Sunday, September 15, 2013

Prophet Isaiah and What He said About the End of Days and the Jewish People

Nadene Goldfoot                                                           

He will raise a banner for the nations and assemble the castaways of Israel; and He will gather in the dispersed ones of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

ISAIAH (11:12)

וְנָשָׂא נֵס לַגּוֹיִם וְאָסַף נִדְחֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּנְפֻצוֹת יְהוּדָה יְקַבֵּץ מֵאַרְבַּע כַּנְפוֹת הָאָרֶץ

ישיעהו יא:יב

ve-na-SA nays la-goy-EEM ve-a-SAFneed-KHAY yees-ra-ALE oo-ne-foo-TZOTE ye-hoo-DAH ye-ka-BAYTZ may-ar-BAH kan-FOTE ha-a-RETZ  (from  Jerusalem 365).

How long ago do you think this was written?  It was written by Isaiah, a Prophet who prophesied from Jerusalem from the time of the death of Uzziah or Azariah, King of Judah c 780-c740 BCE  until the middle of Hezekiah's reign King of Judah  from 740- 701 BCE  (maybe 720 -692 BCE).  That was about 2,738 years ago.  All this has come true!  

Isaiah was of a noble family and closely connected with the royal court. He may have been a relative to King David in this case.   Under King Hezekiah's reign, he was very prominent in public affairs.  In the end he was put to death by Manasseh, the king following Hezekiah.  Isaiah had been protesting about the country's moral laxity.  Kindness, pity, justice to the poor and underprivileged were more significant to G-d than offering sacrifices, he preached.

He even felt that the hand of G-d was predominant in all historical events, and said that Assyria served only as an instrument of Divine anger.  He was one to oppose all treaties with neighboring states.  Israel as the people of G-d had to learn to trust in G-d solely.  He said that the people of Israel would be punished for its sins but not exterminated and that a remnant would return and renew the link between G-d and the Land of Israel!  The first thing I think of is the Holocaust and the return of Jews to establish Israel.

Israel is the seer of eternal peace at the end of days when the Lord's Anointed shall judge the nations.  Hasn't Netanyahu begged Abbas to come to the peace table over and over again?  Strange how just as they've sat down to talk that Syria has taken over the limelight and worry of the world again, leaving the peace talks as a forgotten goal.

Scholars have divided his book between chapters 39 and 40.  From chapter 40 on seems to be written by Isaiah writing during the Babylonian exile of 522 BCE.  The first 12 chapters are prophecies to Israel and Judah and promises of a glorious future from 761 to 740 BCE. then in 721 BCE all attacks broke out when Shalmaneser V's siege of Samaria and its capture.   Then he wrote about visions concerning other nations.  After that he gets into apocalyptic prophecies on the future Day of Judgment.  He writes about the campaign of Sennacherib, a short apocalypse taking in a vision of Edom, historical chapters in prose describing the march of Sennacherib and the mission of Merodach Baladan, then chapters of consolation and the promise of future redemption.

This line is interrupted at chapter 52 (13-53:12) by the vision of the suffering Servant which is interpreted by most Jewish commentators as referring to the Jewish people.  Indeed, we had been suffering from the Assyrians and then by the Babylonians who stole away our 10 tribes of the 12.

The Christian church, which came along after the death of Jesus, interpreted that section as foretelling the Passion of Jesus.  Isaiah's prophecies of redemption and comfort have been of supreme importance to both Jews and Christians.

