More than 1500 years ago, rabbis discussed many signs that would precede the coming of the Messiah and the inauguration of the messianic era. Last week, Jewish activist and founder of the Israel Dog Unit Yekutiel Ben Yaakov (Mike Guzofsky) delivered a talk in which he connected many of these ancient signs to current events. 

Here are ten of the messianic prophecies that Ben Yaakov understands are being fulfilled in our day.

 

1 Young will shame the old.

The Rabbis teach that, “In the generation when the son of David (a rabbinic reference to Messiah, son of David) will come, young people will shame the old.” Ben Yaakov argued that this was fulfilled with the oft-expressed opinion, particularly in the early stages of the virus, that since COVID-19 was only affecting the elderly, young people should not have their movements restricted. “So many people were prepared to sacrifice the old, just for a little bit of instant gratification and social needs. People were prepared to endanger the sick and the elderly,” he commented.

2 The passing of Biblical scholars

The Rabbis teach that, “In the generation when the son of David will come, the number of Torah scholars will decrease.” Ben Yaakov pointed out that a shockingly high number of Orthodox rabbis have lost their lives to the coronavirus. “It literally says that before Moshaich comes, you’re going to see all these rabbis dying,” he explained.

3 Costly sustenance

The Rabbis teach that, “The vine will produce its fruit yet wine will be expensive.” Ben Yaakov explained that, in Israel, local farmers are being forced to throw away produce because they can’t compete on price with imported produce. There’s plenty, but the prices they would have to charge to make a living are too high to sell. He also emphasized that food is available, but because of curfews and isolation, people can’t go to the stores easily to buy food. “The produce is there, but people can’t get to it,” he noted.

 

4 Sudden Poverty

The Rabbis teach, “He will not come until the perutah (a small coin of little value) has gone from the purse.” In other words, until people become poor. Ben Yaakov stated that we are beginning to see that happening. For people whose places of employment have been closed and where production has been restricted, there is no work and there are no salaries. So many people don’t have the financial stability to manage the global financial crisis connected to the coronavirus that governments are handing out grants to keep people afloat financially. 

He added, “Moshaich (Messiah) won’t come until we have a situation where we’re looking for basic food. We see empty shelves in Europe and around the world. He claimed that, in Italy, supermarkets and people delivering food are being robbed.

 

5 No government in Jerusalem

The Rabbis teach that, “The son of David will not come until the petty government has ceased from Israel.” Ben Yaakov elaborated, “Moshiach won’t come until there is no government in Israel. It’s unprecedented that there have been three elections and there is still no government.”

 

6 The face of a dog

The Rabbi teach that, “The face of the generation will be like the face of a dog.” Ben Yaakov interpreted this to mean that today’s leaders, “are populist politicians that are not leading, but following, like a dog on a leash that constantly looks back to its master. Leaders are saying what the public wants to hear, not what it needs to hear.” 

7 Waves of trouble

The Rabbis teach that, “Numerous troubles and harsh decrees will be constantly appearing anew. Before the first trouble is over, a second one will hasten to appear,” and “If you see a generation upon which numerous troubles come like a river, expect the Messiah.” Ben Yaakov compares these troubles to waves and noted that, “China is worried that the second wave (of the coronavirus) will be worse than the first.”

This is different from other viruses because contracting the virus doesn’t lead to immunity. “This is like no other virus that we’ve seen. The next wave will come and be worse than the first wave,” he said. “Tragedy is coming like a river that keeps flowing. That’s a sign that redemption is coming soon,” he explained.

 

8 Haste

The Rabbis teach that, “Three things come on the spur of the moment, and these are they: the Messiah, a lost object, and a scorpion.” Ben Yaakov noted that the lockdown happened so quickly that, “people have not had time to prepare themselves.”

 

9 Forgetting the Bible

The Rabbis teach that, “In the generation when the son of David will come, the number of Torah scholars will decrease,” and “Torah knowledge will be forgotten by its students.” All synagogues, yeshivot and Torah study halls have been closed and sit empty. “We see that as a clear sign that Moshiach is on his way,” Ben Yaakov said.

 

10 When God exacts revenge

Ben Yaakov spoke about how one of the clearest signs of the coming of the mesianic age is when “revenge is extracted against enemies of Israel”. He specified China, Iran and Italy, which he called, “the seat of [the anti-Semitic] Church.”

 

In introducing this lengthy list of signs, Ben Yaakov offered his listeners an encouraging message, “Hopefully we will not despair and we will understand that this has within it the potential right now, immediately, to bring geula (redemption),” he said.