|THE BIRTH PAINS ANALOGY||
BIRTH PAINS AS AN ANALOGY
There is an attempt to use the image of birth pains that occurs in various passages in order to equate the Time of Jacob’s distress of Jeremiah 30:4-7 with the Day of the Lord that is mentioned at Isaiah 13:6-9.
Jeremiah 30:4-7 refers to a SPECIFIC period of time that
is characterized by extreme suffering, as a woman in child birth.
The passage also indicates that deliverance from this
period of suffering will be through the coming of the promised Messiah.
The image of birth pains is consistently used simply to indicate a very painful and stressful situation. It is not designed to be a sign post of any particular or specific period of suffering by a nation or by the world.
It is used at Isaiah 26:17-18 to describe the INTENSE
pursuit for relationship with God on human terms. It is a pursuit that is as
laborious as a woman giving birth.
We were pregnant, we writhed in labor: This is the intensity of human works in attempting to gain relationship with God.
We gave birth, as it were, only to wind: All human works
Nor were inhabitants of the world born: No spiritual life
reality; no relationship with God.
Isaiah 66:6, "A voice of uproar from the city, a voice from the temple, The voice of the LORD who is rendering recompense to His enemies.
This describes the destruction of the city and the temple in 70 AD. Yes, this has "near" application to the Jeremiah generation and the destruction of the temple in 586 BC, but the specific context that God gives to Isaiah here, makes it clear that he has in mind the Messiah generation. The TRAVAIL (verse 7) on the nation begins with the judgment on Jerusalem in 70 AD, and will continue until -
(1) they seek God's face during the tribulation: Hosea
But BEFORE that travail begins -
(1) the Messiah is born.
Isaiah 66:7 - THE BIRTH OF THE MESSIAH
"Before she travailed, she brought forth; Before her pain came, she gave birth to a boy."
The travail is the national judgment of 70 AD. The birth of a boy is the seed and the heir of Isaiah 65:9 - the Messiah.
This is also seen at Isaiah 7:14, as the virgin's Immanuel, and at Isaiah 9:6, "a child will be born to us and a son will be given to us."
Isaiah 66:8 - THE BIRTH OF THE NEW SPIRITUAL NATION (the church)
"Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once?"
Now the focus is not on the birth of a PERSON, but of a
This should be translated as, "For when Zion travailed .
Was there a "nation" born in one day because of the national judgment that was to come upon Israel? Yes there was. In 30 AD, on the day of Pentecost, in Jerusalem - a small group of about 120 people, were spiritually "grabbed" by God and placed into the body of Christ and became "an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a protected people," (1 Peter 2:9), "for by one Spirit (they) were all baptized into one body," (1 Cor. 12:13), and became the "spiritual house for a holy priesthood," (1 Peter 2:5).
And the "her sons" who were brought forth refers to all believers from that time forward who are known as Christ's brethren (Heb. 2:11), and "the children whom God has given Him," (Hebrews 2:13), and "the rest of her (Israel's) offspring" (Rev. 12:17). That includes all people from 30 AD until the arrival of Jesus at His second coming.
Isaiah 66:9 - THE BIRTH OF A KINGDOM
Now it gets tricky. What we have at verse 9, is a transition to national blessing for Israel, which has really been the subject all along. The image of a BIRTH, now changes from (1) the birth of the Messiah and (2) the birth of a nation, to (3) the birth of a kingdom.
At Jeremiah 4:31, the image is used to describe the
people of Judah who are ravaged by the invasion of Babylon in 605-586 BCE.
This refers to the impending invasion of Babylon and has no application to the end-times.
Again, the suffering that is anticipated through the Babylonian invasion.
Also at Micah 4:9-10, the image is used for the agony of
Verse 24, “Damascus has become helpless;
This is still referring to the devastation that
Nebuchadnezzar causes when he invades the Palestinian area in 604 BCE.
This is the distress that the king of Babylon feels when
he learns of the ruin of his own kingdom.
But the IMAGE that is used for this king has NO CONNECTION to the day of the Lord for IDENTIFICATION purposes. It is simply the image that is used to communicate GREAT DISTRESS.
This refers to the agony of the Northern Kingdom of
Israel (Ephraim) in the face of national destruction as Assyria approaches in
its invasion of 722 BCE and following.
Verse 10a, “Writhe and labor to give birth, Daughter of
The image of pain is because of the impending national
destruction at the hands of Babylon.
This is the national discipline on the Southern kingdom of Judah from 605 to 536 BCE. But they will be rescued. So the birth pains – though severe because of national discipline – will result in a BIRTH of future deliverance.
Verse 10b, “There you will be rescued;
The deliverance will come in 536 BC through the kingdom
Verse 11, “And now many nations have been assembled
This advances the chronology through the period known as
“the times of the Gentiles,” when “many nations” will fight over, control and
oppress Israel “until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24b).
But though these nations GLOAT and have relative control over “Zion,” they do not know that God has plans – plans to rescue Zion and plans to destroy the oppressing nations.
Verse 12, “But they do not know the thoughts of Yahweh,
Zechariah 12:2, “Behold I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling in all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. And it will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.
It is at this time that there will be the great BATTLE OF JERUSALEM, which occurs before the final confrontation at Armageddon.
Zechariah 12:4-9; 14:12-15.
Micah 4:13, “Arise and thresh, daughter of Zion,
Zechariah 14:1, “Behold, a day is coming for Yahweh when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you.” (Ezekiel 39:10).
After the success of this battle, the bulk of the nations’ armies will be assembled in the Valley of Megiddo, and it is there where Jesus confronts and destroys them, to effectively end “the times of the Gentiles.”
Romans 8:22, For we know that the whole creation groans
Here the image is used to express the sufferings of “the
whole creation” as it exists under the curse. And yet the pain will be
relieved through God’s resurrection plan and when the renovation of the
At Matthew 24:8 (Mark 13:8) the image is used for “the
beginning of birth pains” which does not refer to either the tribulation or
the Day of the Lord.
At 1 Thessalonians 5:3, the image is used for the suffering that will be encountered when the Day of the Lord begins after the second coming of Christ.
At Revelation 12:2, the image is used for the HISTORY of
the nation of Israel in moving toward that time when IT, a woman of Israel,
will give birth to the Messiah – but the birth pains refers to all the
sufferings and persecutions and attacks by Satan to PREVENT the nation from
birthing the Messiah.
©Ron Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com.
Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,