雅各遭難的時候

30: 7 哀哉!那日為大,無日可比;這是雅各遭難的時候,但他必被救出來。

大約2600年前,透過先知耶利米說話,上帝預言了一個以色列和猶大人民在以後無前例的痛苦時期(30:4)。摩西已可怕地描述了這段痛苦的時期(申命記28)。兩個先知皆說起因於以色列人民對上帝的不忠實。 (耶利米30:14,申命記 28:15),但即使這困厄是如此地可怕,上帝承諾祂將從中拯救猶太人,從外邦人之中遷離他們,使他們歸回到他們的土地。( 30:8-10,申30: 1-3,以西結 37:12-14)。基督教神學長久以來認為「雅各遭難的時候」就是「大災難時期」,這就是當世界各國反對這些相信上帝的以色列人。

當拉比們談到「雅各遭難的時候」,他們了解那是一個迫害以色列的時候發生了(例如最近的恐怖份子活動),緊接而來的是戰爭,然後是彌賽亞的來臨。所以對猶太人民來說,「雅各遭難的時候」是表示他們長久等待的彌賽亞即將來臨的諺語。在「雅各遭難的時候」必有大規模的流淚悔改,預備人民的心以迎接彌賽亞大衛的子孫的出現。

在歷史上,自雅各以後有幾個災難的時期。在主後76年,一百萬個猶太人在一天之內死於羅馬人的手。25百萬人死於史達林之手,其中2百萬是猶太人。希特勒屠殺了6百萬名猶太人。有些人提議說納綷大屠殺就是聖經上說的「雅各遭難的時候」。

然而,仔細地研究以西結書,顯示在耶30:7「雅各遭難的時候」的預言發生在;

1) 猶太人民回到他們自己的土地之後。

2) 他們在自己的土地過了一個「完整的世代」(至少40年)。

3) 然後,依據耶15:8,會有一個「掠奪者」光天化日之下在土地上掠奪人民。一個統計的事實顯示,阿拉法特不僅在政治上”偷”上帝應許給其選民的土地,在過去5年堙A巴勒斯坦每年從以色列偷竊36,000~40,000輛汽車,還不包括其他東西。這個「掠奪者」顯然己經在土地上實行掠奪!

4) 現在是歷史上猶太人民首次願意自動將上帝給他們的土地奉送給他人,因此而違背了他們誓約。在他們失去土地之前,已從他們被取走。現在他們因為一個假的承諾而將土地奉送他人。「雅各遭難的時候」之前,誓約必須被破壞。

所以最近在以色列27個素有聲望的拉比共同聲明「雅各遭難的時候」現在己經開始了是不可輕忽的。所有的條件己經就定位,就如一位猶太時事評論員說:「兩位拉比對任何一件事有相同的看法就已相當困難,現在有27個拉比一致地簽署同一件聲明確實是相當值得注意。」

那這些事對基督督有何意義?

這篇文章無意在每個人末日、被提等教義上引起爭論。

而是要我們注意這個時刻的嚴重性。

Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it. Jeremiah 30:7 (NKJ)

Speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, around 2600 years ago, God foretold a coming period of unprecedented suffering for the people of Israel and Judah (v4). Moses had earlier chillingly detailed this time of torment (Deut 28) which, both prophets said, would result from Israel's unfaithfulness to God. (Jeremiah 30:14, Deuteronomy 28:15 But as terrible as this distress would be, God promised that He would save the Jews out of it, remove them from among the gentiles, and restore them to their Land. (Jer 30:8-10; Deut. 30: 1-3; Ezekiel 37:12-14). Christian theology has long equated Jacob's trouble with "The Great Tribulation" - when the nations of the world move against those who believe in Israel's God.

When the Rabbis speak of the "Time of Jacob's Trouble" they understand it to be a time when persecution will break out against the Jews (such as the recent terrorist campaigns), followed by a war, followed by the coming of the Messiah. Therefore, the Time of Jacob's Trouble has for centuries been the byword to denote to the Jewish people the very imminence of the arrival of their long awaited Messiah. Great repentance with tears is warranted during the time of Jacob's Trouble, preparing the hearts of the people for the appearance of Messiah ben David, Messiah the Son of David.

Historically, there have been several times of "Trouble" for the descendants of Jacob. In 76AD, one million Jews died in one day at the hands of the Romans. 25 million people died under Stalin, at least 2 million of them being Jews. Hitler destroyed 6 million Jews. Some have suggested that the Holocaust was the biblical "Time of Jacob's Trouble."

However, a careful study of Ezekiel shows that the Time of Jacob's Trouble prophesied in Jer. 30:7 would happen

1) after the Jewish people had returned to their own land

2) when a "full generation" had been completed in their own land (at least 40 years)

3) and when, according to Jeremiah 15:8, a "plunderer" was IN the land and plundered the people in broad daylight. It is a statistical fact that not only has Arafat through political deception "stolen" land that belongs to God and which God gave to the Jewish people, but that in the past five years, Palestinians have literally stolen 36,000-40,000 automobiles PER YEAR from Israelis, among other things. The "plunderer" appears to be in the land and actively plundering!

4) now is the FIRST TIME IN HISTORY that the Jewish people have willingly given away the land that God gave them, thereby violating the covenant. When they have lost the land before, it has been taken from them. Now they have given it away for a false promise. The breaking of the covenant is a requirement for the onset of the Time of Jacob's Trouble.

Therefore, the recently reported declaration by the 27 Rabbis of prominence in Israel that the Time of Jacob's Trouble has now begun is not to be ignored or dismissed lightly. All of the conditions are in place and as one Jewish commentator remarked, "Considering how difficult it is to get 2 Jews to agree on anything, the fact that 27 RABBIS unanimously agreed to sign this declaration is noteworthy indeed."

What does this mean for the Christian?

The purpose of this brief teaching is not to debate anyone's doctrine of the end times, the rapture, etc.

It IS to call our attention to the seriousness of this hour. Where did we get a Christianity in which Jesus is the only one who carries a cross? Where did we get a Christianity where Jesus is the only one who dies? The martyrs knew nothing of this kind of Christianity. Neither should we. Jesus said, "If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me." Paul wrote "I die daily." And again, "Put to death the deeds of the flesh..."

Brothers and sisters, we have looked forward to the coming of the Lord for years. We've talked about it, we've studied Bible Prophecy. NOW is the hour to get on our face before God and make sure that with all of our studying and discussing, we have not forgotten the most important thing - that our hearts need to be ready for Him! It is a day to examine ourselves and see if with all of our studying and discussing, have we forgotten our first love? Are we candidates for the same rebuke as Jesus spoke to the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2, or even worse the Laodicean church of Revelation 3?

This is a season for honesty and humility, for confession and repentance. Let us not be found among those who are scoffers in the last days, as the Bible warns, but let us be among those whose hearts cry out for purity, holiness and a passionate love for the Lord God.

Consider prayerfully the words of this message; study it out in your own Bible. For, beloved, if we truly are in the "Time of Jacob's Trouble", you cannot afford to be ignorant of the times and seasons.