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Apocalyptic and Eschatological Concepts and Beliefs in Modern Zionism

0 May 26 2017, 03:30 in History Essays

Apocalyptic and Eschatological Concepts and Beliefs in Modern Zionism

Introduction

Zionism is the group Jewish people that continue to support the Jewish tradition, history, state, and religion of Israel. It is the central part of their life that shapes the largest part of their cultural influence. They want to re-establish and preserve their history that this country is the original home of the Jews in Palestine. The modern Zionism emerged in the Central and Eastern part of Europe in the mid 19thcentury with the Jewish National Movement. To preserve their culture and history, the movement shared and argued their ideologies to solve the problems in their modern society.

When Israel gained their independence in 1948 from the British government, Israel built a sovereign state with the strong influence of Zionism. The Jewish state chose Jerusalem as the center of their eschatological and apocalyptic belief that this city will give rise to the old prophecies that the destruction of the world and the end of judgment day of all men will happen here. Because of their strong religious belief, one of their main objectives is to put walls in the borders of Middle East to declare Israel as the only place where Jewish people must live and anyone who crosses this threshold are considered as their enemy. However, Palestinians disagreed with these claims; they often attack Israel that ignited a never-ending conflict between these countries (Spanner, 23).

The spread of anti-Semitism or prejudice and discrimination also trigger the emergence of modern Zionism and the reconstruction of Jewish state and religion. For the people of Israel, Zionist and their descendants in Palestine must only live in this land; they continually claim that it is based on history. One major part of Modern Zionism apocalyptic and eschatological concepts and belief are the reconstruction and claims in the piece of land in Palestine and Jordan as part of the geographic region of Israel or Eretz-Ysrael (Masalha, 5).

Another problem that arises is that their eschatological and apocalyptic belief is in conflict with the belief of Christians, Muslim, and other religion, they have their individual claims that Jerusalem and the biblical prophecies of salvation in the end of times belong to their religions. For instance, they also have a different basis of this claims and visions related to the bible. Because of the territorial and religious differences in the Middle East, Arab countries, including Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq attacked Israel on June 5 to 10, 1967, also known as the "Six-Day War”.

This war created a holocaust where thousands of people have died, and Israel’s decisive victory led to the invasion of Sinai, Gaza strip, West bank, Golan Heights and other territories (Tucker, 2443-2444). This war gave birth to the never ending oppression, killings and conquering of land and people, after the war, more than 2 million Jews from Palestine were hostages, more than 344,000 Arabs, more than 66,000 non-Jews and almost million mix nationalities were under the control of Israel military (Dawidowics, 116). All these happened because of their racial and apocalyptic belief to protect the Israel as the only righteous country in the eyes of God.

 

The Eschatological belief in Modern Zionism

In the book of Hebrew when the first temple was built in the leadership of Solomon, there are peace and harmony throughout the land, but it was destroyed by the Babylonians. The second temple was rebuilt, but it was colonized by the Romans, Greeks, and Persians that delimited the mobilization of the original Jewish people. Because of severe colonization and wars, the second temple was again destroyed in Jerusalem during the 70 CE. This part of history has become the modern reflection of the Zionist that even the actual foundation of the second temple was destroyed it does not necessarily destroy the faith and religion of the Jews.

The destruction of their temples serves as the foundation of their modern faith that their apocalyptic and eschatological belief that the third holy temple will be rebuilt soon in the end of days, but it will be a celestial or spiritual temple that cannot be destroyed by their enemies (Uzdavinys, 168-169). They believe that the third and last temple will live forever with the leadership of God. In their temple, peace and holiness will renew the society with hope and prosperity. However, only those people who believe in Judaism with strong faith can experience sanctification of the Messianic introduction of Moses to their God.

Because of this deep-rooted concept and Jewish belief, it largely influenced their self- isolation and discriminative claim that only Israel deserves the promise of God, it highly affects their neighboring countries and international relationship with Christians and Muslims. Their difference and superior belief were translated to their trade, network, and conflicts of war. Their argument is that only Judaism is the right religion in the eyes of God based on the book of Genesis (12:23), they will become a great nation and bless them; god will bless those you bless Israel and curse those who curse their country.

