The movement known as Khabad Lubavitch is mostly unknown outside of Jewish circles. It springs from Khasidic Orthodox Judaism with an emphasis on Jewish mysticism and messianism. The movement initiated with the teachings of its seven leaders (“Rebbes”), beginning with Rabbi Schneur Zalman (1745–1812). These leaders created thousands of books meant for Jewish study. The most notable Lubavitcher Rebbe of recent memory is Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902–1994). What makes this movement different from traditional Rabbinic Judaism is its outreach to ALL Jews not just Orthodox Jews. Currently 4,000 full-time families help direct more than 3,300 institutions with thousands dedicated to spreading the Khabad Lubavitcher message.
Khabad Lubavitch also believe that the “End of Days” will herald the arrival of the Moshiakh. According to Talmudic literature the Melech HaMoshiakh (the King Messiah), is the Jewish leader who will redeem Israel in the End of Days. Maimonides [Moshe ben Maimon, c.1136-1204 AD] states in his Mishneh Torah—a compendium of the entire halachic tradition— one day there will arise a dynamic Jewish leader, a direct descendant of the Davidic dynasty, who will rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, and gather Jews from all over the world and bring them back to the Land of Israel. Jerusalem and the Temple will be the focus of divine worship, and “from Zion shall go forth Torah, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Ben Maimon predated the founding of Khabad Lubavich, by several centuries. Ben Maimon was a Sephardic Jew living under the Arabs and Berbers in Muslim al-Andaluz [modern Spain], while the founders of Khasidism in general & Khabad in particular were Ashkenazim living in central Europe. Khasidism, an offshoot from traditionalist Orthodox thought, was also founded in the 18th century by Baal Shem Tov in what today is Poland.
The Talmud describes a time prior to the advent of Moshiakh as one of great political, social, and economic turmoil. It is into this troubled setting that Moshiakh will arrive. According to the Zohar—an early Kabbalistic text—the resurrection will take place forty years after the arrival of Moshiakh. However, certain righteous individuals will arise with the coming of Moshiakh. All the dead will be resurrected in the Land of Israel.
The Talmud states the Moshiakh will come before the Hebrew year 6000 (2239). The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson stated on numerous occasions that the messianic redemption was imminent. Maimonides, the great Jewish philosopher and codifier of the 12th century, wrote that if the Jews recognize a human being who possesses the superlative qualities ascribed to Moshiakh, we may presume that he is the potential Moshiakh. If this individual actually succeeds in rebuilding the Temple and gathering in the exiles, then he is the Moshiakh. According to this view, any potential Moshiakh must be a direct descendant of King David, as well as expert in written and oral Torah traditions.. He will insist upon Torah observance among Jews, and observance of the seven universal Noahide laws by non-Jews.
- Do not deny God.
- Do not blaspheme God.
- Do not murder.
- Do not engage in incest, adultery, pederasty or bestiality.
- Do not steal.
- Do not eat of a live animal.
- Establish courts/legal system to ensure obedience to the law.
The Sanhedrin—the supreme Jewish law court of 71 sages—will be re-established, and will decide on all matters of law. At this time, all Jews will return to full Torah observance and practice.
Khabad Lubavitch believes that with the coming of Moshiakh, all the nations of the world will strive to create a new world order, in which there will be no more wars or conflicts. Jealousy, hatred, greed and political strife (of the negative kind) will disappear, and all human beings will strive only for goodness, kindness and peace. This redemption will soon materialize, and many Lubavitchers believe the Rebbe is the messiah. The Khabad Lubavitch task now is to provoke the full revelation, in order to see the Rebbe’s transition from presumed to confirmed Moshiakh. Rebbe was the presumed messiah to his followers according to the qualifications outlined by Maimonides though we DO NOT have definitive proof that the Rebbe was of the House of David ben Jesse. His acolytes believe he was a descendant of King David through Judah Loew ben Bezalel, a famous sixteenth-century rabbi (better known as “the Maharal of Prague”).The Rebbe later spoke of this psak din as part of the revelation of the messiah and the unfolding of redemption. It must also be noted the Khabad umbrella organization, Agudas Khasidei Khabad, has condemned Messianic behavior, stating that it defies the express wishes of Schneerson.
