DURING THE TRIBULATION when the nations are seeking to wipe the Jews off the face of the earth we find Scripture states that the Jewish believers will be anything but depressed. We might expect that their suffering would drive them to dispair but on the contrary, the
Bible indicates they will be triumphant.
When Daniel’s three friends were cast into the fiery furnace for refusing to bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image the fire could not harm them and the Lord will also be with Israel in the fires of the Tribulation.
There is no doubt that Jews will suffer; first from a Russian/Islamic invasion in the first half of the Tribulation and then from Antichrist’s Satanically devised attacks in the second half of the Tribulation.
When Russia invades, two thirds of the nation of Israel will perish before they cry out to God and trust in Jesus Christ.
At the mid-point of the Tribulation Antichrist will move into the Temple at Jerusalem and the Jews will have to flee into the mountains of Judea where God has a place of refuge prepared for them.
Daniel tells us that Antichrist
“shall go forth with great fury
to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas (Dead Sea and Mediterranean) in the glorious holy mountain” (Dan.11:44-45).
John tells us that Satan will
“make war with the remnant of her (Israel’s) seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the
testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev.12:17).
The final conflict will bring
“all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city” (Zech.14:2) and
“Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem” (Zech.14:14).
With such cruel vengeance poured out upon the nation of Israel they could be pardoned if they were totally discouraged and dejected but that is not the case. Isaiah gives us a graphic description of the world in the Great Tribulation and it is the ungodly, evil nations who are miserable. Isaiah wrote that the world
will be in a very sorry state:
“The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merryhearted do sigh. The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth. They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it… all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone” (Isa.24:7-11).
But the suffering remnant of Israel will be reacting in quite a different manner. We read:
“When thus it shall be in the midst of
the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done. They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the LORD, they shall cry aloud from the sea. Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires” (Isa.24:13-15).
The Divine judgments of the Tribulation will not touch God’s servants for they are directed against the enemies of the Lord. Even the 144,000 Jewish witnesses are sealed for protection (Rev.7:1-3) from the Trumpet Judgments and though they lay down their lives for Christ they have the Lord’s assurance:
“thy dead men shall live together with my (Jesus) dead body shall they arise” (Isa.26:19).
Eight hundred years later John recorded how the 144,000 Jewish martyrs will sing “a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth” (Rev.14:3).
Even in the midst of terrible suffering the Godly remnant of Israel will be able to sing praises to God. Isaiah wrote:
“From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me!” (Isa.24:16).
Songs in the Midst of Sorrow!
Why will redeemed Israel in the Tribulation be able to rejoice? In the midst of Israel’s affliction the Lord is going to be with Israel and they will see great victories. They will find Him to be “a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat” (Isa.25:4).
We read of the Lord Jesus –
“who for the joy that was set before
him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb.12:2).
The world will suffer the judgments of the Tribulation however they will have no prospect of victory. But for Israel they will know that the Tribulation is but for a little while until the Lord comes to smite all their enemies and to reign in great glory and power.
In fact the Lord assures them that the Tribulation is but for a little time. “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity” (Isa.26:20-21).
The final choral piece sung by the Jewish remnant at this time is found in Isaiah chapter 26:1:
“In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isa.26:1-3).
During the dark days of the Tribulation there will be many military victories over the enemies of the Lord. Israel will witness Russia and her Islamic associates totally destroyed and the governors of Judah will be like
“an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left” (Zech.12:6).
But these victories pale into insignificance when viewed in the light of the final victory as the Lord Jesus descends from heaven with all the saints and angels. He will bear the name, King of kings and Lord of lords and He will sweep through the armies of the Antichrist to slay them and cast them into the lake of fire.
In that day Israel will say:
“Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Isa.25:9).
Jerusalem again will be the centre where God’s name will be proclaimed and the redeemed nation of Israel will proclaim Jesus Christ as Israel’s King and Saviour.
A Lesson to be Learned
If Israel can rejoice in the midst of such intense persecution then surely we should be able to
“count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4).
Peter encouraged the early Christians with the truth of our great salvation when they were being persecuted:
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1Peter.1:6-7).
There is great reward for rejoicing in the midst of affliction and Job is the classic example. Job lost his family, his farm,
his animals, his health and his wife. His friends falsely accused him, yet he could say:
“I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another” (Job19:25- 27).
Job’s faith was rewarded. His health was restored and his wealth was doubled. He even had a new family and he was justified before his accusers.
My dear brother and sister in Christ, whatever your trial, and whatever you suffer for Christ’s sake, “Count it all joy!” For the more we endure for Christ the more He will reward us.
“If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (2Tim.2:12).
If Israel will be able to sing praises to God in the midst of the fiery trial of the Tribulation, then surely we can find a song of praise to the Saviour when we are tested. Remember that the final victory is ours at the coming of the Lord when we shall be caught up together with all the saints in this age to meet the Lord in the air.
In that day, when we look down on earth, the trials of life will seem so small and we will say with Israel:
“Lo, this is our God … we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Isa.25:9).