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ON THE PLAN TO BUILD THE THIRD TEMPLE (PART 11): The Time of Jacob’s Trouble

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Saddam Hussein’s demented obsession to become a twentieth-century Nebuchadnezzar, through the elimination of Israel, was short-circuited by unseen forces greater than those of the United Nation coalition, valiant though those men and women were. Israel in the twenty-first is being compressed and funneled into an unalterable course. It will be a forced march that, for the last few years of human history, will cause Jewish people to wish they could trade their plight for even that suffered by their ancestors during the Holocaust of the Nazi death-camp years.

Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble. (Jeremiah 30:7)

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Matthew 24:21)

What will set in motion for the world in general and Israel in particular a time described by Jesus Himself as the worst mankind has ever known? There is an event that brings forth Apocalypse from the self-assured smugness of man’s effort to at last establish world peace and safety.

For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (1 Thessalonans 5:3)

Prophetic Peace Process

In Daniel 9:27, the prophet Daniel speaks of the event and the time that will begin human history’s final seven years, called the time of Jacob’s trouble by Jeremiah:

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

To see the awesome import of this prophecy, one must understand that it relates directly to what Jesus Christ said in expounding on that most terrible time. The abomination of desolation is a future dictator whose record of atrocity will make Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and all other preceding tyrants seem hardly worthy of mention.

Jesus’ words on this dictator are recorded in Matthew 24:15–16. Confirming the words of Jeremiah and Daniel, He is speaking to the Jews of Palestine at the end of the age:

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains.

These words foretell the Temple that must stand atop Moriah during the midpoint of the seven years of Tribulation. The “holy place” the Antichrist will desecrate, according to Jesus, must be constructed directly upon the place atop the Temple Mount where the Holy of Holies was located. This is the exact, fifteen-foot-cubed spot where the Ark of the Covenant once rested within Solomon’s Temple.

Notice that immediately before the time of unprecedented terror, a “covenant with many” is negotiated. The “many” in this passage are the Jews—the nation Israel—who returned after their dispersion. It is the Israel born in a single day, May 14, 1948.

Do we see any evidence today of a peace process in which Israel is involved in a major way?

Saddam Hussein, before the Persian Gulf crisis was enjoined by the United Nation coalition forces, reported a dream in which he said the prophet Mohammed appeared to him and told him that in the event of war, he—Saddam—had his Scud missiles pointed in the wrong direction. “Oh, great prophet,” Saddam asked the figure in his dream, “which way should they be pointed?”

The prophet answered, “You know which direction to point them.” Israel was Saddam Hussein’s real target all those years ago and it remains the target of every anti-Israeli nation and organization in the world today. Jerusalem and that tiny nation are the thorns in the side of the chaotic, incendiary, militant, Arab conglomerate. Even so, the Palestinian homeland issue is merely a rifle scope through which to focus the hostility.

Center of the Storm

What is the true source of the world’s rage against Israel?

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven—a woman….

And she, being with child, cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon.…

and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

And she brought forth a male child, who was to rule all nations…and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. (Revelation 12:1–5)

Here is the nucleus of the geopolitical storm gathering in the Middle East. More than a mortal storm, it is a cosmic, universal maelstrom of eternal consequence. Lucifer stirs the black, brewing tempest that will soon unleash his fury into man’s final war. His hatred for the people through whom God chose to give fallen man His supreme love gift, His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, in order that people can be reconciled to the Creator, grows more intense and more manifest by the hour.

The Jews and the nation Israel are the centerpiece of the Mideast turmoil. Why? Because they are at the center of the struggle over which man and his intellect have philosophized since antiquity but have never comprehended. The conflict is between good and evil. Many governments have tried to deal with the trouble in this region. Some seemed for a time to succeed. But, the ancient conflict goes on, and more and more often, it inflames to the point of eruption.

The wars are legendary. Modern Israel, though surrounded on three fronts by forces thirty times greater and backed against the Mediterranean Sea, has not only survived major assaults in 1956, 1967, and 1973—in fact, it was born in the midst of battle in 1948—but it has miraculously and completely routed the enemies each time while gaining additional territory. Now, Israel faces a subtle aggression, but one much more virulent and dangerous. Diplomatic cries for peace and safety through a negotiated solution to the problem of a homeland for the Palestinian refugees are becoming demands. The “Palestinian problem,” the diplomats say almost without exception, “is the key to war and peace.”

The Conquering Leader

Out of all these peace-making efforts, a leader from a reunited Europe is coming who will go “forth conquering, and to conquer” (Revelation 6:2). “There was given unto him a mouth speaking great things” (Revelation 13:5). This person will come riding a white horse as peacemaker and will confirm the “covenant with many” for one week. Translation: This leader from a Europe united in a configuration equivalent to the Europe of the Roman Empire days—a revived Roman Empire, a neo-Roman order, of sorts—will make a covenant treaty Israel will sign.

