Jerusalem’s Great Tribulation
Jesus Christ’s suffering satisfies God’s wrath.
verse by verse through Lamentations
By Craig C. White
So it’s the end time; what happens now? There are many end time events but there is only one reason for them all. Now there will be a terrible period of God’s judgment on the earth. The Bible tells us about a seven year long period of tribulation. During this seven year period God will exercise his judgment on all of the earth but the Tribulation period was primarily designed to show God’s indignation towards Israel for their unbelief. The prophet Daniel told us about seventy, seven year periods of trouble for Israel (Dan 9:24). Israel has already suffered through all but one seven year period. Unfortunately the last period of tribulation will be the worst. Matthew 24 refers to the last half of the coming Tribulation period. He says that there will be great tribulation.
Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
In the past these times of trouble have been identified by a few things. One: The nation of Israel has been ruled over by a world empire. Two: The people of Israel have been taken away out of their country as slaves. Three: The remaining citizens left inside of the land of Israel have suffered horribly. Four: Temple worship in Jerusalem has been disrupted. Five: In the end the people of Israel have trusted their God. All of these things will happen again.
The seven year long Tribulation period is the main event of the end time. It is designated as a time of trouble for Israel but God will also judge the entire world. Believers will be taken away before the real trouble begins. Jesus Christ will return at the end to save Israel, but not before they suffer horribly and finally trust God. The prophet Jeremiah laments over all of Israel’s trouble throughout their history. He describes events that have already happened as well as many that will happen again. Jeremiah weeps for every period of Israel’s trouble. Jeremiah weeps for Israel’s enslavement in Egypt as well as their captivity in Assyria. But most of all he weeps for Jerusalem’s destruction by the Babylonians in 586 BC. It is interesting to note that Jeremiah never mentions the destruction of the temple. That is a clue that Lamentations refers to a future time of trouble for Jerusalem. I think that a small group of Jews will survive the coming Tribulation period as they are bunkered inside of the next temple on Mt Zion. I think that the book of Lamentations looks forward to the future final tribulation of Jerusalem. The future time of trouble for Jerusalem will be a lot like the destruction it suffered at the hands of the Babylonians, only worse. Remember that the final and future time of trouble will be the worst of all.
Jeremiah 30:7 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.
This is a verse by verse study through the book of Lamentations. The writing of the book of Lamentations is traditionally attributed to the Prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah prophesied just before and during the time that the Babylonians and King Nebuchadnezzar invaded Jerusalem and ultimately destroyed the first temple in 586 BC. The English title for the book of Lamentations comes from the Greek word Threnos. Threnos means to lament or weep. The Hebrew name for Lamentations comes from the first word in the book, How or the Hebrew word Ekah. How doth the city sit solitary?
Lamentations is a long sad cry of sorrow for the condition that God has allowed Israel to fall into. I think that there are also a few surprises between its lines. Lamentations describes the past suffering of Israel as well as its coming time of trouble. The city described in Lamentations is Jerusalem.
Lamentations 1:1 How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!
Jerusalem is emptied of its citizens. The word tributary means tax. The city that was once a blessing has now become a burden.
Lamentations 1:2 She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies.
The verse above begins with the same Hebrew word repeated twice. In English we might say lament lament in the time of being corrupted. Among all of Jerusalem’s allies none are sympathetic to her plight. Her friends have acted secretly to rob her.
Lamentations 1:3 Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude: she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest: all her persecutors overtook her between the straits.
Jeremiah is saying that the inhabitants of Judah will be taken away as slaves to do hard labor. The Assyrian King Sennacherib invaded southern Israel (Judah) in 701 BC. He took captives away to today’s northern Iraq. Likewise the Babylonians took slaves from Jerusalem in the years leading up to the destruction of the temple in 586 BC. One of the Hebrew captives was the prophet Daniel. During the Tribulation period some Jews from Judah will escape to the mountainous desert of western Jordan. God has warned them to flee. Some Jews will remain in Judah.
