And they of the South shall possess the mount of Esau, and they of the Lowland the Philistines; and they shall possess the field of Ephraim, and the field of Samaria; and Benjamin shall possess Gilead. And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD’S. Ovadia

We are living in the messianic age. According to Mishnah Sanhedrin, “There is no difference between this world and the messianic era, except for subjugation to kingdoms.” Rambam also supported that commonsensical view: a messiah is the man who delivers Israel from the Exile: “Do not imagine that the messianic king needs to give signs, perform miracles… or resurrect the dead. Rabbi Akiva and the wise men did not ask King Ben Koziba for a sign or a miracle.” Some sages endowed the messiah with supernatural features, but arguably they did so to discourage Jews who long for delivery from running after every self-proclaimed messiah, endangering Jews as a whole. Rambam too, imagined some almost supernatural consequences of the messiah, such as lasting peace and honest religiosity, but for the most part, a messiah for him was characterized by gathering Israel in the Promised Land and attempting to rebuild the Temple.

Gathering is the critical part. Jews have attempted several times to rebuild our state during the 1,900 years of the Exile, but only the most recent attempt successfully gathered the Jews from the Diaspora communities. The 2,500-year-old Jewish communities in Babylon, Syria, Libya, and Egypt are no more. Only in the late twentieth century did the Gentile dominance over the Jews end. Only in 1947 was a Jewish country created in conformity with the Talmud, by UN decision, without the Jews rioting against other nations.

The messiah will fight Esau. The suggestion is rather strange, as he was never a significant enemy of the Jews. Today, our major enemies are the Arabs, our cousins, the children of Esau.

Enigmatically, the messiah “will smite the head of all the descendants of Seth” (Numbers 24:17). The problem is that all of humanity has descended from Seth through Noah, including the Jews. So there is an interpretation that the messiah will fight the entire world. That’s something Israel might be eventually forced to do, but perhaps a simpler explanation is that the prophet Balaam meant the Egyptian deity Seth. Modern Israel does have considerable problems with Egypt.

Israel reached the proportions of Zechariah 9:10: “from (Red) sea to (Mediterranean) sea, and from (Jordan) river to the land’s end (the Mediterranean shore).”

The Exodus took place. Jews have left Europen and Arab countries for Israel. Those who refused to rise and go immediately perished in the Holocaust. Like in the first Exodus, in the second one almost an entire generation perished, unable to reach the Promised Land; they died in Europe rather than in the Sinai.

The renegade Jews have perished: the Samaritans number mere hundreds, and Reform Jews assimilate quickly. Scores of blind leaders—abominable Jewish community bosses and atheist rabbis—arose to lead the blind into the pit of assimilation. The scale of the devastation of Diaspora Jewry in America, Canada, and Europe, comparable only to the Holocaust in the silence of its victims and disregard of its Judenrat leaders, leaves no doubt about the divine plan.

Jewish influence is at its peak worldwide. About 40 percent of American billionaires are Jewish. Their influence has peaked, as Jewish moguls increasingly dissociate themselves from their Jewishness.

Nations have turned to Jewish values. Almost the entire civilized world considers itself monotheistic. Quite every cultured person envisages God in abstract terms rather than as an anthropomorphic deity. Republican democracy, the preferred social order around the world, is laid out in the Torah: You shall not follow the majority to evil; presumably, you must follow them to what the Torah considers good. Animal rights groups promulgate rabbinical notions of minimal suffering during slaughter. Slavery, harshly curtailed in the Torah, is abolished. Enemies are treated with moderation and a sense of justice.

As the sources put the messianic era at 210 years—or at any rate, a very long period—the messiah seems to be a collective image. Sages, indeed, understood the messianic Isaiah 53 chapter as referring to Israel collectively. So we don’t need to imagine an unsavory Jew such as Ben Gurion as a messiah. In every recent generation we have had a dead militant Messiah from the house of Joseph: Meir Kahane, Avraham Stern.

