Have the Torah’s Predictions Been Realized?
A major portion of the Tanakh deals with prophecies. While most of the words of the Prophets were already realized in their own days, or in subsequent decades, there are occasional places in Scripture where the Prophets speak of the distance future, or the “End of Days”. Similarly, other Jewish holy texts—including the Talmud, Midrash, and Zohar, among others—make predictions about the future. Have these predictions been realized in the many centuries that have passed since then? Below is a collection of some (though certainly not all) ancient Jewish prophecies that have clearly materialized.
Exiled and Small in Number
- The Torah tells us that God chose the Jewish people not because they were already great and strong but, conversely, because they were so small and weak:
God did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people, for you were the fewest of all peoples. (Deuteronomy 7:7)
This was not just because the Israelites were enslaved and oppressed in Egypt. Rather, the Torah makes clear that the Jews would always remain small in number, throughout their many years in exile:
And God shall scatter you among the peoples, and you shall be left few in number among the nations, wherever God shall lead you. (Deuteronomy 4:27)
Indeed, the population of Jews in the world has always remained tiny. One would expect, after thousands of years of being around, that there would be billions of Jews, just as there are over a billion Indians, Chinese, Christians, Muslims, etc. And yet, the Jewish population is unbelievably small, currently hovering around just 14 or 15 million depending on which statistics are used. The population peaked before the Holocaust at around 17 million. Throughout most of history, Jews numbered just a few million.
- As we have seen in the verse above, when the Jews first received the Torah, they were already told that a day would come when they would be expelled from their Promised Land. This would happen multiple times in history, most notably at the hands of the Babylonians (who destroyed the First Temple in Jerusalem) and the Romans (who destroyed the Second Temple). This in itself is quite interesting because, as many have pointed out, why would a nation’s own Holy Book prescribe so many punishments for its own people? As Israel Zangwill famously noted, the Torah might be described as an “anti-Semitic book”! Of course, it also promises a great many good and miraculous things, which have also been realized in history, as described below.
“A Land that Vomits”
- The Torah promises that while the Holy Land would be devoid of a Jewish mass population for a long time, no other people would be able to settle it successfully. The Torah tells us on multiple occasions that the Holy Land of Israel is a land that “vomits” out unworthy inhabitants (Leviticus 18:28, 20:22). God warns the Jews that if they misbehave, the Land will expel them, too, just as it did the Canaanites that inhabited it before. While the Jewish people unfortunately did stray from God’s path and were “vomited out” as prophesied, more amazing is that so many kingdoms and nations tried to control and settle the Holy Land instead of the Jews, and utterly failed. As we have written elsewhere:
The Babylonians very quickly lost Israel to the Persians, and the Persians soon lost it to the Greeks. The Ptolemys and Seleucids fought over it unsuccessfully for decades until the Maccabees restored a prosperous Jewish kingdom. Their sins and infighting led to the Roman takeover of Israel. But the Romans, too, had an extremely hard time holding onto it. After the Romans destroyed the Second Temple, their fate was sealed as well. Their golden age was behind them, and Rome was henceforth on a steady decline. The Byzantines and Sassanids would fight over Israel back and forth until the Arabs took it. Then the various Arab caliphates fought over it, until the Crusaders decided it should be theirs. The Crusader era was one of indescribable violence and bloodshed, following which the Holy Land remained fallow for centuries. When Mark Twain visited in 1869, he wrote that it is a:
desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds—a silent mournful expanse… A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action… We never saw a human being on the whole route… There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of the worthless soil, had almost deserted the country… Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, I think Palestine must be the prince… Can the curse of the Deity beautify a land? Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies. (The Innocents Abroad)
In short, no people other than the Jews have ever been able to establish a lasting, prosperous state in the Holy Land, just as the Torah prophesied.
