The Jewish people have been exiled many times by “mighty beasts” from the Land of Israel. The traditional rabbinic understanding of four of these “beasts” mentioned in chapter 7 of the Book of Daniel, is that they represent four primary periods of exile that were predicted in the Bible.
The four main exiles of the Jewish people are identified as Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome.
There is a second, more esoteric rabbinic commentary which teaches that Genesis 1:2 also hints to the four primary exiles of the Jewish people.
The earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from Hashem sweeping over the water— (Genesis 1:2)
In this teaching, “unformed” refers to Babylon, “void” refers to Persia, “darkness” refers to Greece and “over the surface of the deep” refers to the final exile, which most rabbis agree is the Roman exile, under which the Jewish people are still suffering.
Last Thursday evening, Rabbi Daniel Glatstein of Cedarhurst, NY delivered a lecture in Jerusalem entitled The Rise of Yishmael At The End Of Days And The Coming Of Moshiach.
Rabbi Glatstein spoke in detail about the various prophecies that relate to the number of exiles the Jewish people will endure before the End of Days.
Although there are four basic exiles that have been predicted, there is an opinion based on a verse from the Book of Psalms that there are actually eight.
For the leader; with instrumental music on the sheminith. A psalm of David. (Psalms 6:1)
The hint to eight exiles is hidden in the word sheminith, which is related to the Hebrew word for eight.
According to this opinion, the last two of the eight kingdoms to oppress the Jewish people are Yishmael and Edom, which will co-exist at the End of Days.
“At the end of days, there will be two powers remaining… Western civilization and the Arab world,” Rabbi Glatstein asserted. He explained that in today’s terms, Yishmael is a reference to the Arab world and Edom is a reference to the United States.
Rabbi Glatstein asked, “which nation will prevail? Who will be the last nation standing?” In his view, “we don’t have a definitive answer.”
After citing multiple rabbinic opinions holding that America will survive with the Nation of Israel at the End of Days and another set of rabbinic opinions emphasizing that the Arab world will survive with the Nation of Israel at the End of Days, Rabbi Glatstein mentions the Jewish tradition of there being two redeemers.
According to Rabbi Glatstein, Messiah son of Joseph will redeem the Jewish people from the exile of Edom, which is the United States. And Messiah son of David will redeem the Jewish people from the exile of Yishmael, which is the Arab world.
This is why the world needs two Messianic figures, explained Rabbi Glatstein. They have different jobs to do.
Rabbi Glatstein finished his remarks with a teaching from the 18th century rabbinic and mystical genius known as the Vilna Gaon. The Vilna Gaon predicted that ultimately, Yishmael will defeat Edom.
On what basis did the Vilna Gaon make his prediction that the Arab world will ultimately defeat the United States? He derives this conclusion from the well-known Jewish principle that the Messiah son of Joseph will precede the Messiah son of David.
After laying out all the evidence for both sides of the argument, Rabbi Glatstein concluded that the last nation standing at the End of Days alongside the Jewish people will be the Arab world.