The Third Temple  The Center for
Messianic Learning 

Unapologetically Pro-Torah
Unashamedly Pro-Israel
Irrevocably Zionist
ב״ה
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)
Jew and Gentile (Synagogue and Church), one in Messiah. (Ephesians 2:14)
“For He is our peace, Who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition, …”

If your life is not in jeopardy for what you believe, you’re probably on the wrong side!
If you don’t believe Genesis 1:1-11:32, how can you possibly believe John 3:16?
“Indeed, all who want to live a godly life united with the Messiah Yeshua will be persecuted.” (2Tim 3:12)
It is what you actually believe that determines how you walk out your faith, “but avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, quarrels and fights about the Torah; because they are worthless and futile.” (Titus 3:9)
The one who is testifying to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’”
Amen! Come, Lord Yeshua!
(Rev. 22:20)

Please Note: Absolutely nothing on this website should be taken as anti-Church or anti-Rabbinic. I am not anti-anything or anti-anyone. I am only pro-Torah and pro-Truth (see “Philosophy”), but sometimes the Truth upsets our long-held beliefs. I know it certainly upset mine! For example, see “Why Isn’t My Theology Consistent Throughout the Website?”

Developing a
Systematic Messianic Theology:

What Torah Says About
The Future

“The purpose of careful theological formulations is not to put barriers in the way of people who are seeking salvation, but to define clearly the truths upon which genuine [Biblical] faith rests, so that people will not be misled by false doctrines.” [Bowman]

“It must be clearly and unequivocally stated that theology cannot save you. Only faith in Messiah Yeshua can save you. Theology can only give you sound doctrine.” [RLS]

Unless otherwise specified, throughout the Theology section of my website I use the term “Torah” in the wider sense of including the entire body of inspired Scripture: both the Tanakh and the Apostolic Writings. No other so-called “sacred writings” are considered inspired by God or authoritative for the Believe’s walk of faith.

[Explanations of rabbinic citations are HERE]


[Please read the introductory comments first]

 

An Introduction to Eschatology
(An Overview of End-Time Events)

I believe biblical eschatology is deliberately cryptic. It was for the disciples and it is for us as well. … All I can say here about its eschatology is that I believe Jesus will return and that the final form of the kingdom will be the new earth. That is not premillennialism as that term is normally defined (1000 years is too narrow and short for my reading of biblical theology). (Dr. Michael Heiser, “What do You Believe About End Times?,” p. 1)

12:50 pm, Shabbat, 26 August 2023: I have just finished reading this 77-page article by Dr. Heiser (immediately above), and I think he has argued very well for the many reasons I am unable to put together a coherent and strictly Bible-based theology of future events. He carefully and methodically explains and demonstrates how none of the theories about the End Times can be supported from Scripture without using eisegesis (reading one’s preconceived notions and biases into the text) and taking passages out of their proper context. I agree with Dr. Heiser’s statement above (with the caveat as italicized): Yeshua will return as the Jewish King and will reign forever over His world-wide Jewish Kingdom here on a fully-redeemed earth.

Introduction

Old English capital letter If anyone comes to you and says they know what is going to happen in the future, the best course of action for you is to run away from them as Joseph ran from Mrs. Potifar! (Gen. 39:11-12)

“You don’t need to know the dates or the times; the Father has kept these under his own authority…” (Acts 1:7)

The Scriptures are extremely vague regarding future events, and God does that on purpose because He does not want us to know the future beyond our Blessed Hope. If we had an exact timetable, our belief would be based on knowledge rather than on faith, and God has decreed that the righteous are to live by faith and not by sight! (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17; 2Cor 5:7; Gal. 3:7; Heb 10:38) Prophecy is not given for the purpose of foretelling future events. Predictive prophecy is given so that when the predicted event happens, we can look back at that prophet’s message about the event and know that the message was from God.

That being said, everything that I say about the future on this website is simply my best guess at what the Bible means when speaking of the future. Listen to a bit (only about 4 minutes of so) of this video[GN] of Dr. Michael Heiser introducing his comments on prophecy in general and the theology of future events, or eschatology, in particular.


Selah!


