"The Great Redemption"
Exile: Ch. 5
First off, we’ve always been taught that our people *will* in fact be
redeemed -- but under one of two different circumstances: either as a
consequence of our having repented ... or simply because the time had come
despite our hesitations, and what must be done will be done. We wanted to
point that out from the first because many of us lose heart from time to
time and wonder if we’ll ever be redeemed. But know that we surely will;
for geulah is our destiny, and it’s a major factor in G-d’s plans for us
and the world.
Now let’s lay out the process step by step. The first phenomenon to set it
off will be “The War of Gog and 'M’gog”.
The prophet Ezekiel depicted it as an awesome time in the future when “Gog
would come against the land of Israel” and when “there’ll be a great
shaking in the land .... And all the fish of the sea, the birds in the
sky, the beasts in the wild, the creeping things moving about the earth,
and all people upon the face of the earth will tremble at My presence.”
But a lot will precede that. “All the mountains will be cast down ... all
the steep places will fall, and every single wall will drop to the
ground.” But G-d warns us, though, that He “will call for a sword against
(Gog) ... and every man’s sword will be against his brother” (38:18-21).
Some background, though. Gog himself will be the leader of the country
M’gog, which will have a mighty and noisome army. And he’ll gather a great
many other nations together to attack Israel. It’s clear that Gog will be
a Western figure, since we’re taught that he’ll also be referred to
as “Romulus”, one of the legendary founders of the Roman Empire (along
with his twin brother Remus).
We know that Gog will attack modern-day Israel since it’s reported that
he’d fight against “the land that is brought back by the sword and is
gathered from many peoples, ... which had always been a wasteland; but
which will be brought out from the (other) nations” (Ezekiel 38:8). And we
know too that his attacks will signal the beginning of the end --- “the
latter days” (Ezekiel 38:16); and that G-d’s wishes will begin to come to
fruition then, for as He Himself put it, “I will magnify and sanctify
Myself (then); I will make Myself known in the eyes of many nations and
they will then know that I am G-d” (Ezekiel 38:23).
But the latter will only come about after a fierce and all-encompassing
series of battles which Israel will win. Peace will finally reign, and the
full redemption will begin to actualize in the end. A major misfortune of
that battle, though, is the fact that Moshiach ben Yoseph (who will appear
before Moshiach ben David, the ultimate redeemer) will die in that
battle. In any event, we no longer know which nation is M'gog, and hence
we can’t know who Gog, its king, would be either, till it becomes apparent
by the fulfillment of the predictions.
Now, we could legitimately ask what this terrible war would accomplish in
the end. For, couldn’t the Moshiach appear outright without it? So we’re
told that the war -- and most especially the victory -- will serve to
underscore a number of things: First off, that G-d does indeed reign over
the earth. As it’s said, “You (Gog) will rise up against My people Israel
like a cloud overcovering the land ... so the nations will know Me”
(Ezekiel 38:16), and “many nations will then know that I am G-d” (Ezekiel
38:23). Secondly, that Divine justice will always have its way in the end,
and that the good will indeed be rewarded and the evil punished. And
third, that those who had converted to Judaism for untoward reasons as
well as heretical and terribly sinful born-Jews will be weeded out.
But make no mistake about it: the war will be horrendous and fierce. And
yet it will prove in the end to have been be for our ultimate good. For
all the nations of the world will make a pact to destroy the Jewish Nation
and Israel (G-d forbid!), as we indicated above.
We’re also taught that at that time G-d will resurrect all the kings that
ravaged the Jewish Nation and destroyed both Holy Temples and restore
their offices; and that they will then all join together to wage war
against the Jewish Nation, too.
And lastly, let it be reported that Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian relates, that
he’d been told from Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman himself in London who'd been
told by none other than the “Chofetz Chaim” (the great and holy Rabbi
Yisroel Kagan, who was Rabbi Wasserman’s mentor) that W.W.I was the first
war of Gog and M'gog, that a second world war (which the Chofetz Chaim,
who died in 1933, didn’t live to see) would be the second war of Gog and
M'gog; and that they will be followed by the third war which would be “a
time of sorrow for the Jewish Nation, but which they’ll be emancipated
This then will be the progression of events that will bring on the
redemption as reported by our sages. We’ll now present Ramchal’s
explanation of both what will have happened and will happen in the future
from a mystical perspective.
May we catch sight of the redemption with our own eyes soon, and may G-d
have mercy on us all!
Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org.