Luke 21:20-21 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
During the Tribulation those inhabitants of Judah who do not flee will be enslaved, killed, or suffer terribly.
Lamentations 1:4 The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness.
The ways of Zion refer to the streets of Jerusalem. They were once filled with pilgrims joyfully attending Israel’s holy celebrations. Now the streets of Jerusalem are empty.
Lamentations 1:5 Her adversaries are the chief, her enemies prosper; for the LORD hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: her children are gone into captivity before the enemy.
In the verse above the word adversaries is interesting. An adversary means an opponent (as crowding). Israel’s enemies will crowd her out of the city. Israel’s adversaries will be in charge in Jerusalem. They will live comfortably there. All of a sudden this “two state solution” doesn’t sound like such a good deal! The Jewish people have been taken away captive into foreign countries
Below, the daughter of Zion is the city of Jerusalem. Its rulers are fugitives trying to evade hostile forces that hunt them.
Lamentations 1:6 And from the daughter of Zion all her beauty is departed: her princes are become like harts that find no pasture, and they are gone without strength before the pursuer.
Jeremiah’s words here are so true to life. It is as if some person has already walked these streets. God has already walked the streets of Jerusalem and breathed its air. God has already seen these terrible times in his city. As we will see much worse things are to come.
Lamentations 1:7 Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old, when her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help her: the adversaries saw her, and did mock at her sabbaths.
In the verse above the words enemy and adversaries are again the same Hebrew word. Jerusalem’s enemies are the ones that have crowded the Jewish people out of the city. The word sabbaths can also mean destruction. The people that have crowded the Jewish people out of Jerusalem laugh at their destruction.
Below, the Jewish people are exiled from Jerusalem. Many people that once found Jerusalem a marvelous place now find it repulsive. They have literally seen the Jewish people turned showing their naked backsides. This reminds me of pictures that I have seen of Jewish holocaust victims.
Lamentations 1:8 Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is removed: all that honoured her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward. 9 Her filthiness is in her skirts; she remembereth not her last end; therefore she came down wonderfully: she had no comforter. O LORD, behold my affliction: for the enemy hath magnified himself.
Above, this description is a bit graphic. It seems that things are getting worse verse by verse. Jerusalem is likened to a menstruating woman who is bleeding in her clothing. She cannot wash or change her clothing. She is unclean. She does not consider that God will again bring glory to the city. Nobody is sympathetic about her condition.
Below, those that hate Israel have taken hold of every valuable thing in Jerusalem and divided the loot.
Lamentations 1:10 The adversary hath spread out his hand upon all her pleasant things: for she hath seen that the heathen entered into her sanctuary, whom thou didst command that they should not enter into thy congregation.
Above, Israel’s enemies have entered into the temple in Jerusalem even though God said that they should not be allowed to. During the future seven year Tribulation period there will be a temple in Jerusalem. Temple sacrifice will be discontinued in the midst of the seven years. Revelation tells us that Israel’s enemies will overrun the city for three and a half years.
Rev 11:2 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
Below, the Jewish people are starving. They have given away all of their remaining valuables in exchange for food.
Lamentations 1:11 All her people sigh, they seek bread; they have given their pleasant things for meat to relieve the soul: see, O LORD, and consider; for I am become vile.
Below, the Jewish people ask God if he can find any person who cares about their terrible condition. The implication is that not one person takes pity on them at all. Verse 13 describes God’s affliction of the Jewish people. He has brought them hunger and sorrow. He has set a trap for them and made them naked. He has made them weak, filthy, and sick.
Lamentations 1:12 Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger. 13 From above hath he sent fire into my bones, and it prevaileth against them: he hath spread a net for my feet, he hath turned me back: he hath made me desolate and faint all the day.
