So far in our video series on restoring the end-time terms and concepts, we’ve looked at Jesus’ before and after statements concerning the tribulation. We’ve seen that the various terms such as the beginning of sorrows, the tribulation, the six seals of Revelation, and the great tribulation are all synonyms that describe the same period of birth pains surrounding the Church Age.
Here we will look at another synonym that looks at this same time period from a different perspective—that of the Jewish nation. It’s called the time of Jacob’s Trouble. The word for trouble in Hebrew refers to feminine distress. So how do we find a male name (Jacob) tied to feminine distress?
We’ll answer that question with another question from Jer. 30:6. “Ask now, and see, whether a man is ever in labor with child?” Unheard of, you say! Yes, and that is the point. The Holy Spirit is shocking us with an unusual situation to alert us to pay attention. “So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor, and all faces turned pale?” In short, Jacob is in trouble, distress, and pain—the kind that leads to a birth.
Jesus explained that this time of trouble for Jacob would begin with the destruction of the beloved Temple. It occurred in 70 AD when the Romans laid siege to Jerusalem and not one stone was left upon another. They were scattered among the nations (what is historically called the Diaspora). The trouble continues to our current time. Even though they have returned to the Promised Land as a nation, they still reject Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
So why does the Holy Spirit use the name Jacob, whose offspring became the 12 tribes that would become the nation of Israel? You may recall that Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, supplanted Esau as the heir apparent of the lineage of Israel, and wrestled with God all night (Gen. 32:24-30). It was a poignant struggle for it prophetically pointed to this same time period that precedes the Day of the Lord and Christ’s coming.
Jacob’s dark period of wrestling with God and rejecting the Messiah would end at daybreak with a blessing. God changed his name to Israel—literally, one who wrestles with God. Likewise, Jacob’s period of darkness in this age will end at Daybreak, at the dawn of the last Day, which is the Day of the Lord.
The heavens will scroll back to reveal Jesus Christ seated next to God’s throne. Jacob’s remnant will finally recognize Jesus as the Messiah. They will rend their hearts and turn to the Lord. It will be their 3rd Day revival as prophesied (Hosea 6:1-3)—“His going forth is established as the morning.”
So what does this have to do with feminine distress as a woman in labor? Birth pains ramp up big time when a woman goes into the transitional stage. Or in this case, when Jacob doubles over in pain. As this age comes to a close, the nation will think they are dwelling in relative peace and safety due to their military prowess. Then suddenly destruction shall come upon them (1 Thess. 5:3). It’s the initial invasion of the Antichrist and his coalition of armies just before the Day of the Lord.
The invasion will come to a screeching halt when God turns out the celestial lights as the final sign of this present age. The Day of the Lord will dawn with a birth—the rapture of the Church that is birthed from death to live forevermore with Jesus Christ as the New Man. Our resurrection triggers their acceptance of Christ.
The revived Jewish remnant, who are now part of the redeemed, experience their latter rain outpouring of the Spirit, which empowers them to go forth as mighty men in the Day of battle. For the first 3½ years of the final 1,000-year Day of God’s prophetic Week brings the last 3½ years of Daniel’s 70th Week prophecy, including the final war for Jerusalem. Needless to say, they shall prevail, compliments of the raptured Church now seated as the heavenly court.
Jacob’s transgressions have ended. They are now part of the redeemed. The bottom line is this: the time of Jacob’s Trouble is another synonym of the tribulation of those Days—Days 5 and 6 of the prophetic Week—from the perspective of the Jews. For nearly 2,000 years they have wrestled with God after rejecting the Messiah. But when the Day of the Lord comes and they accept Jesus as their Savior, they shall receive the Daybreak blessing of being children of God and part of the family of the redeemed.
In our video series we’ve been restoring the end-time terms and concepts based on what Jesus taught in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21). We’ve learned that the Great Tribulation, the beginning of sorrows, and the tribulation of those Days are all synonyms for the events that unfold during the Church Age. That is, Days 5 and 6 in God’s prophetic great Week when counting from Adam.