The Dead Sea Scrolls and Torah – the basic foundation of Zionism apocalyptic belief is the Dead Sea Scrolls it is considered as the oldest records in the Second Temple. They gathered more than nine hundred (900) writings of ancient Hebrew Bible, Greek, and Aramaic literature found in the Judean Desert, there were also caves and halls found. These literature has become the foundation of their apocalyptic belief since it include the creation, battle of good and evil and the prediction of the end of days.

It is considered as their greatest document preserved for a long time that has the prophetic ideas of God in the book of Isaiah 40:3. The Qumran cave also has different documents, including laws that state the biblical legislations. There are hymns and bible passages, the apocalyptic literature talks about the sons of light and darkness, the coming of war and the punishment and offenses of members. The Dead Sea Scrolls have songs, and hymns for community prayers, and a solar calendar; overall, most of the books of the old testaments are found in Qumran caves in the form of Dead Sea Scrolls.

The Dead Sea Scrolls was simplified and reformed in 600 BCE to develop the Torah; it is the scripture that represents the new Jewish rules taken from the old testaments also known as the Tanakh, Hebrew bible or the five books of Moses. It includes the popular Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Leviticus. Torah has become the product of rabbinic revision and the perfect manuscript for apocalyptic reference of the covenant of God, but there are strict rules, prayers, and rituals that must be followed in the revision of this document (Martinez, 3).In modern Judaism, it is fundament to go back to the Torah to understand the changes or reforms.

To protect their scriptures from misinterpretation during the editing process, only the skilled and knowledgeable people with full commitment and expertise to interpret the scriptures can be included. They also established the Center for Torah in Israel to protect their traditions and believe through continuous studies not to leave or change their trust and covenant to their holy god against those who oppose their religion. To fulfill their obligations before the apocalypse, they must unite in a community with the same belief and practice of Judaism faith. The modern Zionism boosted their Enoch apocalyptic tradition because of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the celebrated Torah revision. Because of these important materials and documents, they are proud to say that no religion can deny their apocalyptic belief.

Rituals and Prayers – Judaism religion continue to teach faith, responsibility, holiness, respect and good deeds to escape from the curse of the end of times. One of their most important responsibilities is to pray regularly. They have a daily group prayer that requires total silence and devotion to ask god sincerely to forgive their sins, they also perform rituals during the jubilee times and Sabbath. They also practice personal prayer individually, it has no limitation, personal prayer is a personal decision of how long, what time and what to ask for. Prayers and rituals are highly important in their modern belief to fulfill the promise of the third temple; the same with different religion, prayer is how they connect to their God.

 

The Origin of Jewish Apocalyptic and Eschatological Belief

The origin of Jewish apocalyptic and eschatological belief is based on the writings of Enoch and the assumption that comes from Moses who divided the red sea. There is also the doctrine of two eras, that the present day is ruled by evil and in the future, God will rule the world. They denounced the coming of the Messiah alone in the future, but they believe that the Messiah will come with Moses and assist him in the deliverance of mankind (Brown, 60). They are sure that Moses is trustworthy in their faith since God spoke to him and made remarkable prophecies, they believe in Moses, but they do not necessarily believe in Jesus as the Messiah. They treat them differently as a good teacher, a military leader or a priest.

The origin of Jewish apocalypticism is more than the search of prophecies and the end of times, or complexity of history, it is also the search for the origin of good and evil when God and devil’s forces are in conflict. Until today, they quarrel and fight for thousands of years to destroy each other which is the central theme of eschatology. Only after their battle shall men can experience their happiness, free from hunger and thirst. This theological belief was also supported by scholars, including Diogense, Plutarch etc.; it is also supported by the same sources of information given by Aristotle, Chios, Eudoxus and other Greek Philosophers since the 14th century BCE.

