Jacob’s Trouble and the Great Tribulation :: By Joseph Chambers

Psalm 2:4-7

“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”

These two terms are synonymous. The Bible is perfectly plain, “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles” until the Jacob’s trouble is complete. An honest and biblically sound evaluation of Jerusalem’s immediate future can be quite unnerving. For someone that loves Jerusalem as deeply as I do, it is not easy to accept the truth.

Praying for the peace of the “chosen city” has been a commitment of my life for many years.  The Bible commands every believing individual, Jew or Gentile, to be deeply committed to this responsibility.  It is easy once we accept this challenge to then fail to see the prophetic facts of what must occur to accomplish the answer.  When we pray for the “peace of Jerusalem” we also are praying for the perfect fulfillment of all acts of judgment and prophecies that will ultimately assure the “peace.”  Actually, when you pray for peace, you are praying for the biblical process, which is terrifying to discover.

Jerusalem Is Destined for Some Very Dark Events

The Son of God warned all of us of the dark facts that this city must endure and suffer before He can sit on David’s throne.  Jesus Christ will return to be the King of kings over Jerusalem, Israel, and the whole world.  This city is deep in the heart of the eternal Son of God.  He walked through the streets with His disciple, proclaiming, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . . how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37).

Jacob’s Trouble

  1. The darkest period of Israel’s history
  2. A false Messiah will deceive multitudes of the Jewish people.
  3. When the False Messiah and the False Prophet erect his image in the new temple in Jerusalem, then Israel will wake up.
  4. The will flee, be murdered and driven all over the world.
  5. In about 3.5 years, two out of three of the Jews all over the world will be slain as the Antichrist determined to kill every Jew on the earth.
  6. Two Jewish prophets preach for 3.5 years.
  7. Antichrist tramples the city the same 3.5 years.

When the Jewish people rejected the Son of God as the Messiah, they set in motion the chain of events that were and are still to be affected.  Jesus, later, gave us a fairly complete picture of Jerusalem from that day, nearly two thousand years ago “until” Jerusalem shall be redeemed as a city and become a “praise in all the earth.”

Here are the actual words of Jesus Christ Himself, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea 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.” (Luke 21:20-24).

This great text shows us a progressive picture from a few years after the crucifixion until the Second Coming of our Lord to establish His kingdom on earth.  When Titus marched his Roman army up to Jerusalem (A.D. 70) and destroyed the city, the “times” of the Gentiles began. Note that word “times.” There have been many times that Gentiles in one form or another have affected great destruction and consternation on Jerusalem and its inhabitants.

When Jesus said Jerusalem, He certainly included the geographical area now called the nation of Israel, plus the land occupied by these Arabs called Palestinians. “Times of the Gentiles” includes every, invasion, occupation, or political control by anyone other than the Jewish people that affected Jerusalem.  It includes the massacre by the Catholic crusaders that took Jerusalem and murdered Arabs and Jews alike.

There have been awesome efforts on the part of many nations and armies to eliminate Jewish people.  Many of these efforts were on the soil of the nations and armies attacking them. At other times, it was in Jerusalem.  The “times” of the Gentiles, as it relates to Jerusalem and the Jewish people, includes many inhumane occasions.

God the Father Has Chosen Jerusalem

Jerusalem was chosen by our God to put His name there forever.  The Word of God said, “… Jerusalem, the city which the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there…” (2 Chronicles 12:13).  Actually, Jerusalem is the earthly counterpart of the heavenly Jerusalem. The city is a delight to the Lord Himself and He longs for His righteousness and peace to grace the city with perpetual glory. Angels have been assigned to Jerusalem for at least twenty-five hundred years (2,500).  Isaiah told of this revelation of truth that he was given.  He spoke to this subject by first addressing the Father’s love and passion for Jerusalem.

He quoted the words God had given him, “For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth” (Isaiah 62:1).  Then, the God of Israel said, “I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence, And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (Isaiah 62:6-7).

It would be breathtaking to visit Jerusalem with unveiled eyes and see the army of angels that keep watch day and night. The unseen war above this city is far greater and more spectacular than any war fought on the ground.  Even then, His army of angels cannot go beyond the prophetic facts of judgment, death, and calamities appointed by the Lord Himself.  These angelic watchman guarantee the absolute promises of God and no destruction will ever eliminate the city or keep its future from the perfect glory appointed.  In other words, they assure a perfect balance between the appointed judgments and the glorious future.

The Perfect Will Of God Will Be Accomplished

Jerusalem will be the capital of the whole earth and especially the capital of the Jewish nation.  The Son of God will sit upon the Throne of David.  The city will expand in every direction and become the largest city in the world. According to Ezekiel, the city will be approximately sixty (60) miles square with a twelve (12) square inner city.  This means the city will stretch almost the entire distance between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea.

