A friend emailed me and mentioned that a lot of people seem to feel a burden of imminence. These are lay-people, not necessarily prophecy students or even very active Christians. I agree with her assessment, and I second it. Jesus likened the Tribulation to birth pangs. This is a timeless symbol because women from every epoch has gotten pregnant and delivered a babe in the same way. People from all cultures and ages reading the bible or hearing these words will immediately understand the process.
Working backwards, the baby being birthed here is the Millennium Kingdom. The time prior to the birth will be bloody, these would be the birth pangs. As the birth nears, the contractions will increase in intensity and pain until we know that the time of the birth is imminent. Prior to the birth pangs, signaled by contractions, the gestation is long and at first we may not even know any gestation is happening, but then it becomes increasingly evident as the mother’s stomach bulges.
When we see a very, VERY pregnant woman we all wince in sympathetic pain, We understand the time is near, and often we may even ask her, even if she is a stranger, “When’s the baby due?” The mom-to-be says something like ‘the doc said any time from May 10 to May 19, on.” Even with today’s science, we never know the exact day of the birth, only a general window that could come earlier or could come later than even the time period within the stated window. But when we see that woman waddling along slowly, sitting down carefully with bent knee and hand to her back, stomach bulging, we all know the time is near.
We are at that time.
The Tribulation is all about Israel. Matthew 24 is about what will happen during the Tribulation and it is spoken toward the Jews, not the church. Some think that verses 4-8 could overlap with the end time prior to the rapture, and I am one of those, but from verse 9 onward it is all about the Jews. It is punishment on an unbelieving world for scattering His people. It is about punishing the Pharisaical religious systems that oppressed the Jews. It is punishment toward the Jews themselves for their failure to remain with God and in God. It is retribution for dividing His land. Revelation 11:2 reports that the Gentiles will be trampling on the Holy City for 42 months. Jerusalem will be divided.
Joel 3:2 talks about the land division, and a lot of land in Israel has been parceled away over the years. It is this land now that is back in the news. Read Joel 3:2 and all the parallel verses here, for basis.
The most egregious division of all is the dividing of God’s Holy City: Jerusalem. Daniel 9:24 is thought to be one of the most important prophetic verses in the entire bible. It says “[Seventy Weeks and the Messiah ] “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.” The Holy City of course, is Jerusalem (Is 52:1), and the Holy Place is the holy of holies, at the Temple.
The news media outlet in Israel called Ynet News says they have obtained an advance copy of Obama’s major Middle East speech he is due to deliver this week. Of course, Obama plans to deliver the speech the day Prime Minister Netanyahu leaves Israel to come to the US and make a rare visit to both houses of Congress and deliver his own major Middle East speech.
This line in the news article China’s Xinhuanet published about it is chilling:
“The president is also expected to announce his solution regarding the status of Jerusalem and call for its division. The U.S. envisions the city as the shared capital of the two states, Israel and Palestine, side by side in peace.”
This is what the LORD God Almighty has to say about Israel and His holy city, Jerusalem:
“I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations.” Zechariah 12:2-3
“And I will punish on that day all who leap on the temple threshold, Who fill the house of their lord with violence and deceit.” Zephaniah 1:9
“While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3
Woe to those who call for dividing His Holy City! Woe to those who call for dividing His land! Those who curse His people will be cursed. (Genesis 12:1-3)
Surely the time is near. The feeling of imminence is burdensome to those who seek after these things, and even many who do not seek after these things are feeling it. The world feels like it is an elastic stretched taut with no possible additional stretching to be done but then it stretches more. The feeling of being on tenterhooks is almost unbearable.
“Tenterhooks were used as far back as the fourteenth century in the process of making woollen cloth. After the cloth was woven it still contained oil from the fleece and some dirt. A fuller cleaned the woollen cloth in a fulling mill, and then had to dry it carefully or the wool would shrink. To prevent this shrinkage, the fuller would place the wet cloth on a large wooden frame, a “tenter”, and leave it to dry outside. The lengths of wet cloth were stretched on the tenter using hooks all around the perimeter of the frame to which the cloth’s edges were fixed so that as it dried the cloth would retain its shape and size.”
“By the mid-eighteenth century the phrase “on tenterhooks” came into use to mean being in a state of uneasiness, anxiety, or suspense, stretched like the cloth on the tenter.” Other synonyms for being on tenterhooks are suspense, excited, nervous, apprehensive, on edge, agitated, anxious. I say I am yes to all of the above.
We are nearing midnight. How long can this draw out? Only the Lord knows. Not the Harold Camping crowd who says by May 21 it will be all over. They do not know. The Lord’s timing is perfect, but I pray that He will release us soon from this ever growing sense of imminence. Because it WILL happen, and it will be probably be soon. Are you ready?