The people of Judah.:  Judah was one of the 12 sons of Jacob and his first wife, Leah. Jacob's name had been changed to Israel after wrestling with an angel and overcoming it.   It was the largest tribe and the strongest of the 12 tribes.  Israel had been divided in half when King Solomon died in 933 BCE and was the southern piece of the kingdom which included Jerusalem.  Israel was also often referred to as the Kingdom of Samaria.  When Jacob and his 12 sons had entered Egypt with their group of 70 persons, they were finally taken as slaves and kept in that condition for 400 years from the time of entrance at a time of drought in Canaan.  Now it is this exact location that the Palestinians wish to make exclusively theirs and turn it all into "Palestine" the name given to Eretz Yisrael by the Romans when they conquered Jerusalem in 70CE even though we have thousands of Jews living here as well, especially since the Arab's  defunct attack of 1967.  When Israel was created in 1948, the Jews had settled mostly on the Western side of the land where Tel Aviv lies due to the Ottoman Empire's rulings of where they could settle.  Jews were given the whole shmear in 1922 in the League of Nations decision.

Aaron and Moses were the sons of Amram and Jochebed.  Jochebed was the daughter of Levi, one of the 12 sons.  Amram was the son of Kohath, son of Levi.  Levi was Abraham's 3rd son by Leah and Judah was his 4th son by her.  So Aaron and his descendants were the designated Cohens in the religious rituals that Moses was to declare. His brother,  Levi was to be the helper and teacher in the rituals with his descendants to be known as the Levites.  Cohens became the first readers of the Torah on a Saturday (Shabbat) morning and Levites were the 2nd readers.  If there was no Cohen present, then the Levite was to start.

Israelites and Judah or Jews are mentioned as being part of the in-gathering to take place which is happening and has been going on for over the past 25 years already.  Nobody has said that a Jew must have the Y haplogroup of J1c3d exclusively.

 We are a mixture of the 70 Jewish people who entered Egypt and became  slaves  for 400 years and are now all mixed up with the other slaves that joined our group to be led out by Moses.  They all accepted the contract of abiding by the Laws of Moses who received them on Mt. Sinai.  It is enough that we all feel the same about G-d. Led by the 12 tribal leaders, we had become a nation.   There are people who have maintained the customs of rituals of Judaism from these thousands of years of waiting and have been accepted as Jews into Israel's family once again.  The yearning, knowledge and feeling has been enough of a proof for our rabbis.

What other people would want to join up with Jews who have been hated and persecuted all this time unless they were Jews themselves?  We are people who are threatened by atomic bombing, chemical warfare and plain old horrible mortars, missiles and rockets that fall on us like rain in southern Israel, along with stone throwers and people who spit out their hatred  of us like a rattlesnake.

 Just ask the Anusim, Jews who have known then were Jews since 1492 of the Spanish Inquisition.  Though they have had to keep their religious practices and feelings as secret or risk the pain of death for the past 521 yearss, they did not falter in passing their religion onto their descendants.  Of all our Jews, they have been the most diligent in not forgetting and keeping the faith in my estimation.  They deserve front row seats.

 In Russia and Germany we were were exposed to other people and ideas  though in Italy we were in ghettos that locked us up at night and in Russia were kept in the Pale of Settlement which also had other people residing there as well. These Jews, of which my ancestors were a part of, were so put down and treated like drek (filth)  that when they got to the Golden Medina, America, they just lived and some forgot just who they had been.  That unfortunately was followed up and magnified by a lot of anti-Semitism.  The effect on a few was to drive them into communism with its partner,  aetheism.  For others, they just worked to be the best of whatever they had talent for so as to forestall the inevitable forced dismissal from that country.

So indeed, we are the castaways; a people who have survived the ravages of time, still believing in one G-d only.  My, how Moses impressed us!  We faltered time and again along the way, only to be pulled up by the nape of our necks to jump back on the horse and to get with the program.  But then, we've kept up this momentum for 3,283 years.  How many religions have done that, pray tell?  And now we can look back in awe at the knowledge that Isaiah had and shake our heads in wonder.  For those who do not believe in any religious stuff, see if they can explain it.  Just what is time and history, anyway?

Reference:  The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Tanach, The Stone Edition, ArtScroll Series
Jersusalem 365 by Ilan Rosen

No comments:

Post a Comment