 Revelation 6:1-4

“And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.

And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.”

 Israel Became a Nation Again in 1948

The modern history of Israel as a nation began in 1948.  The people of Jewish blood had been dispersed, deprived, and persecuted intermittently for the eighteen hundred and seventy-eight (1878) years since A.D. 70.  Their survival as a distinct people with a Jewish bloodline seems completely impossible.  While all of those years contain a Biblical significance, the end times of Jewish history began in 1948.  At that point, a prophecy of their national resurrection was commenced.  Their existence as a people was like a valley of bleached bones, but the Word of God had spoken.  The infallible Book becomes miraculous as God speaks and men act and believe. Listen!

“Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.   And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves.”  (Ezekiel 37:4, 11, 13).

A small minority of the Jewish people were finally at home and were a nation but were immediately attacked by their neighbors.  Outnumbered and impoverished in military equipment, they fought back and won miraculously.  The nation began to grow, the land responded, the deserts bloomed, and the seasons and rainfall increased.  Israel quickly became a modern miracle.

Their technology is second to none and their military prowess is the envy of the military world.  They are a chosen people with a chosen identity even though they are still in unbelief.  But, our God is working wonderfully to perform His will in them and bring them to repentance.  The process is slow, but our God is patient.  It cannot be much longer.  For sixty-seven years, they have had both blessings and great trials.

From the Present to the Climax

These sixty-seven (67) years for Israel have been like God’s clock ticking on the wall.  The countdown is on and every believer must watch each event with a prophetic eye.  Nothing can stop the process, though painful as it may be. Our anger because of another suicide bombing or a drive-by shooting stirs our heart to bleed. Yet, the bleeding is part of the process.  The events will often call for Israel’s military response; yet, the necessary response will not end the conflicts.

America must carefully defend our primary ally in the Middle East, but all of us must not allow the negotiations and support to blind us to the prophetic future. While we share their pain and support their right to the Promised Land, we must remember that they are still in unbelief and the process of bringing them to repentance is yet forthcoming. They are an incredibly stubborn people and God’s chastisement is one of the tools that will break the yoke.  That stubbornness was necessary to bring them through the centuries of anti-Semitism, but now the hands of their God must temper it. Let’s carefully look at a the facts, which are easily seen in the prophetic passages yet to be completed.

Jerusalem will be a “cup of trembling” and a “troublesome stone” to the world and its governments, “until…”  Every time I write “until,” I am referring to the victory that is finished with the battle of Armageddon. There may be, and I pray so, periods of relative peace concerning Jerusalem, but it cannot be lasting.  The presence of a Jewish state in their ancient city of Jerusalem creates a problem for almost the entire world because of its prophetic significance.  Look at that text.

“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.  And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zechariah 12:2-3).

When you have an ancient people with a clear Biblical promise from those ancient times perfectly fulfilled, it either must be rejected or accepted as proof of the Bible.  Consequently,  any person or nation that rejects the Bible is placed in a position to reject the rights of that ancient people, in this case, the Jews.  This fact creates consternation and makes the city of Jerusalem, when connected to the Israel nation, a “troublesome stone” and a “cup of trembling.”  This fact cannot go away unless we eliminate the Jews from Jerusalem and deny the Bible.  We will not do either one. In fact, we cannot change God’s perfect plan.

It was the Lord Jesus Christ that said, “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).  The presence of Gentiles (anyone that is non-Jewish) cannot be eliminated from Jerusalem “until…”

Regardless of how desirable it seems to Bible believers for the completed possession of all Israel by the Israeli people, the Lord said, it cannot happen. Not only does the truth of this  great passage demand the presence of Gentiles, it demands their presence in military or police activities.  The city of Jerusalem and its Jewish population will be trodden down “until.”  “Trodden down” means to be trampled underfoot.

A truth, as clearly stated by the Lord Jesus Christ, in this case, leaves no room for argument.  This does not mean that Israel should not defend themselves, but that their best effort will not rid their country of terror and conflict. The very presence of Arab people, many of them Christians, demands that the government of Israel be careful to protect the rights of its citizens. Jerusalem and the State of Israel in perfect biblical fulfillment cannot occur “until!”  Israel must make the best of the ongoing process and simply survive “until.”

Zephaniah 3:1-5

“Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city! She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God. Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they gnaw not the bones till the morrow. Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law. The just Lord is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity: every morning doth he bring his judgment to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame.”

