PART 4 - The Eternal Reign of Christ. - Israel in the Great Tribulation.

END-TIME PROPHECY - Part 4: The Eternal Reign of Christ.

ISRAEL in the Great Tribulation 
To understand the Battle of Armageddon, we must understand what is going on with Israel in the Great Tribulation.  Though the whole world suffers in the Great Tribulation, Israel is particularly affected.  It is called The Time of Jacob’s Trouble in Jeremiah 30:4-7 but he shall be saved out of it.  Israel will be preserved and regenerated at the end.  Israel’s suffering is well described in Isaiah 3.

Daniel 12:1 and Matthew 24:21,22 describe it as a time of world-wide anti-semitism - far worse than the Holocaust.   This is likely to be related to the fact that many Jews will refuse the mark of the beast.   Moreover Rev 12 shows satan determined to destroy the Jews, especially the believing remnant.

The final result of the Tribulation in Zechariah 13:7-9 is that only one third of Jews in the land will survive but they will come to believe: Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, against the Man who is My Companion, says the LORD of hosts. Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; then I will turn My hand against the little ones. And it shall come to pass in all the land. says the LORD, that two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left in it.   I will bring the one-third through the fire, I will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, This is My people; and each one will say, The LORD is my God.

At the start of the Tribulation, Israel makes a treaty with the antichrist trusting him for their defence.  However, at Mid-Tribulation antichrist comes into Jerusalem (perhaps pretending to help and defend Israel) and takes over, breaking the covenant and desecrating the Temple.  At this time the believing remnant in Israel (those who believe Jesus’ warning to “flee to the mountains” in Matt 24:16) will escape to “a place prepared by God in the Wilderness” (Rev 12:6,14) where God protects them for the last three and a half years. This is a key group, for Jesus will return first of all to save them.

All of them who escape will come to faith in Christ as their Messiah: 
It shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as have escaped of the house of Jacob, will never again depend on him who defeated them (antichrist), but will depend on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.  The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God.   For though your people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, a remnant of them will return; the destruction decreed shall overflow with righteousness.   For the Lord GOD of hosts will make a determined end in the midst of all the land (at Armageddon, Isaiah 10:20-23).  Here this remnant is called ‘the escaped of Israel’.

This description is used also in the following scriptures: 
Isaiah 4:2: In that DAY (the Millennium) the Branch of the LORD (Jesus - the Messiah) shall be beautiful and glorious; and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing for those of Israel who have escaped.

Isaiah 37:31,32: And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.  For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and those who escape from Mount Zion.  The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Obadiah 15-17:  For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near; as you have done, so it shall be done to you; your reprisal shall return upon your own head.  For as you drank on My holy mountain, so shall all the nations drink (the cup of judgment) continually; yes, they shall drink, and swallow, and they shall be as though they had never been (at Armageddon).  But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance (or those who escape), and there shall be holiness.  The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.

Joel 2:32: It shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved (by Jesus at His return).    For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance (or those who escape)as the LORD has said (in Obadiah 17) and in the remnant whom the LORD calls.

Their protection against satan’s attack is promised in Isaiah 41:8-16: 
But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the descendants of Abraham My friend. 
You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest regions, and said to you, 
You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away: 
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; they shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish. You shall seek them and not find them - those who contended with you. Those who war against you shall be as nothing, as a non-existent thing. For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, Fear not, I will help you.  Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel!  I will help you, says the LORD and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. 
Behold, I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp teeth; You shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, and make the hills like chaff. You shall winnow them, the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them; you shall rejoice in the LORD, and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

Their provision is also promised.  No one can buy or sell without the mark of the beast so these will be outside the international money system.   As God provided for Israel in the Wilderness of Sinai so now also.  This will deepen their relationship with God.   First the Wilderness then the Promised Land (the Kingdom). 
Isaiah 41:17-20: The poor and needy seek water, but there is none. Their tongues fail for thirst. I, the LORD, will hear them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.  I will open rivers in desolate heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.  I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia tree, the myrtle and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine and the box tree together, that they may see and know, and consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Isaiah 65:8-16: As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one says, Do not destroy it, for a blessing is in it, so will I do for My servants’ sake, that I may not destroy them all.  I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah an heir of My mountains; My elect shall inherit it, and My servants shall dwell there. Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down, for My people who have sought Me.

