God disciplines those He loves. For the nation of Israel, this time of correction is called Jacob’s Trouble, or the Tribulation. In Israel and the Tribulation, Amir Tsarfati looks at Israel’s rebellion against God before the period of correction begins, the peace and the horror the nation will experience during that time, and the spiritual restoration that will take place when the seven years conclude. Israel abandoned the relationship that God loved for religion which He hates. It is the remnant that survives the Tribulation who will return once again to the relationship the Lord wants.
Shalom from the Southern part of the Golan Heights.
This is the plateau that is right here, overlooking the sea of Galilee behind me.
And it’s territory that is about 50 kms long and 20 kms wide.
And it was a territory that was taken by Israel from Syria in 1967,
following years of harassment of the Jewish population below
by the Syrian military that was right here above.
And by the way, that is where we are – a military bunker
that may have been built originally by the British,
but was used by the Syrian military with the view of the sea of Galilee and the country, the state of Israel.
And the reason why that teaching on ‘Israel and the Tribulation’
is being given to you from this place is very, very simple and symbolic.
This is where the state of Israel in 1973 almost came to an end,
although in 1967, in a very amazing military campaign, within 6 days, we quadrupled our territory.
And in the fourth and fifth day of that 6 Days War, we took over the Golan Heights,
few years later, not only that we nearly lost this piece of land,
but we were on the brink of completely being annihilated by a military force
that was determined to avenge its defeat in 1967
and to bring an end to the state of Israel.
[ISRAEL AND THE TRIBULATION]
This is why we’re here, because we’re going to talk about a chapter in the future
that will almost bring Israel to a complete annihilation.
But this time, unlike other times before, God is not only in full control,
but also somehow ordains the fact that there will be world changes
and great catastrophes that will follow them.
We know that it involves not only the people of Israel, the Jews,
but it involves the land of Israel, the country, the capital Jerusalem.
We know that because the Bible gives us not only a clear description
of what is going to happen, but where it’s going to happen as well.
I would like to start the teaching on ‘Israel and the Tribulation’ with a clear warning
that the Lord gave through Moses in Deuteronomy 30.
He said: ‘I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you,
that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life,
He says: ‘that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God,
that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him,
for He is your life and the length of your days.’ (30:19-20)
We can see here that God gave us free will
and the clear choice – there is death, and there is life –
there are curses and there are blessings – Choose life.
And the only way to choose life is to choose Him, the One who gives life.
And the Bible says that He’s not only your life, but: ‘He’s the length of your days;
and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.’
So we can clearly see that obedience to God and to God’s Word and faith in Him is directly connected
also to the Jewish people holding of the land that was given to them.
And we know that when they left God, they literally were allowed also to be kicked out of their land.
We know that, and we know that the prophet Daniel who was already in the Diaspora
wrote of something much greater that is about to come upon the nation of Israel.
One of the major things that God is warning people of Israel
is that He’s not interested in religion, His interested in a personal relationship with Him.
And you can see that very, very amazingly in the books of the prophet.
Jeremiah says in chapter 2 verses 1-3, it says: ‘the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying,
‘Thus says the Lord: “I remember you, The kindness of your youth,
The love of your betrothal, When you went after Me in the wilderness,
in a land not sown. Israel was holiness to the Lord,
The firstfruits of His increase. All that devour him will offend;
Disaster will come upon them,” says the Lord.”‘
There was such an amazing close relationship between God and Israel
before they entered the land, before they got to spoil,
before they started religion, there was a great relationship
and God said: ‘Look, I remember those days and everybody around knew
that you are my people and they all were afraid
and anyone that was coming against you, he actually was devoured.’
When I accepted the Lord and when I came to faith in the Messiah,
the first thing that I remember that really shocked me
was when I read the first chapter of the book of Isaiah.
In fact, I did not even read a single verse in the New Testament
when I came to faith in Yeshua who, by the way, was, in my eyes,
all throughout the book of Isaiah.
