All kinds of messages are being passed around the Internet concerning Bible prophecies and Jewish sages who foresaw the coronavirus pandemic. Are these real? What should we believe?
Here is an example of a Hebrew post that has gone viral around Israel and the world:
“In Isaiah 26:20 it is written, ‘Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourselves a little while until the wrath has passed.’”
This fascinating prophecy written by Isaiah more than 2,600 years ago grabbed my attention. But does it actually relate to the coronavirus and the worldwide regulations for physical distancing and staying home?
The post goes on to reference a commentary related to the Isaiah prophecy written some 1,400 years ago by a French Jewish philosopher named Gersomides. Translated into English it reads:
“In the footsteps of the Messiah, on Passover Eve, there is no king in Israel (interesting given that right now Israel’s government is in limbo).
“And the scourge came out of Ashkenaz (many conclude that Ashkenaz is China).
“And it’s letters add up to a crown (Corona is a crown in Latin).
“And it goes out and hits Israel’s enemies and kings of Persia and Medi fall under it (Iran has been hit badly with the virus).
“And Israel is sitting in their homes.
“So Israel you will be strong and happy and cling to the Creator of the world, our Father. There is none other besides Him.”
At first appearance, this seems to be an authentic and amazing prophecy. It certainly aroused my attention and made me think of the Prophet Isaiah, so I went back to look at the context, which I found speaks about the wrath of God at the end of days.
I do not like to support end-time conspiracies and calls for war and suffering. But could it be that we are living in the time predicted by the Prophet when there would be uncontrollable wars that would lead to terrible destruction before the coming of the Messiah?
Are we living in the day we have long anticipated? It is well known that throughout the ages people have always talked about the days of the Messiah being at hand. But as I look at what is happening in our world today, it causes me to stop and wonder.
Even more so as many of my daily routines have changed and I am forced to think more about the present time, the current epidemic, and what that means for us here and now.
There is a kind of apocalyptic feeling outside that makes me think and reflect, and sometimes even fear.
Many verses of scripture now seem to speak to the new reality we are currently living in and the words of the prophets ignite my heart and make me reconsider things I have ignored or forgotten.
I don’t have the answers. Only wonderings. And I wonder with you out loud.
I went back to check out this enticing commentary on Isaiah and as it turns out there is no philosopher named Gersomides. There is, however, a French Jewish philosopher named Gersonides who wrote commentaries on the Hebrew scriptures. The author of the message I received changed just one letter to make it look like an authentic prophecy.
O well, better to stick to the Bible and authentic Jewish commentaries, where there is already plenty of material to inspire, challenge and comfort us in challenging times.
Here at Israel Today we take pride in providing honest reporting and bringing you reliable and timely information on what is happening in Israel and the Jewish world. Many of our staff and reporters are fluent Hebrew speakers with backgrounds in the Hebrew Scriptures and Jewish thought. Of course, we don’t have all the answers, but we would like to leave you with a sense of wonder about our world, our God and the fascinating times in which we live.