“Light Unto the Nations”
- Despite being exiled and small in number, God reminded us that He chose us to be a “light to the nations” (Isaiah 42:6). God said that His Torah is the source of our strength and wisdom, and if we live according to it, we would be exceedingly wise and successful, so much so that all the nations would recognize that “only a wise and understanding people is this great nation.” (Deuteronomy 4:6)
History confirms the tremendous impact that Jews have had on the whole world, whether in the fields of medicine or technology, in economics, entertainment, politics, or finance; in theology, sociology, literature, education, and everywhere else. As of 2018, Jews have won 198 of 902 Nobel Prizes, or 22% of the total, despite being just 0.2% of the world’s population. Jews have played key roles in the development of the automobile, cellphones, the internet, and countless other indispensable tools of modern life.
Jews have been a tremendous moral force, too, with Jews like Samuel Gompers and Louis Brandeis dedicating their lives to improving the wellbeing of all, and helping introduce things like weekends, worker’s benefits, and fair wages. Other Jews were devoted to saving lives, and discovered antibiotics, pioneered cancer treatment, cured diseases, and one, Waldemar Haffkine, was even described as being the “saviour of humanity”. Not surprisingly, historian Paul Johnson (who is not Jewish) wrote:
To the Jews we owe the idea of equality before the law, both divine and human; of the sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person; of the individual conscience and so of personal redemption; of the collective conscience and so of social responsibility; of peace as an abstract ideal and love as the foundation of justice, and many other items which constitute the basic moral furniture of the human mind.
Meanwhile, renowned scholar Thomas Cahill (also not Jewish) wrote:
The Jews gave us the Outside and the Inside – our outlook and our inner life. We can hardly get up in the morning or cross the street without being Jewish. We dream Jewish dreams and hope Jewish hopes. Most of our best words, in fact – new, adventure, surprise; unique, individual, person, vocation; time, history, future; freedom, progress, spirit; faith, hope, justice – are the gifts of the Jews.
- Much of the above scientific and technological innovations happened only in the past two centuries. Why is it that science and technology suddenly exploded onto the scene? Throughout human history, daily life barely changed. The average person living two hundred years ago was more or less living the same way the average person did two thousand years ago. Suddenly, starting approximately two centuries ago, the entire world began to be revolutionized over and over again. We have made more advancements in these two hundred years than in all of human history combined. This incredible phenomenon was predicted long ago in the Zohar (I, 116b), the primary textbook of Kabbalah, first published in the 13th century (though its teachings date back to much earlier times, from which they were passed on in secret):
And 600 years into the 6th millennium, the gates of upper wisdom will open, and the wells of lower wisdom, and the world will be prepared to go up to the 7th millennium, like a man who prepares himself on the 6th day in the afternoon to go up to Shabbat, thus it is here; and the sign for this is “And in the 600th year of Noah’s life… all the great springs of the deep opened up and the windows of heaven were opened.” (Genesis 7:11)
Based on a verse in Genesis, the Zohar predicts that in the 600th year of the 6th millennium, ie. the Jewish year 5600, or the secular year 1840, the world will suddenly enter a new phase of rapid development in order to prepare for the messianic 7th millennium. Indeed, most historians pinpoint 1840 as the official start of the Industrial Revolution, and the beginning of a new technological age. (For more on this amazing prophecy and how it materialized so precisely, see ‘The Zohar’s Prophecy of Another Great Flood’ in Garments of Light).
- In the same year discussed above, 1840, Rabbi Yehuda Alkali—one of the greatest kabbalists (and proto-Zionists) of all time—founded the Society for the Settlement of Eretz Yisrael, with the hopes of re-establishing an independent Jewish state. He expanded on the prophecy in the Zohar, and explained how 1840 marks a particularly auspicious time for Jews to return to Israel in fulfilment of Biblical prophecy. Based on his analysis of the Zohar passage, he predicted that this window will last one hundred years. If Jews failed to return to the Holy Land en masse and re-establish themselves by then, God will bring it about Himself, though unfortunately through an “outpouring of wrath”. He predicted that terrible things would befall the Jews, and only after this would the Redemption begin. This is, of course, precisely what happened. A hundred years after 1840 saw the Holocaust, followed by the birth of the State of Israel. While Rabbi Alkali was long gone, his prophetic words materialized exactly as he had said. (For more on this, see ‘The Secret History of Zionism’.)
