ספר יוחאנן בן קאתרין – ספר בן-קאתרין (Hebrew: Book of Jachanan Ben Kathryn)
המשא דבר-יהוה אשר היה אל-יוחאנן בן-קאתרין בת יעקב ואור-המשיח בן קארל הירש בן אברהם הוילער משרעינערס (סצ’ראינאר) שהיו בבוריסלאו, בן הלל, כאשר מסה ראשון יהוה אותו מגוים ונוטה רוחו לדרוש את יהוה. זה בא לראשונה כאשר הוא היה על בן ל שנים, אומר במפורש: אתה בודאי תהיה עדי לישראל
The Prayer of the Prophet for the final Week
The prayer of the prophet, the son of Kathryn, at the beginning of the final hebdomad, October 31, 2010. (5771)
Thou hast not found righteousness that shouldest choose it. Nor hast thou said of Mercy, “Come hither and dwell with me.”
I have walked me the river of righteousness and I have found me its headwaters. Surely as a man breatheth, these things come forth from the soul of the LORD.
From the deep groanings of thy soul thou hast brought forth life. From the multitude of thy wisdom thou hast brought forth substance. Thy finger hath set the sun in its motion, and thou hast broadcast the stars as if grain. Thou hast not experimented with righteousness, nor hast thou made man the tool of thy whim. Folly doth not approach thee. It repelleth from thy beauty.
It is unnatural for man to be separate from his creator. There is famine in my soul because I cannot breathe-in the presence of the LORD. My meal is leanness. Without the LORD it hath no savor. I try and breathe-in, but the air cannot sustain. I am as a man gasping for air, and the visage of my God is the breath to feed my soul.
What doth Andromeda know of thee? Can Orion long for thee? They have not thy soul. Thou hast given thy soul unto me. Thou hast hidden thyself and whispered thy beauty. Shouldest thou set lust within a man for thy beauty and hidest thyself for so long? I cannot breathe-in full. My bones are coming undone. I cannot be satisfied.
Yeah, thou beauty, from thy soul thou speakest wisdom. From thy soul in man thou hast revealed thy nature. Lo, can bitterness be removed from the heart? Nay, it clutcheth hold of the sinews and contricteth the soul. Death doth not relieve its weight. Man carrieth the bitterness with him. They that caused thee to dwell in anger and resentment have set thee a wound. Only reconciliation can remove it. Only forgiveness can bury it. Therefore, saith the LORD, I shall turn Israel.
How beautiful is the LORD in all his doings. How righteous is my God in all his ways. Set thy servant to thy task. In the days of thy choosing set him to comfort thy people that they may know that all those who trust upon the LORD shall be delivered from the evil of the days that shall come. Yeah, LORD, dwell again with thy people. Preserve Jacob and for thy great namesake set again thy firstborn before thee.
The “70 Hebdomads” of the Nations
In browsing the web, we’re gratified at how an earlier article, the Daniel 9 Cipher, has inspired a number of calculations. However, although some events and time spans seem correct, an evangelical theological interpretation is usually given for their meaning. As prophecies contained in the Book of Jochanan ben Kathryn are beginning to unfold, it is best to elaborate on one of the most provocative prophecies contained therein. Namely, this is the prophecy that God has assigned to the Nations “70 Hebdomads” in like manner as he assigned to us through Daniel in his Chapter 9. Unlike Daniel, however, the prophecy of Jochanan HaNavi uses only a starting point and then concentrates only on the last year, yet without calling it that. It is merely repeatedly referred to as “the year of the 70th hebdomad of the Gentiles” (עמים בניגוד ל- גויים).
It doesn’t take much to reason why, since most of the prophecy is concerned with the ending of an age and the beginning of the final age of the Earth. To both of these the last year of the 70 Hebdomads is a critical fulcrum. We have touched on part of this prophecy’s relation to classic biblical prophecy and Daniel 9 in another article Understanding a Biblical Timeline. But in this article we will largely concentrate on the Book of Ben Kathryn. In addition to giving specifics about forthcoming events, God in his wisdom gives the key to unraveling time spans and periods by just focusing on the last year of the 70 Hebdomads. Let’s develop what’s in view.
Chapters 21, 46 and 68 of the Book of Ben Kathryn declare in the name of the LORD that he has placed a period of “70 hebdomads” or weeks as the final era of the Age of the Nations. Within this time the fullness of the Nations will come in, God will implement his judgment on the wayward Church, and he will commence Israel’s spiritual reawakening. Chapter 21 sets the beginning with the Christian Reformation, October 31, 1517. Seventy-sevens (70 hebdomads) would seem easy to calculate as a period of 490 years.
However, if 490 years and 2007 were ultimately the object, it would have been easy for God to move the prophet to say “490” years. Obviously, “70 hebdomads,” as in Daniel 9, is the key to something far more complex, and it is the pathway to more than one event. “Seventy-sevens” immediately strikes one as invoking the Sabbatical Year countdown, which is 7 sets of seven years and then an inter-calculated Jubilee year. This would make “70 hebdomads” into a 500 year period (there are 10 Jubilee years in 70 sevens). This would make October 31, 2017, the end date for the 70 hebdomads.
This is now far more provocative, for like Daniel, Jochanan HaNavi mentions a period of “70 years,” and this period clearly seems tied into the “70 weeks” like was Daniel’s. In Chapter 63 he declares that God has appointed us 70 years of captivity in our own land. By this we are given a rather clear primary meaning. Captivity had a very specific ancient meaning, and this is the meaning found in the Bible and echoed in the Book of Ben Kathryn. It meant for a people to be deprived of the cult statue of their god. For Israel which had no idol, it meant the absence of the symbol of God. In other word, the Temple. To be without the Temple is to be in captivity, even while in Israel. Thus the 70 years of Chapter 23 is easy to calculate as May 14, 1948, to May 14, 2018, the 70th anniversary of the founding (independence) of the State of Israel. It is more than coincidental that 2017 is exactly “70 weeks” from the Reformation, and that this falls just one year prior to the ending of a crucial 70 year period in modern Israel’s political and religious life.
The intentional relationship of these two years (and periods) is underscored by the instructions of what we are to do, thus implicitly preparing us for major events in and around that time. Specifically, beginning at Passover that year we are to take a spiritual Sabbath for 50 days until Shavuot to prepare for a great spiritual awakening as God’s Spirit moves amongst us. It seems hard to believe that this spiritual awakening does not come close to some event significant in symbolism, such as the regaining of Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, which has eluded us for so long.
The interrelation of this 70 years with the 70 weeks is undeniable. The happening of a crucial symbolic event at this time is further strengthened by more discoveries. We know just by the use of “70 years” and “70 weeks” that the Daniel 9 cipher is being invoked. As we developed in the Daniel 9 Cipher, Daniel was inspired by having discovered “by books” (studying) that the 70 years of desolation (singular) that God pronounced through Jeremiah was actually a key to a subtle pattern of 3 sets of 70 years in the desolations (plural) of Jerusalem, each of these 70 year periods symbolizing a period of desolation. The first was a physical desolation of people: 606 BC – 536 BC (physical captivity); spiritual desolation 586 BC – 516 BC (we were without the Temple); and 516-446/45 BC, political desolation (Jerusalem was finally restored, the wall was rebuilt and the law was read to the people). From this comes the key to understanding Daniel’s 70 weeks determined upon the Second Temple Age that began in juxtaposition to these sets of 70 years.
Thus we consider that we are being directed to the same pattern today in the Book of ben Kathryn. By mentioning this one 70 in chapter 23, we are not just being given another key that highlights 2017, we are given time spans between political/religious that take on greater symbolism when calculated from this year. In many respects they mirror Daniel’s discovery of those very provocative 3 sets of 70 years that inspired his 70 weeks.
