In Ezekiel 1, God makes a grand entrance into Ezekiel’s life riding His Godmobile. In Ezekiel 2-3, God gives him his life’s mission. Just as Jeremiah was given a very specific mission, Ezekiel was too – but the funny thing is, Ezekiel could not possibly have fulfilled his mission!
To whom was Ezekiel sent? Ezekiel 2:3. To whom was He to speak? Ezekiel 3:1-6. Would they listen? Verses 7-9. WHERE was he sent? Verses 10-15. Did that fulfill his commission? Or did it just take him “back” where he had started? Ezekiel 1:1.
Ezekiel was sent to the HOUSE OF ISRAEL. Not the Jews! The book of Ezekiel was all written after 607 BC. Yet the WHOLE House of Israel had gone into captivity in 718 BC – over 100 years before! Ezekiel COULD NOT have sent his message to Israel, because Ezekiel was in the Babylonian captivity while Israel was already marching west around the Black Sea, fleeing the Assyrian captivity!
He clearly had to GO somewhere to get to the house of Israel (Ezekiel 3:4). But Ezekiel was a CAPTIVE! He could not, and as his own book records; he DID NOT leave Babylon and go in search of the scattered remnants of the Assyrian captivity! (Ezekiel 40:1 finds him, 25 years later, still in captivity).
What can this mean? It means that Ezekiel was commanded by God to WARN Israel of their FUTURE sins and FUTURE punishment and FUTURE captivity, over 100 years after their previous sins had earned them captivity! It is unarguable proof that not a single word of Ezekiel was written about the Kingdom of Israel that ended in 718 BC!
Every single word in the book of Ezekiel was written for the END times, after the punishment of 2,520 years was over, after Britain and America inherited the blessings of Abraham, after their sins earned them a NEW and GREATER punishment than ancient Israel ever experienced!
All the captivities of the house of Israel spoken of in Ezekiel refer to a STILL FUTURE captivity that we and our children will experience! And it is to understand the future of the modern nations of Israel that we now study...
Lesson 49: The Time Of Jacob’s Trouble
Most prophecies in the Bible involve “the House of Israel”. After all these lessons, you know that means the “lost” ten tribes; that is, the United States and British Commonwealth nations in particular (US and BC for short), with the other tribes being the countries of NW Europe like France, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, the Scandinavian countries, and parts of some of the surrounding countries.
So to these nations ALL prophecies that mention “the House of Israel” are addressed! This is a TREMENDOUS key, unlocking by far the greatest part of prophecy. So mentally, as you read “the House of Israel” you should think “the Protestant nations of NW Europe and their colonies”.
If that’s too wordy, you can simply think “the US and BC”, since it is to those two nations that the bulk of the prophecies refer. The US and BC will receive the lion’s share of the punishment, as they received the lion’s share of the blessing, so they are the primary focus of most of the prophecies, even though they apply to all the tribes of Israel.
While we have identified the house of David as being the royal house of England in particular, and the royalty of NW Europe in general, we have not identified the modern location of the “House of Judah” in these lessons. We know there were at least some Jews in Ireland in 600 BC, for Zedekiah’s daughters had to find some there when they married into the Irish royalty, which had to be of the house of Zerah. Whether the bulk of the Jews stayed, moved on, or scattered is not the point of this lesson.
We will only say that the House of Israel and the House of Judah must be together – that is, mixed in among each other in NW Europe, or living as neighboring countries – for they return TOGETHER out of the captivity (Jeremiah 3:18, 50:4, 50:33, Isaiah 11:12-13, etc.). Therefore they must dwell together today.
So temporarily, for the broader purposes of this lesson, we can lump the House of Israel and the House of Judah together, since they largely share in the same punishments and live in the same regions today: Europe and North America and the former British Colonies around the world.
THE PUNISHMENT OF JACOB
Ezekiel 5:5-17 summarizes many of the punishments these nations will experience in the near future. We will be revisiting this in many other versions of the story, so we won’t dwell on them here. As you learned in Lesson 10, all prophecies are designed to be read as an overlay of a single timeline.
In this passage you have a chain of events. Key events in that chain must be connected to other prophecies and then interwoven with them to get a complete picture. The first “bridge” event we are going to use is the unique punishment God is going to bring on the nations of Israel. Notice what He says in verse 9: “And because of all your abominations I will do with you what I have never yet done, and the like of which I will never do again” (RSV).
Remember this was said over 100 years after Israel’s captivity. So this wasn’t about that captivity! This was something NEW, which God said He had NEVER done before, and would NEVER do again! Notice also this punishment only comes AFTER the sons of Israel multiplied greater than the nations round about them – something which never happened in Biblical times, which means it can only be referring to events after about AD 1800.
Jacob had to first receive the greatest blessings a people has ever received, then turn their backs on God, to deserve the greatest punishments a people has ever received. Since they didn’t even begin to receive them until the year 1803, and since nothing so severe has yet happened to the sons of Israel to this day, it must be yet in our future.
Gabriel describes it in Daniel 12:1 – “there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time”. The “children of [Daniel’s] people” is of course the tribes of Israel, and this speaks of their UNIQUE punishment, just as Ezekiel 5:9 promised; since there can be only one unique punishment, by definition, these must refer to the same event!
This prophecy is an exact overlay to what Ezekiel said about the House of Israel. It is also an exact parallel to something Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 30:7 “for great [terrible] is that day, without any like it, Yea, a time of adversity it is to Jacob...” (YLT).
