How many things people would like to know and understand, yet the Ecclesisate (the Book of the Biblical Canon also called Qoeleth) concludes his verses by stating that “too much study consumes the body” (12, 14). So in which matters therefore, is it right to dedicate oneself to research? In what to philosophies? Certainly those that please our Spirit, and among these there is one in particular that from a prophetic point of view animates and invigorates the faith of Jewish, Christian and Muslim believers, the coming of the Messiah.
But as in all “highest” things concerning the future times, there is a great debate among scholars on this subject and different schools of thought have been developed, but many of the people remain unaware of the quantity of interpretations on this matter. The Talmud speaks of the coming before a “cruel man like Haman” (referring to the book of Esther) who will rise up against the people of GOD just before the coming of Melech HaMashiach ben David (the Messiah king son of David):
Thus hath R. Johanan said: in the generation when the son of David [the Messiah] will come, scholars will be few in number, and as for the rest, their eyes will fail through sorrow and grief. Multitudes of trouble and evil decrees [laws] will be promulgated anew, each new evil coming with haste before the other has ended.
(Sanhedrin Folio 97a)
Rab said: All the predestined dates [for redemption] have passed, and the matter [now] depends only on repentance and good deeds [that are accomplished].
R. Eliezer said: if Israel repent, they will be redeemed; if not, they will not be redeemed.
R. Joshua said to him, if they do not repent, will they not be redeemed! But the Holy One, blessed be He, will set up a king over them, whose decrees shall be as cruel as Haman’s, whereby Israel shall engage in repentance, and he will thus bring them back to the right path.
(Sanhedrin Folio 97b)
To this day each of the Abrahamic Religions is increasingly divided within itself because of the numerous schisms, afflicted in a desperate search for redemption but filled with problematic issues and fears due largely to the supremacy of the institution over the pure faith, and therefore an increasingly marked lack of emunah which in Hebrew means active faith and trust only in GOD. But the one thing that still held everyone in unity is hope, everyone in the three monotheistic faiths awaits the arrival of a redeemer who will be willing to tolerate dissensions and show a single way of salvation. Some of the Jews of the “end time”, both secular and religious, especially in the Occident, are ready to accept and await the universal master of justice and peace. These largely Western and unorthodox Jews will join forces with those who turn against the Jews at that time because of their loyalty to this man. The parallels and similarities with Christian and Muslim prophecies are obvious, as are the times, at least according to the prophecies that seem really mature:
Just before Mashiach [Messiah] comes, there will be a flood of atheism, not a literal flood of water but one of strange thoughts that will cover all the “high mountains” even in the land of Israel, which was not affected by Noah’s flood. The rains will teem down with such force that even the “mountains of Israel ” will be drenched, even the hearts of the pure will be affected.
Wisdom and sophistication will be of no avail. The only ones who will hold firm are the simple Jews who recite Psalms simply and sincerely. That is why, when the Mashiach comes, they will be the ones who place the royal crown on his head.
(Nachman – Sipurim Niflaim)
The prophecies speak clearly, yet we know the requirements that should differentiate nations from the believing people, but we understand very well that the direction taken is leading astray. People are still making the same mistakes as in past ages, and internal fighting is destroying Judaism, Christianity and Islam unity as never before:
Great atheism is coming to the world as a test from on high. The world’s many sins are causing a terrible lack of faith. Happy is the person who stays firm in his faith in these times. The fact that I am predicting this will not prevent the increase of Godlessness and confusion. Long ago Daniel and others made it known that this would happen in the days before the Mashiach. “Many will purify themselves and be refined, and make themselves shining white. But the wicked will do evil. and only the wise shall understand” (Daniel 12, 10 ).