So I came to Isaiah 1 and I heard this:
‘Hear the word of the Lord, You rulers of Sodom;
Give ear to the law of our God, You people of Gomorrah.’ (1:10)
That was how God described Israel at that time.
It’s just like, look what he says:’“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?”
Says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
And the fat of fed cattle.
I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats.
“When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts?”‘
God says, ‘I have no interest in religions.’
I don’t need all of these sacrifices and all of those things when your heart is not right.’
He said: ‘Bring no more futile sacrifices;
Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—
I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.’
And look what He said.
He said: ‘Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates;’
When I read that I nearly fell off my chair.
I mean, God is telling the people of Israel that the ‘Rosh Ḥodesh’, we say in Hebrew,
the new moon and the festivals, the Moadim, Haggim,
all these things that we read in the Scriptures, especially in Leviticus 23,
that He appointed them to celebrate, He hates those things?
It is true, He hates when we only act on automatic pilot
and we do stuff, we do religion, He hates it.
He says: ‘I’m not interested in all of this.
How can you do that when you have your hands not clean,
I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meetings.’
He says: ‘They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them.
When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you;
Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear.
Your hands are full of blood.’ (1:14-16)
Look, you don’t have to have real blood on your hands to have your hands full of blood.
All you need to do is to support things that brings an end of innocent life,
such as the one in the womb and you can clearly see
He continuous and says: ‘“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
Cease to do evil, Learn to do good;
Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.
“Come now, and let us reason together,”’ He says.
‘”If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land;”‘
Look, he goes back to the land.
The spiritual state of Israel will always reflect what is going on between them and the land.
And He says: ‘”You shall eat the good of the land;
But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword,”’ He said.
‘For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’
So we see that God is not into doing bad things to the nation He loves so much.
He’s into, I would say, disciplining them.
I disciplined my sons and my daughter because I am their father, I love them.
I do not want them to do the wrong thing.
I do not want them to do things that they will eventually suffer from.
These are the things that are eventually matters of life and death.
That’s what He said in Deuteronomy chapter 30 –
your choices will lead either through life or to death and He says: ‘Choose life.’
And we already know who is the life, who is the way and who is the truth, the Messiah, Yeshua.
So by rejecting Him, you’re already somehow not choosing life…
and it’s interesting because that is exactly what brings us into the situation
of Israel being the focus of the tribulation.
What is the tribulation?
There’s a lot of tribulations.
Jesus, in fact told even His own disciples: ‘In this world you will have tribulations,
but be of good cheer for I have overcome this world…’ (John16:33)
You know, life here in this evil world with so many evil people,
with so much evil that is being conducted almost on a daily basis,
life is not easy. We know that, we’ve seen it.
You know, it’s not a garden of roses.
There are difficulties, there’s a lot of wars and famines and pestilences, pandemics.
There’s a lot of suffering in this world.
People hate one another… in fact, the biggest enemy of humans – are humans.
The Bible says in Proverbs 3, verses 11 to 12:
‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction;
For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights. ‘
Isaiah 65 says, in verses 1-3: ‘I was sought by those who did not ask for Me;
I was found by those who did not seek Me.
I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’ To a nation that was not called by My name.
I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in a way that is not good,
According to their own thoughts; A people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face.’
One of my dearest pastors taught me:
‘Amir, happiness and joy can be translated in so many different ways,
but suffering, only by one.’ Suffering is the only language that everyone understands.
And unfortunately, that’s the one thing that really brings us always back to track.
In Israel we have a term “Lachzor betshuva” to come back with an answer.
It’s very interesting, but “betshuva” is not just an answer it’s to return “Lashuv”
It’s amazing… ‘Come back and return to Me,’ He says, and ‘then I will return to you. I am here.’
God is near all those who worship Him in spirit and in truth, (Psalms145:18)
Matthew 23, look what He says, Jesus is looking at the city of Jerusalem:
‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!
