August 2011 Yavoh

The Torah is the story of one generation – the generation who left Egypt with Moses by God’s mighty hand of judgment, who then received the Torah to transform them from slaves to free men and prepare them to enter the land promised to their fathers. The first book, Genesis, explains where they came from and why they went to Egypt to begin with; but the Torah does not end with that generation entering the promised land. Instead, in the last book of Deuteronomy Moses looks forward and speaks to another generation – the final generation at the end of the ages.

It turns out that the greatest prophetic theme in Scripture is “what happens to the fathers will happen to the descendants.” The Torah is actually a prophecy (the story of our fathers) that is intended for the final generation to guide them through another “exodus” that will occur. That exodus will be much greater than the one out of ancient Egypt.

The Hebrew word for Egypt is “Mitzrayim” which means trials and tribulations. It is a plural word and therefore contains plural elements in its understanding. The world in all of its elements, separate from God, is a collection of trials and tribulations for everyone. The spiritual journey from life in this world to the one promised by God (eternal life) is the overarching testimony of God, especially when the Messiah is brought into the discussion. It is the Messiah who is known as the True Savior and Deliverer from the slavery of sin and death. The Passover deliverance in ancient Egypt with Moses is the same Passover Lamb of God who offers redemption by Messiah Yeshua. The parallels between the redemption from Egypt and the work of redemption by Messiah Yeshua are numerous and profound, but let’s go back to the implications of the Torah as it pertains to the final generation.

Yeshua spoke of a final generation that would see the end of the ages – that would not pass away until all was fulfilled. Moses addressed that generation in his final discourse in the book of Deuteronomy. The Psalmist does the same, specifically addressing the future purpose of the exodus story to the “generation to come.” Let’s examine each of these three instances beginning with Yeshua.

When Yeshua answered the disciples’ questions about the signs of the end and the sign of His return, His answer was directed at the final generation and not just to those asking the questions. This is now obvious since we believe the Messiah answered truthfully and the end has not yet come. The information in the end-time prophecies is logically intended only for the end-time believers; therefore, when Yeshua spoke of interpreting the signs correctly He was offering counsel to a very specific set of believers who would see those things in their day. It is also true that the same words have exhorted all believers in all generations in between as to the general principles of “waiting for the Master to return” and “waiting on the Lord.” But the specific prophecies of the end times and seeing His return are primarily intended for that final generation who will actually lift their heads and see the “Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and glory.”

When one decides to study eschatology (the study of last things) one must ask and answer a question: Am I in the final generation or just one of them leading up to the final generation? If you conclude that you are part of the final generation, then the study and its application are highly personal. But, if you are not convinced that you are living in the final generation time frame then your study of the end-time prophecies is purely academic. It is about other people, not you; therefore, only the general principles apply.

The reason why so many modern-day Christians do not focus on the news events of the world that relate to the end-time prophecies is that they are not convinced yet that we have come to the final generation and the end of the ages. For them, the study of eschatology is purely academic and they are quick to dismiss specific evidences as over-enthusiasm. Not only that, but many Christians think they are immune to real world events because of their belief in an imminent rapture and second coming.

On the matter of determining if we are the last generation, let me share this item. The Apostle Peter addressed a key point of determining the final generation in his last letter. Peter said that in the last days (the days of the final generation) there would be mockers who would mock the idea of the Messiah returning and the final judgment. He went on to say that these mockers would declare that everything happening now is just a continuation of what has happened in prior generations and that other generations would follow us as well. But Peter says that their error is based in what they believe of God. Peter reminds us that God has already come once before and judged the whole world in the flood during Noah’s days. Today the world does not want to believe that God will come and judge them, but the story of the flood is clear testimony that God has already done it before and He can come and do it again as He has said. Peter then shifts his point to the believers and makes a profound statement as to when we should anticipate the time of the final generation – the final generation that will face the mockers.

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2PE 3:8

The expression of “one day is as a thousand years” does not originate with Peter. He is repeating a well known Torah prophecy. It originates in Genesis 1 with the creation story. It turns out that each day of creation is a prophetic picture of a 1,000 year day. The final generation will be at the end of the sixth day and just prior to the seventh day. The seventh day is the Messianic 1,000 year age; therefore, the Biblical year 6,000 is a sign to the final generation. So where are we when it comes to counting the years of the Biblical calendar? Bible scholars believe that the year 6,000 comes somewhere between 1994 and 2017. We are currently in the year 2011.

