Purpose of the Tribulation


Israel is the Focus



John Hoole – June 24 & July 1, 2012





Most Bible readers recognize that during Bible times, Israel was God’s chosen people on earth.  We also know that when Christ came to earth, He was rejected by the Jews as their Messiah.  So, what has become of the Jews in the eschatological plan of God?  On several occasions during our current series of lesson, I have mentioned that how one treats Israel in their eschatology is very important.  Many of the various prophetic interpretations that are proposed, turn on what they believe the Bible says about Israel in the End Times.  If we fails to understand God’s program for Israel, we will very probably be mislead in what we believe about:


                   •  The role of the nations in the Middle East.

                   •  The purpose of the rapture,

                   •  What part the church will play in God’s future plans,

                   •  The purpose of the Tribulation,

                   •  The meaning of the millennium


One of the great theological battlefields of orthodox Christianity throughout the centuries has been the nature and character of the Church in relation to Israel.  There are two major views:

First View: The Church is Israel


For many, the predominant view has been that the Church is the “new” Israel.  It is a continuation of the concept of Israel which began in the Old Testament.  In this view, the Church is a refinement and higher development of the concept of Israel.  This means that all promises made to Israel find their complete fulfillment in the Church.  That means the prophecies of blessing and restoration of Israel to the Promised Land, are “spiritualized” into promises of blessing to the Church.  This view is sometimes called “Replacement Theology.”  That is because the Church is seen as replacing Israel in God’s economy.


One of the problems with this view has been the establishment of the nation of Israel in the past century.  And many Jews, from all over the world have immigrated into this tiny nation.  If God has rejected Israel because they did not accept Jesus as their Messiah, how does one account for the supernatural survival of the Jewish People?  How does one account for Israel’s resurgence among the family of nations?


Second View:  Israel and the Church are Different


The other view, I believe, is clearly taught in the New Testament.  This view holds that the Church is completely different and distinct from Israel, and the two should not be confused.  In fact, this view believes the Church is an entirely new creation that began on the Day of Pentecost.  And it will continue to exist until it is taken to heaven at the Rapture of the Church.




There are several lines of scriptural evidence which point to the fact that Israel and the Church are not essentially the same.


First, Israel is a nation in the technical sense of the term, but the church is not.  Several things could be used to illustrate this distinction.


•  Israel has a national language, but the church does not.


•  Israel is an earthly political state with an earthly capital city, and earthly political government and political rulers.  On the other hand, the Church has none of those elements.


•  In God’s Mosaic Covenant with Israel, God established that nation’s earthly government but God has not established an earthly political government for the church.


•  Israel has a common, national tradition and history, but the church is comprised of people from many different national traditions and histories.


•  Israel has a national army with which to fight military battles against other nations.  The church does not have such an army.


Second, in spite of the fact that Israel became the people of God through the Mosaic Covenant, it reject Christ, just as God had forewarned that Israel would do.  By contrast, the Church received Christ.  In fact, the Church is not made up of any who have not received Christ.


Third, as long as a Gentile remained a Gentile, he was excluded from membership in Israel (Ephesians 2:11-12).  For a Gentile to become a member in Israel, he had to become an Israelite through circumcision and placement under the Law.  By contrast, a Gentile can be in full, equal membership in the church as a Gentile.  He does not have to become an Israelite to enter that membership (Eph. 2:13-16; 3:1-6)The Holy Spirit led the early church leaders to recognize this distinction that God made between Israel and the Church (Acts 15:1-19).


Fourth, Israel had both believers and unbelievers in full Mosaic Covenant relationship with God.  When God established the Mosaic Covenant with Israel, He established it fully with the entire membership of that nation, saved and unsaved alike.  All Israelites were subject to the regulations of the covenant regardless of their inner spiritual state.  Regeneration was not required of those at Mount Sinai, and future generations of Israelites entered that covenant by virtue of their physical birth to Jewish parents, not by virtue of a spiritual birth.  The unrighteous members of Israel were as much the Mosaic Covenant people of God as were the righteous.


By contrast, the church (not organized Christendom, but the true body of Christ) consists only of saved or regenerated members.  It takes a work of the Holy Spirit to form the Church.  At the birth of the Church, on the Day of Pentecost, only saved Jews (and only saved Gentiles) became members of the Church.


