Parashat D’varim (Words) Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22
Haftarah: Isaiah 1:1-27
We call this Shabbat- Shabbat Khazon (vision) because of Isaiah’s vision which he saw of the destruction of the Temple. We always read this parasha and haftarah on the Sabbath before Tisha b’Av- the day which commemorates the destruction of the Temples. The main thing which I would like to emphasize in this week’s prophetic reading is how Isaiah spoke about the Holy City of Jerusalem. He writes,
“Had not the L-rd of Hosts left for us a remnant, we would have been like Sodom and Gomorrah.” Isaiah 1:9
It is important that one understands the dismal spiritual state of Judah prior to the destruction of the first Temple; this is what Isaiah is revealing. Notice that Jerusalem is almost as wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah! The wrath that Nebuchadnezzar placed upon the Jewish people was severe; however it was not the worst time for Israel. Perhaps the Holocaust enters into your mind as the most horrible time for the Jewish people. Until now I would agree that the Holocaust was indeed the worst time, but the question that needs to be asked is will there be a time of suffering even worse than the Holocaust for Israel? With deep sadness I must answer yes.
This time is known prophetically as “Jacob’s Trial”. It is the final three and half years prior to Messiah’s return to establish His Kingdom. Some people will protest and say that no one knows the time of Messiah’s return. This is true, but this is in regard to His gathering up the congregation of redeemed, commonly referred to as the rapture. No one knows when the rapture will take place. All that the scripture tells us is that it is soon after the abomination of desolation. How soon? This is the point, no one knows the day or the hour, but the general time period is provided through a list of prophetic events. It is after the rapture that Jacob’s trial will begin.
It is during this period of time that Jerusalem will sharply decline spiritually, to the extent that we read,
“Their bodies shall be in the street of the great city which is called spiritually Sodom and Egypt, where our L-rd was crucified.” Revelation 11:8
This portion of the book of Revelation speaks about the end times and likens Jerusalem to Sodom. Notice the difference between this and what Isaiah says. Isaiah says Jerusalem almost reached the spiritual state of Sodom and Gomorrah, whereas the book of Revelation reveals the decline as bad as Sodom. Another important difference is that instead of Gomorrah being listed, which we would expect, Egypt is mentioned. Why is this the case? Egypt as well was spiritually devoid of G-d’s truth. However, G-d manifested Himself profoundly in Egypt and it was a place of redemption.
Even though Jerusalem in the last days will be spiritually distant from the truth of G-d, G-d will mightily reveal Himself and His redemption in this city. The message is this: in the same way Isaiah encouraged the people that despite his vision of destruction HaShem would not totally abandon His people, but there would be a remnant that would return to G-d and experience His promises, so too in the last days G-d will not forsake His people, but manifest Himself and His redemption through the second coming of Yeshua.
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