A Retrospective: My Four-Year Career Reporting on Messiah and Why I Know It Is Happening
By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz December 18, 2018
Indeed, my God does nothing Without having revealed His purpose To His servants the Neviim.” Amos 3:7 (The Israel Bible™)
Four and a half years ago, I was hired by Breaking Israel News to write feature articles about the geula (redemption). It was a subject no other Jewish or Israeli news site covered and nine years of intensive study in yeshiva left me disturbingly unprepared to write about a subject so essential to my religion. The publisher, Rabbi Tuly Weisz, asked me if I would be able to find material for an article every day. How could I write a daily report on something the Jewish people been waiting for 2,000 years? Would my daily headlines read “Still Waiting”? Desperate for a job, I assured him I could though, in my heart, I doubted that seriously.
Nearly 2,000 articles have been posted since that first meeting and not a single headline has read “Still Waiting.” Shockingly, on only two occasions did I fail to find a geula article in time for the 9:00 AM meeting with my editor. I think I can safely say that according to all reports, the Messiah is quickly approaching. Though skeptics will say that these signs have been present throughout the exile, objectively speaking, they are wrong. We are no longer in the exile. We live in unprecedented times when wondrous events are taking place daily. Those who do not want to see will overlook the obvious and those who wish to see will be amazed.
I have collected articles in a retrospective of what I believe are the most remarkable proofs that the Messiah is making progress. The signs are so numerous that there are many I chose not to include: fish in the Dead Sea, Aliyah to Israel as the Ingathering of the Exiles, Israel being a technological light unto the world, the miraculous survival of Israel in the face of overwhelming aggression. These, as well as many other aspects of Israel, are all undoubtedly miraculous. But if I started down that road, there would be no end to the miracles. The examples I give below are not meant to be an exhaustive list of everything that makes up the process that will culminate in the Messiah. Perhaps one day I will write that article. But only after the Messiah has arrived and there is nothing new to write.
Psalm 126: The Nations Coming to Israel to Acknowledge What Hashem Has Done for Us … Psalms describes one of the signs that the Messiah is imminent.
Our mouths shall be filled with laughter, our tongues, with songs of joy. Then shall they say among the nations, “Hashem has done great things for them!” Psalms 126:2
The Talmud (tractate Berachot 31a) explains this verse by saying that since the Temple was destroyed, Jews may not be entirely happy. It is for this reason, the lack of a Temple in Jerusalem, that a cup is broken at weddings. Jews can only begin being happy when the Temple is about to be rebuilt. How will we know that is about to happen? When the nations come to us to exclaim how wonderful it is what Hashem (God, literally ‘the name’) did for us.
The history of relations between Jews and non-Jews has been almost exclusively a story of Jewish persecution. There is not a single country that has not expelled, forcibly converted, or killed its Jewish population. Throughout Europe, Jews were treated much as they were in Egypt, mistrusted as a stranger and punished for this sin.
A fundamental change among some sect of Christianity in England accompanied the beginnings of modern Zionism and to the foundation of the State of Israel. This Christian love of a Jewish State is unprecedented and goes against any logical understanding of history. As a movement, it began toward the end of the 19th century, but gained momentum after the Second World War but has blossomed in recent years. It is expressed as a love of Israel but such a love of another nation is unparalleled. This is a Bible-based religious phenomenon; a love of the covenant between God and Abraham.
For me, this awakening among Christians is the most powerful proof that the Messiah is about to reveal himself. Something unique and counterintuitive is taking place. When that happens, careful attention should be paid because surely something entirely unprecedented and unexpected will come out of it.
This Christian awakening entirely perplexed me at first since, as a fully assimilated Jew in America, I was raised to accept my Christian neighbor while in my heart, I was taught to mistrust him. History had taught us this bitter lesson. Christians only approached Jews to convert us or worse. When I interviewed Christians who supported Israel, I saw they had a belief that their love for God needed to include me as a Jew. Of course, this was not universal but it’s existence reformed my perception of the world.
My job forced me to question what I was taught, to judge it according to new data and a new reality. Few Jews know anything about Christianity but as a Jew in Israel, I had nothing to fear. So I left behind my preconceptions and went out to report the news.
My first introduction to this new breed of Christian came over several cups of coffee in Mamilla overlooking the walls of the Old City. I was very new to the job and came to Jerusalem for a story. Tommy Waller insisted on driving in from Har Bracha, to take the opportunity to speak to me. In his thick Southern accent, Tommy explained to me how he came to Israel and saw prophecy coalescing on the grape vines of the Shomron (Samaria). He explained that it was a revelation to realize that the Bible did not speak in theoretical or theological terms. When the prophet spoke of each man sitting under his grapevine, he was speaking of the vines that Tommy and his children tended every day. And when the Bible spoke of the covenant with Israel, it was an eternal covenant with the Jews that were walking the streets of Jerusalem as we sat and drank our coffee.