With a conclusion that we are at the end of the sixth day, we should be anticipating the start of the seventh (the prophecies of restoration, reconciliation, and the return). It is therefore imperative that we try to understand “the plan” that God has for this time period that was given to us in Genesis 1.

Remember this, and be assured; recall it to mind, you transgressors. Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, “My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure; calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.” ISA 46:8-11

He even offers a word to those who are part of the final generation but don’t want to believe they are.

Listen to Me, you stubborn-minded, who are far from righteousness. I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off; and My salvation will not delay. And I will grant salvation in Zion, and My glory for Israel. ISA 46:12-13

Moses spoke to the final generation in the closing of the book of Deuteronomy in his final discourse entitled “Nitzavim,” which means standing, while he spoke to those standing with him about to cross the Jordan and enter the land. But he emphasizes that he is also speaking to another group not standing there. He is also speaking to the last generation.

Now not with you alone am I making this covenant and this oath, but both with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God and with those who are not with us here today. DEU 29:14-15

Instead, Moses speaks of the generation to come and refers to a future audience that will have seen his events as history.

Now the generation to come, your sons who rise up after you and the foreigner who comes from a distant land, when they see the plagues of the land and the diseases with which the Lord has afflicted it, will say, all its land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass grows in it, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in His anger and in His wrath. All the nations will say, “Why has the Lord done thus to this land? Why this great outburst of anger?” Then men shall say, “Because they forsook the covenant of the Lord, the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt. And they went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they have not known and whom He had not allotted to them. Therefore, the anger of the Lord burned against that land, to bring upon it every curse which is written in this book; and the Lord uprooted them from their land in anger and in fury and in great wrath, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.”  DEU 29:22-28

Moses wrote to the final generation knowing that they be would scattered in the nations and witnesses to God’s judgment in the land of Israel. Clearly, Moses, the writer of the Torah, is addressing the final generation living in the nations. So, what did he say to the final generation specifically that would scattered in the nations?

So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the Lord your God has banished you, and you return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. The Lord your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. And you shall again obey the Lord, and observe all His commandments which I command you today. Then the Lord your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the Lord will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers; if you obey the Lord your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. DEU 30:1-10

Moses says that the final generation will return to the Lord with all their hearts and observe the commandments of the Torah. He says that they will journey from their remote locations in the nations and return to the land of their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He says that they will prosper abundantly with the Lord.

Psalms 78 is a review of the Torah story. It repeats the story of Israel coming out of Egypt and traveling through the wilderness. Consider the way the Psalmist offers his instruction of the past events but directs the lesson to the future generation to come.

(A Maskil of Asaph.) Listen, O my people, to my instruction; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. PSA 78:1-4

He goes on to say that God gave the Torah not only for the world to know the Lord but that the generation to come would put their confidence in God, not forget the works of God, and keep His commandments.

For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should teach them to their children, that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, that they should put their confidence in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments, and not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not prepare its heart, and whose spirit was not faithful to God. PSA 78:5-8

Psalms 78 goes on to repeat the story of the judgments upon Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, the Torah given at Mount Sinai, Israelites lusting for meat and disregarding the manna, and judgments in the wilderness resulting in death for that generation. The final statement in the previous quotation – the lessons learned from the generation in the wilderness – is the very context of the Apostle Paul’s exhortation in 1 Corinthians.

For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.” Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 1CO 10:1-10

Paul reviews all of this to make a simple statement to the final generation.

Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 1CO 10:11-12

When I survey most end-times teachers, I find very few taking us back to the lessons in the wilderness with the generation that left Egypt. I cannot find very many who teach a greater exodus as Jeremiah called it.

“Therefore behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.’ For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers.” JER 16:14-15

“Therefore behold the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when they will no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ Then they will live on their own soil.” JER 23:7-8

Even among my fellow Messianic Jews who know the exodus story, I do not find many who see its prophetic significance. But more than all of that, I don’t find many believers who really believe they are part of the final generation and that all of the Biblical examples and end-time teaching was purposed for them and the days they live in.

The prophet Daniel didn’t understand in the day he lived either, but he was told that a day would come when certain men would understand and they would help many others to understand.

And those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase. Many will be purged, purified and refined; but the wicked will act wickedly, and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand. DAN 12:3-4, 10

The understanding of the end-time prophecies is planned for the generation at the end of the ages. This prophecy says that there will be those who will understand even thought previous prophets did not (like Daniel). If we are in the end times and if we are the final generation, then we should begin to understand the message of the Torah intended for the final generation. We should expect to understand something that others prior to us have not understood. This would include the book of Revelation. It too was intended for a specific audience at the end of the ages – the bond-servants of Yeshua who would see these things shortly take place.

