Jacob’s Trouble

by Mike Ratliff

5 “Thus says the Lord:
We have heard a cry of panic,
of terror, and no peace.
6 Ask now, and see,
can a man bear a child?
Why then do I see every man
with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor?
Why has every face turned pale?
7 Alas! That day is so great
there is none like it;
it is a time of distress for Jacob;
yet he shall be saved out of it. (Jeremiah 30:5-7 ESV)

As we move through our study on Eschatology I have become very burdened with an overwhelming sense that I must not carelessly exegete any scripture. In fact, I do not feel comfortable writing anything about it without much prayer and research. I deeply desire to get it right. My commitment has been to do this study by looking at scripture alone. Also, a major point of contentions, so far, in our discussions has been whether the “Church” has replaced Israel as God’s covenant people. There is no doubt that all who are in Christ were saved by Faith through Grace thereby making them part of Abraham’s offspring. God justified him because He believed Him. All who follow Him in believing become branches in the Vine who is Christ. However, is God through with Israel and has He given all of the promises to Abraham’s offspring to the Church.

There is no doubt that genuine Christians are part of the invisible Church while much of the visible Church is made up of non-believers. That is no different in the case of the ancient Israel. There were Israelites who knew God and many more who didn’t. Israel has been spiritually blind and deaf for a long time. God used this blindness to bring salvation to the Gentiles. However, does this mean that God is through with Israel and does the Church inherit the covenant blessings promised to Abraham?

1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. 3 For behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the Lord, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it.” (Jeremiah 30:1-3 ESV)

Many people will read that passage and proclaim, “See, they were restored in the 20th Century!” True, but is this prophecy talking about that restoration or the one we read of from Ezra and Nehemiah when they returned from Babylon? These verses are speaking of a restoration that will not be broken again. The Jews were completely removed from their land again by the Romans so this prophecy could not be speaking of the earlier restoration.

4 These are the words that the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah:
5 “Thus says the Lord:
We have heard a cry of panic,
of terror, and no peace.
6 Ask now, and see,
can a man bear a child?
Why then do I see every man
with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor?
Why has every face turned pale?
7 Alas! That day is so great
there is none like it;
it is a time of distress for Jacob;
yet he shall be saved out of it.
8 “And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off your neck, and I will burst your bonds, and foreigners shall no more make a servant of him. 9 But they shall serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them. (Jeremiah 30:5-9 ESV)

These verses are the detail of the prophecy summarized in v3. This prophecy speaks of Jacob’s trouble or distress. God will use “Jacob’s Trouble” to actually save His people through it. Notice also in v9 that Jacob’s Trouble ends with the Messiah (David) being raised up for them as their King. This is symbolic language referring to our Lord Jesus Christ. The Jews rejected Him as their Messiah, turning Him over to the Romans to be executed. However, God used this to fulfill the Old Covenant while establishing the New Covenant by the blood of Jesus. Notice what got replaced. Did the Jews get replaced as covenant people via the Old Covenant? Yes they did because salvation is open to all people now. Did the Jews get replaced as covenant people via the Abrahamic Covenant? No, they did not.

I believe that God will restore the Jews, but not with Temple sacrifices, etc. Why? Jesus paid it all. There is no need to go back to the Old Covenant way of worship and atoning from sins by sacrificing animals. Christ paid the price for the sins of the Elect. All who are saved and will be saved have their sins atoned for in Christ.

Will God use the Nation of Israel in the fulfillment of prophecies we see throughout the Bible and into Revelation? I believe He will use the persecution of the Jews during “Jacob’s Trouble” to fill the cup of wrath against the nations doing it. At the same time, He will use this to cleanse and prepare the hearts of the Jews to accept Jesus as their Lord and Messiah.