Below, God has placed a heavy burden upon the Jewish people because they have rebelled against him. Rebellion is a certain type of sin. It is more insidious than sexual immorality or murder or theft. Rebellion is refusing to humble oneself under the authority of the one true God. Rebellion is a refusal to trust God. This verse describes God’s burden as a vine intertwined wrapped around the neck of its victim. It is choking them to death.
Lamentations 1:14 The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand: they are wreathed, and come up upon my neck: he hath made my strength to fall, the Lord hath delivered me into their hands, from whom I am not able to rise up.
In verse 15 below, the virgin, the daughter of Judah refers to the city of Jerusalem. God has trampled Jerusalem as if it were grapes in a wine vat.
Lamentations 1:15 The Lord hath trodden under foot all my mighty men in the midst of me: he hath called an assembly against me to crush my young men: the Lord hath trodden the virgin, the daughter of Judah, as in a winepress.
I have omitted several verses here. They require little commentary. Many of the same themes are repeated. You can read Lamentations in its entirety for yourself. However Lamentations has a lot more to say about the conditions in Israel during their coming tribulation. Following are a few more key verses. I will be skipping over several verses from here on.
Below, Jeremiah cries over the destruction of Jerusalem (the daughter of my people). During Israel’s tribulation the little children and babies languish in the streets of Jerusalem. They ask their mothers for food. They faint as if they have been mortally wounded then die in their mothers arms.
Lamentations 2:11 Mine eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are troubled, my liver is poured upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people; because the children and the sucklings swoon in the streets of the city. 12 They say to their mothers, Where is corn and wine? when they swooned as the wounded in the streets of the city, when their soul was poured out into their mothers’ bosom.
Below, the Jewish leadership has led the people astray. They have made deals with their enemies. They have promised the people peace. They have told Israel that we must live together with our enemies. This leads to disaster. Be careful which prophets you listen to.
Lamentations 2:14 Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment.
Jeremiah tells us about the Israeli leadership during Israel’s time of trouble. They have promised peace but Israel will have no peace. These leaders are false prophets and idol shepherds. They have never shown remorse for any of their disobedience toward God.
Jeremiah 8:11-12 For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. 12 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.
Below, Israel’s enemies scorn her saying we have long hoped for Israel’s destruction and we have finally seen it!
Lamentations 2:16 All thine enemies have opened their mouth against thee: they hiss and gnash the teeth: they say, We have swallowed her up: certainly this is the day that we looked for; we have found, we have seen it.
Below, the Jewish people tell each other to cry out to God. They tell each other, “Ask God to take pity on the starving children”.
Lamentations 2:19 Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord: lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street.
***WARNING DISTURBING MATERIAL***
The coming Tribulation period will be the worst time of trouble that Israel has ever experienced especially in Jerusalem. It is difficult to convey the terrible conditions. Most of the men will be taken away as slaves or killed. In Jerusalem small children will starve to death in the streets. In the verses below Israel is asking God to consider who is receiving the worst of his punishment. The inhabitants of Jerusalem ask God, “Will you allow mothers to eat their own dead children in order to survive”. The implication is that this is actually happening.
Lamentations 2:20 Behold, O LORD, and consider to whom thou hast done this. Shall the women eat their fruit, and children of a span long? shall the priest and the prophet be slain in the sanctuary of the Lord?
This sort of horror has happened in Israel before (2Ki 6:28-29).In the course of human life things don’t get any worse than this. Israel will suffer terribly. God warned Israel long ago that this would befall them if they rebelled against him.
Lev 26:27-29 And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; 28 Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. 29 And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.
Deu 28:53 And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the LORD thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee:.
On his way to the cross Jesus warned the women of Jerusalem that one day it would be a curse to be pregnant or to have an infant.
Luke 23:28-31 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. 29 For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. 30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. 31 For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?
Below, the citizens of Jerusalem young and old lie dead in the streets. The young men and women are exterminated by Israel’s enemies. The children waste away from starvation.
