“A day of the Lord is coming, Jerusalem when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls. I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. On that day, his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives, will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.
On that day, there will be neither sunlight nor cold, frosty darkness. It will be a unique day -a day known only to the Lord – with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light.” (Zechariah 14: 1-7)
God’s people have been warned about a day that would be like no other, a day when the entire world would be against the state of Israel. It is no secret that the Jewish people have been persecuted throughout their entire existence and history has documented their exile and return to the holy land. Many state this is the beginning of God’s promise to restore the chosen people and to usher in the coming of their Messiah. This belief is amplified by the Christian teachings that the second coming of Jesus will be this exact event and will bring the Jewish people to their King.
The political and social upheaval that is happening all around the Middle East is bringing the attention of the entire world to look at the sacred city of Jerusalem. This division between Muslims and Jews and their ownership to Jerusalem was only amplified when President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel in early 2018. This one action has sent in motion events that have brought the entire world’s attention toward the Jewish state.
While the state of Israel has been under the world magnifying glass, their actions against the Palestinian state has come into question. The land of Gaza has been under Israeli occupations since the Six Day War in 1967 and the Palestinian people are living in extreme poverty. This treatment by Israel against their occupied citizens has led to numerous violent protests, where thousands have been injured and hundreds have been killed. This violence has led to outcry from all over the world against the actions of Israel.
The activities of the Israeli state against the state of Palestine has led to a battle within the United Nations, bidding nation against nation. Recently, the United States created a resolution condemning the Palestinian violence against the state of Israel. This resolution was denied but an adverse resolution against the Israeli state was approved. This resolution blames Israel for the violence on its border, as well as, accuses the Jewish state of Human Rights violations against the Palestinian people. The accusation against Israel is leading to withdraw of the United States from the United Nations Human Rights Council. Jerusalem is becoming a burdensome stone just like we were foretold in Zechariah:
“A prophecy: The word of the Lord concerning Israel. The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares: ‘I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.” (Zechariah 12: 1-3)
Not only are the entire World’s nations (United Nations) gathering against the state of Israel but armies are congregating on its northern border. With Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, Turkey, and Russia all gathering armies and moving toward Israel’s northern border, many are referencing scripture and the coming prophetic war.
Within the Christian and Jewish communities, witnessing the rise of Israel’s enemies is fulfilling the prophesized Gog and Magog War spoken about in Ezekiel. Ezekiel explains a time when the armies of Russia and Iran (the most commonly accepted interpretation) will revolt against Israel and attack them to plunder their riches. This will anger God himself and He will make His presence known:
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: You are the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel. At that time, they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them. This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declared the Sovereign Lord. In my zeal and fiery wrath, I declare that at that time there will be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the beast of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign Lord. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. I will execute judgement on him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. And so, I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 38: 17:23)
The coming Gog/Magog war is being touted as a time when God will save Israel from its enemies and will bring the destruction of this evil world. Christians all over the world are witnessing these event with longing as they see the coming of the Messiah and their King. The only problem is that they are being taught that Christians will not have to partake in any of God’s judgement. This teaching references a Rapture event that will remove them from their Earthly bodies and bring them to heaven, prior to God’s wrath being poured out upon the Earth.
A major problem with this belief, is that these Old Testament prophets knew nothing about Jesus or his second coming. Instead, they are referencing the coming of God himself! When speaking about God’s Wrath, the Christian Church is referencing the removal of God’s people prior to the entrance of God onto the world scene. According to the Christian faith, the question has never been about a removal of God’s people but about when this event occurs.
The current prophetic teaching is that the Christian Church will be Raptured prior to the Day of the Lord, or the Day of God’s Judgement. It is also being taught that the Christian Church will not be present during Jacob’s Trouble (the tribulation of the Jewish people). The following verse references Jacob’s Trouble:
“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you. The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their ancestors to possess,’ says the Lord.’ These are the words the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah: ‘This is what the Lord says: ‘Cries of fear are heard – terror, not peace. Ask and see: Can a man bear children? Then why do I see every strong man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor, every face turned deathly pale? How awful that day will be! No other will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it.’ ‘In that day’, declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will break the yoke off their necks and will tear off their bonds; no longer will foreigners enslave them. Instead, they will serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.’ ‘ So do not be afraid, Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel;’ declares the Lord. ‘I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid I am with you and will save you,’ declares the Lord. ‘ Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only in due measure; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.’ This is what the Lord says: Your wound is incurable, your injury beyond healing. There is no one to plead your cause, no remedy for your sore, no healing for you. All your allies have forgotten you; they care nothing for you. I have struck you as an enemy would and punish you as would the cruel, because your guilt is so great and your sins so many. Why do you cry out over your wound, your pain has no cure? Because of your great guilt and many sins, I have done these things to you.” (Jeremiah 30: 2-7)
Intuition would state that the disappearance of millions of people from all over the globe would be written about within the passage of Jacob’s Trouble. Instead, the reference of King David being raised up is given. Many believe that this would be the rise of Jesus or someone from David’s line, but this is not what is stated. Instead it talks about the actual raising up of King David during the time of Jacob’s Trouble. This is very interesting considering the most commonly referenced verse associated to the Rapture in the New Testament. It can be found in 1 Thessalonians:
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uniformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord, himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so, we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18)
Found within these verses we can see that the dead are risen after the coming of God to the Earth. Referencing the verses from the Old Testament prophets, we can see that this event happens during a war that causes great destruction upon the land of Israel. It is also interesting that there is no actual timeframe given for when the living will be brought up into the clouds. All we know is that the Lord himself will come down from heaven first, before anyone is taken up into the clouds!
These verses in Jeremiah also talk about the allies of Israel not caring about them and forsaking their plight. Contrary to what is being taught at Sunday School, the scripture depicts a completely different stance then the United States coming to the rescue of the Jewish state.
Still the argument within the Christian Church will be that the Jewish people are left on Earth during the Great Tribulation while Christians are taken to the sky to be with Jesus. That is why the First Fruits must be refined prior to their assent into heaven to be with Jesus and all the Christians. Again, scripture states the complete opposite:
“But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God ‘will repay each person according to what they have done.’ To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.” (Romans 2: 5-11)
These verses from the New Testament illustrate that God does not show favoritism but that he will make the Jewish people go first into judgement. We as Christians, will not be found worthy to enter into eternal life, until the Jewish people have been judged according to their laws. This is completely contrary to what is being taught today within the Christian Church. Many are being told that Christians will be given favoritism during the time of God’s Wrath.
Scripture has been consistent explaining what will happen during the time of Jacob’s Trouble and the Great Tribulation. Knowing what to expect was never reserved for those in leadership roles or for those with large congregations. It was designed for everyone to understand, if they chose to. We all have a chose on how we must approach the time we are entering. We can either choose to believe that Christians are God’s favorites and will be removed prior to the Day of the Lord. Or we can choose to believe that we will all be present, on Earth, when we see our Creator!
With that in mind, we must always remember the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and what he told his disciples to expect during the time of the end:
“’Teacher,’ they asked, ‘when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?’ He replied: ‘Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.’
Then he said to them: ‘Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilence in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair on your head will perish. By standing firm, you will gain life.
When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time, they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.’
He told them this parable: ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.’” (Luke 21: 8-36)