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The Jews and the Second Coming | Roy H. Schoeman | An excerpt from Salvation
Is From the Jews
How might the attacks against the Jews, particularly those of the past century,
relate to biblical prophecy about the role of the Jews in the Second Coming?
For the fact that Christ " will come again in glory, to judge the living
the dead", in the words of the Nicene Creed, is a dogma of the Catholic
faith.  It is attested to by the words of Jesus Himself, recorded numerous
times in the New Testament (Matthew 16:27; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; Matthew
24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27). As described in Matthew 24:30-3 1:
[T]hen all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the
Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory;
and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will
gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Although the fact of the Second Coming is certain, when it will come cannot
be known beforehand with certitude:
"But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in
heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Mark 13:32).
So when they [the disciples] had come together, they asked him, "Lord,
will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" He [Jesus] said
to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father
has fixed by his own authority" (Acts 1:6-7).
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 673, puts it:
Since the Ascension Christ's coming in glory has been imminent, even
though "it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has
fixed by his own authority" (Acts 1:7; cf. Mk 13:32).
Nonetheless, it will be preceded by certain signs that the wise will be
able to discern. In the verses immediately following the description of
the Second Coming quoted above, Jesus adds (Matthew 24:32-33):
"From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes
tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also,
when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates."
What are these signs? Some we know from the words of Jesus recounted in
It will be a time of great upheaval, of both wars between nations
and natural disasters (Matthew 24:7): "For nation will rise against nation,
and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in
There will be widespread hostility to Christianity (Matthew 24:9):
"Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, and put you to death; and
you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake."
There will be many false prophets (Matthew 24:11, 24): "[M]any false
prophets will arise and lead many astray... For false Christs and false
prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray,
if possible, even the elect. "
The "abomination of desolation" (understood by the Church Fathers
to be the Antichrist ) will stand in the "holy place" (Matthew 24:15,
31): "Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken
of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place ... then will appear
the sign of the Son of Man in heaven ... and they will see the Son of Man
coming upon the clouds of heaven with great power and majesty." 
The Gospel will have been preached to the whole world (Matthew 24:14):
"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world,
as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come."
In almost every period since these prophecies were made, there have been
those who have thought that these signs were fulfilled in their age and
that the Second Coming was immanent. The current age, too, has prompted
such speculation, for instance by Pope St. Plus X 'In 1903:
When all this [the widespread apostasy from. God] is considered there
is good reason to fear lest this great perversity may be ... perhaps the
beginning of those evils which are reserved for the last days; and that
there may be already in the world the "Son of Perdition" of whom the Apostle
speaks (II. Thess. ii., 3). Such, in truth, is the audacity and the wrath
employed everywhere in Persecuting religion, in combating the dogmas of
the faith, in brazen effort to uproot and destroy all relations between
man and the Divinity! [this] is the distinguishing mark of Antichrist.
The discussion that follows is not intended to "prove" that we are in the
last days. Many of the prophecies cited have multiple interpretations, and
it is certainly speculative to associate them with particular events of
our day. Yet some aspects appear to be being fulfilled in our times in unprecedented
Jerusalem will return again to Jewish hands shortly before the Second
Coming (Luke 21:24): "Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until
the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." (A description of the Second Coming
then follows in verses 25-28). Jerusalem was in the hands of Gentiles continuously
from the fall of the Jewish nation in A.D. 70 until it was recaptured by
the modern State of Israel in the 1967 war.
Sometime before the Second Coming, two-thirds of the Jews in "the
whole land" will be exterminated (Zechariah 13:8-9):
"In the whole land, says the LORD, two thirds shall be cut off and
perish, and one third shall be left alive. And I will put this third into
the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold
is tested. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say,
'They are my people'; and they will say, 'The LORD is my God.'"
In fact, during the Holocaust almost exactly two-thirds of Europe's Jews
perished (estimates vary between 60% and 72%). 
The Jewish nation will be reborn in a single day (Isaiah 66:5-8):
"Hear the word of the LORD.... Hark, an uproar from the city! A voice
from the temple! The voice of the LORD, rendering recompense to his enemies!
Before she was in labor she gave birth; before her pain came upon her
she was delivered of a son. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such
things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth
in one moment? For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her
This was quite literally fulfilled when on May 14, 1948, the modern State
of Israel was born in a single day following the passage of UN Resolution
181 partitioning "Palestine" into the Arab State of Jordan and the Jewish
State of Israel.
