Tribulation and Israel’s Expectation – Part 8

This article is the eighth and final article in this series which looks at Israel’s expectation for tribulation and the end of their exile. As noted in the introductory article, these expectations are derived from the writings of Jewish scribes and commentators during the Late Second Temple Period. In this article, we’ll look at more of the expectations derived from Pitre’s findings and enumerated by Dr. Michael Heiser.(1)

14. The tribulation precedes the resurrection of the dead and/or a new creation

For the descendants of Jacob (Israel), the appearance and second advent of Yeshua the Messiah marks the fulfillment of a hope that has been building for ages – especially for the Jews. This hope and expectation revolves around the restoration of Israel as a people of God and the end of their exile. To achieve this for all Israel, God has established several pathways for Jacob’s descendants to walk in order to lead them out of exile and into the obedience of faith. We touched on this briefly in Part 6 of this series. Daniel is shown an anointed one who is cut off for many, but he isn’t shown the multiple pathways by which the restoration of the broken covenant will be achieved for all his people over time.

A Faithful Remnant Called First

First there is the redemption of all those faithful in Israel to the Lord; those preceding the first advent and those called since. Together with the faithful Gentiles, called into his light and truth, they represent the firstfruits harvest to salvation. At the appearance of the Lord their righteousness, they are redeemed from the earth and even from the grave. This is the first resurrection; a resurrection to eternal life.

To discover more about the plans Christ has for Israel and its timing, read my recent book – The Rapture Question: An Unfiltered View.

But what of the remaining portion of Israel and Judah, those who’ve been cut off due to disobedience and unbelief? According to the apostle Paul, it is God’s intent that all Israel be saved. In previous postings in this series, we’ve touched on the process God uses to achieve this is outlined in Zechariah 12 and 13, and Joel 2(2).

A Faithful Remnant Called to Stand

A secondary pathway is established through a latter remnant of faithful believers called from all the various descendants of the tribes of Israel. They are called to the Lord sometime prior to his appearance in the heavens, for it is then that they are set apart and marked (sealed) for protection from the wrath of the Beast power and from God’s wrath which is about to be released upon the world(3). This unique and faithful remnant is mentioned in Revelation 7.

Revelation 7:1-8
1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” 4 And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
5 12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed,
   12,000 from the tribe of Reuben,
   12,000 from the tribe of Gad,
6 12,000 from the tribe of Asher,
   12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali,
   12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,
7 12,000 from the tribe of Simeon,
   12,000 from the tribe of Levi,
   12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,
8 12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun,
   12,000 from the tribe of Joseph,
   12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.

These 144,000 are called from all the nations where the Lord has historically dispersed Israel and Judah. But why call this remnant at this time? Why not redeem them with the other faithful who were redeemed at Christ’s appearance? Part of the answer is given at the end of the sixth chapter of Revelation; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?

In God’s promise to be faithful to the unfaithful descendants of Israel and Judah, he will extend mercy and grace through the righteousness of his Son, Yeshua, to a specific number from each of Israel’s twelve remaining tribes. They are to be set aside as an example of God’s faithfulness to their fellow Israelites, Jews, and even those of the world. They are called to show God’s power over the events of this end time through his provision, protection, and ultimately their redemption (Revelation 14:1-5). As the rest of the world tumbles and falls further into greater disobedience and chaos, these 144,000 alone will stand.

One key way in which they will stand is in opposition to the deception and wrath of Satan, the Beast power, and the false Prophet. Many will follow this unholy trinity into destruction, while God’s faithful remnant stand firm as an example to the rest of the nations of the world. The redemption of this latter faithful remnant occurs at or just before the Seventh Trumpet of God’s wrath is sounded, because they are shown standing with the Lamb of God upon Mount Zion as our Lord descends to intercede on Jerusalem’s behalf (Zechariah 14:1-9; Revelation 14:1-5).

Both the correction and the mercy which follows was prophesied since Moses (Deuteronomy 4:25-31), yet he was not alone in relating the Lord’s intent to lead them back to their Creator and to the land he swore to their forefathers.

Hosea 3 – since his first advent, the Lamb of God has been actively redeeming a faithful remnant in Israel from out of the world and unto God. Those who’ve not been called continue in exile until the appointed time (Daniel 11:29-35; Luke 21:22-24), when they too will be face-to-face with the Lord their Righteousness.

Micah 7 – As the Lord intervenes on Jerusalem’s behalf, he intends to show his salvation to the nations through his chosen people Israel. He has led these two groups of faithful descendants of Israel into his salvation, and they will do the same for all Israel once Yeshua has displaced all authority and power on earth, and established his righteous kingdom and rules over the nations.