Let’s begin with political restoration. Zionism is the organized restoration of a Jewish State in Israel and the intentional act on the part of Jews to return to Israel to bring this about. Politically it began in 1897. On November 30, 1947, it achieved its goal of partition in Palestine and the creation of Israel, sparking civil war with the Arabs. Formal independence took place on May 14, 1948, sparking the Arab-Israeli War. Yet in all this time Jerusalem eluded the Jews. It and Moriah, the holy place, were in the hands of Arabs. Amazingly, the eye of Israel and its apple (Moriah) remained outside of Jewish ability to retake it. In 1967 it finally happened in the Six-Day War.
1897 to 1967, finally achieving control of Jerusalem, the goal of Zionism =70 years.
1947 (UN vote and declaration and partition of a Jewish State, the first goal of Zionism) to
2017 (spiritual reawakening) will be 70 years.
1967 to 2037 will be 70 years (Temple rebuilt?).
Stretching it, wishful thinking? Let’s look at Daniel’s 70 years again. (See Graph)
The 1st 70 years began in 606 BC with exiles being taken away. It ended with the decree of Cyrus allowing Jews to return and build the holy place. The next started in 586 BC with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple and the rest of Jewry carried into Babylon. The last began in 516 with the Temple’s rededication and ended in 446 with the rebuilding of the walls. Notice the pattern?
It is: 20 years of the first 70 years proceeds the next. Then these two 70 year periods overlap 7 sevens (50 years), and then the 2nd 70 continues on its own for 20 years and then the final 70 begins with no overlap until it ends.
Sets of three 70s beginning with 1897 are almost an exact reverse graph of the above.
They are: (See Graph)
1897 to 1967 = 70
1947 to 2017 (20 year overlap 1947 – 1967) and then 7 seven overlap to 2017 with the last 70
1967 to 2037 (20 years no overlap from 2017 to 2037).
Do you see the one significant difference in the overlaps between the Daniel 9 Graph and the Ben Kathryn Graph? This set of three 70s starts with a 50 year (7 Seven) period, then the 2nd 70 overlaps it 20 and then the 2nd 70 overlaps the 3rd 70 by 7 Sevens (50 years) and then there is a clean 20 years of no overlap. Did you uncover the similarity in Daniel’s division of weeks?
Nowhere in the Book of ben Kathryn is it openly said that these “70 weeks” are a reverse of those of Daniel. But considering the events repeatedly mentioned, it is logical to take them as such. The crescendo of Daniel’s was the destruction of Jerusalem and the beginning of desolation. The culmination of those given to Jochanan HaNavi is the restoration of Israel. This is seen throughout the Book of ben Kathryn where it is clear that the Temple’s restoration is a pivotal point. It is also clear that events surrounding it are tied into the “70 weeks of the Gentiles” and especially to the last year, 2017.
A divine hand guiding these events and their symbolism becomes far clearer when we go back to the “year of the 70th week of the Gentiles.” Always “the year of the 70th week.” That year is not only regarded as crucial for events coming, but for the cipher it is the fulcrum by which one calculates time spans and reveals a prophetic pattern. In Daniel’s time “70 sevens” meant only one thing, the Sabbatical Cycle. Today, however, it means two. There are two ways of calculating the Sabbatical Year Cycle. There is the Church way (biblical) and there is the rabbinic or modern Jewish way. The two differ by 10 years. The difference is caused by Jews leaving off inter-calculating a 50th Jubilee year since in the diaspora it really didn’t apply, in rabbinic views. There was also some disagreement whether the Jubilee was the same as the 49th year. We’ve seen above, however, that the inter-calculated Jubilee is used to calculate the “70 weeks of the Nations.” Considering the rich symbolism involved, this is to be expected. The Church has fancied itself the inheritor and supplanter of Israel. The Church was not in diaspora; it was Israel. A Christian would calculate the “70 weeks” via the biblical method of a Jubilee. A Jew, however, would calculate according to the currently accepted Shmita Cycle. Amazingly, we find that 1517, the beginning of the Reformation and the “70 weeks of the Nations,” was also a Shmita year. The final year of Jewish reckoning would indeed be 2007, yet another Shmita year.
Although the rabbinic Jewish Shmita Cycle is not the primary means of counting down the 70 weeks from 1517, it is a provocative overlay. This reveals interesting time spans, all from Jewish apocalypticism. As the Qumran scrolls show, Jews were expecting the then-Age to end with a 40 year testing period because it had begun with a 40 year testing period in the Sinai wilderness. This is seen in the crucifixion in 30 AD and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD. This coincidence is repeated today. Jerusalem was finally recaptured and, briefly, so was Mount Moriah in 1967. Jews mounted the holy place barefooted to worship. It was a clear sign to the Church of things to come; that Israel would seek total restoration. 2007 is 40 years afterward.
This time span is significant as a testing and warning period to Jews as well. An intense national desire to rebuild the Temple is not going to be set in quick motion by a 50 day spiritual Sabbath in 2017, no matter how positive. This began to germinate in 1967 already. 2017 comes as an apex, and 2037, presumably, for when the Temple is dedicated. Thus we see 70 years of spiritual regeneration symbolized, capped off by the dedication of the Temple.
It is beyond coincidence that in 1967 the modern Messianic Movement truly began to take form. Toward 2007 it has become hotter and attracted far more attention until it is obvious it is a spiritual aliyah from Christendom. This will continue to build until Israel, no matter how cynical some might be, takes the warnings to heart and engages in the 50 day Sabbath in 2017 to finally inquire if God did indeed come forth and walk amongst us so long ago.
Overlaying Shmita years with the “70 years” of captivity and the “70 weeks of the Nations” uncovers the relationship of both timetables. October 31, 2017, is clearly the end of the “year of the 70th hebdomad of the Gentiles.” It falls mid “week” in the calculation of the actual Shmita Sabbaths. More significant, October 31, 2014 (Shmita) to May 14, 2018, the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence and the ending of the 70th year of captivity, is 1,290 days, an odd coincidence with the end of Daniel’s 70 weeks and a period of 1,290 days from the “daily” and the abomination of desolation and the destruction of Jerusalem. Thus both countdowns intertwined reveal a span and dates significant to both.
The Jewish Shmita Cycle directs us to other events parallel with Daniel’s symbolism. One of Daniel’s 70 symbolized exile. If Ben Kathryn’s is a reverse, could there be 70 years tied into aliyah— to repopulating Israel? Curiously we find there are, and they are related to significant years in the Sabbatical Cycle.
The first Aliyah began in 1881. 70 years later is 1951, the first Shmita year in the land of Israel as a nation. Within this 70 years the largest amount of ascent to the land had happened, occurring in major waves of aliyahs, both before and, of course, after World War II. Can you spot or propose other 70 year periods? Are they interrelated to the Shmita, the “70 weeks of the Nations” or to the 70 years of captivity? Can you spot other coincidences with Daniel’s 70 weeks?
The “70 weeks” of Daniel began about 11 years before the final 70 ended (557-446) when Ezra read the law during the Sabbath Year. In like manner the Shmita countdown today shows us the ending of the Nations, by Shmita reckoning, was in 2007, 11 years later in 2018 a new age may openly begin with recapturing Moriah. Has a 70 weeks began already for the final age of the Earth? What events will 2037 bring? Will the Temple be dedicated? Will there be something else? I’ll leave it to the reader to work on figuring out the Aliyah sets of 70 and their relation to the others and the events prophesied in the Book of Ben Kathryn and Daniel. The years 2007, 2017 and 2018 turned out to be the key, remember. Three symbolisms involved, two timetables— Jewish and Gentile— that intertwine.