- All of the Prophets insisted long ago that though the exile of the Jewish people will be long and difficult, they will eventually return to the Holy Land and prosper. For example, Isaiah (43:5-6) stated:
Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, “Give them up!” and to the south, “Do not hold them back.” Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth…
Similar statements can be found in Ezekiel 36:16-38, Amos 9:11-13, Zechariah 8:7-8, and many more places in Scripture.
- Our Sages explained, based on the words of the Prophets, that while the Jewish people will return to the Holy Land, it will be quite some time until they all become righteous and God-fearing, and until they experience the final messianic revelation. In his Ma’amar HaGeulah (‘Discourse on the Redemption’), the Ramchal (Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, 1707-1746) goes into great depth in explaining the two stages of Redemption: zechirah and pekidah. The first step will take a long time, and will happen through natural means. The second one will be swifter, and of a more openly miraculous nature. This was further explained by Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Kalischer (1795-1874), in an 1836 letter:
…Certainly all the promises of the prophets will be fulfilled in the End of Days as the redemption is completed, but we will not go swiftly or hastily in one day. The redemption of Israel will come gradually, salvation will slowly flower, until finally Israel will wax strong and flourish, and all signs and promises of the holy prophets will come to pass. All this I will clarify for you, with God’s help, through proof texts from the prophets… Redemption will begin through natural causes, through human actions, and through the will of the kings to bring together a few of the scattered of Israel to the Holy Land… like Cyrus did, and so too in the future, redemption will occur when God stirs the gentile kings to send out the Jews…
This is precisely how the re-establishment of Israel has come about in our days. While much of the work of rebuilding a Jewish state was done by secular Zionists, and a large segment of Israeli society today remains secular, this has already started to change, with a clear trend towards more religious, spiritual, and conservative values in recent years. Soon, all the Jews will return to their ancestral faith, as prophesied by Malachi (3:22-24):
Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, even statutes and ordinances. Behold, I will send you Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers; lest I come and smite the land with utter destruction.
And so, Israel will return to their ancestral land, slowly start to rebuild it and re-establish it, then return to God on a mass scale before the final revelation of “the great and awesome day of the Lord”. (For more on this, see Rabbi Mordechai Nissim’s excellent translation and commentary in Ma’amar HaGeulah: Secrets of the Redemption.)
Jerusalem: Rebuilt & Reunified
- The story of Jerusalem’s reunification in 1967 is well-known. Israel miraculously took back its eternal capital. More precisely, it was handed back to Israel on a silver platter: Israel had no plans to take Jerusalem in the Six-Day War. At the time, East Jerusalem was a part of Jordan, and Israel had an agreement with Jordan that the latter would not enter the war. The Jordanians then went back on their word, launching a surprise attack after receiving false intelligence from Egypt. Jordan started shelling Israeli position on the 5th of June. Israel prepared to open up a new front. On the morning of June 7th, Jerusalem suddenly went quiet. The Jordanians simply abandoned their posts and ran away—before any serious engagement from Israel! Jerusalem was reunified, and the Old City was back in Jewish hands. Three thousand years earlier, it was King David who first acquired the city and established it as Israel’s capital. He wrote Psalm 122 about this:
A Song of Ascents, by David. I rejoiced when they said to me: “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Our feet were standing within your gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem, the built, as a city that is joined as one…
Jerusalem is described as Yerushalayim habenuyah, “Jerusalem the built”, or more accurately, “Jerusalem the rebuilt”. It is a city sh’chubrah lah yachdav, “that is joined as one”, a reunified Jerusalem! Why would David speak of a rebuilt and reunified Jerusalem? This did not apply at all in his day. More bizarrely, the psalm is written in past tense! David goes on to say that “there, the tribes went up…” But when he wrote the Psalm, the tribes had yet to ever go up to Jerusalem!