The Revelation of Yeshua the Messiah, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must shortly take place; REV 1:1a

The book of Revelation is believed to have been written around 90 A.D. Since that time its contents have not be fulfilled and it remains a future treatise for some bond-servants who will live at the end of the ages and will witness what the book says.

All of these instances are consistent with the three statements of Yeshua, Moses, and the Psalmist. Much of the Bible, in particular the prophecy of the end, is intended for a final generation that will not pass away until all is fulfilled.

Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; even so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. MAT 24:32-34

I have mentioned earlier that the prophetic principle of “one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as one day” is one element to determine whether you are living in the final generation. There are others. Daniel spoke of the end when the world would have “many” people in it. He spoke of the final generation’s ability to travel about the earth. Finally, he spoke of a people that would live in a time of increased technology. No other generation can match our generation’s unique definition at this time.

If all of the prophecies are to be fulfilled in this specific generation, let’s be a little more specific as to what that involves. That means that we need a very specific generation that is clearly recognizable – like the Baby Boomer generation of post World War II. This is the same generation that saw modern Israel become a nation. As we emerged from our youth, we saw Jerusalem come back into Jewish hands after a nearly 2,000 year separation. Jerusalem is the focal point of all end-time prophecies (Yeshua returns to Jerusalem at the second coming). This is also the generation of the modern Messianic Movement. This is the generation that has seen the Peace and Security Agreement (the Middle East Peace negotiations) leading to the dividing of the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem. This is the generation that is watching Europe (the revived Roman Empire) re-merging with a common currency and constitution. It also has a Prince who has not yet been conferred as a King waiting patiently to come to power. This is the generation that have looked out and traveled beyond our own planet (even visiting the moon). We now know about fearful things in the heavens that are coming our way. This generation is the last generation spoken of in the Bible.

If you share the same conclusion with me that we are the final generation, then we must re-address our whole attitude of all that God have shown us in the past. If you agree with me that the end-time prophetic Scriptures are intended specifically for us, the final generation, then you only need to look at how many years to we have. Since we are not to pass away until all is fulfilled, we should take note that the first elements of our Baby Boomer generation just started collecting Social Security (age 65) here in the United States. We are not sure how many persons are considered Baby Boomers, but the U.S. Government considers those born from 1948 through 1964 to be the “Baby Boomers” for planning purposes. How much longer do we have? A few years or maybe another 15 years stretching it out?

The book of Revelation describes the final generation as tribulation saints (those who go through the tribulation). The tribulation saints are described as those who escape, survive, and endure to the end. They are ones from whom the 144,000 and the two witnesses emerge. They are ones who see the antimessiah come to power, the judgments of God upon the world, and see the coming of the Son of Man in the clouds of heaven shaking the very stars.

But before the tribulation with the return of the Messiah, the final generation will return with their hearts and turn back to the Torah. In particular, the prophets say that the final generation will cease from having anything to do with the idols of the world. They will cease eating the detestable (unclean things passed off as food). They will also cease from transgressing the law. This is the second part of the dual testimony of the tribulations saints.

Here is the perseverance of the [tribulation] saints who keep the commandments [Torah] of God and their faith in Yeshua. REV 14:12

The modern Messianic Movement is a movement of people scattered all over the world in many nations. We share a common faith in Yeshua of Nazareth as the Messiah, but we have also turned back to the teaching of Moses (the Torah) and the commandments of God. We are learning that the commandments of the Torah are written on our hearts and that is how we begin our journey back to the promised land. We are learning that we are the true descendants of Abraham (adopted into God’s family) and the ancient promises belong to us. We are learning that the whole house of Israel has two parts: Judah and Ephraim. We are learning the Messiah brings us together at the end of the ages. We are also learning that God has not changed. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is the God of our fathers; He is the God of us.

To make the transition from the world we live in to the land promised to our forefathers we must make up for lost generations and learn the Torah quickly. We need teachers to help us make the Torah understandable and simple for our instruction. We need to get the Torah into our hearts and fulfill it in our deeds.

It is really quite simple. It is about us and our survival in the days we live – the end of the ages.

So the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today. DEU 6:24

Is there any doubt that Moses was including us, the final generation, as it is today?