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Did a mystical Jewish rabbi foresee 22 years ago the rising threat of North Korea?

Streets of Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea Credit: Keith Martin/Flickr/Creative Commons

Streets of Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea Credit: Keith Martin/Flickr/Creative Commons

Breaking Israel News (BIN) is reporting on the strange prediction that Rabbi Levi Sa’adia Nachamanii made in a 1994 speech, one month before he died.

In it, he discussed who would be the greatest threat facing Israel. He said it would not be Arab countries, but in fact North Korea.

“Not Syria, not Persia (Iran), and not Babylon (Iraq), and not Gaddafi (Libya),” Nachamanii said, adding that “Korea will arrive here.”

Nachamanii is from a mystical branch of Judaism called Kabbalah. It is a centuries-old tradition in Judaism that is derived from two ancient texts — the Zohar and Sefer Yezirah.

They tend to spiritualize every word and number in the Bible. Some believe they stray into the occult through magical rites such as using amulets for healing, the belief that lost souls can inhabit people requiring deliverance that Kabbalists perform and forcing oaths on demons.

But Kabbalists also have an intense interest in the end times and the coming of the Jewish Messiah. Perhaps one of the strangest stories to come out of this group involved Kabbalist Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri. Just before he died in 2006, Kaduri left an envelope for his followers and told them not to open it until a year after he died. In the envelope he would reveal the identity of the Jewish Messiah.

When it was opened in February 2007, Kaduri’s followers broke the Rabbi’s coded message that named Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

With the recent threats from North Korea, BIN writer Adam Berkowitz took a second look at what Nachamanii said in 1994. The rabbi gained notoriety in Israel after successfully predicting both the 1967 six day war and the 1973 Yon Kipper war.

Whether he predicted these two events on the basis of a good understanding of political events in the Middle East or spiritual insight is unclear. What can be certain is that in 1994 North Korea was not a threat to Israel and his comments were completely out of sync with popular political sentiment at the time.

The rabbi even intimated that the threat from North Korea would be nuclear and cited a verse out of Deuteronomy without explaining it:

“They have roused Me to jealousy with a no-god; they have provoked Me with their vanities; and I will rouse them to jealousy with a no-people; I will provoke them with a vile nation. For a fire is kindled in My nostril, and burneth unto the depths of the nether-world (She’ol), and devoureth the earth with her produce, and setteth ablaze the foundations of the mountains.” (Deuteronomy 32:22 The Israel Bible)

In an interview with BIN, Kabbalist Dov Bar Leib explained the passage that Nachamanii used. The term ‘no-god’ refers to the atheistic beliefs of the North Koreans and the general rise of atheism in the world.

‘No-people’ refers to the Palestinians who are not a nation.

The word ‘sheol’ that describes hell is the same Hebrew word used for Seoul, South Korea and Leib said it suggests that North Korea will attack South Korea and take it over. The fires that would set mountains ablaze refers to a nuclear strike.

Though in my mind he is stretching the interpretation of this passage, the recent nuclear threats from North Korea’s unhinged leader Kim Jong-un are on the minds of many today.

There is also a verse in Zechariah that may hint of a nuclear attack in the Middle East:

12 Now this will be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth. (Zechariah 14:12 NASV)

It describes a plague that will cause people’s flesh and eyes to fall off their face while they are still standing. Though the prophet uses the word plague to describe it, he may have used a word people understood.

The prophet could hardly describe the nuclear blast from a Russian made 15F1r with a 750 kilotons to 1.65 megaton warhead.  There were simply no words in the Hebrew language at the time to describe either a nuclear blast or even the concept of radiation fallout. The only word Zechariah had that was even close was ‘plague.’

This is part of the problem with interpreting prophecies that speak of events hundreds, even thousands of years in the future.


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