Thinking about the time of Jacob’s trouble (update)

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It bothers me that most Christians say that “the time of Jacob’s trouble” lies entirely in the future. That is because as a small girl and teen in the 50’s and 60’s, talk about and images of the Holocaust were everywhere. If you feel my thinking is wrong, please let me know in a comment or use my Contact the author page.

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Here are the opening verses of the passage that contains the prophecy of “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” 

Jeremiah 30

King James Version 

30 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,

Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.

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.

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What is the time of Jacob’s trouble?

I was taught that the time of Jacob’s trouble was a seven-year Tribulation at the End of the Age – the Seventieth Week of Daniel. With study, I came to realize that the Seventieth Week of Daniel had been fulfilled at the first coming of Jesus Christ, and therefore could not be a final seven years. The Seventy Weeks were a consecutive period of 490 years. The Seventieth Week was not postponed – there was no so-called gap.

All that I have been taught has to be sorted out and tested by the Word of God. Understanding the time of Jacob’s trouble is part of this process.

The prophecy of the time of Jacob’s trouble

Here are the major themes of Jeremiah 30, the chapter in which this time is foretold (this is the only place in Scripture where it is mentioned):

judgment and restoration,

vengeance upon the nations who despoiled Israel,

rule by David their King, whom God shall raise up for them (Messiah),

the latter days.

The consequences of failure

We are told that the Jewish people failed to know the time of their visitation, that is, the coming of Messiah the first time. He Himself spoke of this when He wept over Jerusalem,

Luke 19:41-44

41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,

42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.

43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,

44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

The destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD -- a painting by David Roberts (1796-1849).After this failure of the Jewish people, and during the years of their Great Revolt against Rome (66-70 A.D.), the Romans, “the people of the prince that shall come” (Daniel 9:26), destroyed the Jewish nation, the Temple was razed, more than a million Jews died (Josephus) and the rest were scattered and led into captivity. 

Most American Christians believe that the time of Jacob’s trouble lies in the future. Some Christians believe that it began with Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Judah and the captivity. Did it begin with this invasion, or with the Roman fury against the Jews and their dispersion?

Medieval manuscript Jews identified by rouelle are being burned at stake, 1515Whichever it is, it is most likely an extensive period. I believe that “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7) is the centuries that include the pogroms, the Spanish Inquisition, the unremitting enmity against the Jews, the Holocaust, and the current constant warring against and slandering of Israel. 

Think, what could be worse for Jacob than what has already befallen him? 

Here are the statistics of Germany’s “Final Solution” from Jewish Virtual Library

The Estimated number of Jews killed

67%

Pre-Final Solution Jewish Population          =   8,861,800

Jewish Population Killed in Final Solution   =  5,933,900

(Poland, Baltic Countries, Germany/Austria, Protectorate, Slovakia, Greece, the Netherlands, Hungary, White Russia, Ukraine, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Romania, Norway, France, Bulgaria, Italy, Luxembourg, Russia, Denmark, and Finland.)

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Hope

Auschwitz_aerial_view_RAFWhile in our day the Jews are being attacked and maligned, and antisemitism is still very much alive, and though those Jews who live in the Land live in daily peril, are the Jews destined to suffer yet again to the same or to a greater degree, in some final horrible seven years of trouble? Or are they still in the midst of this time of trouble?

If it is so that they are in the midst of this time, but are now back in the Land and continuing to return to it, are they close to and awaiting the fulfillment of the rest of Jeremiah’s prophecy, their restoration in “the latter days,” at the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ – the Son of David? 

Jeremiah 30

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.

10 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.

11 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 I will not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.

12 For thus saith the Lord, Thy bruise is incurable, and thy wound is grievous.

13 There is none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing medicines.

14 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.

15 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.

16 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.

17 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.

18 Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob’s tents, and have mercy on his dwellingplaces; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof.

19 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.

20 Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them.

21  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.

22 And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

23 Behold, the whirlwind of the Lord goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked.

24 The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until he hath done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it.

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Resources

The Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names

The Seventy Weeks

Welcome to Historicism.com

The Time of Jacob’s Trouble future or fulfilled?

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Resources for studying Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventieth Week

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Daniel 9:24-27

King James Version

24 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.

25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

27 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.

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Luke 4:17-21

17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

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Matthew 26:27-28

27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

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God is not the author of confusion in our worship, or doctrine (1 Cor. 14:32-34). So how are we to understand the fact that Christians who love the Lord, and seek to understand and obey His Word, disagree about important things? Perhaps what Jesus said in the parable of the wheat and the tares, applies here: “An enemy has done this” (Matt. 13:24-30).

One thing on which we disagree is the Seventieth Week of Daniel. Some believe that its events are yet to be fulfilled in a final seven-year Tribulation, and some believe they were fulfilled by Jesus at His first coming – two completely different views. 

The important thing isn’t what we have been taught by those we respect, or what we have always believed. Or what the majority view is in our day, or what it was for earlier Christians. What is important is what God has revealed to us for our instruction and edification in His Word.  

Take heart, for the Lord promised that the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth!

John 16:13

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” 

Studying the Seventieth week of Daniel can be a lifelong project. Forgive me and correct me if you believe I have got it wrong.

Because of my interest in the Papacy, in the last year I began to study a view of prophecy called Historicism, the view that prophecy has been fulfilled, and is being fulfilled throughout history. During this same time, I learned that the other two views of prophecy, Futurism (the view that most prophecies will be fulfilled during a final seven-year tribulation) and Preterism (the view that almost all New Testament prophecy was fulfilled with the destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70 A.D.), were the brain-children of Jesuit authors (Ribera and Lacunza; and Alcazar).

These men invented these views, which became the popular ones, in order to prove that the Pope could not be the man of sin, as Christians declared, for the man of sin was one of two entities: someone who would appear at the very End of the Age, or the Emperor Nero. For me, the Jesuit origin of Futurism cast suspicion upon the whole scenario of a seven-year Tribulation at the End of the Age – the “postponed” Seventieth Week of Daniel.

So, if you believe that the Seventieth Week lies in the future, or if you are a Preterist, I invite you to look at the Biblical evidence again. Being a Berean is a necessity. 

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Online articles

The Seventy Weeks

Interpreting Daniel – A Premillennial Historicist Study of the Book of Daniel

Confirming The Covenant – Who Confirms the Covenant?

Shutting, sealing, and covering – or Messiah’s glorious work by Charles Spurgeon (Daniel 9:24) (pdf download)

John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible – Daniel 9

The Rapture of the Saints by Duncan McDougall

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A video presentation

Paul Flynn’s video “Daniel’s Seventieth Week – A Past or Future Event?” examines the Biblical basis for knowing that these prophecies have been fulfilled. It is a long video – Paul takes his time explaining things. He is a member of Arann Reformed Baptist Church in Dublin.

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