Rabbi Schneider - What Is The Great Tribulation?
You want to understand the Book of Revelation, but frankly it confuses you and scares you. You know, I was like that, as I said last week, for many, many years. I would read the Book of Revelation. It would confuse me and scare me. But I'm confident of this, beloved one, by the end of this series you're gonna have a good understanding of the Book of Revelation. Now I'm not gonna be able to explain to you every little detail, because the truth is that some of the elements of the Book of Revelation we won't understand exactly how they're gonna play out until they're actually playing out. But you'll understand the main themes and it's gonna prepare you, beloved, for Jesus's return.
So with that said, I want to get right in now to the first theme that we read about in the end times, both with what Jesus said and what John revealed to us in the Book of Revelation. I'm gonna be talking today, beloved, about what the Hebrew Bible calls Jacob's Trouble and what Jesus referred to as a Great Tribulation. Now as we speak about Jacob's Trouble or the Great Tribulation, many of you are familiar with the term tribulation. It speaks of a time that's coming on planet earth, beloved, that is gonna be so horrific. It's gonna be so, so, such, so intensely difficult that there's never been a time like it on planet earth before. But before I actually get into some of the dynamics of Jacob's Trouble or the Great Tribulation, I want to talk to you today, beloved ones, about the role of Israel in all of this.
Now let's take a step back for a second and consider this. When God began His plan of salvation, how did He do it? He did it, beloved, through the Hebrew people. He did it through the Israelites that we call today the Jewish people. We can go back in Scripture and we see that God made a covenant with Abraham. And God said that this covenant that He was making with Abraham was unique in two ways. Number one, that God said to Abraham, listen, Abraham, I'm gonna choose you and your descendants out of all the peoples on the face of the earth. So firstly we read that Abraham's descendants are very unique. But the other outstandingly unique feature about this covenant that began with Abraham is that God said, through this covenant, Abraham, I am going to bless, get this now, all the nations, all the peoples on the face of the earth. So God's plan of salvation, His plan of redemption, His means of blessing people, beloved ones, it began with Israel.
Now the reason that I'm pointing this out to you is that Israel is also going to be at the center of the tribulation, and Israel as a people and as a nation play a central theme in all the events, beloved, that we speak of when we speak of the end times culminating at Jesus's return. Now there's gonna be a lot of Scriptures that I'm gonna be going through during this entire series. It's very much a teaching series. So I would encourage you to get a, to get a notebook out. I would encourage you even to record it every week and start a Bible study around it with friends because I actually have teaching notes that you can get at no cost through my website. You can simply watch the broadcast at home with friends. At the end of the broadcast I've got study questions through the teaching notes, all the Scriptures that I've used. And you can begin to discuss these.
I would really be a very easy way to begin a Bible study in your home. And you know what? That's a great way for you to build the kingdom of God on earth. Well with that said, I want to begin now to iterate what I'm referring to when I begin to look at some Scriptures. I want to go to the Book of Deuteronomy to begin today, beloved ones, chapter number 7, verse number 6. Hear the Word of God. The Lord said to Israel: For you are a holy people to the LORD, or to Yahweh, which is God's personal covenant name. You are a holy people to Yahweh, your God; Yahweh, your God, has chosen you. Once again He's speaking to the physical descendants of Abraham.
Listen: God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the fact of the earth. So the point that I want you to understand today is that Israel is a very unique people. Now God said to Israel in the New Testament in the Book of Romans that the gifts and calling of God, listen once again, because a lot of people think today that the Jewish people are no longer God's chosen people. But listen, they are still a unique chosen people. God said to Israel in the Book of Romans, the gift and calling of God upon your life is irrevocable. So God has set apart, that's what it means to make holy, to set apart for Himself... Why am I speaking about this now? We're talking about the end times. Because God's end times administration is gonna continue to flow to the world through Israel as we enter in, beloved, to the last days.
