Henry L Lazarus HOME
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Philadelphia, PA 19143
By Henry Lazarus
I thought it would be an interesting idea to look at the twenty-five hundred year-old messianic prophecies given in the Books of Isiah, Hosea, Zachariah, Ezekiel, and of course Daniel. I found it obvious that some elements of the Messianic prophecies matched current events. There are thousands of words trying to explain those prophecies, but I wanted to look at the versions considered original with my own eyes.
All documents written during the time from events described in Joshua till the destruction of the kingdom of Judah were written in a script archaeologists call Paleo Hebrew. There were a group of scribes who transcribed these texts into the Aramaic alphabet we now call Hebrew. Until the invention of the printing press, scribes had to hand copy those texts, introducing errors. Nothing could have survived from the original documents because time would have destroyed all evidence. All literature that truly survives from ancient times, were written in stone or carved into walls.
I also had to rely on translations of the documents, of which there are many with significant differences. But that didn’t matter. I was most interested in looking at the ancient prophecies through my eyes to answer the question, Are we close to the Messianic era?
There are two Jewish expulsions from the lands now occupied by the country of Israel, The first being the Babylonian exile, and the second was the Roman reaction to the Bar Kokhba revolt in 136. Some historians call the killing of Jews in Judea a genocide. After that the Romans changed the name of the province to Palestine.
This fits what is said in Leviticus the blessings and the curses of Chapter 26
“I will act against you in wrathful hostility; I, for My part, will discipline you sevenfold for your sins.
And you I will scatter among the nations, and I will unsheath the sword against you. Your land shall become a desolation and your cities a ruin,
When I read that, it felt like I was reading a true prediction from the ancient past. I’ve always been fascinated with future predictions like those of Nostradamus.
Actually predicting the future is impossible, but faking it has been around for all recorded history and probably long before that. Herodotus tells the tale of the richest man in the world,Croesus., king of Lydia. Lydia sat on the straight between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea was very wealthy because of the trade flowing through it.Croesus asked the Oracle at Delphi if he should fight Cyrus’s growing Persian empire. “Do that,” the oracle said “and a great empire will fall.” The empire that fell, or course, was Lydia. The secret to prediction is vagueness.
Nostradamus was a master of vagueness, with his quatrains of poetry that seem to have real meaning. They have been used to match historical reality after the event occurred. With no time limit. Quatrains that as of yet don’t match events, will eventually find meaning in the future.
Probably the Prophetic prophecies are also coincidental, but I thought it would be interesting to consider what things would look like if there was a reality to their prophecies.
Chapter 2 of Isaiah is the most famous description of the messianic period that will occur after God forgives the Jewish people.
Thus He will judge among the nations
And arbitrate for the many peoples,
And they shall beat their swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks:
Nation shall not take up
Sword against nation;
They shall never again know war.
There is so much written about the events that are supposed to occur just before the messianic times;. a lot of guesses. Christians seem to link these events with the second coming, and their predictions have gotten very complicated with things like an antichrist, and a final Armageddon where believers rise to heaven before the final battle.
Isaiah, Zachariah, Hosea, Ezekiel, and Daniel make a far simpler prediction. Jews will come back to Israel. The land will bloom . Israel and its king will be attacked by multiple nations, and at the last moment God will save them. All the nations will revere the King of Israel, and he will sit in judgment on them.
The messianic prophecy is also vague, but it has another basic problem, it’s impossible. Mankind has never known the peace predicted in the prophecies, and no conceivable future can be envisioned. It would take a miracle. I read a lot of Science Fiction. The most obvious future has mankind moving into space in the next few centuries. All it would take is one idiot moving a rock at high speeds to hit the Earth and destroy it. The technology will exist. Essentially we are doomed.
Judaism will soon disappear too. Antisemitism is growing and the only place safe or Jewish survival is Israel. Israel is not truly safe. It could not survive a hundred-million-man army set against it, no matter how technologically advanced. We Jews in America may feel safe, but current hatred is growing. All it needs is a trigger. There has never been a time when Jewish existence was so fraught with danger.
God promised in Leviticus that:
Yet, even then, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or spurn them so as to destroy them, annulling My covenant with them: for I יהוה am their God.
Suppose all these prophecies are not coincidences. Maybe the prophets were actually predicting a real future, and maybe we Jews will survive. What should we expect to see if their predictions are real?
Let's start with the elephant in the room. Recently Christian missionaries have been saying that there was a document in the temple that listed the descendants of David's dynasty. Jews, they say, could never have a Messiah, because they have no way of knowing who is a descendant of David.
Jeremiah says it clearly
See, a time is coming—declares the LORD—when I will raise up a true branch of David’s line. He shall reign as king and shall prosper, and he shall do what is just and right in the land.
The book of Ezra says it all
In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, when the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah was fulfilled, the LORD roused the spirit of King Cyrus of Persia to issue a proclamation throughout his realm by word of mouth and in writing as follows:
“Thus said King Cyrus of Persia: The LORD God of Heaven has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and has charged me with building Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
Anyone of you of all His people—may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem that is in Judah and build the House of the LORD God of Israel, the God that is in Jerusalem;
A descendant of David, Zerubbabel, led the group.some time between 538 and 520 they arrived in Jerusalem and rebuilt the Temple. In 457 Ezra led a second group to Jerusalem. There is no mention of any descendents of Zerubbabel ruling Judah. The Hasmonean dynasty that descended from the Maccabees and ruled Judea from 140 to 37 were not descendents of David.
