Source: Chart by Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice - click to enlarge - See time of Jacob's Trouble in "Tribulation" on Right Side
The time of Jacob's trouble or Jacob's trouble (distress) refers to the phrase found in Jeremiah 30:7. Jeremiah 30-33 is a unique section of Jeremiah's book because these chapters are filled with prophecies that speak of a "future and a hope" for the exiled nation of Israel. Thus these chapters are often referred to as The Book of Consolation. In the previous 29 chapters Jeremiah has proclaimed primarily a negative message, but this chapter is like a breath of fresh air with Jeremiah 30:3 (see below) serving as a "summary" of this message of consolation. "A new day is about to dawn, and these chapters are filled with hope." (Michael Brown) Here are other translations of Jeremiah 30:7 for comparison. We will follow this with a brief examination of the context in Jeremiah 30:1-6 to help us interpret Jeremiah 30:7.
NAU 'Alas! for that day is great, There is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob's distress, But he will be (saved from it.
NET Alas, what a terrible time of trouble it is! There has never been any like it. It is a time of trouble for the descendants of Jacob, but some of them will be rescued out of it.
ESV Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it.
NIV 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.
NLT In all history there has never been such a time of terror. It will be a time of trouble for my people Israel. Yet in the end they will be saved!
EXAMINE THE CONTEXT
The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 2 "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book. 3 'For behold, days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah.' (see comments on importance of this phrase) The LORD says, 'I will also bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers and they shall possess it.'" 4 Now these are the words which the LORD spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah: 5 "For thus says the LORD, 'I have heard a sound of terror, Of dread, and there is no peace. 6 'Ask now, and see If a male can give birth. Why do I see every man With his hands on his loins, as a woman in childbirth? And why have all faces turned pale?"
FROM THE CONTEXT
- God refers to Himself as "the God of Israel" which is a phrase found 49 times in Jeremiah out of 199 uses in the OT (25% of OT uses are by Jeremiah). In spite of the fact that they have sinned for centuries and the preceding 29 chapters are filled with descriptions of their just retribution, God still associates Himself with them as the God of Israel demonstrating His special relation to and interest in Israel. The first use is in Exodus 5:1 = "And afterward Moses and Aaron came and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness.’” They are still "His people" even after millennia of rejecting Him and rebelling against Him! This is supernatural everlasting love (Jer 31:3)! Jehovah was and will always be the God of Israel, a truth which soundly trumps the tragic teaching of replacement theology or supersessionism! Jehovah Sabaoth said it and that settles it whether non-literalists believe it or not!
- Jehovah's mention of both the Northern division (Israel) and the Southern division (Judah) indicates that this prophecy is directed not just to Judah but to the entire nation. The specific mention of just the name of Jacob in Jer 30:7 is an allusion to the change of name God bestowed on Jacob in Genesis:
And he said, "Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed." (Genesis 32:28)
- This prophecy is spoken after the Northern 10 tribes had been taken into exile in Assyria (722BC) and at a time when the Southern 2 tribes were soon to be taken into exile in Babylon (586BC). In sum, the "fortunes" of the divided nation were "bankrupt" so to speak.
- In this context of national bankruptcy, God gives a promise to restore the fortunes of Israel and Judah. Note carefully that this prophecy must speak of a yet future prophecy because at no time did God restore the fortunes of the 10 northern tribes, so that the "Lost Tribes" are still "lost!" Guzik explains that the promise to restore the fortunes is "stated many times before and after in Jeremiah (See restore the fortunes). Yet as this prophecy develops it seems clear that this return from captivity is later and greater than the relatively soon return from the Babylonian exile. This is especially indicated by the last words of this chapter, which tell us that in the latter days you will consider it (Jeremiah 30:24). Jeremiah here looked beyond his present day and near future to see the latter days. (Ref)
Let's Unpack Jeremiah 30:7
Word by Word
Alas (woe)(01945) (hoy) is an interjection of distress used primarily by the prophets, 6x in mourning for the dead (1Ki 13:30 Jer 22:18; 34:5), and 40x as negative warnings specifying Divine punishment in the form of disaster, etc, for failing to repent from certain sins. The wicked are under the judgment of God (cp Ro 1:18ff) and therefore face a time of ruin and mourning, so that the only thing left for an unrepentant people is to mourn the destruction of their lives! Woe! Indeed, this dark distressful day will bring about a day against Israel (the Jews) far worse than even the horror of the Holocaust!
NET Note - “Alas” to signal a time of terrible trouble, even to sound the death knell for someone
Hoy is used >50x in prophets and only once elsewhere. 6x = mourning for the dead (1 Ki13:30), 40x = negative warnings or threats of God's physical chastisement. R. J. Clifford found 53 occurrences of hoy in the Old Testament. Of these he listed three possible uses: (1) to describe funeral laments (eight times), usually translated “alas”; (2) a cry to get attention (four times), usually translated “ho” or “ah”; (3) an announcement of doom (forty-one times and used only by the prophets), usually translated “woe to.” The wicked were under the judgment of God and therefore faced a time of ruin and mourning. The only thing left for an unrepentant people was to mourn the destruction of their lives.
Prophetic Passage - Jeremiah 30:7 is a prophecy which will be fulfilled at the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the last half of Daniel's Seventieth Week, at the end of the 3.5 year period (the Great Tribulation - see chart for synonyms) at which time the Messiah establishes His literal, earthly Millennial Kingdom.
AN UNPRECEDENTED DAY
IN THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL
That day (See also Last Days) - Jeremiah describes this day in negative terms, followed by the positive statement that Jacob "will be saved from it." Comparing Scripture with Scripture it is clear that this is not a single, literal day but a period of time that is repeatedly described in Scripture under at least four synonymous time phrases - See these parallel time phrases in chart below.
- Three and one-half years (Da 9:27-note)
- 1260 days (Rev 12:6-note)
- Forty-two months (Rev 11:2-note, Rev 13:5-note)
- Time, times and half a time (Da 7:25-note, Da 12:7-note, Rev 12:14-note)
A number of commentaries state that this "day" refers to the "Day of the Lord." but the time of Jacob's trouble while having some overlap is strictly speaking not an absolute synonym. As Reginald Showers states the "Day of the Lord will cover or at least include the same time period as the Time of Jacob’s Trouble and the Great Tribulation.” (See Shower's explanation) See also another discussion of Day of the LORD with diagrams to help you understand why this time period is a broader than just the Time of Jacob’s Trouble and the Great Tribulation (see chart for synonyms).
