A Global Association of Orthodox Jewish Believers in Messiah Yeshua
The End-Time Distraction
It seems everywhere we turn today we are bombarded with End-Time Teachings ranging from the standard “the sky is falling, make right with the world and your Creator” type to “sell everything, buy lots of ammo and head for the hills” and everything in-between. I have obliged friends and acquaintances alike and sat through, read and listened to more than my fair share. I have un-wittingly gotten caught up in discussions and arguments on the topic and have otherwise had more than my fill. Each time, without fail, when the dust settles and I have a moment or two of peace I am left with the same feeling, the feeling that I have just wasted a part of my life that I will never get back. Don’t get me wrong, I know studying all aspects of Scripture is important and I believe striving to gain better understanding of HaShem’s Word is paramount. It is just this belief that leads me to my present stance on these End-Time Distractions.
HaShem’s Word teaches us how to live in the present so we are prepared for the future. The future is going to happen, it has been happening ever since the beginning of time and will continue to happen until the end of time, there is nothing we can do or say that will change this fact. Worrying about the future, living in fear of what might happen takes our focus away from the present…and, in extreme cases, can actually cause us to violate one of the basic precepts of Torah: Being a light to the world. A cursory survey of Scripture will show even the majority of the teachings of the Prophets where not focused on far off or End-Time matters, they were focused on real life, real time changes that needed to be made to stave off or totally turn back the wrath and discipline of HaShem. In fact the overwhelming majority of Scripture deals with instructions, lessons and changes YOU can make in YOUR present to make YOUR future better. It is an instruction manual for your everyday life.
Concentrating each and every day on living our lives better, in a manner more in line with the teachings of Scripture does more to prepare us for the future than any amount of planning and stockpiling ever can. Scripture tells us bad things are going to happen and even tells us why bad things are going to happen. It also tells us to be aware and not to be afraid. We have been given the tools to survive and thrive during bad times. We have been given the knowledge and discernment to understand what is going on around us and how it will affect us…and more importantly: how we are supposed to respond so we might show the mercy of HaShem through our compassion, actions and reactions.
In Jewish thought and teaching it is held there is a deadline for the coming of the Messiah, and through our individual actions of kindness and upholding HaShem’s commandments we can hasten or move that deadline closer. It is also taught the deadline is purposely shrouded in mystery so each generation may experience the same level of hope, longing and joy that is brought about through faith in the promise. The Talmud (a collection of Jewish teachings) roundly condemns anyone who tries to calculate or speculate on the coming of the Messiah (although that has not stopped many from doing so). One of the main reasons given for this prohibition is the building of false hope. False hope, brought about by a failure to realize or experience something you believe in deeply and passionately, is the surest path to the absence of hope and, Heaven forbid, an absence of faith. Buying into, or worse yet, perpetuating these speculations does more harm than good to you, your family, your friends, your loved-ones…and more importantly the countless number of people touched by your actions.
My End-Time Teaching:
Having said all of the above, I am going to wade into the deep end and give you my End-Time teaching:
The End is in fact coming and here is the most important thing you can do to prepare: Study the Word, pray, live the commandments and stay involved in your community, both your spiritual community and the secular community in which you live.
Being involved in your secular community, being aware of what is happening in the world around you will give you insights and clues into how to apply the Word of HaShem to your daily life. Staying involved in your spiritual community gives you the opportunity to learn and teach though actions how to cope with the changing world around you in a Biblically based manner. Studying and praying keeps you in touch with HaShem and allows Him to speak to you through heightened understanding and eye-opening wisdom. Finally, living the commandments gives you practical experience in being a better and brighter light to the world as you have been called to be.
Warning Signs to Watch For:
As you are approached with yet another End-Time Teaching here are some tips for separating the truth from the distractions:
- Does the teaching contain overt fear mongering? Are they preaching doom and gloom, are they capitalizing on the increased level of fear they are able to master in you and others? If so…run…run as fast as you can and don’t look back! HaShem is not the author of this type of fear and confusion. If the “teaching” inspires fear it is straight from the pit of hell and not worth even a second of your time.
- Does the teaching reveal an “US vs. THEM” mentality…if so, regardless of whether you feel you are an US or a THEM…run…run as fast as you can and don’t look back! HaShem’s desire is “am echad” – one people, there is no room in a single people for US or THEM.
- Does the teaching introduce a new and unsettling interpretation of Scripture, does it seem to bend the Word of HaShem to fit a point and purpose that leaves you feeling uneasy and wary? If so, study the Word on your own, away from those who are trying to persuade you, pray through your studies and follow the leading of HaShem in your life. He has blessed you with a gift of discernment, enjoy it and use it wisely.
Wrapping it up:
Rejoice, for the time of HaShem is at hand, we are closer today than we have ever been…and if we are blessed with tomorrow, we will be closer still. You have been blessed to live in this time and this season, enjoy it, revel in it, and live the commandments daily that we may hasten the coming of the Messiah!
3 Tevet, 5770 / 20 December 2009