BLOG-1

WHO WILL GO THROUGH THE GREAT TRIBULATION PERIOD?

1.0 INTRODUCTION

In Matthew 24:21-22 Jesus said: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.

And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened”.

This time of suffering and death is called the Great Tribulation because its severity will surpass all previous periods of suffering experienced throughout human history.

This time of travail and misery is also called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7), because this great travail will first come to Jacob, also called Israel, meaning the modern descendants of the 12 tribes of Israel in the last days.

The prophet Daniel described this same period of time saying, “And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation” (Daniel 12:1).

The Great Tribulation is prophesied to last 42 months (Revelation 11:2; Revelation 13:5), 1,260 days (Revelation 11:3) and “a time, and times, and half a time” (Revelation 12:14; Daniel 12:7).

The postponement of God’s original plan for Israel, Scripture reveals the distinct progression of the divine plan to establish through Israel a new humanity (Ephesians 2:15) in a new homeland …”  

However, there is only one distinct plan for salvation. The pretext that God postponed the original plan for Israel and initiated a parenthetical plan for the church that abruptly ends with a pre-tribulation rapture.

There are several times in Scripture when God’s plan went ahead on the “second try”:

  • Abraham didn’t leave home the first time; he merely moved up river. After his father died, only then did Abraham leave.
  • The brothers of Joseph didn’t recognize him during their first trip to Egypt during the famine. It was only the second time that he was recognized for whom he was—and then only after Joseph explicitly told them so.
  • Moses was not accepted as the leader of the Israelites in Egypt. Instead, he went away, and returned about 40 years later. Then, he was accepted.
  • The tablets of the law (the Ten Commandments) were written on stone by the “hand of God”; but those tablets were broken after Moses came down from Mount Sinai and saw the rebellion. God had to make a second set.
  • The Israelites didn’t enter the Promised Land under the leadership of Moses during the Exodus from Egypt, due to disobedience. It was only 40 years later, under the leadership of Joshua, that Israel finally entered the Promised Land.

In similar way, in the end times, the Israelites will come to salvation in Yeshua [Jesus Christ]—they will recognize Him at the Second Coming, but only after looking for His return. Blindness will be lifted.

Matthew 23:39 says,

“For I tell you, you will not see me [Yeshua] again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'”

Hosea 5:15 says,

“Then I [the Lord] will go back to my place until they admit their guilt. And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me.”

2.0 ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH

When we read the words “Israel” or “all Israel” in Scripture, we understand Israel to mean both the ancient and modern land of Israel, and the descendants of Jacob (i.e., the ancestral line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).

Recall that Jacob’s name was changed to “Israel” in Genesis 32:28. In light of the Scripture “all Israel will be saved”, this begs the question about how to define a member of Israel today.

It is believed that God turned from the Jews (after they rejected Christ), and transferred His covenant promises from ISRAEL to the CHURCH.

In other words, any Old Testament promises made to Israel now belong to “the Church”, that is, to all believers of Yeshua [Jesus Christ].

Jewish people who accept Yeshua become part of “the Church” which does not discriminate between Jews and Gentiles, male and female, free and bond, etc.

2.1 Israel- Always been the PLAN A of God

Interestingly, the New Testament never designates the church as “Israel.” In fact, the word Israel is found seventy-three times in the New Testament and always refers to the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Sometimes the term “Israel” in the New Testament refers to Jews in faith and sometimes it refers to Jews in unbelief. However, the term Israel in the New Testament always refers to those who are physical Jews.

This word never refers to Gentiles, the church, or even a group that is a mixture of both Jews and Gentiles. The Book of Acts records how the church came into existence in Acts 2 and continued to exist alongside Israel prior to the nation’s worldwide exile in A.D. 70.

Throughout this transitional period, Acts is judicious in keeping the two entities of the church and Israel separate. In the book of Acts, both Israel and the church exist simultaneously.

The term Israel is used 20 times and ekklesia (church) nineteen times, yet the two groups are always kept distinct.

Note these phrases in Romans 11:25-26: (a) “Israel has been hardened in part”—Israel is clearly not the Church because the Church couldn’t be hardened, (b) “until the full number of the Gentiles has come in”—which strongly suggests a distinction between Israel and the saved Gentiles (Christian church), and (c) “And so all Israel will be saved”—again, Israel cannot be the Church because an individual who is part of the Church is already saved.