How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!
See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say,
“Baruch HaBa Beshem Adonai” – Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
He says: ‘Look, you suffer from your own consequences and you won’t be able to see Me until you return.
You come back and you ask Me to come and I will come,
because when you come back to Me, I will come back to you.’
That’s how it works.
So before the 7-years-tribulation begins,
which is where we are right now, we are before it, we haven’t started it yet.
We can clearly see that the Lord through the prophets
promised a physical restoration to the nation of Israel.
Physical means that they will be physically taken from wherever they are.
The land will be physically restored to be green, lush and prosperous.
And the people who were restored will be physically brought back to the land which is restored.
And then the language will be restored and physically the fig tree,
that is a symbol of Israel’s national privileges, will come back to life.
And Israel is back in the land. 73 years ago, Israel is back in the land.
Israel is now considered one of the 8 most powerful nations in the world.
Israel is the 3rd country in the world that landed a vehicle on the moon.
Israel is the leading country in the world in so many areas,
a nation that was almost annihilated just about 40 years ago
when the Syrian army right here in this bunker and all over this area,
nearly brought an end to our existence.
We’re still here because there was a promise for a physical restoration
and God is a God that fulfills His promises.
And here we are restored physically, first back to the land of Israel.
Ezekiel 36 says: ‘you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches
and yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are about to come.’
A land that was dead… a land that Mark Twain in the 1860 said
that even the cactus who is a great friend of the desert did not grow here.
A land that was a barren wasteland, according to the words of Mark Twain.
By the way, Mark Twain may have said these horrible words about this land,
and he praised the beauty of Damascus when he was there…
Who would imagine that in 2021 it’s Damascus that is in almost ruins,
and this place is such a flourishing country…
But watch this!
The land had to be first restored so the people will be then restored back to the land.
He said: ‘You, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches
and yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are about to come.
For indeed I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown.
I will multiply men upon you,’
Look, we have airplanes full of Jews coming from the 4 corners of the world,
up until today, coming from everywhere… from India and from Ethiopia, from America,
from the UK, from the Ukraine and from Russia and from so many other places,
all over Jews return back home, physically.
‘and the cities shall be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt.’
Come to Israel and you see it’s all flourishing now.
‘I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bear young;
I will make you inhabited as in former times, and do better for you than at your beginnings.
‘Thus says the Lord God: “I do not do this for your sake,
O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake,
which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went.
And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations,
which you have profaned in their midst.’
God says, look, I’m bringing you back, not because you’re so perfect,
but it’s because I love you and I promised your fathers that I will bring back.
Israel is enjoying an amazing promise and an amazing God who keeps His promises.
And thankfully we see that the physical restoration came first, because here we are.
And the Bible says that there is going to come a point
where Israel not only will be restored to the land but Israel will be safe, secure, and prosperous.
This is it, folks, this has been, the the past year, 2020, the lowest number of casualties in the military
or among civilians from terrorism or war since the day we were born in 1948.
We never had it that good… we were never so prosperous as a nation as we are today.
The Bible says that there is coming a war that will involve certain countries upon Israel.
And it’s interesting because the year 2020 as we enter into 2021 also now,
the stage for that war is ready.
The Bible says that Israel will probably be so prosperous
and have so much that somebody else wants,
that Israel will be having an attacking coalition coming from the North.
This is where we are, we are in Northern Israel right now, they will come from that direction.
And the Bible says, we were talking about Rosh and Meshech and Tubal,
we’re talking about Persia, Gomer, the house of Togarmah
and Put and Kush will also join them.
These are the biblical names of Russia, Turkey, and Iran of today,
together with Libya and Sudan on the other side.
And the Bible says that they want to come, it’s not a political thing, it’s not even a religious thing.
The Bible says that those other countries that criticize,
they say, ‘Have you come to take plunder, to take booty?’
