Jeremiah 30:7 (KJV)
7 Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.
Daniel’s 70th week or Great Tribulation deals with Israel, not the bride – the church! Jeremiah describes the Tribulation as Jacob’s trouble.
Jesus explains in the book of Matthew to His Jewish followers what life will be like during the Tribulation. God has always dealt with Israel through plagues and judgments, and the period of the Tribulation is no different. A difference between Old Testament times and the New Testament era, the church age, is the Bride. The Bride of Christ is removed before Christ deals with Israel.
Daniel 9:24 (KJV)
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
Daniel 9:24 is directed to the Jewish people. The opening words of this prophecy make this clear: “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city.” The focus of the prophecy is the nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem.
There is no question that the 70th week or Great Tribulation as it is called will see the wrath of God poured out upon the whole earth. Revelation 3:10; Isaiah 34:2, 24:1, 4-5, 16-17, 18-21, and many other passages make this abundantly clear. Yet while the whole earth is in view, this period is specific in relation to Israel. Jeremiah 30:7, calls this period “the time of Jacob’s trouble,” makes this certain.
The events of the seventieth week are events of the “Day of the Lord” or “Day of Jehovah.” This use of the name of deity emphasizes God’s peculiar relationship to Israel. When this period is anticipated in Daniel 9, God says to the prophet, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city” (v. 24). This whole period has special reference to Daniel’s people, Israel, and Daniel’s holy city, Jerusalem.
Passages in the New Testament such as Ephesians 3:1-6; Colossians 1:25-27 make it clear that the church is a mystery and its nature as a body composed of Jew and Gentile alike was unrevealed in the Old Testament, the church could not have been in view in this or any other Old Testament prophecy. Since the church did not have its existence until after the death of Christ (Eph. 5:25-26), until after the resurrection of Christ (Rom. 4:25; Col. 3:1-3), until after the ascension (Eph. 1:19-20), and until after the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost with the inception of all His ministries to the believer (Acts 2), the church could not have been in the first sixty-nine weeks of this prophecy. Since it had no part in the first sixty-nine weeks, which are related only to God’s program for Israel, it can have no part in the seventieth week, which is again related to God’s program for Israel after the mystery program for the church has been concluded.
There are two major purposes of the seventieth week (the tribulation) and they are stated in Revelation 3:10.
Revelation 3:10 (KJV)
10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
In Revelation 3:10; we see that its talking about them that dwell on the earth, not the church because they are kept from the hour of temptation. This same expression occurs in Revelation 6:10; 11:10; 13:8, 12, 14; 14:6 and 17:8.
The first major purpose of the tribulation is the testing of “earth dwellers.” In its usage, it’s not giving a geographical description but rather a moral classification. Even though the world is not a geographical location, the passage still expresses that it is a earth view or the entire glove, It is “earth dwellers!” The teaching that a nation, or people that is here after the rapture take place is erroneous and gives false hope!
Thiessen writes: Now the word “dwell” used here (katoikeo) is a strong word. It is used to describe the fullness of the Godhead that dwelt in Christ (Col. 2:9); it is used of Christ’s taking up a permanent abode in the believer’s heart (Eph. 3:17), and of demons returning to take absolute possession of a man (matt. 12:45: Luke 11:26. It is to be distinguished from the word oikei, which is the general term for “dwell,” and paroikeo, which has the idea of transistorizes, “to sojourn.”
Thayer remarks that the term katoikeo has the idea of permanence in it. Thus the judgment referred to in Rev. 3:10 is directed against the earth-dwellers of that day, against those who have settled down in the earth as their real home, who have identified themselves with the earth’s commerce and religion.
Since this period is related to “earth dwellers,” those that have settled down to permanent occupancy, it can have no reference to the church, which would be subjected to the same experiences if it were here.
Another consideration is the use of the infinitive perirasia (to try) to express purpose,
Thayer defines this word, when God is its subject, “to inflict evils upon one in order to prove his character and the steadfastness of his faith.
Since the Father never sees the church except in Christ, perfected in Him, this period can have no reference to the church, for the true church does not need to be tested to see if her faith is genuine!
The second major purpose of the seventieth week (the tribulation) is in relation to Israel. In Malachi 4:5-6 it is stated: Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord; And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. The prophet states that the ministry of Elijah was a ministry to prepare the people for the King who was shortly to come. In Luke 1:17 it is promised that the son born to Zacharias would “go before him in the spirit and power of Elias” to perform this ministry and “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Elijah which was to have been a sign to Israel, the Lord states: Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at naught. But I say unto you, that Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him [Mk. 9:12-13]. The Lord was showing the disciples that John the Baptist had this ministry of preparing a people for Him. And to remove all doubt, the word in Matthew 11:14 is conclusive, “if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.” John’s ministry was a ministry to prepare the nation Israel for the coming of the King. It can only be concluded then that Elijah, who is to come before the great and terrible day of the Lord, can have only one ministry: that of preparing a remnant in Israel for the advent of the Lord. It is evident that no such ministry is needed by the church since she by nature is without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but is holy and without blemish. These two purposes, the testing of earth dwellers, and the preparation of Israel for the King, have no relation to the church whatsoever. This is supporting evidence that the church will not be in the seventieth week.
It should be observed that the entire seventieth week is in view when it is described and predicted in prophecy. While all would agree, on the basis of Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; and Revelation 13, that the week is divided into two parts of three and one-half years each, yet the nature and character of the week is one, permeating both parts in their entirety. It becomes impossible to permit the existence of the church in the week as a unit and it becomes equally impossible to adopt the position that the church, although exempt from a portion of the seventieth week, may be in the first half of it, for its nature is the same throughout. The impossibility of including the church in the last half makes it equally impossible to include it in the first half, for while Scripture divides the time of the week, it does not make any distinction as to the nature and character of the two parts of it.
One must carefully observe certain distinctions between the church and Israel which are clearly set forth in the Scripture, but often neglected in the consideration at hand.
There is a distinction between the professing church and national Israel. It should be observed that the professing church is composed of those who make a profession of faith in Christ. To some this profession is based on reality and to some on no reality at all. This latter group will go into the tribulation period, for Revelation 2:22 indicates clearly that the unsaved professing church will experience this visitation of wrath. Membership in the group called national Israel is based on a physical birth, and all in this group who are not saved and removed by rapture and who are alive at the time of the rapture will, with the professing church, be subjected to the wrath of the tribulation.
There is a distinction between the true church and the professing church. The true church is composed of all those in this age who have received Christ as Saviour. Over against this we have the professing church composed of those who make a profession of receiving Christ without actually receiving Him. Only the true church will be raptured.
There is a distinction between the true church and true or spiritual Israel. Prior to Pentecost there were saved individuals, but there was no church, and they were a part of spiritual Israel, not the church. After the day of Pentecost and until the rapture we find the church, which is His body, but no spiritual Israel. After the rapture we find no church, but a true or spiritual Israel again. These distinctions must be kept clearly in mind. The rapture will remove, not all who make a profession of faith in Christ, but only those who have been born again and have received His life.
Things To Come – J. Dwight Pentecost
The Literal Word – Dr. M.D. Treece