Historically, the passage in Jer 46 is talking about the 7th Century B.C. Babylon has become the “big kid on the block” and they are making a move to control Assyria and take their authority. Assyria had been the enemy of Egypt, but now the Babylonians are the bully. Pharaoh Necho has allied Egypt with the Assyrians to stop the Babylonians. They are marching north out of Egypt against Babylon to help the Assyrians at Charchemish.
On the way, Josiah is allied with the Babylonians at this time and he tries to stop Pharaoh Necho. A battle is fought in the Valley of Megiddo. The city of Megiddo was on a hill, called “Har Megiddo.” Some believe that this is where the term “Armageddon” (Har Megiddo) comes from. The “tell” of the city sits right next to the Valley of Megiddo.
This battle may be a picture of the Battle of Armageddon according to some. Josiah was the sixth king of Judah and this means that this battle could occur in the sixth year of the Birth-pains. We have covered this concept in other teachings but we will say this. Rev 16.13-16 talks about three spirits coming out of the mouths of Satan, the False Messiah and the False Prophet like frogs. Frogs catch their prey with their mouths, and this alludes to the false teachings that come out of the mouths of Satan, the False Messiah and the False Prophet to catch their victims. They are sent out to gather the world for a war, not a battle, and they are gathered to a place called “Armageddon” as it is written in most English translations. This is not a great battle in the last days before the Messiah comes, like in Christian eschatology. This is a war over who is going to be worshiped and it has been an ongoing war for a long time.
Har Megiddo means “Mount Megiddo” but there is no “mount” there, just a hill. However, “Har Moed” means “mount of assembly or appointed times” (festivals-Isa 14.13) and can be sounded with a “G” sound (Har Moghed). In Gen 10.19, Josh 10.41 Amos 1.6 and other places, the “ayin” (silent in Hebrew) in Gaza is vocalized like a “g.” So the “ayin” in “Moed” can be sounded as “Moghed” or “Har moghedon” (“Armageddon”). Isa 14.13 and Isa 65.11 talks about a battle over obedience to the Torah or the “mount of the appointed times.” This is not a “battle” but an on-going “war” and it has been Satan’s desire to be worshiped on the “Mount of Assembly” or the festivals (Temple Mount-see 2 Thes 2.4). The history of the Jewish people will be a picture of what is going to happen when Messiah comes.
Jer 46.10 says that “This is the day of the Lord of Hosts, a day of vengeance that he may avenge himself on his adversaries.” This is very important because we know that it is a battle that has happened, but it is also a picture of a battle that will happen in the future. This battle at Charchemish (north of Israel) will happen again.
Christianity teaches that the great last battle will be the battle of Armageddon, but that is impossible. The Scriptures teach that the last battle is at Jerusalem (Zech 14) and Yeshua returns there. Megiddo is 80 miles to the north.
After this battle at Megiddo, the war will move north to the Charchemish area, then move south to Syria and northern Israel. The Scriptures say these battles are in “the day of the Lord.” Now, if you go to Christian sources about prophecy it will never teach this. They do not teach in the seminaries that the Day of the Lord in all of these passages are a picture of what is to come.
Ecc 1.9-11 says, “That which has been is what will be, and that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it is said, ‘See, this is new.’ It has already been in ancient times before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of former things nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those who will come after.” The Hebrew name for this book is “Kohelet” and it means the “gatherer” and “congregation.” The Gathering is a Scriptural name for the Natzal (Rapture).
So, to answer our earlier question as to who the Egyptians, Assyrians and the Babylonians are in prophecy, the Egyptians will be Europe, led by the False Messiah (Pharaoh). The Assyrians will be the Russians under the authority of the False Messiah and the army of the Babylonians will be the Kings of the East (Rev 16.12). Remember, Babylon was referred to as “the east.”
Next, let’s look at another term that we have in Jewish Eschatology called the “Birth-pains of the Messiah” or the “Chevlai Shell Mashiach.” If you want to talk prophecy with Jewish people in Israel, bring up the “Birth-pains of the Messiah.” If you want to clear out a room in Israel, bring up the “Tribulation.” Why? Because the “Tribulation” is coming from a Christian perspective, but the Jews call it the Birth-pains. Christians talk about “Armageddon” and Jews talk about “Gog and Magog.”