Let's continue now. I'm gonna read in the Book of Genesis, as we continue this same theme: Now the Lord said to Abram, Go from your country, and from your relatives, and from your father's house to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great. Now get this next word here. And you shall be a blessing, and I'll bless those that bless you. And the one who curses you, I will curse. Two points, once again; Israel is a unique people. God chose them. But why did God choose them? Listen to what I said again. Why did God choose Israel? So that they could be his vehicle, beloved ones, listen now, to bless the world. And this applies to what's gonna be happening on planet Earth during the end times.
As we continue, I want you to notice that the Lord said to Israel through Zechariah that they were the apple of His eye. In Amos, chapter 3, verse 2: they are unique above all the peoples, all the families, on the face of the earth. Now let's listen again as we continue this theme and I want you to hear, not that Israel is better than anybody, but they're unique. And the reason God chose them was so that they would be a blessing. Genesis, 12, now I'm looking at the 3rd verse: And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed. You know, Paul spoke about this blessing that has come to the world through Israel as being fulfilled in Messiah Jesus. He talked about that in the Book of Galatians. And in the Book of Galatians, once again, Paul quoted the Torah. He quoted from the Book of Genesis.
Let me read for you what he quoted now. I'm reading now Genesis, chapter 22, verses 17-18. This is the portion that Paul quoted from in the Book of Galatians when he was speaking about Israel being the vehicle through which God would carry out His plan of redemption on planet Earth. And once again, church, this plan of redemption carries on through the end times. Israel, what I'm wanting you to hear on today's message, is that Israel's gonna play a very important role through the end times. In fact, I believe that right now the fact that God is raising up Jewish evangelists like myself is part of end times' fulfillment that we read about in the Book of Revelation. I'm reading now Genesis, 22, verse 17-18: Indeed, the Lord said, I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.
Now listen: In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. And so now that we've established that Israel is gonna play a very unique role continuing even in the end times, I'm turning now to the role of Israel, get this now, church, in what Jesus called in the Book of Matthew, chapter 24, the Great Tribulation. I'm going to the Book of Jeremiah. Now I want you to hear me for a second when I say this. When we read about many things that happen in Israel in the Tanakh or in the Old Testament, they happened, listen, both literally and historically at the time that they were being written. But they were also prophetic in the sense they pointed to something greater in the future. I know that's confusing.
Let me give you an example. In the Book of Matthew, we read that when Jesus was born, Herod decided he was gonna kill the male Jewish babies, the male Hebrew babies, because he had heard that a Messiah had been born. So as a result of that, we know an angel appears to Joseph, Jesus's father, and tells Joseph, take the Child to Egypt for Herod's gonna kill the babies. So Joseph takes Jesus into Egypt. Now after some time had passed, the angel again appeared to Joseph while Joseph was in Egypt with Yeshua, and said to Joseph, listen, I want you to take the Child now out of Egypt and bring Him back to Israel. So what Matthew does is he takes this incident when God had called Israel out of Egypt back in the Torah and it says, and out of Egypt did I call My Son. And in that Scriptures in the prophets when the Lord says, out of Egypt did I call My Son. This was spoken up in the Book of Hosea.
What we find there that God was speaking about Him literally taking the children of Israel out of Egypt approximately 30, more than 3500 years ago, about 3500 years ago. And yet Matthew uses that same verse to share how Jesus was brought out of Egypt back into Israel after Herod wasn't killing the Jewish children any more. So how then does that Scripture that Hosea wrote when he was speaking about God calling Israel out of Egypt 3500 years ago apply to Yeshua today, or I should say, you know, during this generation, meaning this season of the New Testament times, when God brought Jesus out of Egypt. The point was is that when God brought Israel out of Egypt, it not only had application in its initial historical context, but it was also prophetic, listen now, because Jesus fulfills Israel's history.
In other words, what Israel went through, Jesus went through to bring Israel's fulfillment to its climax in Himself. Another example, Israel, they what did they do? They, they, they're in the wilderness for 40 years. So how does Jesus begin His ministry? The Bible says the Spirit of the Lord led Him into the wilderness for fast, to fast for 40 days. And so the point that I'm making, beloved children of God, is that Israel's history that we read about in the Bible had application in the literal historical context but it also was prophetic in that it pointed to something greater that was going to be fulfilled in Jesus. This is also true, I'm just trying to help you understand this, this is also true of all the holy days that God gave the children of Israel.