Both these verses speak of an absolutely unique time of suffering that applies primarily to Jacob’s children, one so terrible it has never been duplicated before in history, and no similar suffering will ever happen again; and both conclude with a glimmer of hope: “but he shall be saved out of it”.
All these prophecies refer to the same events and add information to each other. These events are spoken of throughout the Bible, and all must be laid on top of one another to find the complete story. A few of the thousands of examples would be Isaiah 26:20-21, Matthew 24:21, Mark 13:19, Revelation 6:9-11, etc.
Obviously, there can only be one “great tribulation” such as never was before nor ever shall be again. Therefore these must all refer to the same event. But now that we have established a bridge between Ezekiel 5:9, Jeremiah 30:7 and Daniel 12:1 and these other verses, look at the context of each and start to fill in the story.
Daniel 12:2-3 is talking about the resurrection; this bridges to many places but most specifically to Revelation 11:18. So these are also talking about the same events. Daniel 12:4 tells us the timeframe – today, and our near future, when “knowledge shall be increased”, as it has never before in history been increased the way it has been in our lifetime.
Back up a bit now and look closely at Daniel 12:1-2. Do you notice a time gap between those two verses? Remember, Jacob’s trouble must happen BEFORE the resurrection. Therefore there is room between these verses for other events to happen. Specifically, the events in Deuteronomy 28:15-68.
At the beginning of these verses, a series of terrible curses begins; which, since they are the worst chain of curses in the Bible, must also begin the unique “time of Jacob’s trouble”. The end of these curses finds Jacob captive to other nations, which is where he is when God comes back to deliver him (Micah 4:6-7, Ezekiel 34:11-16, Isaiah 61:2-3, Isaiah 49:26).
That time of judgment of the nations of the world which are oppressing Jacob is about the time of the resurrection, because the saints ride out of heaven with Christ after the wedding supper (Revelation 19, particularly verse 14, and Revelation 17:14). So ALL of these events must be inserted between Daniel 12:1 and Daniel 12:2.
As always, we have to “rightly divide” the scriptures, and as you see, this takes quite a bit of effort, worthy of a workman who “needs not to be ashamed” (2 Timothy 2:15).And it isn’t even possible until God is ready to reveal it; even Daniel didn’t understand these things (Daniel 12:8). Why? Verse 9.
These things were not intended to be understood until our time, so they haven’t been. God has hidden this understanding by keeping it locked under seals and hiding the keys. One of those keys is mentioned in Revelation 3:7.
Where David’s descendants are ruling today is perhaps the single most vital key to understanding prophecy. The understanding to these prophesies was sealed until someone came along to discover where David is ruling today, and whom he is ruling over (Israel). This prophecy is dual, but this is almost certainly the literal meaning of it – the key of David is knowing where David’s dynasty rules today!
Once you know that, the thousands of prophecies that affect the House of Israel are unlocked to our understanding. But as far as we know, no one understood this key until about 1850. It was “hidden”, sealed up until the time of the end – our time.
WHERE ARE WE NOW?
Starting in Deuteronomy 28:1-14, we have already received all these blessings. We have never lost a war. The whole world was, until recently, afraid of us, both as a nation and as individuals. Being American or British was something to be PROUD of, until recently. We were by far the richest nation, by every definition, in the history of the world.
The Anglo-Saxon nations were the world’s leading producers of every mineral and food staple. The USA had such an abundance of food in the 50’s and 60’s that it was literally piled up by the trainload in the streets of Midwestern towns because there was no room for it anywhere else.
But we have moved beyond that into verses 15-21. Today, food shortages are common; not in a way that affects the regular consumer yet – grocery stores just import food from South America or Asia instead, and raise prices – but American crop failures, droughts, contaminated food, mad cow disease, and things like that are common news every day. In American and British history this was very rare except for during a few key periods of punishment like the 1850’s-1860’s and the 1930’s. Today it is in the news every day. “Cursed shall be your basket, store, field”.
As for God making “pestilence cleave to thee”, I hardly need to talk about the diseases that we are afflicted with; cancer, heart disease, diabetes; diseases unknown or extremely rare 100 years ago. And God said, “Cursed shall be the fruit of your body”, and babies are being born with all these diseases, or getting them in the first 10 years of life, on a regular basis in our country. And it is getting worse, not better. Not to mention autism, Down syndrome, and other curses on “the fruit of your body”.
Moving on to verses 22-24, human diseases and crop diseases are mentioned, as well as losing battles; then drought, when “heaven shall be as brass”, and the “rain of your land [shall] turn to powder and dust”. Rather than fertile soil, the soil has become like iron – untillable and useless. This is close to being fulfilled, but I would say it has not yet been completely fulfilled.
I should note that while God claims responsibility for these curses, we brought these things on ourselves by rejecting God’s farming practices like the land-Sabbath and heirloom seed saving, replacing them with over-farming, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and hybridized/GMO seeds.
We ruined our health by turning our back on the foods He told us to eat, and by not eating them in the way He told us to eat them; the weather patterns have been changed, in a large part, due to pollution, over foresting, over farming – basically by disobeying one of God’s earliest commands to the human race in Genesis 2:15, that we were put on this Earth “to dress it and keep it”.
That was referring to Eden, but by extension the Earth itself. Instead, we have destroyed the Earth, and God says to those who do that... Revelation 11:18. In every way possible, from littering to dumping nuclear waste, we are destroying the Earth rather than dressing it and keeping it.