That day is great - How great? There is nothing to compare to what would be experienced for "there is none like it."
None like it - The Septuagint uses the negative particle ou which conveys the idea of absolute negation. There has absolutely never been a day (time) like this time. It is unique in all of history. The prophet Daniel and Jesus both described a unique time of distress (never before seen) that would impact the nation of Israel.
TWO OTHER TIMES OF
UNPRECEDENTED NATIONAL TROUBLE
Jeremiah's description that there is none like it is very similar to two other prophecies of a terrible time of distress for the nation of Israel, one described by the prophet Daniel and the other by the Prophet Jesus.
"A TIME OF DISTRESS"
(1) Daniel described a time that would befall Israel in "the latter days" (Da 10:14 - note the prophecy in Da 10-12 is a unit):
"Now at that time (What time? Read Da 11:36-45) Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people (Jews), everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued (Hebrew = malat = be delivered; Lxx = sozo) = be saved) (Daniel 12:1-note)
Comment: First, note that the qualitative description of the distress/trouble in Jer 30:7 (none like it) perfectly parallels Daniel's description of an unprecedented event in the history of Israel. Second, note that the word distress (Hebrew - tsarah) is used in both Da 12:1 and Jer 30:7. Furthermore, tsarah is translated in the Septuagint (Lxx) in both passages with the Greek noun thlipsis. In conclusion, by comparing Scripture with Scripture, it is clear that Daniel 12:1 and Jeremiah 30:7 refer to the same unique time of national distress for Israel.
"A GREAT TRIBULATION"
(2) Jesus addressing a Jewish audience spoke of a unique time of trouble that would come upon the nation of Israel declaring
Comment: First, notice that Jesus begins with "for" (term of explanation) explaining why He had just given such an urgent warning to escape Jerusalem in Mt 24:16-20-note. Second, He says "then" which begs the question "when?" The answer from the preceding context is "When you see "when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand)" (Mt 24:15) So the "then" of Mt 24:21 answers to the "then" of Mt 24:15. Second, note that the word for "tribulation" is again thlipsis. It is clearly that Jesus is describing the same time period as Jeremiah. Many conservative commentators interpret Matthew 24:15 as a prediction which was fulfilled by the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. The major problem with that interpretation is that Jesus plainly stated this tribulation would be unprecedented with nothing like it before or after. Clearly, the 70AD interpretation fails this test because the Jewish Holocaust at the hands of the evil Nazi regime was a far worse time of tribulation for Jews than was the destruction of the Temple in 70AD. Because Matthew 24:15 is such a key prophetic passage I have included a summary interpretation below (click here). If you would like a more detailed analysis of Matthew 24:15 click here.
- Great Tribulation - in more detail (Also see chart for synonyms)
- Description of other events of the "end times"
THE TIME OF
It is the time of Jacob's distress - The day will be one of distress. It will be great distress. It will be be terrifying to point of causing pallor and will be associated with great pain (Jer 30:6). Jacob stands for the entire (reunited) nation of Israel.
Note that similar phrases occur earlier in Jeremiah - The expression “time of distress/trouble” (ʿēt ṣārâ) occurs also in Jer 14:8, Jer 15:11; in Jer 16:19 it is “day of trouble” (yôm ṣārâ).
Jeremiah 14:8; “Thou Hope of Israel, Its Savior in time of distress (tsarah), Why art Thou like a stranger in the land Or like a traveler who has pitched his tent for the night?
Comment: Who is the Hope of Israel, its Savior, but the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ (cp 1 Ti 1:1 which literally reads "Christ Jesus our hope"). Indeed, He will deliver Israel and save the believing remnant out of the "time of Jacob's trouble/distress." (Read Ro 11:26, 27 = "saved", Jer 30:7 = "saved", Da 12:1 = "rescued")
Jeremiah 15:11 The LORD said, “Surely I will set you free for purposes of good; Surely I will cause the enemy to make supplication to you In a time of disaster and a time of distress (tsarah).
Dyer - God assured (Jeremiah - see Jer 15:10) of vindication. In the future his enemy would make supplication to him when the times of distress arrived. This promise was fulfilled specifically by the requests of King Zedekiah to Jeremiah (cf. Jeremiah 21:1-7; 37:1-10, 17-20; 38:14-26).
Jeremiah 16:19 O LORD, my strength and my stronghold, And my refuge in the day of distress (tsarah), To Thee the nations will come From the ends of the earth and say, “Our fathers have inherited nothing but falsehood, Futility and things of no profit.”
Comment: This prophecy looks forward to a future fulfillment as there is no time in history where "the nations" have come "from the ends of the earth" to Jehovah! Charles Dyer (commenting on Jer 16:19-21) agrees writing that "After affirming his trust in God, Jeremiah looked forward to the day when all the nations of the world will come to know the God of Israel (Jeremiah 12:14-17; Isa 56:7). They will admit their former objects of worship were futility, nothing but false gods (cf. Jeremiah 2:5). At that time God will make them know (used three times for emphasis) of His power and might so they will understand His character and will know that My name is the LORD (cf. Ezek 36:22-23). (Ibid)
Jacob (3290)(ya'aqob from 'aqab = seize by the heel and figuratively to circumvent) is commonly interpreted to mean heel-catcher, that is supplanter. He acquired his name when he was born "with his hand [symbolically] holding on to Esau's heel" (Ge 25:26 Hos 12:3). When he had later gained the birthright (Ge 25:29-34) and stolen Isaac's blessing (Ge 27:1-29), Esau exclaimed, "Is he not rightly named Jacob (ya'aqob), for he has supplanted me these two times?" (Ge 27:36). See also used his devices against Laban (Ge 30:29-31:12). Despite his devious nature, at Bethel, as Jacob was fleeing from Esau, God assured him that he was with him (Ge 28:12, 15) and renewed the covenant which he had previously revealed to Abraham and Isaac (Ge 28:13-14; cf. Ge 17:7-8; Ge 26:3-4; Lev 26:42). Jacob thereupon vowed that Yahweh would be his God and receive his tithes (Ge 28:20-22). Then at Peniel, enriched by the Lord but dreading to meet Esau, he uttered a model prayer (Ge 32:9-12). God, in the person of the Angel of the LORD presumably Christ pre-incarnate (Ge 32:24, 30; Hos 12:4), next encountered Jacob, with whom the patriarch wrestled, literally, but also in prayer (Hos 12:4). Broken by God (Ge 32:25), Jacob thereby achieved his final spiritual victory and blessing (Ge 32:29), for the Angel said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob (ya'aqob - "supplanter"), but Israel (yisra'el), for you have striven (sara) with God and with men and have prevailed" (Ge 32:28).
