1 ) Do we have any dates concerning when these wondrous events will take place?
On the verse dealing with the date of the Final Redemption: “I am G-d; at its time I will expedite it.” (Isaiah 60:22), the Talmud (Sanhedrin 98a) says: There are two possibilities how Israel’s Final Redemption and the world rule by an exalted personality who will be the anointed [= mashiach] king from King David’s descendants, will occur.
One time will be a fixed date which is the final date set by G-d, without any connection to Israel’s spiritual state. When this time arrives, the Redemption process will fully take place. There is another possible date which is earlier than the final set date and depends on us. If we arrive at a situation where all of us will live according to the Torah, immediately we will be worthy of the Redemption and it will happen immediately!
These are the words of the Talmud ibid:
“I am G-d; at its time I will expedite it.”
“If they merit — I will expedite it (I will make it happen early.)
“If they don’t merit — it will be in its time.” (It will occur at the fixed time set for it.)
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We therefore find that the date of “I will expedite it” is determined by us. And what is the date of “its time”?
The Talmud says (ibid. 97a):
The world will exist for 6000 years.”
In other words, the world was set to exist in its present state for 6,000 years. It should be noted that we are now in the 5775th year since Creation. (See Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s solution in “Journey to the Truth-1.8″ where we bring Daniel’s own vision of the events that will occur in the world from the First Exile more than 2,500 years ago until the rule of the Mashiach king. It is astonishing to see the parallelism between these Bible prophecies and their historic fulfillment. It is clear that we are in the period between the idol’s toes and the idol’s destruction, which matches our time period and the final years of “the world’s 6,000 years of existence”)
The omens that our sages received in the Oral Tradition concerning the characteristics of the pre-Redemption generation which were written down in the Talmud 1,500 years ago, are being fulfilled before our eyes at an astonishing pace. Here are their words (Sanhedrin 97a):
Rabbi Abba said, there is no more clear sign of the oncoming End of Days than this, as it says: “And you, mountains of Israel, produce your branches and bear your fruit for My people Israel, because they are about to come.” (Eze. 36:8)
This means that when the Land of Israel will lavishly give forth its fruits, this is a sign that the End of Days is near. There can be no more conspicuous sign than this.
Remember that these words were written when the Land of Israel was completely desolate.
Here is another quote from the sages in the Talmud (Sota 49b) which deals with the portents specific to the generation of the Redemption:
During the footsteps of the Mashiach period(the end of the exile before the coming of the Moshiach):
* Insolence will increase
* Costs will rise (inflation)
* The vineyard will give its fruit (unlike before, when the land was desolate) (In the past decade alone, dozens of wineries were opened in Israel. Israel has become a powerhouse in producing fine quality wine and wins awards around the world(.
* Wine will be expensive (despite the abundant production of grapes, wine will be expen-sive. Unexpectedly, in the past decade, Israel has become a leader in high quality and expensive wines(.
* The government will be heretical (there will be a Jewish government, unlike the situation that existed in the diaspora, but this government will be heretical and will not follow Jewish law).
* There will be no rebuke (there will be no point to rebuking a person because in place of being ashamed of himself and apologizing, he will respond brazenly).
* The place of meeting (the place where they meet to pass laws) will be a brothel (instead of passing laws forbidding illicit relations and heresy, they will pass laws promoting them, in complete contrast to what the Torah says: “You shall not go after your heart [heretical thoughts] and after your eyes [lustful eyes] after which you are going astray.” (Num. 15:39)
* The Galilee will be destroyed (Katyushas and bombs will fall on the Galilee) and the Golan (some say it is pronounced Gavlan) will be desolate (perhaps it means that residents will flee their homes in the north because missiles will be shot at them).
* The people on the frontier will wander from city to city without any one to pity them (exact description of how the Gush Katif Jews on the border of Gaza were treated after they were expelled from their homes).
* The wisdom of the educated (Torah scholars) will be considered repulsive (in the eyes of the public), and those who fear sin (the religious public) will be despised (they will be denounced as parasites, blood-suckers, fundamentalists, draft-dodgers, living at the public expense… This has taken place under the non-stop propaganda and brainwashing of the secular media).
