Volume 36, Issue 1 _________________________________Bible Prophecy Ministry

Israel: Travail and Tribulation

      In the Olivet Discourse, which is recorded in the New Testament gospels of Matthew chapter 24, Mark chapter 13, and again in Luke chapter 21, Jesus described in grave detail, a terrible time of devastating warfare. It shall be a world war in which all of the nations and kingdoms of this world shall involve themselves in the great complex dilemma regarding the nation of Israel, and the controversial burdensome subject that has become the city of Jerusalem. Matthew 24:6-9 And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you ( Israel ) up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations ( gentiles ) for my ( Jesus ) name's sake.

      Jesus conveys to us a prophetic paradigm in these verses that seems to engulf the entire panoramic history of the Church Age. His forewarnings were for the immediate first century generation of the nation of Israel, and also for all the generations succeeding thereafter during the Church Age, and then probably more significantly, it was also a message that was directed in a very specific and poignant way to the last days generation of Christian’s and Jews alike. He concluded in Matthew 24:34 that this particular generation would in fact witness the culmination of all of these events. The comments of Jesus recorded within these passages are probably the most complex scriptures of all the prophetic word conveyed in the entire Bible. To rightly divide the Word of Prophetic Truth conveyed in these prophecies, one must distinguish between what is intended for Israel, what is intended for the Church, and also between what is meant for all the nations ( Gentiles ) in general. One helpful rule of thumb in understanding these various interchanges is to observe, and take very take careful note of the changing tempo describing Israel’s epic journey amidst the nations of this world. These tempo changes speak of “a Time of Travail”, and a “Time of Tribulation”, and a “Time of Great Tribulation”, and then finally culminates into a time that is described as being “a Time after the Great Tribulation”. These time-tempos will some day result with Israel accepting Jesus Christ as their Messiah. The Church also moves in a similar prophetic tempo with its epic history being alluded to by the Biblical phrase; “The Fullness of the Gentiles” ( Romans 11:25 ) whereas the nations of the world interchange its tempo with the Church, in relationship to the rebirth of Israel through the historic tempo which Jesus referred to as, “The Times of the Gentiles”. ( Luke 21:24 ) Daniel also prophesied about the beginning of that era of time known as Israel’s “Time of Travail”, when he prophesied in chapter 9:24-27 that Israel would cut-off its Messiah, thereby having the promised Kingdom denied to them, and initiating the era of Israel’s travail amidst all the Gentile nations via her national dispersion from the Promised Land.      

Revelation chapter 12:2-5 also portrayed this epic sequence of history with Israel, by depicting Israel as a Woman in travail during childbirth. Israel’s epic time of travail began with the birth and the rejection of Jesus Christ as her Messiah, and that tempo of Travail has continued throughout Israel’s 2000 year long dispersion from the Promised Land, and it continues right up to the present time. I Thessalonians 5:2-3 pictures Israel’s “Time of Travail” finally ending when she believes that she has found peace and safety, and enters into a covenant relationship with the Antichrist. But the confirmation of this Peace Treaty actually propels Israel into another tempo of time. That time tempo is the infamous “Time of Tribulation”, or the day of Jacobs Trouble. I Thes 5:2-3 states: For yourselves know perfectly that the “Day of the Lord” so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, ( Israel ) as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. Notice the symbolic usage of the terminology, ( a woman in travail with child ) used in the present tense. In today’s healthcare terminology, we might refer to this situation as a pre-existing condition. Israel continues in this time-tempo right up until the very moment that she enters into that covenanted arrangement for her Peace and Security. Then, if we go back to Revelation chapter 12 and verse 13, we find that the Great Red Dragon shall return his attention to finishing his objective as stated in verse four. Revelation 12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman ( Israel ) which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. There, it is revealed that the Devil attempted to devour the child ( Jesus Christ ) which Israel had travailed to deliver. Obviously the Devil failed to devour Israel’s deliverer, because verse five indicates that he ( Jesus ) was “caught up” into Heaven. Revelation 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. Notice in this verse that the child delivered by the woman was to rule all the nations. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah had indicated that the man-child born unto Israel would be the King to which all the nations of the whole world someday would recognize as universal King. But make no mistake about it, Satan shall yet again reinvigorate his maniacal campaign of vengeance and destruction targeted at Israel, when he pursues the Woman with an all-out bloody zeal for three and one-half years. Satan is ever continually seeking to obstruct the reign of Jesus Christ in this world and shall at that tempo-time-frame become concerned about avoiding the loss of his dominion over the kingdoms of this present age. Satan knows that if he could ever accomplish the total extermination of the nation of Israel, that the attainment of that endeavor would render it impossible for God to keep his multitude of promises to the nation of Israel.

      Revelation 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he (Satan) persecuted the woman which “brought” forth the man-child.

      This particular tempo of time for Israel lies just ahead on the horizon of time. While we are able to correctly deduce from analyzing chapters 12:6, 11:2-3, and 13:5 of the Revelation, that Israel’s “Time of Great Tribulation” will last for 1260 days, or 42 months, and thereafter culminate into that grand tempo of time known as the time “After the Great Tribulation”, we still have very little information with which to calculate, or to be able to discern precisely when Israel’s “Time of Travail” will end, and the ensuing days of her terrible “Time of Tribulation” will commence.

