Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel of 1217 tips Jack Van Impe on 2017 tribulation

I recently watched two of the latest Jack Van Impe’s TV programs. I probably had not watched his program in almost a decade for a number of reasons. Van Impe fell out of favor with me when he started quoting mystics and pagans to support his end time speculations about how soon the Lord would return. Of course, Jack would always say that he is not setting dates, but then he would go ahead and set an outermost date for the fulfillment of the Rapture. Over the years, Jack Van Impe has proven that he can be wrong on his date speculations. However, my main criticism of him was the use of extra-biblical sources to support his date speculations.

Tom Horn and other nationally known prophecy teachers also quote mystics and pagan prophecy. However, I do not know of any major Bible prophecy teacher, other than Jack Van Impe, that believes these extra-biblical prophecies actually originate from God. These other Bible prophecy teachers would say the information comes from Satan. My beef with them is that Satan and his minions do not determine or control the future.

Knowing everything including the future is one of the major proofs that God is actually God. He is not bound by the limitations set in His creation, but every created being in His creation is bound by the physical laws within His universe and what God determines.

For thousands of years Satan has tried to take full dominion over the earth through human world leaders, but God’s angels and God’s people limit him from actually doing so. Satan does not know God’s timing. He really only knows that he has a short time left to accomplish his agenda after he and his angels are cast out of the heavens unto the earth (Rev 12:12). And at that time, Satan can only accomplish dominion on earth because what restrains him has been removed (2Th 2:7).

The first of the two Jack Van Impe programs that I watched appeared to be biblical, so I thought maybe Jack learned to stay on more solid ground. However, the second program dispelled that thought.

Jack Van Impe talked about the supposed prophecy of Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel who died in 1217 AD. Van Impe did not quote his sources for how he even found that “prophecy” but one would think that the sources would be very reliable if he is going to broadcast to the world from what he read in that “prophecy”. Van Impe surmises that the Rabbi was saying the start of the tribulation (the 70th week of Daniel) would occur in 2017.

To support that concept Van Impe put all his eggs in one defective basket, Van Impe said a number or times on that program, that at most we have 4.5 years left before the Rapture, so you better get ready (Van Impe is a pretribulation Rapture teacher).

In truth, the Rapture can happen at anytime, but I did not fall off the back of a turnip truck. I am not going to buy into something unless it makes biblical sense. This supposed prophecy by Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel of before 1217 A.D. made my discernment litmus tester turn red, indicating to me that Van Impe was once again blowing wind across the slightly acidic airwaves where turnips tend to flourish.

Since Van Impe did not give his source for this “prophecy”,  I had to research it myself. I found dozens of articles that were quoting this prophecy but I only found two sources on the Internet that were not just copied verbatim from the original source where the rest came from. One was from Joseph Farah of WND. His article was written in 2012 and it is titled Just 5 years till end times commence? , the main point of the Farah’s article came from an article in Israel Today.  The other article was by Pastor F.M. Riley written on 3/9/10, he apparently also got his info from the Israel Today article. Therefore, there really is only one original source of this “prophecy” attributed to Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel on the Internet that I could find. That article is in the March 2008 issue – page 18  of Israel Today  magazine, that article was written by Ludwig Schneider.

There is nothing else that I could find to verify that such a prophecy from before 1217 AD even existed.  It does not surprise me that people on the Internet just copy articles and do not give credit to the source, because some copy entire articles of mine without linking back to this site. What was really surprising, is that in the dozens of articles that I had read, I could only find one article that was critical of the claim.

Since Jack Van Impe has broadcast this “prophecy”, and has also put his own ending on the “prophecy” for all the world to believe, I thought a little more balance was needed on the Internet about this “prophecy”. Otherwise, the next crop of turnips may just sell the farm and rot on a hilltop waiting for the Rapture.

I am not going to just repeat everything said in the “prophecy” like everyone else. Read the Israel Today article that I linked to if you want to read the original source. Basically, the “prophecy” is based on Jubilees and the land of Israel. The claim of those referring to this “prophecy” is that two prophecies were already fulfilled as written, so the third prophecy falling on 2017 AD would also take place.