Along with the similar symbolism, we have discovered all these countdowns are interrelated and on top of that they concisely echo those of Daniel, only in reverse. The Biblical Sabbatical Countdown gives us 2017. The modern Jewish gives us crucial Shmita years. Major events span symbolic periods of time, as in the Bible and Daniel’s 70 years and 70 weeks. All revealed because of that prophecy in the Book of Ben Kathryn and how it hinges on an ending year.
Such a pattern cannot be manipulated. These events and time spans should no longer be denied, nor our duty to hearken unto the 50 day Sabbath in 2017. It is far more than coincidence that God planned for the Christian Reformation to begin on October 31, so long ago, and that this date has poignancy only now when comparing it to events in Israel and the current Shmita. These are not dates that would easily go noticed either. Ben Kathryn does not mention them. He is only given the clue: that the “70 weeks” of the Gentiles begin with Ezra of the North. Israel’s independence as a nation and its 70th anniversary are not dates any calendar can manipulate. God intended it to fall on a specific date. No one can manipulate Israel not getting repossession of Jerusalem until 1967 and then prevent it from getting Mt. Moriah— of all places right in the heart of Jerusalem— all these years. God is specifically planning an event and, for our faith, giving us some clues.
Is this all coincidence? Was it not said in Luke’s gospel that Jerusalem would be trodden down of the Gentiles until their time is fulfilled and then God will go out to Israel again and recover his people?
Something else happened in 1967. Let’s touch on it again. Messianism took off during key events and has made its own aliyahs. In a time of question one’s norm and habits, many Jews began to rediscover and believe that Jesus is the Messiah. The Messianic Movement of today has its roots in the antiestablishment era, in that 40 years of testing between 1967 and 2007 when it began to catch fire. It was only in the last couple of years that a huge upswing happened within the Messianic Movement when it actively tried to break off from Christianity and declare itself a form of Judaism. This Movement, the genuine Nazarene Jews, can no longer regard themselves as creating a “Jewish space.” They are the vanguard of restoration. A spiritual captivity and exile is emerging from the Nations, and God will not let it be stopped. It is also not a remnant. God will eventually turn Israel, as he said he would. Spiritual Aliyahs will continue.
“The 70 weeks” of the Book of Ben Kathryn put into words what we would not expect. It is not outright stated that this prophecy is a positive mirror reflection of Daniel’s, but there are some interesting coincidences that must be kept in the fore of our minds. Daniel’s prophecies were for the ending of the last age. They culminate in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple and the desolations that follow. Destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD marked the beginning of the Age of the Gentiles. Upheaval is in the wind again. Yet the attitude sweeping Messianic Judaism is not defeatist. Its swaddling cry is that of Jacob crying out at birth again and returning to his God.
The problem with Christian eschatology is that it is “apocalyptic” and based on books that even the Reformers and patristic church fathers questioned. All this apocalypticism has either convinced the Church (and unfortunately many in Messianism) of a glorious rapture at hand or some bizarre “pre-millennial kingdom” where Jesus rules in person from Jerusalem. The signs of the time, however, are biblical ones, and they are for an ending of the age and the beginning of his full blown recovery of Israel (Third Temple Age). This is not being done to recover just a remnant. (See Amos 9: 11–15)
The Messianic Movement best see itself in relationship to all these “coincidences” and be prepared to send forth the light of our Lord. Altogether they prepare one for the age soon to begin, and the trials and blessings that go with it.
Although Daniel is regarded amongst the Christians as a prophet, in which their bibles follow the compilation of the Greek-Jewish Septuagint, he is more correctly enrolled in the “Writings” section of Jewish Bibles. The Qumran sect appears to have regarded him as a prophet, referring to him as “Daniel the Prophet.” And there is no question that his work contains prophecy. But his prophecy is more of foretelling in the way that seers speak rather than prophets.
Daniel was, in fact, a seer, someone who by vision or inspiration was given general glimpses of the future. A seer doesn’t necessarily understand what he sees or is shown. Rather, he relates it as he sees it, or as best as he can. Much of the visions in Daniel are the result of a seer.
Out of all of the prophecies, Daniel 9 has excited the most interest. It gives a timetable to the Messiah and to other key events in Jewish/Christian history (future from Daniel’s point of view). This involves the coming of the Messiah, the cutting off of the Messiah, and the destruction of Jerusalem following the “abomination of desolation,” the standing-up of the archangel Michael, and the Resurrection.
Many have tried to calculate the “70 weeks of Daniel 9” from various starting points— i.e. the first year of Cyrus (536 BC), the 7th year of Artaxerxes (457 BC, when Ezra came to Jerusalem and reestablished the law), the 20th year of Artaxerxes (446/445, when Nehemiah finished the wall), to various and sundry points— i.e. the baptism of Christ, the Crucifixion, and to the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. None of the computations, however, have fit. This is because all were using the standard interpretation of “70 weeks” as a period of 70 sevens, which is assumed to be the literal meaning; in other words, a period of 490 years. No matter which starting point was picked, no computation could collate into a 490 year period any or all of the significant events mentioned. Indeed, the starting and exact stopping points of the 490 years were still a matter of conjecture.
Moreover, Daniel 9 is full of significant events being mention as occurring at points in these elapsing “70 weeks,” such as Daniel 9: 25: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” Why the division of the weeks? Why not just say 69 weeks? Yet another: “After the 62 weeks the Messiah shall be cut off. . .” This appears to be the crucifixion, the generally accepted date for which is 30 AD. This is supposed to end the 69th week. Yet the end of the 70th week appears very clearly to be the destruction of the Temple, which is evident to anyone is not 7 years away but rather 40 years away from the crucifixion. Therefore the “Sevens” of Daniel 9 don’t appear to be speaking of a periods of 7 years. Seven years from 30 AD brings us to 37 AD, in which nothing significant happened at all.
Some have also interpreted Daniel 9 27: “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease . . .” as referring to the crucifixion. That would make 30 AD mid week— 3.5 years short— of the full 490 year period of the 70 weeks. However, nothing happened in 33/34 AD, which would in this view be the end of the 70th week.
What indeed is Daniel 9 talking about?
Daniel is clearly being given a cipher, not a prophecy per se. All ciphers are incomprehensible without the key. Yet the key was provided; and, remarkably, in a very blunt way: The beginning of Daniel 9 reads: “In the first year of his reign (of Darius the Mede) I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.”
Note the language change from Jeremiah 25 to where Daniel is referring the reader: “desolations of Jerusalem.” Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25) had said in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar (606/605 BC), King of Babylon, 11: “And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” Daniel had perceived something else, for he said “desolations” in the plural. There was the key; that, and linking it to the 70 years mentioned by Jeremiah. Like any key, it appears at the beginning of the matter it interprets.
A small point actually contributing to this major oversight must be clarified first. Most every scholar has assumed that 539 BC was the first year of Cyrus, King of Persia, as king of Babylon; and furthermore that it was therefore in this year that he ordered that the children of Israel may return and build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, thus ending the desolation. If counting from the 1st year of Nebuchadnezzar in 606/605 BC, this is hardly 70 years. It is short at least 3 years. Therefore some have sought to calculate the 70 years as 606/605 to 536/535, when the foundation of the temple was re-laid. This, however, was not the prophecy. The prophecy was servitude to the king of Babylon 70 years. The mistake was in assuming Cyrus’ first year was 539 BC. Yes, he took Babylonia in that year; but he appointed aged Darius the Mede as king of Babylon (possibly Cyaxares II). Daniel relates a number of separate visions that came to him in either in the 1st year of Cyrus or in the 1st year of Darius. This can’t be the same year. How can Daniel calculate both as having the same first year? He could not. Cyrus was king of Persia long before he conquered Babylon and gave it to Darius. The only way Daniel ever could have experienced the “1st year of Cyrus” as king of Babylon is that Darius the Mede, who was 62 years old when given the kingdom in 539 BC, must have died in a few years. At that point Cyrus must have dispensed with a nominal king-governor to occupy the throne for a transition period, and took the title of King of Babylon direct. This must have been 536-535 BC. This became the first year of Cyrus as King of Babylon. Traditionally it is ascribed to about 538 or 539 BC.