NOW TO OUR FUTURE
Meanwhile, back in Deuteronomy 28:25, we find something that hasn’t happened yet. The sons of Joseph have not lost a major war in 200 years. We’re not winning wars like we used to, but we’re not losing them yet either.
All the things up to that verse have been fulfilled, and are being fulfilled. But all these, according to Jesus, are only the “beginning of sorrows” (Mark 13:8). Now we find more things in the future of the chosen people of God – dark things on our horizon as we receive the price for sin that we so richly deserve.
We will lose a major war in our future – probably not too distant future. Other verses tell us to whom, but we’ll get to that later. We “shall be removed into all kingdoms of the Earth” – this speaks of an end-time exile akin to the one that happened to ancient Israel and Judah. One yet in our future. Reading on to Deuteronomy 28:32-33, our children will be taken as conscripts and slaves for another people.
That nation which conquers us shall oppress us as ancient Egypt did, and we shall go into captivity as unto ancient Assyria (verses 34-42). Surely some of these things literally happened to ancient Israel, but these were only a small type of the GREAT time of Jacob’s trouble. Ancient Israel never enjoyed the fullest extent of the bountiful blessings promised in the first half of Deuteronomy as we have, therefore they never merited the most dire curses threatened in the second half.
But the US and BC, and to some extent NW Europe, have enjoyed all those blessings; and they will drink of all the curses in proportion. But now a specific prophecy in verse 43-44, that “the stranger” – that is, someone who is not of the seed of Abraham – will be very high, and we will be very low. Who is our president right now? Barack Obama is the first time in history that we have had a clearly non-Israelite president.
Gentiles have risen to positions of power throughout our society, and the sons of Israel have sunk to the bottom of the heap. But don’t misunderstand! I am not decrying that situation, because this is what we deserve.
The Gentiles are harder working, more diligent, and for the most part more righteous than we are – especially considering what little they’ve been given to work with (Romans 2:13-29 comes to mind). When you factor in grace, the Gentiles are much better people than we are.
On the other hand, the vast majority of white people are too “good” to work; lazy; unwilling to think for themselves; unhealthy and unfit and, frankly, unskilled for serious labor; so it is only natural that our jobs are taken away by Mexicans and Blacks, Arabs and Chinese, Filipinos and Indians. They are willing to study and work hard to earn our jobs, while we sit back and expect it to be handed to us.
So it is only fair that our blessings are taken away from us and given to them, just as happened to ancient Judah (Lamentations 5:2). Somewhat like God told Saul, the kingdom was taken away from him and given to his neighbor that was better than he (1 Samuel 15:28).
On a related note, Isaiah 3 comes to mind. Read the whole chapter, then ask yourself if that doesn’t describe the world today. Children are monstrous little hellions who rule every house; women rule the men, both privately and publicly; and sooner or later we will have a woman president. To fulfill this prophecy, some woman must become the leader of the House of Israel.
It has already happened in Britain with Margaret Thatcher (Queen Elizabeth II has no real power, so she doesn’t really count). It will happen in the USA, perhaps with Hillary Clinton, or perhaps with someone else later; but it must happen.
Moving on to the next curse, that we would borrow, and not lend; most people today do not realize it, but until the last 50 years or so, we loaned money to the entire world – most of which they never paid back! We were the head of all nations, and we NEVER borrowed money from ANYONE.
That has all been reversed now, and WE are the tail, and owe money to everyone – money which we can NEVER pay back. Will they be as generous with us as we were with them? Or will they some day soon come knocking at our door, demanding the payment of our debts?
And when we cannot pay, will they settle for a pound of flesh or will they want something more – say, a few hundred million slaves and the fairest land God ever gave to man? This alone provides a valid motivation for a future invasion and defeat. Even unbelieving people in the world are starting to see our demotion to a third-world economy slave-state as inevitable – without the slightest weight of prophecy to sway their opinion. Yet God prophesied that exact thing 3,500 years ago.
AMERICA IN SLAVERY
Deuteronomy 28:45-61 goes into more details about the dark days ahead, with famine so great that families eat each other, and diseases so virulent we’ve never yet seen the like – perhaps a prophecy of germ warfare in our future?
But many will say that all this happened to Ancient Israel, and that this will never happen to a modern nation. But verses 62-68 prove that to be impossible. We have fulfilled God’s promise that we would be “like the sand of the seashore” with an Israelite population of something over half a billion people. Yet that will be reduced to a mere handful in the dark days ahead.
Using a prophetic bridge, we can find similar events with an exact number of how many will be saved after this great holocaust in our future in Isaiah 6:9-13. That reduces our current 700 million down to a mere 70 millions out of NW Europe, USA, and the British Commonwealth countries. That’s 9 out of every 10 killed. This has never happened to any Israelite nation in history.
Deuteronomy 28:68 adds something else which has never happened in history, thus proving that this is yet to be fulfilled. When Israel was taken into captivity by Assyria, they experienced many of these curses as they wandered across Europe towards their new home. But they went NORTH. They never, ever returned to Egypt! And certainly not as slaves!
So this has to be yet in our future. I harp on that point because any worldly semi-Christian will tell you “those musty old prophecies were all fulfilled by the Assyrian captivity, or by the Jews”. Well, they weren’t – they couldn’t have been. Scriptures like this prove that.
