Volume 27, New Series February, 1966 Number 1

The question has been raised, as to whether these two events, predicted in the Scriptures, are one and the same or do they occur at different times and in different places, albeit to the same People?

These two expressions are commonly considered to be synonymous and referring to the conditions brought about when the covenant of seven years, made between Israel and the world leader, the man of sin, is broken after three and a half years by his entry into Jerusalem and the Temple and setting up therein the image of the beast in the sanctuary, commanding that all should worship it. Such desecration and flagrant idolatry is met with head on opposition from even apostate Israel (as they had by then become) and the greatest anti-Semitic persecution of all times commences and is to last for three and a half years.
    "For  then  shall  be  GREAT TRIBULATION,  such as was not
    since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall
    be." (Matt. 24:21).
The Greek word here for TRIBULATION is THLIPSIS, which is translated thus 21 times, affliction 17 times, trouble three times, burdened, anguish, persecution and to be afflicted once each, 45 times in all. An examination of the concordance shows that, in addition to Matt. 24:21 the following passages are relevant to the subject :—Matt. 24:29; Mark 13:24; Mark 13:19; Rev. 2:9, 10, 22 and Rev. 7:14.
    "Immediately  after  the  tribulation  of   those  days."
    Matt. 24:29.
    "But in those days, after that tribulation." Mark 13:24.
These two passages refer back to Matt. 24:21, quoted above, and to Mark 13:19:
    "For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from before
    the  beginning  of  creation  which  God   created  unto  this  time,
    neither shall be." Mark 13:19.
These are obviously parallel passages, but neither Luke nor John touch upon the subject. Although, as has already been seen, THLIPSIS is of frequent occurrence throughout the New Testament it is not used in this connection until the Apocalypse:
    "These are they which came out of great tribulation." Rev.

(Although the A.V. omits the definite article, according to Lachman, yet it is inserted in the Greek text and accepted, without comment, by the remainder of textual critics).
The remaining three occurrences of the word in Rev. 2:9, 10 and 22 refer to tribulation, contemporary, but not necessarily the same.
    "Behold ,  I   will  cast  her  into  a  bed ,  and  them  that commit
    adultery  with  her  into great tribulation , except they repent  of
    their deeds." Rev. 2:22.
    "I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty ,  ( but thou art
    rich ) . . .  Fear  none of  those  things which  thou  shalt  suffer :
    behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may
    be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days; be  thou faithful
    unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." Rev. 2:9, 10.

These words were addressed to the church of Thyatira and Smyrna respectively, who are evidently to be assemblies of believers in Christ through the preaching of the gospel of the circumcision, during the latter days. As the word THLIPSIS may be used of any kind of affliction, restriction, anguish, trouble, distress, straitness, trial, pressure or persecution, and is so used in the Scriptures, one cannot be definite in identifying any of these specifically with the passages in Matthew, Mark or Revelation, chapter 7.

Except for the possibility of the text in Jeremiah 30:7, the only O.T. Prophet that one can refer to is Daniel that is .analogous to those that have been quoted from the gospels.

    "And at that time shall Michael, stand up, the great prince which
    standeth for the children of thy People: and there shall  be a time
    of  trouble ( Hebrew—TSARAH ) such as  never was since there
    was a Nation even to that same time:  and at that time thy People
    shall be delivered,  everyone  that  shall  be  found written in  the
    book." Dan. 12:1.

The verse following is of particular interest and with it will be given a translation by Tregelles:
    " And  many  of  them  that  sleep  in  the  dust  of   the  earth  shall
    awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting
    contempt." Dan. 12:2.
    " And  many  from  among  the  sleepers  of  the  dust  of  the  earth
    shall  awake ;  these  shall  be  unto  life  of  the age ( or  eon ) ;  but
    those  ( the  rest  of  the  sleepers,  those  who  do not awake at this
    time )  shall  be  unto shame  and  contempt  of  the  age  ( or eon ). "
    Dan. 12:2 (Tregelles).