10 “Then fear not, O Jacob my servant, declares the Lord,
nor be dismayed, O Israel;
for behold, I will save you from far away,
and your offspring from the land of their captivity.
Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease,
and none shall make him afraid.
11 For I am with you to save you,
declares the Lord;
I will make a full end of all the nations
among whom I scattered you,
but of you I will not make a full end.
I will discipline you in just measure,
and I will by no means leave you unpunished.
12 “For thus says the Lord:
Your hurt is incurable,
and your wound is grievous.
13 There is none to uphold your cause,
no medicine for your wound,
no healing for you.
14 All your lovers have forgotten you;
they care nothing for you;
for I have dealt you the blow of an enemy,
the punishment of a merciless foe,
because your guilt is great,
because your sins are flagrant.
15 Why do you cry out over your hurt?
Your pain is incurable.
Because your guilt is great,
because your sins are flagrant,
I have done these things to you.
16 Therefore all who devour you shall be devoured,
and all your foes, every one of them, shall go into captivity;
those who plunder you shall be plundered,
and all who prey on you I will make a prey.
17 For I will restore health to you,
and your wounds I will heal,
declares the Lord,
because they have called you an outcast:
‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!’
18 “Thus says the Lord:
Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob
and have compassion on his dwellings;
the city shall be rebuilt on its mound,
and the palace shall stand where it used to be.
19 Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving,
and the voices of those who celebrate.
I will multiply them, and they shall not be few;
I will make them honored, and they shall not be small.
20 Their children shall be as they were of old,
and their congregation shall be established before me,
and I will punish all who oppress them.
21 Their prince shall be one of themselves;
their ruler shall come out from their midst;
I will make him draw near, and he shall approach me,
for who would dare of himself to approach me?
declares the Lord.
22 And you shall be my people,
and I will be your God.”
23 Behold the storm of the Lord!
Wrath has gone forth,
a whirling tempest;
it will burst upon the head of the wicked.
24 The fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back
until he has executed and accomplished
the intentions of his mind.
In the latter days you will understand this. (Jeremiah 30:10-24 ESV)

The Bride of Christ is the Church, but God still honors the Abrahamic Covenant with the Jews. It will be through the horror of the tribulation that the spiritual blindness and deafness will be cut away by God. God will use the wrath of the Nations against the Jews to accomplish this, but at the same time fill up the cup of His wrath against the Nations who do this.

Jacob’s Trouble is nearer to us than most believe. The Great Apostasy is well under way. All that stands in the way of the falling away is for the restrainer to move out of the way so that the Lawless one will be revealed. Those in apostasy and the Scarlet Woman (all man-made religions) will follow hard after the lawless one. The persecution of God’s people during this time will be severe. It will resemble the time in the 1st Century during the reign of Nero Caesar. He persecuted Christians in diabolical ways and started the process whereby Jerusalem would be destroyed in 70 AD. This period involved persecution of Christians and of Jews. Will the horror of that time be repeated in Jacob’s Trouble, but on a much larger scale?

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39 thoughts on “Jacob’s Trouble

  1. AMEN Mike! Yes we believe it is underway and those birth pains are getting closer and closer together. That is what is next……..the lawless one is going to be revealed here shortly. And you know what? Gods Elect will know and recognize who he is right away. Look up…….our Redemption draws nigh!!

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  2. Nice study Mike. Thanks. A lot here to take into account and this is an area we have been studying at our church. I will share this series with some of my brothers and sisters at church.

    Look up…….our Redemption draws nigh!! AMEN and AMEN

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  3. Mike,
    I just humbly ask you and those who read this to do two things.

    1. Pray for the Lord to give understanding and then read and study in Daniel about the seventy sevens which are prophesized for Israel.

    2. Pray for the Lord to give understanding and then
    read all the scripture that pertain to the “body of Christ” and the “bride of Christ”

    Brother, I think the Lord has really used you and given you understanding in his word. I have a different opinion than you on end time eschatology. Nevertheless, I thank God for a brother in Christ like you who sees what is going on in the church today and unashamedly points it out. All glory, honor, and praise be given to God the Father through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.

