top of page

JACOB'S TROUBLE

One of many Biblical prophecies that the Churches of God believe is yet to be fulfilled is found in Jeremiah chapter 30, and referred to as "Jacob's trouble" in verse seven.

This prophecy needs to be understood in context. The chapters leading up to it speak of the time of the Babylonian captivity. In Jeremiah 29:10-14 the Jews are told that after 70 years in Babylon they will be brought back to Jerusalem. When we reathe account of this in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, we see that only a small portion of the Jews actually came back. The majority either stayed in Babylon or became dispersed among the nations.

This 70 year exile in Babylon is the commencement of a much longer period of punishment by God spoken about in Leviticus 26:21, a period of "seven times", or 2520 years.

As the Scriptures tell us so much about the demise of the nation of Judah, and how "seven times" of punishment would befall them, we should expect that God would also predict many events that would occur when their period of punishment was coming to an end.

I believe that one place God does this is in Jeremiah 30:1-17.

World War 2 was one of the most pivotal turning points in history. It is quite astonishing that it is rarely mentioned in the Churches of God in relation to prophecy, especially since all the tribes of Israel were involved in this greatest of all wars.

The Holocaust is sometimes mentioned, but no one seems to wonder why Satan was so determined to destroy the Jews, and why he put up such an enormous fight, involving some of the most demonic world leaders ever witnessed on the world stage, at that particular moment in history. Clearly he wanted to stop the events prophesied by God from occurring.

Whereas Jeremiah 29 is specifically about the House of Judah, Jeremiah 30 is about "Israel and Judah" (verse 4), which means all the tribes of Israel.

Jer 30:7 says: "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". Israel's original name was Jacob. He was the father of all the tribes of Israel, so this prophecy involves all of Israel.

Verse 8 adds: "I will break the yoke off their necks" (NIV) and "Foreigners shall no more enslave them".

This could not be speaking about the Jews' return from Babylon, because more national enslavement of the Jews followed after that. This can only be speaking about the aftermath of the "seven times", or 2520 years, which came to an end in 1945. The chart on the "HOME" page shows that this period ran from 3395AM, when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem, until 5914AM, when WW2 ended, which equates to 575BC until 1945AD.

Indeed, no Israelite nation has been enslaved since 1945, but World War 2, however, did lead to the death or enslavement of millions of Israelites. Those familiar with the British Israel theory know that Great Britain and the USA are descended from Joseph, one of the sons of Israel. The descendants of Israel's other sons are mainly found in such countries as France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and, of course, Israel. Even though Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland were technically neutral in the war, they also contributed volunteers to the various armies and sustained many casualties.

The combined number of WW2 casualties, both military and civilian, among the descendants of Israel, was approximately 8 million. This number includes close to 6 million Jews, most of whom were liquidated in death camps.

In the countries it occupied, apart from attempting to totally eliminate the Jewish people, Germany implemented a policy of rounding up people (mainly men) of working age, transporting them to Germany, and putting them to work in areas deemed essential to the war effort. Some 2 million of these came from Israelite countries, and were, for all practical purposes, slaves, and treated as such.

The Wikipedia article on this subject is very insightful, as well as sobering:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forced_labour_under_German_rule_during_World_War_II

In addition to these slaves, captured soldiers from all countries were confined to squalid prisoner of war camps, often as forced labourers, with many dying from overwork, malnutrition, disease and barbaric treatment. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers from all Israelite countries were thus enslaved.

In 1945, exactly 2520 years after Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians, this worst of all wars came to an end. The surviving prisoners were then freed, and allowed to return to their home countries. To read about the Jews' return to the land of Israel, please see the page "THE TWO WITNESSES".

Thus was fulfilled, at the stipulated time, what God had foretold in Jer 30:3:

 "For behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah, says the Lord. And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers (the individual land that each of the sons of Israel had been promised and given), and they shall possess it".

Jer 30:9 speaks of these people worshipping the true God, and of "David" (the Son of David, i.e. Christ) being their king. We might be inclined to think that this is a yet future event, but, when compared with the fulfilment of prophecy in Acts 2, a different picture emerges.

 

The apostle Peter, speaking on the Day of Pentecost, states in Acts 2:16-18 that the phenomenon being witnessed at that moment, of people speaking in tongues, was a fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel 2:28-29. The prophecy of Joel says that God would pour out His spirit on "all flesh", or "all people". However, the "all flesh" that Peter was speaking about only amounted to a few thousand people on that day. Clearly this needs to be understood in combination with Acts 5:32, which tells us that God gives His holy spirit to "those that obey Him". Therefore, the "all flesh" who received the holy spirit were all who obeyed Him.

If we view Jer 30:9 in the same way, the meaning becomes clearer. All the Israelite nations had Sabbath keeping churches who worshipped the true God. These greatly increased in number after WW2. Likewise the Jews, upon returning to the Holy Land after WW2, witnessed the development of the Messianic movement, i.e. Jews accepting Christ. Therefore all the Israelite nations had people who "keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus" (Rev 12:17), even though their numbers were still small in comparison with the overall population of these countries.

From Jer 30:18 to the end of the chapter the account reverts to the return of the Jews from Babylon. It mentions there being "nobles" and "governor(s)" (Jer 30:21) at that time, just as the books of Ezra and Nehemiah bear out.

Chapter 31 takes us to the time of the New Testament where "A voice was heard in Ramah ..." (Jer 31:15) is quoted in Matt 2:18 in regard to the killing of the infants of Bethlehem. Jer 31:31 speaks of the New Covenant made by Christ, a verse quoted several times in the book of Hebrews.

 

So, briefly, we can see that Jeremiah chapters 29 to 31 speaks of three main time periods: 1) the return of the exiles from Babylon, 2) the time of Christ, and 3) the WW2 period and subsequent return of all affected Israelites to their respective countries. It is this WW2 period, including the Holocaust, that is referred to as "Jacob's trouble".

Am I alone in interpreting "Jacob's trouble" as such? Definitely not. Below is a link to an article that also claims this prophecy was fulfilled during the WW2 time period, but applies it to the Jews only, and not to the other tribes of Israel. Although I don't agree with all the content of this article, I point to it to show that the belief that "Jacob's trouble" is still in the future is not shared by all:

https://www.ifi.org.il/en/teachings/jacobs-trouble-past-or-future

In conclusion, I believe a strong case can be made that the prophecy of "Jacob's trouble" in Jeremiah 30:7 was fulfilled in the 20th century.

bottom of page