“HARAV, WHEN IS MOSHIACH COMING?! WHEN?”
Rav Berland responded:
“IMMEDIATELY AFTER SEDER NIGHT.”
Rav Badani clarified:
“THIS YEAR? THIS YEAR?”
Rav Berland replied:
“YES. 5779. THIS IS EXACTLY THE GEMATRIA OF ‘ובביאת משיח’ (AND IN THE COMING OF MOSHIACH.)”
Rav Badani continued:
“SO, WE NEED TO BE PREPARED FOR THIS. WE NEED TO PREPARE.”
The Messiah is coming! The Messiah is coming! We need to prepare!
This announcement reminds me of the watchman’s midnight cry – “Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!” (Matthew 25:6). While I wholeheartedly agree that the Messiah is coming and that we need to prepare our hearts and sound the alarm, I’m not quite sure that we are talking about the SAME Messiah. Let’s examine who, exactly, the Jewish Rabbis are anticipating to come “this year”. Do they have some secret knowledge we should pay attention to?
Jewish Messianic Date-Setting
While there have been rumors of the imminent coming of the “Messiah” (Moshiach in Hebrew) for a few years now in Orthodox Jewish circles, what’s interesting to me is that this winter has brought with it a rash of Messianic date-setting. Date-setting as in, right away, date-setting.
The above quoted conversation comes from a discussion between two well-respected and high positioned Jewish rabbis – Rabbi (Rav) Badani and Rabbi Berland – on January 30, 2019. It occurred during a traditional blessing upon Rabbi Badani’s grandchild. The conversation turned to questions about the coming redemption of Israel. During this discussion on redemption, Rabbi Berland made the claim that the Messiah will come immediately after Seder (Passover) night, this year.
It would be one thing if Rabbi Berland were the only one making this claim. Even well-respected people sometimes go off on tangents and claim all sorts of things. However, prominent Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky has also claimed that the Messiah will come this spring – prior to the upcoming Israeli elections.
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, one of the most prominent rabbis of this generation, made a shocking statement, claiming that the Messiah will precede the upcoming Israeli elections. Several rabbis noted that the writing is on the wall and the signs that the process leading up to the Messiah has already begun…for those who have the eyes to see it.
Rabbi Yekutiel Fish, an expert in Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) gave a lesson this week in which he discussed how the Messiah was imminent. Rabbi Fish cited Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, one of the most prominent Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) rabbis of this generation, who began foretelling the arrival of the Messiah just a few years ago.
“It is written that in the days leading up to the Messiah, tzaddikim (righteous men) will begin to announce his arrival but some people, those who have not prepared for His arrival, will laugh at the righteous and the learned,” Rabbi Fish said, warning that it is forbidden to mock the righteous.”
Rabbi Fish related a story that is just now being told within Haredi circles in Israel. A young Torah scholar from outside of Israel was hosted for the Sabbath a few weeks ago at the house of a follower of Rabbi Kanievsky. The young man visited Kanievsky during the Sabbath. He asked the rabbi if he should apply for Israeli citizenship in order to vote for the Haredi party in the Israeli elections being held on April 9.
“There is no need,” Rabbi Kanievsky answered. “The Messiah will already be here before the elections.”
The young man was unsure that he had heard the rabbi correctly so after he departed from the house, he asked Kanievsky’s grandson, a venerated rabbi in his own right, to confirm the answer. The grandson entered the rabbi’s chamber and asked again: ‘Should the young man apply for citizenship before the elections?’
Rabbi Kanievsky responded, “I already told him that there is no need. The Messiah will be here before the elections.”
Breaking Israel News, an Israeli news source, describes Rabbi Kanievsky as “one of the most learned and righteous Jews alive today”. These are highly regarded, senior-level, Ultra-Orthodox Rabbis making these claims.
Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson has also verified that the year 5779 appears to be significant concerning the coming Messiah. Rabbi Glazerson is most known for his work in Torah codes.
Using a Torah program that searches for equidistant letter sequences in the Bible, Rabbi Glazerson did a search for relevant expressions concerning Kanievsky’s announcement. He noted that the term “יבוא משיח” (the Messiah will come) appears once in Leviticus 23 adjacent to the letters “תשעט” signifying the current Hebrew year, 5779.
