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The Jewish View of the End Times (Day of Prayer 2015)

SPECIAL NOTE:  This is the final blog post for Tzedakah Ministries‘ evangelistic/prayer outreach Day of Prayer for the Salvation of the Jewish People (2015) that culminated on 16 January 2015. Each of the blog posts were specially tailored to serve as a devotional guide on how to pray for the Jewish people for on each particular day that led up to January 16th and now today. Tzedakah Ministries hopes that these blogs will assist you in praying for the Jewish people and will equip in knowing how to share Messiah Jesus with the people for whom Jesus first came … #Rom116TTJF!

JANUARY 17

The Jewish View of the End Times

The modern Jewish understanding of the afterlife is complex, convoluted and confusing. If you asked three Jewish individuals, you would get probably five to six answers on what they think might happen to you after you die.  This reality surprises many Christians and churches because the common assumption is that the Jewish perception of the hereafter (and coincidentally the “End Times”) is very similar to our own. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Heaven-hellReform Judaism refuses to take an official position on eternity while basically inferring that when one dies … that is it and there is nothing after the final breath (http://www.reformjudaism.org/judaism-what-believed-happen-someone-after-they-die). Most of the other streams of Judaism see the world to come (“Olam Haba”) as something not to worry about because we should focus more on the here and now. The Orthodox strand might place more value on eternity but even then you are eligible only if one follows an impossible labyrinth of Talmudic laws. Mystical Judaism (i.e., Kabbalah) allows for four chances to get it right – in other words a form of reincarnation. In other words … “THE END” of it all is a vague and little understood concept within Judaism and this is a tragedy that Christians and churches must address, especially given the reality of Hebrews 9:27 – “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”

However, there is a Biblical passage, specifically involving David and Solomon, that could invaluable as a resource for sharing the truth of life, death, and eternity to the Jewish people for Christians and churches. This Biblical passage is read once a year in the synagogue and it is time that the truth of this passage be brought to life.

1 Kings 2:1-12 is intriguing. We have David imparting his final words to Solomon before his death. Word of admonitions regarding the need to keep the conditional Mosaic covenant in order that the unconditional Davidic covenant will not be in doubt (i.e., Jeremiah’s curse to Coniah/Jeconiah).   We also have David instructing Solomon to seek vengeance on Joab and Shimei for what they had done against David. Verses 6 and 9 leads to the idea of the afterlife – “Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace … NowHebrew Bible therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou [art] a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood.”   Those verses are different than how David’s death is described; however, all the verses are dealing with death and what happens … NEXT. Regarding David it is said in verses 1-2 and 10, “Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; … So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.”   David slept or rested (shakab שָׁכַב with his fathers while David wanted Joab and Shimei to go to Sheol that is translated as grave) in blood and without peace. Does that not imply there are two states for the dead? Does David not indicate there is reward for the righteous and punishment for the evil?  David knew there was life after death, you can also see this when his son from the sin with Bathsheba died and so should the Jewish people. 

Therefore, and perhaps, Christians and churches can use 1 Kings 2:1-12 to begin a discussion on this most important of topics and devotional thoughts – What happens when someone dies? And where will they go?