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How old is the world?

‘The world is to exist for six thousand years; the first two thousand years are to be void; the next two thousand years are the period of the Torah, and the following two thousand years are the period of the Messiah. Through our many sins some of these have already passed and the Messiah has not yet come.’

Talmud b. Avodah Zarah 9a

This statement is found in the Talmud b. Avodah Zarah 9a. The Talmud is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish law.

An article on Israel365.com website explains this:

‘The Talmud (Tractate Avodah Zarah 9a) states that the world will last for 6,000 years. This is broken down into three periods: for 2,000 years, the world stood empty, for 2,000 years the world existed “in Torah”, and the final 2,000 years will be the age when the Messiah may come, depending on mankind’s actions. At the end of the 6,000 years, the Messiah must come, even if mankind has not prepared itself.’

Israel365
https://www.israel365news.com/110117/scientist-recalculates-time-til-end-of-days/

The 2000 years of desolation are said to be the time from Adam to Abraham. The 2000 years of Torah are said to be the time from Abraham onwards, which then lead to the 2000 years of the Messianic era. According to this reckoning, the last 2000 years of this age should be the time of the Messiah.

The Medieval Jewish commentator, Rashi, explains this by saying:

‘After 2000 years of Torah it was God’s decree that the Messiah would come, and the wicked generation would come to an end and the subjugation of Israel would be destroyed.’

Rashi

The reason Messiah has not come according to Rashi is because Israel’s sins were many.  

Rashi says that the Messiah did not come because of our sins, but the Gospels tell us that is precisely why Yeshua / Jesus the Messiah did come. He came to save us from our sins, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 53:

All we like sheep have gone astray we have turned everyone to his own way and the LORD has laid on Him (the Messiah) the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53

Messianic Jews and Gentiles believe He did come in the person of Yeshua ha Mashiach, Jesus Christ. Therefore, we are now in the age following Messiah’s first appearing which happened around 2000 years ago. And we are coming to the end of the 2000-year period as we see events happening which Jesus said would be the signs of the end of the age and His return to earth at the Second Coming.

The Talmud is not inspired scripture, but there is a passage in the Bible which also points to a 2000-year period relating to the Messiah’s appearances.

The prophet Hosea speaks of a time when Israel will be set aside from the purposes of God but will return to the Lord at the end of days. Hosea 3.4-5:

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.

Hosea 3.4-5

Rabbi David Kimchi (1160-1235) commented on Hosea 3:

These are the days of the present Gentile captivity in which we are in the power of the Gentiles, and in the power of their kings and princes, and we are without a sacrifice to God and without an image to false gods, and without an ephod and without teraphim – without an ephod to God by which we could foretell the future as with Urim and Thummim and without teraphim to false gods. And this is the condition of the children of Israel in this present captivity.

Kimchi

Israel’s time in history

This time of desolation was to last for ‘many days’ (Hebrew Yami rabbim), a long period of time of Jewish dispersion among the nations. This will come to an end when the children of Israel return to their land and seek the Lord and David their king (David here speaks of Messiah son of David / Mashiach ben David, a Hebrew designation for the Messiah).

Commentators have noted how this applies to the period of Jewish dispersion which followed the destruction of the Temple in the year 70. From the Christian point of view this also followed the rejection of Yeshua as the Messiah by mainstream Judaism and the birth of the true church made up of Jews and Gentiles who believe in Jesus as the Messiah. Hosea’s prophecy (and many others in the Hebrew prophets) indicates that there will be a return of the Jewish people to the Lord in the latter days. Other prophets connect this with the revelation of Yeshua as the Messiah (see Zacarías 12.1013.1, 14.3-9).

In Hosea 5.14-15 we read of the Lord speaking to Israel, saying:

For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear them and go away; I will take them away, and no one shall rescue. I will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.

Hosea 5.14-15

Yeshua the Messiah came to our place, the earth, specifically to the land of Israel and to the Jewish people. He suffered rejection and crucifixion after an unjust trial before the Sanhedrin and the Roman governor Pilate. After His death, He rose from the dead and appeared to His Jewish disciples for 40 days, before He returned to His place (heaven), giving His disciples the instruction to take His message into all the world. In this passage the one who returns to His place says He will remain there (in heaven) ‘until they acknowledge their offence’ (rejection of the Messiah).