Jacob is mentioned 8x in 6 verses in the "Book of Consolation" (Jeremiah 30-33) = Jer 30:7 Jer 30:10 Jer 30:18 Jer 31:7 Jer 31:11 Jer 33:26.
Distress (06869)(tsarah from tsar = literally a narrow, confining space, figuratively dire straits from which escape is difficult) is a noun which depicts tightness (figuratively trouble) and implies great strain or stress psychologically and spiritually (as in Ge 42:21). The root word deals with harassment and torment engendered by an enemy and thus speaks of adversity, affliction, tribulation, trouble. Tsarah is used to describe the cursing to Israel for disobedience (Dt 31:17, 21 = troubles).
Tsarah is used 8x in Jeremiah and 5 of these are in the context of labor pains! - Jer 4:31; 6:24; 14:8; 15:11; 16:19; 30:7; 49:24; 50:43. Jer 4:31 and Jer 6:24 use tsarah in reference to the destruction of Jerusalem.
The Septuagint (Lxx) translates tsarah with the adjective stenos which literally describes a narrow space, like a narrow strait or a narrow strip of land. Figuratively stenos refers to close, confined circumstances. Think of our English word strait describes a situation characterized by a specified degree of trouble or difficulty.
Tsarah is used 8 times in Jeremiah
Jeremiah 4:31 For I heard a cry as of a woman in labor, The anguish (Lxx = stenagmos = sighing, groaning, involuntary expression of great concern or stress - Ro 8:26) as of one giving birth to her first child, The cry of the daughter of Zion gasping for breath, Stretching out her hands, saying, "Ah, woe is me, for I faint before murderers."
Jeremiah 6:24 We have heard the report of it; Our hands are limp. Anguish (Lxx = thlipsis = suffering brought on by external circumstances) has seized us, Pain as of a woman in childbirth.
Jeremiah 14:8 "O Hope of Israel, Its Savior in time of distress (Lxx = kakos = evil), Why are You like a stranger in the land Or like a traveler who has pitched his tent for the night?
Jeremiah 15:11 The LORD said, "Surely I will set you free for purposes of good; Surely I will cause the enemy to make supplication to you In a time of disaster and a time of distress thlipsis = suffering brought on by external circumstances).
Jeremiah 16:19 O LORD, my strength and my stronghold, And my refuge in the day of distress kakos = evil), To You the nations will come From the ends of the earth and say, "Our fathers have inherited nothing but falsehood, Futility and things of no profit."
Jeremiah 30:7 'Alas! for that day is great, There is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob's distress, But he will be saved from it.
Jeremiah 49:24 "Damascus has become helpless; She has turned away to flee, And panic has gripped her; Distress and pangs have taken hold of her Like a woman in childbirth.
Jeremiah 50:43 "The king of Babylon has heard the report about them, And his hands hang limp; Distress (Lxx = thlipsis = suffering brought on by external circumstances) has gripped him, Agony like a woman in childbirth.
But - term of contrast - Always pause and review what the author is contrasting, which can occasionally lead to some surprising insights into the meaning of a given text.
He will be saved from it - Who is "he?" He refers to "Jacob," this name being representative of the nation of Israel (Jacob's other name). The distress will be horrific but the salvation terrific for those Jews who turn to their Messiah. In the midst of this horrible wrath, God remembers mercy. The time is horrible, but it is finite (cp Mt 24:22, 30). We see a vivid description of Jehovah's "operation rescue" in Revelation 19:15, 16-note, Zechariah 12:1-14:21 (which should be read as a unit) and summarized in Romans 11:26-27-note. Jeremiah 30:8-11 gives more specific details of the characteristics of this end time salvation of Jacob (Israel).
NET Note - Jacob here is figurative for the people descended from him. Moreover the figure moves from Jacob = descendants of Jacob to only a part of those descendants. Not all of his descendants who have experienced and are now experiencing trouble will be saved. Only a remnant (i.e., the good figs, cf., e.g., Jer 23:3; 31:7) will see the good things that the LORD has in store for them (Jer 24:5–6). The bad figs will suffer destruction through war, starvation, and disease (cf., e.g., Jer 24:8–10 among many other references).
Constable summarizes this coming day of distress - A coming time would be the worst Jacob had ever experienced or would ever experience. This anticipates the Tribulation in which Israelites will suffer more greatly than they ever have or ever will (cf. Jer 46:10; Isa. 2:12–21; 13:6; 34:1–8; Ezek. 30:3; Dan. 9:27; 12:1; Joel 1:15; 2:1–2, 11; Amos 5:18–20; Mic. 1:2–5; Zeph. 1:2–3:8; Zech. 14:1–8, 12–15; Matt. 24–25; Rev. 6–18).
This title recalls to mind the great Pauline phrase "Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more!" (Ro 5:20-note) Oh, how great a salvation the Almighty has bestowed on both Jews and Gentiles alike!
Saved (delivered) (03467)(yasha') (See also yeshua from which we get our word "Jesus") is a verb which means to help, to save, to deliver. The root in Arabic is "make wide" which underscores the main thought of yasha ' as to bring to a place of safety or broad pasture in contrast to a narrow strait which symbolizes distress or danger."