In Matthew's gospel, chapter 24 and in Mark's gospel chapter 13 the disciples approach the Lord Jesus when upon the Mount of Olives after leaving the Temple, privately, saying,
    "Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign
    of Thy coming, and of the end of the age?" Matt. 24:3.

Here are three questions, which the Lord answers with considerable detail. Verses 3-14 in Matt. and 5-13 in Mark are in reply to the last question, then in both gospels He speaks of
    "When ye shall see the abomination  of desolation, spoken  of  by
    Daniel the Prophet standing in the holy place (Mk. where it  ought
    not ),  whoso  readeth,  let  him  understand:  Then  let  them which
    be in Judaea flee to the mountains. . . ." Matt. 24:15, 16; Mark 13:14.
'When' is followed by three 'thens,' the second of which is,
    "Then shall be great tribulation."
The next 'then' is two verses later, giving warning of false Christs and false Prophets, followed by a mention of the form of His coming (PAROUSIA—personal presence). This is followed, in verse 29 of Matthew's gospel with:
    "Immediately after the tribulation of those days."
The definite article here obviously refers back to verse 21, showing the continuity.
    " Shall  the  sun  be  darkened ,  and  the moon shall  not  give her
    light ,  and the stars shall fall from heaven , and the powers  of the
    heaven  shall  be  shaken :    and   THEN   shall   appear  ( become
    )  the  sign  of   the  Son  of  Man  in  heaven : and  THEN
    shall all the tribes of the earth (or land) mourn, and they shall see
    the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven  with  power  and
    great glory." Matt. 24:29, 30; Mark 13:24-26.

Both gospels continue with similar words:
    "And He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet,
    (Matt. marg:—with  a  trumpet  and  a great voice.  Mark omits
    any trumpet reference
    ) and they shall gather His elect from the
    four  winds ,  from  one  end  of the heaven  to the other." Matt.
This ends the answer to the question, "what shall be the sign of Thy coming?" Evidently these last three verses anticipate His descent upon the Mount of Olives in fulfilment of Acts 1:11 and Zech. 14:4.

When all this, that has so far been reviewed, is taking place Israel has, for come considerable time been in full possession of the land, the Temple has been rebuilt in all its glory. Further, sacrifices have been taking place regularly upon the altar therein under the direction of the Levitical Priesthood, in accordance with the Word of the Lord and the worship of JEHOVAH. It is at the 'end of the age' (SUNTELEIA TOU AIONON). This is better understood by 'the conclusion of the age,' like the drawing together of all the fibres that go to the make up of a twisted thread. It is not the finish of the thread, but the conclusion of a condition.

This 'age' has extended over a considerable period of time and is referred to much in the Scriptures, both Hebrew and Greek. It is the yet future period of God's dealing with Israel as a whole—all twelve tribes and Levi, after the church which is the body of Christ has entered into the fulfilment of their hope, having been transformed and translated. This age, or period of time, is expressed in both Old and New Testaments as 'in the last days' and 'in the latter days.' These are two of the various translations of the Greek EN TAIS ESKA TAIS HEMERAIS and, in the Hebrew ACHARITH.

The careful reading of a number of passages where the word ACHARITH is used in this connection would pay good dividend. This word is used mainly of Israel's restoration, but is also used concerning individuals and Nations. The equivalent Greek expression, apart from 2. Timothy 3:1, is used exclusively of Israel.

The first occurrence is in Genesis 49:1 and the second Deut. 4:25-30. This latter passage should be carefully read, as having special bearing on our thesis. Other passages are Deut. 31:29; Deut. 32:20, 29; Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 23:20; Jeremiah 30:24; Jeremiah 31:17; Ezekiel 38:8, 16; Daniel 8:19, 23; Daniel 10:14; Daniel 2:28; Daniel 12:8; and Hosea 3:5.

In the Greek Scriptures the following passages refer to the same period of time or some part of it and should also be read with the former: John 6:39, 40, 44, 54; John 7:37; John 11:24; John 12:48; Acts 2:17; Hebrews 1:2; James 5:3; 1. Peter 1:5, 20; 2. Peter 3:3; 1. John 2:18; Jude 18. Some of these passages say 'the last time' instead of the 'last or latter days,' but for this reason they should not be set aside.