Judaism fervently believes that, with the correct leadership, humankind can and will change. The leadership quality of Moshiakh means that through his dynamic personality and example, coupled with manifest humility, he will inspire all people to strive for good. He will transform a seemingly utopian dream into a reality. He will be recognized as a man of God, with greater leadership qualities than even Moses. Moshiakh will inspire all men to create a good standard of living for all. Khabad Lubavitch believe in the advent of a human leader, of a magnitude that the world has not yet experienced. His unique example and leadership will inspire mankind to change direction. The idea of mankind being made perfect by obedience to the Law does not seem to have been believed in the times of the Prophets, and in Yeshua’s time only the Pharisees and Essenes believed this – the Sadducees did not.
Khabad Lubavitch, Orthodox & Conservative Jews believe the era of prophecy officially came to an end some 23 centuries ago. Reform Jews do not believe in the concept of divinely inspired prophecy, and believe that human wisdom continuously develops. The last generation of prophets were those who began to prophecy before the First Holy Temple was destroyed in 423 B.C. With the demise of that generation, “prophecy departed from Israel.” In a letter to the Jews of Yemen, Maimonides recounts an age-old tradition that “shortly before the messianic era, prophecy will return to the Jewish people.” If a person of such caliber announces that he received a prophecy, it is assumed that he is telling the truth. But the ultimate test is the accuracy of his prophecies: if what he said will come to pass actually comes to pass, we know that he is a prophet; if not, we know that he is not. Though Moshiakh comes first and foremost to Israel, all the nations will recognize his wisdom and sublimity and submit to his rule. He will guide and instruct them as well.
The Khabad movement gains their inspiration from Khabad books written by the Rebbes, the Talmud and other Talmud related literature, the Kabbalistic Zohar, Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah and the Tenakh [Old Testament] as interpreted through these non-biblical texts. Biblical Christianity responds to Khabad Lubavitch using only the Jewish Bible the Tenakh.
For the Khabad Lubavitch vision of the future to unfold, over 7 billion people would have to voluntarily change and strive for goodness, kindness and peace based solely on the leadership of a Jewish messiah — the resurrected Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Before we consider the future let’s recall the past:
-The Israelites continue to rebel after Moses’ divinely directed rescue mission, despite seeing the manifestation of God in the plagues, pillars of smoke and fire, parting of the Red Sea, eating the manna from heaven, and seeing the other miracles Moses performed in God’s Name.
– During the period of the Judges the Israelites continually disobeyed God, including idolatry and gross moral misconduct.
-Despite God’s manifestation with the Ark of the Covenant, God is rejected as their King in favor of an earthly king. All three kings of the united 12 tribes had serious legal and moral shortcomings [tolerating idolatry, unjust behavior, etc].
-The Israelites split into two nations, Israel and Judah.
-The Israelite and Jewish prophets are continually persecuted by the kings of Israel and Judah and their loyalists.
-Israel indulges in idolatry and all manner of sinful behavior amongst themselves, like the heathen, and is abandoned by God to destruction by the Assyrians, who then are conquered and destroyed by Babylon.
-Judah also lapses into idolatry and widespread violation of the Torah and 136 years later God allows Judah to be destroyed by Babylon. The Holy Temple is destroyed and the Ark of the Covenant and Temple articles are seized as booty by Nebukhadnezzar of Babylon.
-Seventy years later, Babylon is swiftly conquered by Persia. Judah is reestablished under Persian protection, rebuilds Jerusalem and a new, less glorious Second Temple.
-Alexander the Great conquers the Holy Land and Persia. Judah is renamed Judea, but continually suffers at the hands of the Hellenistic Greeks and Syrians under Alexander and under the Seleucid successor empire ruled from Damascus., who rename Judea as Palestine [Greek for “Philistia”] and seek to force the Jews to convert to paganism or die. Judea suffered the worst expression of this under the Seleucid Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
-Judah ultimately rebels under Mattathias and Judah Makkabee, driving out the Seleucids and establishing the Hasmonean dynasty. They re-dedicate the Second Temple [commemorated at the feast of Khanukah] and re-establish the sacrificial system.
-Hasmonean dynasty illegally takes over the high priesthood [they are of the wrong family line]. The Septuagint – a rabbinical translation of the Tenakh and the Apocrypha into Greek – is prepared because most Jews are no longer able to fully understand the Tenakh in Hebrew.