The Church is also known as the body of Christ—which, since the time of Christ, consists of both Jews and Gentiles, i.e., the saved Jewish remnant and the elect Gentiles.

However, God did not abandon His covenant with the Israel. In other words, He did not reject Israel permanently.

Romans 11:25-26 refers to a future event. Romans 9 and 10 may suggest that God has replaced Israel with the Church, but Romans 11 argues that Israel [i.e. physical Israel and the Jews] is still in God’s plan for the future. Romans 9 could be understood: “In the past, Israel has been selected”, and that Romans 10 could be understood: “In the present, Israel is being stubborn”, and that Romans 11 could be understood: “In the future, Israel will be saved”.

After all, if God could break His covenant with the Jews, wouldn’t that mean that He could do so with Christians, too? God has made many declarations about his unconditional promises to Israel.

God has not (permanently) rejected Israel. Even Israel’s rejection of Christ could not break the “everlasting covenant” that God made with Israel, because it was an unconditional covenant.

Jesus never denied that the physical kingdom would be restored to Israel. Acts 1:6-7 says, So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.

The Romans 11:26 says, “And so all Israel will be saved”: Toward the end of the Tribulation the Antichrist will gather the armies of the world against Jerusalem in an effort to destroy the Jews.

This will lead to the conversion of all Israel to Yeshua as their messiah. Once converted, the Jews will plead for their Savior to rescue them from them from sure destruction. God called the Israelites, collectively, his wife; however, they forsook God. He anxiously awaits their return.

In Hosea 2:7 we read, “She [Israel] will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband [God] as at first, for then I was better off than now’.”

Yeshua will hear their plea and return from heaven to earth with His entourage of angles and saints to rescue now-submissive Israel. Upon His return, Jesus will prepare the world for His 1,000-year reign on earth from Jerusalem.

2.2 Church – The PLAN B of God

Three time in his epistles Paul declares that God’s plan for the church age was not revealed in the Old Testament. Therefore, things related to God’s plan for the church could not have been revealed in the Old Testament.

This would exclude the possibility of seeing the church fulfill prophetically any of Israel’s feasts on the basis of these statements. Further, it would exclude any rapture date-setting schemes which are built upon revelation given for God’s plan for Israel.

Read carefully the following verses:

Romans 16:25-26:

“Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith.”

Ephesians 3:4-8:

“And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ.”

Colossians 1:25-27:

“Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, “I will build my church”—and the church hadn’t existed before. The Church was born on the Day of Pentecost (following Christ’s ascension), when the Holy Spirit was poured out on 3,000 people.

The Old Testament covenants were not fulfilled in history, but they will be fulfilled. Matthew 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

 In summary, the church has not replaced Israel; rather, it has temporarily interrupted God’s past and future dealings with. God’s promises to the Israel are unconditional, as per Romans 9-11. In particular, Yeshua is the “vine”.

Some, but not all, of Israel (the “branches”) have been pruned. Paul writes that the Gentile believers (i.e., the Christian church) represent wild olive branches that have been grafted into a natural olive tree.

Imagine the future blessings when Israel turns to Christ, that is, when they, as “natural” branches, are grafted into their own olive tree: Romans 11:1 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! …

Romans 11:11-12 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression [rejection of Yeshua], salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.

But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!

Romans 11:17-26 If some of the branches [Jews] have been broken off, and Gentile believers, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others [Jewish believers] and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root [Christ], do not boast over those branches.

If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. The branches which were cut out from the vine/tree are those Jews that drifted into unbelief after being redeemed from Egypt.

The wild branches represent Gentiles who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. They were grafted in, but among the others [Jewish branches]. There has only been a partial replacement, and it’s only of the branches.

The tree trunk is still there, the root is still there, and some of the branches are still there. It is not a new tree. In other words, Gentiles have replaced some of the Jews, but the Gentiles have not replaced the Jews entirely.

You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant but be afraid.

For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness.

Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.

After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches [Jewish persons], be grafted into their own olive tree!

Therefore, do not be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.

And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.

2.3 Distinctiveness of Israel and the Church

In terms of people groups, Israel, the Church, and the Gentiles are three distinct categories of people. Israel refers to the Jewish people. The Church is the Body of Christ, that is, all believers in Jesus Christ. It is one body, without differentiation.