Based on the study of Second Temple Judaism Professor, Gabriele Boccaccini at the University of Michigan, they believe that Christianity originated in the Second Temple Jewish Messianic group as written in the old testaments. He further argued that even in the emergence of Jesus and his teaching of canonical scriptures were taken from the Jewish apocalypticism revelations and eschatological concepts and beliefs. It is also proven after World War II during the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls was produced before the Maccabean revolt as the testimony of its origin (Berdakdian, & Porta, 17).

Even in 2001, Enoch Seminar in Florence have discussed related origin that the apocalypticism really emerged in Israel at the end of the 4th century, according to the Enochic Judaism belief, that the Jewish tradition was written in the dead sea scrolls, it is authentic and reliable to accept this religion. The Dead Sea Scrolls explain the origin of the world and its implication; it has all the important distinction of history, including the ancient Canaanite, and the Mesopotamian theistic elements, fallen angels, cultural purity, rebellion, of angels in heaven, condemnation of people on earth. Because of evil, the end of time will come and the claim of Jerusalem high priest as keepers of God (Berdakjian & Porta, 19-20).

Based on the Jewish eschatological belief, the Dead Sea Scrolls indicate how worldly people living on earth will suffer at the end of times when God restore peace and order as mentioned in the book of jubilation, Daniel, and other books. It is highly advised that people must believe in the apocalypticism as the driving force against other religion to denounce their corruptive belief and practices and change for the better. In the book of Maccabees, Simon overcomes all the challenges and persecution when he chooses the apocalyptic belief to restore peace and order as written in 1Mac 14: 4 to 15.

Religious scholars must wake up and free themselves from other non-Jewish influence because of their lack of basis or biases. According to Professor Boccaccini, scholars should see the Jewish apocalypticism as strong evidence or its origin with a clear representation of the ancient civilization and historical events belongs to Israel. The Professor also suggest that John J. Collins in the US and Paolo Sacchi in Europe explained the Apocalyptic literature in their native languages for people to understand why the Jewish Apocalyptism can change the world with a clearer explanation of their own created literature taken from history such as the discovery of the dead sea scrolls etc (Berdakjian & Porta, 19).

 

The Differences of Jewish Apocalyptic and Eschatological Belief in Other Religion

Most of the Jewish Apocalyptic and Eschatological belief in the coming of the third temple and the belief that Moses will come to help the Messiah is in contrast with other religion. Christians believe in the coming of Jesus, Islam believes that Muhammad is the Messiah, and the Zoroastrianism believe that it is Saoshyant who will be the savior in the end of time. It is the reason why the Jewish simply refuse to take these arguments to defend their belief. However, all of these religions believe in the end of times and the suffering of people in the tragic end of the world. All of them also believe in the regeneration of the world with their own known Gods.

Jewish Apocalyptism in Contrast of Roman Catholic Belief - despite the persistence of the Judaism religion to restore their leadership in Israel against Christians and priests, the Roman Catholic occupation is also persistent to capture their land to rival their Jewish traditions. The Christian apocalyptic belief is that Jesus Christ as the Messiah is in contrast with their belief that Moses will lead the Messiah in the end of days. Christians believe that Jesus will return as the savior in the end of the earth, and those who believe in him will gain eternal life as written in the book of John 3:16. Their belief also survives despite the harsh religious battle; their faith continues to remain unshakable until today (Bardakjian & Porta, 22).

But long before the popularity of Christianity the Romans already captured and penetrated leadership in Israel, they resent the Judaism religion against their apocalyptic expectation when Vespasian become the emperor during AD 69 up to AD 79. Tacitus and other Romans spread their belief that the son of men from Judaea will be the one to save the world from death and judgment as part of their original apocalyptic and eschatological belief based on the Roman historians.