The answer is that David prophetically foresaw a future Jerusalem rebuilt and reunified. David is describing how we, in our generation, stood outside of Jerusalem’s gates, waiting for it to be reunified, and were finally able to go up there (after ’67), to a rebuilt city. From our vantage point, we finally had access to that place where “the tribes went up” in the past. In his Divine Inspiration, David was transported to a future time where he could gather among other Jews from all over the world in a free, rebuilt Jerusalem. He wrote Psalm 122 in this state of mind.
The Psalm ends with an eloquent prayer for peace. This is because David also foresaw that 1967 was not the end, and more difficulties and restlessness would come upon it. There would unfortunately be more terrorism, division, violence—until that final “great and awesome day of the Lord”.
- When it comes to the future rebuilding of Jerusalem, the Talmud (Bava Batra 75b) makes an incredible prophecy based on words from Scripture:
In the Time to Come, the Holy One, blessed be He, will lift up Jerusalem three parasangs high; for it is said: “And she shall be lifted up, and be settled in her place.” [Zechariah 14:10] … And lest you should think the ascent will be painful, it is expressly stated: “Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their cotes.” [Isaiah 60:8]
The Sages explain the words of the Prophet to mean that the dwellers of Jerusalem will live high up in the sky. Lest one think that it should be difficult to ascend to such a high level, they say that it will be like floating up on a cloud. Of course, they had no way of knowing that one day humans would be able to build skyscrapers, with elevators that effortlessly take people up to their apartments among the clouds. Indeed, since Israel regained its capital it has built hundreds of tall buildings, and will only continue to do so. This is precisely what a parallel prophecy on the same page of the Talmud says:
In the Time to Come, the Holy One, blessed be He, will add to Jerusalem a thousand gardens, a thousand towers, a thousand palaces and a thousand mansions…
While such a thing was inconceivable in the times of the Talmud, we are seeing it happen before our eyes today!
- On that selfsame page of Talmud, the Sages also elaborated on a prophecy of Zechariah:
The Holy One, blessed be He, wished to give to Jerusalem a [definite] size; for it is said: “Then I said, ‘Where do you go?’ And he said to me: ‘To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its breadth and what is its length.’” [Zechariah 2:6] The ministering angels said before the Holy One, blessed be He: “Master of the Universe, many towns for the nations of the earth have You created in Your world, and You did not fix the measurement of their length or the measurement of their breadth. Will You fix a measurement for Jerusalem in the midst of which is Your Name, Your sanctuary and the righteous?” Thereupon, [an angel] said unto him: “Run, speak to this young man, saying: ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited without walls, for the multitude of men and cattle therein.’” [Zechariah 2:8]
Zechariah received a prophecy that a time will come when Jerusalem will grow so large that it will no longer be able to have any contiguous walls. Amazingly, until very recently Jerusalem was always bound by its old walls. The first neighbourhood of Jerusalem to be established outside the Old City walls was Mishkenot Sha’ananim in 1860! This was a result of a new surge of Jewish immigration (see #5 and #6 above), which continues until the present day. Having said that, there was always a large Jewish presence in Jerusalem, even before the late 1800s. For instance, a census taken by the Prussian consul in 1845 found that Jerusalem had a total of 16,410 residents, of which 7120 were Jews, together with 5000 Muslims, 3390 Christians, 800 Turks, and 100 others.