* Truth will be absent (moral relativism)
* Youths will put old men to shame (there will be no respect for elders)
* The old will stand up in the presence of the young (society will value youth [physical looks and vigor] instead of wisdom, and older people will strive to imitate the young)
* A son will revile his father, a daughter will rise against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law (common family relationships will be characterized by antago-nism instead of respect).
* A man’s enemies will be the members of his household (family ties will disintegrate to the point that the relationship will be worse than that of a stranger, people will think their parents are their worse enemies)
* The face of the generation will be like the face of a dog (This means that 1. the genera-tion will be brazen and audacious. 2. Just as a dog runs before its masters but keeps turning its head to see where its master is going, and then switches direction to follow him, the leaders of that generation instead of standing strong before the people and leading them, will follow public opinion and change their views in accordance with the polls. 3. In the Liberty Bell Park in Jerusalem a few years ago, there was a competition for the dog who looks the most like its owner. The three winners were published in the newspapers next to the pictures of their owners. Would this have happened in any other generation?)
* A son will not be ashamed before his father (parental authority won’t exist).
Our generation exhibits all of these manifestations, which are the exact opposite of what was found in nearly every generation. They foresaw these developments with amazing preciseness.
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Let us go more in-depth in the subject of the End of Days.
First, several fundamentals which will serve as a short introduction:
1. The masters of Kabbalah taught us that the goal and purpose of the Creator in creating the world was to bestow his beneficence on others.
2. Since G-d is perfect in every way, His bestowal of beneficence must also be perfect, and not shallow in its quality or partial in its quantity. Since the greatest and truest joy and pleasure are those which emanate from spiritual achievements (which Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto defines in these words: “man was created for the sole purpose of rejoicing in G-d and deriving pleasure from the splendor of His Presence; for this is the true joy and the greatest pleasure that can be found.” See The Path of the Just, Chapter One) and every intelligent person knows that even here in This World, there is no physical pleasure of any kind or level that can come close to a spiritual pleasure. Because of that, G-d created mankind primarily as a spiritual being, so that he would be able to receive and have joy and benefit from His perfect spiritual beneficence.
3. However, giving this benefit as a gift would not be a perfect benefit, because it would be the “bread of shame”, reducing us to feeling like needy recipients. Therefore man was made of physical and corporal matter, and was placed in a world that was created to serve as a backdrop for both positive and negative struggles and challenges. A person was given the ability to choose between good and evil, and his purpose in the world is to overcome evil and succeed in his struggles and thereby achieve and acquire G-d’s beneficence by his own efforts.
4 . But how can a person with his limited intelligence know what is positive and what is negative from the divine point of view of truth? How can he know the spiritual mysteries embedded in creation, such as: the spirituality which infuses the seventh day and obligates desisting from the 39 main categories of work, sanctifying his physical body through circumcision on the eighth day after birth, the spiritual damage involved in eating certain animals or consuming untithed plants, eating meat and dairy together or cooking them together? Therefore the Creator gave mankind a Manual of Spiritual Guidance in an exalted, majestic event — the Revelation on Mt. Sinai, in which He detailed His 613 commandments. Besides giving man the opportunity to obey divine instructions, these commandments bring spiritual abundance (or in modern Hebrew: spiritual energy) primarily by a man’s spiritual self withstanding the challenges mounted by his evil inclination. This Manual of Spiritual Guidance is the Torah.
Therefore, a man who is composed of matter and spirit, who lives in a world saturated with trials and challenges and chooses what is good and the proper according to the Torah’s guidance manual, deserves the beneficence bestowed upon him by right and not as a gift.
After these foundations are clear to us, we can explain the topic under discussion.
Just as G-d created the world in six days, the number of years designated for the period of trials and challenges which we mentioned above is 6,000 years. (According to the mystical part of the Torah, the number six symbolizes the physical world. Anything physical has 6 sides — east, west, north, south, above and below. The number signifying overcoming physicality is seven. Therefore, after the six weekdays of creation came the Shabbat on the seventh day. Likewise, the sabbatical year is the seventh year. The jubilee year comes after seven sabbatical years. The holidays of Sukkot and Passover are for 7 days, and we count the Omer 7 weeks, etc. We can expand on each one of these topics, but the idea is clear(.
