As a student of eschatology the past few years have been very exciting, from a strictly academic point of view. But the past several months, well, they have been extraordinary, and while I would prefer to remain in an emotionally detached, academic mindset I’m afraid that’s no longer possible. Why? I’m glad you asked.
I’ve been studying eschatology, or the end times, for over thirty years now. As a Jewish believer in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) seeing the connection between prophecies in the Old Testament and how many of them have already been fulfilled through the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Yeshua has been amazing. As I began studying the Scriptures further, especially looking at those prophecies that have yet come to pass, I marveled in knowing that they would indeed be fulfilled, while at the same time trying to figure out just how these things would happen. As I mentioned earlier, in the last few months there has been a barrage of events that have left me broken and aching as the puzzle pieces fall into place, and those things which seemed impossible only a few years ago seem to be happening right before our eyes. Here are some of the things I’m talking about.
- President Trump moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem and officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
- Trump being heralded as a modern day Cyrus (Is. 44:28)
- Modern Sanhedrin wanting to replace the UN and become the world governing body
- Modern Sanhedrin dedicating the sacrificial altar in preparation for the third temple
- Rabbis openly declaring that the messiah is currently alive and will soon reveal himself
- Sanhedrin’s desire to implement Noahide Law on a global scale
You only have to do a quick internet search and you will find articles and videos galore on all of these subjects. My concern over these things is twofold. First, there is my concern for the Jewish people. Second, I am very concerned about the church for a number of reasons, but I will explain my concern regarding these areas specifically.
With regards to the Jewish people, going forward I am going to be clear in differentiating between the people of Israel (the Jewish people) and the leadership of Israel (the government and Sanhedrin). In the Bible it is very clear that it has historically been the leadership of Israel that has led the people astray. In fact, Ezekiel 34 contains a dire warning and promise of judgment on the shepherds of Israel (the spiritual leadership), along with a promise that God Himself would search and seek out His sheep so that He could be their Shepherd.
In the New Testament we see that it is the Sanhedrin who accused Yeshua of performing miracles by the power of the devil (Matthew 12:24), had Yeshua arrested (Matthew 26:47), turned Yeshua over to Pilate (Matthew 27:2), and ultimately chose Barabbas to be set free so that Yeshua would be destroyed on the cross (Matthew 27:20-22). In fact, it is because of the Sanhedrin’s denial of the Holy Spirit working through Yeshua to perform the miracles they were seeing that God poured out His judgment on Jerusalem in 70 AD. A far greater judgment will soon be upon the whole world, and from the look of things, if the Sanhedrin has its way, they will be on the leading edge of those who are fighting against God and ushering in that judgment.
The coming judgment that I’m speaking of has a number of names in Scripture; The Day of the Lord, The Time of Jacob’s Trouble, The Dark Day, The Tribulation, The Great Tribulation, The Seventieth Week of Daniel, just to name a few. No matter the name, the time period that is being described is one of great destruction and suffering. In Daniel 9:24, Daniel is told specifically for whom this time of trouble is appointed:
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”
The Tribulation, also known as The Seventieth Week of Daniel, is appointed for Daniel’s people, the Jewish people, and upon the holy city, Jerusalem. Later, in Luke 21:35, Yeshua also says, “For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.” So, combining these two pieces of information we see that the Tribulation is specifically aimed at the Jewish people as well as all those who will be dwelling on the face of the whole earth. While that might seem all inclusive, I will be addressing this specific issue in a forthcoming article titled “The Sin-Bearer.”
Now, there are many things that the Bible says have to take place prior to the beginning of the Tribulation. The things which I listed above are all directly tied to events that must come to pass before that seven year period of God’s wrath being poured out on the earth, and the subsequent establishment of Messiah Yeshua’s millennial kingdom. Specifically, these things have to do with the rebuilding of the third temple in Jerusalem, the establishment of a world governing body that would combine both civil and religious governance, and ushering in the one known in the Bible as the anti-christ.
If what we’re seeing now plays out as I think it will, the leadership of Israel will not only enter into a covenant with the one they see as their messiah (the one who is called the anti-christ in the Bible), but they will, through him, usher in a one-world religion and government. Because of these decisions and actions by Israel’s leadership, the nation as a whole, the Jewish people, will become the target of a pouring out of God’s wrath the likes of which the earth has never seen before, nor will it see again. This wrath, what is commonly called the Tribulation, is also a time for the fullness of God’s judgment to come on Israel for their past transgressions, as well as a time of God’s judgment for all who dwell on the the earth.
