Are Messiah’s Footprints in Sands of our Time?
By Chris Josephson
“…who is a chosen man that I may appoint over her? For who is like me?
And who will appoint me the time? And who is that shepherd that will stand
before me?” (Jer. 50: 44).
Interest in the coming of Messiah is on the rise. A gathering recently, held
by the Interfaith Encounter Association in Israel, had for their theme, “The
Messiah” from the perspectives of Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
Controversy swirls around the mystery of Messiah’s coming, and questions are
asked: “Who is He? What will He do? And when will He do it?”
In studying for this article, I found Jewish insights, exemplifying again
the truth of Deuteronomy 4:6, “…for this is your wisdom and your
understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these
statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and
Six million of these were marched to their death by the Nazi regime in World
War II. A song from their daily prayers spread through the camps and was
chanted by thousands. It asserted faith in the coming of Messiah when the
world will be redeemed from evil. The haunting melody is a blend of
resignation and triumphant faith:
Anachnu Mamenim –“We believe, we believe, we believe with
perfect faith, with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah! And though
he tarry, nonetheless so we believe, nonetheless do we believe.”
Regarding Messiah, the Jewish sage Radak wrote: “He will be accepted by
all and will have no need to proclaim his judgments loudly or demonstrate
The famous sage, Maimonides, wisely cautioned in his writings concerning
Messianic speculation: “There are some sages who say that Elijah’s
coming will precede the coming of the Messiah. All these and similar
matters a person cannot know how they will happen until they happen, for
these matters are undefined in the words of the prophets. Moreover, even
the sages have no established tradition regarding these matters, but only
their interpretations of the verses. There is therefore disagreement among
them concerning these matters” [Mishneh Torah, the Laws of Kings,
Traditional portrait of Maimonides from Ugolinus' Thesaurus Antiquitatum
Sacrarum, Venice, 1744. (Encyclopedia Judaica)
Maimonides went on to say: “Neither the order of the occurrence of these
events nor their precise detail are among the fundamental principles of the
faith. . . Similarly, one should not try to determine the appointed time for
the Messiah’s coming. . . Rather, one should await and believe….”
When this came from a man who lived in Medieval times (1135-1204) I wonder
why so many of our Christians theologians today can’t learn it!
In 1933, the year the Nazis came to power in Germany, a beloved Jewish sage,
Chofetz Chaim, passed away. He had said, ‘We are in the final stage of
the exile and very close to the messianic age of peace, unity, and
But he cautioned: ‘Let the reader not be misled by my saying we have
reached the end of days [nor] the exact moment of final redemption. That
time is surely hidden from us until the light of the Messiah’s salvation is
revealed. Generally, however, we can surely say we are in the period of “the
birth pangs of the Messiah” ! the birth pangs of redemption. . . We have no
way of knowing how long this era will last. . . .’ (from The Chofetz
Chaim Looks At Eternity).
We believers from the nations who are called Christians can learn from our
brother Judah that it is not wise to set times and dates of the Messiah’s
arrival nor to try to set dates for any of the prophetic events. We have
often warned in this publication to avoid seeking ‘teachers for our
itching ears’ (James 1:22) who spell out in outline form prophetic
events, “This, this, and then this ….”and historically, these are proven
wrong. We are often so guilty of the adage: Too heavenly minded for any
earthly good. It should be enough to know we are in the ‘times and
seasons’ before His coming to reign.
Word from Jerusalem for our day recommends: Our focus during this
difficult period of “birth pangs” should be on Torah study, prayer, and good
deeds that lead to love and unity. We should also strive to avoid words and
deeds that lead to strife and disunity, especially now, when there is so
much suffering and danger. [And quotes Deut. 29:81] “The hidden
things belong to HaShem, our G-d, but that which has been revealed is ours
and our children’s forever: to fulfill all the words of this Torah.”
(Root and Branch)
This admonition concerning the way we treat one another brings to mind words
of the poet S.Y. Agnon on Messiah. His parable concerns talking during a
synagogue service, which is disturbing to others.
Once a Brit Mila (circumcision ceremony) came up in our town. And it was
still the practice to circumcise in the synagogue. Old Prophet Elijah, whom
the Blessed Holy One had told: “By your life, the Jews aren’t making any
circumcisions unless you’re there to see it with your own eyes,” hurried to
It so happened that they were late in bringing the baby. In order that
the people shouldn’t fall to talking in the synagogue, they recited the
“Thirteen I Believes” before the “Alenu,” unlike ordinary days, when they
say the “I believes” after “Alenu.”