At this point, I want to mention that Rabbi Kanievsky has been speaking about the imminent coming of the Messiah for a few years now. In April 2016, he stated that the Messiah would arrive prior to Rosh Hashana 2016. That prediction was based on the shmittah (sabbatical), and was obviously a failed prediction. (Source)
In November 2017, a well-known mystical Rabbi, Nir Ben Artzi, claimed that the identity of the Messiah would be revealed in the “very near future”. He stated:
“The Holy One, Blessed be He, will come to the rabbis in a dream with a vision and inform them of whom He has chosen for the King Messiah,” predicted Rabbi Ben Artzi. “The Creator will write to them exactly, whom He has chosen as King Messiah.”
This singular revelation was accompanied by details.
“There will be a yellow card and holy letters inscribed on a parchment like a Torah scroll, where they will be told in Aramaic who is King Messiah,” the rabbi continued. Aramaic is no longer spoken, but it is the language of the Talmud (oral law). “Then, they will have no choice and they will recognize the King Messiah.
“From above they will be told, ‘The choice is in your hands. Either you reveal him or the Creator of the world will cause you great trouble and will not let go until you reveal this and tell it to the people of Israel’,” Rabbi Ben Artzi said. “Then they will follow the instructions laid out in the dream and acknowledge who the Messiah King is.”
Let us be clear that these high-ranking Rabbis, learned as they may be, have no special revelation from God – despite what they might believe. It appears that through their vigorous study of the scriptures (Torah + Tankh), plus a few “prophetic dreams and visions” (which I suggest did NOT come from God), they have come to the same conclusion that watching Christian believers have – the state of the world today is strongly indicative of the imminent coming of the Messiah. Have no doubt, satan is also WELL aware that the Messiah is near.
Relevant Dates and Times
I know you’re chomping at the bit to ask WHEN??? What are the dates we are looking at here??? (Do I know you or what – ha!)
Purim (14th of Adar/Adar II):
Purim is the Jewish celebration which recalls the saving of the Jewish people from annihilation at the hands of Haman. This redemption is recorded in the book of Esther. Purim is celebrated each year on the 14th of Adar (or Adar II in leap years – which this year has been confirmed).
Hebcal: March 21 (Source)
Chabad: March 20 (Source)
AISH: March 20 (Source)
Passover Seder (14th of Nisan):
The Passover Seder is the traditional ritual which retells the story of Israel’s redemption from slavery in Egypt. It occurs on the first night of Passover, as the 14th transitions to the 15th of Nisan. Since this is confirmed to be a leap year, Passover will be in April.
Renewed Moon: April 19th @ sundown (Source)
Hebcal: April 20 (Source)
Chabad: April 19 (Source)
AISH: April 19 (Source)
The Israeli elections are scheduled, and will not flux with the Hebrew calendar. These are set to occur April 9, 2019. Interestingly, the recent news of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s indictment has placed the upcoming election in turmoil. Will it be rescheduled?
Rabbi Berland states that the Messiah will come immediately after Seder night (April 19-20). Rabbi Kanievsky states that the Messiah will come before the Israeli elections (April 9, unless postponed). There are also rumors circulating that the Messiah will come on Purim, I think from the title of Israel National News Article – “Rabbi: Messiah Began on Sunday, Will Appear on Purim, and Will Finish With Israeli Elections“. When reading the article, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky states the Messiah will come after Seder night, so I personally suspect the article was mis-titled. Regardless of the title and the quotation, it does seem that there is some expectation of Purim as a possible “high watch date”.
The Expected Messiah
Instead of focusing on the actual dates predicted, and whether or not they hold special “high watch status” to us as watchmen, I think what is more relevant is the overall atmosphere within the orthodox Jewish community. The “watching” Jewish community is electrically charged with anticipation of the imminent arrival of their Messiah. Fascinating, right?
Let’s talk about exactly WHO these ultra-orthodox Jewish rabbis are expecting to imminently appear.
As Christians, we longingly await for Jesus Christ to call us up in the harpazo of the church, prior to the 70th week of Daniel playing out on earth.
Orthodox Jews await for the first (and only) coming of a Messiah, who I suggest to you is the anti-Messiah – the anti-Christ.
