Allies abandoning and Enemies Encircling — Jacob’s day of trouble draws on!

The UK’s permanent representative to the UN, Barbara Woodward, called for the “implementation of the resolution to be immediate”

 “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it,” Jeremiah 30:7.

 It is most fitting that the ‘weeping prophet’ should tell us of the day of ‘Jacob’s Trouble’!

It is even more fitting that the One Who will save Jacob out of his day of trouble should give us a clear picture of that dreadful time for the people of Israel.

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. 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: let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:  neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened,” Matthew 24:14-22.

Any who have the least knowledge of Bible prophecy will have heard of ‘the time of Jacob’s trouble’.

My mind has been made to think of this time of tremendous persecution and tribulation as I read daily the reports of the situation developing in Israel since the October 2023 attack by Hamas terrorists upon Israel. Israel’s response to the slaughter of some 1,139 people and the kidnapping of about 250 people by the terrorists and the holding of them within the secret underground networks Hamas had created in Gaza, including such places as the Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza’s Khan Younis, has been most controversial.

It should be remembered that the USA, along with its allies, declared war against Saddam Hussein and invaded Iraq on 20 March 2003 in response to the September 11th, 2001 terrorist bombings, for the USA blamed Saddam Hussein for the attacks.

It has been alleged that the number of Iraqi casualties as a result of that invasion have been estimated to be 40,000 – 50,000, while others list it much higher.

Accepting the lowest number as the true number of victims of the invasion of Iraq, there is still a great many more than the number of those killed following the much more justifiable Israeli invasion of Gaza in pursuit of Hamas terrorists. The fact that Hamas deliberately endangered its own people by concealing itself and mounting its operations from within those locations where civilians lived and worked, such as the Nasser Hospital and thereby ensuring high civilian casualties, is something that must ever be borne in mind when forming an opinion of Israel’s actions.

Here in Northern Ireland, we have seen the exact same tactics employed by the IRA during the years of terrorism from 1968 to the mid-90s. IRA terrorist gunmen frequently fired on the security forces from behind women and children, deliberately brought out onto the streets to act as a shield! Guns, explosives and other terrorist paraphernalia were frequently found hidden in Roman Catholic Church properties. In those years of terrorism, the IRA and Palestinian terrorist organisations were close allies, providing training and weaponry.

Even yet, Hamas demonstrates its use of these satanic tactics. The ‘Jerusalem Post’ reported on Monday past, “Hamas fired rockets toward Ashdod from inside humanitarian shelter”. The world has no excuse for mistaking the true character of these terrorists or their  strategies in the past!

There have been distressing scenes, especially of the sufferings of children. Little ones can be no part of any pretended and false show of anguish and trauma as adults may. For such we feel grief and sorrow. It must be remembered however, that the evils of a people oftentimes brings upon them and their children the tragedies of war. That is the case for all, Israel and Gaza included! The Old Testament illustrates this fact.

“And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds. And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them; And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it. And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD,” Judges 6:1-6.

On that occasion, the troubles brought about repentance but sadly there is no evidence of such today on the part of Israel or the people of Gaza!


The pro-Hamas propaganda machine coupled with the network of anti-Jewish groups with ready access to and sympathy from the major media networks, has resulted in the mustering of the voices of the ‘free world’ increasingly againsst Israel.

An example of the anti-Jewish aggression within society was reported also by the ‘Jerusalem Post’ when two Jewish survivors of the Hamas terrorist attack last October were harassed by UK’s border police under the pretext of making sure ‘that you are not going to do what you are doing in Gaza over there.’

Supernova Oct 7 massacre survivors detained, berated by UK border police.

On Monday 25th March, the BBC news site reported: “The UN Security Council has passed a resolution calling for an ‘immediate ceasefire’ in Gaza.” The USA abstained in the vote and so it was passed for the USA could have vetoed it. The United Kingdom voted for the resolution. This was also reported by the BBC.

“UK ‘regrets’ resolution’s failure to condemn Hamas – representative

Earlier, the UK’s permanent representative to the UN, Barbara Woodward, called for the “implementation of the resolution to be immediate”.

Since then, she’s added that Britain “regrets that the resolution did not condemn the terrorist attacks perpetrated by Hamas on 7 October”.

“Palestinians in Gaza are living through a humanitarian catastrophe. The situation will not improve until more aid can get in,” she said. “The Council’s message today is an important one and I reiterate we call for it to be implemented immediately.”

The US has blamed its abstention on the fact the resolution failed to condemn Hamas – but White House national security spokesperson John Kirby added that it did ‘fairly reflect our view that a ceasefire and the release of hostages come together’.”

Thus not one of Israel’s former allies and supporters raised their voice in support of the ancient people of God.

The reaction of the terrorists of Hamas gives us a clear understanding of the significance of this ceasefire resolution.

‘Hamas welcomes UN Security Council resolution calling for Gaza ceasefire’ — that says it all. The UN is rewarding Hamas for its terrorism and giving it an opportunity to regroup and prepare for further terrorist outrages.

In like manner, Unionists here in Ulster reward the IRA for its years of terror and slaughter by bringing them into Stormont. Now they run and rule the place!!!