We must remember that Daniel’s life was Babylon-centric. He would not calculate according to Cyrus’ regnal years as king of Persia (beginning about 550 BC). It didn’t matter that Cyrus had been the overlord or “king of kings” before conquoring Babylon. Darius was the direct king-governor over Babylon. Cyrus’ years would not be recorded in Babylon until he took the title of king there, which he obviously didn’t do in the very beginning since that title was given to Darius. Cyrus had a wise habit of installing a ruler in an area where this person actually had the hereditary claims to rule. This was noted even in Judea where he had made one of the princes, the son of one of the last Judaean kings, the governor. Darius no doubt had an hereditary claim to the throne, and could make the transition much easier for Babylonians facing Persian rule; a wise system, often used by the Romans who employed “client kings” in provinces where they didn’t want to hassle with the local problems. It was enough for the Romans, as it was for the Persians, that the installed ruler kept the taxes coming and maintained the peace under their law.
In the case of Darius, being 62 years old, he didn’t last long. Nor at that age would he have been disposed to rebel against Cyrus. A wise choice on Cyrus’ part. At his death, however, Cyrus must have dispensed with a puppet king. Regnal years were now locally calculated by Cyrus accession to the Babylonian throne. Thus the first year of Cyrus could have been some 3 regnal years after Babylon fell to his forces and was placed under Darius the Mede. It does depend on what calendar and system of reckoning was used by Daniel.
There is not the need here to get specific as to precise Gregorian years, or argue about what type of calendar system Daniel might be referring to. Those who wish to can consult Jack Finegan’s Handbook of Biblical Chronology. We must continue with the cipher, which will make itself very plain in a moment.
According to Josephus, at this time Daniel showed Cyrus the prophecies in Isaiah relating to him by name. It was at this point that Cyrus insisted that God’s house be built at Jerusalem. The Jews were thus released, and the captivity of 70 years of serving Babylon ended.
This period of 70 years is generally understood by scholars. However, Daniel and the other prophets understood more. Let us now examine the key. It must be said first that such discoveries do not come by intense study. Such knowledge as this, though study you must, will only come when God is ready to reveal it.
The Key of Daniel 9
The 70 years above was a period of enslavement to the foreign king. However, there would also come a period of fasting from God; and a period of physical desolation upon the land. Daniel now understood the “desolations.” Indeed, the Temple was destroyed in 586 BC and its rebuilding not finished and dedicated until the 6th year of Darius the Persian in 516 BC = 70 years. Both Haggai and Zechariah give prophecies in the 2nd and 4th year of Darius, each referring to “these 70 years.” They are speaking about the time period coming soon to an end. Yet there is another; Jerusalem is still in desolation until the 20th year of Artaxerxes— 446/445 BC— when Nehemiah finishes the walls of Jerusalem. 516 BC to 446/445 BC is 70 years.
There are thus three distinct periods of 70 years, each encompassing three very obvious states of desolation: physical captivity; spiritual famine and fasting (as the symbol of God’s presence is removed); and the physical desolation of the holy city, symbolizing as it does all Israel (which was ravaged as well during this time).
This is the key that Daniel is giving as the interpretive factor to unlock the “70 weeks” that are to befall Israel in latter days. Later in Daniel 9 he declares the prophecy:
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. 25: Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26: And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27: And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
LXX 24 Seventy weeks have been determined upon thy people, and upon the holy city, for sin to be ended, and to seal up transgressions, and to blot out the iniquities, and to make atonement for iniquities, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal the vision and the prophet, and to anoint the Most Holy. 25 And thou shalt know and understand, that from the going forth of the command for the answer and for the building of Jerusalem until Christ the prince there shall be seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks; and then the time shall return, and the street shall be built, and the wall, and the times shall be exhausted. 26 And after the sixty-two weeks, the anointed one shall be destroyed, and there is no judgment in him: and he shall destroy the city and the sanctuary with the prince that is coming: they shall be cut off with a flood, and to the end of the war which is rapidly completed he shall appoint the city to desolations. 27 And one week shall establish the covenant with many: and in the midst of the week my sacrifice and drink-offering shall be taken away: and on the temple shall be the abomination of desolations; and at the end of time an end shall be put to the desolation.
Seventy weeks are determined for several distinct reasons: 1 the finish the transgression. 2 to make an end of sin. 3 make reconciliation for iniquity. 4 to bring in everlasting righteousness. 5 to seal up the vision and prophecy. 6 to anoint the most Holy.
Secondly, there is a noticeable division of the “weeks.” There will be 7 sevens, and 62 sevens. It does not say 69 sevens. There is a reason why there is a division based on 49 years. The above key is, if you will, an overlay or template.
606/605 BC to 536/535 = 70 years
586 BC to 516 BC = 70 years
Notice that there is an overlap of about 49/50 years (7 Sevens) of the first 70 years by the second period of 70 years. 586 BC (destruction of the temple) to 536 BC (freedom from captivity) = 49/50 years.
Depending on when the exact dates by month and day began and ended, the overlap conceivably is 49 years, or “7 sevens.” We can understand in this respect why 7 “weeks” are separated in the countdown from the 62 weeks. The three sets of 70 above appear to be the template upon which the expanded “70 weeks” are based, and there is clearly an overlap in which 49 years of one of the periods of 70 years is concurrent with another.
The period of time that these 3 sets of 70 years encompass is 160 years. They are divided as follows:
As the graph shows, the period of the 49/50 year overlap is preceded by 20 years and followed by 20 years of non overlapping time. The first 20 years (from 606/605/ BC) is part of the 70 years of physical captivity to Babylon. The second 20 year period following the overlap is concurrent with the 70 years that the temple area was in desolation (Mount Moriah) and therewith not an overlap. This 20 years (536 BC to 516 BC), however, is the span from the end of the captivity to the building of the temple. Therefore there are 3 sets of 70, one with a roughly 49/50 year overlap with another. The major 70, that one representing the loss of the Temple, is preceded by the 20 years of physical captivity, and from the time this physical captivity ended in Babylon (536 BC) to the Temple’s rebuilding is also 20 years.
To reiterate: Notice in the 3 periods of 70 years above, which Daniel had understood, 2 periods actually overlap. The spiritual desolation from 586 to 516 overlaps the physical captivity of 606/605 to 536/535 by 49/50 years (depending on when Cyrus first year began 536/535). 49 years is actually 7 sevens. The clear notation in the beginning of Daniel 9 1: “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; 2: In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” He “understood by books” the desolations of 70 years on Jerusalem is clearly the cipher key to the expanded and futuristic 70 weeks.
The confusing point here now is: are the “70 weeks” 70 sets of 7 (490 years) and do these “Sevens” overlap by 49 years at one point? Or, more probably, are they seven sets of 70? Part of the 70 weeks of Daniel seems to include Nehemiah’s rebuilding of the wall in 446/445 BC. 25: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” This definitely does happen at the end of one of the periods of 70 years (516 BC to 446/445 BC)
If we are to figure that 160 years is the period of 3 sets of seven can we find the map, so to speak? To be more explicit: we definitely have an overlay. But over what do we lay this to unlock the cipher? Do we find other periods of 70 years between key events in Jewish/Christian history after the time of Daniel? Periods of 160 years?