    In Christ,
    Derrick

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  4. Derrick,

    My brother! To pray and humbly read and study scripture is the only way to gain understanding as the Lord gives it. I am learning this “eschatology” as I go because of so many years believing a view of it that I do not accept now. This topic of Israel and the Church has been excruciating for me. I know that God is not done showing me the truth and He is using others, like you, to give me direction. So, thank you for your advice and I pray that all reading this will do that very thing.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  5. Mike,

    Amen, Derrick is so right. You are such a blessing as you write with a simplicity that I can even understand. (mostly) Thank you so much for your truth and dedication . I look forward to your posts everyday. I thank God in my prayers for people like you, Ken Silva, John Piper, Ingrid, and others for all you are doing.. Praise our Wonderful Lord!

    Blessings and love to my brothers and sisters in Christ

    Deborah

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  6. Ah, perhaps it was the length of the comment due to quoting passages. I’ll try two parts:
    ———————————————–
    Regarding the article: Amen, Mike, amen.

    We see in Ezekiel 36 the LORD’s description of the restoration of Israel by returning them to the promised land and into the new covenant relationship. We see many details of what God will do (the sovereign, unilateral “I will”s) and many of them are a mirror of what God does in the heart of everyone He spiritually regenerates:

    (NASB)
    16Then the word of the LORD came to me saying,

    17″Son of man, when the house of Israel was living in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their deeds; their way before Me was like the uncleanness of a woman in her impurity.

    18″Therefore I poured out My wrath on them for the blood which they had shed on the land, because they had defiled it with their idols.

    19″Also I scattered them among the nations and they were dispersed throughout the lands According to their ways and their deeds I judged them.

    20″When they came to the nations where they went, they profaned My holy name, because it was said of them, ‘These are the people of the LORD; yet they have come out of His land.’

    21″But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations where they went.

    [Israel to Be Renewed for His Name’s Sake]

    22″Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went.

    23″I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst Then the nations will know that I am the LORD,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight.

    24″For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land.

    25″Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.

    26″Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

    27″I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

    28″You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.

    29″Moreover, I will save you from all your uncleanness; and I will call for the grain and multiply it, and I will not bring a famine on you.

    30″I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field, so that you will not receive again the disgrace of famine among the nations.

    31″Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and your abominations.

    32″I am not doing this for your sake,” declares the Lord GOD, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel!”

    33’Thus says the Lord GOD, “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places will be rebuilt.

    34″The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passes by.

    35″They will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.’

    36″Then the nations that are left round about you will know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the LORD, have spoken and will do it.”

    —–part 2—–

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  7. Part 2

    It is wonderful how that prophecy in God’s Word has a literal fulfillment to come and yet has such poignant application for us today.

    —–
    Back to the eschatology, we see in Ezekiel 37 that the bones are in the valley and flesh grows on them before life is restored to them. I believe it is clear they will be regathered more fully from among the nations before God will bring spiritual restoration to them.

    1The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones.
    2He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry.
    3He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, You know.”
    4Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.’
    5″Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life.
    6’I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the LORD.'”
    7So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone.
    8And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them.
    9Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.”‘”
    10So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

    [The Vision Explained]

    11Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished We are completely cut off.’
    12″Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel.
    13″Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people.
    14″I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken and done it,” declares the LORD.'”

    ———

    The way the desert has blossomed in a small way since the Jews have begun returning home is but a shadow of the true fulfillment of the desert blossoming like a rose. So too the regathering we have seen so far is only a shadow of the full regathering yet to come.

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  8. Deborah,

    I am humbled by your comment. Please pray that God will continue to use me for His glory alone and to draw His people from darkness to light.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  9. Mike,

    Isn’t it intersting that those passages now seem to fit the world scenario so well! But I have a thought about the relationship of the Church and Israel and I wondered what you thought about this. Firstly, If we keep in mind Paul’s words about Israel in the book of Romans, it might shed a slightly different light on Israel and Judah.