Death and sorrows will increase.  The city of Jerusalem is destined for more destruction and sorrows until they repent and receive their rejected Messiah. It’s impossible for Jerusalem to be the city of peace until they are shepherded by the Prince of Peace. Jesus plainly stated that “they shall fall by the edge of the sword”… until!  Every Christian should help bear the burden of the Jewish people, pray for their peace, and await God’s final moment.

Jerusalem cannot be a free city wholly governed by Israel, until!  Israel must have a covenant with the Eternal God before this city can end the many demands for a little piece of this coveted city and land.  The Catholics want to govern, the Muslims want to govern, and the religious groups that own a piece of Jerusalem’s real estate want to govern.  The conflicts are unsolvable because the views cannot be reconciled.  The world will demand that Israel accept a peace process that maintains Jerusalem as a pluralistic city.  The political tide will almost surely succeed in demanding America support such a process.

While I believe America will maintain its sheep nation status, I also believe we will be forced to accept a Palestinian state jointly with the state of Israel in the land wrongly called Palestine. We all long for the nation of Israel to possess the total promise given to Abraham. Even if all of the land now controlled by Israel and the Palestinians together was possessed by Israel, it would not be close to what God promised to Abraham. Not until the King of kings returns to drive the army of the Antichrist into utter defeat can the promises be finished. Jerusalem will not be the sole capital of Israel “until.”

Two of every three Jews will be killed between now and the return of Jesus Christ. Nothing is sadder to contemplate than the last catastrophe that Israel encounters before the end. Nobody but Jewish haters wants the Jewish people to experience another holocaust. It cannot be avoided.  Hitler will pale in comparison to the “man of sin” and his companions of evil.  Zechariah made this prophetic statement:

“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.   And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God” (Zechariah 13:7-9).

I personally believe that this prophecy includes all the Jews on a worldwide basis.  “In all the land” appears to mean “in all the land” internationally.  The Antichrist and his anti-spirit will hunt down every person of Jewish descent and strive to eliminate them.  Hatred for the Jewish people is a diabolical hatred that will pursue them to their hidden places around the globe.  The Muslims call them pigs and monkeys.  The Jewish people have been systemically accused of almost every atrocity.  Conspiracy theories abound that propose to document the chosen people as the source of all evil.

Satan will not just search and destroy Jews in the land of Israel, but worldwide.  Thousands of people are converting to Judaism. Some Christians are even teaching that the Jewish people can be converted and saved in Judaism without the gospel of Jesus Christ.  All of this is but cold, calculated deception at the hand of the deceiver. Very likely the proselytes to Judaism will suffer the exact same fate of the Jews between the present and the glorious moment of His return.

At some point, an army from the North will descend on Israel. This event is considerably more controversial than the battle of Armageddon. Ezekiel documented the facts of this horrible attack. “Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,  And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:  And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armor, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:  Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet.”  (Ezekiel 38:2-5).

All of these ancient nations are each a present modern nation and each well-equipped and capable to fulfill this prophecy. The armies of the Antichrist are very different from the coalition named in Ezekiel.  This army is led by the Antichrist himself.  His furor at Israel will be the final sword in God’s hand of judgment for Israel.  The Bible says, “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 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 14:1-2).

This battle ends God’s “cup of wrath” against His own chosen and He descends to fight the enemies Himself:

“Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.  And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbor, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbor.” (Zechariah 14:3-4, 12-13)

This battle is the “until!” It is the battle that ends nearly 2,000 years of estrangement between the God of Abraham and the people of Abraham’s loins. They rejected Jesus Christ and were cut off and out of their own Olive Tree.  Now, they will be redeemed and re-grafted into their own stump.  Everything that Bible believers want for the Lord’s people, the Jews, will now become reality.

Romans 11:31-32

“Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?”

The Fullness of Israel Will Come

Israel’s future is breathtaking, but cannot be born illegitimately. Try as we may to place Israel in her glory before the time has come and we only frustrate ourselves. By the wisdom given by the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul understood perfectly the process. He stated, “According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear; unto this day. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompense unto them:  Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway” (Romans 11:8-10).

I mentioned earlier that the Jews were a stubborn people, but this was part of their judgment.  Note those words, “that they may not see and bow down their back alway.” But all of this shall change at the appointed time. Paul continued, “I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness? For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” (Romans 11:11-12, 15).

The “War on Terrorism” places Israel under incredible pressure to compromise more territory and given more credence to the terrorist.  If the efforts of President Trump and our American military succeed in crippling the worldwide organization of terrorists, it may mean a few more years.  If they fail to destroy the stockpiles of bio-chemical and nuclear capacities, it probably means very little time left before the Tribulation period officially begins.

Under all circumstances our world is a powder keg and Israel is our time clock. “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).  Greatness for Israel hangs in the balance and the Lord Jesus Christ is soon to tip the scales.