(by Christopher Fredrickson)
Over the past several years, as a radio show host, I would often get several individuals send me blog posts, youtube videos, or some sort of interpretation why the end is near. Sadly, when I was a part of the "two house" movement I even had people on my radio show as guests who were big names in the Hebrew Roots movement setting dates for that very year. Many of these interviews go back to 2010, 2011, by 2012 I wised up.
Now the Bible says, many times that we have a job to expose the false prophets, however we are also required to act on chesed (loving kindness) before we do so and to show grace. For this reason I am not mentioning any names (except for one who said "If I am wrong, then expose me as a false prophet"). Many will want me to name all the names, but if I did that then I would be acting out with my yetzer hara (evil inclination) and therefore, I as well would be a teacher whom you shouldn't trust if I acted through the yetzer hara. The reason for this, in Jewish thought is because then I wouldn't be acting to glorify Hashem but rather I would be acting in a way that exemplifies ego, haughtiness and the antithesis of the attributes that Hashem has placed within the divine spark he put within us all. I am simply making the point that we have a real credibility problem in the Messianic faith that needs to be corrected.
Date and season time stamping of the return of the Messiah is nothing new, this was happening during the Crusades, it happened during the time of Nero, it happened in every war that had ever happened in history, despite the region of the world it took place. Given that the prophecies in the Bible are written on the sod level of interpretation, it is so easy to take natural inclinations of man, and natural events and say "this was prophesied". I remember when I was 21 years old, September 11th was marked by many as being the start of the "Great Tribulation". Every hurricane, major earthquake, war, medical condition; you name it, has been marked as a sign by many. In recent times, school shootings, public policy, and even the Olympics have been signs by these individuals as "a sign of the end".
Now I have to ask, Is Hashem worried more about how much you cling to Him, and how well you progress in your faith to the best of your ability? Or do you get a big gold star in the Olam Haba that says, "good job you got the date right"? From what I can see from the Scripture and Jewish thought, Yeshua, our Messiah said he didn't even know the date. So if our Messiah didn't even know the date, then how can we be so arrogant to think we can?
There were hundreds making predictions for September 23rd 2015, as there has been every single fall season since I have been pursuing observance. Every year, new YouTube videos go up with predictions being made and central figures who have "figured it out". This year we had the Shmitah and the Blood Moons debacle.
In 2010 a prominent teacher made a sweeping prediction that Gog and Magog were going to happen in October of that year based on his Muslim Karaite calendar that is always off schedule. He has made several predictions based on his calendar and none of them have ever happened. Apparently the same teacher has had the same issue for years, the same teacher in 2000 was booted from the Prophecy Club for date setting and for other activities going on behind the scene. Former friend of this very same teacher even made this prediction in 1993 hoping that people would forget about it:
"The Middle East Peace Accord of 1993 started the 70th week of Israel. Therefore, I am warning others to look for specific events to occur in 1996 and 1997 consistent with the timeline and the center event of the 7-year period, the Abomination of Desolation. To that end, I am preparing and warning others that the Great Tribulation spoken of by Daniel and Yeshua will begin Feb/Mar of 1997. These dates were set by God when He started the 70th week. Because I teach people to look for specific things, I am criticized as a "datesetter." But in defense of the argument, I remind people that I didn't make the Middle East Peace Accord of 1993 happen, nor did I select the Feast of Booths by the mouth of Zechariah. I am drawing a conclusion based on a Scriptural understanding. Further, I have openly called all men to examine my words and scrutinize them. If what I say does not happen, then brand me as a false prophet, listen to me no more, and heap the ridicule on to prevent others from making the same mistake. But I would remind you in accordance with the Scripture not to despise a prophetic utterance until it has been proven false. The irony of this whole situation is stunning. I call for the testing of all prophets. I have made my message and its measurement clear. If the altar is not stopped in Feb/Mar of 1997 in Jerusalem, then throw me on the trash heap. But if the altar service is stopped 3 1/2 years after the peace agreement, will you then trust God to deliver you? Will you believe the other prophecies that follow?"
(Monte Judah: Yahvoh Magazine, February 1996)
Somehow false teachers like Monte Judah do not seem to learn their lessons. Every year Monte claims "in about 2 weeks the alter is going to be built in Jerusalem"......never happens. Just like his prophecy that in 2013 Prince Charles was going to be revealed as the anti-messiah. The list goes on and on. One of Monte's best friends stays in step with him with his podcast "The 5 minute update" making weekly predictions of end times events and like Monte Judah, saying, "Any day now".
This has become so common in our faith that most teachers in the Messianic faith set dates because they want that publishing deal, they want to be featured on TBN to display their secret knowledge, they want World Net Daily to make them a contributor to make prophecy columns and release a DVD about their prophecies. These individuals have no clue the harm they are doing and have done.
These actions cause many to fall away from the Messiah because so many are thoroughly convinced that these teachers were given a message from G-d. When we confuse G-d with our own self perceived intelligence and proclamations from within. It is a clear sign that we are not doing what it is G-d has commanded us to do. Which is to actually talk with him, in deep prayer without ceasing. Yet DVD and CD teachings on hitbodedut do not sell, because people have been conditioned to want the secret knowledge. The forbidden fruit from the tree in the Garden. We have been conditioned to think we are on a higher madrega if we can just get a round about time period right, then we think we will receive special favor from G-d. Friend, the fact is though knowledge should be pursued, chochmah and da'as are wonderful things, they are not what brings us favor with Hashem. Sometimes we worship our own brains, our own minds and we worship the letters on a page as opposed to the Creator of Heaven and Earth himself. We tend to play Dr House and that we have to put together the puzzle pieces of the forbidden fruit. And let me tell you, it is the job of the yetzer hara to put your trust in other things than the Holy One of Israel. We must battle the yetzer hara every day of our life, this is why we have our morning prayers. How is it that we can expect to identify the manifestation of the adversary on earth when we cannot even identify the adversary within? There is a famous story in the Talmud that warns us of this very thing:
Our Rabbis taught: Four men entered the ‘Garden’, namely, Ben ‘Azzai and Ben Zoma, Aher, and R. Akiba. R. Akiba said to them: When ye arrive at the stones of pure marble, say not, water, water! For it is said: He that speaketh falsehood shall not be established before mine eyes. Ben ‘Azzai cast a look and died. Of him Scripture says: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. Ben Zoma looked and became demented. Of him Scripture says: Hast thou found honey? Eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it. Aher mutilated the shoots. R. Akiba departed unhurt. (Chagigah 14b)
Here we had several rabbis, the brightest minds of their time, they entered into the sod level of the PaRDeS, which is the highest level. The level of prophecy and mysticism. And out of all 4 of these great rabbis, only one departed unhurt. Should this not be a warning to us?
Theological Insights from Rabbi Eved Banah at Beit Geulah in Morganton, NC (www.BeitGeulah.com)