We do indeed. The cleansing of the Temple occurred in 164 BC, after the desecration of it by Antiochus Epiphanes. A period of three 70s, as found in the key, from that point (160 years) comes to 4 BC, the year it is agreed that Jesus Christ was born. 70 years later is 66 AD. In February of that year Eleazar ben Ananias, governor of the temple, gained the support of the younger priests and, against the urging of the elder priests, committed a ghastly abomination of desolation. In the middle of this 70, Jesus Christ was crucified in 30 AD.
According to Daniel 12, from the time the abomination of desolation is set up until the end there will be 1335 days, or 3.5 years. Counting from 66 AD until the fall of Jerusalem there is indeed 1,290 days, the span of time from the abomination being set up and the destruction of the temple. Then about about 45 days later there was the final fall and burning of Jerusalem, making 1335 days. Daniel: “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12: Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.” It is interesting to note that even Boethius in his De Hebdomadibus (5th century) considered this 3 and a half years to be an extension on the 70 weeks. He considered there to be a time of seventy and a half hebdomads (Ebdomadias is Greek for “seven,” as in a set of time). And, indeed, it does seem that the “70 weeks” ends in 66 AD, and the period of the abomination of desolation begins for 1335 days. Also, note that in some texts, it reads in Daniel 12 that the sacrifice was “changed” at the abomination of desolation, not “removed,” which is indeed what happened in 66 AD, when the Gentiles were excluded from the offering.
Thus the period of Jesus Christ and the gospel going forth, confirming the covenant, was a period of 70 years. “He will confirm the covenant with many for one week.” The writings at Qumran show that many Jews were expecting a period of 40 years to precede the end of the age, considering that 40 years began it in the desert after leaving Egypt. From 30 AD to 70 AD is 40 years.
Therefore from the cleansing of the Abomination of Desecration in 164 BC (Daniel 8) to the Abomination of Desolation in 66 AD, we have encountered 4 sets of 70. Can you name key events that happened within that span of three 70 year intervals from 164 BC to 4 BC? And can you count from the beginning and start the 7 sets of 70? I will leave the reader to ponder the words of the LORD to Daniel in the vision and not to forget the burden of history.
Let us touch on one point before concluding this first article on Daniel 9. There are many who think that Daniel was written in the Hasmonean Period and is pseudo-epigraphic, a book merely claiming to have been written by Daniel, who, in turn, may very well have been fictitious. The ancients were known to do that, and to have a very sincere motive for pseudo-epigraphy. The name of the book often had a meaning to it, and it set the tenor for what was inside. If we are to accept this, we can assume that like with the Book of Enoch a school of prophets wrote the book. This changes nothing really. They must have seen the cipher in history, noticing that there were three clear sets of 70 years corresponding each with physical captivity, spiritual famine and desolation, and physical desolation of the land and cities. The whole period was 160 years of trial, confirmation and judgment. Whether Daniel wrote this, prophesying what was to come, or whether a school of prophets noticed a clear pattern in history, nothing changes. God tipped his hand intentionally, giving a pattern to key events. And the prophets knew how to expand this. It is part key, part overlay and part template. It is quite complex, and it is designed to be very difficult to unravel. It is the key to the coming of what Israel long waited for— the Messiah— an event which Israel has forgotten today why it waited so long. Israel does not even understand why it should need a redeemer. God tipped his hand for a purpose. It is time to pay attention and prepare.
Frequently Asked Questions (Nabion.org)
יהוה אלוהי ,מגן על האנשים שלך, ומוסר את הנפש שלי ממוות
Ok, so perhaps Frequently Anticipated Questions on Nabion and Messianic Jewry.
You’ve no doubt noticed that Nabion has no contact link. From the beginning (January 2006), it never did. This is an outlet for teaching, inspiration and prophecy. . . but of a Jewish sort. So let’s clarify some things here.
Recently in browsing the web, we’ve come across grotesque imitations of Messianic Jewry, horrendous and even libelous comments about others. Some sites have leaders who claim some edge with “Yeshua (Jesus)” and that they are the true, pure movement, with connections all the way straight back to Jesus. Obviously, it’s a jungle out there. Although Nabion has no connection with any congregation or group, it nevertheless has obligations to help steer people away from this. We are aware that our page “What is a Messianic Jew?” is one of the top ranked.
Now, let’s get to Nabion
What is Nabion’s affiliation?
None. Nabion is totally separate. It has no affiliation with any Christian church, denomination or group. Nor does it have any affiliation with any Jewish group. It cannot receive or broker donations of any kind. Nabion is both a teaching and prophetic outlet. Its mission is to convey to the Hebrew or proselyte that Jesus is the Messiah— God with us. Its mission is also to stop the gentilizing of Jews and to bring them out from scattering back to genuine Messianic synagogues or to the establishing of new synagogues totally independent of any Christian denomination or influence. No Jew is encouraged to leave an established genuine synagogue unless asked to go.
Is this an anti-missionary site?
No. This is a Jewish site. It is just that 2000 years of history has wiped out the origin of the Nazarene movement, thanks largely to Catholicism destroying it in Syria. The movement lasted for hundreds of years. Non-Jews have little understanding of this, and are frequently trying to convert Jews. What the conversion amounts to is a conversion to Non-Jewish traditions, not genuine Christianity which was the flowing on Biblical Judaism. God does not preach customs and culture. (See Men & Brethren). God said he would come forth from his holy habitation and dwell amongst us. This is not referring to the rebuilding of the temple. The temple was standing during the prophecy. He who can never be seen as he is said he would come forth and dwell with us. “Behold, he is coming, saith the LORD.” This is Jesus, the very living temple of God.
Are you Judaizing?
No. Judaizing requires that to inherit the Resurrection one must become a Jew. This is neither Jewish (even Orthodox) teaching, and has no basis in scripture. Some “redneck” Jews might have proffered that and this was recorded in the New Testament. But that is not reflective of proper Jewish teaching. Contrariwise, to Gentilize a Jew is not “grace;” it is customs and works. To teach a non-Jew of God’s covenant, rightly kept, is not Judaizing or works. It is the heritage of the Hebrews handed down to them by God.
Salvation is not in view. This is a problem with non-Jewish Christian denominations. They are so saturated in passé Gnosticism and anti-Gnosticism that they have it ingrained that salvation is obtained (or reflected) by perfect doctrines and theories. When they become confronted by different customs, cultures, and theories they either judge the other person holding these as “unsaved” or fear for their own salvation. Not so. Too judgmental. The laws and words of God tell us when a church or synagogue has become wholly corrupt. If one loves God and believes that he has walked among us, that Jesus is, as Moses worded it ‘God standing upon the earth,’ they will go out and live his decent, godly life, and they shall inherit the Resurrection. Well, if you have a few quirky ideas and you can’t fully understand it all, that does not matter to the soul. God does not judge you by your level of knowledge. If he did, we’re all in trouble.
How can this site be called Jewish, in that you believe that Jesus is “God with us”?
Just like in the above answer, there were and are unlearned Jews who do not know the scriptures. They comprise the vast element called “Club Jew” that basically think Judaism is as they wish to proffer it at any time. There is one site http://www.geocities.com/realjewsforjesus/MJFAQ.html that despite its title of “realjewsforjesus” is an anti-missionary site. The author of the site, aside from frequently revealing he knows very little scripture and often reflects no solid evidence of knowledge in Judaism, uses some very peculiar, if not simple arguments. Such as:
1. God is not a man
Quite correct. He is also not a bush. He is not a temple. Nor mortar, stone and wood out of which a temple is built. Yet his Spirit spoke from a bush. He also declared he would place his Spirit at the Temple. Yet God fills heaven and earth. He cannot be limited. He cannot be seen as he is. Even the angels have not seen him. Yet Moses declared he would see God with his own eyes; that his redeemer was alive and yet would stand on the earth at the latter day. Moses’ Song of Departure places God on earth lifting his hand to heaven. The son born to us in Isaiah would be called “the Mighty God.” Abraham saw 3 men, and one he called God.
