Deception in the Church
Israel & Middle East
Jesus the Messiah
One World System
One World Religion
Science & Evolution
We are a Christian Fellowship meeting in North London with a strong interest in teaching
the Bible and understanding our time in
the light of Bible prophecy
Judaism and the “End of Days”
Judaism and Christianity stand in a unique relationship in that both believe
the writings of the Tenach or Old Testament to be the inspired word of God
and yet come to radically different conclusions in their interpretations of
this book. What is more for both faiths the Tenach needs another book to
interpret it. For Christianity the New Testament points to Jesus as the
Messiah who came to fulfil the Law and the Prophets. For Judaism the Oral
Law is believed to be necessary to interpret the Bible. According to
Rabbinic teaching this was first given by God to Moses at Sinai and passed
on by word of mouth to Joshua and succeeding generations. The Oral Law was
finally codified in the Talmud which is believed to give the correct
interpretation of the Tenach and looks for a Messiah to come.
When it comes to the issue of the end of days there is a great deal written
in the Prophetic writings of the Tenach. So it is not surprising that this
theme is also found in the New Testament and the Talmud. One of the
difficulties of understanding the Prophetic writings, especially about the
Messiah and the end of days, is that they seem to be saying contradictory
things. For example the Prophet Isaiah alone presents the following
Chapter 2 speaks of Messiah reigning with power from Jerusalem, all nations
going to hear the word of the Lord and as a result living in peace together.
Chapter 53 speaks of Messiah being despised and rejected of men, having our
iniquities laid on him, when he is cut off from the land of the living,
executed with transgressors, buried and yet living to see the 'travail of
his soul.' (N.B. Much of modern Judaism follows Rashi in denying that Isaiah
53 is about the Messiah, claiming that the 'servant' refers to Israel. The
text itself makes this interpretation difficult if not impossible to uphold.
Contradicting Rashi, Rabbi Alshech of Sfat wrote of Isaiah 53, "Our Rabbis
with one voice accept and affirm that the prophet is speaking of King
Chapter II speaks of the earth being full of the knowledge of the Lord as
the waters cover the sea, returning to conditions of paradise with even the
animals being vegetarian and not destroying each other.
Chapter 24 speaks of the earth being devastated, cities destroyed and people
scorched with few survivors.
These paradoxes are reflected in the ways in which Orthodox Judaism
interprets prophecies of the end of days. The Lubavitch movement has been
very active in spreading the idea that we are living in the days leading up
to the coming of the Messiah:
"All the signs indicate that we are nearing the end of days ... It is
certain beyond a shadow of doubt that the era of redemption has arrived ...
All that is required is to greet our righteous Messiah (Moshiach), so that
he can fulfil his mission and redeem all Israel from exile." The Lubavitcher
In the early 1990s Lubavitch presented an optimistic view of the end of
days, seeing in such events as the fall of Communism and Israel's protection
during the Gulf War signs that redemption is near. In an advertisement in
the Jerusalem Post (31/8/91) Lubavitch supporters announced:
"We are living in the most extraordinary times as our world evolves towards
a state of peace, and mankind thrives towards a state of perfection. The
times are changing not just for the better but for the best. A cornerstone
of Jewish faith is the belief that ultimately good and peace must triumph.
This is the essence of Moshiach who will usher in the final redemption
ordained in the Torah."
A leaflet encouraging Jewish people to 'demand Moshiach as a labourer demands
his wages at the end of the workday announces that current events are
miracles which should 'inspire a recognition of the Divine hand in the
affairs of humankind, and will give us a glimpse of the miracles that will
transform the world with the coming of Moshiach.' It states that the
disarmament agreements between the USA and the CIS 'point to the beginning
of the prophetic beating of swords into plough shares.' (see Isaiah 2.4)
On the other hand the book Prophecy and Providence' by Rabbi Sokolovsky
argues that the era of lkveta d'Meshicha' (the heels of Messiah, the last
days of this age) will be days of spiritual decline and trouble. This is
illustrated by the following quotations from the Talmud:
"Tragedy will come upon you at the end of all the days." Targum Yonathan.
"During the era preceding the Moshiach, prices will soar. The vine will
produce its fruit but wine will be very expensive." Sotah 49b.
"During the lkveta d'Meshicha insolence will abound.. The young will make
the faces of the elderly grow ashen with shame; the elderly will have to
rise before the young; sons will disgrace fathers; daughters will rise up
against their mothers; the members of one's family will become his enemies."
"During the lkveta d'Meshicha government will turn atheist and there will be
no protest. Truth will vanish." Sanhedrin 97a, Sotah 49b.
The Talmud also recognises that there are different ways in which the
Messiah will come according to the writings of the Prophets:
"Rabbi Yochanan said: The son of David (Moshiach) comes only to a generation
which is altogether worthy or altogether unworthy. We learn that he may come
in a generation which is altogether worthy from the verse: If your people is
altogether righteous, they shall inherit the land forever/ (Yeshayahu /
Isaiah 60.21). Or he may come in a generation which is altogether unworthy,
as it is written: "And if He see that there is no 'ish' (worthy man), and He
is astonished that there is no intercessor, therefore His own arm brings
salvation unto Him" (Isaiah 59.16).
"Rabbi Alexander said: Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi noted the apparent
contradiction in the following two verses. It is written:
... and behold, one like a son of man (Moshiach) comes with the clouds of
heaven. Daniel 7.13
But it also says:
Rejoice greatly 0 daughter of Zion, shout, 0 daughter of Jerusalem. Behold
your king shall come to you, righteous and a saviour is he, a pauper and
riding on an ass. Zechariah 9.9
These verses may be reconciled: If they are worthy Moshiach will appear with
the clouds. If not, he will be a pauper and ride on a an ass." Sanhedrin98a.
An alternative way to resolve this apparent contradiction is the one we hold
to: that there are two comings of the same Messiah. Firstly he comes as a
Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53), coming in humility on the back of an ass, as
Jesus did when he rode into Jerusalem in fulfilment of Zechariah's prophecy
at the beginning of the final week leading to his sacrificial death and
resurrection. The second time he will come on the clouds of heaven as Jesus
told the Sanhedrin he would at his trial:
The high priest asked him, "Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed?"
And Jesus said, "I am and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right
hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven." Mark 15.61-62
That day will be the close of this age, the second coming of the Messiah.
This also gives the answer to the other paradox, whether the end of days
will be days of disaster or days of deliverance. Jesus' return will be
preceded by a time of spiritual decline and tribulation of which the Hebrew
Prophets write (Isaiah 24, Jeremiah 30, Ezekiel 38-39, Daniel 11-12,
Zechariah 12). In his own prophecy of the end of days Jesus also described
world conditions in these terms (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21).
This will be followed by his glorious reign when Isaiah 2, II, Zechariah 14
and Revelation 20 will be fulfilled and the earth will be filled with the
knowledge of the Lord, Satan will be unable to deceive the nations any more
and there will be universal peace.