Yasha' - Occurs 198x in the OT - Jer 2:27-28; 4:14; 8:20; 11:12; 14:8-9; 15:20; 17:14; 23:6; 30:7, 10-11; 31:7; 33:16; 42:11; 46:27; Similarly predictions of end times salvation are seen in Ezek 34:22; 36:29; 37:23; Hos 1:7; 13:4, 10; 14:3; Obad 1:21; Hab 1:2; Zeph 3:17, 19; Zech 8:7, 13; 9:9, 16; 10:6; 12:7
TWOT adds that the concept of wide "connotes freedom from distress and the ability to pursue one’s own objectives. To move from distress to safety requires deliverance. Generally the deliverance must come from somewhere outside the party oppressed. In the OT the kinds of distress, both national and individual, include enemies, natural catastrophies, such as plague or famine, and sickness. The one who brings deliverance is known as the “savior.” (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)
From it - In the Septuagint the preposition apo is used for "from" and is a marker indicating separation from something (a person, place or thing). And "it" of course is the day of distress, not a single day but representative of a period of time. While Jeremiah does not state how long this day will last (so clearly it is not a literal day), comparison with the Great Tribulation described by Jesus leaves no doubt that these are two names of the same time of distress. And by comparing Jesus' description of the event that begins the Great Tribulation (revealing of the Antichrist - Mt 24:15) and Daniel's description of the seventieth week of the prophecy in Da 9:24-27-note (see especially Da 9:27-note), one can confidently state that this time of distress will last three and one-half years, the last half of the seven year period traditionally called "The Tribulation."
SUMMARY OF THE
DAY OF JACOB'S DISTRESS
First note that the time of Jacob's distress describes a period of time, specifically the last 3.5 years of Daniel's Seventieth Week, which Jesus designated as Great Tribulation (Mt 24:21, cp Mk 13:19, Re 7:14-note; see chart for synonyms). During this time the Antichrist (See discussion of "Beast" of Rev 13, "Little Horn of Daniel 7") will be allowed by God and empowered by Satan (Rev 13:4-note, Rev 13:5-note where 42 months = 3.5 years) to have essentially "free reign" on the earth and will attempt to destroy the Jews in the greatest "holocaust" the world has ever seen. And yet in the midst of this horrible time to come, God makes the sure promise that He will save Jacob from it or out of it, which is a prophecy that will be fulfilled with the Messiah returns to deliver Israel, an event described by Paul in Romans and by the prophet Zechariah.
PAUL - For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in; and thus all Israel will be saved (sozo = the same verb used in the Lxx translation of "saved" in Jer 30:7); just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.” “AND THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.” (Romans 11:25-27-see commentary)
ZECHARIAH - And it will come about in all the land,” Declares the LORD, “That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it. And I will bring the third part through the fire, 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, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’” (Zech 13:8, 9).
John MacArthur on the time of Jacob's distress - This period of unprecedented difficulty for Israel, as the verse defines, is set in a context of Israel’s final restoration. It is best equated with the time of tribulation (cf. Jer 30:8, 9) just before Christ’s Second Advent, mentioned elsewhere (Da 12:1; Mt 24:21, 22) and described in detail by Rev 6–19.
J Vernon McGee on Jeremiah 30:7 - Jeremiah sees the great Day of the Lord (Ed: see qualifying comments regarding this Day and the "time of Jacob's distress/trouble") coming of which the other prophets, including Isaiah, also spoke. They said it is to be a day of darkness and not of light, that the people will go through the night of the Great Tribulation Period before they will see the brightness of day. In effect God is saying, “You haven’t seen anything yet. The Great Tribulation Period will be far worse than what you are going through now.”
King James Version Study Bible - Before the future blessing promised to a repentant and righteous people, will come the time of Jacob’s trouble. This refers to that great period of Israel’s tribulation (Deut. 4:30; Is. 24–27; Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:15–28; Rev. 12). That affliction in the end times will be associated with the great judgments involved in the day of the Lord (Ed: see qualifying comments regarding this Day and the "time of Jacob's distress/trouble"). As a day of judgment, “the day of the LORD” is characterized by: (1) desolation and fear (Is. 13:6–16; Joel 1:15; 2:1); (2) darkness and gloom (Joel 2:2, 10; Zeph. 1:15); (3) earthly and celestial phenomena (Is. 13:9, 10, 13; Joel 2:30, 31; 3:14, 15; Amos 5:20; Zeph. 1:15; Zech. 14:1–7; 2 Pet. 3:10); (4) devastation and destruction (Obad. 15, 16; Zeph. 1:14–18; 1 Thess. 5:2ff.; 2 Pet. 3:10, 11); (5) wrath (Zeph. 1:14–18); (6) death (46:10; Is. 13:15, 16; Ezek. 30:2; Zeph. 1:17, 18; Zech. 14:1); and (7) unprecedented warfare (Rev. 16:14). However, when judgment has done its work, Israel shall be saved out of it. Hence, that “day” will also be characterized by: (1) salvation (Joel 2:20, 32; 3:17; Zech. 14:2, 3); (2) righteousness (2 Pet. 3:13); (3) peace and prosperity (Joel 3:18, 20; Zech. 14:8–10); (4) the return of the Messiah (Zech. 14:4–7); and (5) His worship and adoration (Zech. 14:16).
Beware of comments in older commentaries as many did not interpret the text literally - Adam Clarke for example writes "When the Medes and Persians with all their forces shall come on the Chaldeans, it will be the day of Jacob's trouble." (This is clearly an incorrect interpretation). John Gill's interpretation is even more absurd as he even jettisons the rule of context neglecting the fact that Jeremiah is a Jew speaking to Jews and not to the church. And so Gill writes "it is even the time of Jacob's trouble: of the church and people of God, the true Israel of God." John Calvin's comment is relatively verbose but sheds absolutely no light on the passage! Jamieson, Fausset and Brown is a refreshing exception to the non-literal approaches of most of the pre-1900 commentaries (and it is the best on prophetic writings!), writing "none like it … but he shall be saved — (Daniel 12:1). The partial deliverance at Babylon‘s downfall prefigures the final, complete deliverance of Israel, literal and spiritual, at the downfall of the mystical Babylon (Revelation 18:1-19:21)." (Bolding mine).
Tony Garland has the following summary of the Great Tribulation (A Testimony of Jesus Christ - Jacob’s Trouble and the Great Tribulation)...