Israelis presented their success in making the desert bloom as a sign of Israeli ingenuity. Tommy made me see it as an act of God, proof that the prophecy was taking place, the proof being our mud-caked boots.
Return Ministries Gift of Wedding Rings
I had been reporting on this growing Christian-Israel phenomenon for several years but was not thoroughly convinced. I was raised to believe that Christians always had a hidden agenda that was bad for the Jews and they could never be trusted. One particular story made me change that opinion forever.
My esteemed colleague, Dr. Rivkah Adler, passed a story on to me about a Canadian ministry that collected a lot of money for Israel. This story turned out to be one of the most personally transformative stories of my career.
The story told of Dean Bye who traveled across Canada collecting money for Israel. On a whim, he suggested that people donate old gold and silver. He expected people would toss in some pieces of old mismatched jewelry or the odd pieces of grandma’s silverware. What he received was $2 million-worth of wedding bands given by couples who wanted to sanctify their marriage to God by an act of love for Israel. I watched dozens of videos in which these people explained this and by the end, my beard was soaked with tears.
These rings were melted down and recast as new rings so these Christians could kneel at the feet of Holocaust survivors. They reverently placed these rings on the fingers of the survivors, proclaiming that just as gold was snatched from their hands in hatred by the Nazis, these new rings were being placed on their hands with total and unconditional love.
Yes, many Christians hate Jews, Judaism, and Torah. Most want to see Jews convert to Christianity. But I am firmly convinced that at least some Christians have a pure love of Israel, made pure by their unconditional love of God. They believe the Bible when it says that Jews are His Chosen People. Their display of love made me feel unworthy. My coverage of this subject would never be the same. I dedicated my writing to these people, may they be blessed as they have blessed Israel.
ICEJ-Feast of the Tabernacles
Chronologically, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was a pioneer of this aspect of geula. While every other nation abandoned Israel and tried to drive a wedge between the Jewish people and Jerusalem, the ICEJ stayed, making a point that Israel was important, and the essence of Israel was Jerusalem. No words could possibly express the gratitude I feel toward the devout Christians behind that. Their yearly Feast of the Tabernacle is a modern-day incarnation of the nations celebrating in the Temple. I love photographing the Parade of Nations. To be candid, some of the scenes are jarring: Koreans dressed up in Kohanic garments carrying a model of the Ark of the Covenant, banners saying Jesus loves Israel, and so much more. Israelis are used to unusual displays of religiosity but in an era when the United Nations has become a tool to condemn our small and besieged country, it is the outpouring of love from strangers that is most perplexing. It is as overwhelming as the sight of the ocean to a man who has just left the desert.
I spent at least ten minutes pondering the delegation from Polynesia with their banner, “Fiji Loves Israel”. Though I understood the words, they simply did not connect with anything I called reality. When I attended my first parade more than four years ago, I hugged an ex-patriot Iranian who came from Switzerland to Jerusalem to praise God. Last September, I was photographing the delegation from Poland when an old man separated himself from the parade and approached me. He spoke no English but simply held up a small piece of cardboard that someone had scrawled with the English words, “I love Israel.” I did the math in my head. This man was over 80 years old and had surely witnessed aspects of the Holocaust as a child. Yet in his infinite mercy, God had brought him to Jerusalem to march in the parade. God had sustained him long enough to perform this improbable yet powerful act of contrition. I had no choice. I hugged him and cried.
The reestablishment of the Sanhedrin is part of the Messiah yet when confronted with it as a reality, most people either ignore it or reject it. I suspect that this will be true for every aspect of the Messiah. I am unsure whether the Sanhedrin is a sign of the Messiah or an actual part of the Messiah, or whether this distinction has any meaning. What is clear is that the current Sanhedrin is on the verge of becoming a firmly established reality, if it has not already become one.
On that fateful day, I finished my coffee with Tommy Waller and hurried to Mount Zion. The nascent Sanhedrin was ruling on whether U.S. President Barack Obama and Pope Francis were both guilty of the grievous crime of rejecting the Bible by denying the Covenant of Abraham. I was dimly aware that an attempt to revive the Sanhedrin had been spinning its wheel for several years without success. Many Orthodox Jews mistakenly believed that it was impossible or even counter to Jewish law to reestablish the Sanhedrin. Few people took the Sanhedrin seriously and to be candid, I was among them. But I attended the event as a reporter if not a supporter. I was shocked. The rabbis were brilliant: clearly devout, quite serious about what they were doing, with impeccable credentials, and they had a clear vision of what the Sanhedrin needed to be and how it fit into the future of Israel. They also related to the Jewish laws that were relevant to credibly reestablishing the Sanhedrin.
At the time, the Sanhedrin was on the verge of collapse. My article on the trial went viral. With such massive attention, albeit some of it negative, the Sanhedrin was rejuvenated.
