There are times when I am embarrassed to be a Bible prophecy teacher and preacher, and those times are becoming more frequent. It's all because Bible prophecy is a playground for fanatics and sensationalists. In this third part of this series on prophetic craziness, I'll debunk the Prophecy of the Ten Jubilees.
The Latest Craze
The latest prophecy craze that is gaining momentum is what prophecy sensationalists are calling "The Prophecy of the Ten Jubilees."
This so-called end times prophecy was first revealed to the public in March of 2008 in a magazine called Israel Today. The magazine is published in Israel by Messianic Jews and is distributed worldwide over the Internet.
The article asserted that a remarkable end time prophecy had been found in an 800 year old manuscript written by a German rabbi named Judah Ben Samuel (1140 - 1217).
The rabbi's "prophecy" read as follows:
When the Ottomans conquer Jerusalem they will rule over Jerusalem for eight jubilees. Afterwards Jerusalem will become a noman's land for one jubilee, and then in the ninth jubilee it will once again come back into the possession of the Jewish nation — which would signify the beginning of the Messianic end time.
This prophecy, of course, is amazingly accurate. The Ottoman Turks conquered Jerusalem in 1517 and proceeded to rule over the city for 400 years to 1917 — a total of eight jubilees (a jubilee being 50 years according to Leviticus 25:8- 12).
Between 1917 and 1967, Jerusalem became a no-man's land for one jubilee (50 years) while it was divided between Israel and Jordan, with the boundary between the two actually being designated a "no-man's land." In 1967 Israel conquered the city of Jerusalem in the Six Day War, beginning the ninth jubilee which will lead up to the "beginning of the Messianic end time." This ninth jubilee will conclude in 2017 — and thus the reason for the current prophetic frenzy.
When this "prophecy" was revealed in 2008, very few seemed to notice it until World Net Daily picked up on it and published a major article about it on its website in October of 2012. The validity of the prophecy was endorsed and the significance of Rabbi Ben Samuel as a Torah scholar was emphasized.
That's when the "prophecy" really took off. Since that time it has been accepted and endorsed by many of the Who's Who of Bible prophecy. Some are saying that 2017 could mark the date of the Rapture and the start of the seven year Tribulation.
The rapid embracement of the Ten Jubilees Prophecy is a clear indication of how gullible Christians can be. Consider these facts:
- Where was this lost Prophecy found?
- Why hasn't a copy of it been presented to the public for review?
- Who is the person who wrote the original article for Israel Today? It was signed, Ludwig Schneider. This man has been identified in various places as "a German language scholar" and a "Pentecostal pastor." I could find evidence of neither. His entry in Wikipedia simply states that he is a German journalist and a Messianic Jew who founded Israel Today magazine.
- Who translated the prophecy? Even if Ludwig Schneider is a "German language scholar" that does not mean he could translate medieval German dating back 800 years ago. How many English professors could translate the English of Chaucer just 600 years ago? The answer is very few.
- Ludwig Schneider never makes a claim in his article that he was the one who found the prophecy or that he was the one who translated it, despite the fact that the proponents of the prophecy say he both found and translated it.
- Ludwig Schneider refers to Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel as "a top Talmudic scholar." There is no evidence of this. In fact, in the Jewish Encyclopedia he is identified as a person who focused his writing on ethics and who considered the study of the Talmud "to be fruitless."
- The Ottoman Empire did not come into existence until 1299, 82 years after the death of Rabbi Samuel. How could he know about an empire that did not exist at the time he supposedly wrote the prophecy?
I think it is obvious that this is a bogus prophecy that someone made up recently and attributed to Rabbi Samuel.
The Search for the New and Exciting
What is particularly distressing to me is that all the prophetic craziness over extra-biblical "prophecies" has become characteristic of people who claim to be Bible prophecy experts. They, of all people, should be watchmen on the wall, intent on warning people against giving any significance to such non-biblical, socalled prophecies. Evidently they feel that they must constantly be feeding the public something new and sensational in order to justify the existence of their ministries.
I actually had a person write me a letter along this line. He criticized me for "never coming up with anything new." He said my ministry was "boring" because I kept preaching "the same old message" of the Lord's soon return. I responded by telling him that the Bible is all we need and that the message of the Lord's soon return is anything except boring — it is an exciting message full of glorious hope for a sin-weary, war-torn earth.
In the fourth part of this series on prophetic craziness, I'll debunk nephilim hunters, dates setters, and Antichrist seekers.