Fifth, the Scriptures never called the saved or righteous Jews of Old Testament Israel “the church of God,” thus separating them from the unsaved Jews.  But the Scriptures do call the saved Jews and Gentiles of the church today “the church of God” in contrast with unsaved Jews and Gentiles of the New Testament era (1 Corinthians 10:32).


There is a distinction between the saved Jews of the Church and the righteous Jews of Old Testament Israel.  The term, “Church of God,” can be applied legitimately only to the Church birthed on the Day of Pentecost, but not to Old Testament Israel.  The Old Testament Israel and the Church are not essentially the same.


What have learned thus far about the differences between the Church and Israel?


•  Israel is a nation, having a distinct national language – the Church does not.


•  Israel has a national history and traditions – the Church does not.


•  Israel has an army to defend itself from others that would harm them – the Church does not.


•  Israel rejected their Messiah when He came the first time – The Church has received Christ.


•  For a Gentile to become a Jew, they had to be circumcised and place under the Law of Moses. By contrast, a Gentile can be in full and equal membership in the Church and remain a Gentile.


•  Both Jewish believers and non-believers were included in the Mosaic Covenant with God.


                   Regeneration was not required.


                            By contrast, true Christianity consist only of saved or regenerated members.


We also see this marked distinction between the Church and the Jews in the Book of Revelation.  Let investigate this distinction found there.


References to the Church in Revelation


Twenty-four verses in the Book of Revelation refer to the church. 


19 of these verses refer to the church as the “church” or “churches” – EkklesiaEkklesia. 


2 verses refer to the church as the “bride” – numphe.


2 verses indicate that the church is the Lamb’s “wife” – gune.


And one verse refers to the church as both the “bride” and “wife” of the Lamb.


         Revelation never refers to the church as the “body” – soma.


20 of the 24 verses refer to the church in the present church age (1:4, 11, 20;  2:1, 7, 8, 11, 12, 17, 18, 23, 29; 3:1, 6, 7, 13, 14, 22;  22:16, 17).


Two verses refer to the church in the marriage of the Lamb, which takes place in heaven, not on the earth (19:7, 8).

Two verses refer to the church in the future eternal state (21:2, 9).


It is important to note that there are no references to the church on the earth in Chapters 4 through 18.  These are the chapters related specifically to the 70th week of Daniel.  They are never mentioned among the events given in the 7 seals, the 7 trumpets and the 7 bowls.


References to Israel in Revelation


Twenty-two verses in the Book of Revelation refer to Israel.  One of these verses refers to Israel as “the twelve tribes of the children of Israel” (21:12).


10 verses refer to the 144,000 Jewish men by several designations (7:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,; 14:1, 3, 4, 5)


10 verses describe Israel through various terms as the woman who is pursued by the dragon (Satan) [12:1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17).


One verse refers to “the children of Israel” (2:14).


Of the 22 verses that refer to Israel, one speaks of them during Old Testament times (2:14).


One other refers to the nation in the future eternal state (21:12).


4 verses refer to Israel during the time of the first coming of Christ (12:1, 2, 4, 5).


It is important to note that the remaining 16 verses refer to Israel on earth during the 70th week of Daniel (7:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; 12:6, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17;  14:1, 3, 4, 5).


More than 72% of the references to Israel in the Book of Revelation refer to it on the earth during the 70th Week.  By contrast, none of the references to the church in Revelation refer to it on earth during the 70th Week.


The fact that significant parts of Revelation contain no reference to the church on earth but make many references to Israel has been recognized by scholars who do not advocate a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.


C. Van Den Biesen (Catholic scholar)


“The Apocalypse (Revelation) abounds in passages which bear no specific Christian character but, on the contrary, show a decidedly Jewish complexion.”


You may be wondering what these differences between the Church and Israel has to do with God’s purposes of the Tribulation.  As we continue, I hope to show that the primary focus of the Tribulation is Israel.  We will go through the Scriptural purposes God has for the Tribulation, and we should see that none of them require the Church to be on earth at that time.


To begin, let’s read two passages of Scripture.  In them we will see at least 8 purposes God has for this period of time.  There are probably more, but we will start with these.


Jeremiah 30:1-11 NIV


1       This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:

2       "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you.

3       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 forefathers to possess,' says the Lord."

4       These are the words the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah:

5       "This is what the Lord says: "'Cries of fear are heard —  terror, not peace.

6       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?