In Romans 1:16, Paul says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” I am going to address my two major concerns by following Paul’s example; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
My first major concern has to do with the Jewish people being led down a very dangerous road. Historically the Sanhedrin has always positioned themselves between the people and God, making it virtually impossible for an “observant” Jew to be faithful by the Sanhedrin’s standards while having a true relationship with God at the same time. They have built their religion on tradition and rabbinic teaching rather than on the Scriptures alone. They have made themselves a barrier between God and the people, and while the rationale for doing so was understandable, the result is devastating. Initially this was done to place “fences” around Torah so that the people couldn’t sin and fall under the judgment of God. Now Judaism has become nothing more than a religion of works, and if you do all the right things then you’re good to go. Unfortunately this system of salvation by works is nothing new and will never work. And by shepherding the people away from God and elevating rabbinic teachings and traditions above Torah, these shepherds are actually shepherding the people closer to God’s wrath.
If you are a Jew, I would ask that you do one thing. Read the Scriptures for yourself, asking the Lord to guide you as you do, and He will be faithful to do so. Ask that He would allow you to see His truth. Read Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, and anywhere else the Lord might lead you. Look at Zechariah 12:9-14, which is speaking of the final days of the Day of the Lord when all who remain of Israel will turn to the Lord because of His anointing of grace, and they will look upon Him whom they have pierced and mourn over Him. If you’re feeling especially inquisitive take a peek at the New Testament as well. I think you might be surprised at how very Jewish it is, although it really should be. Yeshua was Jewish as were all of His disciples. And regardless of what you may have heard, they weren’t trying to start a new religion. They were being faithful to God’s word and ushering in the new covenant spoken of in Jeremiah 31:31-33; a new Jewish covenant made through the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua. There are far too many passages for me to list here, but I know that God will be faithful in guiding you as you search His word. The Word of the Lord must be our final authority, not the traditions or teachings of any man. God has given us His word and has made Himself plain so that we can understand it. Do not allow anyone to determine your standing with God, especially when the stakes are so high.
I am including this link to Jewish testimonies called “I Met Messiah.” I’ll bet dimes to doughnuts that there’s at least one person there you’ll be able to relate to. And if you’re ready to accept the atonement Messiah made on your behalf, once and for all, click here.
Now, let’s move on to my second major concern – the church’s response. If you are a believer in Messiah, what should your response be? Many Christians become overjoyed when they hear that the third temple is close to being built and want to do everything they can to help make it happen. Rather than encourage Jews to become further entrenched in deception and error, we, as believers in Messiah, should be praying for the veil to be removed from the eyes of Israel. We should be praying that they would be able to hear what God’s Holy Spirit is saying to them, and that they would turn to Messiah Yeshua now, not later.
It seems that the church has forgotten what Paul has told us, that the Gospel should go out to the Jew first, then to the Gentiles. More and more churches and high profile Christian teachers are saying that Jews don’t need to hear the Gospel because God has a special plan for them. Again, if we look at Paul’s words in Romans he plainly states that the Gospel is necessary for everyone, to the Jew first and also the Gentiles. There is a lot of false teaching going out today, and this is one of the biggies. It’s a lie. Run away from it.
I have also seen that in far too many Christian circles today there is such an excitement and joy over these prophetic things that are taking place that Christians are encouraging and even helping the Jews accomplish them. Think about that for a moment. Rather than sharing the truth of God’s Word, and perhaps bringing another person to Messiah, they would rather help these people march further along the road to hell. We must remember that not only does Scripture state that a third temple will be built, but that two-thirds of the world’s Jewish population will be massacred during the Tribulation. If current estimates of world-wide Jewish population are accurate that means that almost 5 million Jews will be slaughtered at the hands of the one who will take over and use the third temple as a place of worship of himself – the anti-christ.
Will a third temple be built? The Bible clearly shows that it will be. Should we, as believing Christians help it be built? I firmly believe the answer to that question is a resounding no. You must remember that this is the temple that will see the anti-christ enthroned as god. Do you really want to be a part of that?
Romans 11:17-18 says that Gentiles have been grafted into the olive tree, that Gentiles are the wild olive branches that have been grafted into the tree. “And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.” The wild olive branches, the Gentiles (non-Jews), who have been grafted into the olive tree (the Jewish faith of Scripture) should not boast nor speak against the natural branches (the Jews) as they are partaking of the faith set forth in Scripture and have received salvation through that faith. Now please think about this for a moment. Why would branches that have been grafted in to a tree seek to destroy the very tree that they are being sustained by? If you have joined with those who side against Israel, who are boycotting Israel, who believe that the Jews are the cause for all of the world’s ills, you are on the wrong side of things, and are in fact placing yourself in a position to be cursed by God. Genesis 12:3 says, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Am I saying that the nation of Israel is perfect and infallible? No. Am I saying that Jews are perfect and infallible? Also no. But what I am saying is that Israel is the apple of God’s eye and we should, at the very least, not poke God in the eye and stand against her and God’s people. We should be praying for God to continue to remove the veil from the eyes of the Jews so that they would see the truth about Messiah. We should be praying for Jewish salvation. We should be praying for the peace of Jerusalem.
Time is running out. We seem to have entered a time when many, many things spoken of in Scripture are on the verge of coming to pass. Let that foster a sense of urgency in you to reach the lost – to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.