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The Messiah: the Future of Israel and Humanity

 

Tuesday 4th Shvat 5767

The Messiah: the Future of Israel and Humanity

Last week the giant hand of the Doomsday clock of the greatest scientists of the world was moved from 11.53 to 11.55 towards midnight which represents Doomsday. With the following warning, ‘as scientists we understand the dangers of nuclear weapons, and we are learning how human interference is affecting climate systems in ways that may forever change life on earth. So say the scientists, including Stephen Hawking. As citizens of the world, we have a duty to alert the public to the unnecessary risks which we live with every day and the [perils we foresee if governments and societies do not take action now to render nuclear weapons obsolete and to prevent further climate change.

What can, indeed, guarantee the survival of man and the world? The response is given in the Bible which is the book that G-d has given to mankind through the people of Israel in order to bring about the survival of the world. The relationship between G-d who is the creator of the world and the creator of man, in that he has given freedom and a mission to man, by revealing his word to him in order that man should guarantee that this world remain a paradise. When man no longer listens to the word of G-d,       he was driven out of paradise with a mission that he and his descendants should keep to the divine codes for man has the potential to hear the voice of G-d, through conscience and through revelation; and if not it brings about the destruction of mankind and the world around him. So, as the human species became more and more corrupt, forgetting the revelation from G-d, after the deluge Noah remained as one who was close to G-d. And he was given the universal code of how mankind could survive. Unfortunately the nations descended from Noah were not sufficiently close to the moral principles which can guarantee the survival of man and the world until Abraham attached himself to follow closely, G-d and therefore he was given the blessing. That he should go to the land which is at the centre of three continents and there become the forefather of a nation and build up the state that should become a source of blessing to all families of the earth. This universal mission was expressed in the name-change of his grandson to Yisroel which means, it is a task of this nation to demonstrate to all human beings that it is G-d who rules all. And the further significance of this name is that to bring about such situations, it is a struggle for G-d. Just like in the physical world, where we struggle for life, it is the fittest that survive, and that continue to keep up the species, similarly also in the spiritual world. And this task was given to the people who were told just like Abraham means to become the teacher of mankind, today, the children of Abraham should become a special people for G-d, to become a kingdom of priests, that is a model for all peoples of the earth. By becoming a holy nation, in the desert of Sinai which was no man’s land, intended for all mankind.

And the gentile prophet Bilam proves there were higher spirits also amongst the nations of the world who realize that it is this people that guarantees and can bring about the survival of mankind and the world. And he foresaw that since Moses was not able to bring about a complete transformation of mankind, to recognize the kingdom of G-d, there would arise a star from this nation, the power of light, led by an individual, who would transform the people of Israel to become the one to demonstrate the right path to all human beings. At the same time he also foresaw that there will be opposition. Just like was already said at the beginning of the task of Abraham those who curse you will I curse. Those who bless you will I bless. Nations might arise and the most violent amongst them will be the nation that follows Ishmael. Because they are the ones that will rise in opposition to the people of Israel and will endanger the whole human species.

Then, the books of Moses describes, if the people of Israel will fulfil their mission in the world, enormous blessing will come upon them, the nations of the world will respect them and they will learn the path of awe of G-d from the people of Israel. Form the individual saintliness and from their national structure of society, which will be guided by the teaching of G-d.

And even when the people of Israel go astray, they always have the opportunity to return to G-d. It says, when troubles will come and exile because they have not been sufficiently observant of the special task which G-d has given them, there will always be a remnant that will return. And then G-d will shower them with blessings. And their position will always be as one that stands among the nations so that he nations will learn their message directly and indirectly. And when they will come into their land and build a spiritual centre, which is the Temple, that will become a magnet which will attract all people of true conscience to the teaching of G-d. When King Solomon consecrated the Temple he emphasized that the strangers who don’t belong to the people of Israel, they will also come and pray towards this house, and he said to G-d here in heaven true Do according to all the stranger calls to you for, that all the people of the earth may know your name ... (I Kings 8, 41-43) to follow the path that is represented by the people of Israel.