In other words, you come to have financial gain, you come to steal something…
It’s not about Palestinian state, or it’s not about necessarily Islam or not Islam.
Israel will be at the point where others will invade in order to take something from it.
And it’s not the land. Now pay attention to this folks.
It’s going to be a great war… the war will be felt all across the world.
That war is going to be against the existence of Israel
as a strong, safe and secure and prosperous country, of course…
But I need you to understand folks, I need you to understand.
Daniel says: ‘Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most High.’
In other words, Daniel says, look from the moment the decree to go and rebuild Jerusalem is given,
I want you to start counting.
I’m going to give you an exact number of days and weeks and months and years
until Messiah goes into Jerusalem and He will be killed, not for anything that He did.
And then he said after that there’s another week… separated… different,
and that week is also about Israel and it’s also about Jerusalem
and it’s also about, eventually, the return of the Messiah.
But that week we’ll start a very bad period for the nation of Israel,
those at least who rejected the Messiah.
Look what he says. Jeremiah 30 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.
‘For it shall come to pass in that day,’ Says the Lord of hosts,
‘That I will break his yoke from your neck, And will burst your bonds;
Foreigners shall no more enslave them. But they shall serve the Lord their God,
And David their king,
Whom I will raise up for them.’ ()30:7-9
Think about it for a second.
Israel will go through a horrible situation.
It’s called “Jacob’s trouble”, it’s a trouble for Israel.
Yes, the whole world will suffer, but Israel eventually will be saved out of it.
That’s what he says and he’s not the only one that says that.
Daniel 12:1: ‘At that time Michael shall stand up,
The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people.’
He says, there’s an angel that is appointed for the sons of Israel,
for the nation of Israel and there shall be a time of trouble,
again, the same word, tribulation, trouble, Jacob’s trouble,
‘Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time.’
Now make no mistake, Daniel is a boy that was taken out of Jerusalem,
when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Assyrians and Babylonians, if you remember,
Babylon was there and the city was just leveled to the ground.
Daniel saw a horrible chapter in the history of Israel,
and yet he says it’s nothing compares to what the future is going to bring,
but then he says: ‘And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book.’
What does it mean?
It means that if throughout the tribulation they will repent
and their names will be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life,
they, of course, are going to be delivered.
And it’s interesting because it’s the same Daniel who in chapter 9 says:
‘Remember, that last week, that world leader that is going to emerge and confirm a covenant.
Remember, that only halfway through that week, he is going to break it.’
Remember the apostle Paul who wrote to the Thessalonians in his second epistle,
when he described the end time, when he described the timing of the rapture of the church,
he said: ‘Don’t you remember that I told you there’s going to be a world leader
and that world leader will enter into the temple of God and declare himself as god.’
That means that Israel is about to enjoy a fake messianic era
that will enable them to build a temple, resume sacrifices
and you know, there is peace and there is prosperity – messianic times.
And of course, that world leader that will confirm that covenant,
will be hailed as messiah, just to find out three and a half years later,
not only that he was a fake messiah, the Antichrist,
but he’s actually the greatest enemy of Israel.
Now, it’s interesting because the Bible says that Jesus warned the nation of Israel
that that day is about to come.
In Matthew 24, verse 15 to 22, He says:
‘“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet…”‘
that same Daniel who wrote about it in chapter 9,
He said, ‘standing in the holy place.’ Jesus acknowledged there’s going to be a false temple, the third temple.
He says: ‘whoever reads, let him understand,
then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.
And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.
But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!
And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time.’
The same words, Daniel in chapter 12 is using, spoken by God, through the angel to Daniel,
‘No, nor ever shall be.’ He said it’s going to be so catastrophic
that nothing that ever happened before in history can be compared.
And it won’t even happen later after that… that’s it.
‘And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved;
but for the elect’s sake,’ for the sake of those who are going to put their trust,
from among Israel, that are going to put their trust also, by the way, from amongst the rest,
all those that will be responding for their sake, those days will be shortened.