    Rom 11:22-32

    22 Behold then the goodness and severity of God: toward them that fell, severity; but toward thee, God’s goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

    23 And they also, if they continue not in their unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.

    24 For if thou wast cut out of that which is by nature a wild olive tree, and wast grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree; how much more shall these, which are the natural (branches), be grafted into their own olive tree?

    25 For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant of this mystery, lest ye be wise in your own conceits, that a hardening in part hath befallen Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in;

    26 and so all Israel shall be saved: even as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer; He shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

    27 And this is my covenant unto them, When I shall take away their sins.

    28 As touching the gospel, they are enemies for your sake: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sake.

    29 For the gifts and the calling of God are not repented of.

    30 For as ye in time past were disobedient to God, but now have obtained mercy by their disobedience,

    31 even so have these also now been disobedient, that by the mercy shown to you they also may now obtain mercy.

    32 For God hath shut up all unto disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.
    ASV

    This is what I see in this passage: I always wondered that the Lord references Israel AND Judah in the “millenial” prophecies in a way that seems to have significance. We know that Judah for a long time was the faithful remnant whereas Israel had been “broken off” and taken into captivity (where they never returned from if I remember correctly?). What I’m thinking on is this; could it be possible, in light of the above passage in Romans, that God has replaced “unfaithful Israel” with the gentile Church over these last 2000 years and He is about to “break off” unfaithful gentile branches and replace them with faithful “Judah” (that is faithful Jewish converts in the tribulation)? See, when I read the passages about the tribulation it seems primarily directed at “Jacob”, I also have trouble fitting the “marriage supper of the Lamb” (which seems to be exclusively directed toward the faithful Church) into the time scenario of “Jacobs trouble”. It makes me sometimes lean toward a mid-trib ressurection and rapture before the Great Trib. When the scripture states “on” or “at” the last day, I wonder if the “last day” reference is maybe more a last day for the faithful Church because we know that days don’t literally end then, but continue on into the Millenium. What do you think?

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  10. Sammy,

    Yes, I believe that it is Jacob’s Trouble that God will use to bring faithful Jews to belief and salvation. As far as the timing though…I am still working on that one brother. 🙂

    As far as Israel and Judah goes…Israel was conquered and deported by the Assyrians and were gone. However, some came back as the Samaritans. Also, many from EVERY tribe came over to Judah as Israel apostatized. So, the Jews or Judah actually containd Judah, Benjamin, and Levi and the Remnant from the rest of the tribes as time went on. God knows who are His. He knows who is from what tribe even though the people don’t.

    Also, Simeon’s inheritance was within Judah as Benjamin was. Simeon means “Hearing” in Hebrew. What does that tell us? Judah could hear God while Israel had no discernment and could only hear via prophets like Elijah. Just an interesting tidbit. 🙂

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  11. Sammy: That’s an interesting hypothetical, however the simple understanding is that the passage references Israel & Judah because the prophecy was given during the time that there was two kingdoms. The context thus explains the wording used.

    I’d also be careful about using the word “replaced”. God is allowing Israel to go through a time of trial and trouble and curses before He returns to them, and He is bringing in Gentile believers to the new covenant, but to say “replaced” is dangerous as it carries with it inherent connotations you probably don’t mean to imply.

    The Bible never describes a replacement. It does describe God dealing with Israel (the Jews) in a distinct and significant way, as they are the nation He chose to be separated unto Himself, so to be lineage for the seed – the Messiah – who would redeem the faithful unto Himself, and to whom He made specific covenant promises (aside from the old covenant).

