The Messianic Age (sometimes refered as Golden Age)is a theological term referring to a future time of universal peace and brotherhood on the Earth, without crime, war and poverty. Many religions (including all the Abrahamic Religions) believe that there will be such an Age; some refer to it as the consummate “Kingdom of GOD”, “Paradise on Earth”, “Peaceable Kingdom”, or the “World to come”.
Messianic Age and eschatology
In the context of “Messianic Age”, the earliest meaning of the word “Messianic” is derived from notion of Yemot HaMashiach meaning “the days of the Messiah”. Messiah derives from Hebrew, meaning “the anointed one”. At first the “anointed one” referred to Aaron and his descendants, the Kohanim. Following the establishment of the kingdom of Saul, it could also refer to a king who was anointed with holy anointing oil as part of what might be understood to be his coronation ceremony.
Eschatology is an area of Religious scholarship that deals with prophecies about “the end of the current age” of human civilization.
Description of the Messianic Era
According to Jewish tradition, the Messianic Era will be one of global peace and harmony, an era free of strife and hardship, and one conducive to the furtherment of the knowledge of the Creator. The theme of the Jewish Messiah ushering in an era of global peace is encapsulated in two of the most famous scriptural passages from the Book of Isaiah:
They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift sword against nation and they will no longer study warfare. (Isaiah 2:4)
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6-9)
In his Mishneh Torah, Maimonides describes the Messianic Era:
- “And at that time there will be no hunger or war, no jealousy or rivalry. For the good will be plentiful, and all delicacies available as dust.
- The entire occupation of the world will be only to know GOD… the people Israel will be of great wisdom; they will perceive the esoteric truths and comprehend their Creator’s wisdom as is the capacity of man. As it is written (Isaiah 11:9): “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of GOD, as the waters cover the sea.” “
- Advent of the Messianic Era
According to the Talmud, the Midrash, and the ancient Kabbalistic work, the Zohar, the Messiah must arrive before the year 6000 from the time of creation. In Orthodox Jewish belief, the Hebrew calendar dates to the time of creation, making this correspond to the year 2240 on the Gregorian calendar.
The Midrash comments:
“Six eons for going in and coming out, for war and peace. The seventh eon is entirely Shabbat and rest for life everlasting.”
There is a kabbalistic tradition that maintains that each of the seven days of the week, which are based upon the seven days of creation, correspond to the seven millennia of creation. The tradition teaches that the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath day of rest, corresponds to the seventh millennium, the age of universal ‘rest’ – the Messianic Era. The seventh millennium perforce begins with the year 6000, and is the latest time the Messiah can come. Supporting and elaborating on this theme are numerous early and late Jewish scholars, including Rabbeinu Bachya, Abraham ibn Ezra, the Ramban, Isaac Abrabanel, the Ramchal, the Vilna Gaon, Aryeh Kaplan, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
Christian eschatology includes several views of the Messianic Age.
According to realized eschatology, the Messianic Era, a time of universal peace and brotherhood on the earth, without crime, war and poverty, is already here. With the Crucifixion of Jesus the Messianic Era had begun, but according to inaugurated eschatology it will only be initiated and fulfilled by the parousia of Christ.
The Book of Revelation is commonly interpreted as referring to the “unveiling” or “revelation” of Jesus as the Messiah in the Apocalypse or end of the World. It tells of a 1000-year period after the apocalypse in which Satan will be bound so that he cannot influence those living on the Earth, and Jesus Christ will reign on the Earth with resurrected saints. After that Satan will be defeated once and for all, the Earth and heaven will pass away, and people will face judgment by Jesus Christ to determine whether or not they will enter the new heaven and Earth that will be established. (Revelation 21)
The Nicene Creed, professed by most Christians, expresses the belief that Christ ascended to Heaven, where he now sits at the Right hand of GOD and will return to earth at the Second Coming to establish the Kingdom of GOD of the World to Come.