- While Jerusalem needed to be rebuilt, one part of it did not need rebuilding: the Western Wall. Why is this Wall so special to the Jewish people? This is the only original wall of the ancient Temple Mount that is still standing. All the other walls of Jerusalem are later additions. Amazingly, the Midrash prophesied long ago that this Wall in particular will never be destroyed because the western side of the Temple is where the Shekhinah, the Divine Presence, dwelled. The Midrash (Eichah Rabbah 1:31) recounts the following narrative:
When Vespasian conquered Jerusalem, he assigned the destruction of the four retaining walls of the Temple to four generals. The Western Wall was allotted to Pangar of Arabia. Now, it had been decreed by Heaven that this should never be destroyed, because the Shekhinah resides in the west.
The others demolished their sections, but Pangar did not demolish his. Vespasian sent for him and asked, “Why did you not destroy your section?” He replied: “By your life, I acted so for the honour of the kingdom. For if I had demolished it, nobody would know what it was you destroyed. But when people look [at the wall], they will exclaim, ‘From the great building he destroyed, you can tell the might of Vespasian!’”
This Midrash explains why the Wall was never destroyed, and never will be destroyed. It is important to keep in mind that Midrash Rabbah was composed, according to scholars, sometime between the 4th and 6th century CE. Jerusalem has since experienced countless wars, Crusades, bombardments, takeovers, and battles. Yet, one wall continues to miraculously stand, just as prophesied.
Israel’s Inexplicable Prosperity
- While there are many different signs pointing to the coming Redemption, the Talmud (Sanhedrin 98a) says the following:
There can be no greater sign of the redemption than what is said: “But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel, for they are at hand to come.” [Ezekiel 36:8]
When Israel’s deserts will bloom and provide an abundance of food for all of its inhabitants, one should know that the Redemption is at hand. The prophet Isaiah (27:6) further adds to this that “In days to come, Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with its fruit.” Both of these amazing prophecies have been realized in our day. Not only has Israel become self-sufficient (meaning no one in the country will starve if all imports stopped, as God promised in Ezekiel 36:30), but Israel now exports some $1.5 billion in fruit and food every year. Israeli fruits can be bought in grocery stores around the world, as Isaiah prophesied millennia ago.
On a related note, Isaiah (35:1-2) also prophesied that the many deserts of Israel will miraculously bloom one day:
The wilderness and the parched land shall be glad; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice… they shall see the glory of the Lord, the Excellency of our God.”
Israel is famous for making its deserts bloom, for being the only country in the world to have a net increase in trees (having planted over 260 million), for inventing technologies like drip irrigation to preserve water and allow food to grow in “parched lands”.
- The Talmud (Ketubot 111a) explains the meaning of more Biblical prophecies:
There will be a time when the Land of Israel will produce baked cakes of the purest quality and silk garments, for it is said in Scripture, “There will be a rich cornfield in the land…” [Psalms 72:16]
Today, Israeli cakes are popular around the world, while Israeli silk (produced on farms in the Galilee and other regions) is a prized commodity.
- The passage in the Talmud above continues to give us a hint of a future world where food abundance will reach a seemingly miraculous nature:
Our Rabbis taught: “There will be a rich cornfield in the Land upon the top of the mountains.” [Psalms 72:16] It was inferred [from this verse] that there will be a time when wheat will rise as high as a palm tree and will grow on the top of the mountains.
The Sages state that in the future, wheat will be able to grow atop mountains, with giant stalks like palm trees. While this was inconceivable in their days, with modern technology—genetic modification, together with advanced artificial selection techniques—newer, hardier, “meatier” wheat strains have indeed been developed. The bulk of this work already began in the Green Revolution of the 1950s and 1960s, when researchers developed “high-yield” wheat (along with other crops). This Revolution is credited with saving countless lives, feeding the world’s rapidly-growing population. The Rabbis continue the passage above with more prophecies:
“With the kidney-fat of wheat.” [Deuteronomy 32:14] It was inferred from this that there will be a time when a grain of wheat will be as large as the two kidneys of a big bull.
