These are the words the Lord spoke to Israel and Judah. Yes, this is what the Lord says:
We have heard a cry of terror,
of dread—there is no peace.
Ask and see
whether a male can give birth.
Why then do I see every man
with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor
and every face turned pale?
How awful that day will be!
There will be none like it!
It will be a time of trouble for Jacob,
but he will be delivered out of it. ~ Jeremiah 30:4-7, HCSB
As for you, My servant Jacob,
do not be afraid—
this is the Lord’s declaration—
and do not be dismayed, Israel,
for without fail I will save you from far away,
your descendants, from the land of their captivity!
Jacob will return and have calm and quiet
with no one to frighten him.
For I will be with you—
this is the Lord’s declaration—
to save you!
I will bring destruction on all the nations
where I have scattered you;
however, I will not bring destruction on you.
I will discipline you justly,
and I will by no means leave you unpunished. ~ Jeremiah 30:10-11, HCSB
Seventy weeks are decreed
about your people and your holy city—
to bring the rebellion to an end,
to put a stop to sin,
to wipe away iniquity,
to bring in everlasting righteousness,
to seal up vision and prophecy,
and to anoint the most holy place. ~ Daniel 9:24, HCSB
He will make a firm covenant
with many for one week,
but in the middle of the week
he will put a stop to sacrifice and offering.
And the abomination of desolation
will be on a wing of the temple
until the decreed destruction
is poured out on the desolator. ~ Daniel 9:27, HCSB
Many believers today are preaching and teaching the Pre-Wrath Rapture Theory. There are many problems with this theory, starting with the fact that Pre-Wrath is a misnomer, especially since ONLY Pre-Tribulationism is 100% pre-wrath!
Be that as it may, another widely used misnomer is Tribulation, as in the prophesied 7-year period: the 3½ years of Tribulation and the 3½ years of Great Tribulation. In the Old Testament, it is Daniel’s 70th Week that is described as the entire 7 years of Tribulation. This Week is the decreed time God has established for bringing Israel’s obstinate rebellion against Him to an end, and the decreed time for completing His final discipline and judgment upon Israel (His elect; His chosen Jewish people), as well as the decreed time for making His final judgment upon this world’s unbelieving inhabitants. Furthermore, Daniel’s 70 Weeks are described as the time when God cleanses the entire Earth (the time when He puts an end to ALL transgression, seals up and makes an end of ALL sins, makes reconciliation for iniquity, and brings in everlasting righteousness, seals up vision and prophecy, and anoints the most holy place; see Daniel 9:24). These abovementioned prophecies are scheduled to be completed before Jesus Christ’s Millennial Kingdom on Earth begins!
On the other hand, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble is the Old Testament’s description of the last 3½ years of Daniel’s 70th Week, which most end time biblical prophecy scholars also call the Great Tribulation. God says that though this time will be filled with birth pangs that increase in intensity and frequency, becoming more relentless than they’ve ever been at any other time, He will deliver/save Jacob. Here Jacob symbolizes God’s elect or chosen Jewish people, and they are the ones God promises He will NOT let perish during the terrible Time of Jacob’s Trouble, even though He will judge and punish them (see Jeremiah 30:4-24). The reason why the Jewish people as a whole must be judged and punished is because they still need to give their hearts to God, by accepting His Salvation program—Jesus the Christ, who is their Lord and Savior! Ultimately, the nation of Israel, like Jacob, will receive a new name—Hephzibah (my delight is in Her) and the land Beulah (married)! According to Isaiah 62:4, this name change also is the purpose of the decreed Time of Jacob’s Trouble.
Now there are many Christians who believe that ONLY right “…now is the day of salvation” (see 2 Corinthians 6:2). That is to say, these believers maintain that if unbelievers haven’t accepted Jesus Christ BEFORE Daniel’s 70th Week begins that NONE of them will receive salvation during this prophesied unparalleled seven-year Tribulation. They also believe that it is a lie of the devil to preach and teach that the people in the Tribulation Period will still have another chance to get saved.
While “NOW” always has been the time for the lost souls living on this Earth to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, “NOW” also is the time for all believers to allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify them completely. However, just like the majority of lost souls are not accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, too many saved believers are not allowing the Holy Spirit to do His sanctifying work in them. No doubt believers’ refusal to surrender totally to the Holy Spirit’s mighty sanctification process, and their refusal to surrender totally to His leading, prompting, teaching, and so forth, are why God does say in His Word that countless people will be saved during the seven-year Tribulation.