Remember that the Jewish people, for the most part, rejected Jesus as Messiah approximately 2000 years ago. Thus, they are still watching, and waiting, for a Messiah. I think we will learn a lot if we examine how they believe they will identify him.
Moshiach is not identified by his ability to perform earth-shattering miracles. In fact, he isn’t required to perform any miracles at all (although the performance of miracles doesn’t disqualify him either).
The following are the criteria for identifying the Moshiach, as written by Maimonides:
If we see a Jewish leader who (a) toils in the study of Torah and is meticulous about the observance of the mitzvot, (b) influences the Jews to follow the ways of the Torah and (c) wages the “battles of G‑d”—such a person is the “presumptive Moshiach.”
If the person succeeded in all these endeavors, and then rebuilds the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and facilitates the ingathering of the Jews to the Land of Israel—then we are certain that he is the Moshiach.
According to Jewish writings, the Messiah will:
- study the Torah and observe its commandments fastidiously
- influence other Jews to follow the Torah
- wage the “battles of God” (I would suggest, fight battles for Israel)
- rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem
- facilitate ingathering of Jews to Israel (aliyah)
Is this sending big-time chills up your spine? Red flashing lights?
How about this?
One of the principles of Jewish faith enumerated by Maimonides is that one day there will arise a dynamic Jewish leader, a direct descendant of the Davidic dynasty, who will rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, and gather Jews from all over the world and bring them back to the Land of Israel.
Any potential Moshiach must be a direct descendant of King David, as well as erudite in Torah learning. It should be noted that many people living today can trace their lineage back to King David. The chief rabbi of Prague in the late 16th century, Rabbi Yehuda Loew (the Maharal), had a family tree that traced him back to the Davidic dynasty. Consequently, any direct descendant of the Maharal is of Davidic descent.
Maimonides states in his Mishneh Torah—a compendium of the entire halachic tradition—that Moshiach will first rebuild the Temple and then gather in the exiles. Jerusalem and the Temple will be the focus of divine worship, and “from Zion shall go forth Torah, and the word of the L‑rd from Jerusalem.”
According to some traditions, G‑d Himself will rebuild the third Temple. According to others, it will be rebuilt by Moshiach; still others suggest a combination of the two opinions. Some suggest that there will be two distinct periods in the messianic era: first a non-miraculous period, leading into a second, miraculous period.
The Sanhedrin—the supreme Jewish law court of 71 sages—will be re-established, and will decide on all matters of law. At this time, all Jews will return to full Torah observance and practice.
Initially, there will be no change in the world order, other than its readiness to accept messianic rule. All the nations of the world will strive to create a new world order, in which there will be no more wars or conflicts. Jealousy, hatred, greed and political strife (of the negative kind) will disappear, and all human beings will strive only for goodness, kindness and peace.
All the nations of the world will recognize Moshiach to be a world leader, and will accept his dominion. In the messianic era there will be world peace, no more wars nor famine, and, in general, a high standard of living.
All mankind will worship one G‑d, and live a more spiritual and moral way of life. The Jewish nation will be preoccupied with learning Torah and fathoming its secrets.
The coming of Moshiach will complete G‑d’s purpose in creation: for man to make an abode for G‑d in the lower worlds—that is, to reveal the inherent spirituality in the material world.
Our prophets speak of the advent of a human leader, of a magnitude that the world has not yet experienced. His unique example and leadership will inspire mankind to change direction.
Moshiach will be a man who possesses extraordinary qualities. He will be proficient in both the written and oral Torah traditions. He will incessantly campaign for Torah observance among Jews, and observance of the seven universal Noahide laws by non-Jews. He will be scrupulously observant, and encourage the highest standards from others. He will defend religious principles and repair breaches in their observance.
Jews anticipate the arrival of Moshiach every day. Our prayers are full of requests to G‑d to usher in the messianic era. Even at the gates of the gas chambers, many Jews sang “Ani Maamin”—I believe in the coming of Moshiach!
However, the Talmud states that there is a predestined time when Moshiach will come. If we are meritorious, he may come even before that predestined time. This “end of time” remains a mystery, yet the Talmud states that it will be before the Hebrew year 6000. (The Hebrew year at the date of this publication is 5772.)
In every generation there is a person who potentially could be the Moshiach. When G‑d decides that the time has arrived, He will bestow upon that individual the necessary powers for him to precipitate that redemption.