Once again, such a statement would have been unbelievable in the days of our ancient Sages. Today, it is within the realm of the possible. Just think of how we have been able to produce, for example, giant strawberries—ten times larger than natural ones—by increasing the number of chromosome sets inside strawberry cell nuclei. While we have not yet seen wheat grains the size of bull-kidneys, it is certainly a possibility in the near future.
- As the Talmud describes this future world of agricultural giants, it is careful to say: “do not think that there will be trouble in reaping it…” There will be technology that will make it effortless, where “a man will go out into the field” and take all that he needs. In the old days, it might take an entire village, or at least a large household with servants, to harvest a field. Today, we have tractors and harvesters that allow a single person to “go out into the field” and harvest everything effortlessly, just like the Talmud prophesied.
Health and Longevity
- Isaiah (65:20) prophesied that a time will come when “There shall be no more an infant of days, nor an old man that has not filled his days; for the youngest shall die a hundred years old…” There are two amazing predictions here:
First is that newborn children will cease to die after just several days or weeks. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention):
At the beginning of the 20th century, for every 1000 live births, six to nine women in the United States died of pregnancy-related complications, and approximately 100 infants died before age 1 year. From 1915 through 1997, the infant mortality rate declined greater than 90% to 7.2 per 1000 live births, and from 1900 through 1997, the maternal mortality rate declined almost 99% to less than 0.1 reported death per 1000 live births (7.7 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1997)…
Since 1997, even greater strides have been made. As of today, most Western countries have an infant mortality rate of around 2 per 1000 births. This will only continue to improve, until infant mortality will be unheard of, as Isaiah predicted.
- The second part of his prophecy is that dying before age 100 will be considered strange. Life expectancy will be remarkably high. Once again, we see from historical records that in the past century, average global life expectancy has increased by about 40 years. Today, it is normal to see a life expectancy in the mid-80s in most Western countries, and there are indeed more centenarians than ever. This, too, will continue to increase until “the youngest shall die a hundred years old…”
- The prophet Jeremiah (31:21) predicted that a day will come when “the Lord will have created a new thing in the earth: a woman shall court a man.” The exact Hebrew wording is nekevah tisovev gever, literally that the female will “encircle” the male. On this verse, and similar ones, our ancient Sages said that a time will come when men and women, male and female, will finally be equal. The Kli Yakar (Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim Luntschitz, 1550-1619) ties this prophecy of Jeremiah to Exodus 15:21, where he comments that women will be elevated to the level of men in the future. It goes without saying that we are now living this reality. (For more on this, see Ma’amar HaGeulah [Discourse 2, Chapter 3], and Devorah Heshelis’ The Moon’s Lost Light.)
- On the verse, “By the arrogance of the wicked are the poor pursued…” (Psalms 10:2), the Ramchal explains (Ma’amar HaGeulah, Discourse 2, Ch. 5):
… the evil haters will harden and grow even more arrogant, and more jealous, and Israel will not find the strength to stand up to them.
Based on the words of Scripture, the Ramchal states that hatred of the Jews in the End of Days will reach levels unlike any other time in history. This is a key part of what the ancient Sages describe as hevlei Mashiach, the “birthpangs of the Messiah”. Just as a woman experiences tremendous pain and suffering before giving birth and being flooded with relief and joy, the Jewish people will similarly suffer greatly before the birth of a new world.
While it may seem like the Holocaust was the climax, rates of anti-Semitism have returned to record highs, and continue to increase year after year. The ADL reported earlier last year that
the number of anti-Semitic incidents was nearly 60 percent higher in 2017 than 2016, the largest single-year increase on record and the second highest number reported since ADL started tracking incident data in the 1970s.
In a 2014 survey, they found that over 1 billion people hold anti-Semitic beliefs. The number of anti-Semitic attacks continues to increase as well. In places like Great Britain, France, Sweden, and Scotland, it has gotten so bad that many Jews are emigrating (or planning to) because of it.