The last Jubilee fulfilled is said to be 1967 and the next Jubilee in the prophecy would take place in 2017. We know what happened in 1967, it is when Jerusalem was returned to the Jews. Ludwig Schneider, actually only said in his article, that it is possible that 2017 or 2018 could be a decisive year for Israel. Joseph Farah said he would leave what would happen in 2017 to our imagination. F. M. Riley thought it meant that Jesus would return in 2017 and the tribulation would start in 2010 (apparently we are missing it). Jack Van Impe thinks it means the 70th week of Daniel and tribulation start in 2017. However,  no where in the Israel Today article is the speculation of Riley or Van Impe even suggested.

I have come up with six criticisms of the prophecy and what Van Impe suggests. (I think the criticisms made in the article that I linked to above are better researched and are better than the criticisms that I list, so you might read that article.)

1.  Other than what Schneider wrote, I have no reason to believe that Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel ever even gave such a prophecy. Should I just believe that this Pentecostal pastor even saw and could even translate such a document from the 13th century? Where is the document and any peer review of such a significant fulfilled prophecy?

I would not even be able to translate English properly from 800 years ago, so how does this pastor translate whatever language this was written into modern English with any accuracy? There are over 5000 ancient manuscripts of the Bible, most dating from near the same era and they do not totally agree with each other, but I should just believe that one document from one Rabbi of the 13th century was recorded and has been translated without error?

Why do I have the sneaky feeling that pastor Riley constructed his thesis in hindsight to make whatever it is that he may have read to come out the way he thought it should be? This Pentecostal pastor may have just thought that he had divine help that makes his translation and backdating inerrant. We can’t be sure what was said by Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel, without the documentation, and pastor Riley offers none in his article. I am surprised that Israel Today even published something that could not be documented.

2. We really do not even know that a Jubilee is 50 years. Many scholars believe the Jubilee cycle is 49 years because they believe the 50th year is also the first year of the next Jubilee cycle. If a Jubilee cycle is 49 years all the claims of fulfillment would be false.

3. Why would God reveal to someone who rejects Jesus as the Messiah the prophetic timing of the end? For what purpose? What good will this 13th century “prophecy” do for the Jews living in the past or for the Jews existing just prior to the last seven years? If the “prophecy is for the Church to know the timing of the end, than why use an unbeliever to give revelation to the Church?  It simply is not logical that God would reveal the future to an unbeliever blinded by Satan. And as I implied before, Satan does not know the timings set by God.

4. In one of my searches, I read that Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel claimed to have talked directly with Elijah and he claimed to have received his information from Elijah. I do not know if that is actually documented somewhere or not as coming from Rabbi Ben Samuel, but if Ben Samuel talked to Elijah you would think that this Rabbi would have converted to Christianity. Instead, there is a claim that this Rabbi afterward prevented a child from being baptized into Christianity and that this has been documented by the Roman Catholic Church.

5.  The “prophecy” says that 2017 is a Jubilee. Jack Van Impe says he believes this Jubilee year will start the tribulation. It seems to me that the second coming and the thousand-year reign starts with a Jubilee. Therefore, there cannot be a 2017 Jubilee and just seven years later a 2024 Jubilee as well. The concept of a God determined Jubilee starting the tribulation does not even make sense. Some Jubilee!

6. If Jesus announced a Jubilee year around 26 to 30 AD, with the start of His ministry when he announced the acceptable year of the Lord in the Temple (Lk 4 19-21), how can the dates mentioned in this “prophecy” be Jubilee years? For example, forty Jubilees that are fifty years each from about 26 to 30 AD would be fulfilled about 2026 to 2030 AD, not 2017. Likewise, the prior dates in this “prophecy” also would not fit.

I suppose it is within the realm of possibilities that the tribulation could start by 2017. However, without a lot of supernatural nation building and technological intervention it is difficult for me to see how all the world players and world conditions can fulfill the prophetic scriptures by 2024. More likely this date is still a decade too soon. I do not think it would be wise to buy into the Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel prophecy claims or Jack Van Impe’s new spiel that strongly implies that 2017 is the start of the last seven-year tribulation.