So for example, when did the Spirit of God come? The Spirit of God came, we read in Acts, chapter 2, on Pentecost. But Pentecost is actually a holiday that the Jewish people have been celebrating for 1500 years before Acts, chapter 2. And it symbolized to them the time that God spoke to Israel from Mount Sinai. And so Jesus brings that to fulfillment 1500 years later by giving us His Spirit so that the Lord was no longer speaking to us and writing His Word in tablets of stone, but now He was speaking to us inside our heart. So everything that Israel went through, Jesus brought to fulfillment in Himself.
And so understanding that now, you can understand why I'm using the Scripture that I'm gonna read for you right now to speak of end times. I'm going to the Book of Jeremiah, chapter number 30. Jeremiah, chapter 30, I'll be reading now verses number 5-7. Hear the Word of God: For thus says the LORD, I have heard a sound of terror, of dread, and there is no peace. 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? Alas! For that day is great, and there is none like it; it is the time, get this now, of Jacob's distress. So there's a time coming on earth, beloved, that men are gonna turn pale; that men are gonna be so scared that they're gonna be grabbing their, their groin area like a boy that has to go to his, in, to the bathroom in his pants. Why? Because they're so afraid.
Why do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in childbirth? And why have all faces turned pale? Alas! For that day is great, there is none like it; it is the time of Jacob's distress, but he, Israel, will be saved from it. What the Lord is speaking of here, beloved, is not only a time that initially referred to the children of Israel being brought into Babylonian captivity in the 600 B.C. era. But the Lord is also here referring to a greater time of trouble coming on Israel during, beloved, what Scripture called the Great Tribulation. And we're gonna see how the New Testament uses the words of these ancient prophets to speak of that time that is coming upon the world that was first known to Israel as Jacob's distress or Jacob's trouble, but is now known to the world in general as, listen now.
The Great Tribulation. What begins with great distress for Israel at the beginning of the Great Tribulation, is gonna eventually spread, beloved, over the entire earth. The Great Tribulation will begin with Israel and then it will become a horrendous global calamity. And so we're gonna look now at how some of the other Hebrew prophets spoke about this and then how Jesus brought it to its fullest meaning. Let's look at, for example, what the Prophet Daniel had to say about this same event. I'm reading from the Book of Daniel, chapter number 12 now, verse number 1. He said this: Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people... Who is he speaking of here? Once again, Israel; so Daniel is speaking here and I want you to hear me, in Matthew, 24, when Jesus's disciples asked Him, tell me about the Great Tribulation and about when You're gonna come.
At the end of Matthew, 23, the disciples said to Jesus, tell us, when will these things be. And in Matthew, 24, Jesus begins to talk about the Great Tribulation and about His return. And how does Jesus do it? Listen to me. He does it by quoting Daniel. So listen what Daniel said. Daniel, 12:1: Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress. What did we just get done reading about from the Torah, that a time of what, Jacob's distress; same exact words. Jesus is speaking about the last times. He's speaking about Israel. He's talking about a time of great distress. 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, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.
Now this is so interesting 'cause this is identical to what Jeremiah just said. Jeremiah called it Jacob's distress. Now Daniel says there's gonna be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time. And then he says, and your people will be rescued from it which is the same thing that Jacob said.
Once again, beloved, remember Jesus, when they asked Him about the end times and the Tribulation, He quoted from Daniel speaking of the verse that I just read. So in the days ahead, in this season, we're gonna be looking at how the Old Testament or Tanakh and the New Testament connect like a hand in a glove on what they have to say about the end times. Beloved, Jesus's last words to us in the Book of Revelation were, Behold I come quickly. And Jesus said about the Book of Revelation, we're gonna be blessed by heeding and studying the words of this Book. This is an important Word for you and for me, beloved. You're not gonna want to miss it. I look forward to being with you. God bless you. Until next week, Shalom.