jacob israel

Jacob's Trouble

by Harold Stough
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When one reaches, and passes, the Biblical three score and ten years it is recognised that borrowed time is your bonus. If then four score is granted, fine, but after that you enter the 'danger zone' of becoming forgetful, having memory loss, or becoming a menace through reminiscing to the point of boring your audience. The commemoration of VE Day throughout the U.K. and Europe brought none of this, however. On the contrary, all ages were united in the bringing back of memories, reuniting of comrades and reliving the days which previously had witnessed a rich moral and spiritual unity of Thanksgiving to God.

There are many events in our own lives which we recall which are still of blessing. May I recall such a one?

It is approximately forty years ago that I had a telephone message from David Davidson requesting to see me. He was not well, so I visited him in his west London home. He asked me if I would deputise for him the following afternoon at his weekly lecture in central London. I protested my inability and cited, too, the shock those attending would get when, expecting Mr. Davidson, would see only me! But in his gracious manner he gave me his confidence that all would be well.

"Base your remarks on Jeremiah 30:7, the most informative verses for these days, then to Hosea's Vale of Achor, then to Daniel 12:1 and conclude with Matthew 24 vs. 24 and 29." He gave further pointers and some quotations from prominent leaders.

During the past forty years I have experienced much unity of thought as speakers and writers have also been led to expound these verses, especially Jeremiah 30 on Jacob's trouble, for there is such a wealth of information contained therein which I have found seemingly inexhaustible.

The promise of the restoration of "My people of Israel and Judah" demonstrates that there are two separate entities who are to be joined and restored, so they must have been, at one time, separated. Together they are "to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it'. So those now there, not being ten- tribed Israel nor two-tribed Judah, will have to give way. God will see to that. In His good time and according to other prophecies.

"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". 'Jacob's Trouble'! Trouble and tribulation are the same. So this period is for Jacob and his descendants of the present day. It is not tribulation for the world at large.

Judgement for them, yes, but tribulation for Jacob for the outworking of God's purposes for his descendants.

How long! Students of prophecy are all somewhat mesmerised by the number seven as they equate it with Daniel's Seventieth week, when they say Antichrist shall reign. This Futurist concept has long been exploded, especially when their interpretations came to nought. Seven it may be, but that wasn't the duration of the trouble Jacob endured. Seven years he served for Leah, then another seven for Rachel, then six for goods and chattels, and had his reconciliation with Esau. But what is the starting date? There have been many suggestions such as from 1914 to 1936 etc., etc.

Whatever the form this tribulation takes, its purpose is 'to make ready a people prepared', a time of cleansing, a time for refining to separate the dross from the pure metal, a time for the angels to separate the tares from the wheat, etc.

Another disastrous prophecy interpretation is what is called the any-moment rapture theory - that those in Christ are to be caught up into Heaven to be with the Lord, and thus escape tribulation and persecution. What a selfish view and how utterly wrong! Again Jeremiah 3 0:7 brings the answer. "He shall he saved out of it". Out, not from. Noah was saved out of the flood. Not from it. Isaiah 54: 8 and 9 state: "In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment,. but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. " It is the wicked that are taken - not the good, as our Lord taught and warned. So futurists, think again!

Jeremiah continues: "For it shall come to pass in that day saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him:

"But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them" (Jeremiah 30:8,9). Chapter 31 continues this theme of blessing to those who 'found grace in the wilderness'. Please read again this glorious 31st chapter.

When Daniel mentions this time of trouble 'such as never was' he makes it clear that at that time "thy people shall be delivered" (Daniel 12:1 1). The deliverance being effected by Michael's standing up 'for the children of thy people'. This 'standing up' must be coincident with the Last Days of which Our Lord spoke when He mentioned the final Abomination of Desolation 'standing where it ought not to stand'! -An illegal presence in the Holy Land! "Then shall there be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, nor ever shall be", and again (Matt. 24:29,3 0), "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened.. and they shall see the Son of Man coming... ".

That is when Jacob's trouble shall be over. That is when Jacob can experience a name change. This is when he and his descendants can proudly take on the name Israel, with all the spiritual powers that name implies.

So why should not all modern Israel reminisce, recalling our wonderful past, as we look forward to an even more glorious future?

Orange Street Congregational Church