The Mountain of the House of the Lord will be Established 

So prophesies Isaiah.

Isaiah 2:1-4
1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2 It shall come to pass in the latter days
    that the mountain of the house of the Lord
    shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
    and shall be lifted up above the hills;
    and all the nations shall flow to it,
3 and many peoples shall come, and say:
    “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
    to the house of the God of Jacob,
    that he may teach us his ways
    and that we may walk in his paths.”
    For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
    and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 He shall judge between the nations,
    and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
    and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
    and their spears into pruning hooks;
    nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
    neither shall they learn war anymore.

Yeshua is the exalted One; lifted up because he was first brought low, even unto death. He became sin that he might remove the condemnation that was upon us all. Death came through Adam, but life eternal comes through Christ our Lord.

This brings us to the third pathway for some in Israel by which they are led out of exile and into the obedience of faith; the greater exodus. In those days, they shall no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the Lord lives who brought up and led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ Then they shall dwell in their own land (Jeremiah 23:7-8).

Jeremiah 3:17-18
17 At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel, and together they shall come from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers for a heritage.

By his grace, the Lord will reclaim his people from all the nations to which he dispersed them. Not only will he restore them to their own land and bless them with abundance, he will enter into a new covenant with them; I will be their God and they shall be my people (Ezekiel 37:20-28; 34:11-24).

Their pathway to this new covenant was not an easy one. They came through much tribulation as a result of their unfaithfulness and disbelief.

Jeremiah 30:1-7 – prior to the Lord restoring the fortunes of Israel and Judah and returning them to their land . . .

  • A cry of panic, of terror, of no peace goes out
  • Every man in pain as if bearing a child
  • Every face turned pale
  • A time of great distress for Jacob
  • Yet he will be saved out of it.

Jeremiah 30:12-15 – their hurt is incurable, the wound grievous. The Lord has dealt you the blow of an enemy, because your guilt is great, your sins flagrant. I, says the Lord, have done these things to you.

Jeremiah 30:23-24

  • Behold the storm of the Lord!
  • Wrath and a whirling tempest
  • The fierce anger of the Lord will accomplish the intentions of his mind.
  • In the latter days you will understand.

As the apostle Paul noted in his discourse on the relationship between Israel and the body of Christ, Israel’s disobedience would lead to God’s grace just as the disobedience of those now faithful Gentiles led to God’s grace being poured out on them (Romans 11:28-32).

Many Who Sleep in the Dust Shall Awake

The prophet Daniel, in chapter twelve of his book, could only share a glimpse of what God had in store for his people because much of it would be hidden in a mystery (vs 4). There we find promises that he did receive. Promises that were certain regarding the fate of his people:

Firstly

During that time of distress and trouble some of your people, alive at that time, will be delivered when the anointed one comes to redeem his people (vs 1). This would have certainly encouraged Daniel, even if he didn’t fully understand the condition placed on those firstfruits to be delivered; their names are found written in the book (of life).

In part, this is referring to the firstfruits of Christ; those who responded to God’s calling in faith, and who’ve surrendered to the obedience of faith. Together with them are those who stand with Christ at his arrival on Mount Zion; the 144,000 of Israel.

Secondly

Likewise, God has not forgotten the rest of Daniel’s people; those who sleep in the dust of the earth. This would eventually include Daniel himself (vs 13). These are those who are resurrected to everlasting life, and refers back to those whose names are written in the book of life (Revelation 21:22-27).

Yet there is a second group of those arising from the dust of the earth – those resurrected to shame. Theirs is a resurrection to mortal life. They comprise Daniel’s people whose names are not yet written into the book (of life). Their judgment awaits them. But because it is Christ’s righteous judgment they are confronted with (Hebrews 9:27), we know that they can be led into his words of life and a new covenant as promised. Their shame and reproach is the very thing the Lord has promised to remove from them.

Jeremiah 3:21-25 – because they repent of their sin against the Lord, he I will heal their faithlessness.

Zephaniah 3:14-20 – The Lord has taken away his judgments against you and has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel and the Lord your God is in your midst. He is a mighty one who will save and will rejoice over you with gladness. He will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth.

Isaiah 25:6-9 – The Lord has spoken, and he will remove the reproach of his people. They will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

Isaiah 54:4-8 – . . . “For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer.

And why will the Lord treat you with such grace and mercy? Surely not because of your righteousness, but to vindicate his name among the nations which you profaned when he dispersed you among them.