Similarly, the final purpose for which the world was created will be achieved after the 6,000 years which were designated as a period of trial and overcoming challenges. The time to receive reward will then arrive in a new world in which the souls will return and reunite with the body which will be rebuilt anew (from the tiny bone that remains from the previous body. The bone cells will multiply and be remodeled into a new body(.
During their period of trial, the body and soul were together, so it is only fitting that their reward should be given when they are together. (The heavenly Garden of Paradise refers to a place of spiritual pleasure and flourishing where souls remain in accordance with the effort they had invested in the physical world, just as a seed that was watered becomes a flower. But the souls’ stay in this spiritual utopia is only temporary until their return to the body in the Revival of the Dead.)
Many prophecies speak about this wondrous epoch of souls returning to life inside a body and being ruled by an exalted man from the Davidic dynasty who will be anointed king. During this period, evil inclinations will not exist since their role in the 6,000 years of trial will have finished. Here is one of these prophecies:
“ The word that Isaiah, son of Amoz, prophesied concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall be at the end of the days, that the mountain of the L-rd’s house shall be firmly estab-lished at the top of the mountains, and it shall be raised above the hills, and all the nations shall stream to it. And many peoples shall go, and they shall say, “Come, let us go up to the L-rd’s mount, to the house of the G-d of Jacob, and let Him teach us of His ways, and we will go in His paths,” for out of Zion shall the Torah come forth, and the word of the L-rd from Jerusalem. And He shall judge between the nations and reprove many peoples, and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift the sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:1-4(.
And a shoot shall spring forth from the stem of Jesse, and a twig shall sprout from his roots. And the spirit of the L-rd shall rest upon him, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and heroism, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the L-rd. And he shall be animated by the fear of the L-rd, and neither with the sight of his eyes shall he judge, nor with the hearing of his ears shall he chastise. And he shall judge the poor justly, and he shall chastise with equity the humble of the earth, and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips he shall put the wicked to death. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faith the girdle of his loins.
And a wolf shall live with a lamb, and a leopard shall lie with a kid; and a calf and a lion cub and a fatling [shall lie] together, and a small child shall lead them. And a cow and a bear shall graze together, their children shall lie; and a lion, like cattle, shall eat straw. And an infant shall play over the hole of an old snake and over the eyeball of an adder, a weaned child shall stretch forth his hand.
“They shall neither harm nor destroy on all My holy mount, for the land shall be full of knowledge of the L-rd as water covers the sea bed. And it shall come to pass on that day, that the root of Jesse, which stands as a banner for peoples, to him shall the nations inquire, and his peace shall be [with] honor.
“And it shall come to pass that on that day, the L-rd shall continue to apply His hand a second time to acquire the rest of His people, that will remain from Assyria and from Egypt and from Pathros and from Cush and from Elam and from Sumeria and from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. And He shall raise a banner to the nations, and He shall gather the lost of Israel, and the scattered ones of Judah He shall gather from the four corners of the earth. (Isaiah 11:1-12(.
Let us emphasize again that these amazing occurrences may happen before the set date. It is up to us! If we would all accept upon ourselves the yoke of G-d’s kingdom and lead our lives according to the sublime spiritual guidelines given to us by the Torah, then we would immediately merit and be worthy of the Final Redemption and it will happen immediately! In such a situation, we will be worthy of the Redemption occurring in an especially pleasant, respectable and sublime process. This is the intent in the vision which describes the Moshiach king arriving on heavenly clouds. [See Daniel 7:13: “and behold, with heavenly clouds” etc. Clouds symbolize exaltation and elevation.]
In contrast, the process which would occur not as a result of our spiritual awakening but because the set date has arrived, is described in another prophecy: “Behold! Your king shall come to you. He is just and victorious; humble, and riding a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9). It doesn’t mean that the Mashiach king will reveal himself riding on a donkey as opposed to a different means of transportation. It is merely a parable to a different process contrary to the honorable and elevated process implied by heavenly clouds. (The source in the Talmud reconciling the verses is Shabbat 98a.) May it be G-d’s Will that we merit the first process soon in our days.