A simple search through YouTube reveals the absurd beliefs of many anti-Semites, and how vocally and openly they spew their hate, with so many “likes” and “thumbs up” of approval from others. Watching these videos, one is not sure whether to laugh at their stupidity and ignorance or shudder in fear because of it. It really is hard to believe that so many have been duped into such non-sense. The Ramchal explains that it is the power of Samael, that rebellious fallen angel, which helps to convince them, and drives their hate.
And this is just one symptom of a more general and widespread trend of a degenerating society that our Sages predicted long ago.
Degeneration of Society
- Our Sages described the world in the End of Days in the following way (Sotah 49b):
In the footsteps of the Messiah, insolence will increase and honour will dwindle. The vine will abundantly yield its fruit, yet wine will be dear. The government will turn to heresy, and there will be none to offer them reproof. The meeting places of scholars will be used for immorality… the wisdom of the learned will degenerate, fearers of sin will be despised, and truth will be lacking. The youth will put the elders to shame; the old will have to stand before the young. A son will revile his father, a daughter will rise up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s worst enemies will be the members of his household. The face of the generation will be like the face of a dog; a son will not feel ashamed before his father. And upon whom is there to rely? Only upon our Father in Heaven.
The Sages describe a world of incredible abundance, and yet many are starving; a world of so much information, yet truth is hard to find. Corrupt governments, hatred for religion, places of scholarship becoming places of immorality. No respect for the elderly, no rules in the home, parents who fear to discipline their own children. A completely degenerate and immoral society, and no one is ashamed. Such a social state was unthinkable even fifty years ago, let alone fifteen hundred years ago when the above passage was written. Yet, it is a perfect description of today’s world.
Things to Come
- Some prophecies have yet to be fulfilled, and it looks very likely that they will be. The Sages state that the final war at the End of Days will be instigated by Paras, “Persia” or Iran (see, for example, Yalkut Shimoni on Isaiah 60, passage 499). More specifically, the conflict will actually begin between Persia and Arabia, and this will lead to “Persia destroying the world” or at least doing something so shocking that “all the world’s nations will be shaken, in panic, falling upon their faces…” Today, we are living the tremendous struggle between Iran and the Arab states (led by Saudi Arabia). They are fighting proxy wars in Syria, Yemen, and other zones. If a direct, “hot” war would begin—which isn’t too unlikely from the looks of it—the results could be catastrophic, and draw the whole world’s involvement. Israel will certainly not sit on the sidelines in such a conflict.
- Despite the horrible difficulties of the End of Days, all will end well. God will eventually intervene, and display a set of miracles that will make the Exodus from Egypt look minor. This was prophesied by Jeremiah (16:14-15):
Therefore, behold, days are coming, says the Lord, that it shall no more be said: “As the Lord lives, that brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt,” but rather: “As the Lord lives, that brought the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the countries where He had driven them”; and I will bring them back into their land that I gave unto their fathers…
In the future, the Jews will no longer speak of the miracles of ancient Egypt, but the miracles of the Final Redemption that is soon to happen in our own days. (For a detailed discussion of how the Final Redemption will be greater than the First, see Ma’amar HaGeulah, Discourse 1, Ch. 2.)
- Ultimately, there will finally be peace on Earth. Isaiah (11:6-9) said it most famously, in poetic fashion, that
the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them… They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the sea.
The Rambam (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, 1135-1204) explained that this should not be taken literally, of course, rather “it is merely allegory, meaning that the Jews will live safely, even with the formerly wicked nations. All nations will return to the true religion and will no longer steal or oppress…” (See his commentary on Sanhedrin 10:1.) The prophet Zechariah (8:23) tells us that anti-Semitism will finally end, the gentiles will understand the Jews and wish to learn from them:
Thus said the Lord of Hosts: In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, shall take hold of the corner [of the garment] of a Jew, saying: “We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”
In those forthcoming days, there will be world peace and unity, and the whole world will live in harmony under one God (Zechariah 14:9):
And God shall be King over all the earth; in that day, God will be One, and His name One.