-Jews will be regathered to Israel from around the entire world. One such
prophecy is Ezekiel 36:22-28. Although often taken in a spiritual sense
as fulfilled at the first coming of Christ,  it might well also refer
to the Second Coming, for biblical prophecies frequently refer to different
events taking place in different epochs:
"Thus says the Lord God ... I will take you from the nations, and
gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land....
You shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers; and you shall
be my people, and I will be your God."
Similarly, Jeremiah 16:14-15 is typically seen as referring to the Jews'
return from exile in Babylon. Yet since Moscow lies precisely  due north
of Jerusalem, some see in it a reference to the current immigration to Israel
of Jews from Russia:
"Therefore, behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, 11 when it
shall no longer be said, 'As the LORD lives who brought up the people
of Israel out of the land of Egypt,' but 'As the LORD lives who brought
up the people of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries
where he had driven them.' For I will bring them back to their own land
which I gave to their fathers."
The current return of the Jews to Israel apparently even includes Jews from
the ten lost tribes. Over the past decade about 600 "B'nei Manashe", a tribe
from the Indian-Burmese border, have immigrated to Israel. These people
believe themselves to be the lost tribe of Manassah, exiled from Israel
by the Assyrians in 723 B.C. Their oral tradition speaks of the Patriarchs
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; they circumcise male children on the eighth day,
as required by Jewish law; use prayer shawls with fringes, as do Jews; practice
ritual purification as described in the Old Testament; and follow many other
ancient Jewish religious customs. Their priests use the Hebrew name of God
as it appears in the Torah ("Yahweh") and invoke Mount Sinai, Mount
Moriah, and Mount Zion. The Israel government is allowing them to immigrate
on the presumption that they are in fact the lost tribe of Manassah, while
continuing to investigate their claim. 
The new Jewish state shall be extremely prosperous (Isaiah 66:9-14):
"Shall I bring to the birth and not cause to bring forth?" says the
LORD; "shall 1, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?" says your God.
"Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice
with her in joy, all you who mourn over her.... Behold, I will extend
prosperity to her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an
overflowing stream ... ; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. You shall
see, and your heart shall rejoice; your bones shall flourish like the
grass; and it shall be known that the hand of the LORD is with his servants,
and his indignation is against his enemies."
The fight over the city of Jerusalem will cause a world war (Zechariah
12:1-3; also Joel 3:2 and Revelation 16:16):
"Thus says the LORD ... Lo, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of
reeling to all the peoples round about; it will be against Judah also
in the siege against Jerusalem. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy
stone for all the peoples; all who lift it shall grievously hurt themselves.
And all the nations of the earth will come together against it."
Most would agree that Jerusalem, as the focal point
of tensions in the Middle East, has become a "heavy stone for all the
peoples", and certainly all who have "come together against it" since
1948 have "grievously hurt themselves".
But Israel will be miraculously militarily
strong and able to successfully defend itself (Zechariah 12:6-9):
"On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a blazing pot in
the midst of wood, like a flaming torch among sheaves; and they shall
devour to the right and to the left all the peoples round about, while
Jerusalem shall still be inhabited in its place, in Jerusalem. And the
LORD Will give victory to the tents of Judah.... On that day the LORD
will put a shield about the inhabitants of Jerusalem so that the feeblest
among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall
be like God, like the angel of the LORD, at their head. And on that day
I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem."
There will be a widespread conversion of the Jews. As the Catechism
of the Catholic Church puts it: "The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended
at every moment of history until his recognition by 'all Israel,' for 'a
hardening has come upon part of Israel' in their 'unbelief' toward Jesus"
(Rom 11:20-26; Cf. Mt 23:39).  This has been the understanding ever since
the Church Fathers, for instance, St. Augustine: "In connection with the
last judgment, therefore, we who believe can be sure of the following truths
... the Jews will believe".  One of the scriptural sources for this
belief is Hosea 3:5: "Afterward the children of Israel shall return and
seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and they shall come in fear
to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days." Blessed Pope Pius IX
explicitly cited this passage as referring to the conversion of the Jews
in the end times. 