If anyone wants to research this further, and can come up with another person that translated this claimed prophecy of Rabbi Ben Samuel who lived before 1217 AD, or has other information that supports the claim that this Rabbi did accurately foretell the future, I am sure that we would all like to see it.

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 Don Koenig is the founder of ThePropheticYears website. He has been publishing articles on the Internet on Bible prophecy, biblical discernment and Christian worldviews since 1999. You can find well over a thousand articles and thousands of comments written by Don from the homepage of this website.


11 thoughts on “Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel of 1217 tips Jack Van Impe on 2017 tribulation

  1. Seems to me that these televangelists would take a lesson from Harold Camping. Nevertheless, it is obvious to me all these “seers” making unsubstantiated predictions are simply trying to build up their coffers. If they were truly “Men of God,” they would believe the words of Jesus, “No MAN knows!” And, Van Impe is the one who has memorized and can quote so much of the Bible. It defies logic!

  2. I used to watch Van Impe, but my wife tired of hear him preach the same thing every week, using the same bible verses, and then the break for Chuck O to push the latest DVD to the masses. He has been saying for years we have until 2018 until the Tribulation by his calculations. Send $49.95 to JVIM, postal station…. My favorite was right before his sinners prayer, “Look at me….repeat after me….”
    I pretty much have tuned out all Christian media on television. I liked Charles Stanley but he started selling tapes, and his backing of his son is another question. I used to watch a Walter L Pearson. I guess The Lord is showing us that all who we trusted I are now failing us, from ministers, govt, our jobs, etc. only trust in The Lord will never fail.

  3. “… indicating to me that Van Impe was once again blowing wind across the slightly acidic air waves where turnips tend to flourish…” It’s a mad mad mad mad mad mad world after all 🙂

    Things in the Americas, as if they aren’t already dicey enough to begin with, are likely to be perilous long before the rapture, so “waiting” on the rapture is foolish enough as it is.

    On the topic of “nation building,” I watched this program called “Build It Bigger” and they had an episode about some skywalk being built in Singapore. Granted that’s one building in a nation progressively looking to build the next Los Vegas / Maccau, but I will say that buildings are going up pretty quick. What’s interesting to me is that, conversely in America, which is about as negative economic development as it gets, it sure is taking for ever for that world trade tower replacement to go up. So, a decade too soon (for the years 2017/2024) seems probably about right.

    I’m still trying to figure out the date related posts from a couple blogs ago, but it seems to me that 2000 years, with a few years margin either side, from the cross/resurrection is what I’m using in casual conversation – but I hope I’m not misleading anyone on that. Besides, there’s all the supporting observations / signs to go along.

    Frankly, I think a lot of the signs are happening now – in particular to this blog subject, the turning away to the harlot / Laodicea. Romans 1 / 2 are in full swing. Information explosion is occuring. How folks who can memorize much of the bible can be fooled by Satan is mind boggling. Then again, there are programs such as “How the earth made man” that people are apparently soaking up in great quantities, so the insanity is going to breed enormous inhumanity.

    Well, we are watching as the “day” approaches. However, I’m definitely keeping the phrase “acidic air waves where turnips tend to flourish” – that’s a keeper: maybe I’ll copy/paste it 🙂

  4. Don

    Glad to see you put 49 years as an alternate “good length” for the Hebrew Jubilee cycle. If you read the actual Bible (and not rely upon a purported letter from a Jew in the 13th century) then you can calculate the Jubilee cycle as being the 49 years that God said it should be. The Jubilee is considered a Sabbath (7) collection of a Sabbath (7) of years – so how can it be anything EXCEPT 49 years long? It is in the fiftieth year that the enslaved are set free and everything is set back to its original free state. However, the cycle itself continues to be 49 years (so the 50th year of being set free is also the 1st year of the NEXT 49 year cycle).