It may be helpful to look at a few of the passages where these words are used in connection with God's restoration and redemption of Israel, for apart from one passage 2. Tim. 3:1, they are used EXCLUSIVELY of Israel in the N.T.; although the word ACHARITH is sometimes used otherwise, of Individuals and Nations.

    "And Jacob called his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together,
    that  I  may  tell  you  that  which  shall  befall  you in the last days
    (ACHARITH)." Gen. 49:1.
    " When  thou shalt beget children ,  and  ye  shall  have  remained
    long in the Land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven
    image ,  or  the likeness of anything ,  and shall do evil in the sight
    of   the  Lord  thy  God ,  to  provoke Him  to anger :  I  call  heaven
    and  earth  to  witness  against  you this day ,  that  ye  shall  soon
    utterly perish from off the Land whereunto ye  go  over  Jordan  to
    possess  it ;  ye  shall  not  prolong  your  days upon it ,  but  shall
    utterly  be  destroyed.  And  the  Lord  shall scatter you among the
    Nations ,  and  ye  shall  be  left  few in number among the heathen
    ( Nations ) ,  whither  the Lord shall lead you.  And  there  ye  shall
    serve gods ,  the  work of men's hands ,  wood  and  stone ,  which
    neither see nor  hear ,  nor eat ,  nor  smell.  But if from thence thou
    shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find Him ,  if thou seek Him
    with  all thy heart  and with all thy soul.  When thou art  in  tribula-
    tion (TSAR), and all these things are come upon thee ,  even in the
    latter days ( ACHARITH ) ,  if  thou turn to the Lord thy God ,  and
    shalt  be  obedient  unto  His  voice ;  ( For  the  Lord  is  a  merciful
    God ; )  He will not  forsake  thee ,  neither destroy thee ,  nor forget
    the  covenant   of   thy   fathers  which   He  sware  unto  them . "
    Deut. 4:25-30.
    " For  I  know  that  after  my  death  ye  will   utterly  corrupt  your-
    selves ,  and  turn  aside  from  the  way  which  I have commanded
    you; and  evil  will  befall  you  in  the  latter  days ( ACHARITH ). "
    Deut. 31:29.
    " And  He  said ,  I  will  hide  My  face  from  them ,  I  will  see what
    their end (ACHARITH) shall be." Deut. 32:20.
    " O  that  they were wise, that they understood this, that they would
    consider their latter end (ACHARITH)." Deut. 32:29.
    " And  it  shall  come  to  pass  in  the  last days  ( ACHARITH )  the
    mountain  of the  Lord's house shall be established in the top of  the
    mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills." Isaiah 2:2.
    " The  anger of the Lord shall  not  return ,  until  He  have  executed,
    and   till  He  have   performed   the  thoughts  of   His  heart :   in  the
    latter   days  ( ACHARITH )  ye   shall   consider  it  perfectly . "  Jer.
    " The  fierce  anger  of   the  Lord  shall  not   return ,  until  He  have
    done  it ,  and  until  He  have  performed the intents of His heart:  in
    the latter days (ACHARITH) ye shall consider it." Jer. 30:24.
    " And  there  is  hope  in  thine  end  ( ACHARITH—expectation  in
    the  last  days ) ,  saith  the Lord,  that thy children shall come again
    to their own border." Jer. 31:17.