The Jews believed that Christianity is also popularized by a rich man by the name of Flavius Josephus who deceived even the wise men for their different apocalyptic belief. Early church leaders identified Jesus as Christ and the son of man (Bardakjian & La Porta, 23). But the Jewish also believe that Christians are shifting the real history of salvation in their temple to the mount of Calvary where Jesus was crucified.

Christianity in contrast to Judaism has a powerful and believable element in the bible; this religion is not just linked to the end of time, but also to the beginning of time, it already predicted the defeat of the devil. Therefore, the second coming of Jesus Christ is the glorification of the King and destruction of their enemies. The return of Jesus is also the fulfillment of the great promise that he will return based on John 14: 1-3, the end will come based on their doctrine, but since Jesus has not yet returned the end will not come.

Those who believe in Christ also believe in the Roman authorities like the presence of the Pope in Rome also represent apocalyptic prophecies and conveniently controlling Christianity and Christian members. The original Jewish religion and the Zionist believe that those who do not know the history of Israel are easily deceived by the convincing power of the Christians which is in contrast to the actual history of Judaism. The majority of Jewish literature was preserved in different part of Europe, in contrast to the Romans, the eschatology or judgment in the East was not yet fulfilled.

The Roman Catholic also made the prediction based on the bible that the world will end based on the prophecies and signs of times as written in Mathew 24: 3-36, including religious deception, false teachers of religion, there will be wars, conflicts of nations and culture, there will be famine, diseases and natural calamities such as floods and earthquake., but the end will not come, only after the coming of Christ.

People must turn to God and ask repentance and forgiveness. The verse also includes that the days or hours of the return of Christ is unknown. But the best guide of the Apocalypse is Daniel 7-12 and the entire book of Revelation acts as the starting point that will tell the entire story how the world will end, however, Judaism believe in the book of Daniel, but they do not believe in the book of Revelation, they do not believe in the authenticity of the new testament. In their belief, the new testaments contradict the Jewish law. In many instances in the new testaments, and Jesus contradicts and argued with Rabbis (Hale & Thorson, 238-239).

Jewish Apocalyptism is Also in Contrast with Islam - in the ancient belief of Islamic religions; they are also in contrast with Judaism that Moses will lead the Messiah. Their belief is that the prophet Muhammad will act as the Messiah and Jesus will appear before the Muslims in the end of days and in during most difficult times. They believe that Muhammad will be the one to lead them through salvation and victory since Jesus was already dead. There were also Muslim belief that Jesus was not raised in heaven based on the Quran, and Hadith. The biblical prophecy that a Messiah will return does not speak about Jesus, but probably a Muslim like the Khalifas who do good deeds. They also believe that only Prophet Muhammad has the ability to return as written in Ayam as Sulh, p 146 to 150.

However, the Jews also believe that like Muslims, they will restore the Abrahamic monotheism is also related to the Jewish tradition of waiting for the third temple, but it was corrupted with an erroneous prophecy of Christian belief of destruction of the second temple. The Islam apocalyptic belief is related to the Christian religion, but not in the Jewish faith, Islam believes that in the end of days will have signs and wonders, the sun is folded up, the stars will lose its balance before the final judgment.

The ocean will burst, the graves will turn upside down; there will be moths all around and the mountains will collapse like carded wool. The people will lose their morality, and ignorance will prevail, they will be drunkard, abusive and open to sexual intercourse (Al-Muslim 4. 1503-1504). There will be terrors, hellfire and brimstone before the word of the Lord will be fulfilled. Muslims also believe that Jesus will return to slay the anti-Christ or false Messiah.

Since the early 18th century, Judaism avoids the early teachings of Islam, including Sufism and Shi’ism; they believe that the Islamic faith is free from apocalypticism theory. Their Islam teaching is just a rational religion or just a branch of Judaism created by European Jewish scholars; they also view Islam as a possible military threat. Based on the study of European Jewish scholars like Gustav Weil, Goldziher, Horowitz, Herz and others believe that Islam lacks both depiction and reference. However, they also believe that Islamic religion may be derived from Judaism during their travel in Middle-east countries (Katz, Leff & Mandel, 57-59).