    The problem is they weren’t able to be holy in and of themselves as the Law was given to demonstrate, and it requires God acting unilaterally to make them holy and this is what the prophecy in Ezekiel 36 & 37 (and other passages) describes is going to happen. What is described there is also paralleled in our salvation into the new covenant relationship with God – not by our works but by his grace alone, through faith alone (in Christ alone). This is also the same unilateral way God will act to regenerate Israel and bring them into the new covenant as well, because He is going to act so that His name will be honored and glorified and so none can say “you were able to bring them into the land, but you were unable to save them.” (You see this in God’s test of Moses when He says to Moses, I’m going to wipe them all out and make a new people for myself from your descendants, and Moses says but God then people will say you were able to bring them out of Egypt but you were unable to save them.)

    This is also Satan’s goal in trying to destroy the Jews during this time of God’s separation from them – He hopes to destroy the Jews so he can say that very thing to God – “Look, you were unable to save them. They are no longer around and thus there’s no way for you to fulfill your promises to them. I’ve proven you incapable of keeping your word.” But it is foolishness because God is sovereign. That is why you still see the Jews today as a distinct people group. You don’t see Amorites or Perizites or Agagites. But you still see the Jews. That is a sign of God’s providence throughout the ages that even despite his distancing himself from them and allowing them to go through such dire times and trials, He still has a sovereign plan for them – to do them good and not harm.

    (related scripture below)

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  12. Jeremiah 24:
    6’For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them again to this land; and I will build them up and not overthrow them, and I will plant them and not pluck them up.
    7’I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.

    Jeremiah 32:
    36And now therefore thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning this city, whereof ye say, It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence;
    37Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:
    38And they shall be my people, and I will be their God:
    39And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:
    40And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.
    41Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.
    42For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them.

    It really can’t get any clearer than that, and we know this hasn’t happened yet, so it must still be yet to come.

    Grace.

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  13. Also note v41 of Jeremiah 32: God says He is going to do something with his whole heart and soul. WOW is that a powerful statement!! I don’t know that God ever makes a statement quite so powerful as that anywhere else in Scripture. He swears by His own name in a couple places to emphasize an act He will do, but what is the one thing God says He is going to assuredly do with his whole heart and soul? Fulfill his covenant promises to the Jews and save them. That’s powerful and worthy of warning to those who stand against the Jews (I’m thinking especially of those who call for their destruction like Ahmadinejad and Hamas and Hezbollah.) None can stand against the declared will of the eternal sovereign omnipotent Creator God.

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  14. Thanks Mike, that is interesting! But I still have a question about the Marriage supper of the Lamb, I just don’t understand where and when this happens and who it includes?

    My understanding is that those who pass through the tribulation enter the millenium in the flesh (otherwise how could they populate the earth or grow old or die young at 100?) But somehow, the Lord says the saints the Resurrected and Raptured Church (who will be like the angels neither marrying nor giving in marriage) will rule and reign with Him obviously not in our old flesh, but in our glorified bodies, true? So, wouldn’t this indicate that the faithful Church (the 5 wise virgins) is removed to the Bridegroom’s chamber for the Marriage supper leaving 5 virgins behind whose “lamps went out” (that is, their understanding of the Word; and these 5 virgins cry out “open to us”!). What do you think.

    Okay, you can stop saying “brother”.

    Your sister in Christ. 🙂

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  15. Wake, yes, thanks. I do not believe the Church replaces faithful Israel and I agree with all you said about God’s irrevocable promises. I only used that term in context of replacing the “broken off” branches, not the root itself that the Church is grafted into. We know that we should not be arrogant toward the natural branches as the grafted in branches. But again, thanks for clarifying and also that very good information about Satan’s intent. I’d never thought of that.