In other words, 7 years of which three and a half years will be complete deception
and the other three and a half years will be complete physical destruction.
Thankfully will not last longer than that.
Now when the church is raptured, is taken, and now the focus is shifting back to Israel,
in order for them to be disciplined and get back to the Lord.
We see something very interesting that is happening.
And it’s mentioned for the first time in the book of Revelation, chapter 7,
but in its original historical narrative order, it is also in chapter 14.
And it says that there’s going to be 144,000 Jewish people sealed to the Lord.
What does it mean?
It means that God, once again, will show the nations of the world who He is,
by using the nation of Israel.
‘And I heard the number of those who were sealed.
One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed.’
They had the seal on their forehead, they were of the nation of Israel.
You see, Israel even throughout a tribulation has a purpose
to be a light to the nations.
But of course there is free will – make no mistake.
Why is he saying there’s only 144,000?
Because those were sealed, but the rest will have to make their choice.
The rest will have to eventually either follow or not…
follow the Antichrist or follow Jesus Christ.
But they will have to make up their mind,
whether they belong and fall into the hands of the system,
the leadership of those 2 beasts, the false prophet and the Antichrist
or suffer great, terrible persecution because of their faith in Christ.
Israel throughout the tribulation, we hear terrible things that are going to come upon that nation,
but we can see also a glimpse of light of how God will still use them,
not just for themselves, but also for the whole world.
Zachariah chapter 13 gives us a sobering reality.
The Bible says: ‘”And it shall come to pass in all the land,” Says the Lord,
“That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, But one-third shall be left in it:’
And that one third will be brought through the fire and be tested.
In other words, only those that will choose life will eventually have life.
And we know what life is.
And now we are coming to the point where those whose name is written in the Book
are now being saved and there is now a spiritual restoration.
God wanted a relationship with Israel – Israel decided the religion, not a relationship.
God told them: ‘I miss the days when we had relationship.’
And now after those 7 terrible years,
after this horrific, horrific satanic persecution, they will see the hand of God.
They will see the Messiah, they will understand,
they will look at Him whom they pierced, and they will come back to Him,
just as He asked them to for a personal relationship, from a religion to relationship.
Ezekiel said that after the physical restoration, ‘Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean;
I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;
And I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes,
and you will keep My judgments and do them.
and Then you shall dwell in the land…’ Once again, the connection with the land,
‘You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers and you shall be My people…
And I will be your God.’
Jeremiah chapter 31 says: ‘“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—
not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers
in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt,
My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord.’
The Lord says: ‘ I was a husband to Israel…
Israel was a nation, like my wife, I brought them out of Egypt by hand, I took them…
but that covenant, that Mosaic covenant was not enough, was not good enough,
it was not the last one, it was a temporary one to show them their sinful nature.
‘But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord:
I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God,
and they shall be My people.
No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying,
‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me,’
All of Israel will be saved at the very end and all of them will know Him,
‘… from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord.
For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for a light by day,
The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night,
Who disturbs the sea, And its waves roar, The Lord of hosts is His name:
“If those ordinances depart From before Me, says the Lord,
Then the seed of Israel shall also cease From being a nation before Me forever.”’
Basically what God says, as long as the sun is here and the moon and the stars are there,
Israel is a nation before Me, I will never leave them nor forsake them.
And I want to conclude with that amazing verse of the prophet Malachi, Malʾaḫi.
‘For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.’
As long as God is the same, His plans are the same, His heart is the same,
His love is the same and He’s not changed.
Some people say that God forgot about Israel.
Some people said that the church has replaced Israel.
If you say that, that means you say that God changed.
You say that God is no longer the same God,
because God says: ‘I am the Lord, I do not change.’
And He says: ‘Therefore, you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob, you’re not done.
You have hope and a future because I am the Lord God of Israel.
I love you… Just come back to Me… return to Me and I will return to you.’