We are flesh. Into us God breathed his spirit, and Adam, that shell made from the dust, lived. We are men. The body came first, and the soul brought it to life. But for God who is spirit and cannot be seen as he is, well, to make himself a body– well, that is very simple. We are flesh first into which God breathed his Spirit. God coming to dwell amongst us in a body would obviously not be the same thing. His Spirit came first! Then the tabernacle was created. Inseparable– a body and yet not man as we are. Jesus’ spirit is not a separate, man’s spirit. His Spirit is God’s own holy spirit. Incomprehensible. A mind and soul that is not man’s; yet dwelling in a body. A mind and soul not a Temple, yet dwelling in an inner sanctum. A mind and soul filling heaven and earth; and yet not limited to heaven and earth.
Pagans, all being sons of Noah, preserved a memory of the great Deus Pater– Father of Heaven– of Proto-Indo-European language. He was the sole God. Ancient man was monotheistic until he delved more into his own pagan ideas. God was warped into many idols and representations of Deus Pater– Jupiter, Zeus, Div, Tues, Ammon, the formless one. But because God revealed himself to Abraham Jews had not lost the memory that the living God was being recalled in God or Father of Heaven. By the time of Cyrus, Dyaus Pita was only one among other gods. As his name meant “Father of Heaven,” he became only one god maintaining his territory of Heaven. Thus when Cyrus declared that the “God of Heaven” has commanded him to build him a temple in Jerusalem, he believed he was re-erecting a fallen temple to one of the gods in the pantheon.
Pagans twisted God, even his name, falling into ignorance and forsaking the heritage given them by their father Noah. Did they also twist the instinct God placed in us that he would walk among us? It is not overtly stated to Moses that “that prophet” would be God with us. . . but he understood it nonetheless, either by inflection or repetition. By God declaring at Horeb he would not speak directly except through “that prophet” to come, Moses’ song placed God on earth, and his book of Job declared that he would see God on earth. He understood that no man as we are will be able to speak directly for God. Pagans may have warped God’s plan into many gods taking form and incubi. But it does not stem from pagans.
We can never see God as he is. The angels can never see God as he is. Yet even the man of God said he would see God upon the earth, and Abraham called “a man” God. God is not a man. Man is what his spirit is. God is what His Spirit is. God can easily fashion himself a body. He made a beautiful creation in human kind. Only man has warped and degraded it. Not God. He has done it honour by knowing he must be seen of us. We must have some point of contact with him. He has walked among us. When you see Jesus one day, you will know the difference. You will not be seeing a man. You will know you are seeing Emmanuel.
Think about this: ancient Jews awaited the coming of the “Son of Man” of the Book of Enoch, he who went with God and with whom righteousness dwelt. He existed before the world was. Even before human kind was created in bodily form, this was the pattern God used amongst the angels. Even knowing that God is not man, they believed and understood the Book of Enoch’s statements.
2. The Messiah must come from the male heritage.
Nowhere is that stipulated. The prophecy is for a virgin of the House of David to conceive. The anti-missionary site proffers 2 Samuel 7, 12-13, though that is not discussing a male lineage.
The author of the deceptive “real Jews for Jesus” also states: “There are a number of other Messianic prophecies that Jesus did not fulfill. Here are just a few: World Peace did not come at the time of Jesus (Isaiah 2:1–4), the entire world did not acknowledge G-d as the one true G-d (Zechariah 14:9), the Holy Temple was not rebuilt (Ezekiel 37: 26–28) and Jesus did not gather the Jewish people from all of the earth to land of Israel (Isaiah 11:10–12). There are many other Messianic prophecies that Jesus did not fulfill, the above were just a few of the major failures.”
Zechariah 14 is not even speaking about the coming of the Messiah. Nor does Isaiah 2, 1-4; Isaiah 11 speaks of a remnant, not all Jews. The same as in Isaiah 49. As in Isaiah 11, the Gentiles will seek him, which they certainly did Jesus. Ezekiel 37, 26-28 also has nothing to do with the coming Messiah. The prophecies in Malachi make it clear the temple is already standing when the Messiah appears.
This author, by his often dogmatic, terse, and unsupported assertions, reveals that perhaps he hung around a couple of Christians who don’t know scripture that well, or he uses his own exegetical straw man arguments. There is some doubt by his manner that he is even an educated Jew.
Is the Book of Ben Kathryn an additional book to the Bible? Are you his disciples?
John ben Kathryn is forbidden disciples and, frankly, doesn’t care for any. He is allowed one permanent assistant (an “Elisha”) if needed. Jewish prophets eventually record or are told to write down the prophetic utterances. In that sense the “book” of John ben Kathryn is called a book, as Isaiah or Jeremiah. It is meant to be understood with, and indeed cannot be understood without, the entire corpus of prophetic books. It is not a handbook of a sect, a group, a cult, or any such thing. Jews really aren’t subject to much of that. You have to read it to understand its language. Accepting or rejecting a book in a corpus of others doesn’t really alter its content. The Book of Enoch has long fallen into disuse. . . but it was the most popular book at the time of Christ. Many of his sayings use it as an illustrative backdrop. The entire “Son of Man” analogy comes from Enoch. Enoch should become mandatory reading for this purpose alone. . . though every word is not inspired.
If what the book of ben Kathryn declares comes to past, Jews will have no option but to add it to the corpus of prophetic books. That will be a long day off, one which no one here will see. There will no doubt be other prophets to come and other “books” to study, as the Third Temple Age dawns, that will form a body that warns and guides and yet speaks the same as the compiled classical prophets. That is the wonderful mystery of the Spirit of God: how his spirit speaks through his prophets for the times present and yet it guides through the future times to come, and yet in retrospect true prophets have all said the same thing.
Non Jews are subject to cults where their followers get new knowledge and means of attaining righteousness. A true prophet of God, to use a modern analogy from popular culture, is more like a Jedi Knight. They serve God and are usually rogues. John ben Kathryn can preach, teach, appoint and anoint, hire and fire, he can judge in matters spiritual and amongst the prophets . . .but he may not exercise political authority, civil judgment and administration. He cannot broker donations, earn wages as a prophet or convey or re-convey money. He may not be dependent on another person in such matters.
The reasons for this are very simple: God requires the heart in all who come to him. If a prophet had the ability to set up a theocracy, the appearance of society would only be a veneer. Thus God’s prophets tell people what is right. God’s spirit goes about to see if the people hearken unto his words to do them from a right heart. But if prophets could command, the heart of the people would not be changed. It would be caged behind deceit and compulsion. Moses could command because God gave him laws and provisions for a society to thrive by. David could be king, but still not break the laws of God. Samuel could judge the people, but he could not dictate to them. They refused to keep to the laws and words of God and became a gross society in which a man could divide a woman into 12 pieces and parcel post her around Israel. Everybody did what was right in their own eyes. God told Samuel they have not rejected Samuel, but they have rejected God. For this let them have a king . . .but God warned a king would have his way. He will stop all the extreme lawlessness . . .but in the long run he will get his way over the people. The complete solution was to hearken to God’s laws . . .but they would not. They preferred a king to enforce the appearance of righteousness. Man chose Saul . . .God would choose David.