    I have discovered a couple of ancient Jewish witnesses about a Jubilee year falling during a particular year in their lifetime. I only mention them because they line up with the real cycle. You can date the beginning of the first 49 year cycle from the entry by the Hebrews into the Promised Land. There is no way that cycle lines up with 2017 as a Jubilee year. The ancient Jew’s claim of a 50 year cycle count actually GUARANTEES it will be out of alignment with God’s true Jubilee cycle.

    Jack Van Impe has done a pretty good job lately on his TV show of exposing the illegitimacy of the Islamic religion and the horrible effects that Christianity is beginning to experience as a result of “reaching out” to the Muslims. He is still a Pastor worth trusting in that…

    However, I also see Jack as simply trying to find something that he can date with some precision the upcoming events of the end of the age. In that – he falls in with literally many millions of Christians around the world in trying to get a handle on whatever is coming. They all feel something is coming – as do many other millions of non Christians. We simply haven’t seen such a worldwide end of the age flurry since the year 1,000! I can’t blame Jack for trying – but I can blame him for not relying on the Bible as his primary source of information. A secondary source such as an ancient Jewish witness (or other attested historical “record”) should only be mentioned if it actually supports the Biblical record to the “t”.


  5. Don,

    There was a time in my life when all I had access to was Jack Van Impe on a consistent basis.

    I was an OTR truck driver and at the time, he was one of very few programs that I could download and watch every week living on the road.

    I watched JVI for 15 years but I did have a hard time with some of his rhetoric…it was actually you who straightened me out on his fallacy.

    I quit watching him completely a few years ago and now I have a much better lineup of people to watch/listen to daily/weekly.

    Last I watched of him, he seemed to stray very far off the Biblical path…and his constant, “The Lord woke me up at 3am”…to give him prophetic revelation was always a little too bizarre.

  6. Well, my curiosity of who this Rabbi was sent me to my 1970 set of Encyclopedia Americana. It says that there are many works written that are attributed to Judah Ben Samuel but he did not write them. He is the author of two books, however, the Book of the Divine Majesty and the Book of the Pious. It says his commentary on the Pentateuch has been lost. It also says that his acclaim was that he was tireless in his efforts “to discover the great truths of the Bible and the hidden meanings in the accounts of its priests, prophets, and philosophers.” A fine mystic, he…He died in 1217 at the age of about 67.

  7. Sherry,

    I understand that he got at least some of those “truths” by using Gematria. The Rabbi never found the greatest truth of the Bible that reveals Jesus is the Messiah.

  8. Thanks for your article. I had the same suspicions. Just a typo heads up. ” I do not think it world be wise” 2nd to last paragraph. And “We know what happen in 1967, it is when Jerusalem was returned to the Jews.

  9. Something to consider:
    “The rabbi also prophesied that ***during*** the 10th Jubilee, Jerusalem would be under the control of the Jews and the Messianic “end times” would begin.
    Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2012/10/just-5-years-till-end-times-commence/#zUE2XzeCwUgdGuFJ.99

    That reads ‘During’ not ‘At’.

    The Israel Today article by Ludwig Schneider it reads “***In*** the tenth jubilee year, Jerusalem would return to the Jewish people and then the Messianic end times begin.” So that does not say ‘At’ bit ‘In’.
    http://issuu.com/ryaninzion/docs/israel_today_march_2008 Article on page 18 of 32 March 2008 “Israel: Between Mysticism and Reality”

    This is a time period and not a date. In this case the time period is 50 years.

    God clearly has no problem talking to anyone. In the Bible there are three groups of people that God talks to, The Jews, the Christians, and the Gentiles or Nations.
    The first group the Jews have a covenant with God that is still operating. That covenant has promises, some of which are about to be fulfilled.

    That St. Paul clearly points out that the Jews that have turned away from the Messiah will not do so forever, and that they will return. Good News:Salvation.

    The Christians have a new and better covenant, and the message to them is that, as Dr. Jack Van Impe clearly preaches, we are commanded to know the times. It is in the Greek imperative. Why? So our hearts do not fail us and that we are not alarmed by all the events that are taking place before the Rapture. Clearly Salvation at work.