In short, Jesus told us what would happen throughout this age. He gave us the specific signs leading up to the end of this age (the end of Day 6) and therefore His coming at the dawn of the 7th Day or last Day. It is called the Day of the Lord.
The idea that Jesus would be crucified and ascend back to Heaven to bring salvation to those who would receive the free gift was mind blowing as it was. To add the fact that He would remain at Father’s throne for an extended period before returning at the appointed time would have been information overload beyond compare. Jesus knew that the Holy Spirit would need to guide His disciples into these truths.
When Jesus appeared to John in a vision, as recorded in the book of Revelation, Jesus made sure to offer a quick review before elaborating on what would happen after His return at the rapture. Revelation is basically the rest of the story.
Our focus here is what Jesus showed John in the quick review. It parallels what He taught in the Olivet Discourse. In Revelation 6, He shows us six seals. The first four are what we call the four horsemen of the apocalypse. They are four evil spirits under Satan’s dominion who unleash four seals on the earth.
John records the sixth seal this way. “I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind.”
Jesus described this final sign this way. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
The descriptions are the same. In effect, Revelation 6 gives us a fourth “gospel” account of the signs of this age. It doesn’t get any clearer than this. The Church has always existed in the tribulation of those Days.
The beginning of sorrows and the tribulation culminate in what are called birth pains. When a pregnant woman moves into the latter stage of her pregnancy, the birth pains increase. They signal that a birth is about to happen. In this case, the rapture of the Church, seated as the heavenly court—with glorified immortal bodies, fully perfected and conformed to Christ. For only in Christ are we able to stand before the throne of God and execute the shaking of the heavens and earth in righteous judgment.
Acts 17:10-15 describes Paul’s encounter with the Bereans of Asia Minor. The NIV says they had “noble character.” The NKJV says they were “fair-minded.” Why did Paul commend them so? Because they didn’t take his words at face value just because Paul said them. They searched the Scriptures for themselves to make sure that what Paul taught lined up with God’s Word.
In other words, they didn’t just accept anything they were told. They didn’t just parrot what others said. They wanted to know what God’s Word actually said. That’s a noble and worthy practice. Not following their example is a major reason why there is so much confusion concerning the end-times and Christ’s return.
It’s the same practice we use when we make the Spirit-inspired connections between the prophecies concerning the coming of the Son of Man. It’s the same practice we use when we uncover the biblical definitions of end-time terms.
It is as if the Church has been bound up in barbed wire when it comes to Christ’s return. The Word has been twisted and distorted by the false concept of a future 7-year tribulation. For instance, do we see any of the scriptural terms about the future Antichrist in Jesus’ Olivet Discourse, when He gave us the signs of the end of this age and His subsequent coming? No. Yet so many cling to this twisted concept.
Sadly, many in the Church can’t bear such confusion and division because it doesn’t make sense to them. In reality, they have enough sense to recognize that this can’t be God’s will because He is not the author of confusion. All they can do is give up on understanding the times and what Scripture says about Christ’s coming. They want to know, but they don’t know how to watch.
It’s been said that we can see the setup for the Tribulation all around us now. Really? Jesus told us in His teaching on the rapture that the tribulation would be a distinguishing trait of the nearly two thousand years of the existence of the Church! That’s why Jesus warned us that we would be hated by all nations (Matt. 24:9). It’s not a future event. The Church has been living in it all this time!
Jesus told us that the last sign we would see before He comes again is total celestial darkness. The Gospel records confirm that this impossible-to-miss event signals His return at the Day of the Lord. It is the Day we are looking for. We don’t have to wonder when it will come because Jesus also told us it is the last Day of God’s prophetic great Week. The last and 7th Day is the Day of our Redemption. It doesn’t get any clearer than that—unless, of course, you want to twist God’s Word and add or subtract from it.
It’s time to lay to rest our inadequate man-made terms. We need not mourn them, but we do pay our respects. They at least kept the idea of our Lord’s return before the eyes of many generations of believers. But the views fell short. Let’s just bow our heads and say, “May they rest in peace.” It’s time to lay hold of the biblical truth, as did the Bereans.
