It’s believed in some sects of Judaism that, on this date in some future year, the Messiah, along with 30,000 pious men, will appear. That’s according to an Apocryphal work called Sefer Eliyahu. The prevailing belief in Judaism says we can’t possibly know the day or the year when the Messiah is going to appear. The best we can do is discern the season in which redemption might occur but it will happen in a time that has predetermined by the Creator. Nevertheless, none of this has prevented people from wondering and asking when it would occur; this was true even of Messiah’s disciples:
“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’” (Matthew 24:3)
He related to them many signs to look out for, only to conclude with this:
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matthew 24:36-39)
Messiah made it very clear that only the Father knows the day and the time of redemption. Later on, just before His ascension, He told His disciples that the Father, alone, has those seasons within His hand and under His authority. Still, Messiah made it clear that we could discern the season, if we’re alert and paying attention. And so, though we don’t know the day nor the hour of when the Son of Man will come, we do know that He will return – and we hope soon.
Events here in the U.S. and around the world line up with what the Messiah told us would be happening just before His return. They paint a very clear picture that we are living in the days of Noah, so to speak, and suggest Messiah’s coming may be sooner than we can imagine. Perhaps we are at the threshold, if not in the very beginning stages of the birth pangs of the Messiah. If we are at that stage, God’s people need to be alert and challenged to fulfill our role in this time.
There is another component to the traditional view of the time of redemption. It comes from something that’s hinted at in Jacob’s blessing of his sons, just before he passed away.
“And Jacob called his sons and said, ‘Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days: Assemble yourselves and hear, you sons of Jacob, and listen to Israel your father.’” (Genesis 49:1-2)
The key phrases in these verses are “gathered together,” and “assemble,” because these are words that are used to speak of the final redemption in several prophecies – Micah 2, to be specific. According to Jewish belief, though we can’t know the day nor the hour of Messiah’s appearing, we can know that it will happen when all of Israel is gathering together. In other words, in a day when all of Israel is actually united and getting along. Thus, the belief is that we may, have it within our power to hasten the return of the Messiah. This is hinted at in another prophecy found in Isaiah 60:22:
“I, the LORD, will hasten it in its time.”
If that is true – if it is within our power to hasten the day of the Messiah’s appearing by coming together as one people – then perhaps the Creator ties our desire to see the return of the Messiah to how far we’re willing to go to see unity among the brethren. A united people is paramount to the Creator’s plan. That’s why the Messiah came in the first place – that we would be one with Him and with one another.
As the days grow darker, let us remember that not only do we need Him, but like it or not, we need one another.
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