View from the Pew – The Time of Jacob’s Distress

What did you learn from last week’s sermon?

Q1: What are the two reasons Paul went into so much detail with the Corinthian church about end times?

Q2: Name three promises that God has made directly to you if you are a real believer.

Q3: Who does God use to illustrate to us that all of His promises will come true?

Q4: Did Paul read the promises to Israel to restore them to their “dirt” in a future earthly kingdom with Jesus as their king literally or figuratively?

Q5: Give a book and chapter of the Old Testament tells us about this promise to Israel?

Q6: What is Jacob’s Distress?

Q7: Who was Jacob?

Q8: During the Millennial Kingdom, will God actually rebuild the city of Jerusalem for Israel?

Q9: Will there be any of us left to endure Jacob’s Distress?

Sermon Summary & Answers

It has been so enlightening listening to our pastor’s last couple of sermons as he explains real simple truths about the END TIMES. I don’t know about you, but I never realized how much detail Paul shared in 1 Corinthians. He did this so that the Corinthians could confidently keep their eye on the prize (heaven) when times were tough, and we know the Christian life is and always has been very difficult, as promised in scripture. Part of the difficulty for Christians in life is finding comfort in the reality of death.

I always tell my husband (tongue in cheek) I want to go out with a real party, laughter, joy, and sparkly red stilettos showing in my casket because I want everyone to know just how excited I am to go to heaven to be with Jesus forever. Will that positive attitude be the reality when the time comes? I have met so many dying Christians where that was precisely the truth. So, let’s all meditate on this week’s message and ask the Holy Spirit to drive the precious comfort of God’s promises, and its resulting confidence deep into our hearts for just that time. I agree with Paul; we should prepare our hearts now. We do not want our emotions to get the better of us in the end.

What Promises?

Well, let us start with the three promises God has made directly to you if you are a real believer:

  1. He promised the death of His Son on the cross that paid the full price due for all of our sins;
  2. The forgiveness of all our (believers’) sins;
  3. That nothing in this life will overtake us except what He commands and directs to happen for our good and His Glory… and so much more.

These promises are on Paul’s mind as he writes. He wants us to know that if even one single promise that God has made does not come true, then all of this (creation, Christ, our future resurrection, etc.) was just a grand deception. We would have to call God Almighty a liar. We know this is not true. We see this truth illustrated in the faithful working of God in and among His people, Israel.

1 Corinthians 15:23-25 focuses us in on THE KINGDOM. What is that? Where is that? What is the purpose of the kingdom? For the answer, Pastor Wilson takes us back to an Old Testament promise that was foretold. Jeremiah 23:3-6 tells us that Jesus will (at some future point) gather all of the Jews (a remnant of true Israel) that have been scattered across the world. He is talking about a specific location for this gathering, and none of true Israel will be left out. He is talking about his original promised land He gave to His people, where they belong. He even tells them that they will be fruitful and multiply. They will have a home and a real daily life that takes an actual period-of-time. A thousand years on earth (after believers are taken) with Jesus ruling, to be exact. Verse 7-8 tells us that as sure as He actually did rescue them from Egypt, He will put them back on “their own dirt.” It is a future promise. This is “as sure as God is God.” Paul read this literally and thus referenced it so in 1 Corinthians. He ties this eschatological conviction directly to the veracity of their Christian faith.

Jeremiah 30:1-22 reiterates that Jesus will bring real Israel back to their soil but then goes on to tell us how the Jews will endure what is called Jacob’s Distress. Jacob was the father of the twelve tribes of Israel. Jacob’s Distress will be the judging of the nation of Israel for the saving of the remnant. Matthew 24:29-31 talks about this “tribulation.” This is not the first tribulation. We (the church) will already be resurrected. This is the purging of Israel. This time of cataclysmic wrath is justified because of all of Israel’s unfaithfulness. You can read the details in Revelation 4-19.

God must do this tribulation of Israel because He is righteous. God will also take His revenge upon those who have ever harmed Israel at this time. Then, he will restore them to health. God goes on to tell them that he will rebuild the palace and the actual city of Zion (Jerusalem) on its ruin. This promise was initially in God’s covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17:7-8).

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Melissa Strautman

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