“Now Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan-aram, and camped before the city. He bought the piece of land where he had pitched his tent from the hand of the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred pieces of money. Then he erected there an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel.” (Genesis 33:18-20)
A terrorist plot to kill Jews at the site of Joseph’s Tomb near Nablus was recently uncovered by Israeli Security Forces. Aside from the physical ramifications of the threat, the Biblical implications of an attack on such a significant holy site plays an important role in the present stage of the Messianic process.
The Biblical personality of Joseph is an integral part of the messianic process. According to Jewish tradition, there are two aspects of the Messiah: the Messiah from the House of David and the Messiah from the House of Joseph. Writing on Aish.com, Rabbi Pinchas Winston explains why the battle raging right now for Joseph’s Tomb is a crucial element for the unfolding of the ultimate redemption.
“The Talmud points out (Succah 52a), there are meant to be two Messiahs – redeemers of Israel. The first one, according to tradition, will descend from the line of Joseph, and die in battle, while paving the way for the final Messiah, who will descend from the line of David.”
In a previous Breaking Israel News article, it was explained how each day of creation corresponds to a millenia. According to the Hebrew calendar, we are now in the year 5775. Rabbi Winston teaches that, according to Jewish mystical teachings, Joseph corresponds to the years 5000-6000 in the Hebrew calendar. Further, Joseph is connected to the Godly attribute of Yesod, meaning foundation.
Our present era, the era before the final redemption, is divinely connected to creating the foundation on which the Messiah will arrive. Spiritually, the current millennia of the Jewish calendar is linked to Joseph.
The Zohar (Vayakhel 220a) teaches that the area around Joseph’s Tomb will be the first to be destroyed in the war of Gog and Magog, and will therefore be the first to see the resurrection of the dead, which will then spread to the rest of the world.
In yet another startling connection between the redemption and Joseph’s Tomb, Rabbi Winston explains how the name Shechem plays a role in the coming of the Messiah. The name Shechem (שכם) is composed of the word Shem, a euphemism for God’s name, separated by the letter Kaf, which symbolizes intellectual blindness. The Talmud (Sanhedrin 97a) teaches that when falsehood rules the minds of men, this is actually one of the signs that Messiah is not too far away.
The site is holy to Jews as it is the grave-site of Joseph and his two sons, Menashe and Ephraim. Joseph died in Egypt but his bones were brought out from Egypt when the Children of Israel left during the Exodus (Joshua 24:32). Joseph and his sons were buried in Shechem in a parcel of land purchased by the Jews.
Joseph’s Tomb has been under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority since 1995 as part of the Oslo Accords. Jews are only allowed access to the holy site once per month in specially coordinate visits with Israeli security officials. Despite heavy security, attacks are not uncommon and have resulted in bloodshed and death.
Palestinian violence at Joseph’s Tomb is not in response to any constant Israeli military presence or attempts to establish a Jewish presence there. Palestinian rioters object to Jewish prayer at the site, going so far as to burn the building to the ground in 2000, claiming it was better to destroy the tomb rather than to allow any other religion access to it.
The importance of Joseph’s Tomb to Islam is unclear. In 2008, PA President Mahmoud Abbas declared the site holy to Islam, though he did not cite any source or reason. The actions of the Muslims have prevented anyone, including themselves, from praying there, as they have frequently vandalized the site and filled it with burning garbage.
The recently uncovered terror plot at Joseph’s Tomb reveal not only the physical battle surrounding the holy site, but the spiritual battle too. Despite attempting to spiritually and physically conquer the divine claims Jews have over the Land of the Bible and its holy cities, the Messianic process that has clearly begun in our time cannot and will not be stopped.