The pact will be for seven years, with one year equaling one day of the seven-day week indicated in the Scriptures. The “conquering” the leader will do at this point no doubt will be in the realm of diplomacy. Undoubtedly, he will offer brilliant initiatives, magnified by his charismatic, personal charm that convinces Jews and Arabs alike to trust him as a friend of all. As the guarantor of the peace not just for that region, but for a global peace upon which can be built a New World order and a new age of prosperity, he will succeed where others have failed. His promises will be sweet to the ears of a world ravenous for such lies.

And lies they will be.

Globe-trotting exploits by would-be peacemakers have met with fates ranging from abject failure to moderate, though temporary, success. Recall documentary films of the well-intentioned but fuzzy-thinking Neville Chamberlain holding up the piece of paper Hitler duped him into believing was the megalomaniac’s true desire for “peace for our time.” Henry Kissinger impressed us mightily many years ago with his seeming inexhaustible energy while pursuing an honorable peace in Vietnam. Even his brilliant efforts ultimately faded and failed. Secretary of State James A. Baker III of the Bush administration eclipsed even Kissinger’s air mileage as he jetted in and out of the capitals of the world in search of a formula that might defuse the Middle East time bomb. He, too, failed to secure the lasting peace the world hungers for.

Groundwork is being laid for peace. But it will be a peace that will “destroy many,” according to Daniel. It will be a false peace foisted on the world by the greatest deceiver in human history.



America’s well-meaning diplomacy, demanding that Israel give up its God-promised land for a peace agreement, might be the effort that clears the pathway for the Final Führer to perform his diabolical work when his time comes to step onto the world stage. But Christians are not looking for the Antichrist. Rather, they are looking for Jesus Christ, who will “descend from heaven.”

Then we which are alive and remain [until His secret coming in the clouds above the earth] shall be caught up together with them [those who have died during the age since Christ’s redemptive work on the cross] in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:17)

Israel is beset on all sides with demands that they submit to a peace process that will prevent their own expansion while giving the Palestinians a homeland and the world relief from the constant tensions in the region. This is the clear signal that the end has already begun!

Allowing building the Third Temple will most likely be a major part of establishing the false covenant of peace that the man of sin will confirm.

America’s Astonishing Appointment

In thinking on the building of the Third Temple, we must examine America’s juxtaposition to Israel’s rebirth May 14, 1948. The hand of God has been so obviously on the situation as to designate it accurately as a miracle.

The Jewish state has returned after dispersion in AD 135. Its coming back into nationhood is a supernatural orchestration by the master director in Heaven. To begin comprehending the scope of the miraculous return and America’s part in the nation being back in its ancient land, we need to understand the prophetic implications.

Many who look at world conditions and examine the issues and events of our time believe they are witnessing Bible prophecy being fulfilled. Things seem aligned geopolitically, socioeconomically, religiously, and in most any other category of end-times signals one might care to examine.

It is relatively easy to make the case that Bible prophecy is being fulfilled today. As previously indicated, Jesus’ Olivet Discourse seems to outline almost without exception each of the many things leaping from today’s news headlines. For example, He gave end-times prophecies in answer to His disciples’ questioning:

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew 24:3–8)

Fulfilled Prophecies?

Jesus answered some of His closest disciples’ questions by foretelling the signals that would immediately precede His Kingdom coming into its full authority and power. He said:

  • People would come in His name, claiming He is Christ, but they would be deceivers.
  • There would be unusually widespread wars.
  • There would be rumors of even greater wars.
  • Nations would rise in conflict against other nations.
  • Kingdoms would be in conflict with other kingdoms.
  • There would be famines.
  • There would be diseases and other natural disorders.
  • There would be earthquakes occurring in many places.

Jesus called these events the “time of sorrows” in language comparing the prophetic signals to the labor of a woman who is about to deliver her baby.

A Closer Examination

  1. False prophets and false teachers—Jesus foretold that many people would come saying, “I am Christ.” The meaning of this is twofold. First, people will come declaring that they are speaking in Christ’s name. They will say that Christ is Lord. Second, people will come on the scene claiming to be Christ, or to have the “Christ spirit.” But, these will be deceivers.

Certainly, many today claim they come in the name of Jesus Christ, but they deny that He is the only way to redemption (see John 14:6). The New Age movement and some religions that don’t fit the biblical prescription for true Christianity—for example, Scientology—are prominent in the news, with celebrities like Tom Cruise and John Travolta leading the way. These don’t hold Jesus Christ forth as the only way to salvation. Rather, they simply invoke His holy name, then preach human-centered ways to redemption.

Other false prophets and teachers say that they themselves are the Christ. One such well-known guru during recent decades has been the one called Lord Matreya, with his John the Baptist-type false prophet, Benjamin Creme, pointing to him as the Christ.