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  16. Sammy my SISTER 🙂 ,
    The marriage supper of the Lamb takes place in Revelation 19 after the fall of Babylon in Revelation 18 and prior to Rider on the White Horse coming to Earth to defeat the Beast and prior to the Thousand Years in Revelation 20.
    This tells me that there is a space of time between the gathering of the Saints who are still alive and those already in Heaven with Him and the Physical Return of our Lord to the Mount of Olives. I believe the gathering will happen very near the end of Jacob’s Trouble, but prior to our Lord returning to save Jacob. So the Jewish Saints who will be saved are not going to be at the Marriage Supper, but will be saved at His physical return. Does this make since? I am still working on this of course.
    In Christ
    Mike Ratliff

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  17. And the glorious mystery will be when God consumates His covenant with believing Israel without infringing whatsoever on the New Covenant. God will use Israel as a majestic sign that His covenant never fails, and remember, at the very end all Israel will believe on Jesus their Messiah and in so doing they have been grafted back in as Paul states in Romans by faith in Christ Jesus.

    So God remembers them via His Abrahamic covenant but saves them through His Son the Author of the everlasting covenant. And Jesus will be worshipped by His bride whose kinship will not be through ethnicity, but by the shed blood of Calvary’s spotless Lamb. Halleluiah!

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  18. Ah, that does shed some light. I’m not as familiar with the sequence in Revelation (since it tends to be confusing to me) but I think what you’ve said so far makes sense. Interesting!

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  19. I just had to add this, I think the Song of Solomon is the Lord Jesus’s picture of His relationship to Israel and how the bride would not open to Him when He came the first time, but later after the bride is troubled by others, she is reunited with her Promised Husband. Amen and Halleluhiah! I just love the OT, I think it sheds so much light on the NT prophetically!

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  20. Mike, that is a very good article! And the comments by various posters are insightful.

    On a different stream of thought, I’ve always felt that when the seals, scrolls, trumpets, etc. were to begin, that we Christians would just “feel” it or discern it. That it would “thunder” in our souls that the Book of Revelations is REALLY and finally unfolding NOW. [I picture a family of Christians huddling together looking up to the turbulent sky, being aware of the significance of the times.] To think that we actually are living in a time that billions of Christians of years past desired to see, is humbling. But it’s been surprisingly “quiet” in the United States if indeed we are in the Tribulation.

    Yes, I know that in a number of countries outside of United States there are Christians killed for their faith and testimony. God bless and rest their souls. But that has been going on for quite a long time….so has the killing of Christians increased outisde of United States without much media attention?

    If we are in the Tribulation, and I believe you are right, Mike, it certainly “feels” different than what I expected. But the worst hasn’t come yet but very soon….and I guess it certainly would feel different then!

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  21. Sammy,

    I love the Old Testament as well. If we use the New Testament to interpret the Old Testament Prophecies then we get a very clear picture. However, much of the Old Testament, as that example from the Song of Songs you shared, are incredibly penetrating. Perhaps it is that God is pouring His truth into His faithful at this time. We are finally coming to understand these things when they were not visible to us before. Incredible! We are having our knowledge increased by God and are being prepared to discern the timing that is unfolding right before our eyes. This is very exciting don’t you agree?

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  22. Timothy,

    Yes, amen brother. That is why the Great Tribulation or the Day of the Lord comes upon people like a thief in the night. It is sudden and “unexpected” by those with no discernment. But we have discernment and know that the lawless one will be revealed very soon as the Apostate Church and the Scarlet Woman will follow hard after him placing him in the place of our Lord in their hearts. When that happens and I believe it will be very soon, I believe things will be very bad here on Earth and we will discern it when these things happen.

    On another note, I know when our enemy is standing before the throne accusing me. I know it. How? I don’t know, but I can tell because I hear it, but I also hear my Lord telling me that I don’t have to listen to him, but I should examine myself to become cleansed and walk holy before Him.

    Why do we study this stuff? I think God is showing us what is going on so we should listen and OBEY what He shows us. We should be becoming more and more pure and walk in personal holiness as Spirit-led Christians because the time of the end is quickly coming upon us and we had best be prepared to share our faith with all whom the Lord gives us to minister to.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  23. Tim,

    But it’s been surprisingly “quiet” in the United States if indeed we are in the Tribulation.