Two other titles which are related to the coming Day of the Lord are the Time of Jacob’s Trouble and the Great Tribulation. (1 - see notes below) Notice that all three involve the concept of an unparalleled time of trouble. Unparalleled implies two things concerning the time periods involved:
1 Since there cannot be more than one unparalleled time of trouble, their time periods must overlap. (2)
2 These events have not transpired in the past. (3)
Regarding the timing of the Great Tribulation, Jesus said
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” (Mt 24:15-22, cp Mark 13:19-27)
Jesus referred to this Daniel 9:27 “overspreading of abominations” in Matthew 24:15. Then He said, “then shall be Great Tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Mt 24:21), thereby indicating that the Great Tribulation will begin when the overspreading of abominations of Daniel 9:27 occurs. Since the Great Tribulation will begin when the overspreading of abominations occurs in the middle of the 70th week, we can conclude that the Great Tribulation will begin in the middle of the 70th week of Daniel, or after the first three and one-half years of that seven-year period have transpired. (4)
Notice Jesus says, “let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” and “pray that your flight may not be . . . on the Sabbath.” There is an explicit Jewish element to this entire passage. This is because the events are related to the Time of Jacob’s Trouble described by Jeremiah:
‘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.’ Now these are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah. 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 labor with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor, 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.’ (Je 30:3-7)
Notice several important aspects within this passage:
1 Jacob is Israel - Jacob fathered the 12 tribes and was given the name Israel by God (Gen. 32:28). Thus, this is describing a time of trouble specifically for the Jews.
2 Gathering in the Land - This time of trouble occurs after Israel is gathered back in the Promised Land.
3 Birth Pangs - The passage refers to every man acting “like a woman in labor.” How similar this is to the words of Jesus, “All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Mt 24:8). Sorrows (ōdin) indicates “[A] pang or throe, especially of childbirth.” [emphasis added] 5
4 A Unique Day - There is no other day like it.
5 Results in Salvation - “But he shall be saved out of it.” Although the Jews undergo an extremely troubling time, salvation comes at the end. 6
The Jewish aspect of this period can also be seen in the wider context of Micah’s well-known prophecy concerning the birthplace of Messiah:
Now gather yourself in troops, O daughter of troops; He has laid siege against us; they will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek. But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. Therefore He shall give them up, until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; then the remnant of His brethren shall return to the children of Israel. And He shall stand and feed His flock In the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God; and they shall abide, for now He shall be great to the ends of the earth. (Mic. 5:1-4) [bolding added]
Scripture record’s two pregnancies in relation to Messiah. The first labor terminates in the First Coming of Messiah (Re 12:2, 3, 4-note). The second labor terminates in the ushering in of the Millennial Kingdom. It is this second period of labor, subsequent to the going forth of Messiah from Bethlehem, which Micah sets forth. This second labor leads to the millennial age: “For now He shall be great to the ends of the earth.” The time of Jacob’s trouble describes the labor pains associated with the second pregnancy.
“She who travaileth” does not refer to Israel bringing forth (giving birth to) Messiah, but to her last-day Tribulation travail (Jer. 30:5-7) in bringing forth a believing remnant, . . . Israel’s greatest and most anguishing sufferings of all her long and checkered history of woe will take place during the coming Great Tribulation (Rev. 8:1-note- Re 20:3-note). Her terrible travail pains that in God’s plan precede the joy of birth (cf. Mic. 4:9; cf. John 16:21), will bring forth a regenerated nation to enter the joy of the Kingdom, which will be as unparalleled as the agony that introduces it.7
This period is mentioned in the book of Revelation and also Daniel which provides additional details as to its duration: 8
Revelation 12-note states the length of time this persecution and hiding of the Jews in the wilderness will last . . . it will last 1,260 days (Rev. 12:6-note) . . . Revelation 12:14-note states that Israel will hide in the wilderness from Satan for “a time, and times, and half a time.” Daniel 7:25 uses this identical time designation for the length of time that the Antichrist will persecute the saints of the 70th week. . . . Revelation 13:5-7-note, when referring to this same persecution of 70th-week saints by the Antichrist, declares that it will last for 42 months, which equal three and one-half years. . . . The Jews will be persecuted and will hide in a wilderness area for three and one-half years, exactly one-half of the seven-year 70th week. . . . the Great Tribulation will be finished when God has completely shattered the obstinate rebellion of the nation of Israel against Him [Dan. 9:24; 12:7]. In other words, the Great Tribulation will end when Israel’s rebellion against God’s rule ends. 9
Scofield summarizes the character of this unique period:
The elements of the tribulation are: (1) The cruel reign of the “beast out of the sea” (Rev. 13:1-note), who, at the beginning of the three and a half years, will break his covenant with the Jews (by virtue of which they will have re-established the temple worship, Dan. 9:27), and show himself in the temple, demanding that he be worshipped as God (Mt 24:15; 2Th. 2:4). (2) The active interposition of Satan “having great wrath” (Rev. 12:12-note), who gives his power to the Beast (Rev. 13:4-note, Re 13:5-note). (3) The unprecedented activity of demons (Rev. 9:2-note, Re 9:11-note); and (4) the terrible “bowl” judgments of Rev. 16-note 10
Although the book of Revelation indicates that all those living on the earth immediately prior to the return of Jesus will be involved in troublesome times, this is especially true for the Jews. This is because God applies judgment first and more fully to those who have greater revelation and responsibility (Amos 3:2; Luke 12:48).11
While it is true that all will suffer during that time, Israel will suffer more so. The basic reason for this lies in Israel’s relationship to God as God’s first born (Ex. 4:22) and, therefore, Israel receives double, both in blessing and cursing. The principle that Israel receives double for all her sins is stated in Isaiah 40:1-2 . . . It is also found in Jeremiah 16:16-18. The principle of Israel’s receiving double for all her sins is the reason why the Tribulation is uniquely the Time of Jacob’s Trouble.12
Stanton shows the Jewish character of the period by saying: “The tribulation is primarily Jewish. This fact is borne out by Old Testament Scriptures (Dt 4:30; Jer. 30:7; Eze. 20:37; Dan. 12:1; Zec. 13:8-9), by the Olivet Discourse of Christ (Mt 24:9-26), and by the book of Revelation itself (Rev. 7:4-8-note; Re 12:1-2-note, Re 12:17-note etc.). It concerns ‘Daniel’s people,’ the coming of ‘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 city of Jerusalem, the twelve ‘tribes of the children of Israel,’ the ‘son of Moses,’ ‘signs’ in the heavens, the ‘covenant’ with the Beast, the ‘sanctuary,’ the ‘sacrifice and the oblation’ of the temple ritual—these all speak of Israel and prove that the tribulation is largely a time when God deals with His ancient people prior to their entrance into the promised kingdom.”13
Our study of the book of Revelation will greatly benefit by keeping in mind the purposes God has for this period of time:
The first purpose is to make an end of wickedness and wicked ones (Isa. 13:9; Isa. 24:19-20) . . . The second purpose of the Tribulation is to bring about a worldwide revival (Rev. 7:1-7-note) . . . The Third purpose of the Tribulation is to break the power of the stubborn will of the Jewish nation (Dan. 12:5-7; Eze. 20:33-38).14
The Old Testament presents at least five purposes for the Tribulation.