It’s been said that the early Church wasn’t concerned about the rapture. Really? Then why did Paul feel it was so necessary to write two letters about it? And why did Peter caution believers about scoffers in the end-times? Knowing that his time was short, Peter wanted to make sure the Church remembered the one thing they should not forget about our Lord’s coming. That is, God’s prophetic timetable of seven 1,000-year great Days (2 Peter 3:3-13).
His biggest concern was not the tribulation. How could this be? Because Peter and the rest of the disciples came to understand that the tribulation would be a long event. It started pretty much after Jesus’ resurrection. That’s why John referred to himself as “our brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9, emphasis added).
So how did we get so many views about the timing of Christ’s return when Jesus gave us the before and after set-up we highlighted in the previous blog? Muddied linguistics. In recent centuries, the term tribulation started to be redefined. As we said earlier, it started with a misinterpretation of two verses in Daniel 9.
Like a snowball rolling down a mountainside, it picked up more momentum simply by being repeated over and over. The snowball was set in motion because the Church forgot the one thing Peter told us to not forget and never fail to consider—the great Week as the prophetic basis of Christ’s return.
The extended nature of the tribulation that Jesus taught was lost in an avalanche of tribulation terms that cannot be found anywhere in Scripture (e.g. pre-trib, post-trib, mid-trib, and mid-wrath). That should have been our first clue that mankind had added to God’s Word, despite the direct warning in Rev. 22:18-19 not to do so.
The Holy Spirit must have known this would happen because He gave us four replays of the same event—the signs Jesus taught so that we could see the Day approaching AND the chronos timing of His return. They are recorded in Matthew 24, Luke 21, Mark 13, and Rev. 6. The sequence of events is the same. Yet the Spirit directed the writers to use slightly different terms for the same event that would make sense to the specific audience they were addressing.
The same extended event was called the tribulation, the great tribulation, the beginning of sorrows, birth pains, and the seals. When Peter addressed the scoffers, he didn’t apologize for the delay. He didn’t say that he thought it was still going to happen but he wasn’t really sure when. No, he linked it to God’s prophetic timetable.
Jesus told us He would return on the last Day. He said it four times in John 6:39, 40, 44, 54. When we forget or purposely ignore the great Week, then we strip Jesus’ words of any meaning. It becomes an ambiguous any day sometime in the future. We are left in confusion because we have no shared meaning.
Think about it. How can is be the last 24-hour day if the sun is still there and the earth still exists? They have to be there to fit all the other events described in the various tribulation views. Without shared meaning, we have no way to move in union with God’s plan. Our light is dimmed. The world laughs in derision because we can’t event agree among ourselves.
When we stick to the written Word of God, what Jesus taught in the Olivet Discourse, and the Spirit’s inspired terms, we have both the scriptural kairos signs and the chronos times to ensure that we have the full, complete view of that Day. We lose nothing of the hope of our calling. And, more importantly, we don’t negate Jesus’ promise that His Body is not appointed unto the wrath of that Day (1 Thess. 5:9).
Using the scriptural terms, the rapture comes after the extended time of the tribulation—the nearly 2,000 years of the Church Age (Days 5 & 6 in God’s great Week when counting from Adam). Yet it comes before the snare of that Day which is God’s wrath and vengeance against evil that is unleashed through the trumpet/bowl judgments.
Jesus told us the final sign before His coming—total darkness over the entire earth at one time. Then the whole earth would see Him coming in the clouds to gather His Church on the last Day, the Day of the Lord. It is the 7th Day when counting from Adam, and the 3rd Day when counting from Christ. It is the Day of Christ. In effect, it is when the post-trib and the pre-wrath views become one view, as recorded in God’s Word. It doesn’t get any clearer than that!