    Yes, I know that in a number of countries outside of United States there are Christians killed for their faith and testimony. God bless and rest their souls. But that has been going on for quite a long time….so has the killing of Christians increased outisde of United States without much media attention?

    If we are in the Tribulation, and I believe you are right, Mike, it certainly “feels” different than what I expected. But the worst hasn’t come yet but very soon….and I guess it certainly would feel different then!

    Some say that the very atmosphere of over-tolerance and political correctness and feminism and liberalism is God’s judgment on America. As our society is being prepared for the final judgment, even now the tares grow strongly among the wheat and flourish and lure many into false beliefs and error. This is to heap up condemnation and wrath for them. It is clear that our society has been given over as Romans 1 so emphatically states more and more to its lusts and false gods and pleasures and self-willed sin that leads only to death. This is especially clear if you separate yourself from something like the television completely for a period of weeks and then try to watch it. Unimaginable levels of the things God hates fill it and only after separating ourselves from it can we recognize just how steeped in filth our society has become. Obviously we are to be in the world and proclaiming the truth, but if you ever wonder “is it really that bad here?” just take a break from it, spend your time in the Word and in prayer, and then come back out of your fast and you will see the evils much more vividly.

    And yes, this sort of thing goes on every day in other countries: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=5f7_1179211068
    But here we are (currently) persecuted more spiritually than physically – the attacks come wrapped in beauty and lust and distractions – entertainment. One day I believe that will change and we will experience physical and especially financial persecution, but in the meantime we are being sifted and when that physical/financial persecution comes only those firmly on the Rock of our salvation will be able to stand.

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  24. Have you been a faithful steward with what God has provisioned to your care?
    Have you stored up his Word in your heart?
    Have you rightly discerned the times as evil?
    Have you put on the full armor of God?

    These things are important in every day and age, not just in the end times.

    I can tell you for a fact we are in tribulation, but whether or not that is part of the Great Tribulation, that is questionable. Certainly that time will come and considering how John describes it, we will know when it has arrived because the events are easily recognizable and often of great proportion.

    I don’t know that I would feel comfortable stating emphatically that we are in the early part of the 70th week just yet, but I do believe that time will come soon if it has not already begun, and the things going on surrounding Israel give light to that, as her restoration will come in the end times and thus we must be close.

    Tomorrow marks 40 years since Jerusalem was reunited and liberated in some sense (though doubting Jews gave control of significant areas to the Muslim Waqf).
    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/yomyerushalayim.html
    Perhaps now after 40 years of “wandering” for their doubt that God would support them if they had kept control of Jerusalem, God will provide them strong leaders, not these pathetic shepherds of recent years that appear to fit those to whom are declared the woes of Ezekiel 34. Maybe it will be time for Israel to regain her land and that conflict will create the need for a world leader to step up to create a ‘peace’ between Israel and the nations.
    It is easy to conjecture about such things. Who knows? God does and we can take heart that his Word is true. May He keep us faithful witnesses amidst all that comes our way.

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  25. “Tomorrow marks 40 years since Jerusalem was reunited and liberated in some sense (though doubting Jews gave control of significant areas to the Muslim Waqf)……Perhaps now after 40 years of “wandering” for their doubt that God would support them if they had kept control of Jerusalem, God will provide them strong leaders, not these pathetic shepherds of recent years that appear to fit those to whom are declared the woes of Ezekiel 34. Maybe it will be time for Israel to regain her land and that conflict will create the need for a world leader to step up to create a ‘peace’ between Israel and the nations.”

    It is ironic that Jerry Falwell dies right on the eve of the 40 years.
    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8P4V3T00&show_article=1

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  26. Isn’t it? I just got an email from a friend about the news of his passing. Condolences to his family. Timing is very interesting these days; ever since Ariel Sharon was stricken I have paid more attention to how quickly things can change in utterly unexpected ways. It is a comfort to know that God is sovereign over all these things because it gives us a peace that others do not have in desperate circumstances.