The Talmud describes the period immediately prior to the advent of Moshiach as one of great travail and turmoil. There will be a world recession, and governments will be controlled by despots. It is in this troubled setting that Moshiach will arrive.
There is a tradition that a great war will take place, called the war of Gog and Magog, and there is much speculation as to the precise timing of this war in relation to Moshiach’s arrival.
There is a tradition that Elijah the Prophet will come to the world and announce the imminent arrival of Moshiach. However, according to other opinions, Moshiach may arrive unannounced. Elijah would then arrive to assist in the peace process. Some suggest that if the Moshiach arrives in his predestined time, then Elijah will announce his arrival; but if Moshiach comes suddenly, then Elijah will appear after Moshiach has come.
Let’s summarize the Orthodox Jewish beliefs above:
- The Messiah will arrive sometime before the Hebrew year 6000, whenever the Jews “merit it” – he could come any time
- Elijah the Prophet will arrive and announce the imminent coming of the Messiah (Or, the Messiah may just arrive unannounced with Elijah appearing after)
- Immediately before the Messiah appears, there will be “great turmoil” – including a world recession and government take-overs
- A great war will take place, the Gog-Magog war
- Wage “battles of God” for Israel
- The Messiah will by a dynamic leader who will achieve world dominion
- Initially there will be no change in the world, other than a readiness to strive to create a “new world order”
- Miracles may or may not happen when the Messiah first appears
- The Messiah will be a direct descendant of King David
- The Messiah will rebuild the Third Temple, as an abode for God “in the lower worlds”
- Israel will return to Torah law; Gentiles will be held to the Noahide laws
- The Messiah will call all all tribes to return to Israel (gather in the exiles)
- All mankind will worship one God
If someone doesn’t meet every single one of these qualifications, he cannot be the Messiah.
Why Did Israel Reject Jesus as Messiah?
Have you ever wondered why the bulk of Israel rejected Jesus as their Messiah? Although Jesus literally fulfilled hundreds of Messianic prophecies, some remain to be fulfilled – the ones related to the Messianic Kingdom. Israel was expecting their Messiah to come in, fight off all their enemies, raise Israel up as head of the world, and establish his kingdom of peace ruled by Torah law. Basically, they were expecting the Millennial Kingdom to be put into place.
My purpose here isn’t to give a full treatise on why Israel rejected Jesus as Messiah and what the Christian rebuttal is. There are those who have done much more extensive research on that and I would refer you here:
- Why Do Jews Reject Jesus as the Messiah? Part 1 – by Jack Kelley (GraceThruFaith)
- Why Do Jews Reject Jesus as the Messiah? Part 2 – by Jack Kelley (GraceThruFaith)
- Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus at His First Coming
Jewish Expectations – Messiah or Anti-Messiah?
The coming time of tribulation and wrath is about Daniel’s people (Israel) and his holy city (Jerusalem). All end times prophecy is focused there.
Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. (Daniel 9:24)
I am fully convinced that the Antichrist will attempt to present himself as the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. Remember that satan knows the Biblical prophecies, and will try to duplicate them well enough to fool even the elect – if it were possible (Matthew 24:24).
I have come in My Father’s name, and you have not received Me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will receive him. (John 5:43)
Let’s examine the Jewish expectations we noted above, and compare them to what we know is about to occur prophetically.
Worthy of Messiah
According to Jewish tradition, the Messiah will arrive at some point before year 6000. Currently, it is year 5779 on the Hebrew calendar, although there is much speculation about “missing years“. Regardless of the exact year we are in, rabbis seem to believe that we are now “close enough” – that the “time is suited”.
“Tshuva and belief are what bring the Messiah,” Rabbi Glazerson said. “Even in the times that are suited for the Messiah to come, without tshuva, there can be no Messiah. And faith is what leads to Israel being redeemed.” (Source)
To be worthy for the Messiah to come, Teshuvah, or repentance (returning to the path of righteousness), plus faith, will bring the “Messiah”. Orthodox rabbis are thus pleading with the Jewish people to repent and have faith. I don’t think it would be difficult to convince them that they did a “great job” and so the “Messiah was well-pleased and came”.
