Up to July 2018, tourist information said that Hebrew and Arabic were the official languages of the State of Israel, with English as a semi-official language. On the other hand, some saw only Hebrew as the official language in the future on the basis that Israel is not a multi-national country.
This Jewish view became law in July 2018 when the Knesset passed a new Basic Law – the controversial ‘nation state’ Law, link. Some key points:
Israel is the Jewish nation-state
Israel as the national home of the Jewish people
Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel
The state’s official language is Hebrew
The Arabic language has a special status in the state
Under certain arrangements, Arabic can still be used in state institutions
Apart from being the official language, there are other reasons why Hebrew is important today. One obvious reason is that a knowledge of the original text enriches a modern Bible translation. Another reason for studying Hebrew is found in Bible prophecy, which says that this ancient Canaanite language will soon be a common language in the Middle East, and especially in the Millennial Age to come:
In that day five cities in the land of Egypt will speak the language of Canaan (Isa 19.18) For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they may call on the name of the LORD (Zeph 3.9)
Here, prophecy clearly says that God will revive this ancient language as we approach the end of the age. This is amazing and unique in that Hebrew is the only ancient language that has survived into the modern era. In addition, Hebrew is a language known for its mind-boggling numeric and prophetic values, link.
An Example of the Ancient Hebrew Language
Most of the text in the Dead Sea Scrolls is written in ancient Hebrew.
Biblical (or Ancient) Hebrew is the archaic form of the Hebrew language and is best-attested in the Hebrew Bible (comprising 24 books). It is a Canaanite Semitic language spoken by the Israelites in Canaan. But as the Jews were scattered amongst the nations, spoken Hebrew gradually became confined to the reading of the Torah in the synagogues. It became the language of scholars and the scriptures, and in Jesus’ day Hebrew was the language of liturgy in the Temple. In fact, it is widely accepted that Jesus’s “everyday” spoken language would have been Aramaic, link.
So how does Modern (secular) Hebrew differ from biblical Hebrew? Just as the Ancient Greek of the New Testament differs from Modern Greek, so biblical Hebrew differs noticeably from Modern Hebrew, the national language spoken in modern-day Israel. But the differences are mainly in the areas of grammar, phonology, and vocabulary. Also the pronunciation of some of the consonants and vowels have changed over the centuries, but this does not affect the meaning of words and so speakers of Modern Hebrew can typically read an ancient text without difficulty, link.
Today, Hebrew is spoken by some 90% of those who who arrived before 1989, link, link. This is quite remarkable since there is no other example in world history of an ancient language being revived as the spoken language of a modern nation. The restoration of biblical Hebrew to a modern day spoken language is a unique historical phenomenon, link. Like the restoration of Israel into their Promised Land, the restoration of biblical Hebrew is yet another sign of the God of Israel blessing His people.
Have a Look at the Hebrew Alphabet (Alephbet)
The English word “Alphabet” is derived from the first two letters of the Greek Alphabet; Alpha and Beta. The corresponding term in Hebrew is “Alephbet”, this being derived from the first two letters of the Hebrew Alephbet; Aleph and Bet. Figure 1 shows this Ancient Hebrew alphabet. It has 22 consonants and no vowels (the vowels are dots and dashes added above and below the consonants). The letters are in alphabetical order, written from right to left. Alef is the first letter of the Alephbet and Tav is the last.
Click on the image below to learn the Hebrew Alephbet. Listen to letter pronunciation and how to pronounce simple sentences.
Most people have heard how the people of Israel were taken miraculously out of Egypt and away from the oppression of Pharaoh. To remember this event the religious people of Israel celebrate an annual feast called “Passover” (remembering how God’s angel ‘passed over’ the houses of Israel in Egypt and only struck the houses of the Egyptians). In fact, this is just one of seven annual Jewish festivals or feasts mentioned in the Old Testament.
But are these festivals or feasts really important in the 21st century? Are they of interest to Gentile nations?
Why concern ourselves with Old Testament Jewish festivals?
These festivals are important today for two basic reasons:
1. They are vitally important to the people of Israel today (today’s ancestral “Jews”) since the God of Israel says so! God told Moses to instruct the people of Israel in the way of seven holy feasts (Lev 23). These are specific times in the Jewish year which are set apart to Elohim (God) in order to read and understand His laws and then apply them in their lives. So today’s Jewish festivals are really feasts of the LORD (Lev 23.2) – God’s feasts. They have a deep spiritual significance, and some are “statutes for ever” and go on into the next age on this earth.
2. That leads us to the second reason why the feasts are important today. There is a hidden meaning (a coded message) embedded in the seven feasts conveying a message for all mankind. The feasts are not solely for the Jews. It speaks of how God deals with all mankind throughout this age and into the next (the Millennium). In fact, some of the feasts are mandated for both Jew and Gentile in the Millennial period, as in the Feast of Tabernacles:
Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths (Zechariah 14 verse 16)
So Israel’s festivals (feasts) today are full of deep significance to both Jew and Gentile and should not be ignored.