For sure, many unbelieving left behinders will be saved (receive salvation) before the Day of Judgment (before Jesus Christ’s Second Coming, when His feet actually touch the Mount of Olives, which is by the time the Book of Life and the Book of Death have been sealed). Moreover, many unprepared (not holy enough to be raptured or taken) believers in Christ also will be sifted like wheat during Daniel’s 70th Week, especially during the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (cf. Jeremiah 51:33; Amos 9:9; Matthew 3:12; Luke 3:17; Luke 22:31).
The sifting like wheat analogy refers to unprepared believers needing to experience some violent trampling or threshing, some forceful winnowing or throwing into the air to allow the wind to blow away unwanted parts, and some upside-down strong sieving or shaking, before their true “grit”—staying power, like steadfast faithfulness, holiness, obedience, and so forth—can be verified. Perhaps this end time wheat sifting is why, when John the Baptist describes the coming of Jesus the Christ, he does so by painting the image of the Lord separating genuine believers from fakes, via threshing, winnowing, and sieving. John the Baptist also describes the Lord as the prophesied One who will gather His shifted like wheat true believers into the Kingdom of God on Earth, in the same manner that grain is gathered into a barn. The Lord also will gather the fake believers and the ones who totally rejected Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior, but then He will throw them into the Lake of Fire where they will burn in an unquenchable fire (see Matthew 3:12; Luke 3:17).
There can be no doubt that this end-time sifting by the Lord certainly will cause not only countless numbers of lost souls to repent and be saved but also will cause numerous left-behind unprepared believers to get back onto the right path—the path that leads to an eternity with God. Therefore, it should be clear that, although numerous people will be saved and others sifted, during the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, which primarily involves God’s chosen left-behind Jewish people, their salvation and sifting will be achieved only because they went through the worse Hell on Earth. Many of these left-behinders not only will suffer persecution, starvation, thirst, earthquakes, and so forth, but also plenty of them will experience a beheading! Even then, there still will be other left-behinders who will continue in sin, including cursing God up until the time of Christ Jesus’ bodily return!
Now, for the record, the gathering of His elect “…from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other…” (Matthew 24:31) is not a reference to the Rapture of the Bride of Christ. When Jesus Christ speaks of the gathering of the His elect in His Olivet Discourse, He is referring to His angels gathering together all of the nations of the world, from the four corners of the Earth, AFTER the Great Tribulation has ended. In other words, this is the gathering of the Tribulation survivors—the metaphorical wheat/tares and sheep/goats.
That the saved sheep/wheat will be allowed to enter into the Millennium, which is the time when Jesus Christ rules as King of this Earth for 1,000 years, is undisputable evidence that proves people (metaphorically, the sheep/goats and wheat/tares) in the Time of Jacob’s Trouble not only will be separated from one another but also will repent and get saved during the Tribulation Period. As mentioned in this blogger’s several other blog postings, the only people who will be able to re-populate this Earth during Jesus Christ’s Millennial Reign are those “saved” survivors from the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, because the Bride of Christ (both the dead and the alive in Christ at the time when they meet Him in the air); the alive and pure 144,000 Jewish evangelists, who have the seal of God; and the martyred saints ALL will have received their glorified bodies.
Now, Jesus Christ teaches the Sadducees that neither those resurrected nor those raptured humans who are in Heaven will be marrying and giving in marriage in Heaven. Matthew writes:
The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, ‘Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. So too the second and third, down to the seventh. After them all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.’ But Jesus answered them, ‘You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God:‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.’ And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching. ~ Matthew 22:23-33, ESV
Likewise, the apostle Paul teaches in the Scriptures that those who enter Heaven are primarily the resurrected dead and raptured alive Bride of Christ members, who have received glorified bodies (bodies like what the angels have). Thus, since marriage is the only way people on Earth will be able to procreate, those people who re-populate this planet during Jesus Christ’s Millennial Reign will be the surviving saints from the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, who indeed are “saved” but still in their natural bodies!