Ezekiel 36

  • He will turn desolation into Eden.
  • He will cleanse you from all your iniquities.
  • The reproach you suffered from the nations where he dispersed you will now be on them.
  • You shall no longer hear their reproach of bear the disgrace of the nations.
Thirdly

The final group are those who are likewise awoken from the dust, but choose not to surrender to the obedience of faith in the Lord their righteousness. Their wages are the second death in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15; 21:8), from where there is no hope of resurrection. They appear to be those who are in abhorrence to the rest of their people because of their hard and unrepentant hearts (Isaiah 66:24).

God is Faithful

In each of these groups, God is faithful in dispensing his righteous judgment; grace and mercy having been extended to all in that he has extended the victory over death, obtained through the Lamb of God and the Root of Jesse, to all his people Israel. In this he has fulfilled the promises and covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

  • To those who’ve dwelt in the covenant of faith, whether dead or alive, he has granted eternal life in the Yeshua the Christ, and has redeemed them into his glory. This is the new creation completed in Christ.
  • To those descendants of Jacob alive at his second advent, the Lord will extend grace, mercy, and a new covenant. A covenant which can likewise lead the faithful into the same glorious reward already exemplified in the firstfruits of salvation.
  • With his kingdom, power, and authority established on earth, he will restore those of Israel who sleep in the dust of the earth so that they can experience the righteous judgment of Yeshua their Messiah. They too can choose to leave their disobedience and sin behind in order to live for the Lord. They will then enter into that covenant of faith which leads to eternal life.
    However, there will still be those who reject the Lord their righteousness and reap the second death. This condemnation does not come from God, but is a result of their own choice.

Though Christ has used his righteous rule and judgment over the earth during the thousand years of his reign in peace and prosperity, some will choose to have no part in it. That is fitting, since Christ intends to hand an everlasting kingdom over to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-26). A kingdom whose inhabitants are committed to the covenant of faith and will continue with God faithfully for all eternity. This is their confidence and assurance in their God who is trustworthy and faithful above all other gods.


There is much more to learn about each of these topics and links have been provided to related articles. Those tagged with Read more lead you to related channel questions and their basic answers. Those tagged Discover more are part of a more in-depth study program. Any tagged with Learn more address methods, processes, and resources which can aid your approach to learning. All are free resources to assist you in gaining a more unfiltered view of God’s word.

To discover more about the plans Christ has for his body of believers, for the descendants of Israel and Judah, and for the world, read my recent book –

The Rapture Question: An Unfiltered View


Presuppositions

At the close of each article, the relevant presuppositions that support it will be cited. This enables the reader to gain a clearer and deeper understanding of the context. To learn more about presuppositions, see the About page.

  1. The election of God is not limited to Gentiles in this age only. It started with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel) and continues today. (Psalm 132:13-18; Galatians 3)
  2. The work of Jesus Christ and the will of God unites the faithful of the first covenant with the faithful of the new covenant. (Ephesians 2; 3; Romans 5; 8; 9; 10; 11)
  3. Faith, which is a gift of God, is the basis of the hope of salvation for all those committed to the Lord. (Romans 11; 1 Peter 1; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; Jude 3)
  4. The grace of God is greater-than the sin of humanity (Romans 5)
  5. Christ’s work results in a new creation (Fourth Gospel 3:1-21; Romans 8:28-31; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Galatians 6:14-18)
  6. The divinity and supremacy of the Son of God – the creator and finisher of all things. He alone is given authority to judge in righteousness according to the will of God (Fourth Gospel 1:1-5; Psalm 96:10-13; Isaiah 11:1-5; Acts 17:30-31; Romans 2:5-11; Revelation 5; 19:11-16)

Footnotes:

  1. Dr. Michael S Heiser’s – The Naked Bible Podcast, Number 101: Jesus, the Exile, and the Tribulation and blog post: https://nakedbiblepodcast.com/podcast/naked-bible-101-jesus-the-exile-and-the-tribulation/
  2. See the articles in this series; Part-4 and Part-6 for details.
  3. The Rapture Question: An Unfiltered View, Gerard Majella, 2021, Lulu.com; Chapter 8 and 11.

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Published by GMajella

Husband, father, and author on theological topics, with a focus on the underlying presuppositions which either cloud or enhance our view of reality. My focus is to challenge and guide fellow Christians into a deeper knowledge of God; his work, his will, and his overall purpose. My primary methods will be through books, blogs, and virtual or personal events.

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