Elijah the Prophet
Some messianic expectations suggest Elijah will prepare the way for the “Messiah”; others suggest he might appear after the “Messiah” comes. Whenever he arrives, Elijah is expected to appear before the Day of the Lord begins.
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. (Malachi 4:5)
Whether Elijah will literally appear, or there will be one who “comes in the spirit of Elijah” (like John the Baptist), is unknown. Elijah figures into many Jewish traditions including:
- Brit Milah (Elijah’s Chair) – baby boys are placed on the Chair of Elijah at the beginning of circumcision rituals
- Cup of Elijah – a cup of wine is poured for Elijah at the Passover Seder
- Opening the Door for Elijah – Elijah is invited to the Passover Seder to “testify” that everyone present is circumcised and worthy to participate in the Seder.
Did you note the obvious connection between Elijah and the Passover Seder? Interesting, since one of the rabbis claims that the Messiah will appear right after the Seder this year.
While Jewish tradition anticipates Elijah appearing once more, this passage may have already been completely fulfilled through John the Baptist. Another consideration is that Elijah (the real one) might be one of God’s Two Witnesses, as described in Revelation 11. Yet another consideration, will the false prophet claim to be Elijah?
Great Turmoil in the World
The belief that immediately prior to the Messiah appearing there will be “great turmoil”, reminds me of what Jesus said in the Olivet Discourse:
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 24:7-8)
Jesus describes a specific set of signs as marking the “beginning of birth pains”, which announces the “time of the end”. This collection of signs includes: nation rising against nation, kingdom rising against kingdom, famines, earthquakes in various places, terrors, and great signs from heaven (Matthew 24; Luke 21). Individually, these signs don’t signify the end. When the end DOES arrive, it will be very obviously marked by this collection of signs occurring all at once. The end will come like a flood, or a trap, indeed, and it will be obvious to all. [A little assignment for you – note the parallels of these signs to Seals 2,3,4,6 in Revelation 6 and the Gog-Magog war in Ezekiel 38-39].
The “Messiah” will arise out of this mess, at the very beginning of Israel’s “birth pains”. Surely it will happen just as Jesus said.
The Gog-Magog War
Now here’s an interesting expectation. Jewish tradition suggests that the Messiah will arrive in coordination with the Gog-Magog war. Let’s review what this war is all about (for your own study, please read Ezekiel 38-39).
“Gog” and the many nations intend to plunder Israel. At least, they think they do. In actuality, it’s God who will raise Israel’s enemies up against her in such a way as to guarantee her destruction. Why? Specifically, so that He can prevent her from being annihilated. Are you confused?
It’s impossible to overemphasize the significance that God Himself is arranging this war exactly according to His schedule. The sole purpose of the war is to provide an avenue for God to intervene supernaturally to save Israel for the sake of His own name. God breaks His silence with Israel for the purpose of announcing to an unbelieving world that He intends to fulfill His covenant promises! He will reclaim Israel as His people and His land. God mentions this purpose 70 times in the book of Ezekiel; four times in these two chapters alone to ensure He gets His point across.
It seems that God will use Gog / Magog as a set-up for both Israel and the nations. It seems to be deliberately presented so that it can be interpreted by Israel as the final war (Battle of Armageddon). When God intervenes, Israel will look for the Messiah to inaugurate the Messianic Kingdom. A “messiah” will most certainly appear. Since I believe that the Gog-Magog war is at the very beginning of Daniel’s 70th week, I would suggest that the antichrist will rise out of this war, claiming victory for Israel’s salvation. This is the ultimate test for Israel – who will they accept as their “Messiah”?
Battles of God
I would suggest, based on Jewish Messianic expectation, that the antichrist will be fighting FOR Israel, not against her. I would suggest he will be DEFEATING her enemies (likely, neighboring Islamic nations, plus anyone else who would dare attack her). Perhaps he will claim to be the victor of the Psalm 83 / Isaiah 17 / Ezekiel 38-39 wars.
Jews are anticipating the Messiah to establish universal peace, with Israel at the head. I mean, we are too, but not until after the coming time of “tribulation”.
For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction shall come upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:3)
Following the rapture of the invisible body of Christ, the restraint on the antichrist’s rise to power will be released. I would suggest that the antichrist works to establish peace for ISRAEL, and for those who COOPERATE with her… but that the process will involve wars for those who OPPOSE her.