St. Paul's Letter to the Romans contains an extensive discussion of the
conversion of the Jews in the end times that will be explored at length
in the next chapter (Romans 11:25-26):
"Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this
mystery, brethren: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the
full number of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel will be saved."
Jesus Himself prophesied the conversion of the Jews prior to the Second
Coming when He said (Matthew 23:37-39):
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem.... Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate.
For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, 'Blessed is
he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"
Here Jesus is saying that he will not be seen again (i.e., the Second Coming
will not occur) until "you" (the Jews) say, "Blessed is he who comes in
the name of the Lord" (i.e., acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah).
Zechariah, too, foretold the conversion of the Jews when he said that they
would weep bitterly over one "they have pierced" (Zechariah 12:10):
"And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of
Jerusalem a spirit of compassion and supplication, so that, when they
look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns
for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a first-born."
The Antichrist, also known as the Son of Perdition, will make his
appearance (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4):
"Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come, unless
the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the
son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called
god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God,
proclaiming himself to be God."
This is further explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass though a final
trial that will shake the faith of many believers (Cf. Lk 18:8; Mt 24:12)
... in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution
to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme
religious deception is that of the Antichrist (Cf. 2 Thess 24-12; 1 Thess
5:2-3; 2 Jn 7; 1 Jn 2:18, 22). 
The Antichrist's appearance will be followed by the war to end all
wars, centered in the Holy Land. Just when it appears that evil has been
victorious, Christ will come in glory and bring victory. This is suggested
in a number of passages in both the Old and the New Testaments; most are
mysterious in nature and subject to multiple interpretations. A few of the
most commonly cited are:
Revelation 20:7-13: Satan will be loosed from his prison and will
come out to deceive the nations which are at the four corners of the earth,
that is, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like
the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad earth and surrounded
the camp of the saints and the beloved city; but fire came down from heaven
and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into
the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were,
and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Then I saw
a great white throne and him who sat upon it; from his presence earth
and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead,
great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also
another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were
judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done. And the
sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them,
and all were judged by what they had done.
This is one of Scripture's classic descriptions of Armageddon, the final
battle between good and evil, and the Second Coming. The Antichrist (the
"false prophet") will deceive
the nations of the earth and will launch war against Jerusalem ("the beloved
city"), appearing victorious until God directly intervenes, throwing the
enemy into hell ("the lake of fire and sulphur"), at which point Christ
will come in glory ("the white throne and him who sat upon it") to judge
the living and the dead.
Zechariah 14: 1-9: "Behold, a day of the LORD is coming, when ... I
will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city
shall be taken and the houses plundered.... Then the LORD will go forth
and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle.
On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives which lies before
Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from
east to west by a very wide valley; so that one half of the Mount shall
withdraw northward, and the other half southward ... and you shall flee
as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then
the LORD your God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day
there shall be neither cold nor frost. And there shall be continuous day
(it is known to the LORD), not day and not night, for at evening time
there shall be light. On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem....
And the LORD Will become king over all the earth; on that day the LORD
Will be one and his name one."
This is another depiction of the final battle, in which all of the nations
gather against and make war on Jerusalem and will be victorious until Christ
appears, directly intervening and bringing victory. That will then be the
end of the world as we know it (day and night shall end), and all will be
ruled by Christ. 
Related to the prophecies about the Antichrist and the final war is the
belief that prior to the Second Coming, the Temple in Jerusalem will be
rebuilt. This is based on an interpretation of Daniel 9-12, in which Daniel
9 refers to the Second Coming of Christ. Jesus Himself explicitly associates
this prophecy with the Second Coming in Matthew 24:15-30 (extracts):
When you see the desolating abomination spoken of through Daniel the
prophet standing in the holy place then those in Judea must flee to the
mountains ... for at that time there will be great tribulation, such as
has not been since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will
be. And if those days had not been shortened, no one would be saved, but
for the sake of the elect they will be shortened.... False messiahs and
false prophets will arise, and they will perform signs and wonders so
great as to deceive, if that were possible, even the elect.... Immediately
after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened and the
moon will not give its light ... and the powers of the heavens will be
shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven ...
and they will see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of heaven with
power and great glory.