Concerning the gathering of the Bride of Christ, whom the apostle Paul speaks about, this gathering is not the same gathering of the already mentioned end-time saints—the Tribulation’s surviving sheep/wheat. This gathering apostle Paul speaks about is the Rapture of the Bride of Christ—the taking or snatching out of harm’s way (catching up; harpazo). Now the only way this harpazo makes sense is if it happens before the 7-year Tribulation begins, because the apostle Paul repeatedly makes in clear, in at least four Scriptures, that the Bride of Christ is NOT going to experience God’s Wrath (neither during the Time of Jacob’s Trouble or Great Tribulation nor during the first half of the Tribulation Period). The apostle Paul writes the following about the holy, righteous, faithful, obedient, totally sanctified, and absolutely saved Bride of Christ:
Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. ~ Romans 5:9, ESV
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. ~ Ephesians 5:6, ESV
and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. ~ 1 Thessalonians 1:10, ESV
For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:9, ESV
The problem then with far too many believers’ thinking, where the Rapture of the Bride of Christ is concerned, is that far too many of believers have not understood the difference between God’s Plan of Salvation (deliverance, rescue, preservation, safety) for the Bride of Christ who is both the resurrected dead in Christ and the raptured alive in Christ, and His Plan of Salvation for Israel who is the Jewish Time of Jacob’s Trouble saints, the saved Jewish people living in the Promised Land or Israel, at that time. In other words, these saved Jewish people will be the individuals who, as mentioned earlier, are experiencing the prophesied Time of Jacob’s Trouble—the decreed time for bringing Israel’s obstinate rebellion against God to an end, and the decreed time for completing His final discipline and judgment upon Israel (His elect; His chosen Jewish people), as well as the decreed time for making His final judgment upon this world’s unbelieving inhabitants.
Since numerous people don’t seem to know the difference between God’s Plan of Salvation for the Bride of Christ and God’s Plan of Salvation for Israel, it also is important to note here that there is a major difference between God’s Wrath and mankind’s persecution, including the Antichrist’s tribulation or persecution. Wrath is God’s RIGHTEOUS judgment and RIGHTEOUS punishment, which He will pour out on the rebellious UNRIGHTEOUS unbelieving people of this world. Tribulation is the unrighteous persecution of believers by unrighteous unbelievers!
There is no denying, then, that Jesus Christ prophesies that in this world there is going to be much persecution, but based on the above definitions of Wrath and tribulation, it should be obvious that what man does to people will in no way measure up to the Wrath of God, which will be poured out on a sin-sick world. This last point is why ALL of the persecution Christians have suffered from the 1st century A.D., and forward, will not compare to the suffering that happens in the 7 years of Tribulation. This future suffering will be unparalleled, so much so that if Daniel’s 70th Week isn’t sped up, NO ONE will survive it (see Matthew 24:22)!
For sure, as prophesied, during the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (a.k.a., the Great Tribulation), God’s Wrath will increase in frequency and intensity, beginning with the Lamb of God’s Seal judgments (the wrath of the Lamb; see Revelation 6:16), and continuing throughout the entire Time of Jacob’s Trouble until the last bowl judgment is poured out. Thus, based on all of the above provided information about Daniel’s 70th Week, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, wheat sifting, and so forth, the Pre-Wrath Rapture Theory indisputably suggests that, even if the righteous and sanctified Bride of Christ goes through just the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week, She still would suffer some of God’s Wrath, despite the fact that the Word of God declares the Lord’s righteous and sanctified Bride has NOT been appointed to suffer ANY of God’s Wrath (orge, in the Greek language), because She has been DELIVERED or SAVED from the Wrath to come by Christ Jesus’ finished work on the Cross!
Still, believers in Christ Jesus should not be deceived! Not everyone who professes to be a Christian will be exempted from God’s Wrath. Indeed, many professed Christians who sin willfully and/or who neglect to live the Christian lives they should will suffer some, if not all, of God’s Wrath during Daniel’s 70th Week (the 7 years of Tribulation). A word to the wise should be sufficient!
Shalom . . . .
For more detailed information on Daniel’s 70th Week, the Tribulation Period, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, the Rapture (gathering of the Bride of Christ), and etc., please read these blog entries: Are We Close to the Battle of Armageddon?; Making the Case That the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Is Biblical; Christ’s Elect Is His 144,000 Jewish Evangelists PLUS . . .; The Last Trump: When Our Bodies Are Glorified; and Misunderstandings about ‘Thief in the Night.’