      Jesus attempted to enlighten his disciples about these prophetic tempo patterns that would occur throughout the approaching history of Israel’s future. Prior to going down unto Jerusalem, Jesus had informed the disciples that he would be put to death. While in Jerusalem, he conveyed to all the disciples some even more astonishing information. He plainly indicated to them that it would shortly come to pass that they would not see him anymore, but yet after a little while they would see him yet again. This information astounded the disciples, because they knew that if Jesus were indeed the Messiah, that he was duty-bound to establish his kingdom. Now he was informing them that he was going away!

      John 16:19-22 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye inquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye ( Israel ) now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

      Jesus forecasts to the disciples at this point that Israel would endure weeping and lamentation while he was away, but that in his absence the rest of the world be afforded the opportunity to discover great joy, because of the glorious mission of sacrifice that he was about to enact his first visitation to Israel. He concluded his discourse with a promise to the disciples and to Israel. “You will see me again, (second visitation ) and then your sorrow shall be turned into joy!“ Psalms 30:5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Luke 17:25 revealed that Jesus would indeed be rejected by Israel upon his first visitation, even by the disciples very own generation. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah depicted Jesus as one being despised and rejected by Israel, even associating him with such low esteem that Israel hid their faces from him. He was the stone, which the builders rejected, but from their rejection, he has become the chief cornerstone of the building, first for the Gentiles, then yet again for Israel.

      Micah 5:2-3 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. Here we may gleam that after Israel had brought forth the man-child, she continued in travail throughout the timeframe wherein she had been given up by him, until a remnant of Israel had been restored to the Promised, which upon its occurrence would signal that Israel’s “Time of Travail” was coming to its completion.

      This is precisely the reason that Jesus used the parable of the
Fig Tree as a prophetic analogy exemplifying the relationship to the gathering of the remnant of the outcast of Israel. It was intended by Jesus to be a sign unto Israel that was comparable to the Sign of Jonah. Hosea 6:2-3 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. In these verses, God establishes a prophetic paradigm for Israel based upon the experience of Jonah and the great fish, and the testimony of Jesus rejection and burial within the earth for two days, and his coming forth on the third day. They portend the rebirth of Israel, first in the physical sense, then finally in the spiritual sense of rebirth, as is prophesied concerning Israel in chapter 37 of Ezekiel’s great vision of the Valley of Dry Bones.

      Ezekiel 37:11-14 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. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 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, and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your “own land”: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD. For two thousand years Israel has experienced the travail of the valley of dry bones, but now at the dawning of the third day, God has opened the graves of Israel, and caused to come forth from the Gentile nations in the four corners of the world the providentially preserved remnant of Israel that shall witness the return visitation of the King promised unto them so many hundreds of years ago! When we pause to consider that Psalms 90:4 indicates that two thousand years with man is like a mere two days with God, it should be apparent that the Sign of Jonah portends a blessing for the remnant of Israel as the dawning of the third Millenium approaches since the first visitation of Jesus.

      The Church Age is quickly drawing to a dramatic conclusion and shall be climaxed very soon by the gathering together of those Christians that remain alive unto the day when Israel’s cries of travail amongst the nations of this world shall be heard by God. Then tempo of her travail will suddenly be quickened, as it is with a woman in Travail experiencing the pangs of her firstborn son. Israel’s travail is in God’s vision as revealed in this testimony from Israel’s old weeping prophet Jeremiah, and the Lamentations of ancient Israel:

      Jeremiah 4:31 For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, and the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her “first” child, the voice of the daughter of Zion, that bewaileth herself, that spreadeth her hands, saying, Woe is me now! for my soul is wearied because of murderers.

      Lam 3:1-5 I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light. Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand against me all the day. My flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones. He hath builded against me, and compassed me with gall and travail.

      But, remember, Jesus said to Israel, “Ye shall see me again!” Jer 30:3-11 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.

      Israel has been returned to its land by God’s providence! He promised never to make a full end of Israel, nor to forget his Covenant with them. ( Psalms 105:8-11 and Leviticus 26:44 )

      The Parable of the Fig Tree was also intended by Jesus to be a sign unto the Church. This is the reason that Jesus concluded his prophetic discourse about the Last Days with a stern command for Christians. Mark 13:33-37 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at evening, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, “Watch”. ( See the article: A Watch in the Night)

      The pendulum of God’s clock, which has hung motionless with regard to his promises to Israel for the last two thousand years is about to begin to swing into motion once again. Very soon it will commence to tick off the final hours of the last tempo of time ending with Israel’s delivery from tribulation. The terminal stage of God’s design for the ages is in place. It is Israel’s destiny to complete her mission to the world. Satan opposes that destiny. But Jesus informed Israel that although she would endure travail and tribulation in this world while he was away, he had in fact overcome the world.

      John 16:32-33 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye ( Israel ) shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ( Gentile nations ) ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

      While Israel is soon to be endure the epic tempo of stress in the “Time of Tribulation” and “Great Tribulation”, it will not be for loss. Israel has never yet experienced the supreme joy of being joined together, or meeting the “One” (child) for which she has travailed to deliver for so long. The pangs of childbirth seem to fade away and be quickly forgotten when the newly born babe is brought and placed within the loving arms of the woman which gave it life. While we as Christians have exulted in the great gift of the child which Israel brought into the world, Israel has never recognized its own son. But that day will come!

      Zechariah 12:8-10 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 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”.

By: Darrell G. Young

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