The Gentiles are those who are neither Jews nor the Church. It is, however, possible for Gentiles (in their pre-saved condition) to become part of the Church, and for Jewish people to become part of the Church, as well.

In fact, the Church is made up of people who were formerly Jews or Gentiles. However, the Church cannot become Israel. The Church has not replaced Israel; but rather, the church is part of true Israel (1 Peter 2:4-10).

This is what the Old Testament pointed to: one body of believers. It is the “mystery” referred to in the New Testament: the two have become one.

God’s design for the church … is to evangelize and disciple, or reach and teach, in fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

While it remains appropriate for the church to positively influence fallen culture in some sense (Matthew 5:13-16), she is not called to rule and reign in the present age with kingdom authority.

Instead, the church is to await the future, earthly, Messianic Kingdom when Christ will rule and reign with a rod of iron (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 12:5).

Until that glorious future day arrives, the world will remain under Satan’s influence (2 Corinthians 4:4), and consequently the church will be living as a pilgrim in enemy territory.

Here are some differences between Israel and the Church:

  • Israel gave birth to Christ; however, Christ gave birth to the Church.
  • Israel is a nation with borders and a capital; however, the Church is not a nation, but is comprised of people from all nations.
  • Israel fought wars with the Philistines and other enemies, including modern-day nations; however, the Church is fighting a spiritual war.
  • Israel had a priesthood with priests coming from the Tribe of Levi and the line of Aaron; however, the Church is a priesthood (Revelation 1:6).
  • Israel will be resurrected at the start of the Millennium; however, the Church is resurrected at the Rapture.
  • The gates of the New Jerusalem are named after the 12 tribes of Israel; however, the foundations of the New Jerusalem are named after the 12 apostles.

3.0 RAPTURE AND SECOND COMING OF JESUS

The term Rapture [caught up; forcibly snatched away; Greek: harpazo] is used 21 times, in the following 14 verses: Matthew 11:12; 12:29; 13:19; John 6:15; 10:12,28,29; Acts 8:39; 23:10; 2 Corinthians 12:2,4; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Jude 23; and Revelation 12:5.

The Second Coming uses a different Greek word: parousia. This word refers to the physical return of Christ to the earth, and is used four times in Matthew 24. Greek dictionaries and lexicons state that this word can refer to a person’s actual presence or his/her arrival. The word parousia is used 24 times in the Bible: Matthew 24:3,27,37,39; 1 Corinthians 15:23; 16:17; 2 Corinthians 7:6,7; 10:10; Philippians 1:26; 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1,8,9; James 5:7,8; 2 Peter 1:16; 3:4,12; and 1 John 2:28.

What makes the study of the Rapture and the Second Coming more challenging is that following the Rapture, we will be in the presence of Christ.

Thus, when differentiating between the Rapture and the Second Coming, it is a strong assumption that the word parousia refers exclusively to the Second Coming.

Another Greek word used in numerous places in Scripture when describing an actual appearance of a person when coming or going is the word erchomai. It appears 635 times in the Bible.

Beyond the Basics, it is a word in the futuristic present tense, which means that it is a future event, but imminence or certainty is associated with it.

More generally, and in a prophecy context, erchomai is being used so that every generation can understand that the given event could take place in the very near future, but it will certainly take place at some point.

There is no explicit reference in Scripture about the timing of the Rapture relative to other prophetic events; but, there are many Scriptures, if taken in context, that provide strong circumstantial evidence of a rapture event before Christ’s Second Coming at Armageddon.

Serious support for the pre-tribulation Rapture lies in the notion of imminence. Many signs precede the Second Coming, but none precede the Rapture.

Thus, the Rapture could happen at any time. Here are some verses suggesting that Christ will remove believers from the Earth before the Tribulation, that is, before the coming time of wrath:

1 Thessalonians 1:10

“and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead — Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.”

1 Thessalonians 5:9-10

“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.”

2 Thessalonians 2:1-8

“Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.”

What are some of the differences between the Rapture and the Second Coming? Here is a table that provides a summary of differences between the Rapture of the Church and the Second Coming of Christ—two different phases of end-time events:

Moreover a table of Scripture passages that contrast the Rapture with the Second Coming, showing that they are different events:

4.0 WHO WILL PARTICIPATE IN THE RAPTURE EVENT?

All believers in Christ will be taken up in the Rapture, and not just those who are waiting for Christ’s return. 1 Corinthians 15:51 says: “We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed …” Note the double-usage of the words “we” and “all”.

