Dan 12:5-7 [ESV2011] 5 Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, two others stood, one on this bank of the stream and one on that bank of the stream. 6 And someone said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream, “How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?” 7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream; he raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven and swore by him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished.
As we have seen, there will be a time of unprecedented suffering to take place at the end of this age which is foretold in both the Old and New Testaments. There are many different names ascribed to this period of suffering or tribulation, but whatever term we use we are referring to the same 3 1/2 year period, which is the second half of Daniel’s 70th week in Daniel 9:27, Jacob’s trouble Jeremiah 30:7, or the great tribulation Matt 24:21. Though there will be a different agenda being played out for Israel and the Gentiles, it is still the same period of time.
And in our mini Quick Bite series, the Second Exodus, we are specifically focussed upon Israel and what the future holds for her. Remember to keep the Bride in full view, and ask, how will the Lord prepare His people Israel to be the wife who has made herself ready as in Revelation 19:7? That’s the question isn’t it? Because that’s the Lord’s heart and desire, what all of Creation has been about, to prepare a Bride that He will become one with as in a marriage relationship. As incredible as that sounds, what an awesome and unfathomable act of Divine Love and mercy it truly is. Who are we, that our Lord should be so mindful of us and loving? Yet this is the truth of the Gospel, the Divine Mystery being revealed. Let us therefore align our hearts with His, and make ourselves ready as His Bride, the wife of the Lamb.
Last time I shared that for a brief period, the Bride would be both in Heaven and upon the earth, that’s because when the Lord returns as the Son of Man, He is not only coming for His prepared Bride, but for Israel also who has yet to enter into the New Covenant. Now those who are ready, prepared and waiting for the Lord’s return shall be gathered into Heaven on that great Day of the Lord, but what of those in Israel who are not yet saved, where will they be, where will the unprepared wife be when Jesus returns? I believe there is a threefold answer to that question: First, some of Israel will already have been in the wilderness for three and half years. Rev 12:14 [ESV2011] reads “But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.”. But not all of Israel will leave their homeland, or Jerusalem. Though Jesus had warned them to do so when they see the Abomination of Desolation, we find those who remained in Jerusalem now under attack from the nations of the world. Zech 14:1-2 [NET2] reads “A day of the LORD is about to come when your possessions will be divided as plunder in your midst. 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to wage war; the city will be taken, its houses plundered, and the women raped. Then half of the city will go into exile, but the remainder of the people will not be taken away”Then lastly, there will be a third group of people who are neither in Jerusalem, nor the place in the wilderness provided for the woman. Here’s Daniel 12:7 again, this time reading from the Septuagint “And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was over the water of the river, and he lifted up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by him that lives for ever, that it should be for a time of times and half a time: when the dispersion is ended they shall know all these things.” Did you notice the reference to the dispersion? The dispersion will end after the time of Jacob’s trouble, after the great tribulation. Now of course, we know that since 1948 Israel has been politically recognised and many Jews have been returning back to their homeland ever since, and I don’t want to take anything away from this return back to Israel, but when looking at the Biblical references to the return of the dispersed tribes of Israel back to their homeland, then we cannot fail to notice that the completion of this return is specifically prophesied as taking place on or after the Day of the Lord, which is after the great tribulation. Here’s some scriptures that refer specifically to this gathering.
Isa 11:10-12 10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious. 11 In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea. 12 He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Ezek 34:11,12 11“For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.”
Jer 30:7-10 [ESV2011] 7 Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it. 8 “And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off your neck, and I will burst your bonds, and foreigners shall no more make a servant of him. 9 But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them. 10 “Then fear not, O Jacob my servant, declares the LORD, nor be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from far away, and your offspring from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and none shall make him afraid.
What each of these verses tells us is that the gathering of the dispersed remnant of Israel will take place on a particular day, a specific time in the future. Ezekiel calls it a day of clouds and thick darkness, and Jeremiah describes it as the day of Jacob’s trouble, when Israel shall be saved. It will be at that time, that David their King will be raised up, which is a Messianic reference to Jesus as the King.