    This is why St. Paul’s message is a ‘comforting’ one, since the saved have already passed through judgement and if I may put it so simply “Get the ‘Eck’ (Greek for ‘from’, for we are saved ‘from’ this time of Tribulation) out of here!” Which for all Christians should be comforting news. Good News: Saved!

    The message to the Nations, Gentiles, those with no covenant is to receive salvation before the end of the Age comes and a world of hurt. Good News: Salvation.

    That God, who is Love, would not want anyone to go into the Tribulation Time and so uses every means possible to reach as many people as possible, so that they may receive everlasting life, does not surprise me, and Dr. Jack Van Impe and his ministry are just one of those ‘means’.

    Has Dr. Jack Van Impe made mistakes? He himself has openly admitted to doing so ‘on the air’ and has accepted correction for it. Did God pick him because he was perfect or because he was available? If we wait for someone perfect, then we will all be waiting in vain.

    The Hebrew language is not like the English language, and for most English speaking people today, even having the writing correctly before their eyes, such as a play by Shakespeare presents challenges. Hebrew however has not been spoken openly for thousands of years, and so like Latin, which is used in Science because it is a dead language and so not subject to change through daily use and misuse, Hebrew has retained it’s original meaning.

    The other interesting thing about Hebrew is that it is a logical language. Reason pervades it, and the meanings of words consistent. There are base words, IIRC about 261 base root words which all the other words come from. The meaning of the root word is carried into the new word that has grown from it, and you can see the root word in the word that sprang forth.
    Example: we all know Shalom which means basically Peace. The root word for Shalom is Shalem, which means ‘nothing missing, nothing broken’.
    So having ‘nothing missing, nothing broken’ in ones life is having Peace.
    Consistent, precise, logical, and whole.

    When in Isiah it says ‘Behold a *virgin* will give birth…’ the Hebrew word used has 3 meanings. People have fought over what that says. The 3 meanings are 1- newly wed, 2 – young, 3 – virgin.
    Now Mary was young, and the problem for Joseph was that she was going to give birth before 9 months of marriage, newly wed, and she was a virgin, so the entire whole meaning of the Hebrew word is fulfilled. Nothing amazing or out of the ordinary for a newly wed to give birth, or a young girl, happens all the time, but for a young newly wed virgin, why I know of only one case of that happening in all of recorded history.

    So it is that all scriptures will be entirely completely fulfilled, and all through Jesus. So instead of getting into arguments or fights, Christians would have been better served to seek the Truth and Revelation of that Truth in their lives. This also includes accepting correction, which is something Jack Van Impe has done.

    When people jump on people for setting dates, they sometimes are proud of their ignorance, yet scripture tells us to be on the lookout, to keep a watchful eye, to see the times we live in, to know when the knock on the door is approaching. To do so means one has to read scripture, and keep it in one’s heart. Then one day, meaning will present itself and revelation will be manifested in the hearts of those that have the word germinating in. Someone else cannot do this for anyone, they can only aid you in the process.

    So back when Hebrew was spoken by only a few Jews, instead of fighting over the meaning of Mary and what she was, it would have been better for all involved to accept that the other person was seeking the Truth, and trust in the Lord Master Rabbi to handle the case since it is His job to lead and take care of His sheep.

    The Master tells us to humble ourselves and sit at the far end of the table, so we may be exalted in due time and asked to sit at the head. By submitting to Jesus as ‘Lord’ (Modern English: Boss the One in charge, calling the shots)
    He will guide us and move us deeper and deeper into His Will for us. Their is no other way, and Jesus said the He is The Way.

    So IF you are a Christian, fill up your lamps with oil that will last through the whole night, and keep a good lookout, so that you may not be caught unaware. Put your house in order so when He The Master comes you will be ready, no matter what the day or time of the Rapture is.

    If you are a Jew, then seek to escape what is coming, by receiving the Free Gift of The Messiah, Now before the Tribulation. If you find yourself in the Tribulation, know that the Messiah will still be there available for you to receive, and that it is never to late for a good decision.

    If you are in this world without a covenant, then you need A Savior, and there is only one person that has defeated Death and the Grave. Only one person that has promised and delivered everlasting life.
    Romans 10:9
    “9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

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