The Quran states that Isa ibn Maryam (In English: Jesus, son of Mary) was the Messiah or “Prophet” sent to the Jews.[Quran 3:45] Muslims believe he is alive in Heaven, and will return to Earth to defeat the Masih ad-Dajjal, an anti-messiah comparable to the Christian Antichrist and the Jewish Armilus.
A hadith in Abu Dawud (37:4310) says:
Narrated Abu Hurayrah: The Prophet said: There is no prophet between me and him, that is, Jesus. He will descend (to the Earth). When you see him, recognise him: a man of medium height, reddish hair, wearing two light yellow garments, looking as if drops were falling down from his head though it will not be wet. He will fight for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill the swine, and put an end to war (in another tradition, there is the word Jizyah instead of Harb (war), meaning that he will abolish jizyah); GOD will perish all Religions except Islam. He [Jesus] will destroy the Antichrist who will live on the earth for forty days and then he will die. The Muslims will pray behind him.
Both Sunni and Shia Muslims agree Imam Mahdi will arrive first, and after him, Jesus. Jesus will proclaim that the true leader is al-Mahdi. A war, literally Jihad (Jihade Asghar) will be fought—the Dajjal (evil) against al-Mahdi and Jesus (good). This war will mark the approach of the coming of the Last Day. After Jesus slays al-Dajjāl at the Gate of Lud, he will bear witness and reveal that Islam is the true and final word from God to humanity as Yusuf Ali’s translation reads:[Quran 4:159 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)]
And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Judgment He will be a witness against them.― (159)
He will live for several years, marry, have children and will be buried in Medina.
A hadith in Sahih Bukhari (Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:55:658) says:
ALLAH’s Apostle said “How will you be when the son of Mary descends amongst you and your Imam is from amongst you.”
The Quran traslation by Yusuf Ali’s reads:
That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of ALLAH”;― but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not. (157) Nay, ALLAH raised him up unto Himself; and ALLAH is Exalted in Power, Wise. (158)[Quran 4:157–158]
So Peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again).[Quran 19:33]
Many classical commentators such as Ibn Kathir, At-Tabari, al-Qurtubi, Suyuti, al-Undlusi (Bahr al-Muhit), Abu al-Fadl al-Alusi (Ruh al-Maani) clearly mention that verse 43:61 of the Qur’an refers to the descent of Jesus before the Day of Resurrection, indicating that Jesus would be the Sign that the Hour is close.
And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment): therefore have no doubt about the (Hour)…[Quran 43:61]
In Ahmadiyya Islam, the present age (the Messianic age) has been a witness to the wrath of God with the occurrence of the World Wars and the frequency of natural disasters. In Ahmadiyya, Ghulam Ahmad (d.1908) is seen as the promised Messiah whose Islamic teachings will establish spiritual reform and ultimately establish an age of peace upon earth. This age continues for around a thousand years as per Judeo-Christian prophecies; and is characterised by the assembling of mankind under one faith that is Islam as per Ahmadiyya belief.
In the Bahá’í Faith, the “Messianic Age” refers to a 1000-year period beginning with the Declaration of Bahá’u’lláh in 1863. Bahá’ís believe the period of peace and prosperity is gradually unfolding and will culminate in the appearance of “The Most Great Peace”.
Messianism is the belief in a Messiah, who acts as a savior, redeemer or liberator of a group of people. The concept of Messianism, best known in Christianity and Judaism, originated in the Hebrew Bible, in which a messiah is a king or High Priest traditionally anointed with Holy Anointing oil. Messianism is most commonly found in Abrahamic religions, including the Jewish Messiah (from which the term and meaning originates), the Christian Messiah called Christ (the Greek translation of the Hebrew root word), and the Muslim Mahdi and Isa (one of the Arabic names for Jesus). Other religions also have a messianism-related concept, including the Buddhist Maitreya, the Hindu Kalki, the Zoroastrian Saoshyant and He whom GOD shall make manifest in Bábism (believed to be Bahá’u’lláh by Bahais).
Messiah (Hebrew: משיח; mashiah, moshiah, mashiach, or moshiach, (“anointed [one]”) is a term used in the Hebrew Bible to describe priests and kings, who were traditionally anointed. For example, Cyrus the Great, the King of Persia, is referred to as “GOD’s anointed” (Messiah) in the Bible.