7       How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it.

8       "'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.

9       Instead, they will serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.

10     "'So do not fear, O Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, O 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.

11     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 with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.'


In this passage, we have two purposes for the Tribulation period.  We are also told some of the timing relative to this period.  In verse 3, we are told it will take place after Israel is once again re-gathered into her land.  And in verse 9, we are told it will result in David becoming their king.  This is a Messianic reference to Christ coming to set up His kingdom.


The two purposes in this passage is near its end.


         1.      Discipline and prepare the people of Israel for their coming Messiah.


         2.      Completely destroy the nations to which they had been scattered.


The second passage I want to read is found in Daniel 9.  We have referred to these verses on a number of occasions in past lessons.  They are frequently labeled as the “Seventy Weeks of Daniel.”


Daniel 9:24-27 NKJV


24     "Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.

25     "Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall,  Even in troublesome times.

26     "And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.

27     Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate."


Verse 24 gives us 6 reasons for this prophecy.


         1.      To finish the transgression.


         2.      To make an end of sins.


         3.      To make atonement for iniquity.


         4.      To bring in everlasting righteousness.


         5.      To seal up vision and prophecy.


         6.      To anoint the most holy place.


The last week of this prophecy – that is the 70th week, cannot come to an end until all of these conditions have been met.


I want you to remember some important information from these passages in Jeremiah and Daniel.  The first is to whom they refer.


Jeremiah 30:3-4 NKJV


3       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.'"

4       Now these are the words that the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah.


The entire passage that we read has to do with Israel.  It is called a time of “Jacob’s Troubles.”  That’s another reference to Israel.  This means these prophecies about the coming Tribulation focus on the nation of Israel.  Even the judgment on the Gentile world in Jeremiah’s account are connected to their treatment of the Jews.


This is also true in what we read in Daniel 9.


Daniel 9:24 NKJV


24     "Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.


The prophecies in Daniel 9:24-27 also focus on the nation of Israel.  Gabriel tells Daniel it is “for your people and for your holy city.”


The Tribulation does not deal with the Church.  None of its purposes are connected to the Church at all.  We will look at these six purposes in more detail in our next lesson.  The Tribulation is not the “time of the Church’s trouble,” but the “time of Jacob’s trouble.”  I believe God’s purpose for the Tribulation (i.e., 70th week of Daniel) revolves around His plan for Israel and does not include an earthly presence or purpose for the Church.


Again, the emphasis of the Tribulation is primarily Jewish.  This fact is borne out by Old Testament Scriptures (some of which are: Deuteronomy 4:30;  Jeremiah 30:7;  Ezekiel 20:37;  Daniel 12:1;  Zechariah 12:10) by the Olivet Discourse of Christ (Matthew 24:9-26), and by the Book of Revelation itself (Revelation 7:4-8; 12:1-2; 17).


It concerns “Daniel’s people,” “Daniel’s city, Jerusalem,” the coming of a “false Messiah,” the preaching of the “gospel of the kingdom,” flight on the “Sabbath,” the temple and the “holy place,” the land of Judea,” the twelve “tribes of Israel,” and the “song of Moses,” a “sign in the heavens,” the “covenant” with the Beast, the “sanctuary,” the “sacrifice and the oblation” in the Temple ritual.


These all speak of Israel and demonstrate the Tribulation is largely a time when God will deal with this nation (Deuteronomy 30:1-6;  Jeremiah 30:8-10).  Why?  Because God’s plan for Israel is unfinished at this point in history.  God’s clock on Israel was put on hold nearly 2,000 years ago.  But God has promised, through His prophecies, that He will once again deal with Israel.


I want to reiterate what I just said about God putting Israel’s clock on hold.  To do so, I need to review some material I presented in our lesson on “Daniel’s 70 Weeks.”  There are many prophecies about Israel’s future that show a break in the timeline.  By that, I mean the prophecy presents a future event, then, without finishing the sentence, jumps more than 2,000 years in the future.      Let’s look at a few of them again.


Probably the clearest example of this principle is found in Isaiah 61:1-2.  This passage was quote by Jesus in Luke 4:17-21.  Let’s read Luke’s account first, where we find Jesus reading from the scroll of Isaiah in the synagogue


Luke 4:17-21 NIV


17     The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18     "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,  

19     to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." 