1 . The Tribulation will complete the decreed period of national Israel’s judicial hardening as punishment for its rejection of the messianic program, which the partial return from exile did not remove and which culminated in the national rejection of Jesus (Isa. 6:9-13; 24:1-6; cf. John 12:37-41; Rom. 11:7-10).
2 . It will produce a messianic revival among Jewish people scattered throughout the world (Dt 4:27-30; cf. Rev. 7:1-4-note; Mt 24:14).
3 . The Tribulation will convince the Jewish nation of their need for the Messiah in order to produce a national regeneration (Dan. 12:5-7; Jer. 31:31-34; Eze. 20:34-38; 36:25-27; 37:1-14; Zec. 12:9-13:2; Isa. 59:20-21). This will result in a massive return of Jews to the land of Israel (Zec. 8:7-8; Eze. 36:24; 37:21).
4 . It will end the time of the Gentiles and effect the deliverance of the Jewish people from Gentile dominion (Isa. 24:21-23; 59:16-20; cf. Mt 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27; Rom. 11:25).
5 . The Tribulation will purge the earth of wicked people in order to establish the Messianic Kingdom in righteousness (Isa. 13:9; 24:19-20; Eze. 37:23; Zec. 13:2; 14:9; Isa. 11:9). This violent reduction of the world’s unbelieving population will result from the divine judgments unleashed throughout the Tribulation (Rev. 6-18), climaxing with the Battle of Armageddon under King Messiah (Rev. 19) and His purge of rebel Jews and oppressive Gentiles at the end of the Tribulation (Eze. 20:33-38; Mt 25:31-46).15
Notes and Reference annotations
1 “The Scriptures indicate that the Day of the Lord, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, and the Great Tribulation (Ed: see chart for synonyms) have several things in common. First, the concept of trouble or tribulation are associated with all three . . . Second, the concept of an unparalleled time of trouble is identified with all three [Joel 2:1-2; Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1 cf. Mt 24:21] . . . Third, the term ‘great’ is used for all three . . . Fourth, the concept of birth pangs is associated with all three . . . Fifth, the expression ‘that day’ is used for all three . . . Sixth, Israel’s future repentance or spiritual restoration to God is associated with all three . . . These comparisons demonstrate that several of the same concepts and terms are associated with the Day of the Lord, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, and the Great Tribulation . . . they indicate that the Day of the Lord will cover or at least include the same time period as the Time of Jacob’s Trouble and the Great Tribulation.”—Renald E. Showers, Maranatha, Our Lord Come (Bellmawr, NJ: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1995), 41-42.
2 “Both the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jer. 30:6-7) and the Great Tribulation (Mt 24:21) are described as the unparalleled time of trouble. Since there can only be one such time, both will cover the same time period. The Great Tribulation will begin in the middle of the seven-year 70th week. We know this because Jesus indicated that the Great Tribulation will begin with the abomination of desolation (Mt 24:15-21), which will take place in the middle of the 70th week (Dan. 9:27). . . . Since the Great Tribulation will begin in the middle and terminate at the end of the 70th week and will cover the same time period as the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble will also cover the entire second half of the 70th week.”—Showers, Maranatha, Our Lord Come, 23-24.
4 Showers, Maranatha, Our Lord Come, 43.
7 Merrill F. Unger, Unger’s Commentary on the Old Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2002), Mic. 5:3.
8 See Prophetic Year.
9 Showers, Maranatha, Our Lord Come, 44-46.
10 C. I. Scofield, The Scofield Study Bible (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2002, 1909), Rev. 7:14.
11 “It has been denied that God‘s people were actually worse than the pagans about them, but reckoning must be in proportion to spiritual knowledge and privileges enjoyed. The judgments of God are always relative to light and privilege granted. . . The Latins have a pointed saying: Corruptio optimi pessima (’The corruption of the best issues in the worst.’)”—Charles Feinberg, The Prophecy of Ezekiel: The Glory of the Lord (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1969), 37.
12 Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 282-283.
http://1313 J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958), 237.
14 Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, 177-181.
15 Randall Price, “Old Testament References to The Great Tribulation,” in Mal Couch, ed., Dictionary of Premillennial Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1996), 415.
THE second item in the Divine program of the future of Israel, as given in this divinely dictated "book," is, to use the language of inspiration, the "time of Jacob's trouble.".....But may not this "time of Jacob's trouble" refer to the awful calamity which befell the nation at the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, which was repeated with perhaps still greater severity about sixty-five years later in the time of Bar Kokhba and Hadrian? No! The ordeal announced here through which Israel is to pass is terribly sharp, but brief in its duration, as suggested by the very figure employed—which is that of a woman in travail ; and it ends in their salvation (Jer 30:7b): while the sufferings at the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus (70AD) only inaugurated a long series of dispersions, massacres, spoliations, and oppressions, which has already continued for more than eighteen centuries. Of course, it is not denied that these long-enduring sufferings were predicted in the Word of God, and have their place and relation to Israel's apostasy and future glory; and, in one sense, "the time of Jacob's trouble" may be only a summing up, a culmination, of all that has preceded: but it is clear that there is a time of purging by fiery judgment awaiting Israel after the return to their land, which will immediately precede their national conversion and the revelation to them of the Messiah, whom, as a nation, they have so long rejected. (The Jewish Problem-David Baron - The Time of Israel's Trouble)
The prophets constantly speak of "the day of Jehovah." Descriptions of it are found in such passages as Isaiah 2, the Book of Joel, and Zephaniah 1:14-18. They picture it as a time of great distress and indignation when God arises to shake the earth mightily and to destroy the wicked out of it. One of the clearest descriptions of this period of trouble and judgment is found in Isaiah 24:1-20. This is called especially the time of Jacob's trouble, but he is assured that he shall be saved out of it (Jeremiah 30:7).
The Book of Revelation is a detailed account of the judgments which will fall upon the earth during that time. This period of Jehovah's wrath is described in chapters 6 through 19. Those chapters which give the chronological order of events are: 6,8,9, and 16. The other chapters give details concerning the conditions which will then obtain upon the earth. Thus, figuratively speaking, we would say that they give the stage setting.