Yes. The Church has been raptured from the Earth before most of the events of Revelation take place, thereby leaving God to deal with the Jewish people separately again (although many people—Jews and Gentiles—will still be saved after the Rapture).

Then Revelation 4:1 will also be applicable to Church [as it was for the Apostle John], “After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”

There have always been two groups of people on Earth: believers and unbelievers. These groups can be partitioned into Jews and Gentiles in the Old Testament; and into Jews, Gentiles, and Christians in the New Testament.

The Christian Church or “Body of Christ” is made up of both Jews and Gentiles—in other words, whoever chooses to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all, and richly blesses all who call on him” (Romans 10:12)

The absence of the Church in Revelation 4-18 supports the notion of a pre-tribulation Rapture. Revelation is largely silent about the church, and “the silence is deafening”.

The Bride of Christ (i.e., the Church) is in Heaven during this period “to make herself ready”, as per Revelation 19:7 and 21:9.

The Rapture refers to the sudden, taking-away of believers from Earth to Heaven. This major event takes place seven or more years before Christ’s return to Earth at the Battle of Armageddon.

The Rapture is a time of resurrection or bodily translation for believers (dead and alive) in Jesus Christ. The resurrected bodies are eternal—never subject to death, decay, disease, pain, depression, etc.

Other believers (i.e., Old Testament believers and post-Rapture believers) are resurrected after Christ’s Second Coming. Thus, the resurrection of the saved takes place in stages.

The resurrection of the unsaved, however, takes place in one event at the Great White Throne Judgment at the end of the Millennium.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 is the strongest and clearest passage that supports the Rapture. Let us quote the surrounding verses to give the context:

1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep [died]. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.

Thus, this Scripture teaches that there will be a “caught up” or “snatching away” event, which we call “the Rapture” [Greek: harpazo; Latin: rapiemur; English: raptured].

The big debate among Christians is not whether or not there is a rapture, but rather, it is about the timing of the Rapture. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 clearly indicates that there will be a snatching away of living believers.

Thus, there shouldn’t be any disagreement about the occurrence of the Rapture. Note that the Apostle Paul wrote “we who are still alive and are left”; and this tells us that Paul thought the Rapture was a possibility even in his day.

In fact, the only Rapture model that can claim imminence is the pre-tribulation Rapture. In John 14:2-3, Yeshua specifically says that He will take believers from the Earth to be with Him in Heaven:

“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

John 14:2-3 is the first reference in the New Testament to the Rapture of the Church. This event is the Rapture, and that it occurs before the Tribulation (i.e., the Day of the Lord, or the “wrath” of God) begins. Consider the following Scripture passages:

1 Thessalonians 1:10

“and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead — Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.”

 Revelation 3:10

“Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.”

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.”

Isaiah 26:19-21

“But your dead will live, LORD; their bodies will rise — let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy — your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead. Go, my people, enter your rooms [Rapture] and shut the doors behind you [bypassing the wrath]; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath [Tribulation] has passed by. See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling [Heaven] to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed on it; the earth will conceal its slain no longer.”

Note the parallels of Isaiah 26:19-21 to the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:16- 18: the dead in Christ rise, those believers who are alive are taken away, and the Tribulation occurs.

That said, some prophecy experts are cautioning that the Rapture—and for that matter, the Christian Church—is not found at all in the Old Testament, although there have been singleton raptures (Enoch, Elijah).

Nevertheless, the idea of a connection or parallel between Isaiah 26:19-21 and the Rapture is interesting. Isaiah 26:19-21 is a “2 Chronicles 7:14” type of verse: directed at the Jews, but probably has applicability to Christians as well.

The Thessalonian church was worried about what happens to their deceased friends and relatives, who were also believers. Would they be part of a general resurrection before the Millennium, or would they be raptured?

Paul had previously taught them that the living believers would be caught up (raptured) at some time in the future. Now, in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul wrote to let them know that the deceased believers would actually precede the living believers in the Rapture. In fact, the Rapture is a reunion of sorts.

