The Time of Jacob's Trouble
Most Bible commentators are united in their understanding
that the first four verses of Jeremiah 30 refer to the second regathering of the
Jews to Israel, but there are many who still think that the rest of the passage,
referring to the Time of Jacob's Trouble, down to verse 8, is still future.
Verses 1-4 read as follows....................
1. "The word which
came to Jeremiah from the Lord , saying. 2.
Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel saying, Write
thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book. 3. 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. 4.
And these are the words that the Lord spake
concerning Israel and concerning Judah..........."
Note that the Lord is commanding Jeremiah to write certain
words that He had given him .....words which will throw light on and explain
what He has already told Jeremiah in the above passage, words which will explain
WHY He intended to bring Israel back from their captivity. Those words continue,
" 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 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,
that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and
strangers shall no more serve themselves of him........."
THE WOMAN IN TRAVAIL:
It is clear then, that a time would come when the people of
Israel would endure great trouble which would cause them enormous pain and fear,
which the Lord instructs Jeremiah to depict as the pain and fear of a woman in
"travail", or in childbirth. David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Paul and John
all use such an expression to depict pain and suffering and indeed Isaiah speaks
of such suffering and pain in relation to the rebirth of the State of Israel ,
in our day. We read...
"Shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as
ZION TRAVAILED , SHE BROUGHT FORTH HER CHILDREN.......and when ye
shall see this...(the birth of the State of Israel in one day) ..
heart shall rejoice.........." (Isaiah 66:8,14)
TRAVAIL BEFORE BIRTH:
Thus it becomes clear that the Prophets saw a time in the
future when the people of Israel would be in great pain and be suffering great
anguish and fear, BEFORE the nation sprung to a re-birth....the TRAVAIL
CAME FIRST as in childbirth and then the JOY of the birth, the bringing
forth of "her children".
THE HISTORY OF TRAVAIL:
The history of Israel since the nation rejected the Messiah
it had been educated to expect, is a non stop horror story of pain and
suffering, commencing in earnest in AD 70 and coming to a mind boggling climax
in Europe in 1945, when the greatest disaster ever inflicted on any race of
people, came to a shattering conclusion. After ignoring the instruction of their
own Prophets and their own Rabbis in Europe, to "flee from the Land of the
North", we well know that over SIX MILLION JEWS PERISHED at
the hands of the "hunters and fishers" who had been sent to fish and
hunt them back to the Land promised to their Fathers....(Jer 16-16)). But...the
great pain and the suffering of nineteen hundred years, the travail of millions,
was to bring to birth the new State of Israel and millions of Jews have poured
back into the land, truly commencing the fulfilment of the words...."As
soon as Zion travailed, SHE BROUGHT FORTH HER CHILDREN.".....(Isaiah
The meaning therefore, of Jeremiah's words and phrases
immediately become clear......he was foretelling the terrible TIME OF JACOB'S
TROUBLE, which was in the distant future, to his day, a "time of trouble
such as never was upon the (Jewish) earth", which would eventually cause
the Father to reverse the "captivity" of His people among the nations.
Their pain and sorrow and suffering was to be the reason for His mercy in
returning them to their Land. The pain and suffering was to be the cause of
their regathering, NOT the other way round. The Lord told Jeremiah to write His
words about the regathering and then the reason for that regathering. He
foretold of a day when the "yoke" of suffering and the
"bonds" of adversity would be removed and "strangers" would
no longer control the destiny of the Jewish people. This came to pass in
1948...the Jewish Fig Tree came back to life and Israel was reborn in a day. In
1967 they regained their age-old precious capital...Jerusalem. Today, over four
million Jews refurbish it and plant the land and rebuild the cities
THE SET TIME IS COME:
The mighty King David was allowed to peer into the future and
he saw a time when the Lord would..."arise and have mercy upon Zion:
for the time to favour her, yea, the set time is come"...(Psalms
102:13). That time has come and the Father promises that His people will never
again be uprooted from the land. (Jer.24:6)
Whilst the enormous and grand scale of the TIME OF JACOB'S
TROUBLE has finished, as they await the coming of Messiah, it is obvious
that they have to face many vicissitudes, just as they did when they first
entered the land. But the Prophet Isaiah assures us. "So shall the
Lord of hosts come down to fight for Mount Zion...as birds flying, so will the
Lord of Hosts defend Jerusalem....." (Isa. 31:4-5).