Having listened to Heiser’s opening comments, now read a few comments by Roy Blizzard, and excellent Christian theologian, many of whose works I studied in seminary:

“I want to say something here that I believe to be of the utmost significance to us all. Not long ago, I had a young man come up to me and ask a question relative to Bible prophecy and end-time events. He wanted to know what the Jews would have to say on this particular subject. I asked him, “Are you sure you really want to know?” He looked puzzled, and I explained.

“There is an interesting passage in the Mishnah in Order Moed and in Tractate Chagigah, Chapter 2, Mishnah 1. It reads, ‘Whoever puts his mind to these four matters, it would be better for him if he had not come into this world – what is up above, what is down below, what is out in the future, and what is in the past.’

“The commentary in Blackman’s Mishnah continues that, ‘Any discussion on these four subjects is nothing more than useless speculation and idle prognostication that serve no useful academic purpose but only causes a falling away from true biblical faith.’” [emphasis added] (Blizzard, Roy B. Mishnah and the Words of Jesus (pp. 32-33). Austin, Tx: Bible Scholars.)
 

“The World to Come is not the world in which humans struggle in the here and now.” From: “Yetzer Ha-Tov and Yetzer Ha-Ra” in A Concise Companion to the Jewish Religion (“Yetzer Ha-Tov and Yetzer Ha-Ra.” Oxford Reference. Accessed 29 Nov. 2021.)


Selah!


Of all the topics of Systematic Theology, whether traditional evangelical Christian or Messianic Jewish (both views of which I have attempted to teach), I find this the most difficult for me to be completely objective and  consistent, and to accept only that which I can clearly support from the Scriptures, no matter what I wish to be true.

For more than 35 years I believed and taught the evangelical Christian “party line” of a pre-millennial, pre-tribulational end-times chronology that was depicted in the Left Behind series of novels by Tim LeHaye and Jerry Jenkins. I no longer believe that interpretation to be correct.

Now that I have been studying (for the past 22 years or so) the Scriptures from the perspective of those who originally penned them and of those to whom they were originally addressed, I find that my theology — particularly about the End Times — has changed significantly.

Eschatology, the theology of future events, has four clear, though poorly defined, areas of concern, though the order of their occurrence, and the specific events that are to occur in each of these epochs are matters of great debate throughout both Messianic Judaism and Christianity. The primary areas of concern are these (which are very probably not listed here in chronological order):

• The resurrection of the dead

• The Tribulation, or Time of Jacob’s Trouble

• The return and earthly reign of Messiah Yeshua, which ushers in (and may be the initial part of)

• The eternal state
 

The Jewish Concept of Olam Haba

Traditional Jewish eschatology (study of future events) does not really concern itself with the future, except as revealed by the prophets. Although there is considerable concern about “working with HaShem” to bring about the ultimate redemption of the world, the Jewish heart is traditionally much more concerned with living a life that is pleasing to HaShem in the here and now, and leaves it to HaShem to sort out the future. I have recently come to total agreement with that concept, though I am still incredibly curious about the future, both here in the Olam Hazeh and in the Olam Haba.

“One moment of repentance and good deeds in this world is better than the entire life of the world to come.” (R. Jacob, quoted in Avot 4:17)

Jewish thought is concerned with only two major epochs: the Olam Hazeh (the World Which Is) and the Olam Haba (the World Which is to Come). The Olam Haba begins with the termination of one’s earthly life, includes “the days of Messiah,” and stretches into eternity. It includes the concepts of resurrection, plus the afterlife in which the righteous dwell in Gan Eden (Paradise, or literally Garden of Eden) and the unrighteous in Gehinom. (See the article “Olam Ha-Ba” in the Jewish Virtual Library, which states “It is futile to attempt to systematize the Jewish notions of the hereafter.”)

Like other spiritual traditions, Judaism offers a range of views on the afterlife, including some parallels to the concepts of heaven and hell familiar to us from popular Western (i.e., Christian) teachings. While in traditional Jewish thought the subjects of heaven and hell were treated extensively, most modern Jewish thinkers have shied away from this topic, preferring to follow the biblical model, which focuses on life on earth. [“Heaven and Hell in Jewish Tradition” on MyJewishLearning.com, accessed 29 September 2019.]