God never performs clear-cut miracles. The parting of the Reed Sea evidently left a good number of Jews unconvinced, as they soon complained of the lack of food and water. Indeed, that miracle looked like anything but a miracle: the eastward wind, blowing all night, pushed shallow waters from the reed swamp and made it crossable on foot, while still impassible for the Egyptian heavy chariots, which, the Torah says, were stuck in the mud and lost their wheels. The Purim miracles were even more sublime: of his entire harem, the Persian despot became madly attracted to his old Jewish wife—who surely looked sorrowful after a three-day fast—and followed her whims. The Israeli victories in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973 can be logically explained by peculiar military circumstances. After all, even a coin thrown up into the air can land on its edge. But after Yitzhak Shamir agreed to the Madrid Conference, which was the beginning of the giveaway of Judea to the Arabs, thirty-nine SCUD missiles hit Israel—the maximum number of lashes under the Torah’s law. Like under lashes, no one died from the Iraqi missiles.

The Torah tells us to exterminate Amalek, but to evict the Canaanite nations—not kill them. God even promised to plant terror in their hearts so that they would flee from us. In 1948, 400,000 Palestinian Arabs took off from their land and fled the country for no rational reason.

The prophetic vision has exploded. Prophets were rare in biblical times—hardly two dozen in a thousand years—but recently the prophecy surged. There are a lot of credible accounts of prominent rabbis predicting the realized events. Some great ones predicted remote events, such as when Rabbi Nahman of Uman refused to conduct marriage ceremonies because the generation a hundred years from him would be better not born; that generation perished in Ukrainian pogroms and in the Holocaust. Rav Kaduri, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Bava Salia, and less prominent rabbis established their prophetic abilities beyond doubt.

Our times saw Cain’s curses being lifted. Anesthesia and advanced medical procedures help alleviate women’s pain during childbirth. Advances in agriculture mean that men no longer need to toil to the point of exhaustion for their sustenance. Health improvements have increased everyone’s life expectancy, and stem cells theoretically offer an almost unlimited life span.

History has always shamed those who predicted its end, and in no century was there a shortage of doomsayers. I’m not eager to join their ridiculed ranks, but there are some arguments beyond the claims of the Mayan calendar watchers that time runs faster now as the end of our cycle draws near. Even Rambam, though he quoted the Talmudic curse on those who calculate the end of times, offered his own estimate, which is now long expired.

God offered a forty-day grace period to Nineveh, and forty years to Judea after Israel was destroyed. Nineveh repented and survived, but Judea didn’t and perished. In the current Israel, Jews first rebelled against the divine will in 1967 when we failed to annex the land of Judea which God delivered into our hands miraculously. God slapped us with the Yom Kippur war, and saved us in it. Then we sinned irreparably by giving away Sinai, the Promised Land. Did 1978 start a forty-year countdown?

Deuteronomy 11:17 promises that God will close the heavens and there will be no rain if Jews refuse to heed his commandments – and indeed we have unprecedented drought for six years now.

There is a place in Esther 9 where, very unusually, four Hebrew letters are of non-standard size. The sages have long maintained that this is a prophecy. The four letters make the number 5-707, which is the Hebrew equivalent to the Gregorian year 1946-1947. That year ten Nazis were hanged in Nuremberg, and the transvestite Goring committed suicide. In Esther, Haman’s ten sons are hanged, and his daughter committed suicide, according to a midrash. To drive the point home to Jews, one of the Nazis, whose name does not deserve to be mentioned, screamed “The Purim 1946” at the gallows. In Esther 3, eleven months passed from the king’s order for the extermination of the Jews to their salvation; eleven years passed from the 1935 Nuremberg laws to the 1946 Nuremberg trials. In 1953, Stalin died during or just before Purim, days before the planned date that all Soviet Jews would be wiped out by transferring them to the coldest place in Siberia.

There are other strange correlations, including the number of Jews killed fighting for Jerusalem in 1967, the number of years between independence and capturing the Temple Mount (same as for King Jehoiakim), and many others. Every such oddity can be explained rationally—it is a matter of Jewish belief that God performs miracles without violating the laws of nature—but there are just too many coincidences.