revelation 20:2-3). It is a time  that “He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.” (Isaiah 27:6) Then shall “the iniquity of Jacob be purged... to take away his sin” (Isaiah 27:9). “Yet the defenced city shall be desolate, and the habitation forsaken, and left like a wilderness” (Isaiah 27:10). But then we are told, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 27:12-13)

In that day, Jesus Christ shall return, and the trumpet shall be blown and Christ shall gather, not the church, but His elect of the Jewish nation and the tribes of Israel from the four corners of the earth. “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:29-31)

The Sun and the Moon

Now when the Lord returns at the end of Daniel's Seventieth Week, we are told, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light... And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:29-30). It is here that so many of the “Post-Trib, Pre-Wrath” persuasion get all tripped up.

First of all, they believe the sign of Christ's appearing is the sun and moon darkening. They compare Mathew 24:29-30 with Revelation 6:12-17 and say, this is where Christ returns, but there is no mention of His return until Revelation 19. Secondly, the sun and moon darkening is not the sign of His coming. When the sun and moon is darkened, it says, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven”. Jesus Christ is Himself the sign (Luke 2:30-34), returning just like we are told He would after He ascended to heaven (Acts 1:9-11). So, to properly understand the sequence of events, we need to look beyond Matthew 24 and Revelation 6.

Luke says, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;  Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.  And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” (Luke 21:25-27)

Luke describes in a general sense the scene of the tribulation (the Seventieth Week of Daniel) that will be wrought with cosmic “signs” (plural) in the heavens, and fearful sights on the earth, such as those mentioned in Isaiah and the Revelation (Isaiah 30:26, Revelation 16:8-9)

Cosmic signs and earthquakes (Luke 21:11) happen more than once and at various times during the tribulation, for example, “And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.” (Revelation 8:12)

Joel mentions the sun and moon darkening 3 different times. The first time is in the context of the “Day of the Lord” (Joel 2:1-2). “The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:  And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?” (Joel 2:10-11) When the Lord takes the scroll with seven seals He shall begin to “execute His Word” which He has before spoken by the prophets.

The second time we read, “And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:  And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.  And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.” (Joel 2:27-32)

We have given this in its context, because outside of its context, men have come to numerous flawed conclusions. It is a time when the Jew's shall know that the LORD is their God, they shall call upon the name of the LORD and be delivered, and at that time He will pour out His spirit upon them. Now He reiterates here that in that day He will show wonders in the heavens and earth, one of them being the darkening of the sun and the moon turning to blood. And here is where so many get tripped up, He says, “before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.” Many have taken this to mean that this will take place at a time that precedes the day of the Lord. But the Hebrew word for “before” is the word, “paniym”, which primary meaning is “in the face of”, or the “presence” of, “before” as in to “stand before” someone. So these numerous “wonders” will take place during the Day of the Lord, not prior to that Day.

The third time Joel mentions the sun and moon is when the Lord judges the nations at Armageddon, and returns to save the children of Israel. “Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.  Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.  Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.  The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.  The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.  So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.” (Joel 3:12-17)

Jehoshaphat comes from two words, Jehovah and Judge. I believe the valley of Jehoshaphat is the same as the valley of Armageddon, the valley of the judgment of God, where all the nations of the world shall be gathered and judged by God for their wickedness and their ill treatment of His people Israel (Revelation 14:14-20, 16:12-16, 19:11-21, Joel 3:1-7). This is when the Lord returns, “immediately after the tribulation of those days”, to destroy His enemies and save His people Israel. The sun and the moon are darkened, and then shall heavens open, and every eye shall see Jesus Christ coming in power and great glory (Revelation 1:7, Zechariah 12:9-11). He shall roar out of Zion and shall be the hope of His people Israel (Zechariah 13:8-9; 14:1-5).

In Matthew's Olivet Discourse, Jesus said, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:29-31) 

In the darkest hour that Israel shall ever face, they shall call upon the name of the Lord (Joel 2:32, Zechariah 13:8-9, Romans 11:25-28), the only name whereby men can be saved (Acts 4:12), and He shall hear them and return to save them from their enemies. And He shall gather them from the four corners of the earth to Himself (Nehemiah 1:8-9, Deuteronomy 30:1-6, Isaiah 11:10-12, Jeremiah 23:3-8, Ezekiel 20:33-38; 28:25-26; 37:21-22, 26), as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings (Matthew 23:37, Psalm 17:8-9; 36:7; 57:1-3; 91:4, Exodus 19:4). Then shall be brought to pass what is spoken in the prophets, “They shall be my people and I will be their God.”

When Christ returns it shall be to the Mount of Olives to save His people Israel. Then “The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.” (Joel 3:16-17)

This will mark the end of Daniel's “Seventy Weeks” that have been determined upon the holy city Jerusalem and His people Israel.

Jesus told His people Israel the Parable of the Vineyard (Matthew 21:33-46, Luke 20:9-19). And in it, because “they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands” (Isaiah 5:12-13), Jerusalem would be “trodden down” (Isaiah 5:3-5) and they would be carried away “captive”. This is what Luke went on to say, “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24) Now we know that this was fulfilled in the first century, but as most students of the Bible are aware, the Scriptures often times have a near and far fulfillment. Let us look at the expanded text of Luke.

“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.  Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.  For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.  But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.  And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.  And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;  Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.  And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:20-28)

This was partially fulfilled in the first two centuries, but obviously, not all. Israel was led away captive into all nations and during the times of the Gentiles Jerusalem would be “trodden down”. Many in Israel were cut off and led away captive in the first century, but history has a strange way of repeating itself. Many have thought that Jerusalem is no longer trodden down under foot of the Gentiles after the Jews captured Jerusalem in the Yom Kippur War in 1967. But if we were to go there today, Jerusalem is divided up into four quarters and their most holy place, the Temple Mount, is controlled by the Muslims. At any rate, we read in the Revelation, “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” (Revelation 11:1-2) For the last 3 ½ years of the tribulation, the Gentiles shall tread Jerusalem under their feet.

We find in the Scriptures that in the latter days, after her long exile in the nations, Israel will be gathered back into the land in unbelief and become a prosperous nation for a season, but must go through the “time of Jacob's trouble”, where she shall travail as in childbirth until she brings forth. During that time, 2/3's shall be cut off, some shall flee into the wilderness, some shall be sold into captivity, and a remnant shall be laid up in siege in Jerusalem.

Israel would remain blind until their heart turns to Christ (2 Corinthians 3:13-17). The apostle Paul said, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.  And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:  For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.  As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.  For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:25-29)

Jerusalem would be trodden down until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled and Israel would be blinded until the fullness of the Gentiles come in. This is what Daniel's prophecy of the Seventy Weeks is all about. Jerusalem and Israel.  What did we just read in Joel? “The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.” (Joel 3:16-17)

Daniel's prophecy shall be fulfilled. “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” (Daniel 9:24) Israel shall be saved and Jerusalem shall be holy, no longer trodden under foot.

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.  And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.  O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.” (Isaiah 2:2-5)

GNC

Last Update: 10/15/2018

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