The overcomers mentioned in the letters to seven churches [Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia & Laodicea] in Revelation 2 & 3 will be Raptured.

However, as mentioned in Revelation 21:8 the fearful, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers, idolaters and all liars will not be the part of this great event.

In Rapture, Christ will not return physically to set foot on the Earth until 7 years after the start of the Tribulation, that is, 7 years after the Antichrist makes a major peace treaty or covenant with Israel.

5.0 WHO WILL GO THROUGH THE GREAT TRIBULATION PERIOD?

At some point in the future, at the Rapture, God will remove the Church, and once again deal with the Jews. The hope is that many Jews will come to Jesus Christ (and some will), even in the early days after the Rapture.

We learn from Romans 11:25-26 that Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles (Christian Church) has come in—and so all Israel will be saved.

Unfortunately, it will take the 7-year Tribulation for (most of) Israel to cry out to the Lord for deliverance, and they will long for the return of the Messiah, and He will deliver all of them that remain at the Second Coming.

In summary, all Jews alive when Christ returns will be awaiting the Messiah, and they will all be saved. This parallels the story of the reconciliation between Joseph and his brothers (in Egypt).

Like Joseph, Christ was rejected by His brethren, sold for pieces of silver, brought blessings to the Gentiles, and during a very difficult 7-year period, was finally recognized and accepted by His brethren, bringing life to all.

Hundreds of years later, their descendants left Egypt, and traveled to the Promised Land. Because of their unbelief, most of them did not enter the Promised Land at that time.

Conversely, at the end of the 7-year tribulation period, Christ will gather the Jews, bring salvation, and cause them to enter the promised land in their natural bodies. This promised land is an enlarged Israel, as per the Old Testament covenant. The Millennium period begins at that time.

In Matthew 24:21-22 Jesus said: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened”.

This time of suffering and death is called the Great Tribulation because its severity will surpass all previous periods of suffering experienced throughout human history.

This time of travail and misery is also called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7), because this great travail will first come to Jacob, also called Israel, meaning the modern descendants of the 12 tribes of Israel in the last days.

The prophet Daniel described this same period of time saying, “And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation” (Daniel 12:1).

The focus of this tribulation will come first upon the nations that have historically had a Judeo-Christian heritage. God declares that before the end of the age, if the modern descendants of ancient Israel don’t make a real return to Him, He will chastise them for their sins.

The peoples of these nations largely represent those to whom He previously gave His laws and statutes, and God wanted them to be beacons of godly behaviour to the rest of the world.

The peoples of these nations are the ones God has historically called His people. Because they have forgotten their God, He will send a series of natural plagues and disasters to get their attention. If this doesn’t work, these curses will intensify over a period of time.

If these people refuse to repent, God warns that He will send harsh foreign invaders to bring His judgments against them. God warned through Jeremiah, “I will correct you in justice. … With the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of your iniquities, because your sins have increased” (Jeremiah 30:11, 14).

The prophet Ezekiel spoke of this future time of Great Tribulation as it pertains to residents of Jerusalem before Christ’s return.

This city—the former capital city of the 12 tribes of Israel—is representative of the nations and peoples who have been given the blessing of having the 10 Commandments as the foundation for their national constitutions and codes of conduct.

God speaks to these people who should know better, saying: “Because you have multiplied disobedience more than the nations that are all around you, have not walked in My statutes nor kept My judgments, nor even done according to the judgments of the nations that are all around you. …

“Indeed I, even I, am against you and will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations. And I will do among you what I have never done, and the like of which I will never do again, because of all your abominations. Therefore, fathers shall eat their sons in your midst, and sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments among you, and all of you who remain I will scatter to all the winds” (Ezekiel 5:7-10).

“Surely, because you have defiled My sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, therefore I will also diminish you; My eye will not spare, nor will I have any pity. One-third of you shall die of the pestilence, and be consumed with famine in your midst; and one-third shall fall by the sword all around you; and I will scatter another third to all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them” (Ezekiel 5:11-12).

Scripture explains that God has great long-suffering with humanity before His anger reaches such a critical point (2 Peter 3:9; Romans 2:4-11). The Great Tribulation represents a time when this point will have been reached with nations that have no excuse because they have been amply warned.

One purpose for God allowing the Great Tribulation to occur will be to humble the physical nations that have descended from biblical Israel and lead them to repentance. At the end of this tribulation period, indications are that God will see a change of heart among the survivors of His people Israel.