Jesus prophesied that there would be a dispersion of the Jewish people and Gentile control of Jerusalem, after His coming until the time before His return. This corresponds to the passage in Hosea

‘I, even I, will tear them and go away;
I will take them away, and no one shall rescue.’

In Luke 21 Jesus prophesied the coming fall of Jerusalem at the time of the Jewish revolt against the Romans in the year 70. This would result in the dispersion of the Jewish people into the nations of the world:

But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Luke 21.20-24

The prophecy that Jerusalem would be trampled or ruled by the Gentiles ‘until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled’ speaks of the ongoing Gentile control of Jerusalem throughout this age until the time of the end when it will return to Israel and become the centre of God’s rule on earth after the return of the Messiah Jesus. The present restoration of Israel as a nation with the regathering of the Jewish people to the land of Israel and Jerusalem is a sign of the soon coming again of the Messiah (Ezekiel 36, Jeremiah 31, Zechariah 12, Lucas 21.24).  

This process began with the events of Israel’s restoration as a nation in 1948 and capture of the Old City of Jerusalem in 1967. It will reach its completion at the second coming of Jesus. This will be the end of the ‘times of the Gentiles’ (Gentile rule over Jerusalem) as prophesied in Daniel 2.44-45 and Daniel 7.13-14y Zechariah 12-14.

Israel in unbelief was set aside as far as the salvation promises of God are concerned but remained a people ready to be restored to God at the close of this age. There are scriptures which indicate that the after the rapture of the church, Israel and the Jewish people will become central to God’s purposes leading up to the return of the Messiah. Jesus indicated that at the time of His return, He will be greeted by His people with the Jewish greeting

‘Baruch ha ba be shem Adonai’ Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.

See Zacarías 12.10, Matthew 23.39.

In Hosea Chapter 6 there is a call to return to the Lord and a promise that He will revive us:

Come, and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.

Hosea 6.1-3

This represents a recognition of the fact of God’s hand in judgement on Israel, and a call to repentance and returning to the Lord. He will then reverse the work of judgement (He has torn, He has stricken) and bring in a time or healing and restoration. In verse two it says,

After two days he will revive us, on the third day He will raise us up.

One interpretation of the ‘third day’ here is that it has something to do with Jesus rising from the dead on the third day. But an alternative interpretation which I prefer is that it has something to do with a time frame of a 2000-year period (two days) coming to a close when God will restore the kingdom to Israel at the beginning of the third day (the final 1000-year period).

In scripture we have the concept of the day of the Lord being as a thousand years:

For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night.

Psalm 90.4

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

2 Peter 3.8

Are we living in the last days?

So, does this indicate that there will be a 2000-year gap between the first and second coming of the Messiah?  Some people took hold of this idea and got excited about the year 2000 in connection with the second coming. Nothing happened then so they gave up on this idea. The year 2000 is 2000 years after the birth of Jesus (although He was probably born in 4BC due to a mistake made in the calculations which set in motion the calendar we now use for dating the years).

Although the birth of Jesus was a wonderful event, it was not the event which set off the present dispensation or age, which we call the Church Age. After the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus and the sending of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, we saw the change from the age of the Torah to the age of grace, mediated through the new covenant and the true church of Jesus Christ. God set in motion the new dispensation, through which He puts us right with Himself through faith in Jesus who is the Messiah who died for our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day. This message of the Gospel gave birth to the true church (the ecclesia or called out ones of God) made up of Jews and Gentiles who believe in Jesus.

The date of the crucifixion and resurrection of the Messiah is somewhere between 30 and 33 AD. This is the most significant date in history, the day when the Lord Jesus sealed the new covenant in His blood, through which all who believe receive forgiveness of sin, eternal life and come to know God (Jeremiah 31.31-34). If you add 2000 years to this date you come to 2030 – 2033.

So, am I saying that this is the date of the return of the Messiah to the earth and the end of the age as described in our previous article?  Not necessarily because there are many unknown factors which remain. But it is at least interesting in the light of the way prophetic events are hastening to come to pass in our time. If this is the case, we can expect the next ten years to see very significant things happening in relation to Bible prophecy. It is interesting that 2030 is the date the UN has set for its Agenda 30 to be fulfilled, which may connect with the Antichrist world rule rather than Messiah’s rule.

Whatever the date of His coming is, the Lord told us to watch and wait for His return. He warned us of the time of trouble which will precede His coming to the earth and He gave us the hope of His coming to take His people to be with Himself.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

Titus 2.11-14

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