Last September, it was with much pride that I reported on the Sanhedrin’s hosting the World Creation Concert. The ambassadors from Guatemala and Honduras attended and Mexico sent an official delegation. During the intermission, the international representatives publicly signed a document, recognizing the Sanhedrin and pledging to assist Israel in building the Third Temple.
A clear sign of the Messiah coming closer is revealed by developments surrounding the Temple Mount. Just as belief in God’s influence in the world appears illogical, transcending logic and empirical data, so too rejecting God can frequently go to extremes that contradict all facts. This was clearly the case when UNESCO passed several resolutions rejecting what had been one of the bases of human history: Israel as a Jewish homeland with Jerusalem as its spiritual and political capital. Yet so many nations were willing to reject every shred of archaeological proof and the countless accounts that appear in every history book ever written. This level of hatred transcends vested political interests. It is clearly driven by a deep spiritual agenda that require preventing the Jews from the site of their Temples and preventing the Third Temple from being built.
If a person can embody a geographic location then Rabbi Yehudah Glick embodies the Temple Mount. He was the executive director of the Temple Institute and founded Liba, an organization that advocates for Jewish rights to pray and human rights on the Temple Mount. He was labelled “the most dangerous man in the Middle East” in an article in the Jerusalem Post after he was filmed praying on the Temple Mount.
Rabbi Glick nearly paid the ultimate price for his love of the Temple Mount four years ago when a Palestinian terrorist shot him in the chest four times.
At a recent event commemorating his miraculous recovery from the assassination attempt, Rabbi Glick noted that four years ago, he was lying in a hospital bed fighting for his life. That year, only about 7,000 Jews ascended the Temple Mount, and international pressure, including from then-President Obama, was attempting to sever the Jews’ connection to their holiest site. In what can only be described as a miraculous recovery on all fronts, Rabbi Glick now sits in the Knesset and approximately 29,000 Jews ascended the Temple Mount last year.
If I may be allowed to conjecture, I attended a remarkable conference in Jerusalem last month. Several hundred Christians gathered to discuss the relevance of the Temple Mount to their religion. Most of the speakers at the conference were Jewish but the focus of the conference was on awakening Christians. Until the creation of the State of Israel, there was little connection between Jews and Christians. After the 1967 Six-Day War, that connection began to appear. It is indisputable that it was evangelical support for that led to the embassy being moved to Jerusalem. I believe the next wave of Christian-Jewish connection will be focused on the Temple Mount.
Miracles Seen on the Temple Mount
If a miracle happened in front of your eyes, would you recognize it for what it was? Earlier this year, not one but four strange events were witnessed on the Temple Mount: a large stone fell from the Kotel (Western Wall) barely missing an elderly woman, a mist suddenly billowed up from the ground surrounding the Dome of the Rock, sinkholes suddenly began appearing by the Golden gate, and a snake appeared out of the stones of the Kotel.
All of these events were seen and recorded on video. They can all be explained to have natural causes. Yet coming in quick succession at auspicious times leads one to wonder if there isn’t a message hidden in plain sight.
Many people believe the Third Temple will descend from heaven and the Temple service will spontaneously begin anew. Neither the First nor the Second Temple began this way and there are no Jewish sources that support this idea. The Sanhedrin, the Temple Institute, and several Temple organizations have made practical steps in preparation for the Third Temple. A registry for the Kohanim (Jewish men descended from Aaron), the priestly vestments, the Temple vessels, and everything else necessary for the Temple service all stand ready.
Recently, a full-dress reenactment of the daily Temple service was held to dedicate a stone altar. This altar was specially designed to be portable so that should it suddenly become possible to ascend to the Temple Mount and begin the service, it can be taken to the site and the Temple service can begin within a few hours.
No less remarkable was the participation of two foreign ambassadors who came to take part in the process that will bring the House of Prayer for All Nations.
After decades of empty promises by U.S. presidents, Donald Trump moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Though this may be seen as fulfilling a campaign promise to his evangelical voter base, it was seen by many rabbis as echoing the actions of Persian King Cyrus that led to the construction of the Second Temple and the end of the Babylonian Exile. Yes, it finally happened, and yes, it was the fulfillment of prophecy. And I was proud to report it.
This is article number 1922 and I hope to do many more. Each article was a tiny revelation of God’s hand working through current events. This article gave a small taste of what is a huge trend. I wish I had the space to include all of the amazing news, events like Jim Barfield and Shelley Neese and the Copper Scroll Project, like all the archaeological finds that continue to confirm the Bible, like science admitting the Torah got it right. And His actions have direction and a goal.
There is a joke told at nearly every editorial meeting: “When the Messiah comes, we want to be the first to report it.” After so many articles, that joke has taken on a serious undertone. I am convinced that when the Messiah comes, there will be many people who won’t have the eyes to see him. But there are people now who already see the effects of the Messiah like waves that appear in front of a ship as it moves through the ocean. At least I already know what my last article will be and what the headline will read.