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8)
There are a lot of different interpretations of how exactly the antichrist rises to power, which we won’t get into here. Suffice it to say, that it appears the antichrist will most definitely rise to power within the first half of Daniel’s 70th week (1260 days). This strong leader speaks “great things” and is “greater than his companions” (Daniel 7:19-20). At the midpoint of the “week”, he achieves a global rule.
I want you to note that if you take the beasts in Daniel 7 – a lion with wings, a bear, a four-headed leopard, and a ten-horned beast – and combine them all together, you get a seven-headed, ten-horned beast with lion, bear, and leopard characteristics. And, this just happens to be exactly what we see when the antichrist declares to be “god”:
And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. (Revelation 13:1-2)
And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” (Revelation 13:2-4)
And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear: If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints. (Revelation 13:5-10)
The antichrist’s rule will be worldwide. It is also described in the book of Daniel:
“As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom. “Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast, there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all the kingdoms, and it shall devour the whole earth, and trample it down, and break it to pieces. As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings. He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.” (Daniel 7:21-25)
Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea. (Revelation 12:17)
This is the time of “greatest tribulation” for followers of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 24:15-16, 21-22) It will be a period of intense persecution and martyrdom for the tribulation saints.
In Jewish end times study, once the Millennial Kingdom is established, they expect that unrepentant gentiles will be killed. All will be expected to submit to their messiah as “god”. Does this period of “greatest tribulation” start from within the Jewish community that has embraced the antichrist? Check this out:
But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. (Mark 13:9)
Did you catch that the beating of followers of Jesus Christ will be in synagogues, the Jewish places of worship? We understand from prophecy that 2/3 of the Hebrew people will perish, and 1/3 will be saved and enter the Millennial Kingdom.
And in all the land,” declares the LORD, “two-thirds will be cut off and perish, but a third will be left in it. (Zechariah 13:8)
Do the two thirds that perish commit the ultimate blasphemy against God and embrace the anti-Messiah?
Desire for a New World Order
I think we are all familiar with the term “new world order” by now. The world’s elites don’t even try to keep this goal a secret any more. It reminds me of 2 Thessalonians 2:7 we just mentioned above – the mystery of lawlessness is already at work (being set up). The “new world order” that the antichrist will establish will try to mimic the “millennial kingdom” expectations of the Messiah.
The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last of the days or times, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be confirmed as the head of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills; and all the Gentiles shall flow unto it. And many peoples shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the Gentiles and shall rebuke many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:1-4)
I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. (Ezekiel 37:26)
(Additionally, reference Isaiah 32:15-18, 60:15-18; Zephaniah 3:9; Hosea 2:20-22; Amos 9:13-15; Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 8:23, 14:9; Jeremiah 31:33-34)
These verses reference the “covenant of peace”, which seems to feature heavily into the antichrist’s political and religious platforms.
Miracles or No Miracles?
Well here’s an easy one. The Jews don’t seem clear, and neither do they seem to care, whether or not miracles will accompany the Messiah. I find this rather surprising, actually! However, we know from scripture, that the antichrist will come in with “signs and wonders”.
The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10)
These signs and wonders, permitted by God, will contribute to the overall atmosphere of excitement and awe surrounding the anti-Messiah.
A Descendant of David
According to the Hebrew scriptures, the Messiah will be descended from King David on his father’s side:
The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;
and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. (Genesis 49:10)
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. (Isaiah 11:1)
Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. (Jeremiah 23:5)
For thus says the Lord: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel… (Jeremiah 33:17)
And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord; I have spoken. (Ezekiel 34:23-24)
It is difficult to imagine that Israel would accept anyone as Messiah that doesn’t have this Davidic bloodline. I understand that people like to speculate possible identities of the future anti-Christ; this heredity should be one of the considerations. The Jews are anticipating a fully human Messiah, descended from King David.
The Third Temple
Although He taught there, Jesus didn’t set Himself up in the Jewish Temple to rule. Not only did Jesus not rule from their Temple, He prophesied its’ destruction. How curiously “un-Messiah-like” of Him, according to the Jews.
“Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” (Matthew 24:1-2)
A description of the anticipated Temple is found in Ezekiel chapters 40-48. That this rule from the Temple will take place through the anti-christ, before it comes through Jesus, we are clearly foretold:
“Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” (Revelation 11:1-3)
And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.” (Daniel 9:27)
Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
John sees and measures a future temple which will exist during the times of the end. In the books of Daniel and Matthew (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15), we are told that during the yet future 70th week of Daniel, an event known as the “abomination of desolation” will occur to desecrate the Temple/altar. For this to occur, a Jewish Temple needs to be in place, or at the very least, an altar of sacrifice. We also know from Daniel that there will be Jews in Old Covenant relationship with God, and that they will be offering daily sacrifices. At some point during the 70th week of Daniel (likely at the abomination of desolation), a strong ruler (the lawless one, the antichrist) will cause the sacrifices to cease (Daniel 9:27). So thus, we know the sacrifices will be restarted before this stopping can occur. In 2 Thessalonians 2:4, we are told the man of lawlessness will “set himself up in the temple and proclaim to be god”. For this to be possible, there must be a Third Temple in place.
The closer the Third Temple comes to being a reality, the closer we must be to other end-time events, including the rapture of the church.
A Return to Torah
The Jews are anticipating a Torah rule from the Temple. As Christians, we also are expecting an iron-rod rule from the Temple, but not until after the upcoming time of “tribulation”.
“My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes. They shall dwell in the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children shall dwell there forever, and David my servant shall be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.” (Ezekiel 37:24-28)
I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. (Revelation 2:26-27)
It seems very clear that the Jews will seek to return to Torah Law, with its system of sacrifices and offerings. Whether or not these sacrifices will be pleasing to God or not depends on the heart – are they doing it out of remembrance of what Jesus has done, or out of rejection of Christ to attempt to atone for their own sins? I appeal to your memory that there will be sacrifices during the Millennial Kingdom. An iron-rod-rule sounds pretty Torah-like to me as well. It seems that God is not opposed to rules or sacrifices; but these things have never saved and will never save. Salvation is only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and His blood atonement for our sins.
Aliyah (the Ingathering)
After the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD, the Jews were scattered all over the world exactly as prophesied. In all of human history, no “dead” nation has ever been rebirthed. However, God’s word and promises stand eternal. In the 1800’s AD, the first whisperings of Zionism were heard. In the late 1880’s the first Aliyahs were made – the return of the Jews to their God-covenanted homeland. Return to Israel (then called Palestine) trickled in slowly but steadily.
And then, WWII.
God, knowing the end from the beginning, brought beauty out of the ashes of the Jewish Holocaust. Israel was rebirthed in a day on May 14, 1948… after not existing for approximately 2,900 years.
Following independence, Aliyah began in earnest. The return of the people of Israel to the Promised Land is foretold in many places in scripture:
And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there he will take you. And the Lord your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. (Deuteronomy 30:1-5)
and will assemble the banished of Israel,
and gather the dispersed of Judah
from the four corners of the earth.
Current population statistics (2017) show that Israel has the highest Jewish population, at 44.4% of the world’s Jewry. Why is Jewish Aliyah interesting in light of end times prophecies? Perhaps the Orthodox Jews state it best:
Prophecy can only exist in Israel when the land is inhabited by a majority of world Jewry, a situation which has not existed since 300 BCE. During the time of Ezra, when the majority of Jews remained in Babylon, prophecy ended upon the death of the last prophets – Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. (Source)
Orthodox rabbinic tradition suggests that prophecy can only exist in Israel when it contains the majority of the world’s Jews (over 50%). Note that this is NOT stipulated in the Scriptures, but seems to be a tradition of man. Regardless, the coming anti-Messiah will most certainly be looking to fulfill this expectation as he gathers the people of Israel home.