So you see why God limits a true prophet’s power. God is forever testing man. Will they listen or will they not? A prophet may call people “sons of snakes” for not listening, but he cannot force them to shed their skin.
God knows people don’t know and cannot comprehend all things. Therefore he does not judge by your knowledge. But you know what is right. He will judge you as you have judged others. You have no excuse there. You can’t say to that: “I didn’t know how I treated others.”
Are you Ephraimites, Sacred Name, Two House people? Are you Kairites or messing with barley and the lunar calendar?
Frankly, Nabion doesn’t even know what that is. We have enough problems with some Lubevitcher praying to a dead Brooklyn rabbi. If these are some Heilige rölleren cult, they can stay far from us.
What or Who is a Messianic Jew?
I cannot answer for others, but I can answer for Nabion. A Messianic Jew is a Hebrew who believes and understands that Jesus is the one prophesied from Moses onward, who was to come to us to redeem us. The term Nazarene is preferred here, a sect of the Hebrew people that believe.
There are those who would consider this exclusive, while there are others who would consider this far too inclusive. Thus we must delve into the controversies. Since you’ve found this page you are no doubt inquiring into “the movement.” And if into the movement, then you’ve heard about the controversies. The most fundamental one is: “Who?”
The question is necessary, and not just for any shallow or snobby reason. Dozens of so-called “Messianic synagogues” or “congregations” exist where the majority are Gentiles practicing some form of modern day jive Christianity called Pentecostalism. They preach “Jewishness,” talk Yeshua, sell Yeshua, speak of “David’s greatest son” and preach and make as a condition for acceptance into their groups “the love of the Jewish people” and the “nation of Israel”– something that not only drives mainstream Jews crazy but it is clearly not the good news of redemption. They are, in essence, Baptist and Charismatic movements trying to attract Jews entering Messianism while at the same time supposedly “teaching Christians the roots of their faith.” However, the upshot is a massive Yiddish proverb: Az mir lotz a khazer aruf ahfen bank vil er ahfen tish.
—Meaning they have proliferated until there could be hundreds of offshoots of these “Messianic Congregations.” To the unschooled these could appear to be the whole movement. Even more, thousands of Gentiles involved therewith think they are the true Israel and the true Jews. It is estimated by some that they may make up to 80% of overall “Messianism.” Jews are confused. . . .and Israel is scared.
The facts are that these “Messianic Congregations” are almost entirely made up of non-Jews, run by non-Jews, and their theology is even more non-Jewish. It is impossible to consider these “Messianic Jews.” Some simply prefer to call them “Messianics.” It is fairly easy to understand that to be a Jew is more than a few outside rituals with which these Pentecostals and Baptists robe themselves to impress upon themselves that they are learning the “Jewish roots” of their faith.
Quite frequently “Messianics” are reminded of this by members of real Messianic Synagogues, that is to say, synagogues run by Hebrews along lines very similar to Conservative Judaism. Many central figures and leaders are of the first aliyah (1967), those who were raised in synagogues, had bar mitzvas, and later believed in Jesus as the Messiah. Their childhood was unquestionably Jewish. Although these synagogues don’t number anywhere near the “Messianic Congregations,” they are central in Messianic Jewish leadership, thought and association councils.
The designation of Messianic Jew, however, is far from settled. Many “Messianic Jews” subclass Hebrews worshiping in churches as less than Jewish. They are merely “Hebrew-Christians.” Many Hebrews who are worshiping in churches have no access to these Messianic Jews and their congregations. Therefore it is impossible to worship in those synagogues, and personally they may not want to worship there even if they could as they might not agree with all the doctrines either. Many, if not more, are completely unaffiliated, worshiping on their own and only on major occasions attending a traditional synagogue. But they believe Jesus is the Messiah.
Needless to say a lot of Jews don’t like being classed at all, by anybody!
On the surface, the problems seem to stem from every facet of “The Movement”— Messianic Jewish and just Messianics— and its overriding attempt to be Jewish and prove itself Jewish by the reigning Rabbinic standard of today. This standard declares Jewish to be a religion and not an ethnic people. Thus some elements of “The Movement” can drop Hebrews but some elements can tell observant Gentiles that they don’t have to convert all the way. That seems confusing. They end up relegated to the back pews. If Jew is a religion, then why don’t Gentiles have to convert all the way? If then Jew is a people, Hebrews can’t be dropped because they haven’t joined the same Club.
In Rabbinic Judaism it’s not a big deal for proselytes to be told they don’t have to convert. In fact, it is standard procedure. But in Rabbinic Judaism Gentiles also don’t read Romans by Paul of Tarsus. Thus they don’t think themselves the “true Israel” merely by believing in Jesus. When Messianic Jewry refuses to accept their interpretation of the Missionary from Tarsus, Gentiles label them “separatists” and Judaisers. There is enough confusing in Rabbinic Judaism because of the mix and match mentality of Jew is a religion but it’s also someone born of Jewish parents or just a Jewish mother. (So even there a convert has to maintain himself uprightly to remain a Jew, but the slob Shabbes Goy is a Jew automatically . . . because, basically, he’s a Hebrew.) But add together the volatile combinations of both Jews and Gentiles believing in Jesus— two very separate cultures— and religion and culture alternately blur and combat.
The first question this engenders is: How congregational does a Jew have to be to qualify? The initial answer is easy. God’s relationship with an individual, whether Jew or non-Jew, is a personal one. It is not granted by an organization; nor does any congregation have a concession on it. God has placed a restriction on Hebrews leaving the covenant, but he does not require a certain amount of synagogue attendance, peer-pressure compliance, or a particular type of synagogue. This restriction is a spiritual one. We are not to go after other gods, nor forsake the covenant and our love for him.
Biblically, Jew and Hebrew were the same thing, an ethnic people, an extended family descended from the same three patriarchs. Israel was the northern kingdom, Judah the southern kingdom. Both were Hebrews. The southern survived and Jew became synonymous with Hebrew. Thus it was always understood that Jew was an ethnicity. It was also easy to understand that one didn’t need to be a Hebrew (Jew) to “worship in the manner of the Jew’s religion.” Anybody could worship God.
But it was not good practice to simply imitate a Jew. Too many Jews weren’t so clever about proper worship. Laws attempted to correct ignorance. Sacrifices could only be made at the Temple, otherwise all these ignuts would be sacrificing to devils out in their fields. We even raised altars to Baal, thinking he was the same thing as God. Prophets were raised up to chastise the people. If Jew was just a religion then, what’s the point? God destroyed the Kingdom of Israel because of their idolatry and wickedness. What was the point? If Jew was just a religion, these Jews chose another religion and bolted. But God didn’t let them go. He swore a covenant to the seed of Jacob. We were to remain faithful. God even swore he’d delight in destroying us if we forsook him. God’s point of view is that we are a people. We may screw a lot of minutiae up, but so long as we don’t forsake him for another god and deny the covenant, he is patient and tolerant of our shortcomings. No Jew is cut off.
Therefore Nabion’s opinion is the same: Jew is a people, an extended family, no matter what.
The major problem with the Messianic Movement is its political goal. This side of it is a movement to be Jewish while at the same time retaining Jesus as the Messiah. This is the corporate goal. Those involved should not be condemned. The political need to create a corporate shield is necessary. They have made some hard decisions and have taken ridicule from the churches. They have done nothing wrong in this. What they have done is not contradictory or at odds. After all, knowledge of the Messiah is contained in the scriptures given via our prophets, of which we are the custodians. Indeed, part of the reason Jews were set apart was to be custodians and conduits of such information. These Jews believe Jesus is the Messiah, and they will not relinquish being Jewish. There is no need for a Jew to divorce himself from his people.
