Jewish eschatology covers the seven thousand year plan of God. The first six thousand years, called the Olam ha Zeh, covers the time from creation to the beginning of the Messianic Kingdom. The last one thousand years is called the Atid Lavo. After this one thousand year period is over, we enter into the Olam Haba, which means the world to come, or eternity. The Olam ha Zeh is broken up into three, two thousand year periods. The first two thousand years is called Tohu, meaning destruction. The second two thousand year period is called Torah, or instruction. The third two thousand year period is called the Yom’ot Mashiach, or days of the Messiah. We are near the end of the third period. The world went through destruction, instruction, which led to the days of the Messiah. We should be looking for the Messianic Kingdom and then eternity.
|___Tohu____|__Torah____|_Yomot Mashiach_|_Atid Lavo_|_Olam Haba_>
|____________Olam Ha Zeh_______________|_Atid Lavo_|_Olam Haba____>
< 6000 years>
There are two messianic ages. The first is called the Yom’ot Mashiach (days of the Messiah) and the Atid Lavo (the future age/coming). When Peter quoted Joel 2.28 in Acts 2.16, the people understood that these verses related to the Messianic Kingdom, or the Acharit Yamin, the end of days. The people saw Num 11.25 as a prophecy of what was to happen when the Messiah came, and in Acts 2 it happens. The “all mankind” in Joel 2.28 refers to all who believe. The Jewish people expected tongues. A Soncino Press commentary says that Joel 2.28 refers to being filled with “religious exaltation, give utterance to rapturous phrases” for “prophesying” in v 28. Now, there are two types of tongues. The first is “of the nations” which are known tongues. The second is “unknown” tongues.
The Scriptures were written in Hebrew. The first five books are called the Torah, or instruction. The Nevi’im are the Prophets, and the third is the Ketuvim, or the writings. In a synagogue, a “shaliach” or sent one got the scrolls for the reader. In Luke 4.20, he is called the “attendant.” The readings were first read in Hebrew and then he will read from the language of the people. In Babylon, it was Aramaic, in Greece it was Greek, in Alexandria, Corinth and Galatia it was Greek, and so on. There were Aramaic paraphrases called “targum” that were written on the Torah and the Prophets, and these were full of commentary. A collection of “targums” are called “targumim.” There are two very prominent targumim in Aramaic. One is for the Torah called “Targum Onkelos” because a scholar named Onkelos put it together. The other is called “Taergum Yonaton ben Uzziel” because he is the one putting that together. In the Targum Onkelos, the whole Torah was written in Aramaic except for Num 11.25, which is written in Greek. This is another language because the Jewish people expected tongues when the Spirit came, and other languages would go forth.
Unknown tongues mean just that, nobody can understand them. In Isa 28.9-10 there is an example of this. It is translated in English, but when you look at the Hebrew it doesn’t mean anything, just sounds like gibberish. 1 Cor 14.1-2 talks briefly about unknown tongues.
In Dan 9.24-27 it talks about what would be accomplished at the end of the 70 weeks determined to the Jewish people, but it doesn’t mean it will all be finished at the same time. Artaxerxes gave permission to Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem in Neh 2.1, and this began the 490 year countdown. The prophecy in Daniel tells us that the Messiah will be killed in Jerusalem at the end of 483 years from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, but not for himself. The “people of the prince who is to come” will destroy the city and the Temple. This would be the Romans. The “prince” is the false messiah, and he will come out of the territory of the old Roman empire. There is a lot of teaching today that says that the false messiah will be Muslim, but that means that the Muslims destroyed the city and the Temple, and that clearly is not the case according to this prophecy.
So, Messiah would come and be killed at the end of 483 years, that leaves 7 years left. The point is, the people in the first century knew that the time had come for the Messiah. In the first century, the Pharisees and most of the Jewish people were looking for two messiah’s, the Sadducees were not because they did not even believe in a “messiah.” The reason that the High Priest in Mark 14.61-63 showed outrage that Yeshua declared himself the Messiah was that his whole position would have to be given up if he was. The Essenes were looking for different eschatological characters than the Pharisees. The most popular view of the two messiahs was that they would be called the Messiah ben Joseph, also called the Leper Messiah, and the Messiah ben David. We have seen two prophecies in the book of Daniel that refer to these two roles. He will be “cut off” or killed in Dan 9 (Messiah ben Joseph, and he will be given a kingdom in Dan 7, which refers to Messiah ben David. Isa 53.1-12 compares with Dan 9.24 very closely.
The people of the first century expected the Messiah at that time. We need to try to establish in our own minds the type of thoughts that the people had. We are believers and in great expectation also. A shofar is going to sound, the dead will rise and the those who are alive and remain will be caught up with them to the wedding, coronation and judgment of the Messiah, Leviathan is coming and judgment will be in the earth. For 200 years before Yeshua came, the entire Jewish world was flooded with apocalyptic literature. They saw the passing of the years and the expectation got higher. Luke 1.5-80 and 2.1-38 is tied in with this expectation. This is building to what is said in Luke 3.15. Imagine what you would be thinking if you witnessed everything from Luke 1.65 to 3.15! The stage is being set for the coming of the Messiah over and over again. We have seen that the Jewish people were expecting at the year 4000 from creation to enter into the “Yom’ot Mashiach” or the “days of the Messiah.”
If they were expecting the Messiah at the end of 4000 years from creation and the beginning of the Yom’ot Mashiach, what else were they expecting? We will begin here in Part 6 of our study of the book of Joel.