Lamentations 2:21 The young and the old lie on the ground in the streets: my virgins and my young men are fallen by the sword; thou hast slain them in the day of thine anger; thou hast killed, and not pitied. 22 Thou hast called as in a solemn day my terrors round about, so that in the day of the LORD’S anger none escaped nor remained: those that I have swaddled and brought up hath mine enemy consumed.
Israel’s enemies have taken over Jerusalem. God has allowed this to happen. They are bringing great hardship to the Jewish people. They are causing the Hebrew children to die.
A Jewish man suffers and dies
Lamentations chapter 3 begins with the account of a suffering Jewish man. He has suffered God’s wrath through Israel’s terrible time of judgment. He has been despised by God and has suffered death. But here is the surprise. This man’s account of suffering and God’s rejection is also describing Jesus Christ’s suffering and death on the cross! We should ask ourselves, “what is this doing here?”
Lamentations 3:1 I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.
This is describing a particular man. He has suffered God’s punishment by the outburst of God’s passionate anger. God will punish the nation of Israel during their seven year long period of tribulation. The people of Israel have not trusted God’s word. He told them to drive out their enemies from the land. Instead they have said we must live together with our enemies. Likewise every person has the choice to trust God and his word. If we do not trust him then we will also suffer the punishment of God’s anger.
God’s anger is only satisfied by his punishment. No person can endure God’s punishment and live (Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death;). But God became a man in Jesus Christ to suffer God’s punishment for us so that we could live. What is the description of Jesus Christ’s suffering and death doing in the middle of Lamentations? Jesus Christ’s suffering satisfies God’s wrath. Jesus Christ’s death satisfies God’s anger for disobedience even for the terrible time of Israel’s tribulation. God can apply Christ’s suffering to our disobedience only when we trust him. When the nation of Israel repents at the end of the Tribulation period and believes God then the punishment of God’s anger will be satisfied by Jesus Christ’s suffering and death. Their chastisement will end.
Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Lamentations 3:2 He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light. 3 Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand against me all the day. 4 My flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones.
God brought Jesus to death and not life. God has turned against the man. God has caused every bad thing to happen to this man all day long. God has caused the man’s body and skin to be consumed and his bones to break.
These verses describe the suffering of a certain Jewish man during the Tribulation. Intertwined is also a depiction of Jesus Christ’s suffering. Jesus never suffered any broken bones on the cross fulfilling King David’s prophecy in Psalm 34:20 “He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken”. These verses also describe the suffering that any man should expect to endure who has not trusted God.
Lamentations 3:5 He hath builded against me, and compassed me with gall and travail.
Above, God has devised disastrous events to befall this man. Gall is a poisonous plant. Jesus was offered gall while he was on the cross to hasten his death and end his suffering. He refused it.
Matthew 27:34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.
Lamentations 3:6 He hath set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old. 7 He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy.
Above, God has caused this man to die. He is in the darkness of the grave just like men that have been dead for ages. He cannot get out! He is imprisoned and shackled with a heavy metal chain.
Below, this man is shouting out from the prison of his grave to be freed, but God keeps the man’s request a buried secret. This is the suffering that Jesus Christ endured on behalf of all of us. This is the suffering that any man should expect to endure who has not trusted God.
Lamentations 3:8 Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer. 9 He hath inclosed my ways with hewn stone, he hath made my paths crooked.
Above, this man is dead. God has blocked this man’s course of life. He cannot move. He is entombed with stone all around him. He cannot walk down the road where he wishes. Instead his path leads nowhere. He can only search out his own ruin.
Lamentations 3:10 He was unto me as a bear lying in wait, and as a lion in secret places. 11 He hath turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces: he hath made me desolate.
Above, God has pounced on this man like a ferocious wild beast lying in wait. He has torn his body apart. Jesus was beaten and whipped worse than any man (Mat 27:26-30). Isaiah predicted the beating that the Messiah would suffer.