While these are protected, the unbelieving Jews will suffer greatly under antichrist: 
But you are those who forsake the LORD, who forget My holy mountain, who prepare a table for Gad, and who furnish a drink offering for Meni.  Therefore I will number you for the sword, and you shall all bow down to the slaughter; because, when I called, you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not hear, but did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, My servants shall eat, but you shall be hungry.  Behold, My servants shall drink, but you shall be thirsty; Behold, My servants shall rejoice, but you shall be ashamed. Behold, My servants shall sing for joy of heart, but you shall cry for sorrow of heart, and wail for grief of spirit.  You shall leave your name as a curse to My chosen; for the Lord GOD will slay you, and call His servants by another name; so that he who blesses himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he who swears in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hidden from My eyes.
v17-25 go on to describe the Millennium.

Where do the believing Jews go at Mid-Tribulation? 
Jesus told them to flee to the mountains (Matthew 24:16). 
They go to a place prepared by God in the Wilderness (Rev 12:6,14).

They hide in a mountain fortress: Hear, you who are afar off, what I have done; and you who are near, acknowledge My might. The sinners in Zion are afraid. Fearfulness has seized the hypocrites: Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, He who despises the gain of oppressions, who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil:  he shall dwell on high.  His place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks.  His bread shall be given him.  His waters shall be sure (Isa 33:13-16)

Micah 5:12 pinpoints the place: I will gather the remnant as the sheep of BOZRAH. 
Bozrah is in the region of Mount Seir - a rocky range of mountains in the wilderness of Edom (South Jordan), making it  defensible.   Bozrah is known today as PETRA, a basin within Mount Seir surrounded by mountains.  The only way in is by a narrow passageway for a mile that must be reached on foot (two abreast) or by horse.  It is one of the most outstanding places on earth.  Bozrah means SHEEP FOLD and PETRA is designed as a sheep fold with a narrow entrance (for counting sheep one by one) with more room inside.  We saw in Daniel 11:41 how antichrist fails to control Edom in the Great Tribulation because this is the place of refuge.

Meanwhile the Jews in the land are going through Great Tribulation. 
Jeremiah 30:3-7: For behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah, says the LORD. 
And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it (fulfilled in 1948).   Now these are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah.

The Great Tribulation.  For thus says the LORD: We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask now, and see, Whether a man is ever in labour with child? 
So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labour, and all faces turned pale? 
Alas! For that Day is Great, so that none is like it; 
and it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.

The Return of Christ and the Millennium (v8-11): 
For it shall come to pass in that day, says the LORD of hosts, 
That I will break his yoke from your neck, and will burst your bonds; foreigners shall no more enslave them. But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up for them. 
Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,’ says the LORD, Nor be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, and no one shall make him afraid.  For I am with you, says the LORD, to save you; though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a complete end of you.  But I will correct you in justice, and will not let you go altogether unpunished.

The Tribulation (v12-15). For thus says the LORD: Your affliction is incurable, your wound is severe.  There is no one to plead your cause, that you may be bound up; You have no healing medicines.  All your lovers have forgotten you; they do not seek you;  for I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of your iniquities, because your sins have increased.  Why do you cry about your affliction? Your sorrow is incurable.  Because of the multitude of your iniquities, because your sins have increased, I have done these things to you.

The Return of Christ and the Millennium (v16-24). 
Therefore all those who devour you shall be devoured; and all your adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity.   Those who plunder you shall become plunder, and all who prey upon you I will make a prey. For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds, says the LORD, Because they called you an outcast saying: This is Zion; no one seeks her.  Thus says the LORD: 
Behold, I will bring back the captivity of Jacob’s tents, and have mercy on his dwelling places; The city shall be built upon its own mound, and the palace shall remain according to its own plan. 
Then out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of those who make merry; I will multiply them, and they shall not diminish; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. Their children also shall be as before, and their congregation shall be established before Me; and I will punish all who oppress them. Their nobles shall be from among them, and their governor shall come from their midst. 
Then I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach Me; for who is this who pledged his heart to approach Me? says the LORD. You shall be My people, and I will be your God. Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goes forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind. 
It will fall violently on the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the LORD will not return until He has done it, and until He has performed the intents of His heart.  In the latter days you will consider it.

Jeremiah 31 continues to describe Israel’s restoration in the new Kingdom of God: 
At the same time, says the LORD, I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people. Thus says the LORD: The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness - even Israel - when I went to give him rest.  The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: 
Yes, I have loved you (Israel) with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you. Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel!  You shall again be adorned with your tambourines, and shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice (v1-4). 
The whole chapter continues to tell of her restoration in the Kingdom.