Yeshua succinctly expresses the Jewish idea of the present state of the dead in the story He tells of the rich man and the beggar Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). In this view the dead are in a place called Sheol (שְׁאוֹל, the place of the dead, not to be confused with the Christian idea of hell, even though many English Bibles so translate it), apparently awaiting the resurrection. The righteous dead are conscious and at peace alongside Father Abraham (at “Abraham’s Side” or in “Abraham’s Bosom”), the unrighteous are conscious and in torment. The two compartments of Sh'ol are divided by a deep rift which cannot be crossed.

19Once there was a rich man who used to dress in the most expensive clothing and spent his days in magnificent luxury. 20At his gate had been laid a beggar named El`azar who was covered with sores. 21He would have been glad to eat the scraps that fell from the rich man's table; but instead, even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22In time the beggar died and was carried away by the angels to Avraham's side; the rich man also died and was buried.

23In Sh'ol, where he was in torment, the rich man looked up and saw Avraham far away with El`azar at his side. 24He called out, “Father Avraham, take pity on me, and send El`azar just to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool my tongue, because I'm in agony in this fire!”

25However, Avraham said, “Son, remember that when you were alive, you got the good things while he got the bad; but now he gets his consolation here, while you are the one in agony. 26Yet that isn't all: between you and us a deep rift has been established, so that those who would like to pass from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.”

27He answered, “Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father's house, 28where I have five brothers, to warn them; so that they may be spared having to come to this place of torment too.”

29But Avraham said, “They have Moshe and the Prophets; they should listen to them.”

30However, he said, “No, father Avraham, they need more. If someone from the dead goes to them, they'll repent!”

31But he replied, “If they won't listen to Moshe and the Prophets, they won't be convinced even if someone rises from the dead!” (Luke 16:19-31)

Most interpreters consider this teaching from Yeshua as a parable. If it is a parable, it is the only one in which Yeshua ever gave names to the characters in the story. I therefore believe that Yeshua was not telling a parable, but rather describing an actual event.

Unfortunately, even within Messianic Judaism, there is yet no clear and concise consensus of opinion regarding the future.

Three Views of the “Rapture”

There are three major traditional views of the chronology of the Millennium, plus three sub-sets. For the sake of brevity, I am only going to discuss the Premellennial view on this page. The other views are discussed here.

 • Premillennialism: Premillennialism speculates that the return of Messiah will inaugurate a literal thousand-year earthly kingdom. His return will coincide with a seven-year period of tribulation at the hands of the Anti-Messiah (Antichrist): three and one-half years of “Tribulation” followed by three and one-half years of the “Great Tribulation.” Following the seven-year Tribulation period Messiah will establish His throne in Jerusalem and rule physically on the earth for a thousand years. Before the Kingdom is established, there will be a resurrection of the people of God who have died. There will also be a “rapture” of only the people of “the Church” who are still living. Both the resurrected and the living meet Messiah “in the air” (1Thess. 4:17) at His coming. A thousand years of peace will follow, during which time Messiah will reign and Satan will be imprisoned in the Abyss. Those who hold to this view usually fall into one of the following three categories that are most widely accepted, all of which are based on the assumed timing of “the Rapture of the Church.”

 • Pre-Tribulation Rapture: the “Rapture” occurs immediately before the “Tribulation” begins.

 • Mid-Tribulation Rapture: the “Rapture” occurs in the middle of the “Tribulation” (three and a half years after the beginning of the tribulation) just before it becomes the “Great Tribulation.”

 • Post-Tribulation Rapture: the “Rapture” occurs at the end of the “Great Tribulation.”

There are a few who, like me, do not believe in the Christian teaching of a Rapture. Though I taught the Premillennial/Pretribulation view for over 35 years, I personally no longer believe in the Rapture of the Church. Here’s why.

See also: Six Major Epochs of the Future

Wikipedia has an overview of Rabbinical Jewish Eschatology

Here is an excellent video series on Christian Eschatology with R. C. Sproul

Now feel free to read these articles:


[Please read the introductory comments first]

Originally posted in this form on Sunday, 31 January 2021
Revised on Tuesday, 11 July 2023
Added the Heiser quotation on Friday, 25 August 2023

Page last updated on Friday, 06 October 2023 11:03 AM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return
ANXIOUSLY WATCHING FOR MASHIACH’S RETURN,
SPEEDILY AND IN OUR DAY. MARANA, TA!

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