THE LEVITICUS 26 VERSION
This tells the same story as Deuteronomy 28, but from a different perspective. Deuteronomy presents a sequential list of punishments; Leviticus presents them as a series of successively greater punishments. Start in 26:14-17.
This brings us up to date, with disease, famine, drought, war, being ruled over by Gentiles – which are only the very BEGINNING of the punishments! Or, as Jesus said, all these are the beginning of sorrows! If, after that, we don’t repent (and most won’t – Ezekiel 2:3-9), then God will punish us seven times worse(Leviticus 26:18-20).
This may be said to have partially happened, for we have lost the “pride of our power”. We were once a proud nation, and saying, “I’m an American” anywhere in the world got you respect and awe. Not because we were special, or rich, but because America and Britain would stand behind their citizens with the fiercest force necessary.
But Teddy Roosevelt’s policy of “carrying a big stick” has become horribly unpopular; even the historical fact is embarrassing to us today. Teddy Roosevelt would not have lost Vietnam, nor stalemated Korea. We had the power to easily win both of those wars; but we were AFRAID to win them. We were afraid of what the world might think, so we instead sacrificed tens of thousands of our best youth to a foolish war aiming for “limited objectives”.
Today, we are ashamed to wield our power and are desperately trying to give it away to the UN. Our pride in our power has been mostly broken; but we have a ways to go before the redneck stops swaggering and boasting about the “land of the free and the home of the brave”, which today has neither free nor brave citizens.
But after this if he doesn’t repent, and he won’t, there will be seven times greater punishments; swarms of beasts, desolate highways, then God will bring the sword to truly destroy us in war (verses 21-22). And if that doesn’t work, then seven times MORE (verses 23-26).
Then we lose a major war – World War 3 – dying from disease while trying to hold our last cities. And we still won’t repent! Verses 27-39. So God will be FURIOUS with us, and pursue us with a zeal never before seen in the history of the world, and which will never be seen again! See again the usefulness of that prophetic bridge!
Waves of troops will sweep across our lands like locusts, knocking down the crosses on every church and the idols of Jesus in every town! God will turn a blind ear to the too-little-too-late prayers of our stubborn people and lay waste to our proud cities and take the few lucky – or unlucky? – survivors into captivity in concentration camps in a faraway land, there to live in terror of a shaken leaf.
Only THEN will we begin to make up for the way we’ve spit upon God’s blessings and trampled His covenant with us underfoot.
BUT THERE’S HOPE
But Jacob will be saved out of this punishment, and verses 40-45 provide that ray of hope after a dark and terrifying forecast. They will not be utterly destroyed, but they will be reduced to a fraction of their former number before they truly humble themselves enough to be forgiven.
This is gloomy, depressing stuff. But at the same time, it is glorious. Our nations have insulted God and blasphemed His blessings almost since He began giving them. We have rebelled against His corrections and used His blessings for evil, and oppressed nations more righteous than we. And so the things to come will not be pretty to watch (Amos 5:16-20).
But we who are to become the sons of God are told to love judgment as He does (Isaiah 61:8). Unlike Jonah, we do not love our nation more than we love the judgments of God; when our nation is unrighteous, which it certainly is, then it should be our desire to see it punished.
Not gleefully with anticipation of the suffering of the wicked – that stems from a desire to see revenge upon our own enemies, and not a desire to see the righteousness of God work (James 1:20 seems to apply). But calmly, knowing that God is good, His judgments are perfect, and that for their own sake the sons of Jacob NEED to be corrected, and harshly.
We have the happy comfort of knowing the ones who are slaughtered in the time of Jacob’s trouble will have an opportunity in the next life to receive the salvation they rejected today; knowing that God will not utterly destroy His people, but as Jeremiah 30:7 said, after Jacob goes through his punishment “he shall be saved out of it”. Only one tenth of them will survive, but the nation will be saved and the children of Israel will survive.
And it is after that salvation that the majority of the prophecies of God “comforting” the children of Israel take place. But first... Jeremiah 16:18.
DO WE REALLY DESERVE THIS PUNISHMENT?
God gave Jacob’s children the greatest blessings a people have ever received. And for a time, they appreciated it; they used their power, for the most part, benevolently. They spread the gospel, established law and order, took light to the dark places of the world. But then, as always “the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves” (Judges 3:7).
I need not go into detail listing their sins, because if you haven’t already noticed them... where have you been? Hosea 4:1-2 sums up our current situation perfectly. There is no truth in the land. No knowledge of God our in churches; and because they despise judgment, there can be no true mercy.
Therefore generations have grown up, not only being taught that God’s laws cannot be obeyed, but that they SHOULD NOT be obeyed – that it is sinful to try! And therefore the land abounds with lying, adultery, murder, and theft and, quite literally, the blood from one crime spills over to touch the blood from the last crime!
And it has come upon us so subtly and slowly, and it is so pervasive, that no one even notices it anymore. My generation believes it has always been this way – but it hasn’t. There was a time when theft was unheard of, when people trusted one another’s word and a handshake was as good as a contract. When murder was so rare it was hardly spoken of.
And therefore, because of the way our peoples have rejected God, we are beginning – only beginning – to receive the curses in Hosea 4:3-11. Just as it was in the days of the Judges, where we sinned, were punished in war, and then repented, so it has been in the more recent past – because of what God said about us in Hosea 6:4.
God has been remarkably patient with us, particularly in the past 50 years. The more our sins have mounted, it seems the less fiercely God has punished us. Why? Romans 1:28-32. Whom does God not bother correcting? Hebrews 12:7-8. Why has God gone so long without punishing us? Isaiah 1:2-7. What is He trying to accomplish? Zephaniah 3:4-8.