Jesus closes the scroll and hands it back to the attendant.  As He reads the book of Isaiah, Jesus ends his reading by doing a strange thing.  He doesn’t stop at the end of a sentence, but at a comma.  It goes on to say they sat there staring at Him.  He then adds, “This day is the scripture fulfilled in your hearing.”




It is because the next phrase, “And the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn” was not fulfilled at the moment Christ read these words.  They would not be fulfilled for more than 1900 years.


God’s day of vengeance will occur during the Tribulation period.  But this prophecy in Isaiah skips entirely past the age in which we now live, and does so within one sentence.  By this single act of Christ, He, the infallible Interpreter of Scripture, validates the principle of the “gap interpretation.”  It is like God put a big parenthesis around the church-age, setting it apart from what He was prophesying about the Jews, and the rest of the world.


Let’s look at a few more examples.

Joel 2:28-31 NIV


28     And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.

29     Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.


30     I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke.

31     The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.


Most of you will recognize part of this passage, as being what was quoted by Peter on the Day of Pentecost.  Peter says that verse 28 & 29 were fulfilled on that day.  But verses 30 & 31 can be identified as definitely speaking of events which will happen during the time of the Tribulation.


Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV) is very familiar to most of you.


6       For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:…..


                   …….and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7       Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever…….


The whole Christian community rejoices in the knowledge that Christ came as a child nearly 2000 years ago.  But a gap of at least 19 centuries is represented by the very first colon.  “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given” speaks of Bethlehem.  All that follows skips over the Church Age to the future Millennial reign, where Jesus will be sitting on the throne of David in Jerusalem.


Zech 9:9-10 NIV


9       Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.


10     ….and He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. 


Verse 9 speaks of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  In the New Testament, you can read about it in Matthew 21:1-11.  On the other hand, verse 10 looks ahead to the Millennium, when Christ reigns for 1000 years.  Someday verse 10 will be done just as literally as verse 9.  But between the 2 predictions there is this same great parenthesis of time.


By now you should be able to see that the idea of a great parenthesis is no isolated case.  The Old testament prophets skipped over the Church Age when speaking of the Last Days.  That is, they skipped over the 2000 years from the birth of the Church on the Day of Pentecost until now.


Most of the examples we have looked at concerning the parenthesis are related to Abraham’s seed.  Isaiah’s prophecies focus mainly on the Israel and their Messiah.  Ezekiel spoke of the restoration of Israel to their own land as well as the Millennial land.  Zechariah was most concerned about the events that will take place in Israel at the 2nd coming of Christ.


Now, let’s return to the Prophet Daniel and the prophecy about the 70 weeks.  It also displays this parenthesis, where it jumps over the Church Age.  The first half of Daniel 9 finds the prophet praying for his people Israel.  In Verse 21, in answer to his prayers, God send the angel Gabriel with a message.  Gabriel gives Daniel a timetable of coming events that would especially affect Israel.  The angelic message given to Daniel is known as the vision of the 70 weeks.


Sir Edward Denny, a respected 19th Century student of prophecy, referred to the vision of the 70-weeks as the backbone of prophecy.


Chuck Missler, a well-known evangelist today, says:  “This is the most important prophecy in the Bible.”


Jesus emphasized this prophecy in a session with his disciples in what many call the “Olivet Discourse” which is found in Matthew 24 & 25.  Jesus quotes Daniel, and focuses on this key prophecy.  This prophecy helps our understanding of other prophecies.


This mathematical revelation gave the Jews the exact time at which to expect the coming Messiah.  It also prophesied His death and foretold the coming destruction of Jerusalem following His crucifixion as well as the rise of the Antichrist.


We read the entire prophecy of the 70 weeks in our last lesson.  Let’s read again verses 26 & 27, which addresses the gap in this prophecy.


26     And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah will be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the ruler who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.

27     He will confirm a covenant with many for one week; In the middle of the week He will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing {of the Temple] he will set up an abominations that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.


Following the first 69 weeks, two things will occur.


         a)      The Messiah the Prince will be “cut off.”


         b)      Jerusalem will again be destroyed by the people of the “prince that shall come.”


                   Keep in mind that these events occur after the 69th week but before the 70th week begins.


What we have seen in this great prophecy in Daniel 9 is another example of the “Great Parenthesis.”  Again, there is a gap of almost two thousand years between the end of the 69th week and the beginning of the 70th week.