Zoroastrianism the Foundation of Mixed Religion - Zoroastrianism is the religion taken from an Iranian Prophet known as Zarathustra, it is a unique religion and considered as the oldest religion since 5th BCE, they believe in dualism and monotheism. In the discussion of apocalypticism and eschatological concepts, the Jewish people believe that they have an influence in Messianism, free will and the Second Temple of Judaism. They also believe in Ahura Mazda as the supreme God or Wise Lord, however, during the 7th century they were overthrown by Arab or Islamic religion and only a few countries and few people exercise this religion.

It was Ahura Mazda, who created the universe and the people, but the Angra Mainyu destroy everything except humans, so he created the bull to represent sufferings and death, they believe that the dying man is the product of Mainyu’s curse. However, their God will renovate the world through individual judgment, those who have done goodness will be resurrected from the dead, but those who defy his rules will suffer from temporary condemnation and isolation. But there is still a solution, Saoshyant, the savior will be born and raise the dead, and they will live forever with their Gods.

Because of their teaching, it is believed that even Christians, Muslims, and Jews have similarities in their practices. For example, the concept of the Christian religion was taken from the concept of Zoroastrianism that dead could mean a reward or a punishment at the end of days and the Mainyu and Saoshyant is equal to the devil and the Messiah (Upton 15-16). But the Romans do not believe in Zoroastrianism while the ancient religion of Judaism does not follow their pattern of apocalyptic and eschatological belief since they do not believe in Jesus, although the Zoroastrianism has a mixture of belief in different religion. Some Christians and bible scholars also have the same argument that the Jewish apocalypse is also an adaptation of Zoroastrianism, although both of their arguments lack evidence.

The Renaissance European Tradition - even in the middle-ages in the 14th to 17th century has become a series of important religious reformation in Europe from renaissance to European culture, millennialism was a strain in religion. There are more radical movements who protested different religious teachings during this period such as the French Revolution, Socialism, Marxism, Zionism and other movements. Scholars like Martin Luther pronounced an apocalyptic believe that the Christians in Rome and the Pope were the Antichrist in disguise. Thomas Muntzer led the Peasant’s Revolt, and the Puritanism, Mormons, Adventist etc.

The American millennialism divided the tradition from pre millennialism that the Messiah will come before the millennium and it will be tragic, there will be war, famine, hunger and disease. Another belief is the Post millennialism that the Messiah will come after the millennium, they also believe that before the coming of the Messiah, the world and everything in it will get better, but because of the lack of biblical references, the pre millennialism has become the dominant belief in the European tradition.

Since the renaissance period, even Judaism also developed their own millennial movement to protest against different believe with Shabbetai Tzevi, it becomes widespread in different countries to challenge Muslims and Christians messianic belief during the 16thcentury. According to the interpretation of religious scholars, the millennial belief, the renaissance traditions and protest of a different religion in European traditions has become very powerful to form their own opposing ideology and religion. It created too much violence and destruction in the history of human civilization because of their differences in religion (Landes, 1-2).

Similarities of Jewish Apocalyptic and Eschatological Concepts in Other Religion

As much as there are differences, there are also similarities of apocalyptic and eschatological Jewish belief compared to other religion, especially in Muslim and in the Christian religion. For instance, Jewish and Islam believe that in the beginning of our lives there is no original sin or the concept of hereditary sin, compared to Christians, therefore men are born sinless. Both Jewish and Muslim believe that they can escape from the end of days through good works, righteousness, and prayers. At the same time, they can escape from Hell or torment of fire because of temporary punishment while Christian believes that the place of torment is everlasting (Christianityview.com, 2016).

The Jewish compared to Christians and Islam also believes that they are the descendant of Abraham and that their religion will inherit the promises of their supreme God. They also anticipate the end of times and the final judgment will come after the return of the Messiah. They also believe that after the final judgment, the world will live in peace, harmony, and prosperity. They anticipate the golden age as already happening, although the end of time cannot be predicted when.