At the end of this age there will be dramatic changes in the appearance of the sun and the moon. God says:
I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes (Joel 2.30,31)
This refers to the traumatic days and astronomical signs just prior to the Second Coming of Christ. Exactly what causes these events is not revealed.
In recent years there has been much interest in so-called “blood moons” as caused by the earth passing between the sun and the moon (a lunar eclipse). Such events are entirely predictable, see NASA lunar eclipses. But the events prophesied in the book of Joel seem unpredictable and sudden. Moreover, unless the present astronomical order is changed, Joel is probably not describing simultaneous solar and lunar eclipses since this is impossible, link.
Let’s look at those predictable blood moons. Some believe that even predictable events like this can be used by God as a sign of His interventions in world affairs, and especially in the affairs of Israel. There is special interest in the times when four consecutive lunar eclipses are all total eclipses, an event known as a tetrad.
There are eight tetrads in the 21st century, and two have already passed, link. Moreover, history shows that when the tetrad dates are close to, or coincide with the dates of Jewish festivals (God’s appointed feasts), then this may be a special sign or warning to Israel. Sometimes very serious events happen around these dates. So let’s first consider Israel’s appointed feasts.
Israel’s Feasts and Israel’s Blood Moons
Some of Israel’s feasts clearly continue beyond the end of this age and into the Kingdom age, the millennium. So, in passing, we might ask ‘Why are Israel’s feasts often overlooked by the church?’ Take for example Pesah (Passover). God instructed Israel to keep Pesah forever:
Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance (Exod 12.14)
Of course, Christ used His last Passover meal (Mat 26) to inaugurate the New Covenant to be made through His crucifixion, and Christians celebrate this in the Easter Eucharist (Holy communion) rather than through the Jewish Passover. Are Messianic Jews to obey Exod 12.14, or are they to accept Christ as the Passover Lamb? The answer is ‘both’. Yeshua’s Supper is temporary in nature – celebrated until He comes (1 Cor 11.26) – but the Passover is celebrated in the millennium, after Christ has come (Ezek 45.21), link.
As with the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles was also decreed a ‘statute forever’ (Lev 23.41), and so we read that this feast continues into the Kingdom age, the millennial reign of Christ:
And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall … keep the Feast of Tabernacles (Zech 14.16)
Clearly, God requires at least some of Israel’s feasts to continue today and through into the next age on earth – the Millennium. They are certainly not past their sell-by date; they are incredibly relevant! So when we find some feasts synchronized in time with blood moons (often to the day), especially with tetrads (four consecutive total lunar eclipses), we might ask, “Is this a strange coincidence or is it planned by the God of Israel?” Is God’s synchronized celestial timing telling man – and especially Israel – that something very significant for Israel is to happen around that date?
Alignment of Israel’s Feasts with Blood Moon Tetrads: Warnings to Israel?
Not all tetrads appear significant for Israel. For instance, nothing of real significance happened in Israel around the 1927-1928 tetrad, link. But then none of the blood moons coincided with a Jewish feast, link. But occasionally, all four blood moons in a tetrad coincide with the start e.g. Pesach I, or close to the start, of the feasts of Pesach (Passover) or Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).
Consider the following tetrads from NASA [Format: blood moon date (Jewish feast and date)].
Here, the blood moons did not align exactly in time with the start of Pesach and Sukkot, link. Nevertheless, we can ask, ‘What happened to the Jews around this time?’ Answer: During 1492, in Grenada (Spain) the razing of the Jewish quarter was ordered by King Ferdinand, and the Church called for the expulsion of Jews from Spain. In 1493 some 37,000 Jews had to leave Sicily, and in 1494/95, Jews suffered in Poland, Lithuania and Italy, link. So this tetrad saw Europe-wide persecution of the Jews.
Here, there is near perfect alignment of blood moon and festival dates. So what happened to Israel around this time? Answer: the 1948-49 Arab-Israeli War, when five Arab armies (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq) invaded Israel. Armistice agreements were signed February-July 1949, link, resulting in the UN “Green Line” – simply a temporary, armistice line and not a border. Ever since, there have been repeated Palestinian demands for Israel to return to this so-called ‘border’.
Again, there is near perfect correspondence of dates. What happened to Israel around this time? Answer: the Six-Day War of June 5–10, 1967, when the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon (and later Iraq) attacked Israel. Their goal was “to wipe Israel off the map”, but instead Jews gained full access to all of Jerusalem – the fist time in nearly 2,000 years! A few months later an Arab summit conference formulated the Arab consensus that underlay the official policies of most Arab states for the next two decades and beyond: “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.”