Now, let’s examine the various purposes for the Tribulation that are mentioned in Scripture.  Earlier we noted 8 purposes in two Old Testament passages, but without further discussion.


Jeremiah 30:1-11 listed two purposes:


         •  Discipline and prepare the people of Israel for their coming Messiah.


         •  Completely destroy the nations to which they had been scattered.


The entire passage in Jeremiah 30 has to do with Israel.  It is called a time of “Jacob’s Troubles.”  That’s another reference to Israel.  This means these prophecies about the coming Tribulation focus on the nation of Israel.  Even the judgment on the Gentile world in Jeremiah’s account are connected to their treatment of the Jews.


Let’s read Daniel 9:24 NKJV


24     Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.


Verse 24 tells us that it is directed towards……


                   •  Daniel’s people - the Jews


                   •  Daniel’s holy city – Jerusalem.


This needs to be kept in mind.  It is an obvious statement, but some try to shoehorn people not mentioned here.  All 70 weeks, including the last week, is prophecy about only Israel.  The prophecy is Jewish from beginning to end.  Some try to include the Church among the people in this prophecy.  But the church is not included here.  This is a prophecy about the people of Israel and their capital city, Jerusalem.


Daniel 9:24 listed 6 purposes (or promised blessings):


         •  To finish the transgression


         •  To make an end of sins


         •  To make atonement for iniquity


         •  To bring in everlasting righteousness


         •  To seal up vision and prophecy


         •  To anoint the most holy place


First, these purposes are for the entire 70 weeks, not just the 70th week alone.  If these six works of God are complete, then the prophecy must be complete no matter how we think end time prophecy should develop.  But, if any are lacking, then the 70 Weeks Prophecy remains to be fulfilled in our day or perhaps sometime in the future.


To finish the transgression


The word “transgression” has the root meaning “to rebel.”  And with the Hebrew word for “the” in the text, it refers to the specific sin of rebellion against the rule of God over their lives.  This rebellion was the root sin which prompted all of Israel’s other sins.  When the angel Gabriel delivered this message to Daniel, he was saying Israel would not stop their rebelling until the 490 years is over.  That will occur when their Messiah, Jesus, comes at the end of the Tribulation.


To make an end of sins


The Hebrew words for “make an end” literally means “to shut, close, seal.”  Also, the Hebrew word for “sin” is plural.  This is the most common Hebrew word for “sin.”  But the only other time it is found in the book of Daniel is 4 verses earlier (9:20).  That verse indicates he is talking about the habitual sins of daily life – sin in general.  The time foreseen here is when they return to the Lord during the Tribulation, and all the remnant of Israel are saved.


To make atonement for iniquity


Jesus Christ atoned Israel’s perverse sins when He died on the cross.  But that atonement will not actually be applied until all Israel personally appropriates it, by accepting Jesus as its Messiah and Savior.  That will occur when Jesus comes again at the end of the 70th week.


To bring in everlasting righteousness.


When Israel experiences her revival, which occurs at her recognition of Jesus as their Messiah, it will bring in a nation righteousness that will not end.  This has never happened before in the national history of Israel.  But when a remnant of Israel repents and believes in Jesus Christ during the Tribulation, it will never again rebel against God.


Ezekiel 36:22-28 NKJV


22     "Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord God: "I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went.

23     And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord," says the Lord God, "when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.

24     For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.

25     Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.

26     I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

27     I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

28     Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.


To seal up vision and prophecy


When Israel has turned to Christ, revelation that comes through vision or prophecy no longer has to be of concern to the people, once the revelation has been fulfilled.  There are literally hundreds of prophecies waiting to be fulfilled concerning the nation of Israel.  These include both blessings and punishment.  Once fulfilled and completed, there is no longer a need for them.


To anoint the most holy


The Hebrew words used here are interesting.  The English phrase, “most holy” comes from a repeat of the same Hebrew word for “holy.”  Qodesh (most) and Qadashim (holy – plural).  Because those same two words are used to designate the “Holy of Holies” in the Temple, most scholars believes this is speaking of the Millennial Temple.  The phrase “Qodesh Qadashim” is found 39 times in the Old Testament.  And in each occurrence, it is referring to the Tabernacle or Temple or to the holy articles used in them.  With this in view, it is likely that the Temple is being referred to here.