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  27. Wake,

    Great verses. Notice HOW Jerusalem will be delivered into the anti-christs hands, by sword, famine and pestilence. The horses of the Revelation Seals. These seals have definately NOT been opened yet.

    Jeremiah 32:
    36And now therefore thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning this city, whereof ye say, It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence;
    37Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:

    Sammy,

    You addressed this question to Mike above:

    “But I still have a question about the Marriage supper of the Lamb, I just don’t understand where and when this happens and who it includes?”

    I believe Jesus second coming initiates the resurrection which initiates the rapture based on scriptures previously posted. Remember that it says we who are alive and remain will be “changed” so I take that as we will be like Him, glorified but it says “changed”.

    I believe the jews who do not worship anti-christ will be not be saved until they see their messiah in person and mourn for him when they realize they had rejected and killed him. They will turn to Him immediately.

    I believe these remnant Jews will enter into the millenium kingdom as well as others survivors of the tribulation who did not take the mark of the beast. They too will enter into the promised land of the millenium. Check out the entire book of Ezekiel especially 47 where God is talking about how to divide up the land that will be the millenial inheritance for the remnant jews. God makes sure to include this inheritance to other non-jews.

    “You are to distribute this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the aliens who have settled among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. In whatever tribe the alien settles, there you are to give him his inheritance,” declares the Sovereign LORD.”

    Who are these aliens? Perhaps those who are non-christians but do not take the mark of the beast and yet believe upon seeing Christ at His return? Perhaps “changed” Christians who were not resurrected but were raptured? Perhaps those who helped Christians and Jews during the great tribulation? Hmmmmm

    But to answer the question about the wedding supper of the Lamb, we know it comes after Babylon the great has fallen. Remember that Revelation 19:9 “…says Blessed are those wo are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” This means they are NOT the bride so I don’t see how the supper could take place in heaven. Could it be that the wedding supper of the Lamb takes place on earth possibly at the beginning of the millenium? Or right before He goes to conquer our oppressors or as he is conquering our oppressors? I ask this for two reasons.

    One because of the parable of the wedding feast.

    Matthew 22:11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. ‘Friend’, he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

    Whoever is there is counting on their own righteousness not the righteousness of Christ (wedding clothes).

    Two because of this scripture placing a great banquet given by Christ for ALL PEOPLES here on earth!

    “On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare
    a feast of rich food for all peoples,
    a banquet of aged wine—
    the best of meats and the finest of wines.

    On this mountain he will destroy
    the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
    the sheet that covers all nations;

    he will swallow up death forever.
    The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears
    from all faces;
    he will remove the disgrace of his people
    from all the earth.
    The LORD has spoken.

    In that day they will say,
    “Surely this is our God;
    we trusted in him, and he saved us.
    This is the LORD, we trusted in him;
    let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

    The hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain;
    but Moab will be trampled under him
    as straw is trampled down in the manure.

    They will spread out their hands in it,
    as a swimmer spreads out his hands to swim.
    God will bring down their pride
    despite the cleverness [a] of their hands.

    He will bring down your high fortified walls
    and lay them low;
    he will bring them down to the ground,
    to the very dust.”

    Anyone have any thoughts here?

    Love in Christ,
    Rachel

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  29. Rachel,
    You give me a LOT to think about! I have always wondered who it is that enters the millenium in the flesh. I don’t think it is those raptured or resurrected, though, as the Scripture seems to say they are both going to experience the same metamorphosis according to 1 Corinthians 15:51… “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed…” It doesn’t indicate a differentiation in the change that occurs, but I guess it is possible. (?)

    Thanks for your insight! I’m afraid from “the last day” forward I am sorely lacking in understanding. My head is spinning reading some of these articles and posts!!!

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