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Does Global Warming Mean the End Is Near?

Does Global Warming Mean the End Is Near?

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Question:

Could global warming be a sign that the Messiah is about to arrive? I learned that the Torah predicts that in the future the “covering of the sun” will be removed, and wicked people will melt in the intense heat. Maybe this is describing the hole in the ozone layer. Could this be true? Are we about to see the destruction of the wicked? (I'm not sure which side of that I’ll end up on . . .)

Answer:

The Jewish view of the end of days differs greatly from other apocalyptic visions. It will not need to be violent, and there will be no need for more wars. Even the punishment of the wicked can happen by peaceful means.

The Talmudic teaching you mention illustrates this: “In the future, there will be no need for purgatory. G‑d will remove the sun from its sheath. The righteous will be healed by it, and the wicked will be punished by it.”1

The “sheath of the sun” could be the atmosphere, the photosphere, the ozone layer, all of the above, or something else entirely, but the Talmud here is talking about a change in spiritual climate.

In Torah teachings, the sun represents G‑d’s light.2 In our current world, this light is hidden. Just as the sun has a sheath that covers it and filters its light, so too the laws of nature cover over G‑d’s light in the world. The divine hand is often hard to detect, and life can sometimes seem random and meaningless. G‑d is there if you look for Him, but He can easily be missed, and the world can seem like a very dark place.

But one day soon, it will all make sense. When the Messiah comes, G‑d will reveal Himself, His light will shine unblocked, the veil will be lifted, and we will see that it was His hand guiding the world all along. Nothing was random, nothing was a mistake, and everything was part of His ultimate plan.

This awareness will be a healing for the righteous. They always knew that G‑d was there, and it pained them that He could not be seen. They will take pleasure in feeling G‑d’s closeness and seeing goodness prevail, which is what they dedicated their lives to achieve.

But for the wicked, it will be a punishment. When the truth is revealed, when the game is up, they will feel the pain of having wasted their lives on emptiness and triviality. The greatest punishment is to discover that you got it wrong, that you built our life on false ground and missed out on doing so much good.3

The sun will shine. The question is, are you blocking the light or helping unveil the light? Is yours a life of enduring worth, or are you preoccupied with the pettiness that will one day melt away? The future is bright. You can help make it so.

Footnotes
1.
Talmud, Nedarim 8b.
2.
Psalms 84:12: “For the sun and its shield is Hashem Elokim.”
3.
Ohr Torah (Maggid of Mezeritch), Parshat Va’eira.
Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
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Anonymous April 22, 2017

Title is hilarious, but article is great. Guys really משיח will be here we'll before any of the crazy predictions havea chance to actualize. And if your really scared you can brush the thoughts away as according to some top professors in1980's/90's we shouldn't be able to live anymore by now. So it's pretty clear to me at least that global warming is rubbish. The climate had always been changing, and as a matter of fact, where I live the Summers are getting cooler and have been for a number of years. Reply

Ariel Miami July 26, 2015

To those that referenced freezing winters as proof against Global Warming, you clearly don't have any idea what global warming is. Summers get hotter and winters get colder as a result of losing both the insulation (during winter, when the sun is farther away) and protection (during summer, when the sun is close) of the ozone layer. Please please please do some research! You can still be an observant, religious Jew without intentionally covering your eyes when it comes to true environmental science. If people can be wicked and pollute the spiritual climate, why is it so hard to believe that they can also pollute the physical, environmental climate that is also a gift from Hashem that we squander and damage? Reply

Yonason Tampa June 23, 2015

Yes, but not because it's actually "warming." The world isn't warming, at least not dangerously, and humans are not the cause. But what is increasing is Chutzpah and Scheker, on a global scale, exactly as our Sages foretold as some of the signs that Moshiach was imminent. Hurricanes aren't increasing, nor are tornadoes. Droughts and floods are no worse than they were in times past, when some were much worse.

The real danger is that the intellectual climate is becoming ever more closed and repressive. If you don't agree with the "accepted" views on warming, or Darwinism, or Cosmology, education or politics, then you may be ostracized or even demonized as an enemy of all that is good.

So, yes, we are getting close, and the forces of darkness are getting worried because their days are numbered, and they know it. If we keep striving to be better people, Jews by doing more Mitzvot and Gentiles by adhering to the Noahide Commandments, then we can hasten the time when there will only be positive developments for everyone. Reply

Anonymous Toronto June 23, 2015

global warming? I read the question with some amusement. Though the article is really beautiful, the question is kind of funny.The past few winters, especially last years, were freezing! How on earth can people still believe in global warming, is something that totally eludes me. Reply

izzy June 23, 2015

Thanks! Well said! Reply