The Babylonian Talmud says in Sanhedrin 97a, “Our rabbis taught: In the seven year cycle, at the end of which the Son of David will come…at the conclusion of the Septennate, the Son of David will come.” The word “Septennate” refers to a period of seven years. Writing about the messianic texts of Judaism, Raphael Patai said, “The idea became entrenched that the coming of Messiah will be preceded by greatly increased suffering…this will last for seven years. And then unexpectedly the Messiah will come” (The Messiah Texts, p. 95-96). According to the Babylonian Talmud in Shabbat 118a on “The Travails of the Messiah” p. 590 it says, “The advent of the Messiah was pictured as being preceded by years of great distress.”
The Dead Sea Scrolls and ancient rabbinic literature called the severe troubles of this seven year period “The Birth-pains of the Messiah” (Millar Burrows, “More Light on the Dead Sea Scrolls” p.343-344). According to the Babylonian Talmud, the reason for this designation is because travail precedes birth, and this travail “precedes the birth of a new era” or the messianic age (Sanhedrin 98b on “Birth-pains of the Messiah” p.665). Just as a woman must go through a period of birth-pains before her child is born into the world, so the world must go through seven years of birth-pains before the Messianic Age is born into the world.
Dan 9.27 talks about this period of seven years. A covenant will be made with Israel for seven years. In the middle of the week (three and a half years) the False Messiah will end the korbanot in the Temple and set up the Abomination of Desolation. The word used for “week” in that verse is “shavuah” meaning a period of seven (seven days, weeks, months or years, etc). The period of a wedding is a shavuah (Gen 29-27; 29.28). For further information on shavuah, go to the Brown, Driver, Briggs Lexicon. As a side note, the “Abomination of Desolation” is not an “act” but an image, idol or icon according to the Hebrew words being used.
So, in Jewish Eschatology the Birth-pains is a period of seven years. Christianity calls this period the Tribulation but there will be a major difference between these concepts concerning the timing and the amount of information given. In Part 12, we have given many Scriptural passages concerning the birth-pains and the synonyms used for the birth-pains. Many people are never taught that these passages were about, or alluding to, that future time calked the Birth-pains. But Yehovah has fashioned the history of Israel in such away so that these stories will tell the story of the Redemption as well (here now, but not yet). Every word points to the coming of the Messiah and the events surrounding it. What we need is the “code” to open up our understanding to fill in all the gaps on virtually every subject concerning the Natzal, the Birth-pains and the Messianic Kingdom to come.
Read all these passages and take note of the “context.” Look for phrases like “the day of the Lord” or “in that day.” For example, let’s look at Jer 30.6-9. We have a “woman in childbirth” and “that day”, “trouble”, “on that day” and “David their king.” Right away we know the Lord is communicating something messianic to us in every verse. If we go through every one of the passages given in Part 12 we will see all kinds of terms about what happened anciently and what will happen prophetically.
The “tribulation” on the other hand is only used in about five verses (Matt 24.9, 24.21, 24.29; Mark 13.19, 13.24 for example) but there are hundreds of verses that talk about the birth-pains (or a synonym of it) over and over again. We have been using limited terms.
So, what have we found out about the birth-pains so far? We have learned that the birth-pains are seven years long. The birth-pians are called the Tribulation in Christianity. The birth-pains are at the beginning of the Day of the Lord, and the Day of the Lord is the same thing as the “Millennium.” Therefore, the birth-pains are included in the “Millennium” and not before it (Jer 30.6-9). Keep that thought in mind as we move forward.
Now, we will have major differences between Christian Eschatology and Jewish Eschatology. When you see the wealth of information God has given Israel, you will see why they are called “The Chosen People.” If you have ever gone through a Passover Seder, you will wonder why you ever fooled around with rabbits, Easter baskets and eggs. The Jewish people were to go through the world and teach the nations about God and the Redemption using the terms, concepts, idioms and phrases that Yehovah gave them to teach his truth. What people need to do is put aside all the things they learned in church and come into all this like a newborn and learn. We also need to stay away from jumping to conclusions until we have studied something all the way through, and confirm what it is being communicated. Let Yehovah renew our minds.
The Tribulation is totally Christian terminology. The Chevlai Shell Mashiach (Birth-pains of the Messiah) is the Jewish terminology. The key event of the Christian Tribulation is the Battle of Armageddon. The key event of the Jewish birth-pains is the battle of Gog and Magog. Christianity places the Tribulation before the Day of the Lord, ending with the second coming of the Messiah and the start of the Millennium (1000 years). In Jewish Eschatology, the Chevlai Shell Mashiach are the first seven years of the Day of the Lord (1000 years). At the end of that period, we go back into the Olam Haba or “the World to Come.”
In Part 14 we will pick up here.