Isaiah 52:14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
The prophet Amos uses this same language to describe the day of the LORD which is the same as Israel’s Tribulation period. It is a time of God’s judgment for Israel as well as a time of judgment for the entire world. You want to escape this terrible time of trouble.
Amos 5:18-19 Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. 19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.
Lamentations 3:12 He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow. 13 He hath caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins.
Above, God has pulled back the string of his bow and taken aim at the man. God’s arrows have penetrated inside of the man’s body.
Lamentations 3:14 I was a derision to all my people; and their song all the day.
Verse 14 above describes the animosity and insult that the Jewish people showed for Jesus as he was beaten, condemned to die, and nailed to a cross. Many of his own Jewish people cried out for his death and insulted him as he suffered.
Matthew 27:39-44 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, 40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. 41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, 42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. 43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. 44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.
Lamentations 3:15 He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood. 16 He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, he hath covered me with ashes. 17 And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity.
Above, this man is still speaking from the grave. He is filled with sorrow. It is as if he has drunk poison. To cover with ashes portrays a dead body lying in the street covered with gravel and ashes being trampled over by traffic. This man’s has forgotten God’s promise of eternal life.
Lamentations 3:18 And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD: 19 Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. 20 My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.
Above, this man is dead. His hope of life and knowing God is gone. From the grave he still remembers his suffering. His soul bows down. He surrenders to God’s chastisement.
The prophet Hosea illustrates the close connection between Israel’s terrible time of tribulation with the suffering and death of Jesus Christ.
Hosea 6:1-2 Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
It may be that just as Jesus Christ was raised from the grave on the third day; that when he returns to Israel at the end of the Tribulation period he will also revive the surviving Jewish people for two days and then raise up from the dead all believing Jews since Abraham on the third day.
Remembering God’s mercy
Below, from the grave this man remembers something important about God’s character. If he relies on God’s mercy then he still has hope!
Lamentations 3:21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. 22 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
Verse 22 above should probably read, “The LORD’S mercies never cease,” God’s pity towards us never ends because his tender love for us never ends. In verse 26 the word salvation pertains specifically to Jesus Christ’s hope that he will be raised from the dead. It also reflects the prayers of the people of Jerusalem that have suffered through the Tribulation. It is a prayer of hope of restoration based on God’s love for them. In the midst of their tribulation Israel has remembered that God will save them and to wait patiently for him. God told Israel to turn to him in time of tribulation.
Deu 4:30-31 When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; 31 (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.
Lamentations 3:27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. 28 He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him. 29 He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope. 30 He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach. 31 For the Lord will not cast off for ever: 32 But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.
I think that the verses above describe the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus was God. It was God’s will that Jesus was born a man and that as a young man he was submissive to his parents and others even when they disrespected him. As Jesus began his ministry it was God’s will that he submit himself to rejection and death. Although God caused Jesus to suffer grief, he would afterward show him mercy. Jesus is looking back at the indignation that he has suffered and is satisfied because he knows that his suffering will save many people from God’s wrath.
Isaiah 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
Lamentations 3:33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. 34 To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth, 35 To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the most High, 36 To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord approveth not.
Above, it is not God’s will to grieve men. It is not God’s will to utterly punish all people who are in the grave. It is not God’s will to take the legal rights of a man away, or to deny him true justice in his case before God. God does not approve of these things.
Below, the man recounts God’s attributes. What man is there that can tell what will happen in the future? Only God knows the future. God knows the end of all things from their beginning.
Lamentations 3:37 Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not?
Verse 38 below isn’t saying that God is evil but that God sends adversity as well as prosperity. God gives a man life and a livelihood. God also has the right to judge him afterward. So a man cannot complain when he is punished for his sins. God has blessed us, he may also judge us.
Lamentations 3:38 Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good? 39 Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?
In their time of despair Israel has remembered God’s mercy, and God’s true perfection in dispensing justice.
