With tensions escalating between Russia and Turkey, many are wondering if the world is being witness to a divine act of messianic intervention.
Just before his death in 1797, an exceedingly well-respected Jewish sage known as the Vilna Gaon (the genius of Vilna) left his followers with a prophetic statement about two specific events that would happen just before the appearance of the Messiah.
After being held as “a closely guarded secret” for over 200 years, Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch, a great-grandson of the Vilna Gaon, shared the full prophecy publically for the first time in 2014. The text of the Vilna Gaon’s prophecy was reported by Rabbi Lazer Brody, an American-born Hasidic rabbi and teacher from Ashdod, Israel in March, 2014.
“When you hear that the Russians have captured the city of Crimea, you should know that the times of the Messiah have started, that his steps are being heard. And when you hear that the Russians have reached the city of Constantinople, you should put on your Shabbat (Sabbath) clothes and don’t take them off, because it means that the Messiah is about to come any minute.”
In this prophecy, the Vilna Gaon mentioned two signs of the imminent arrival of the Messiah – Russia capturing Crimea and Russia invading the Turkish city of Constantinople (now Istanbul). The first prophecy was fulfilled in 2014 when Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.
Current tensions between Russia and Turkey, including Turkey shooting down a Russian fighter jet on November 24, are setting the stage for the second sign, the Russian invasion of Istanbul, to occur soon.
The prophecy of the Vilna Gaon is strengthened by the existence of a similar prophecy, this one from the Jewish sage known as the Ba’al Shem Tov, the founder of the Hasidic Judaism. Like the Vilna Gaon, the Ba’al Shem Tov lived in the 18th century.