Purpose: Preparation of Israel to receive their Messiah


Although the Tribulation will affect the entire earth, according to Revelation 3:10, it will center primarily around the nation of Israel.  It is a time of “Jacob’s (Israel’s) Troubles.”  It is called “Daniel’s 70th Week,” which, according to Daniel 9:24, involves only Daniel’s people and Daniel’s City, Jerusalem.


The Old Testament figure of the “refiner’s fire” is one of the metaphors employed to illustrate how God will use the Tribulation to prepare Israel and the Jews for the Kingdom.  Zechariah tells us the fire will bring about the conversion of a Jewish remnant.


Zechariah 13:8-9 NKJV


8       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:

9       I will bring the one-third through the fire, 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.'"


Here it is revealed to Zechariah that one third of the Jewish nation will survive the coming Tribulation.  But that third will be purified by God and come into a right relationship with God.  It is through the fire of distress that this remnant will come to know their Messiah.  The Old testament prophets often spoke of God’s purging out the unrighteous of Israel.


Daniel 12:10 NKJV


10     Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.


The next verse tells us this will happen when the abomination is set up, and the daily sacrifices are taken away.  We know from Daniel’s earlier prophecy in Daniel 9, and by Christ in Matthew 24, these things happen precisely during the 70th week of Daniel.


Ezekiel also foresaw the conversion of Israel during this time of distress.


Ezekiel 20:33-38 NKJV


33     "As I live," says the Lord God, "surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you.

34     I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out.

35     And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face.

36     Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you," says the Lord God.

37     "I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant;

38     I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord.


Again, this passage refers to God purging out the unrighteous among them.  As Daniel said, as we read a moment ago, the unrighteous will continue to be so.  God likens them to those who were freed from Egypt, but did not enter the Promised Land.  But the wise will understand and “know that I am the Lord.”


According to Ezekiel’s prophecy, several things happen:


•  Israel will be gathered out of the nations.


•  God will rule over Israel and bring this to pass through God’s wrath and fury.


•  Through the fire, God will purge the rebels from among them.


•  Though only a portion remain, they will know that He is Lord.


Purpose: To bring judgment and destruction upon a God rejecting earth


Earlier, we read in Jeremiah 30 that God will focus on Israel, but will also, according to verse 11, make an end of all the nations to where they were scattered.  This is also the passage dealing with the time of Jacob’s Troubles – Verse 7.


For thousands of years of human history man has been defying the commandments of God and rebelling against His laws.  During the Tribulation period, God will pour out His judgments upon an ungodly world and the nations of the earth because of their godlessness (Jer. 25:32-33; 2 Thess. 2:12).


Isaiah 26:21 NKJV


21     For behold, the Lord comes out of His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity…


They will have been deceived by the false teachings of the “harlot” system (Revelation 14:8).  They have followed the False Prophet in worship of the Antichrist, and have blasphemed the name of God and repented not to give Him glory (Revelation 16:9).


Since the kingdom to follow is a reign of righteousness, this judgment must be viewed as a step in God’s program to deal with sin, so that the Messiah may reign.  The “cities of the nations” shall fall, after which Satan will be bound and will not deceive the nations for a thousand years.


God’s judgment will also be upon the individual ungodly, the kings of the earth, the great, the rich, and the mighty, every bond and free (Rev. 6:15-17).         Zechariah 12:8-9 prophesies the “Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, in that day that I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”


The result will be worldwide devastation, with only a fraction of the world’s population surviving to the end of the Tribulation.


Isaiah 13:11-13 NKJV


11     I will punish the world for its evil, And the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.

12     I will make a mortal more rare than fine gold, A man more than the golden wedge of Ophir.

13     Therefore I will shake the heavens, And the earth will move out of her place, In the wrath of the Lord of hosts And in the day of His fierce anger.




One might question the fairness executing retribution on this final generation.  However, several factors must be considered:


1.      The generation living at the end of the age will have had more knowledge, more time, and greater opportunity than any preceding generation to respond to God’s mercy.  And yet their response will be a world-wide rejection of God to a degree that will overshadow the most pagan episodes of human history.


2.      Throughout the Tribulation period, salvation will still be available to anyone who responds to the grace of God.


3.      Once the day of the Lord begins, the intensity of the divine judgment is directly linked to the intensity of the world’s rejection and hatred of God.


God’s mercy will still be extended to all who call upon the name of the Lord.  And the Tribulation time just may see the greatest revival in the history of the earth.