Although the prophecies of Daniel are at times associated with other events,
 too, since Jesus explicitly applies them to the Second Coming, that
must be at least one of their intended fulfillments. The prophecies mention
the sacrifice ceasing and the temple being profaned; the Church Fathers
[interpret] this in a spiritual sense, to refer to a cessation of the Holy
Sacrifice of the Mass. But, it is conceivable that it might also have a
literal fulfillment, if the Temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt. And this
is now within the realm of possibility. In 1967, for the first time in almost
two thousand years, Jews regained possession of the Temple Mount, and there
are now organizations in Israel attempting to rebuild the Temple  Should
it be rebuilt on the Temple Mount, also claimed by Islam as a holy site,
it is not hard to envision how that in itself could precipitate the global
war known as "Armageddon".
As stated earlier, the purpose of this discussion is not to "prove" that
the Second Coming is near. Many of the proposed interpretations of the prophecies
are speculative. Yet cumulatively they suggest that the Second Coming takes
place at a time when the Jewish people have returned to Israel and formed
a Jewish nation. If this is, in fact, a precondition for the return of Christ,
the concerted efforts of the past century to eliminate the Jews and, failing
that, to destroy the nascent State of Israel, well might be part of a diabolical
attempt to prevent the Second Coming.
 Dogmas are "truths contained in divine Revelation ... in a form obliging
the Christian people to an irrevocable adherence of faith" Catechism
of the Catholic Church, no. 88.
 For instance St. Irenaeus, Irenaeus against Heresies, book 5
Chap. 25; Ante-Nicene Fathers, Roberts and Donaldson, eds. (Peabody,
Mass.: Hendricksen, 1995), 1:553-54, and St. Hippolytus, Treatise on
Christ and Antichrist, nos. 62-63; ibid., 5:218.
 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine translation (The Holy Bible,
Douay and Confraternity Version [New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 196.tj).
 E Supremi, October 4, 1903.
 For instance, the American Jewish Congress' 1955 estimate Of 72%
(Yad Vashem Bulletin, no. 10 [April 1961]) or that of the Encyclopedia
of the Holocaust of 60% (p. 1799, Table 1).
 For example, St. Cyprian in his Epistle LXIX, no. 1; Ante-Nicene
 A line drawn directly due north from Jerusalem passes within 100 miles
 Jerusalem Post Magazine, March 27, 2002.
 Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 674.
St. Augustine, City of God, bk. 20, chap. 30 (Garden City, N.Y:
Doubleday Image, 1958), p. 492.
 Letter written by Blessed Pope Pius IX to the Lemann brothers, February
14, 1877. Lemann brothers, Histoire Complete de l'Idee Messianique,
translated in Rev. Denis Fahey, The Kingship of Christ and the Conversion
of the Jewish Nation (Palmdale, Calif: Christian Book Club of America,
1993), p. 102.
 Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 675.
 Other relevant passages appear in Isaiah 66 and Ezekiel 38-39.
 Typically with the reign of Antiochus IV and with the first coming
of Christ. See for instance The New American Bible (New York: Catholic
Book, 1986), footnote to Daniel 9, p. 1035, and The Holy Bible, Douay
and Confraternity Version, note, p. 965.
 For instance, The Temple Institute, 36 Misgav Ladach St., Jerusalem
author, Roy H. Schoeman, was born in a suburb of New York City
of Conservative" Jewish parents who had fled Nazi Germany.
His Jewish education and formation was received under some of the most prominent
Rabbis in contemporary American Jewry, including Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg,
probably the foremost Conservative Rabbi in the U.S. and his hometown Rabbi
growing up; Rabbi Arthur Green, later the head of the Reconstructionist
Rabbinical College who was his religion teacher and mentor during high school
and early college; and Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, a prominent Hasidic
Rabbi with whom he lived in Israel for several months.
His secular education included a B.Sc. from M.I.T. and an M.B.A. magna cum
laude from Harvard Business School. Midway through a career of teaching
and consulting (he had been appointed to the faculty of the Harvard Business
School) he experienced an unexpected and instantaneous conversion to Christianity
which led to a dramatic refocus of his activities. Since then he has
pursued theological studies at several seminaries, helped produce and host
a Catholic Television talk show, and edited and written for several
Catholic books and reviews.
Visit Roy's website, which contains much more information about Salvation
is from the Jews, at www.salvationisfromthejews.com.
Fulfilled" | IgnatiusInsight.com interview with Roy H. Schoeman
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