A careful study of Revelation shows that this period of wrath is divided into two sections: The first half of the Tribulation covering 1260 days (Revelation 11:3); the second half consisting of forty-two months (Revelation 11:2). These judgments will be so very severe that the bulk of humanity will be swept from the face of the globe. The surface of the earth will present the appearance of a desolation and a waste. The heavens likewise will be affected by these thorough-going judgments. Jeremiah, chapter 4:23-26, gives a very vivid description of the heavens and the earth at the end of the Tribulation. That he was talking about this time of judgment is evident from the fact that verse 27 begins with the conjunction for, which introduces a sentence explanatory of this passage. An examination of this verse and the following ones shows that Jeremiah was looking forward into the future — to this period of travail through which Israel as a nation shall pass in this period of Tribulation. (The Seventy Weeks of Daniel- Chapter 05) (The Seventy Weeks of Daniel)
As as aside, I am shocked that a Jewish believer, Dr Michael Brown (Expositor's Bible Commentary---Revised) makes this dogmatic statement:
"Dispensational authors take the passage (Jer 30:7) to refer to Israel’s sufferings in the great tribulation after the church has been raptured—certainly not in the mind of Jeremiah here—with almost no reference to the sufferings of Israel and Judah at the hands of the Babylonians." (Bolding added for emphasis)
I far prefer the non-revised 1984 edition of the Expositor's Bible Commentary in which the section on Jeremiah was penned by another Jewish believer, Dr. Charles Feinberg. His words (with which I agree) are essentially the antithesis of the musings of Dr Brown -
"In the light of the immediate context and what follows, the preferable position is to assume that the reference (in Jer 30:7) is to the Day of the Lord. “That day” was not one immediately at hand. It is not the day of the destruction of Jerusalem but the day of God’s comprehensive judgment. The present is not to be excluded, but it is swallowed up in the future. That day was to be marked by great calamities. In a sense the fall of Babylon was only the opening scene of the extended drama. Yet it is vitally important to remember that v.7 speaks of Jacob’s trouble, not Babylon’s. The prophetic Scriptures are replete with references to this unique time of Jacob’s distress; e.g., “There is none like it” (cf. Matt 24:21 with the earlier prediction in Dan 12:1; cf. also 46:10; Isa 2:12–21; 13:6; 34:1–8; Ezek 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1–2, 11; Amos 5:18–20; Mic 1:2–5; Zeph 1:2–3:8; Zech 14:1–8, 12–15 among others). Notice that the travail will issue in both physical and spiritual deliverance (cf. Zech 12:10–13:1) and that liberation will be such that never again will Israel be enslaved by any nation. This could never be said of any deliverance to this present hour; it must refer to eschatological times." (Expositor's Bible Commentary)
I would suggest that newer editions of books are not necessarily better editions and the preceding discussion is a striking example!
And since Dr Brown seems to blame the eschatological (future) interpretation of Jeremiah 30:7 on a "dispensationalist" approach, I thought it would be "kosher" to quote a voice from the past, Charles Simeon (1759-1836), a British pastor who lived and preached long before dispensationalism was a popular. Here is a section from his sermon on verses in the context of Jeremiah 30:7 (sermon on Jeremiah 30:10-11) -
Respecting their primary import we can have no doubt. They (the words of Jer 30:10,11) look forward to a period far beyond the return of the Jews from Babylon, even to that blessed period, when the whole nation shall be converted to the faith of Christ, and be restored to the possession of the land of Canaan (Jer 30:8,9). That such a period shall arrive, we have the strongest and most unequivocal declarations of Holy Writ (cf Hos 3:5): and it becomes us all to look forward to it with confidence and joy.... A season of happiness awaits them, such as they never experienced in their most prosperous days: “they shall be at rest, and be quiet, and none shall make them afraid:” and this outward peace shall be only a shadow of that inward joy which they snail experience under the protection of their reconciled God and Saviour, who will be “a little sanctuary unto them.” (Ezek. 11:16, 17-note with Jer 23:6.) However “far off” his people are, God sees and knows them (2Ti 2:19), and will in due season bring them to Himself. No enemy shall be able to detain them: their bonds shall be broken, and they shall be “brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” O what sweet peace and composure of mind shall they enjoy, when they are truly brought to the fold of Christ (Ps 23:1-2)! what blessed assurance too shall they possess, not only of their present interest in the Saviour, but of final victory and everlasting felicity (Ps 23:3-4)! Yet is this but the beginning of blessings: the time shall come when the saints of all ages, even from the beginning to the end of time, shall be gathered together, every one of them freed from all remains of sin and sorrow, and raised to the fruition of their heavenly inheritance. Shall we not then, whilst we contemplate the future destinies of God’s ancient people, consider also our own; when, even in this life, such “things are prepared for us as no un-renewed eye hath seen, or ear heard, or heart conceived;” and, in the world to come, such things as exceed the comprehension whether of men or angels?....The Egyptians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Romans, have ceased to exist as distinct kingdoms; and have been lost, as it were, among the people who subdued them: but the Jews are in every place a distinct people, and are so kept by God’s overruling providence, that he may accomplish more manifestly his gracious purposes towards them. Many indeed, like Pharaoh, have sought their destruction; but they live as monuments of God’s unceasing care and faithfulness. And may not we also see the hand of God ordering and overruling every thing for our good?....Look at the Jews in Babylon, or in their present state; What can be conceived more hopeless? — — — Yet they were, and shall be delivered." - (Full sermon - Jeremiah 30:10, 11.God’s gracious Designs towards his chosen People)
I love it. Here is Charles Simeon, a Gentile non-dispensationalist, who seems to simply allow the text say what it says normally and in plain English and in so doing arrives at the same conclusion that Feinberg did more than a 100 years later -- the conclusion that this section of Jeremiah clearly has a future fulfillment in view! The upshot is be careful who you read on prophetic passages, regardless of how many degrees or doctorates they possess! If they do not read and interpret the text literally, they are very likely to err in their interpretation on eschatological passages, whether they are Jewish or Gentile!
Here is my summary interpretation of Mt 24:15 which will be explained in more detail in the remainder of the comments and compared with other interpretations. This summary is based primarily on simple observation of the Scripture, reading the text for the plain sense (literally), not looking for hidden meanings and comparing the text with related or parallel Scriptures to help understand Jesus' intended meaning. Note the "+" signs which mark additional notes on the associated verse.