 

Conclusion

Positively the Modern Zionism continues to restore Judaism as their chosen religion with different practices. The infrastructure and origin of Judaism have changed significantly throughout times, such as the conversion of the Dead Sea Scrolls to Torah, but the wisdom and apocalyptic and eschatological belief remain intact. The Modern Jewish belief about the apocalypse and eschatology created comparative differences and influence in their social and political interpretation. It leads to conflicts from other religion such as in Muslims and Christians in different countries. Zionist has become too occupied with their religion to colonize different territories as manifested in their history to gain the promise land.

Their prophetic interpretation about the Jerusalem in the end of time, and the re-establishment of the third temple has not changed until today, it is still their belief that in the end of time. Jewish believe that God will fulfill his promise to send back the Messiah with the help of Moses to destroy the enemy and to deliver Israel from death and sufferings. However, the negative implication of their belief is the self- isolation from other Arab countries. Because of this belief, their country has become stiff to listen to the calls of different countries and international organizations, including the UN. They do not want to start reconciliation with Arab countries and return the land that they invaded in Gaza and in Palestine. They are even willing to fight for war because of their apocalyptic and eschatological belief.

Because of these deep-rooted religious practices they build walls to block countries and religions, Zionists are showing their close conviction to any other opinion, and that they are willing to defend this prophetic and apocalyptic faith against Christians and Muslims to serve their chosen God. Furthermore, they will never admit that there are any other religion and place than Israel as the only land protected by God. Because of their deep-rooted belief in the Jewish faith, Israel ceased to accept any other culture, politics, and religion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

Berdakjian, Kevork, B., & Porta Sergio. The Armenian Apocalyptic Tradition, a Comparative Perspective, Netherland: Brill. 2014. Print. pp. 17-25

Brown. John. The Discourses and Sayings of Our Lord, Vol.1, Lafayette IN: Sovereign Grace Publisher, Print. pp. 60

Christianityinview.com. Comparison Table between Christianity, Islam and Judaism: Christianityinvew.com. 2016. http://christianityinview.com/xncomparison.html.19 May 2017.

Dawidwics, Lucy S. The Arab-Israel War of 1967.American Jewish Yearbook. 1968. http://www.ajcarchives.org/ajc_data/files/1968_4_arabisraelwar.pdf. 16 Nov. 2016.

Hale, Thomas, & Thorson, Stephen. The Applied New Testament Commentary: Applying God’s Word to Your Life. Britain: David Cook. 2007. Print. pp. 238-239.

Katz, Ethan, B., Leff, Lisa Moses., Mandel S. Maud. Colonialism and the Jew. Indiana Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.2017. Print. pp. 57-59

Landes, Richard. Millenialism from the Renaissance to the Modern World. Britannica.com Encyclopedia Brittanica Inc. 2017. https://www.britannica.com/topic/millennialism/Millennialism-from-the-Renaissance-to-the-modern-world. 18 May 2017.

Martinez, Florentino Garcia. The Dead Sea Scrolled Translated, The Qumran Texts in English 2ndED. US: Eerdsman Publishing. 1996. Print. pp.3

Masalha, Nur. Imperial Israel and the Palestinians, the Politics of Expansion. US: Pluto Press. 2000, Print. pp. 5

Upton, Charles. Legend of the End, Prophecies of the End of Times, Antichrist, Apocalypse, and Messiah from Eight Religious Traditions. US: Sophia Perrenis. 2004. Print. pp. 15-16

Uzdavinys, Algis. Ascent to Heaven in Islamic and Jewish Mysticism. UK: The Matheson Trust. Print. pp. 168-169

Spanner, Huw. You are obliged to Resist if You Want to Live with Dignity. Third Way Christian Comment on Culture. 31.6. 1977. Print. pp. 23

Tucker, Spencer, C. A Global Chronology of Conflict, from the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East Vo.1. US: ABC-CLIO. 2010. Print. pp. 2443-2444.

 

 

 

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