In Law of Kings, Maimonides writes:1. The Messianic King will arise in the future and restore the Davidic Kingdom to its former state and original sovereignty. He will build the Temple and gather the dispersed of Israel. All the laws will be re-instituted in his days as they had been aforetimes; sacrifices will be offered, and the Sabbatical years and Jubilee years will be observed fully as ordained by the Torah.2. Anyone who does not believe in him, or whoever does not look forward to his coming, denies not only the other prophets but also the Torah and of Moses our Teacher.For the Torah attested to him, as it is said:”then, the Lord, your God, will bring back your exiles, and He will have mercy upon you. He will once again gather you from all the nations… Even if your exiles are at the end of the heavens, the Lord, your God, will gather you from there, and He will take you from there. And the Lord, your God, will bring you… (Deuteronomy 30:3-5).These words, explicitly stated in the Torah, include all the statements made by all the prophets.— Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Law of Kings 11:1-2(Source)
It is critical for any messiah figure to focus on ingathering of the exiles to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
One World Religion
We have discussed that during the first half of Daniel’s 70th week the anti-messiah seems to be busy gathering the Jews, building the Temple, fighting skirmishes, rising to power, and establishing his kingdom. Around the 3.5 year mark, this messiah figure will set up his headquarters (“palatial tents”) in Jerusalem and declare it to be the capital city of the world. This is again what Jews are expecting from the “messianic kingdom age”. But first, just as all prophecies indicate, this messiah figure is about to die:
“And he shall pitch his palatial tents between the sea and the glorious holy mountain. Yet he shall come to his end, with none to help him.” (Daniel 11:45)
Then, the anti-messiah will be miraculously resurrected from the dead:
“One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” (Revelation 13:3-4)
The resurrection will be through God’s power (only God has the power to give and take life), to fulfill His plans and purposes. It is at this point that he will claim to be “god”.
Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
I would suggest that the antichrist’s claim to deity, and the subsequent demand of worship, will be a huge turning point for the inhabitants of earth – the Israelites in particular. Where once this man appeared to support the reinstitution of Torah and the Temple, he will now take over, cause sacrifices to cease, set up an abomination, and blaspheme God. Wait a sec…
The antichrist’s religious domination is further described in Revelation 13:
And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. (Revelation 13:5-8)
This antichrist religion is bad news for the tribulation saints, who are about to become tribulation martyrs in vast numbers. This calls for the patient endurance of the saints indeed.
It is both fascinating and devastating to watch Orthodox Jewish messianic date-setting. Fascinating, because there is a true longing to be reconciled to God. Devastating, because they are so prepared to accept the WRONG MESSIAH.
Jesus is most certainly near, even at the doors. This year? Definitely a strong possibility. This month? Also definitely possible. We Might Be Closer Than You Think. Check out these Major Prophetic Milestones!
Immediately following the rapture of the true church, it seems that the “false messiah” (antichrist) will arise and:
- fight and win wars for Israel (these may include Psalm 83, Isaiah 17, Ezekiel 38-39 – which technically GOD wins for Israel, but the antichrist may CLAIM the victory?)
- allow / encourage building of the Third Temple
- attempt to gather all Jews back to Israel
- promise to usher in an age of world peace / perfection with Israel at the head
- unite humanity in religion
- be descended on Father’s side from King David
- allow, or possibly lead, full Torah observance
- gain worldwide dominion
I believe that the anti-messiah will attempt to parallel what Jesus did at His first coming, in addition to appearing to fulfill what Jesus will do at His second coming. The Jews did not foresee the two-part role of the messiah (Suffering Servant / Conquering King), and were legitimately baffled when the Messianic Kingdom wasn’t inaugurated at Jesus’ first coming. In this way, the anti-messiah will appear to clear up the confusion and will be received.
Jesus warned that many would come claiming to be the Christ. These numerous lesser antichrists who were already in the world, as the Apostle John explained in 1 John:2:18, would prepare the way for the real Antichrist who would appear in the last of the “last days.” Behold the ultimate deception: Satan posing as God, Antichrist masquerading as the true Christ, and not just the world but an apostate church as well totally taken in by the bold fraud. Instead of a frontal assault on Christianity, the evil one will pervert the church from within by posing as its founder. He will cunningly misrepresent Christ while pretending to be Christ. And by that process of substitution, he will undermine and pervert all that Christ truly is. Anything less than such a diabolically malevolent strategy would be unworthy of Satan’s foul genius.
—Excerpt taken from Countdown to the Second Coming by Dave Hunt
Have no fear – the ultimate endpoint is that Jesus will overthrow all the kingdoms of the world and set up His kingdom that can never be shaken:
For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
God will use all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28). All things includes the antichrist, his false religion, and the time of tribulation! Jesus Christ will reign victorious!
Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt? Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape? If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.
The Bible is infallible. I am not. I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture. I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details. I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!