Historical tribulation and the time of Jacob’s trouble is not the same thing.
“And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.” Revelation 5:1-4 (KJV)
For several years post-tribbers have been using the same bait and switch tactic with the term “tribulation” to deceive many Christians into believing that they will be present on earth during the time of Jacob’s trouble. A post-tribber would often approach a newly saved believer or a Christian that was not taught to study/rightly divide God’s word and begin to spew their false doctrine. The post-tribber would teach their heresy by attempting to pair a historical ‘tribulation’ reference term (Romans 5:3 KJV) with a specific descriptive ‘tribulation’ term (Revelation 7:14) and PRESTO; the body of Christ was now going through the time of Jacob’s trouble. This lazy man’s trap door is often how the majority of those deceived into believing post-trib have fallen; totally ignoring the specific characteristics that God has given us to delineate the MAJOR doctrinal differences between historical/general tribulation suffered by many saints throughout history and the time of Jacob’s trouble. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME.
HISTORICAL/ GENERAL SAINT TRIBULATION:
Ever since man was kicked out of the garden in Genesis 3, man has dealt with tribulation on earth; followers of God specifically. Abel suffered tribulation that cost him his life and Enoch, while suffering no tribulation like Abel, simply walked with God and was caught up. If there is one Christian in the Bible that knows anything about suffering everyday tribulation for following God it would be the Apostle Paul:
“I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” 2 Corinthians 11:21-28 (KJV)
Even though the Apostle Paul suffered much tribulation for Christ, the Apostle Paul was NOT in the time of Jacob’s trouble. As a Christian, the Apostle Paul suffered prison, suffered stripes, suffered being beaten with rods, stoning, shipwreck, robbers, weather trouble, countrymen trouble, heathen trouble, city trouble, wilderness trouble, sea trouble, false brethren, endured and suffered cold/nakedness, hunger and thirst, weary and painfulness, and died a martyr for Christ. Once again, the Apostle Paul was NOT in the time of Jacob’s trouble. As a Christian, he was experiencing historical/everyday tribulations that many followers of God had gone through since the beginning. Even though the Apostle Paul suffered a greater measure than most, the Apostle Paul was STILL NOT in the time of Jacob’s trouble nor did he preach that Christians would be mandated to go through Jacob’s trouble.
As a Christian today, just because you may suffer or may know someone that has suffered from one of the former above does NOT mean that Christians are in or mandated to go through the time of Jacob’s trouble. There are Christians TODAY in countries such as Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, China, Turkey, and Arabia that are being persecuted, tortured, and killed for their faith, but neither they nor we in America are in the time of Jacob’s trouble. DO NOT confuse historical/general tribulation as suffered by many saints throughout history as being associated with the time of Jacob’s trouble. IT IS NOT THE SAME. There are MAJOR doctrinal differences that clearly delineate the two.
MAJOR DOCTRINAL DIFFERENCES:
The Lord Jesus Christ is the ONLY one who can initiate the time of Jacob’s trouble:
“And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;” Revelation 5:6-9 (KJV)
The time of Jacob’s trouble does not initiate from the government taking away your rights, terrorists’ attacks, or underground entities such as illuminati, masons, Jesuits, etc. The time of Jacob’s trouble does not initiate from mass murders/persecutions of Christians from country to country. The time of Jacob’s trouble BEGINS with the body of Christ in Heaven (pre-trib catching away) rejoicing and praising the Lord as he takes the book. If the body of Christ is STILL on earth, this cannot take place!
MANDATED: No buying or selling unless having the mark, name, or number of the beast!
And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:15-17 KJV)
This is not historical/general tribulation. Never in history has ANY Christian been forbidden from buying or selling unless they receive the name, number, or mark of the beast. It is also critical to note that the time of Jacob’s trouble is WORLDWIDE tribulation that subjects everyone on earth. This is not the case with historical persecution against the saints that differed in severity from country to country. Even today, Christian persecution is American is defiantly less severe than Christian persecution in Iraq.
MANDATED Hell fire DAMNATION to ANYONE that worships the beast, his image, or receive his mark, name, or number!
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:9-11 (KJV)
The ULTIMATE post-trib stumbling stone! In the time of Jacob’s trouble, EVERYONE is mandated to KEEP GOD’S COMMANDMENTS which INCLUDES not getting the mark, name, or number of the beast! Post-tribbers never want to Biblically address this in their “tribulation” rant. Is the gospel believing on the Lord Jesus Christ? Or don’t get the mark? You can’t preach both unless you rightly divide the word of truth! This mandate is specifically reserved for the time of Jacob’s trouble. A Christian can’t be present on earth during this time period because a Christian is already SEALED unto the day of redemption (Eph 4:30 KJV). It is utter blasphemy for post-trib theology to proclaim that a Christian can both be sealed and take the mark and STILL go to Heaven, and it is utter blasphemy to claim that a Christian must “endure to the end” by not taking the mark of the beast to be or remain saved! A Christian is a member of the body of Christ, and any person that proclaims to be a “Christian” while also believing they must have works to be saved or works to stay saved is NOT a saved! They are LOST and on their way to a devil’s Hell.
In the time of Jacob’s trouble, the believer is looking to flee from/endure the anti-christ BEFORE they look for the Lord to appear!
“When ye therefore shall SEE the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:” Matthew 24:15-16 (KJV)
Nowhere in the Pauline epistles does the Apostle Paul instruct the body of Christ to flee when we SEE the abomination of desolation stand in the holy place. The holy place for a Christian is the physical body (1 Corinthians 6:19 KJV) which in context is impossible for the devil the ‘stand in’. On the contrary, the Apostle Paul constantly instructs the Christian to look for the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ to appear BEFORE the time of Jacob’s trouble:
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” Titus 2:13 (KJV)
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 (KJV)
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8 (KJV)
“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we LOOK FOR the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Philippians 3:21-22 (KJV)
So why is it today when some Christians experience some “tribulation” they automatically want to place themselves in the time of Jacob’s trouble?
Pure Bible ignorance is the only answer.
The Bible does not revolve around America. Just because the majority of Christendom in America has gone lukewarm means nothing as far as Christendom globally. Any post-trib theologian with a desire to “shed their blood” for the Lord today is welcomed to hop a one-way ticket to Iran and street preach by a mosque. But the body of Christ is not appointed to go through the time of Jacob’s trouble. You MUST rightly divide the word of truth
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
Jimmy Randolph is a veteran, husband, father, Bible believer and a devoted student of the word of God. He was called to preach on the street in 2012, and maintains a strong, personal tract witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.