If you read the first few chapters of Judges, you will see a recurring pattern; Israel sinned. God punished them with wars; they repented. God raised up a hero (a judge) who delivered them from the punishment. He died; they sinned again. God sent them into war, they repented, God gave them a hero, he died... sin, war, repentance, hero, judge – the cycle happened over and over, as it has in our time.
Backing up only a century or so, since most people are familiar with most of it, there was the “gay (18)90’s”. An era of enormous growth in prosperity in the US, and an equivalent growth in crime and sin in general (Jeremiah 5:7-9). Was God avenged? Yes, in World War I, at the time known simply as “the Great War” because it was arguably the most terrifying clash of nations in the history of the world.
We repented very briefly, then the “Roaring Twenties”, with the crime induced by the prohibition of alcohol, a very lax attitude towards sin which can be seen in very old movies, flappers, burlesques, and so on – most of it quite innocent by today’s standards, which shows how far we’ve gone – came the stock crash of 1929, which led to the Great Depression.
At the same time, the dust bowl was caused by the most severe drought ever recorded in the Midwest, combined with short-sighted over-farming (and, incidentally, ignoring God’s statutes about the land Sabbath and other farming laws). This led to millions of people losing their homes and untold suffering nationwide, and even worldwide as a result. Then World War II happened, and millions more died worldwide.
This actually brought about a repentance of sorts and brought the USA and Britain back to righteousness of a sort; the terror of absolute annihilation by Germany scared them enough that they turned back to God, publicly and privately. So God delivered them, and blessed them once more.
The 1950’s were a time of widespread righteousness, safety, prosperity, and growth. But things had changed. Britain never did recover, economically, from WW2. In fact, that was essentially the death knell of the British Empire, which was systematically dismantled in the next 25 years.
The USA came out of the war much better, economically. But the spirit of the nation had changed, and rather than being humbled by their frighteningly close brush with defeat, they were proud of themselves and resented the suffering of the past 20 years. They vowed that their children would not know hardship, and the “baby boomers” grew up in a new world.
And as always, a generation not exposed to hardship does... what? Judges 2:10-12. So what did God do? Verses 14-17. We have not won a major war since WW2. We are technically still at war with North Korea. We lost in Vietnam. Soviet Russia collapsed of its own weight, ending the cold war – we didn’t truly “win” it.
There have been dozens of conflicts since then, where we beat up on little counties like Cuba, Grenada, Iraq, the Falklands, Bosnia, Somalia, or Afghanistan; we were not even successful in all of those. But they have steadily shown that we do not deserve the power God gave us, by demonstrating the atrocities of torture and abuse, rape and pillage, that we are capable of committing.
Even as we go to war supposedly to defend human rights, both domestically and abroad we are guilty of acts as evil as, if not more so than, those we claim to hate. Who are we to parade before the world as champions of human rights?
All this makes a lot more sense out of a few scriptures like Psalms 50:16-22. How can our nations “declare God’s statutes” when we “cast His words behind us”? We can’t. And the more we try, the more we offend God with our blatant hypocrisy.
AND YET GOD HASN’T REALLY PUNISHED US... YET
When Abraham was wandering through the land of Canaan that God planned to give to Him, God said he could not have the land yet; why not? Genesis 15:16. The Amorites who at that time dwelt in Canaan were a fairly righteous people. God would have been unfair to have taken their land away to give it to Abraham; He had to have an EXCUSE.
So He waited until their sins mounted up into a large enough pile to justify it. Now had He really wanted to scare them, no doubt they would have repented, as Nineveh did (Jonah 3:2-10). Nineveh was sinning too much too fast, and God would have had to destroy them in 40 days. But God needed Nineveh and Assyria to stay around longer to fit His plan, so God warned them and they repented; it took another few hundred years before their sins again made a large enough stink to justify their complete destruction, which happened in 612 BC.
Had God warned the Amorites, they would probably have repented; for awhile at least, just as Sodom would have (Matthew 11:23). They wouldn’t have understood the NC; they wouldn’t have been independently righteous; but they would have been good enough to avoid destruction, and that wasn’t part of God’s plan.
So God let the Amorites go on until their sins had mounted up, then had Abraham’s descendants come back 400 years later and wipe them out and take over their land. Similarly, since 1945 we have had no real, nationwide calamity that has shaken our nation to the core; no real attempt by God to get us to repent.
But God is just waiting for us to go far enough – and we’re getting closer all the time – so that He will be justified in dealing out the most terrible punishments ever visited upon the children of Israel. 1914-1945 was God’s last full, serious effort at making the Israelite countries repent. Since then our sins have mounted, and our apparent prosperity has risen in equal proportion – and our divine punishments have diminished so much that it fulfills the statement in Psalms 50:21.
We did all these things that DESERVE punishments, and God said nothing. So our people thought it was because God loved them just as they were – rather reminiscent of Micah 3:11, Jeremiah 7:8-15, and the aftermath will be just like verses 23-34, and Jeremiah 9:12-16.
Certainly part of this was fulfilled when Jerusalem fell; but these prophecies are dual. Parts of them have never been fulfilled, and most of them have only been fulfilled in type – the true fulfillment yet waits. There will be only ONE great punishment; only ONE time of Jacob’s trouble.