He will then retaliate on those cruel nations in measure for their heartless treatment toward His people. God warns the other nations in advance: “Therefore all those who devour you shall be devoured; and all your adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; those who plunder you shall become plunder, and all who prey upon you I will make a prey” (Jeremiah 30:16).

After Israel is disciplined, God will avenge His people. This is described in numerous other prophecies in the Bible, including Deuteronomy 32:43; Isaiah 35:3-4; Isaiah 47:5-15; Joel 3:12-15; Jeremiah 25:29-33; and Ezekiel 25-28.

6.0 MYTH ABOUT THE TWO CHANCES

Prophetically speaking, we are living today on the far side of the valley of the Church and quickly moving up the mountain slope towards the coming of the Antichrist and the subsequent great Day of the Lord.

This approaching point along the Biblical timeline is called the “latter days” and “last days” in Old Testament prophecy and specifically concerns God’s end-times dealings with His chosen people, the Jews.

“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.” (Romans 11:25)

However, there is an overlap of the Church Age of Grace and God’s end-time dealing with His Chosen People (the Hebrews).

Many of the things written by the Old Testament prophets concerning the end times happen within this overlap and they must happen before Daniel’s “Seventieth Week” even begins (Daniel 9:24-27) and before the “Bride” is called out of this world (1 Corinthians 15:52, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 2 Thessalonians 2:2).

The future events described in Daniel chapters 10-11 are yet to take place and a careful and prayerful reading of those prophetic events reveal they will require much longer than the remaining “week” of years in the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27.

There is no clear-cut dividing line between the end of the Church Age and the beginning of the Daniel’s last prophetic week. Some would argue that such a claim would falsify the doctrine of the “Immanency of the Rapture” of the Church.

However, the prophecy deals with the Hebrew people and Jerusalem, not the Church. The Lord could call out the Bride anytime even during a portion of the last prophetic week before the wrath of God is poured out on the world (Song of Solomon 2:10).

This overlap of the Church Age and God’s end-times dealings with His “Chosen People” is historically recognizable beginning with the Hebrew Jubilee period of 1917, in which the world saw the liberation of the Jewish Holy Land from Ottoman Turk rule and the subsequent establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

In the Jubilee Year of 1967 the Jews liberated the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount area. Then, in 1979, the Iranian Revolution catapulted the ancient land of Persia (Israel’s historical enemy) back onto the global political stage.

During the days of the Old Persian Empire when Israel was in captivity, the prophet Daniel received many visions concerning his people and Jerusalem and what would happen to Israel in the times before the end. God told Daniel that those things would be sealed until this “time of the end.” It is written:

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”
(Daniel 12:4)

“And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” (Daniel 12:9)

Therefore, there are two chances for Israel to repent and come back to God – during the Rapture [pre-tribulation] and during the post-tribulation [pre-millennium], the second coming of Yeshua.

However, the gentiles have only one chance to repent and be grafted in the olive tree and can be saved during the Rapture from the Great Tribulation and the Second Death.

7.0 CONCLUSION

The fullness of the Gentiles has just about come in and the Lord God will once again turn His mercy to unbelieving Israel and save them.

But in order to do that, a great time of testing and punishment is still ahead for His chosen people. He will bring them to repentance at Jerusalem through Great Tribulation.

In Matthew 24:37-39 Yeshua says:

But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”

In Genesis 7:6 we read that Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth. Moreover, Genesis 5:12-27 spells that Noah’s father Lamech died before Methuselah and Methuselah [the grandfather of Noah] died at the age of 969 years [nine hundred sixty and nine years], when Noah was 600 years old.

This reveals that Noah’s family, his parents and grandparents were saved from the flood [God’s Judgement]. In similar fashion, Church will be raptured and saved from the Great Tribulation.

The Feast of Trumpets may soon find its prophetic fulfillment. Here are some reasons why the Rapture may occur during this Festival: All the Spring Feasts were fulfilled at Christ’s first coming, and on the exact day of the feast.

All the Fall Feasts picture the Rapture Event and Second Advent of Yeshua. There are seven days of awe in between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement. These picture the seven years of Tribulation. Atonement pictures Satan being defeated and cast away at the end of the Tribulation.

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