Jesus has just ended Mt 24:14+ with the words "the end" (the very last Greek word in Mt 24:14) and now responds to the disciples' initial request for a sign (Mt 24:3+) by giving them a very unique sign which will mark the beginning of the end of this age (Mt 24:3+). And so Jesus describes a specific sign, one which has not occurred in the past (but which had been foreshadowed-see Da 8:13, Da 11:31), and which will literally be fulfilled in the future. Recall that a sign is something that one can see which points to something else. In Mt 24:15 Jesus says "when you see" indicating that this is a visible sign. He explains that the sign is the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place. He also explains that study of the book of Daniel will help the reader understand the sign. The Temple was destroyed in 70AD, but Jesus says the sign is of some one or some thing standing in the Temple (holy place). Of course the problem with Jesus' prophecy is that there is currently no Temple. It follows that the Jewish Temple must be rebuilt in Jerusalem (see note). If God can cause the nation of Israel to be reborn in May, 1948 against all odds, then a rebuilt Temple will not be too difficult for Him (Jer 32:17+, Jer 32:27+). Does this take faith to accept? Of course it does, but the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen (a rebuilt Temple, Heb 11:1+) are based not on an active imagination but on our faithful God (Lam 3:23) and His faith producing Word (Ro 10:17+, cf Rev 11:2+, future Antichrist in the rebuilt Temple in 2Th 2:3-+, 2Th 2:4+, 2Th 2:3- 2Th 2:3-see note). Daniel 9:27+ describes a prince who is to come (Da 9:26+) who will make a 7 year covenant ("one week" - see Daniel's Seventieth Week) with the "many," the "many" clearly being the Jews in context ("your [Daniel a Jewish man's] people" Da 9:24+). This "prince" is the Antichrist (name used only in 1Jn 2:18+) who Daniel identifies as the "Little Horn" and who rises to power out of a 10 nation confederacy (Daniel 7:8+, cp Da 2:44-45+ where "the days of those kings" = "10 toe stage" [Da 2:42+] = 10 horns = 10 kings - cp Da 7:24+). The first 3.5 years, his devilish character is not obvious (see note on Rev 6:2), but in the middle of the 7 year "peace" covenant, he breaks the covenant with Israel and puts a stop to sacrifices and offerings in the rebuilt Temple (Da 9:27+) fulfilling Jesus' prophecy in Mt 24:15. Daniel says he also (as the "Little Horn") will overpower 3 of the original 10 members of the confederacy (Da 7:8+, Da 7:20+). Paul adds that the Antichrist (aka "man of lawlessness...son of perdition") will go into the "holy place," the rebuilt Temple, and take "his seat in the Temple of God, displaying himself as being God." (" 2Th 2:3+, 2Th 2:4+, cp Da 11:36 2Th 2:3- 2Th 2:3- 2Th 2:3-+) In so doing he will commit the abomination that makes the Temple desolate. Note that this sign is not the Roman army surrounding Jerusalem in the past (70AD - cp Lk 21:20+), but a real person who will commit a real act of defilement (abomination) of the Jewish Temple in the future. At this same time, in the midpoint of the 7 year covenant, the Antichrist (aka "The Beast") is empowered by the dragon (the devil) for 42 months or the last 3.5 years of the 7 year period (Rev 13:4-5+) However, since it is unlikely the Antichrist will personally remain standing in the holy place, it is more likely that it is his image which the false prophet creates and commands the world to worship, which will remain standing in the holy place (cp Rev 13:14-15+, Rev 14:9, 11+, Rev 16:2+, Rev 19:20+, contrast Rev 20:4+)
During this last 3.5 years, the Antichrist will begin to pursue and persecute the Jews, which is the impetus for Jesus taking five verses to command and convince the Jews to flee when they see the sign of the abomination of desolation! During his last 3.5 years of the Seventieth Week, the Antichrist "will speak out against the Most High (beginning in Mt 24:15, 2Th 2:4 2Th 2:4, blaspheming God - Rev 13:6+, cp his great, boasts - Da 7:8+, Da 7:11+, Da 7:20+) and wear down the saints of the Highest One, with the intent to make alterations in times and in law (cp Da 9:27+ "stop to sacrifice and grain offering"); and they (the Jews) will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time." (chart) (Da 7:25+ = Da 7:21+ = the Little Horn who "was waging war with the [Jewish] saints and overpowering them") In other words, after the Antichrist breaks his covenant with the Jews, they will be given into his hand for "time, times and half a time" (3.5 years, John says 1260 days in Rev 12:6+, which he repeats in Rev 12:14+ = "time, times, and half a time" = 42 months)(chart). John records "it was given to him (the Antichrist) to make war with the saints (the Jews first, but then to all who refuse to worship his image - Rev 13:15+) and to overcome them; and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him." (Rev 13:7+) For how long? Three and one-half years beginning with the unmistakably clear sign in Mt 24:15 which inaugurates the time Jesus calls the "Great Tribulation" (Mt 24:21+ = Mk 13:19 = the "time of Jacob's distress" = Jer 30:7+) a time "such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall," a time which Daniel describes as "a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time" (Da 12:1+) but a time which "shall be cut short" (Mt 24:22) after "a time, times, and half a time" (Da 12:7+)(chart), during which "many (Jews) will be purged, purified and refined." (Da 12:10+, cf Zech 13:8, 9, Zech 12:10, Ro 11:26-27+) God will allow the Antichrist 1260 days (42 months) to do his worst, but not one day longer, because the true Christ will return and bring that Lawless One "to an end by the appearance of His coming" (2Thes 2:7-8, 9-10). Then the true Christ will fulfill many OT prophecies (Amos 9:11,12, Jer 30:9+, Jer 31:28+, Jer 32:42, 43+, Jer 33:14, 15, 16+, Ezek 37:22, 23, 24, 25+, Zech 14:11, 16, 17), and set up His 1000 year Kingdom on earth (cp Acts 1:6, 15:13-14, 15-18, Lk 19:11 Rev 20:4-5+), demonstrating God's best after 3.5 years of Satan's worst! Indeed, "Then the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him." (Da 7:27+)
- Click Chart Summarizing Daniel's 70th Week