-The Seleucids return to the offensive against Judea; the Hasmoneans make an alliance with pagan Rome against the Greco-Syrian threat
-The Roman civil war embroils Judea; Roman General Pompey takes Jerusalem and destroys the Hasmonean line of Jewish High Priests
-Yeshua comes and claims he is the Son of God. The Roman-appointed Jewish leadership [Sadducees] and the rabbis [Pharisees] decide he is not. They hand him over to the Romans and Yeshua is executed. His crime – being the King of the Jews.
-The Jews rebel and are slaughtered by the Romans, who loot Jerusalem and destroy the second Temple
-The Jews back Simeon bar Kochba [“Son of a star”] who is anointed the messiah by rabbi Akiva. As the result of this rebellion the Jews are crushed, Jerusalem is leveled, the entire Jewish population is dispersed across the empire, and the land is relabeled “Palestine,” the old Hellenist name for Philistia. The Jews lose control of Jerusalem for another 1832 years.
The Jewish Bible also speaks about the sinfulness of man.
Ecclesiastes 7:20 Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.
Isaiah 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
Jeremiah 33:8 I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me.
Look at the world. In 2015/2016 there is no indication that humanity will have a change of heart. If the Lubavitchers are right then the future appearance of the Rebbe will cause over 1.5 billion Muslims to have a change of heart and suddenly reject the decrees of their Prophet and Allah concerning the eventual elimination of the Jews. What could the Rebbe possibly do to convince Christians, whether Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, or Protestant, to reject Yeshua? No human “messiah” could change the hearts and beliefs of all of these people.
Khabad Lubavitch also claims that prophesy ended 2300 years ago. This declaration totally ignores the life of Yeshua. Let’s put this to the test to determine if the Khabad Rabbis are factual, objective or biased to a fault.
Yeshua predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple that eventually occurred in 70 AD. We can find it in (Luke 19:41-44, 21:5-24). We know Yeshua predicted this before the event because Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. Luke mentions his Gospel in Acts 1:1-4 so we know he wrote the Gospel before the book of Acts. Luke concludes the book of Acts in Chapter 28 with Paul under house arrest. This places the timeframe at 60-62 AD. Paul’s execution and the rise of Nero occur in 65-66 AD. There is no mention of Paul’s death or Peter’s death and the rule of Emperor Nero. So we know Yeshua’s prediction was inked by Luke before the event. One more evidence is that Paul who died in about 65-66 AD quotes the Gospel of Luke calling it Scripture (1 Tim. 5:18, Luke 10:7). Therefore Luke’s Gospel must have been written before Paul’s death in 65-66 AD.
The Jewish historian, Josephus, confirmed this truth in his history (War of the Jews, VI, 8:1). The Temple being thrown down and made desolate is confirmed by Josephus too (War of the Jews, VI, 4:7, 5:1-2, 6:1; VII, 1:1). Jerusalem would be leveled to the ground with not one stone upon another. The buildings of the temple would be thrown down. This was the greatest desolation that the world had known until this time (War of the Jews, VI 10:1, VII). The words in Luke’s Gospel are confirmed by Josephus who wrote his history years after the event. Eusebius, the Christian historian noted that all Christians were warned and escaped to Pella (History of the Church 3:5). Yeshua gave direction to the disciples to warn those who are in Judea and in Jerusalem to leave (Luke 21:21). This is another miraculous confirmation. Obviously the Khabad Lubavitcher claim is not true and biased.
-According to the Sephardic 12th century AD Jewish sage Maimonides a dynamic Jewish leader, who the Jews must agree is the messiah, will rebuild the Jewish temple and bring all the Jews back to the land of Israel.
-This direct descendent of King David must be an expert in all the traditions that Orthodox Jews hold dear including full Torah observance and practice by all Jews and observance of the seven universal Noahide laws by non-Jews. Interestingly he believes that the Sanhedrin that was in existence when Israel was destroyed by Rome will be re-established. Before we consider Maimonides’ take, which Khabad Lubavitch embraces, let’s determine Maimonides accuracy:
-Maimonides claimed that Yeshua was the disciple of Joshua ben Perachya. This is problematic since history shows that Joshua ben Perachya lived 100 years before Yeshua’s advent on earth.