There has never been a time like it before, and never will be again... AND IT HASN’T HAPPENED YET! Because these words concern Israel AND Judah! The punishments of Samaria and Jerusalem happened hundreds of years apart, but in the future “time of Jacob’s trouble”, both nations will suffer – suffering that could only be merited by rejecting God after receiving blessings on a previously unheard of scale!
To summarize what we have so far; Israel went into captivity in 718 BC; for 2,520 years they were punished as seven times passed; at the end of that, in 1803, God poured out the blessings of Abraham upon them. They received them gladly, obeyed God somewhat, for a while, and then swiftly turned out of the way and served other gods – primarily, the false Jesus.
God punished them, they repented, He relented and raised up great men like Horatio Nelson, Davy Crockett, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, George Patton, and so on – men with flaws, but men who were used to lead a country back from the war their sins brought upon them, corresponding directly to the ancient judges God raised up like Gideon, Ehud, Othniel, and so on.
Finally after WW2, when despite their promises to repent they didn’t really change, God became “weary with repenting” (Jeremiah 15:6, Judges 10:11-14). He no longer drove out the nations before them, just as happened in Judges 2:16-23. God for the most part gave up trying to make us repent, and just let our sins mount up (Jeremiah 2:30, Isaiah 1:2-9, particularly verse 5), so He can punish us properly with a lesson that will never be forgotten.
Small parts of it have begun already, but as Leviticus 26:18 says, “And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.” So the next time, it will be seven times worse – as the next verses go on to describe. And then seven times worse than that. And then seven times even worse – which brings us to the cannibalism we read about in Deuteronomy 28.
These chapters describe the same events, the same punishments, they just overlay to describe different aspects and explain more about the duality and add to each other’s details. They describe the time of Jacob’s trouble, which Jesus calls the great tribulation, and many scriptures mention under the various names of “in that day”, “in the last days”, “the day of the Lord”, or some variation or combination of those words.
IN THAT DAY
Getting back to the main thread of this lesson, this greatest of all punishments is aimed at Jacob. But that punishment is a part of a much larger world-scene prophecy leading up to and culminating in the return of Christ. Obviously before that we have the battle of Armageddon and the two witnesses and so on, but knowing that we are Israel allows us to apply all the prophecies of them to the modern US and BC and fill out the details of our “future history” with FAR more accuracy than before.
So let’s look at the contexts of our key “unique punishment” scriptures one more time starting in Daniel 12:1. Notice the phrase “at that time” – what time? The preceding chapter gives us that context. Up to Daniel 11:39 it is mostly talking about what are, to us, historical events; culminating in the establishment of the Papacy.
But in verse 40, we jump ahead a few thousand years – always pay attention to those little phrases like “and at the time of the end”, to rightly DIVIDE the word of God! Now we’re jumping ahead to OUR near future. The king of the North and the king of the South battle one another.
I plan to talk extensively about them in the next lesson, so let’s pass over them briefly by saying that the king of the North is the future power rising in Europe and the king of the South is the united Muslim world. They battle each other, with the king of the North winning, until news from the northeast worries him.
Now in a military situation as this clearly is, the only thing that can worry a general like that, is major troop movements or civil unrest or something of that nature. Do we find a bridge elsewhere to explain what that might be coming “from the east”? Revelation 16:12. So “kings from the east” are going to come across the Euphrates – mostly in modern Iraq – and worry the army of the up-until-then-victorious king of the North.
This most likely connects back to Revelation 9:13-19, particularly verse 16. While the exact number is debatable, it is unarguable that this is a tremendous army. If we take it as it is translated, it is 200,000,000 men. Now who in the world today could raise such an army, which would come from the east of Iraq? China and India are the only nations populous enough to do that.
And that news would greatly trouble a future king of Europe who had almost dominated the western world, only to find his power being challenged by a great army from the East. But there are surprising details in this prophecy, not so much about the sequence of events but about the astounding accuracy of the vision.
MODERN WARFARE PROPHESIED
Verse 17 says, “out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone”. If you showed a short movie scene about modern warfare to someone 2,000 years ago, who could know nothing of machinery or computers or flying, who barely even understood iron, how would he describe these great beasts?
Beasts which belch fire and explosions, beasts who have bombs thrown at them and light them on fire yet which they survive... would you not say that they had “breastplates of fire” (because bombs went off on/near them yet they didn’t explode), and that “out of their mouths issued fire” (because they shot explosives)? And the turret on top of a modern tank could, with some imagination, be described as a lion’s head by someone who lacked words in his language to explain it.
All things considered, this is a very accurate prophetic portrayal of a machine, which would not be built for 1,800 years after John saw it. On the same subject, Revelation 9 describes flying scorpions, particularly verses 7-10.
These scorpions were made of iron, shaped something like a cross between a grasshopper and an armored horse, with crowns or hair like women on top, nasty looking teeth on the front, with a sound like galloping horses when they flew. With tails that curved up like scorpions, and “stings” that hurt men.
Again given John’s perspective with no frame of reference to modern warfare, could you describe a modern attack helicopter better? Had you shown a clip from “Black Hawk Down” to Homer or Josephus, how better would they describe what they saw?
This helps to bring the prophecies of Revelation down to Earth and make them more realistic and more applicable to our time. And, once again, proves that there is no way these prophecies have been fulfilled.
