Footsteps of the Messiah
As church-age believers, we are currently awaiting the Lord’s return at the rapture. But what of the Jew? They clearly don’t expect to be raptured by Jesus Christ, but they are still eagerly anticipating the coming of the Messiah, as the Scriptures declare. Yet the problem is that He has already come and they rejected Him. However, not realising that they have rejected Him, the rabbis and religious Jews still look for Messiah.
On February 20, 2020, Israel Today magazine reported that “Israeli rabbi says he’s already holding meetings with Messiah”. Rabbi Yaakov Zisholtz told religious broadcaster Radio 2000 that Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky recently told him that he is already in direct contact with the Messiah. Kanievsky is no fool in Orthodox Judaism. He is widely considered one of the two or three top rabbis of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Israel.
According to Rabbi Zisholtz, there is a potential Messiah in every generation and there are righteous men who know precisely who it is. This is, of course, true in this generation. Getting the word out now that the Messiah is closer than ever is a matter of life and death. Haven’t you heard of Gog and Magog? That is what is going to happen very soon. Right now, the situation is explosive more than you can possibly imagine. Everyone needs to know whether they are on the inside or if they are going to be left out…….the process of redemption is about to start happening very quickly and at a fast pace. It is important that people remain calm and steady to act properly in the right time.
According to Jewish sages, Messiah must reveal himself by the year 6,000 (on the Jewish calendar, not the Gregorian calendar. Although we are 2020 on the Gregorian calendar, Israel is in year 5780). Decades ago, Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri, one of modern Israel’s most revered sages (as well as Rabbi Menachem Schneerson) both predicted that Benjamin Netanyahu would be the State of Israel’s last prime minister prior to the Messianic Age.
Rabbis have had a checkered history with promoting the coming of Messiah and past false messiahs have wrought calamity to the Jewish people. The best (actually, worst) example is Shabbetai Tzvi, who declared himself the Messiah in 1648. The Chmielnicki massacres of that year had decimated the Jewish population of Poland, leaving the Jews of Europe and the Ottoman Empire desperate for salvation. Over the next two decades, large masses of Jews became convinced that Shabbetai Tzvi was Messiah. They sold all their property and started to journey to the land of Israel. But in 1666, when the Turkish Sultan offered him the choice of conversion to Islam or death, Shabbetai Tzvi became an apostate, crushing the hopes and spirits of all but his most die-hard followers. Interestingly, using modern psychological diagnoses, Tzvi is actually thought to have been suffering from severe bipolar disorder. Nevertheless, the resulting trauma of declaring this man a messiah (which turned out to be false) left the Jewish people wary of declaring somebody Messiah before they were absolutely certain.
So far as the Jewish view of Christianity, they simply believe that we have wrongly assigned Messianic status to Jesus Christ. In fact, we know that Jesus is in fact the Messiah; but they do not – yet. Maimonides (a sage during the medieval period) believes the Messiah must accomplish various things in order to confirm his identity – among them restoring the Kingdom of David to its former glory, achieving victory in battle against Israel’s enemies, rebuilding the Temple and gathering Jewish exiles to the nation of Israel. As we know, Jesus will accomplish all of those things in the Millennial reign. But first, God must bring Israel to repentance and belief in Jesus as Messiah. When will this occur? We are told it will be during the Tribulation Period when a remnant of Israel is saved, protected and then preserved by God, ready to receive Jesus in all His glory as Messiah when He defeats the armies of the nations at Armageddon.