People often ask us which tribulation view we embrace. The question puts us in a difficult position. But not because we don’t know; it’s because of the muddied language. So many biblical terms have been redefined that we have to spend more time offering caveats and explaining what we mean than actually stating the view. So here’s our first response: our view is the view that Jesus gave us as recorded in God’s Word. I know, that sounds like a cop-out, but bear with us.
Do you know that Jesus gave us the foundation for understanding when He is coming back? You may be surprised to find out that it is not based on a 7-year tribulation period, but a great Week of prophetic 1,000-year Days.
Think about it. If we truly understood the whole counsel of the Word, would there be so many views? Especially since God is not the author or confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). For the most part, we inherited the tribulation views from our spiritual fathers, and have simply repeated them over and over until they’ve become a sort of sacred cow—pre-trib, post-trib, mid-trib, pre-wrath, amillennial, or preterist.
Don’t worry if you don’t know all these terms; in fact you’re ahead of the game if you don’t! If we were to ask the majority of churchgoers if they know where the idea of a 7-year tribulation period comes from, they could not tell us. Few of them know that it comes from only two verses in Daniel 9. And in order to come up with that concept, you have to misinterpret the whole prophecy. If you want more details about this, see our video series entitled “Daniel’s 70th Week and the Mid-Week Mystery of Christ” on our YouTube Channel, Chronos Messenger.
So let’s go back to what Jesus told us about His return. We call it the “before and after set-up.”
Think of it as laying the firm foundation for the end-time building. It comes from Matt. 24—what is commonly called the Olivet Discourse (Teaching). Jesus gave this assurance to His disciples just before His crucifixion. Even though they didn’t fully understand it at that point in time, it offered them hope in the midst of what surely was a time of great disappointment. It’s a key prophetic marker for us as well! (By the way, they did come to understand it, thanks to the Holy Spirit.)
Jesus was telling the disciples about the signs of the end of this age and of His coming. He called the signs the “beginning of sorrows” and the “great tribulation.”
For now, this is what we need to see. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (vs. 29).
Not surprisingly, Peter featured this same before and after set-up in the very first sermon preached on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Quoting from Joel 2, Peter preached about the end-times, particularly the last Days! Both describe the celestial signs:
To fully understand the significance connection, we need to know the biblical definitions of the tribulation and the Day of the Lord. Stay tuned!
All communication is based on one vital principle: shared meaning. If I ask you if you have a dog, you can answer the question easily because we both understand what the word dog refers to. It doesn’t matter if the picture of that word in your head is different from mine. There’s enough shared meaning that we can talk about a dog.
What if I ask you if you have a schlapple? You can’t possibly answer that question because you have no idea what a schlapple is. We have no shared understanding of that word.
What difference does this make? All the difference in the world. Especially in our current culture. You see, there has been a deliberate strategy to muddy our language so that we cannot know for sure what a person means when they say a particular word.
I call it Satan’s Babel revenge. His goal is division. His method is inciting people to redefine words. And his target in not just worldly unbelievers. The redefinition is just as rampant in the Church, particularly when it comes to end-time terminology. Think: “reset” or “awakening.”
It’s gotten to the point where it is hard to use certain biblical terms because they no longer mean the same thing, even among the Body of Christ. We have to take the time to add all sorts of caveats to make sure we are not misunderstood.
We saw this when we highlighted the Spirit-inspired connections concerning the end-times in God’s Word. Words such as tribulation, great tribulation, birth pains, and the Day of the Lord have been muddied to the point that shared meaning is next to impossible.
We hope to wash away the mud with the water of His Word (Eph. 5:26) in our next video series and blogs so that the Church can walk in love, walk in the light, and walk in wisdom in these times.
Once the mud is gone, it is our prayer and hope that the confusion over the end-time views will clear up as well. At least for those who are willing to set aside their preconceived ideas and search the Scriptures with us.
We need to walk in the shared meaning intended by the Holy Spirit and recorded by the founding apostles in the New Testament. We will be looking at the key biblical terms concerning the end-times. First up, the “tribulation."
It’s time to thwart the enemy’s strategy. It’s time that “we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ” (Eph. 4:13-15).