Each version of these prophecies were written with a different point, so they focused on a different aspect each time. In Jeremiah 30 the focus is almost entirely about the salvation of Israel out of the time of Jacob’s trouble, and not about the trouble itself. It passes lightly over all the things in Leviticus 26 and in Jeremiah 30:5-7, then all the surrounding context is about the RETURN from that captivity.
I must belabor the point, once again, that Jeremiah wrote over 100 years after the Assyrian captivity of Israel. Therefore this future “time of Jacob’s trouble”, greater than anything before or after, cannot in any way be referring to that past event. Nor has anything happened since to compare to it.
And after this coming captivity, verses 8-11 tell us that God will save Jacob “from afar”, from the land of their captivity, and bring them again to the lands He has promised them. We must be corrected, and not “left unpunished”, but after God punishes us “with the wounds of an enemy” (verses 12-16), “they that devour thee shall be devoured”. Then God describes the early-millennial environment in verses 17-22. This ties to so many bridges I couldn’t even list them, but Isaiah 14:1-3 is one particularly clear one.
When did God say this would be understood? Jeremiah 30:23-24. “... In the latter days you will understand this” (RSV). Remember, chapter breaks are not inspired and the next chapter is an unbroken continuation of the same story. Jeremiah 31 describes, with minor regressions occasionally, the redemption of Israel after the millennium, their return from their global exodus, their forgiveness and their comfort after the destruction of their enemies.
But this thread breaks in verse 26 where Jeremiah apparently woke from his dream in which he received this vision. Verse 27 picks up the same thread but forward in time. Remember, the millennium is not a time for the NC; it is a time to prove the OC. Therefore, what you read in verses 27-34 is post-millennium, into the second-resurrection period!
In Ezekiel 5:6-7 God complains that we have corrupted His laws and multiplied our sins more than the nations that were around us; as I said earlier, the Gentile nations are in many ways more honorable and righteous than we are today.
Most other nations are more virtuous than we, and to the extent they understand their god, they obey him more rationally and consistently than we obey ours. The Amerindians whom we drove out of this country were a warring group of idolatrous peoples for whom theft and murder was a proud way of life, and they gleefully slaughtered the settlers.
So God was justified in giving their land to us, just as He gave the land of Canaan to our ancestors. But at the same time, they had a code of honor which was inflexible and which was righteous, as far as it went. And just like our forebears in the nation of Israel, we are now less righteous than the people we killed to take this country from them (2 Chronicles 33:9). And it will work the same for us as it did for ancient Israel and Judah (verses 10-11, 2 Kings 17:7-23).
In Ezekiel 5:9 we have the “unique punishment bridge”. Verse 10 connects to the cannibalism you’ve seen prophesied several places, and “the whole remnant of thee will I scatter into all the winds”. Why? Verse 11.
In the OC sense, which is the people to whom this was addressed, “God’s sanctuary” can only mean the churches scattered across the Protestant countries which are filled with the statues and symbols of His enemies; crosses, pictures of a false Jesus. That wasn’t always the case; there was a time when many Protestants were very sparing of their use of crosses, correctly deeming them “idols”.
In verse 12, God prophesies of the death of two-thirds of the Israelite peoples and the captivity of the remainder. Earlier we read nine-tenths, but we can easily harmonize these because captivity to a cruel nation is seldom conducive to a long life; the remaining fraction must die in, or on the way to, the captivity.
Once this is done – which of course, tacitly includes the events of Deuteronomy 28 which must be interwoven into this prophecy – only then will God’s wrath be satisfied. Only then will Jacob’s children come close to having paid the price for their colossal betrayal of God’s gifts (Ezekiel 5:13-17).
But this is not for their benefit alone. God is not a respecter of persons (Deuteronomy 10:17-18). These “judgments... in anger and fury and in furious rebukes” will serve as an INSTRUCTION to the Gentile nations, that NO ONE is above the laws of God; and that if God will thus furiously correct His chosen people, He will with no less zeal defend the law against them!
Ezekiel 6 carries on the same thread, repeating a little bit of what went before in verses 1-7, then speaking of the hope of the remnant that escapes in verses 8-10, just as the other versions of this prophecy do. Ezekiel 6:11-14 repeat what God said in Ezekiel 5:11-14. Compare them and you see they are identical events, just slightly different words.
Ezekiel 7 rehashes again the same events, in new words. Compare verses 1-4 to the previous chapters. Then verse 5 speaks of “an evil, an only evil”. This is an awkward translation, but it can only mean, based on the context, that “an evil, a UNIQUE evil has come” – in other words, the unique time of Jacob’s great punishment has come. Which gives us a bridge to former chapters and the rest of the Bible.
But while this chapter is about the same events, it focuses in much more detail on the fall of the Israelite nations. About God’s reasoning and justification; about their reactions; some of this overlays with the previous chapters (compare verse 15 with 6:12 and 5:12), but many details are filled in.
The right-wing militant/preparedness groups wisely see evil coming to this nation, and coming fast. But they are preparing by burying beans in their backyard and stocking up on silver and gold. Will that help them? Ezekiel 7:19, Zephaniah 1:18. What should they be doing? Proverbs 11:4.
By now, you know the problem and what they need to do, so we won’t dwell on that. But notice that we now have a bridge to Zephaniah 1:18. I wonder what exciting details you will find there, to fill in the gaps around this narrative? Find out for yourself.
THE SECOND TIME
As I’ve said, the world believes these prophecies are all about ancient Israel or the Jews. But there is one overwhelming proof that shows, beyond doubt, that all these prophecies of a still-future punishment, captivity, and salvation of the literal nations of Israel CANNOT have been fulfilled.