Concerning Gog and his allies it is written:
    " After  many  days  thou  shalt  be  visited :  in  the  latter years
    (ACHARITH) thou shalt come into the Land. . . .
    And thou shalt come up against my people Israel,  as a cloud to
    cover the Land; it shall be in the latter days (ACHARITH), and
    I will bring thee against  My Land ,  that the heathen ( Nations )
    may know Me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog,  before
    their eyes." Ezek. 38:8 and 16.
    "But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh
    known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what  shall  be  in  the  latter
    days (ACHARITH)." Dan. 2:28.
    " And He  said,  Behold,  I will  make thee know what  shall be in
    the last end (ACHARITH) of the indignation. . . .
    And in the latter time (ACHARITH) of their kingdom, when the
    transgressors are come to the full." Dan. 8:19 and 23.
    " Now  I am  come to make thee understand what shall befall thy
    People in the latter days (ACHARITH)." Dan.10:14.
    "And I  heard,  but I understood not: then said  I ,   O  my  Lord,
    what shall be the end (ACHARITH) of these things." Dan. 12:8.
    " Afterward  shall the  children  of  Israel  return ,  and  seek  the
    Lord their  God ,  and David their  king ;  and  shall fear the Lord
    and His goodness in the latter days ( ACHARITH )." Hosea 3:5.

From these Scriptures it may be seen that "in the latter days" covers an extended period of time. Events at the commencement, during its course and at its end, come under the heading, "in the latter days." Deut. 4:25-30, taken in conjunction with Deut. 30:1-10; Jer. 23:20 and 30:24; and Hosea 3:5 all indicate the beginning, with restoration of the whole of Israel to the Land in view. With this Ezek. 38:8 and 16 fall into line. Isaiah 2:2 and Micah 4:1 and 2 cover the middle, and the passages in Daniel the end of the period.

Bearing all these facts in mind the position of Jeremiah 30:7 can be considered. It will be noticed that the word ACHARITH occurs in verse 11 of chapter 29 in verse 24 of chapter 30 and verse 17 of chapter 31 The greater part of these chapters deals with the restoration of Israel to the Land and its sequel and the immediate context, Jer. 30:3 is:

    " For  lo ,  the days come ,  saith the  Lord ,  that I will bring  again
    the  captivity of my People Israel and Judah ,  saith the Lord:  and
    I  will  cause  them  to  return  to  the   Land  that   I  gave  to  their
    fathers,  and they shall possess it.  And  these are the words  that
    the Lord spake concerning  Israel and concerning Judah ( not  yet
    ).  For  thus  saith  the  Lord :  We  have  heard   a  voice of
    trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether
    a  man  doth  travail  with  child?  Wherefore  do  I  see every man
    with his hands on his  loins ,  as a woman in  travail ,  and all faces
    are turned into paleness?
    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.  For it
    shall  come  to  pass  in that  day ,  saith  the  Lord  of  hosts, that I
    will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and
    strangers  shall   no   more  serve  themselves  of   him :   But   they
    shall  serve  the  Lord  their  God ,  and  David  their  king ,  whom  I
    will raise up unto  them.  Therefore  fear  thou  not ,  O  My servant
    Jacob ,  saith  the  Lord;  neither  be  dismayed,  O  Israel,  for,  lo,  I
    will  save  thee  from  afar ,  and  thy  seed  from  the  land  of   their
    captivity ;  and  Jacob  shall   return ,  and   shall  be  in  rest, and be
     quiet, and none shall make him afraid." Jer. 30:3-10.
Obviously, with the quotation of this passage in its context, it places itself before the restoration of Israel to the Land.

When, in due course, they get there Israel will find the Land in desolation. Scorched earth aptly describes what they will find, for Gog has been led to come up against the Land and has devastated it, destroying the cities and villages that have been so laboriously built and the crops that have been raised are no more. It will be this invasion that will bring about their condition just described. Fear, with the memory of Hitler's massacres still on their mind and the expectation of worse to come, world-wide Jewry will throw themselves upon the mercy of their Lord God, as it were in sackcloth and ashes, and in response GOD will, by His power alone, destroy Gog and his allies in the land before separating Israel from the Nations and leading them back as described in Ezek. 20:33-38.

Need anything more be said to emphasise that Jacob's trouble and (the) great tribulation of Matt. 24 and other passages are not the same.

The church, the body—

 GOG'S INVASION                      under the MAN OF  SIN
 Jacob's trouble . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .the      great      tribulation
_________________. . . . . . . . . . .__________________
 the age—AION, ACHARITH                         the latter days.
 Israel—in dispersion—in restoration          in the apostasy

                                            —Christ's return to earth. Zech. 12:10.

J.G.H.S. 1