And similarly, Isaiah and Micah look forward to the time in the acharis hayamim, the end of the days, the period of time when one thinks the world might end, unless mankind returns to G-d, ‘that the mountain of the L-rd’s house will be established on the top of the mountains, shall be exalted above all hills”, which is not a geographical expression but a spiritual one. That mankind will recognize that the ultimate Everest of the human species is to reach the spiritual peak of closeness to the Creator. And many people go and say, let us go up to the mountain of the L-rd, to the house of the G-d of Jacob, who will teach him His ways and you will walk in His paths. Out of Zion shall go forth teaching to the whole world. And the representative of the nation of Israel who will influence mankind, he will judge among the nations and make decisions. And the peoples of the world will beat their swords into plowshares. They recognize that instead of using their energy and their possessions in order to bring destruction upon their fellow men, they will use it in order to relieve poverty. Nation will not lift up sword against nation and they will stop learning warfare. They’ll recognize education, has to be from childhood upwards dedicated towards love and peace for all human beings. How is this possible? How will it happen? It is clearly described in the Bible, it will happen through a great individual. And today we know that individuals who are totally dedicated to an ideal they have, almost like a mania, they can have an enormous impact upon human society. There is no-one who has felt this so strongly as the people of Israel from the hands of the tyrant in recent times. What have the people of Israel, and mankind, suffered from one person dedicated to evil? From the powers of Satan, like Hitler may his name be blotted out. And like others who have tried to follow that method, like Stalin. Like we see today, individual tyrants threatening the world, we see how much power can be given to individuals. The world today was never known before in human history and the Bible has the following basic principle, that the power of good is greater than the power of evil. Evil is only permitted here in the world as an obstacle for human beings to overcome, to strengthen their dedication to virtue and to the good. So there will arise a Messiah, Moshiach, from the root, to anoint with oil because oil is that which brings warmth and light. And that is why oil was used not only for the sanctification of all vessels used in the Temple but also, all the more spiritual leaders of the people, the Kings were supposed to be spiritual leaders, all were anointed with all. All have to be a source of enlightening the mind and warming the heart with the power of godliness.

That is the concept of the Moshiach and it is said explicitly in the prophets that there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Yishai/Jesse, from the one who has raised up mankind to the depths of feeling in times of trouble, times of joy in closeness to G-d is the psalmist, King David. His whole life was one of turmoil and difficulties, he found his refuge in G-d. Until today, his word was so inspired, they have brought help and inspiration to human beings from all areas of mankind and from that power will come the Moshiach. ‘A branch shall grow out of his roots. And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him’. The spirit of wisdom and understanding. That is a very high intellectual level as great as a counsellor might, he will also be able to translate the high intellectual concepts into practical advice, how to create practical changes of a concrete manner in society. He will have the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. It will all be inspired by his closeness to the creator. He will not judge according to the sight of his eye, superficially. He will judge with righteousness the poor and decide with righteousness for the meek of the earth. He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth which is a stronger weapon for good than any physical weapon. And with the breath of his slips he will slay the wicked. And righteousness will be the girdle of his loins. And faithfulness, the girdle of his reigns. The wolf will dwell with the lamb. That means the violent instinct of mankind will be controlled. Or become tamed. The leopard will lie down with the kid. They shall not hurt or destroy in my holy mountain and the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the seabed. (Isaiah 11, 1-12) The holy mountain is in Jerusalem, the Temple and the teaching of the Temple. And this teaching shall spread to the whole earth. And even the deepest points in the earth will transform society so that not only will mankind in the world survive but they will flourish as they enter into a new era of a paradise. And who will lead them? It says in Ezekiel, David my servant shall be king over them. Or the one who is continuing the lifestyle of King David. They shall have one shepherd. This is if mankind follows the message of the prophets of the Bible. But the Bible recognizes that it might turn out differently. There might come powers in the world, especially if the people of Israel do not sufficiently fulfil their task, that they will base themselves on human power. Represented by Gog, which comes from the Hebrew word which means material roof, that is made to protect man. In contrast to the people of Israel who put their trust in G-d, who is spiritual. But, many of the nations they recognize and feel that the way we can survive      is through the power of man. It is said these nations in the latter the years might have in those days which are called the end of the days, they will come and start battling and fighting with weapons, weapons which perhaps can only be described in terms of non-conventional weapons, the way they are given with their metaphors in the prophet of Ezekiel and other places. And when the people of Israel will come back to their land, with an attempt to come back to our true mission, they are in that land which is the source of life of mankind, they will arise and they say no, we want to destroy you. The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, against his anointed they want to destroy them. They will say, as it says in the Psalms, ‘Come let us cut off this Bnei Yisroel from being a nation so the name of Israel may no more be remembered. We are to blot it out. They have consulted together one consent. They are all against you, the tents of Edom, and Ishmaelim.

Now Edom represents the western anti-semitic forces. Ismael, the Middle East, anti-Israel forces. And they are likely to want to gather together to want wipe Israel off the map, as it says in the prophets. So G-d says, that I am not going to allow. They will become destroyed. So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their G-d from that day onwards. He describes the attempt of the people of Israel when we come back into our land to say, let us be like all the other nations. Have our own land and live with them in the union. Who says we’ve got to follow a special way of life? It is not necessary. So,  G-d will say, if you do that, it’s going to express itself in destruction. I’m not going to allow us to be totally destroyed. And I will bring a downfall to the enemies of the people. The nations shall know that the house of Israel went into exile for their iniquity, for they broke faith with me, that’s why I hid my face from them. And I gave them over into the hands of their enemies. And they fell by the sword. But in the end, G-d says, I will bring back the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole of Israel. Because I will be zealous for my Holy Name. The nation will no longer say that G-d is not interested in the survival of Israel. And that is why G-d says, there is going to be the following trend in society. It’s true that some will want to oppose Israel and oppose godliness. But the day will come, says the prophet Amos that I will send a famine upon the earth. Not a famine for bread, nor a thirst for water. But to hear the words of G-d. And young people will wander from sea to sea, from ocean to ocean, from the north even to the far east. They shall run to and from to seek the word of the L-rd, but they wont find it. And he says, but at the same time I am going to bring back the captivity of my people, and they shall build the waste cities in their land. They shall plant vineyards and drink their wine. …I will plant upon their land, and they shall no more be plucked out of their land which I have given them, says the L-rd your G-d. (Amos 9, 14-15) Also, to solve this problem that from the teaching that will go out from the Land of Israel those human beings who are teaching for the truth, shall find it in Israel. They will find it in the teaching of Israel.