In Isaiah 11, treat this as we treat all prophecies; look for bridges and connections, watching for potential gaps in time. In verse 1, we see a prophecy of Christ (Revelation 22:16). Isaiah 11:2-3 refers strictly to His FIRST coming (John 5:30, 7:24, 8:15-16).
But in Isaiah 11:4-5, we jump ahead to His second coming, for He didn’t do these things last time He came! That is still in our future (Revelation 12:5, 19:15, Psalms 2:9, Psalms 110:2, etc.). Then in Isaiah 11:6-9 we have a prophecy of the millennium, or perhaps into the second-resurrection timeframe, which bridges to such scriptures as Hosea 2:18, Ezekiel 34:25, and Isaiah 65:25.
Isaiah 11:10 speaks of the salvation of the Gentile nations, only partially fulfilled in Acts 10. But what we are mostly concerned with is Isaiah 11:11-16. If you were paying close attention to verse 11, you will have noticed a very peculiar phrase. God is going to gather the REMNANTS, outcasts of Israel, out of all nations... “AGAIN, THE SECOND TIME”!!
The captivity to Egypt before Moses was not an exile. Nor was it a remnant, for the entire nation was there! God only drove ONE people out among all nations in history, the nation of Israel (1 Kings 14:15, Ezekiel 12:15, Ezekiel 20:23, etc.). And God only recovered them ONCE, by gathering them into the nations of NW Europe and their colonies around the world, and bestowing the blessings of Abraham upon them, “and not a seed was lost” (Amos 9:9).
That was the first captivity, and the first return from that captivity to the inheritance of Abraham. But you have seen many prophecies of a FUTURE, SECOND captivity that awaits the tribes of Israel! And Isaiah 11:11 explicitly speaks of a FUTURE, SECOND RETURN from being scattered among the nations of the Earth, AFTER that second captivity!
This bridges to Ezekiel 37:21-28. Parts, types of this prophecy have been fulfilled in the US and BC; but the true fulfillment is in the future still, after the time of Jacob’s trouble is over, after the law has been satisfied by his payment for his crimes, THEN they will be ONE NATION, with ONE KING – the resurrected king David.
They will dwell in the inheritance of Jacob FOREVER. David will be their king FOREVER. God will make an EVERLASTING covenant with them, and will set His temple in their midst FOR EVERMORE.
No such permanent fulfillment has happened, or can ever happen in this world! Only after Jesus returns and the government is given to the saints of the Most High, when the nations are ruled by the spirits of just men made perfect, can such promises ever truly be fulfilled!
That in turn bridges to Ezekiel 39:25-29; which bridges to Isaiah 27:13, and Zechariah 14; and Habakkuk 2:14; and Micah 7:18-20; I could go on indefinitely. But that’s your job. I have shown you where to look, and how to look. There is enough material in this lesson alone to keep you busy for months studying the prophecies, their contexts, the bridges to other scriptures and their contexts, and their bridges and their contexts and so on. So go do it!
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
The point of this is that you can keep doing this all the way through the prophets! We covered Ezekiel 5-7, but you can keep going all the way through the book for each chapter tells a section of the same story; overlaying, reducing the redundant details, filling in the gaps, bridging to other books, and repeating the process there, will give you the COMPLETE PICTURE of prophecy.
You need to know how to do this FOR YOURSELF because if I were to do this for the entire Bible, it would require thousands of pages. And once you start, you will realize that the Bible isn’t that big! It’s really only a few sentences long, once you strip away all the redundancies and details. It’s one story, one simple, short narrative, telling us what God is creating – offspring who think just like Him.
Most of it boils down to Genesis 1:26. That verse, when FULLY understood as amplified by all the other scriptures, encompasses all verses on righteousness, the law, mercy, grace, faith, the beatitudes, judgment, and all of God’s plans for our salvation and future.
When you fully understand all that, those other verses and topics are redundant, for when God said “let us make man in our image, after our likeness”, He implied ALL those other topics!
Likewise, once you understand the basic events that happen in the end time, you can see through the intentional clutter God placed there to confuse the unbelieving. Your understanding will penetrate beyond that, to the substance of the prophecies, which boil down to roughly a dozen key milestones in prophecy.
Prophecy is not hard. It is in fact the easiest subject in the Bible, if you study it correctly. The Bible is a massive set of overlaying, interlocking layers representing everything there is to know. And when you add it together, it gets, not larger, but smaller.
The Bible is ridiculously simple, if you only believe every word it says. It was meant to be understood by children, while confusing the wise (Matthew 11:25). Only by approaching the Bible as a little child would see it can you rightly divide the word of truth (Mark 10:15), and be a laborer that does not need to be ashamed of the job you have done in understanding God’s word.
When you can take Jeremiah 30, Daniel 12, and Ezekiel 5 and add them together, you could, in principle, write one, simplified, shorter passage instead of three redundant ones. Then add in Matthew 24, Revelation 6, Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26, and your basic passage grows longer... but it’s still one simple, short, concise chain of events. Most importantly, one that is VERY easy to understand.
You can add the entire Bible together this way, reduce it, and reduce it again, until it’s only a few sentences long. The Bible really isn’t that hard. You only have to BELIEVE every word in it; pay attention to the details; take nothing for granted; tie the verses to other verses that say the same thing. Then just fill in the gaps, weave it all together and you’ll find it’s the same story you already read somewhere else in the Bible.