The other prophets make no mention of a descendant of David as King during the turbulent events leading to the Messianic age. Besides, today Israel has no King, it has a Prime Minister. It is quite clear. The leader of Israel when the messianic age occurs is the Messiah.
The land stayed relatively empty till the late nineteenth century. There were four crusader kingdoms from 1098 to 1291 but they only survived with assistance from the European kingdoms. During the ottoman empire period Absentee landlords would hire workers from all over the empire who deserted their farms after the first bad crop.
Then shall the land make up for its sabbath years throughout the time that it is desolate and you are in the land of your enemies; then shall the land rest and make up for its sabbath years. (Leviticus)
In 1850, Palestine had about 350,000 inhabitants. Roughly 85% were Muslims, 11% were Christians and 4% Jews ( from Wikipedia) . then something happened as it is said in Ezekiel chapter 36
I will take you from among the nations and gather you from all the countries, and I will bring you back to your own land.
In 1854, Judah Touro bequeathed money to fund Jewish residential settlement in Palestine. From1880 on Jews were forced out of Russia and many of them settled in Palestine. With the help of Jewish philanthropists, who with difficulty , were able to purchase land. Jewish population grew as Jews fled from persecution. Currently Israel has a population of nine and a half million, 73.9% are Jews.
Jews have returned to the land, without God’s direct hand, as predicted, they came as refugees. Right now there are two centers of Jews population, Israel and the United States. For Jews in the US to leave, they would have to be expelled.
I have assumed that the Prophets were given visions that they and their scribes tried to put into words. They would have had little comprehension of what life is like today. One of the messianic prophesies may have already occurred. Verse 7-9 of Zechariah Chapter 13 says
O sword, awaken against My shepherd and against the man who is associated with Me! says the Lord of Hosts. Smite the shepherd, and the flock shall scatter, and I will return My hand upon the little ones.
And it shall come to pass throughout all the land, says the Lord, two parts of it shall be cut off. They shall perish, and the third shall remain therein.
And I will bring the third in fire; and I will refine them as one refines silver, and I will test them as one tests gold. He shall call in My name, and I will respond to him. I said, "He is My people"; and he shall say, "The Lord is my God."
To me that refers to the holocaust. Chapter 12 talks about a battle
3 And it shall come to pass on that day that I will make Jerusalem a stone of burden for all peoples; all who bear it shall be gashed, and all the nations of the earth shall gather about it.
8 On that day the Lord shall protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the weakest of them shall be, on that day, like David. And the house of David shall be like angels, like the angel of the Lord before them.
Finally there is a reference to the death of someone like Josiah at the end of the battle.
11 On that day there shall be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the Valley of Megiddon.
The combination of the battle including the death of a leader at the end puts me in mind of Israel's War in Independence in 1948 in which the commanding General, Mickey Marcus, was killed by by a sentry when he went out for a walk two days before the Armistice.
Isaiah (11) states that after bringing Jews home,
The LORD will dry up the tongue of the Egyptian sea.—He will raise His hand over the Euphrates with the might of His wind and break it into seven wadis, so that it can be trodden dry-shod.
To my mind he is talking about the Suez end of the Suez canal and the lands in the Euphrates river basin: Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. There are now numerous dams built along the river that have reduced flow. The Red sea, however, doesn’t seem to be shrinking.
I have a horrible thought that what Isaiah is talking about comes from nuclear exchange. Iran is very close to having the bomb, and it is possible that Russia is considering supplying a bomb. Nukes going off in Syria, and near the Suez canal would be devastating, and if they get blamed on Israel, would create intense Jewish hatred that would provide a trigger to lead to Jewish expulsion from all other countries, including the US.
Imagine what would happen if Israel is accused of exploding Nuclear missiles in Egypt and Syria (or Iraq, or Turkey). The world would go crazy. From 2015 through 2022,.., the UN General Assembly has adopted 140 resolutions on Israel and 68 on other countries (UN Watch). Now imagine how the UN would react after Israel was accused of sending nukes. The nukes would probably come in the middle of a shower of missiles and Iron dome would have been depleted. Suddenly Israel is hit by sanctions, and can’t replenish Iron dome. At the same time Antisemitism would racket up to levels unseen since World War II. Around the world mobs would attack Jewish institutions and known Jewish areas. Some governments would start immediately expelling Jews. The US is a very accepting nation, but riots would still break out. Probably in the interest of safety, an Airlift to Israel would be started. I have nightmares of being collected for such an effort.
In the Arab world, sensing Israeli weakness, armies would be formed. It would be suggested that non-Jewish inhabitants of the area, including the West Bank and Gaza should leave. Most would run, leaving room to house the incoming Jews kicked out of their homes.
When I bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands in which you are scattered, I will accept you as a pleasing odor; and I will be sanctified through you in the sight of the nations.
In that day, the LORD will shield the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and the feeblest of them shall be in that day like David, and the House of David like a divine being—like an angel of the LORD—at their head.
In that day I will all but annihilate all the nations that came up against Jerusalem.
(Zacharia 12 )
Then the curse is over according to Isaiah 11
In that day, you shall say:
“I give thanks to You, O LORD!
Although You were wroth with me,
Your wrath has turned back and You comfort me.
Then the messianic age begins.
In today's world, thinking that G-d will suddenly appear to save the final Jews from destruction seems ridiculous, However everything up to that point makes perfect sense. Eighty years ago all the Jews of Europe were being slaughtered. Hitler got three fourths of them. Today, with the internet linking people together, all Jews are at risk, particularly, if we're all together in Israel.
We just have to have faith we will survive.