  1. Widespread wars—Jesus said that just before He comes again, war will be rampant upon the earth. His words indicate unprecedented bloodshed. World Wars I and II were the most horrific ever, with WW II concluding only after hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians were killed by atomic bombs dropped by American planes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Adolf Hitler’s rage against the Jews ended with as many as six million of God’s chosen people murdered in the Holocaust. The twentieth century saw violence through war as no other era in human history.
  2. Rumors of war—Following WWII, fear of nuclear war became part of the psyche of America and the world. The Bikini Island H-bomb tests—as well as archived films of the explosions over Alamagordo, New Mexico, then upon Japan—combined with knowledge that the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) could carry thermonuclear payloads to get across the point that death from the sky could be upon everyone in a matter of minutes.

The worry of such horrific devastation being less than a half hour away made every rumor of potential conflict a matter of personal concern. We live under an even greater cloud of uncertainty at this hour, with rumors of terrorists possessing weapons of mass destruction.

  1. Nations rising against nations—This is one of the more profound indicators of Bible prophecy juxtaposed against the realities of our times. The word used for “nation” in Jesus’ Olivet Discourse is from the Greek word ethnos, which translates to “ethnic” in English. Jesus was saying that ethnic group rising against ethnic group would mark the time just before He returns to Planet Earth.

No matter which way we turn to observe what is happening in the socioeconomic and geopolitical arenas in today’s world, the central aspect of conflict between peoples involves race, just as Jesus predicted.

We think on the ethnic elements of recent wars and know the profound truth of Jesus’ words of prophecy. The Serbs/Croatians, Turks/Armenians, Arabs/Jews, and many other ethnic disputes ring the globe. In America, the senseless violence among rival youth gangs is steeped in ethnic differences. America, land of the free, increasingly suffers from ethnic rages that rob people of liberty and even of life through drive-by shootings and bloody battles just for the sake of racial pride.

Armageddon will have racial hatreds at its core. The Oriental world will invade the Occidental when the two-hundred-million-man force from east of the Euphrates invades the Middle East.

  1. Kingdoms rising against kingdoms—This has been a human history-long problem for mankind: nationalism, steeped in lust for what other nations possess; dictator-spawned hatreds and greed. These and other fallen humanistic evils make this prophecy one that was in process even as Jesus gave it. The Lord, of course, was foretelling a greater conflict between kingdoms than those in which even the Romans had engaged in order to build the world-dominating empire it enjoyed during Christ’s time.
  2. Famines—There have been many great famines since Jesus foretold this horror as marking the very end of the age. Two world wars caused massive starvation and suffering, but dictatorships of more recent vintage, combined with the natural harshness of arid lands like that of Ethiopia, the Sudan, etc., have caused starvation that can only be described as apocalyptic. Jesus indicates a time of famine that even makes those just described seem relatively mild by comparison.
  3. Pestilence—Planet Earth has seen humanity-staggering pestilence. The Bubonic Plague that caused the Black Death during the Middle Ages, outbreaks of cholera and other diseases that have killed millions—these are pestilences we’ve all heard about, but haven’t experienced so much in this generation. AIDS is a plague/pestilence we think about today. This disease threatens to wipe out entire nations in Africa. Yet, the Lord foretold a time when the thing called “pestilence” will become much worse, and we can hardly imagine the role that modern bioweapons in the hands of terrorist laboratories or rogue nations could play (at any moment) to spawn these end-times plagues.
  4. Earthquakes—Much controversy rumbles throughout the prophecy-watching community today about this indicator. Earthquakes are being reported from most every point on the globe. It seems the whole planet is quaking to one degree or another. Some say the greater profusion is due to better detection and reporting in these technological times. Others believe the planet is convulsing in testimony to Christ’s soon return.

The magnitude of the tremblors experienced just in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have indeed been impressive. The 1964 9.2 Alaska quake and the 2004 9-plus shaking in the Indian Ocean that spawned the tsunami that killed more than a quarter of a million people mark this as the most pronounced era of reported earthquakes, to be sure.

The Sure Indicator

An increasing number of people who consider themselves students of Bible prophecy are putting forth that the signals, as enumerated and explored above, signify that those prophecies given by Jesus are occurring today, as reported in daily news accounts. Prophecy IS being fulfilled in our time, is their declaration.

Although the issues and events inundating our daily lives look quite like the prophecies Jesus foretold, some, including this author, don’t believe the things we are seeing now are the exact matters about which the Lord spoke. This opinion is based upon many factors that would involve an extensive body of scriptural explanation. Space limitations require stating only that rather than seeing actual Tribulation or apocalyptic events happening right now, this generation is witnessing the stage being set for what Jesus foretold.

NEXT: The Great Storm of Apocalypse


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