In Jewish messianic tradition and eschatology, the term came to refer to a future Jewish King from the Davidic line, who will be “anointed” with holy anointing oil and rule the Jewish people during the Messianic Age. In Standard Hebrew, The Messiah is often referred to as מלך המשיח, Méleḫ ha-Mašíaḥ (in the Tiberian vocalization pronounced Méleḵ hamMāšîªḥ), literally meaning “the Anointed King.”
Traditional Rabbinic teachings and current Orthodox thought has held that the Messiah will be an anointed one (messiah), descended from his father through the Davidic line of King David, who will gather the Jews back into the Land of Israel and usher in an era of peace.
Orthodox Jewish messianic movements have sprang out throughout the centuries among the Jewish communities worldwide, including various Messiah claimants – which at times became popular, but have either failed to deliver the promises of redemption or remained with only a handful of followers. The most popular Messiah claimants were Simon Bar Kokhba in the 2nd century Judea, Nehemiah ben Hushiel in the 7th century Sasanian Empire, Sabbatai Zevi in the 17th century Ottoman Empire (precursor to Sabbateans), Jacob Frank in the 18th century Europe, Shukr Kuhayl I and Judah ben Shalom in 19th century Ottoman Yemen, and finally Menachem Mendel Schneerson in 20th century US (precursor to Chabad messianism).
Other denominations, such as Reform Judaism, perceive a Messianic Age when the world will be at peace, but do not agree that there will be a Messiah as the leader of this era.
The Jewish Messiah concept was the source of the development of later, similar messianic concepts in Christianity (originally a Jewish sect) and Islam.
In Christianity, the Messiah is called the Christ (/kraɪst/; Greek: Χριστός, translit. Khristós, lit. ‘Anointed One’; Hebrew: מָשִׁיחַ, translit. Māšîah, lit. ‘Mashiach’), the saviour and redeemer who would bring salvation to the Jewish people and mankind. “Christ” is the Greek translation of “Messiah”, meaning “Anointed one”. The role of the Christ, the Messiah in Christianity, originated from the concept of the messiah in Judaism. Though the conceptions of the messiah in each religion are similar, for the most part they are distinct from one another due to the split of early Christianity and Judaism in the 1st century. Christians believe Jesus to be the Jewish Messiah (Christ) of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament.
Christians believe that the messianic prophecies were fulfilled in his mission, death, Resurrection, and Ascension to his Session on the heavenly throne, where “he sat down at the right hand of God, where he is now waiting until his enemies are made a footstool for his feet” (Heb 10:12-13 NET, quoting the Davidic royal Psalm 110:1). Christians believe that the rest of the messianic prophecies will be fulfilled in the Second coming of Christ. One prophecy, distinctive in both the Jewish and Christian concept of the messiah, is that a Jewish king from the Davidic line, who will be “anointed” with holy anointing oil, will be king of God’s kingdom on earth, and rule the Jewish people and mankind during the Messianic Age and World to come.
The word Masih (Mahdi the Arabic word for “Messiah”) literally means “The anointed one” and in Islam, Isa Ibn Mariam, al-Masih (the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary) is believed to have been anointed from birth by ALLAH with the specific task of being a prophet and a king. In Islam, Mahdi is believed to hold the task of establishing the truth and fighting against oppression and injustice as well as killing the false messiah al-Dajjal (similar to the Antichrist in Christianity), who will emerge shortly before him in human form in the end of the times, claiming that he is the messiah. After he has destroyed al-Dajjal his final task will be to become a just king and to re-establish justice, peace and monotheism in the world .
Maitreya is a bodhisattva who in the Buddhist tradition is to appear on Earth, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure dharma. According to scriptures, Maitreya will be a successor of the historic Śākyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. The prophecy of the arrival of Maitreya is found in the canonical literature of all Buddhist sects (Theravāda, Mahāyāna, Vajrayāna) and is accepted by most Buddhists as a statement about an actual event that will take place in the distant future.
