Apologetics, End times, Israel, Main, News, z86
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Converging end times prophecies of Orthodox Jews and Christians

Roof of booths set up in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles Credit: Yoninah/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Roof of booths set up in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles Credit: Yoninah/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Breaking Israel News (BIN) has always been a source of interesting articles. Published by a group of Orthodox Jews, I find that they have much in common with Christians. They believe the Old Testament is the inspired Word of God and though they reject Jesus as the Messiah, they nevertheless are looking ahead to the coming Jewish Messiah.

And while we look at events taking place on earth as a sign of Jesus second return, they interpret many of those same signs as evidence of the Jewish Messiah’s coming.

Recently BIN published an article listing five Biblical prophecies fulfilled in 2017 that pointed to the soon arrival of the Jewish Messiah.

In her article, Eliana Rudee the first one she discusses is: “Jerusalem as a place of assembly for non-Jews.”

There were a number of Old Testament prophecies that spoke of the gentiles pouring into Israel at the end of the age. In her article, Rudee cites a verse out of Zechariah:

16 Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. (Zechariah 14:16 NASV)

This verse specifically refers to people coming to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Booths also called Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles.

Rudee says in 2017 Israel experienced a 25% jump in the number of people visiting Israel over 2016. Considering Middle East tensions, this was an amazing increase that injected an extra $6 billion into the Israeli economy.

She writes that many of them, particularly Christians, attended the festival of booths fulfilling the Zechariah prophecy:

“Such assembly was particularly evident during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, when tens of thousands of Christian tourists arrived to Jerusalem. According to Rabbi Tuly Weisz, fulfilling the prophetic vision for how Sukkot will be observed in the end of days, non-Jewish participation in the ‘Feast of the Tabernacles’ played a significant role in bringing Jews closer to celebrating Sukkot the way it is described in the books of the prophet, and as it will be celebrated in the end of times.”

Of course there are several other Old Testament passages that speak of gentiles coming into Jerusalem and one was cited by the early Church.

After the Holy Spirit fell upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost, people were speaking in tongues and prophesying.  In his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, there were hints of what was to come when Peter quoting from the Book of Joel says that the Holy Spirit would fall on “all flesh” not just Jews (Acts 2:17).

This Old Testament prophecy to Israel was fulfilled that day: After his sermon, thousands of Jews believed in Jesus as the Messiah.

During its early days, the church was made up of only Jews who accepted Jesus as the Jewish Messiah.

Then a strange thing happened.

After a series of visions and angelic visits, the Apostle Peter spoke to a group of gentiles living in Capernaum (Acts 10). The Holy Spirit fell on these gentiles just as God did to the Jews on the Day of Pentecost. The gentiles were speaking in tongues and prophesying (verses 34-48).

It became a major controversy in the early church. How would the largely Jewish church deal with the gentiles?

There was some who felt that they needed to be circumcised, become Jews to become Christians. And there were those who weren’t sure.

They settled the issue at a council held in Jerusalem (the circumcisers lost), when James spoke to the assembly quoting from the book of Amos that prophesied of a day when the gentiles would come into Israel:

‘After this I will return
And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down;
I will rebuild its ruins,
And I will set it up;
17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name,
Says the Lord who does all these things.’ (Acts 15:16-17 NASV)

They understood that the day prophesied for Israel was being fulfilled in the Church, making the unmistakable connection that the Church is simply the continuation of Israel.

But is natural Israel completely out of the picture at this point. I don’t think so, Paul tells us that what is happening in the natural paves the way for the spiritual.

46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. (1 Corinthians 15:46 NASV)

Paul adds that a day is coming when all of Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26).

I wonder if the converging prophecies that to Orthodox Jews speak of the first coming of the Jewish Messiah and to Christians speak of the second coming of Christ will eventually lead Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah?


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