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John Hagee said this on a recent program and in his book The 4 Blood Moons (chapter 16):

Rabbi Judah heHasid – “In the ninth jubilee Jerusalem will once again come back into the possession of the Jewish nation – which will signify the beginning of the Messianic end time.”

I (a non-Jewish Christian), recently heard about this incredible Rabbi of the 12th Century who correctly interpreted(or prophesied--I'm not sure which) the rise and fall of the Ottomon Empire, which lasted 400 years. Keep in mind that he predicted both its rise and fall.

First of all, is this quotation accurate?

My main question regards his hermeneutic: in interpreting Jubilees, is he using Gemetria, citing some source I'm not aware of, or is this pure prophecy?

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migrated from hermeneutics.stackexchange.com Dec 25 '13 at 13:55

This question came from our site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts.

@All-After further examination, I found my "hunch" proved correct: Rabbi Judah ben Samuel is mentioned and quoted extensively in Chapter 16 of his "4 Blood Moons" book. It is said he used 'gemetria', have not others used the same when interpreting "666"? Since I don't read Hebrew, all I have to go on is what others have quoted him to say. The incidence of the "4 Blood Moons"-one of them occuring on Passover 2014 has been verified by NASA, so what Rabbi Judah ben Samuel had to say, or more relevant(to me) is how he said it(what context he used). – user2479 Dec 23 '13 at 2:21
Hi, Can you explain what exactly you want to know? Do you want to understand why he picked 8/9 Jubilees? What a Jubilee is? Why he counted in Jubilees and not years? If he got the idea from some other source? I'm not clear on what you want to know. – avi Dec 25 '13 at 14:24
I feel the need to point out however that from 1917 - 1967 Jerusalem was not a no-man's land. From 1917-1948 it was controlled by the British, and Jews were living in Jerusalem. From 1948-1967 it was occupied by Jordan. There was a noman's land created in 1948, but it only lasted until 1967, not from 1917. – avi Dec 25 '13 at 14:29
@SethJ, how is this off-topic? The question is about understanding the methodology of one of our sages. The stated motivation for wanting to understand this methodology is due to his being quoted outside Judaism, but that doesn't change the inherent topicality of what's being asked. – Isaac Moses Dec 26 '13 at 15:31

First, I think there is a misunderstanding in the question. The Book of Jubilees is not recognized at all in Rabbinic Judaism (although Wikipedia records some speculation that as late as the 12th century some authors of Medrashim had access to it), rather the reference, if it exists, is to the concept of a Jubiliee year (meaning a 49 or 50 year period of time).

Second, the 12th century Rabbi Yehuda HaChasid himself writes in his work Sefer HaChassidim (206) that anyone who prophesies a specific time of Moshiach is, at best, using Kabbalistic* techniques which will yield him the wrong answer and embarrass him and all who follow him. Although this may have been in reaction to a specific astrologer that he didn't want to name so that no one would think that he credits him in any area, this is still a fairly strong indication that prophecy was not involved.

If the quote is accurate, it is probably in a book written by a student of his, quoting his teachings, called Sefer Gematriot, which as the title indicates is a book about Gematria. I don't have access to it to check.

* Today we would call that Kabbalistic, although it is a bit anachronistic in this context, I'm using the word for clarity, it literally means using G-d's name to communicate with angels. He says the angels will deliberately mislead.

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Thank you for your response! As I was admiring the Blood Red Moon, occurring exactly on the Feast of Passover(2014), I was wondering, "Will this question ever be answered ?" Of course, it is a very audacious prophecy, but then to accurately predict the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire was equally audacious. Yes, the Book of Jubilees(like the Book of Enoch) contains some 'impossibilities', yet lays out understandings(like Jubilees) to which the uninitiated(like myself) can grasp and see the cycles and patterns which Ancient Israel was privy to. – user2479 Jan 6 '15 at 18:30

This story originated and was first publicized by the Jewish Christian and long time Christian Missionary to the Jews, Ludwig Schneider, on page 18 in the March 2008 edition of Israel Today Magazine. Here is the link. http://issuu.com/ryaninzion/docs/israel_today_march_2008

He states clearly that this is found in Sefer HaGematriyot of Rabbi Yehuda HaChassid (Yehudah ben Shmuel).