Plea for vengeance
At the end of Israel’s Tribulation period there will be a national turning to God for forgiveness.
Zec 12:9-11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 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. 11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.
In the verses below the nation of Israel is repenting.
Lamentations 3:40 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD. 41 Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens. 42 We have transgressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned. 43 Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted us: thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied. 44 Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through. 45 Thou hast made us as the offscouring and refuse in the midst of the people. 46 All our enemies have opened their mouths against us. 47 Fear and a snare is come upon us, desolation and destruction.
In verse 47 above Israel has been trapped in a snare. They have made a covenant with their enemies to live together with them in the land. God told them not to do this before Israel entered their land. God warned Israel about this very trap.
Exodus 23:32-33 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. 33 They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.
The man who has suffered and died is still talking. He is also expressing Jesus Christ’s sorrow for Jerusalem. In verse 48 the daughter of my people refers to the city of Jerusalem.
Lamentations 3:48 Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people. 49 Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission, 50 Till the LORD look down, and behold from heaven. 51 Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city.
In the verses above Jeremiah, Jesus, and the man who suffered and died weep for Jerusalem (the daughter of my people). In verse 51 they cry for the women of Jerusalem (the daughters of my city). Jeremiah expresses this same sentiment below.
Jeremiah 9:1 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!
Lamentations 3:52 Mine enemies chased me sore, like a bird, without cause. 53 They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me.
These verses describe Jesus’ death and burial.
Matthew 27:59-60 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
In verse 54 below Jesus describes water flowing over his head. This depiction is used elsewhere in the Bible.
Psalms 18:4 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.
Psalms 69:14-15 Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters. 15 Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.
Floods of water illustrate being troubled by your enemies. Sinking in these waters describes being troubled until death. The water is over this man’s head. He is drowning! He is dying.
Lamentations 3:54 Waters flowed over mine head; then I said, I am cut off. 55 I called upon thy name, O LORD, out of the low dungeon.
The low dungeon in verse 54 above is in the deepest part of hell where the unbelieving spirit goes when it dies. Jesus was swallowed up by death like a flood coming over his head. He sank to the deepest depths of hell.
The following prophecy is directed toward today’s Lebanon because they delighted in Jerusalem’s time of trouble. Their fate sounds a lot like Jerusalem’s time of trouble except there will be no restoration. Lebanon will also go down to the low dungeon.
Ezekiel 26:20 When I shall bring thee down with them that descend into the pit, with the people of old time, and shall set thee in the low parts of the earth, in places desolate of old, with them that go down to the pit, that thou be not inhabited; and I shall set glory in the land of the living;
Lamentations 3:56 Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry. 57 Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not. 58 O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life. 59 O LORD, thou hast seen my wrong: judge thou my cause. 60 Thou hast seen all their vengeance and all their imaginations against me. 61 Thou hast heard their reproach, O LORD, and all their imaginations against me; 62 The lips of those that rose up against me, and their device against me all the day. 63 Behold their sitting down, and their rising up; I am their musick. 64 Render unto them a recompence, O LORD, according to the work of their hands. 65 Give them sorrow of heart, thy curse unto them. 66 Persecute and destroy them in anger from under the heavens of the LORD.
In the verses above Jesus asks God to avenge his death. Also, the man who has suffered and died during Israel’s Tribulation is asking God to avenge the nation of Israel against her enemies. God hears their prayers.
The end of Lamentations chapter 4 mentions a very significant turn of events. Something changes during Israel’s time of repentance. As Jerusalem is nearing its end, even as armies encompass them all around; all of a sudden there is a commotion to the east! Many Jewish people have fled the region around Jerusalem. They are taking refuge in the mountains of Jordan. Now a large contingency of armies has gathered to utterly destroy them. Coming down the wide desert highway is a cyclone destroying the armies in its path with fire and lightning. Israel’s time of trouble is finished. Trouble has turned on their enemies. Jesus Christ has returned to avenge Israel!
