Chevlai shel Mashiach – Time of Jacob’s Trouble, Birth Pangs of the Messiah
Yet one more part of Yom Teruah. Could Yom Teruah be the beginning of the Time of Jacob’s Trouble some year? The English phrase, birthpangs of the Messiah, or the Hebrew Chevlai shel Mashiach, is a major theme of the Bible. It is commonly known as the seven-year tribulation period. In Matthew 24, Jesus describes the signs of the end. “And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ “(Matthew 24:3 NAS) Jesus said that these days are the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:8). The Greek word translated as sorrows here is odin. This word means “birthpangs.” The birthpangs of the Messiah are also spoken of in Jeremiah 30:4-7, as it is written:
Now these are the words which the Lord spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah, “For thus says the Lord, ‘I have heard a sound of terror, of dread, and there is no peace. Ask now, and see, if a male can give birth [travail with child?]. Why do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in childbirth [odin]? And why have all faces turned pale? Alas! for that day is great, there is none like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s distress [trouble], but he will be saved from it‘ “(Jeremiah 30:4-7 NAS).
The birth pangs are also mentioned in 1Thessalonians 5:1-3:
Now as to the times and the epochs [seasons], brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs [odin] upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 NAS).
It can also be seen in Revelation 12:1-2, as it is written:
And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars [this is Israel (Genesis 37:9)]; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor [odin] and in pain to give birth (Revelation 12:1-2 NAS).
The Scriptures reveal two synonyms:
- The birth pangs = the time of Jacob’s trouble.
- The time of Jacob’s trouble = the seven-year tribulation.
This period of time will be Israel’s most trying time ever. This period of time is known as the tribulation. Jacob is Israel. There shall be great tribulation in Israel such as never was since there was a nation (Daniel 12:1). It will also be a time when God will ultimately judge sin and all the nations on the earth. Through it, the nation of Israel will be physically saved from total destruction by God, and will, as a nation, accept Jesus as the Messiah “…But he shall be saved out of it” (Jeremiah 30:7). In Hosea 5:15 it is written, “I will go and return to My place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek My face: in their affliction [the Chevlai shel Mashiach /tribulation] they will seek Me early.”
Israel will face genuine crisis during the time of Jacob’s trouble. The prophet Zechariah prophesied that two of every three inhabitants of Israel will perish during this time, with a remnant of only one third of the population being saved (Zechariah 13:8-9). In Isaiah 13:6-8 it is written:
Wail, for the day of the Lord is near! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. Therefore all hands will fall limp, and every man ‘s heart will melt [see Luke 21:26]. And they will be terrified, pains and anguish will take hold of them, they will writhe like a woman in labor; they will look at one another in astonishment, their faces aflame (Isaiah 13:6-8 NAS).
Isaiah 13:10 corresponds to Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24; and Revelation 6:12. Other passages that speak of the birth pangs include Genesis 3:16; 35:16-20; 38:27-28; Isaiah 26:16-21; 54:1; 66:7-9; Jeremiah 4:31; 6:24; 13:21; 22:23; Micah 4:9-10; and John 16:21-22.
There are several stages to Israel’s birthing the Messiah.
- Isaiah 66:7 is a birth before travail. “Before she [Israel] travailed [received the Messiah], she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child” (Isaiah 66:7). Isaiah 66:7 is a birth before travail. This happened during the first coming of Jesus, the Messiah. The birth pangs that Israel experienced during Jesus’ first coming came after His death with the destruction of the temple and the dispersion of the Jewish people out of Israel by the Romans in 70 C.E. (Common Era)
- Isaiah 66:8 is a birth after travail. Isaiah 66:8 says, “…as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” This will happen before Jesus returns to earth to set foot on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4) as Israel experiences the hardest time she has ever experienced since she was a nation (Daniel 12:1) in the period of time known as the birth pangs of the Messiah, the Yamim Nora’im, or the tribulation. The tribulation and the birth pangs of the Messiah are one and the same thing. What we are seeing in these days is the woman (Israel) becoming larger and larger, coming closer and closer to the time when she is about to give birth.
When the Feast of Trumpets is fulfilled, we can see through the patterns of the idioms we have covered, it will be global in its impact. It will also be a pivotal point in history. We don’t know what will happen during this Feast of Trumpets of 2015 or if anything will. However, if not this year, we do know to look out during this time of year because someday the world will know of the appointed times of the Lord.