I have the sefer and to date have been unsuccessful in locating the citation he refers to. When I have questioned anyone, Jew or otherwise, as to the precise citation, no one seems to be able to produce an exact page or parsha. The book is long and the gematriot and other tzerufim are numerous. I will, bli neder, continue to go through the sefer and if and when I find the citation, will report back.

Schneider says this is a calculation relating to a 400 year empire that would rule over Jerusalem. The Ottoman Turkish Empire, which was formed by Osman I in 1299, didn't exist at the time of Yehudah HaChassid's death in 1217. Osman I lived from 1258-1326. So whatever reference Rabbi Yehudah HaChassid might have made is not about the Turkish Empire. It would be generic. If the citation is accurate, the association to the Turkish Empire is speculation by Schneider.

For the time being, the time line stated by Schneider is the following:

He says, Allenby conquered Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turkish empire on the first day of Hanukkah, December 9, 1917 (24 Kislev 5678). He counts back 400 years which he says corresponds to 8 Yovelot (Jubilees). There is a Torah sourced basis for this 50 years per Yovel calculation. That places the year at 1517 (15 Kislev 5278) which corresponds with the approximate time frame that Selim I of the Ottoman Empire conquered the area of the Middle East which included Jerusalem from Shah Ismail of the Safavid Persian Empire.

The significance of the removal of control of Jerusalem from the Muslims, the Ottoman Turkish empire is based upon Yechezkel 46:17.

וכי־יתן מתנה מנחלתו לאחד מעבדיו והיתה לו עד־שנת הדרור ושבת לנשיא אך נחלתו בניו להם תהיה

"But if he gives a gift from His inheritance (meaning Yerushalayim, the undivided Capital of the land of Israel) to one of His servants, it shall be his until the year of liberty; then it shall return to the prince. His inheritance shall be only his sons'; it shall belong to them."

The 'Prince' (Nasi) being referred to here is an abbreviation of 'Nitzutz Shel Yaacov Avinu". It means the entire Jewish people as a single entity, the idea of 'Tzibbur'. And so Yovel (Shnat HaDror) starts to be counted either when the 'possession' begins to be removed from the servant (the Islamic Caliphate), which would be 1917 or when it actually comes into the possession of the the nation of Israel (the children), which would be 1967.

Schneider points out that from 1917 until 1967, another Yovel of 50 years, Jerusalem was like a "no mans land" with control shifting between Britain and Jordan. During that time period, the modern state of Israel was established on May 14, 1948 (5 Iyar 5708). And then, on June 7, 1967 (28 Iyar 5727), Jerusalem was reunited under the Jewish state's control during the Six Day War with Rabbi Shlomo Goren actually ascending the Temple Mount and blowing shofar from the Dome of the Rock.


To complete this picture, Christians also try to connect this with the blood moon prophecies found in Yoel 3:3-4, 4:1-15. These particular prophecies speak to days of judgement for the nations of the world. Yoel 3:3 in particular is classically associated with the beginning of the first of three wars that comprise the Wars of Gog u'Magog. (See Sefer Avkat Rochel by Rabbeinu Makir ben Abba Mori, Book 1, Signs 1 through 5. It seems to be associated with the detonation of the two Atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki which began on August 6, 1945 (27 Av 5705). The "Date Palm trees of smoke" corresponding with the "Mushroom Clouds". The shape is the same.

As is known, following shortly on the heels of the reestablishment of the modern state of Israel, a blood moon cycle started on April 13, 1949 (14 Nisan 5709). This also happened again just before the reunification of Jerusalem on April 24, 1967 (14 Nisan 5727).

As is common knowledge, we just completed another blood moon cycle this last Sukkot, September 28, 2015 (15 Tishrei 5776).

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