-Maimonides stated that God told Moses the Gentiles [(non-Jewish) peoples of the earth] must obey the 7 Noahide laws. Here is the problem. Maimonides lived about 2500 years after Moses. Moses the author of the Torah does not mention the Noahide laws in the Torah. Maimonides quotes from the Talmud that was compiled between 200-400 AD. The oral tradition cited by Maimonides was rejected by the Sadducees who held sway over the Temple when Yeshua walked among the Jews. There is no fact concerning this alleged conversation between God and Moses.
-Maimonides attempted to display Christian belief as illogical to a Jewish audience when he said, “The doctrine of Christians says that he is one and He is three and the three are one.” Genesis chapter 1:1, 26 distinguishes God and His Spirit then states God said let US make man. In the original Hebrew, B’reshith/Genesis frequently uses the term “Elohim” to refer to God, yet it is in the form of a plural noun. Psalm 2:7-9 and Proverbs 30:4 state God has a son. Isaiah 48:16-17 differentiates between the Lord, The LORD God and His Spirit i.e., the Trinity. With this evidence in the Jewish Bible Maimonides was wrong when he tried to display Christian belief as erroneous. .
-Maimonides stated “Jesus of Nazareth who imagined that he was the Messiah, but was put to death by the court… The sages, of blessed memory, having become aware of his plans before his reputation spread among our people, meted out fitting punishment to him.” Although history shows the Romans had to sentence and preside over an execution, Maimonides obviously agreed with the behavior of the Roman appointed High Priest and the Sanhedrin. Yeshua never harmed any Jew or Gentile, never questioned the worldly authority of Rome, so how could crucifixion, a most brutal form of execution, be fitting? This is the same Jewish generation that lived to witness the withdrawal of the Shekhina glory from and ultimate destruction of the Temple, the looting of Jerusalem, and the beginning of the Diaspora of the Jewish nation. Obviously that generation was under God’s judgment as an evil generation, just as the generations leading up to the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel by Assyria and the destruction of the First Temple and Jerusalem followed by the Babylonian captivity were adjudged evil by God as revealed by His prophets [e.g., Isaiah, Jeremiah]. This explains the enormity of the event. If they were evil how can Maimonides claim that this evil generation judged correctly concerning Yeshua?
Upon close examination of the positions taken by the Orthodox Jewish inspired Khabad Lubavitcher movement we find several serious difficulties, including: their reliance on non-biblical sources to validate their claims; a view of a purely and only human messiah who nevertheless is said to be able to nullify the evil human nature of others; their view on when prophesy [and miracles] ceased; and their reliance on the heterodox writings of Moses ben Maimon’s [Maimonides] claims. They fail to share with the Jewish people that King Messiah must be the son of a virgin mother of the line of David (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7); born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:1-2); He would come to and enter the Temple. Since that temple was already built it is the Second Temple built after the Babylonian captivity (Malachi 3:1-5); He would be killed before the destruction of the Second Temple (Daniel 9:26-27); He would be without sin and thus acceptable to God in atonement for sin (Isaiah 53); Was crucified (Psalm 22:6-8,12-18); The grave would not hold him (Psalm 16:10; Zechariah 12:10); and, He will come again descending out of the clouds (Daniel 7:13-14). If the Rabbis were really concerned about adhering to prophetic truth, they would encourage the Jewish people to investigate the messianic prophesies in the Tenakh. Instead they use non-biblical sources to argue that the messiah had not yet arrived until the 20th century, and then came in the form of the Lubavitcher Rebbe Schneerson, who did not and could not fulfill the most essential of messianic prophesies. Only Yeshua, who they emphatically reject, dismiss and despise, was born in Bethlehem, entered the second Temple, was killed before the destruction of the Second Temple, was surrounded by his enemies in his torment, Was rejected by his own people, scourged and suffocated to death on the cross, surrounded by criminals, without a bone being broken, rose from the dead as testified by many witnesses [who suffered and died for doing so]. It is that true Messiah, Yeshua, who kept all of God’s promises as delivered through the Hebrew prophets, who promises to come again on the clouds of heaven. Are you ready to meet him?