So we have a description of the coming of the Messiah given by Daniel. He will come like a man who comes with a cloud of heaven. He will come in a situation where the heavenly power will become stronger in the understanding of mankind than in one movement which spells out the future paradise for mankind. Because at that time I will convert the nations of the world to a pure language. That they will all call on the name of the L-rd, to serve him with one consent. , ‘It shall come to pass that many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the L-rd of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray to him. And in those days it will come about that ten men out of all the languages of the nations on the earth will come and take hold of the garment of a Jew, and will say to him ‘teach us your ways, for we know G-d is with you”. This is the concept that the Sages say is expressed through the law of fringes that Jews wear fringes, four, on four-cornered garments. In fact I know more than one Jew who knew nothing about Judaism and what triggered his interest was when he saw Jews wearing these fringes. What this teaches us, its significance is like this, the Jew who follows in the path of G-d feels himself enveloped by spirituality. And the fringes are there to represent the way that spirituality becomes part of the image of the Jew. Spirituality spreads out to the four corners of the earth. And ultimately, the concept of being a Jew is to be a kingdom of priests. That the power of spirituality will spread out and nations all over the world people will say, we want to grasp hold of you, help us, to enter also into the spiritual dimension. That we won’t all drown in the sea of permissiveness and external materialism, warfare and troubles. So this is a movement that is taking place in the world today, a movement to spirituality. Which can be strengthened through the teachings of the bible. That is one possibility. But there is also another description of the messiah. Not that he comes, bringing a heavenly power above. But he is a humble person riding upon a donkey. And the concept of the donkey represents materialism. Throughout the Bible, if one looks at it more deeply, it is the symbolic language of the Bible. In fact the tradition is that that donkey was the same donkey upon which Abraham, rode and saddled in order to perform his highest test of faith. The same donkey which Moses took to convey his glorious message, the same donkey that will also be carrying the Messiah. And it represents self-discipline, to control materialism. In Jewish tradition, the same word for donkey is also used to describe the physical aspects of life, that man can control his animal instincts on the highest level.

This also represents the difficulties of life. That it doesn’t come easy. It comes through overcoming all obstacles. The concept is he is coming here as a low down person, that means the generation when the messiah might come, if a Jew does not as a whole represent sufficient power to bring about the redemption then G-d will have mercy upon the Jewish people and mercy on mankind. He does not want the end of the world. He does not want a doomsday. Therefore G-d will bring such a charismatic figure and put into him such a strong spirit that it will overturn the spirit of mankind in the direction of following the voice of G-d. That is why the last word of the last prophet says that before the coming of the Messiah, so there is going to be an option laid in front of mankind. An option of survival or extinction. Of life, or death. And it will be dependant on the power of Teshuva, which means return. When the Pope came here to Israel last time, he came to the Western Wall and said, when he was at the Western Wall, he called upon all mankind to go and to, he called it the Hebrew phrase, teshuva. Return. Return to the voice of G-d. And return when you are at the brink, almost at midnight of Doomsday, it is called upon us that we should return. That is why all prophets always ended with a note of hope. The last prophet Malachi said, the people of Israel have to come back to the teachings of G-d. Take the message of Elijah which goes through all the prophecies that the people have to return. If not, I will come and smite the whole earth with Doomsday destruction. That is the last word of prophecy ever heard by mankind. Doomsday. What is the choice? That comes before the coming of the great and awesome day. It can be a great day which ushers in a new era of spirituality and morality which exemplifies all the teachings of the Bible and maybe we will come such a situation that we will have no choice because we will recognize that if we don’t follow that path then it means the midnight clock of the scientists will reach midnight, that’s the end. But we’ve got a choice. So let us all choose then, the path of the Bible which is the book of prophecy for all mankind which indeed brings many teachings from the past, but in order that the could be applied, and the way it applies is described in the Bible in the present, in the future, that all mankind will indeed experience the complete change through the power of the people of Israel, and through the strength of the Israel, Israel’s teachings. And all those who want to absorb the teachings of the Bible. In that way we will all, not just have survival, but we will have a new paradise for all human beings. Amen.

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