Who’s Heard of Such a Thing?

God is going to do a really crazy thing which no one has ever heard of.  We all know that when a pregnant woman goes into labor, her pains happen first, and then she has the baby, but in this case, what God will be doing is in complete reverse.  God will cause this woman to deliver her baby first, and then her pains of labor will over take her.  Who has ever heard of such a thing?

These labor pains will come upon Israel to fulfill prophecies from several of the prophetic books in the Old Testament.

To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children.”  Genesis 3:16

In the Bible, we see many times that the nation of Israel is referred to as a woman, and specifically God the Father’s bride, His special possession.  God the Father came down from Mount Sinai to its base to establish a marriage covenant with His bride after their exodus from slavery in Egypt.  God spoke His requirements and the people listened and agreed to uphold these marriage vows; however, they were a rebellious bride and it didn’t take long for them to break their covenant with God to commit adulatory with other nations and other religions.  God forgave His adulterous bride over and over again and asked them to return, which they did from time to time, but they would revert back to their worldly rebellions and have not, to this day, fully returned to Him.

The Lord said to me in the days of King Josiah: “Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore? And I thought, ‘After she has done all this she will return to me,’ but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore. Because she took her whoredom lightly, she polluted the land, committing adultery with stone and tree. 10 Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 3:1-10

Israel was to give birth to children from their relationship with Father God; however, they broke God’s laws and followed other gods and thus did not produce fruit from their relationship with God.  This caused God to cast Israel to the side for the time being, but He will be dealing with them again during the last seven years of earth, the Great Tribulation.  During this time, God will turn His focus back on Israel again, creating calamity within their nation (and on the rest of the world) so that they once again repent and return to Him this final time.

“Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel.”  Micah 5:3

“For I heard a cry as of a woman in labor, anguish as of one giving birth to her first child, the cry of the daughter of Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands, “Woe is me! I am fainting before murderers.””  Jeremiah 4:31

But in the meanwhile, God sent Jesus Christ as the second bridegroom to marry the illegitimate children which came from Israel.  The illegitimate children were those who did not reject Jesus Christ and thus became the church.

“Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord. “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities.”  Isaiah 54:1-3

Because of Israel’s initial rejection of God’s plan, Jesus Christ has His own bride, the Church.  He became engaged to His bride initially at Pentecost when He sent His engagement ring (The Holy Spirit) as a promise of His return to collect His bride.  When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we receive the Holy Spirit as our seal until He comes back to gather His bride.

“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,”  Ephesians 1:13

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”  John 14:3

Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said[a] to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.””  Revelation 19:7-9

God has set up a 2,000 year period of grace to which we call the Church Age.  This is where gentiles are currently being grafted into God’s family, once illegitimate children, but now God’s own.  This period ends with the marriage of the lamb (see verse above).

“Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”  1 Peter 2:10

After the close of the Church Age, God must fulfill the last 7 years that He promised Israel, called Jacob’s Trouble.  This is after the Church has been removed from the earth (and now married to Christ – Revelation 19:9), and God will return to Israel to finish dealing with their sin.  We can see how this will work in Isaiah 66.  Israel gave birth to the Church (unknowingly) and then after their children (called the man-child in English – see Revelation 12) have been removed from her, she will be thrown into the birth pains of the Tribulation where she will be re-purified through trouble.  We do see, though, that God has a special protection over them for 1,260 days (3.5 years).

“Before she was in labor she gave birth; before her pain came upon her she delivered a son. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things?  Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?” says the Lord; “shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?” says your God. 10 “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her;”  Isaiah 66: 7-10

“These are the words that the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah: “Thus says the Lord: We have heard a cry of panic, of terror, and no peace. Ask now, and see, can a man bear a child? Why then do I see every man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor? Why has every face turned pale? Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob [Jacob’s Trouble]; yet he shall be saved out of it.”  Jeremiah 30:4-7

And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule[a] all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.”  Revelation 12:1-7

In the end, God will save the remnant of Israel and they will be the ones who will begin to populate the earth during the last 1,000 year reign of Jesus, when He is officially ruler on the earth.

“For thus says the LORD: “Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, ‘O LORD, save your people, the remnant of Israel.’ Behold, I will bring them from the north country and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, the pregnant woman and she who is in labor, together; a great company, they shall return here.”  Jeremiah 31:7-8

22 “For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain. 23 From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the Lord.”  Isaiah 66:22-23

So, when does the labor start for Israel?  We are told in the New Testament of all of the beginning birth pains and when we see the birth pains starting, then we will know that the time of Jacob’s trouble will be shortly following.

  • “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.”  Matthew 25:7-8
  • “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.”  Mark 13:8
  • “For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.”  1 Thessalonians 5:2-4
  • “Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 2“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:23-28

Father God, Thank you for not only choosing Israel as your special possession, but in including us, Gentiles, as your treasure as well.  We are so thankful for all of your promises in your word and thankful that we have already seen prophecies come to pass so we know that you will fulfill every last one of the them in your word until the completion of your plan.  Your words are truth and life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.