By: William Jackson
The concept of the apocalypse has caused many to turn to the religion of Christianity. Image a world of war, despicable evils, death and destruction. No wonder why the topic of human survival has taken center stage over the last three decades. Even our media plays into this with popular movies like “Left Behind” and TV shows like “The Walking Dead”. After leaving Christianity I became curious about what the Tanakh actually said about the “end of the world” (as we know it) verses what was influenced by the Christian New Testament. In the Tanakh actual word for these times is “eschatology” as opposed to “tribulation” and “rapture” which are part of the Christian theology. Eschatology stands for “the end of days” and “deals primarily and principally with the final destiny of the Jewish nation and the world in general…”1. Listed below are verses arranged by topic for a better understanding:
There will be only ONE God recognized by the World:
The whole world will worship the One God of Israel (Isaiah 2:11, Zechariah 3:9, 14:9).
Knowledge of God will fill the world (Isaiah 11:9, 52:10, Habakkuk 2:14).
The wicked will be punished (Isaiah 2:11, 13:11, 26:21)
The dead will rise again (Isaiah 26:19, Daniel 12:2, Ezekiel 37:1-14)
Death will be swallowed up forever (Isaiah 25:8, Hosea 13:14)
Paradise on Earth
There will be no more hunger or illness, and death will cease (Isaiah 25:8, 35:10, 51:11)
Weapons of war will be destroyed (Ezekiel 39:9, Psalm 46:9)
God will take the barren land and make it abundant and fruitful (Isaiah 51:3, Amos 9:13–15, Ezekiel 36:29–30, Isaiah 11:6–9)
As for the Jews;
All Israelites will be returned to their homeland (Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 23:8; 30:3; Hosea 3:4-5, Zechariah 10:6)
God will seek to destroy all the nations that go against Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:9, Isaiah 60:12)
Israel and Judah will be made into one nation again (Zechariah 11:12-14, Ezekiel 37:16-22)
The Jewish people will experience eternal joy and gladness (Isaiah 35:10, 51:11, Ezekiel 16:53)
Nations will recognize the wrongs they did Israel (Isaiah 52:13–53:5, Zechariah 12:8)
The peoples of the world will turn to the Jews for spiritual guidance (Zechariah 8:23)
The ruined cities of Israel will be restored (Ezekiel 16:55)
The Temple will be rebuilt (Ezekiel 40) resuming many of the suspended mitzvot (commandments)
The Messiah will be a messenger of peace (Isaiah 2:4), this is opposite to the Christian messiah who said “…It is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword!” (Matthew 10:34). Another point to ponders is that the Messiah talked about in the Tanakh will not be God (John 10:30, 38, 14:11), instead God will put His ruach (spirit) on this man giving him understanding, knowledge and the ability to counsel (Isaiah 11:2). This power provided by God will bring justice to the nations (Isaiah 42:1) and destroy the wicked (Isaiah 11:4). This is contradictory towards the Christian messiah whose world view was more diplomatic. We see this in Mark 12:17 where he tells us to “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” Once the “true” Messiah is established other nations will look towards him for guidance (Isaiah 2:4). Obviously this did not happen while the Christian messiah was on earth. In Christianity the “work around” for this is to say there is a “second coming”. Yet, this “second coming” is completely absent from the pages of the Tanakh. So in order for this concept to be in the bible Christianity added it to their New Testament (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, 2 Peter 3:1-16, and Revelations).
The Book of Daniel
Many look towards the Book of Daniel when it comes to the “End Days”. John the Apostle certainly did this in writing his book of Revelations2. In Daniel 11:31-45; 12:1-13 it talks about a time of terror that marks the end. In reading it, one finds these end days could fit into many pivotal eras in human history. Still many more feel it is talking about a time frame that has not happened yet. Actually the background to the book was the persecution of the Jews by the Greek king Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 167-164 BCE3. If you read these two chapters you will find that they line up with the book of the Maccabees. This took place about 400 years after Daniel’s prophecy. Danial conveys a lot and he does it with symbolism. Chapter 7 also goes into detail about the “End days” but when you read the entire chapter you will find Daniel’s vision is explained by an angel and it will fit into the passages outlined by this article.
(3) Levine, Amy-Jill (2010). “Daniel”. In Coogan, Michael D.; Brettler, Marc Z.; Newsom, Carol A. The new Oxford annotated Bible with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books : New Revised Standard Version. Oxford University Press.