But there must be a spiritual goal to the movement as well. It cannot simply be a Judaism that adds Jesus and then apes Rabbinic Judaism, which is itself only the evolved sect of the one sect that survived the shoah of 70 AD. It must become Judaism perfected, and thus the apex of God’s intentions. Rabbinic Judaism became the biggest Club Jew in history. Messianic Judaism cannot become but a baby brother.
None of the Hebrews worshiping in churches have forsaken their God or the covenant. Biblically, they are still Jewish, for Jew was a people, from Judah, synonymous with Israel, synonymous with Hebrews. . . .we already had the spiel. Maybe they’re not a member of someone’s particular “Club Jew,” but they are the Jewish people. Moreover, there are those silent thousands of Jews on the sideline who avoid the Messianic Movement intentionally, including this author. They worship on their own or in traditional synagogues. But they watch and they wait. They prefer to avoid so much of the controversy and sectarian Christian ideology that saturates even mainline Messianic Jewish outlook. But they are Jews and they are Messianic Jews.
This is where much of the controversy really comes in. Is this ultimately a movement for Jews to believe in Jesus and remain Jewish or a movement of Jews who believe in Jesus to remain Jewish? There is a huge difference between the two not easy to dismiss. The latter one is purely cultural/political. Many of these political members who have subclassed Hebrews worshiping in churches as beneath “Jewish” are themselves spiritually more like Baptists and Assembly of God in their theological outlooks.
Therein lies the notorious problems in mainline Messianic Judaism. Elements have funneled into it straight from Conservative and Reform Judaism, secularism, and Hebrews from within various Christian Church denominations— and Christian denominations cover a wide spectrum of views on eschatology, doctrines, legalism and liberalism. Now imagine a roomful of temper-ridden Hebrews with this kind of disparity in their backgrounds. Thus the famous contentions in the movement. Ideologies of many denominations and two religions butt heads.
A political agenda will never heal this. Only a spiritual agenda will. We come down to the Biblical standards. The standard was not how to be Jewish— that was established and assumed by birth— the instructions were in how to walk righteously. Is that not more important? And does that not include all peoples? Jew and Gentile can worship the same way and still be Jew and Gentile.
Thus the political guides of Messianic Jewry are perfectly correct. One does not have to leave Jewry to believe in Jesus. But one of the most illegitimate aspects of Rabbinic Jewry to absorb is its mindset that “Jew” as a religion. In subclassing Hebrews who go to church as “Hebrew Christians,” Messianic Judaism alienated many Hebrews who now view their synagogues as legalistic.
Mainliners have also opened itself up to problems in classifying Gentiles who keep Torah. Some of these have taken on the complete habit and outlook of a Jew, in practice and ethnic association. There are factions (Messianic coalitions) that allow these to be considered Messianic Jews. But not all of them. Mainstream Judaism doesn’t accept it. Some Messianic Jewish synagogues discourage it. Many, many Messianic Jews who remain unaffiliated or attend traditional synagogues think it a joke. To add injury to insult we come back to the fact that some of these Messianic associations who do accept “converts” are saturated by sectarian Christian ideology (some doctrines of which even other Christian denominations don’t accept). Thus they convert one to their brand of “Jew,” but what’s it worth? How can this kind of “Jew” be taken seriously?
Many Gentiles of this sort are seeing problems in the overall “movement.” Biblically, Gentiles who have turned to God are also forbidden to forsake him, or judgment will come upon them. . . .But that has nothing to due with cutting and running from a movement if they see problems. Thus many have left. They remains genuine worshipers “after the manner of the Jews’ religion” but sometimes from afar.
Who indeed is a Jew? In the end the only answer is the Biblical answer— it is a people; it is the extended family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The restriction is that the Hebrew is not to forsake God and the covenant. Therefore in this instance the Jewish believer is not to leave his people and become absorbed spiritually or physically.
With this criterion in place, it is inappropriate for some mainline Messianic Jews and Messianics to pass judgment on Hebrews for worshiping in churches when they themselves hold theologies that qualify as nothing more than sectarian Christian views. If to be a Messianic Jew requires one to make a physical aliyah from churches, Messianic Jewry best start making spiritual aliyahs from some of its questionable Christian doctrines. Until that time it is inappropriate to pass judgment on other Hebrews for not making physical aliyah from the churches to the movement.
Bad points don’t need to be coddled any longer. Trinity is a case in point. The only way to reach our own brethren is in the truth of Scripture, where time and time again God’s prophets impress upon us that he will walk amongst us. “Father, Son & Holy Ghost” is a Greek concept. See Arguments against Trinity.
Christianity has its good points and its bad points, just as Maimonides pointed out (See Men & Brethren); but some elements of Messianic Jewry have dropped good points and instituted bad points. Examples include the humanizing of “Yeshua” to make him sound like a Jewish guru. Many mainstream Jews will accept this as fine “like he was a Baal Shem Tov.” But is that what scripture says? The good points don’t need to be sacrificed in an attempt to prove Jewishness according to the current status quo. Biblically, a divine messiah was proclaimed in blunt language. (Messianic Prophecies)
Rabbinic Jewry is a Jewry of followers, a tailored sect that survived others after the destruction of the Second Temple period. What is the goal of Messianic Jewry? Is it to ape one sect that survived an ancient shoah? Is a successful movement one of followers or one of princes? Leaders must guide Jewry to perfection, for one day Messianic Jewry will be a Judaism of followers and the Judaism. This will not happen if leaders lead it into past nitpicking points of Judaism or bad points of Christianity.
The “Club Jew” mentality has been the most destructive thing Jewry has ever faced because it leads to assimilation, an annihilation, bit-by-bit, of Jews. Instead of dropping Hebrews, Messianic Jewry has to pick them up. . . and it will take the young with the vision to do so. The spiritual aspect of Messianic Jewry isn’t organized. But it is on the sideline of the political movement. The younger watch, and they wait. The two will merge, of that I have no doubt, and the younger will lead the way spiritually.
Sectarian Christian theology is the uppermost reason why “Messianics” and Messianic Jews or Nazarene Judaism are on the surface confused as the same thing. Therefore it is best that Messianic Jews — Hebrews (and genuine proselytes) — make distinct spiritual aliyahs. Rabbinic Jews must make them, too, and realize the Messiah has come. The two can meet where only truth comes from: the words of God. The call of Elijah, as it is called, “to turn the hearts of the sons to the fathers” is being made on this site. Rabbinic Jews who become Nazarene might prefer Messianic synagogues that are more traditional. Beth HaDerech in Toronto appears to have a strongly Jewish sectarian view of Nazarene Judaism and might be a preferable step for direction. It also might be best to remain in a regular synagogue unless thrown out.
As the house of the prophets, Nabion is completely unaffiliated. The duty here is to declare the words of the LORD. To do so is to preach Jesus from the scriptures, not from Greek rationalizing. The “Mighty God” of Isaiah 9 shall be declared. Whether you are in a traditional synagogue, Messianic, Reform, or on your own trying to live peaceably and stay away from the sectarianism, you are a Jew. Nabion remains distinct and separate from all minim. It teaches of scripture, not sectarianism. If anything can bring unity, it is the teaching and proclaiming of the words of God. . . and that is what the prophets are for.
Thus browse the site and study scripture. Start with the heart. Pray deeply unto God for knowledge. Read the Scriptures, dwell on them and learn them and see the example of God speaking to us clearly of his purpose. Believe, finally, that he has come. Go, finally, and teach the nations. Do judgment and administer with mercy. Remove the yoke and declare ye the word of the LORD by his doings. Then the hope of Maimonides is fulfilled. Jew and Gentile will adhere to true teaching and see God clearly.