There is near perfect correspondence of dates. In addition, this tetrad is rather unique in that it spans a Shemittah (sabbatical) year, starting 25-09-2014 and ending 13-09-2015. This is a time of rest for Israel’s agriculture and a time for strengthening bonds with God. Since past tetrads have been difficult times for Jews, the Shemittah year is timely! When ancient Israel observed sabbatical years God provided enough food in the sixth year for three years (Lev 25.20,21)! He is still the same God who provides for those who keep mitzvot (God’s commands).
What happened around this time? Many regarded the time around Sukkot 2015 as the start of the third Intifada (Palestinian uprising) against Israel. Early October saw the start of unprovoked stabbings of Israeli citizens, link, link.
Here, only the blood moons in 2033 coincide with Pesach and Sukkot. But the time alignment is closer than for the 1493-94 tetrad. So again, this may be a crucial time for Israel and for the world. For instance, NASA says there is a remote possibility of a huge asteroid impact in 2032, and the Bible suggests such an impact in Rev 8.8. On the other hand, since 2032 is rather distant, Christ may have returned by then anyway!
TAGS FOR ISRAEL’S BLOOD MOONS
For in-depth discussion, see for example Pray4Zion
For the Jewish Calendar for a specific year, see for example Calendar_1 or Calendar_2
For NASA blood moon dates, and tetrads, see for example NASA_tetrads
End-time Blood Moons
As already noted, the prophet Joel described major disturbances in the sun and the moon immediately prior to the return of Christ. Jesus also said that there will be cosmic disturbances just prior to His return to earth:
The sun and the moon will not give their light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven (Mat 24.29,30)
No blood moon here – but look at the traumatic times just prior to this:
There was a great earthquake; the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to earth (opening of the sixth seal, Rev 6.12,13) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood (cosmic disturbances visible in Israel, Joel 2.31)
Do these prophecies indicate a simultaneous solar and lunar eclipse? No, at least not according to the present astronomical order. The sun-moon-earth alignments are distinctly different for the two eclipses; a total solar eclipse can only happen at a new moon when the moon passes between the sun and the earth (sun-moon-earth alignment), whereas a total lunar eclipse can only happen on a full moon (sun-earth-moon alignment). So, since the lunar cycle is about 29.5 days, the minimum amount of time that can possibly occur between a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse is two weeks, link.
Let us assume that the current astronomical order is undisturbed and so discount simultaneous eclipses. There may be some other astronomical reason for the sun darkening and the moon turning to blood. Note that Mat 24 and Rev 6 both refer to ‘stars falling from heaven’ (meteorites?). And in Rev 8 we read of ‘a great mountain burning with fire’ being thrown into the sea, and ‘a great star falling from heaven burning like a torch’ (asteroids?). Some argue that it could be these cosmic impacts upon the earth that cause the possibly simultaneous darkening of the sun, and the reddening of the moon. Huge impacts, possibly related to the great earthquake of Rev 6, could cause massive and long-lasting atmospheric disturbances on earth. It has also been proposed that a simultaneous solar and lunar eclipse might occur in the presence of a large asteroid (or near earth object), link.
Conclusion: End time blood moons as in the Joel and Revelation prophecies may not be created by lunar eclipses, but rather by prophesied earth impacts from space. Having said that, the present astronomical order predicts that between 2016 and 2030 there will be a total of twelve more total lunar eclipses (full blood moons) visible in different parts of the world, link.
Some Jewish customs allude to major world events in the near future. They act like parables, giving clues and pointers to events in the future. Jesus Himself spoke in parables about a coming kingdom on this earth – the Kingdom of God. According to prophecy, Jesus will soon meet His true church “in the air” and He will soon be “King over all the earth”, governing firmly from Jerusalem with a “rod of iron”. Let’s consider two of these customs which point to these momentous events.
The Jewish Chair Dance (the ‘Hora’)
The Jewish wedding and the chair dance … an allusion to the Resurrection?
A Jewish wedding is not complete without the famous chair dance. The bride and the groom sit in chairs carried up in the air by the guests and the bride meets her husband “in the air”. Bride and groom are connected with a piece of cloth.
This is a familiar imagery for readers of the New Testament. The book of Thessalonians says that Christ will be like a bridegroom meeting his bride (the church) up “in the clouds” at the end of this age:
“Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thes 4.17)
Spiritually speaking, the bride is “connected” to the bridegroom since individual believers (forming the church) are indwelt by the Spirit of Christ. Christ then returns to this earth with resurrected believers to reign as King during the Millennium. Is this pure coincidence, or purposeful injection of imagery into Jewish customs?
Bread Making – Rising Dough
The Jewish tradition of high-rising bread dough evokes the coming kingdom that will fill the whole earth
Jews have an excellent reputation for making good bread. The soft, chewy New York bagels, the nutty pretzels and many other baked delights have been mastered by this people. It is noteworthy that the Bible is replete with text related to bread. The coming kingdom of God is likened to a woman’s dough that rose and rose from a simple batch of flour and leaven. The Kingdom of God is said to be a kingdom that will “fill the whole earth”:
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea (Isa 11.9)