Just as Elijah was entering the synagogue, they were up to “I believe in
the coming of the Messiah.” In a pitch of exaltation the entire congregation
said as one man “and even if he tarry I will await his coming every day.”
Old Prophet Elijah saw this and said, “I will go and tell our True
After the circumcision Elijah took four swoops and was with our True
Messiah at the gates of Rome, where he sits fettered in iron chains
bandaging and unbandaging his sores.
Elijah said to Messiah, “Our True Messiah, if you could only see how the
community of Buczacz is waiting for you and looking forward to you, you
would throw off those chains and hurry to redeem them.” The Messiah heard
this and said, “I will go and see for myself.” He covered his sores with his
chains and covered his chains with his tatters and set out for our town.
On the way, he happened into a certain place when it was time for the
Minha Afternoon Service. He went into one of the synagogues to pray.
He found the cantor repeating the service aloud. Our True Messiah wanted
to hear where the cantor was, but he was unable to hear because of the
people who talk at prayer. Our True Messiah rattled his chains in anguish.
But the sound of the chains could not be heard because of the conversation
of those who talk during services.
Our True Messiah turned his face from them and from that synagogue and
from that town and returned to the gates of Rome.
And he is still sitting fettered in iron chains bandaging and unbandaging
his sores. And we sit with our sores waiting for him to come.
from the Hebrew by Moshe Kohn)
The Hebrew word, Chesed is interpreted to mean love
expressed in deeds which are the way to the Kingdom of Messiah.
While much Christian media – public and private – are consuming most of
their air time in discussions (and judging one another)
on what will be in the future (Example: “Are you Pre-, Post- or Mid-Trib”?)
we are missing the clear Bible plans for our private lives and
responsibilities now. Witness: the divorce rate! While we are
romancing the world, we’re overlooking “the girl next door”. The fact that
we are our brother’s keeper is an ancient truth that needs
And while the news is obsessed with political circuses, we are doing very
little or nothing about our full-time jobs, i.e., our personal daily
responsibilities over which we do have some control. We are obsessed with
trying to control that which is beyond our control (like the order of future
events) and forget the words of our Lord who said, “Inasmuch as you have
done [or NOT done] it to the least of these MY BROTHERS [That’s
Judah!] you have [or have not] done it unto ME.” (Matthew
25:31-46). That’s how much He cares!
These are footprints of Messiah in the sands of our time that are not only
dim, but often not there at all!
Is the timing of His coming linked with our acts now that are performed in
the Spirit of Messiah? And what is that spirit?
Unequivocally, it is LOVE. We all have the capacity to show love. We need to
let go of those things we can’t control, and focus on what we can DO
By this can we delay or hasten His coming? What did He mean when He said,
“When the Son of man comes shall he find faith on the earth”? It seems
to me the answer is in the following verse, “He spoke this parable unto
certain who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised
others” (Luke 18:8,9). And the Apostle James makes it clear in chapter 2
of his book: “…know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead”
Confusion comes from the doctrine of “going to heaven by works.” A popular
minister of the previous era of church history, James H. Spurgeon, said, “No
one is going to heaven by works but no one is going to heaven without
Confusion also comes with mixing the Kingdom on Earth with “heaven”. Our
place in the Kingdom is determined by our walk with Him now – not whether we
get to heaven or not.
Let’s delve a little more into the answers of those question asked at the
beginning of this article: Who is He? What will He do? And when will
He do it?
Please read Psalm 2 which is one of many scriptures that gives strong hints
of answers to these questions: At a time when the nations are raging over
right and wrong. A time when there is great enmity against His anointed;
against what the world perceives as bands and cords on human rights and
wants to break and cast them aside. Not having a clue to the true
understanding – that these are His laws of love to promote a life style of
happiness and prosperity.
At the time of this writing the rage is striking hard at God’s purposes for,
the sanctity of sex life; and it is rocking the boat of human reason.
The “bands and cords” of God’s love and compassion are given to save us from
certain pits of destruction. But we are responsible for choosing or
rejecting them. Are we listening?
From Psalm 2 we learn Messiah is God’s special King and Son and that nations
are admonished to “kiss” Him. Kiss? Kisses are for those we love. And true
love is based on respect. I cannot speak for you, but in the many years of
my life, I’ve found the Lord to be faithful to His Word that has given me
much love and happiness. Therefore, I can fully respect and love Him. He has
never disappointed me, though many of those who claim to follow Him have
done so – and though I, also, have many times disappointed them. It’s time
to take a reality check of ourselves. -
Please watch for an announcement of a new book: Judah, You are Not
Alone, I am Joseph Your Brother.