Though Maitreya Buddha appears in the canonical literature shared by many sects of Buddhism, Buddhists in different historical contexts have conceived of Maitreya Buddha in different ways. In early medieval Chinese Buddhism, for example, Taoist and Buddhist ideas combined to produce a particular emphasis on the messianic role of a Bodhisattva called “Prince Moonlight.” Furthermore, the Chinese Maitreyan traditions were themselves marked by considerable diversity. Erik Zurcher has argued that a certain “canonical” Maitreyan cult from the fourth to sixth centuries believed Maitreya to inhabit the Tusita heaven where Buddhists might be reborn in the very distant future. Another rival tradition, however, believed that Maitreya would appear in the imminent future in this world to provide salvation during a time of misery and decline. This latter form of Maitreyan belief was generally censored and condemned as heretical to the point that few manuscripts survive written by Buddhists sympathetic to this tradition.
Maitreya Buddha continued to be an important figure in millenarian rebellions throughout Chinese history such as in the rebellions associated with the so-called White Lotus Society.
According to Taoism A number of Scriptures predict the end of the World cycle, the deluge, epidemics, and coming of the saviour Li Hong 李弘
In Hinduism, Kalki (Devanagari: कल्कि; also rendered by some as Kalkin and Kalaki) is the tenth and final Maha Avatara (great incarnation) of Vishnu who will come to end the present Age of darkness and destruction known as Kali Yuga. The name Kalki is often a metaphor for eternity or time. The origins of the name probably lie in the Sanskrit word “kalka” which refers to dirt, filth, or foulness and hence denotes the “destroyer of foulness,” “destroyer of confusion,” “destroyer of darkness,” or “annihilator of ignorance.”
According to Zoroastrian philosophy, redacted in the Zand-i Vohuman Yasht, “at the end of thy tenth hundredth winter […] the sun is more unseen and more spotted; the year, month, and day are shorter; and the earth is more barren; and the crop will not yield the seed; and men […] become more deceitful and more given to vile practices. They have no gratitude.
Honorable wealth will all proceed to those of perverted faith […] and a dark cloud makes the whole sky night […] and it will rain more noxious creatures than winter.”
Saoshyant, the Man of Peace, battles the forces of evil. The events of the final renovation are described in the Bundahishn (30.1ff): “In the final battle with evil, the yazatas Airyaman and Atar will ‘melt the metal in the hills and mountains, and it will be upon the earth like a river’ (Bundahishn 34.18), but the righteous (ashavan) will not be harmed.”
Eventually, Ahura Mazda will triumph, and his agent Saoshyant will resurrect the dead, whose bodies will be restored to eternal perfection, and whose souls will be cleansed and reunited with the Creator. Time will then end, and truth/righteousness (asha) and immortality will thereafter be everlasting.
Rastafarians believe that Emperor Haile Selassie was not killed by the Derg in Ethiopia’s civil war, but will return to save Earth, and in particular, people of African descent. This is a particularly interesting case, as Selassie is identified as the Second Coming of Jesus, so the Rastafarian prophecy is effectively a second coming of the second coming.
Russian and Slavic Messianism
Romantic Slavic messianism held that the Slavs, especially the Russians, suffer in order that other European nations, and eventually all of humanity, may be redeemed. This theme had a profound impact in the development of Pan-Slavism and Russian and Soviet imperialism; it also appears in works by the Polish Romantic poets Zygmunt Krasiński and Adam Mickiewicz, including the latter’s familiar expression, “Polska Chrystusem narodów” (“Poland is the Christ of the nations”). Messianic ideas appear іn the “Books of the Genesis of the Ukrainian People” (Brotherhood of Saints Cyril and Methodius Manifesto), in which universal equality and democracy in the Zaporizhian Sich, recognized as a revival of human society initially planned by GOD. Extermination of Ukraine by Poland and Russia, and faith in its future revival, associated with faith in the death and resurrection of Christ. Reborned Ukraine will expand universal freedom and faith in all Slavic countries and thus designed by GOD ideal society will be restored.