Lamentations 4:20 The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the LORD, was taken in their pits, of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the heathen. 21 Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz; the cup also shall pass through unto thee: thou shalt be drunken, and shalt make thyself naked. 22 The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; he will no more carry thee away into captivity: he will visit thine iniquity, O daughter of Edom; he will discover thy sins.
Edom is in today’s Jordan. Jesus Christ will travel through Jordan defeating Israel’s enemies on his way to Jerusalem. This is depicted in Psalm 83. Please read my commentary “Psalm 83 War” in my eBook “Israel’s Beacon of Hope”.
We have suffered terribly!
Throughout Israel’s long history it has suffered at the hands world empires. They have been killed. They have been taken captive and enslaved in Egypt, Assyria (northern Iraq), Babylon (southern Iraq), and will be enslaved again by the final gentile world empire during the Tribulation. Israel was conquered by the Roman Empire and Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD. Following is an account of Israel’s long history of trouble.
Lamentations 5:1 Remember, O LORD, what is come upon us: consider, and behold our reproach. 2 Our inheritance is turned to strangers, our houses to aliens. 3 We are orphans and fatherless, our mothers are as widows. 4 We have drunken our water for money; our wood is sold unto us.
Israel’s enemies have been given their land and homes. This is still happening, most recently in Gaza as well as in Bethlehem. This will continue until Israel is left with very little.
Lamentations 5:5 Our necks are under persecution: we labour, and have no rest. 6 We have given the hand to the Egyptians, and to the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread. 7 Our fathers have sinned, and are not; and we have borne their iniquities.
Over the millennia many Jews have died in the lands of their foreign captors. After the Tribulation they will be raised from the dead and returned to the land of Israel.
In verse 8 below even the slaves of other nations were set above the Hebrew captives.
Lamentations 5:8 Servants have ruled over us: there is none that doth deliver us out of their hand. 9 We gat our bread with the peril of our lives because of the sword of the wilderness. 10 Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine.
In verses 9 and 10 above, throughout their history of trials Israel has suffered drought and famine. Drought and famine drove Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob into Egypt (Gen 12:10, Gen 26:1, Gen 42:1). Israel struggled to find food and water in the worst sort of desserts after they left Egypt in the exodus.
Lamentations 5:11 They ravished the women in Zion, and the maids in the cities of Judah. 12 Princes are hanged up by their hand: the faces of elders were not honoured. 13 They took the young men to grind, and the children fell under the wood. 14 The elders have ceased from the gate, the young men from their musick. 15 The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning. 16 The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned! 17 For this our heart is faint; for these things our eyes are dim. 18 Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it.
Jerusalem’s women have been raped. In all of Judah the young virgins have been raped. Its lords (or rulers) have been crucified! The old men killed. The young men enslaved. The youth crushed by hard labor. There are no more wise old men advising the people. Young men no longer play their music. Their hearts are sad. There is no more dancing. They no longer rule over Jerusalem. Only the wild foxes walk on mount Zion because it has been devastated. How doth the city sit solitary?
Please don’t ever leave us again!
Jesus Christ has avenged Israel against its enemies and has returned to Jerusalem. This is Israel’s plea to Jesus Christ that he would remain in Jerusalem as their king forever. They ask “why did you forget us for such a long time?”
Lamentations 5:19 Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation. 20 Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever, and forsake us so long time? 21 Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old. 22 But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us.
As he promised God will never leave or forsake Israel ever again! This was God’s promise to Jacob.
Gen 28:15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.
So what should we learn from Lamentations? First, there is a terrible time of suffering coming to Israel. This is what end time events are all about! Second, Jesus Christ’s suffering satisfies God’s wrath. Only when we trust God can he then apply Jesus’ suffering to our disobedience and satisfy his wrath. This applies to the disobedience of Israel and it also applies to the disobedience of every heart.