I believe that this indicates the turning of the tide and a likely indication that the ‘time of Jacob’s trouble’ is drawing on!

We must set the scene for that terrible time as it is outlined in the Bible for us.


The Antichrist will head up a dominion made up of ten kingdoms, all founded within the borders of the old Roman Empire.

“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. . . . . And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? . . . . And all that dwell upon the earth (Greek, ghay – land, Matthew 2:6) shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” Revelation 13:1, 4, 8.

The gathering clouds of universal apostasy, spoken of in 2 Timothy 3, are accumulating all around us. There is today an ushering in of behaviour and lifestyles and an open flaunting of the moral laws of God to a degree that was unimagined when I was young. Such defiance of God heralds the approach of the ‘falling away’ (2 Thessalonians 2:3) that the Bible says will precede Antichrist’s day.

Daniel writes of Antichrist’s ‘week’. That is a period of seven durations of time. Just how long those period are may be seen as the word ‘week’ is used by Laban when speaking to Jacob of the seven years he must serve for the hand of Rachel. “And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also,” Genesis 29:26-28.

Here is Daniel’s reference to Antichrist’s week or seven years. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate,” Daniel 9:27.

The event the Saviour tells us will indicate the beginning of the terrible tribulation, ‘the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place’, takes place in the middle of the Antichrist’s seven year reign. “In the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” That is, he will, as Paul tells us, oppose and exalt himself “above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”

There then follows the ‘great tribulation’ which lasts for the final three and half years of the Antichrist’s reign. That period is also described as ‘a time, times and half a time’, ‘forty and two months’, a thousand two hundred and threescore days’, Daniel 12:7, Revelation 13:5, and Revelation 12:6. These three definition of the period of tribulation, is, as it were, the Lord emphasising that it will last for three and half years!


They will long have been held in check by God’s hand, even as has the ‘mystery of iniquity’ has been restrained until God’s time. “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (hold back, detain) will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming,” 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8.

We must never forget that God is on the throne! The devil and his agents can do nothing until permitted to act in such a way as to further God’s sovereign will and purpose. The opening chapters of the book of Job illustrate this for us, (Job 1:12, 2:6) as does the incident of the drowning of the herd of swine in Gadara, (Matthew 5:12-13).


I believe that there will be two great attacks upon Jerusalem and the Jewish nation at the end of this age. One at the beginning of the ‘great tribulation’ and the other at the end, just before the Saviour’s return.

“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city,” Zechariah 14:1-2.

This event is referred to in Revelation chapter 11:1-2. “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

Please note that the trampling down of the holy city lasts for a period of “forty and two months”, the duration of the ‘great tribulation’, the time granted by God to the Antichrist to persecute Israel, Revelation 13:5.

The second attack upon Jerusalem comes just before the return of Christ. Indeed, that attack precipitates His return for the Antichrist intends to wipe out and annihilate Israel on this occasion. The Psalmist Asaph speaks of this event.

“«A Song or Psalm of Asaph.» Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: the tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah,” Psalm 83:1-8.

The psalm ends with a prophetic rendition of the prayer Israel will use as they cry to God for His deliverance.

“Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison: which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth. Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna: who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession. O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; so persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm. Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD. Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish: that men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth,” Psalm 83:9-18.


That prayer marks the beginning of the removal of the ‘vail’ that has been on the eyes of Israel since the rejection and crucifixion of the Saviour, (2 Corinthians 3:14) with the exception of those few elect Jews who have been converted in this ‘age of the Gentiles’.

It is response to this cry that the Lord will come in power and great glory.

“The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth (Hebrew-erets, ‘land’, Genesis 12:7, 13:15) be gathered together against it. In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God. In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah. In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; all the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart. In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness,” Zechariah 12:1-13:1.

I have underlined and emboldened the words that are especially to be noted. What a time of glorious events it will be! The God of ancient times is acting in a glorious fashion before the eyes of men on behalf of His covenant people once more!


“He shall be saved out of it”.

The ‘great tribulation’ will be God’s means of humbling a people who, for a very long time indeed, have rejected their Messiah and refused to believe His Word. That merciful process will bring about their repentance. “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God,” Zechariah 13:8-9.

Dear Christian, that time spoken of by the prophets is rapidly drawing on. Study the Word of God and see the events on the world stage in the light of God’s Holy Truth.

Do not look to the BBC, ITN, Fox News etc or the national newspapers for an explanation of what is happening today.

Only in God’s Word have we the revelation of the ‘signs of the times’ and it is by His grace, obtained by prayer, that we may understand these events. It was given unto Simeon, by the Holy Ghost, to know that the first advent of Christ was about to happen (Luke 2:25-26); the prayerful Anna, likewise enjoyed that glorious privilege (Luke 2:36-38).

We may also be made aware of the unfolding of the great purpose of God and understand the prophetic Scriptures if we too pray for the Spirit’s enlightenment as we study God’s Word.

The will of Christ for His people is shown to us in His action toward the two on the road to Emmaus.

“Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself,” Luke 24:25-27.

May we each one know the removal of the spirit of ‘folly’ that is sadly inherent in all our hearts.

The Lord bless you all richly,

Rev Ivan Foster (Rtd)
Thursday 28th March 2024