(Nachman, Sichot Haran #35)
The Messiah, as the prophets have foretold, will be a righteous of heart that will open the doors to a new era, in which the world will unite in peace almost as in a single Soul, bringing a change in the universal mass consciousness. Of the Jewish prophecies the fact that emerges is that the moment of growing dissent and atheism on earth today does not seem to be a coincidence, already Golda Meir said that “if you want to destroy the Jews? Leave us alone and we will destroy ourselves”, but this actually reflects somewhat the situation of all Abrahamic religions, appearing to be an inherent characteristic of the very nature of human being.
One should also consider the possibility of accepting a false Messiah, and this has always been a widespread concern among the people. A very large percentage of Jews were sure that Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson was the Messiah, and although he died in 1994 without having fulfilled the requirements, some of them still believe that he will return after his death and reign as the King Messiah. So before you have any judgement you have to wait, be cautious and patient, because only waiting for the fruit to be mature one’s will realize what kind of tree has produced them:
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
(Gospel according to Matthew 7, 15-20)
As for the Messiah, Rambam gives us an important hint:
If a king will arise from the House of David, who, like David his ancestor, delves deeply into the study of the Torah and engages in the mitzvos as prescribed by the Written Law and the Oral Law; if he will compel all of Israel to walk in [the way of the Torah] and repair the breaches [in its observance]; and if he will fight the wars of GOD; we may, with assurance, consider him Mashiach.
If he succeeds in the above, defeats all the nations around him, builds the [Beis Ha] Mikdash [the Jerusalem Temple] on its site, and gathers in the dispersed remnant of Israel, he is definitely the Mashiach. He will then perfect the entire world, [motivating all the nations] to serve GOD together, as it is written [Zephaniah 3, 9], “I will make the peoples pure of speech so that they will all call upon the Name of GOD and serve Him with one purpose.”
(Mishna Torah, Laws of Kings and their Wars, Maimonides, Chapter 11, Law #4)
The Messiah will found his reform on knowledge and observance of the Torah because it is really the only way to guide the people towards happiness and peace, because the Gospel and the Qur’an are based on the Torah, but unlike religious institutions he will do so respecting the total religious freedom of everyone. This can only happen through knowledge of the good and evil that the Law provides, the welcoming of foreigners because also they have been “foreigners in the land of Egypt“:
33 “‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. 34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your GOD. 35 “‘Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight or quantity. 36 Use honest scales and honest weights, an honest ephah and an honest hin. I am the LORD your GOD, who brought you out of Egypt. 37 “‘Keep all My decrees and all My laws and follow them. I am the LORD.’”
(Leviticus 19, 33-37)
Just as the Torah was given to Moses to manifest the power of GOD over humanity, the Messiah can therefore be compared to the one who will lead Israel out of Egypt, that is, out of slavery, to the Promised Land which today corresponds to World Peace. And by Isareles is meant not only the tribe of Judah, but all those who will recognize GOD and put His Law into practice (Ez 36, 24-27; Jer 23, 5-8). Through Moshe the Torah was revealed in a Book, but through the Messiah it will be engraved in the hearts of all, as naturally guided by the Holy Spirit from Olam Hezeh (the world as it is now) to Olam Haba (the Messianic era to come), and unlike Moshe, it will enter the Earth with the people.
Table of Contents
What is the Mashiach doing at the Gates of Rome
The Babylonian Talmud narration gives an important insight about where the Messiah will be:
38 R. Joshua b. Levi met Elijah standing by the entrance of R. Simeon b. Yohai’s tomb. He asked him: “Have I a portion in the world to come?” He replied, “If this Master desires it.” 39 R. Joshua b. Levi said, “I saw two, but heard the voice of a third.” 40 He then asked him, “When will the Messiah come?” “Go and ask him himself” was his reply. “Where is he sitting?” “At the gates of Rome.” 41 “And by what sign may I recognise him?” “He is sitting among the poor lepers: all of them untied [them] 42 all at once, and rebandage them together, 43 whereas he unties and rebandages each separately, [before treating the next], thinking, should I be wanted, [it being time for my appearance as the Messiah] I must not be delayed [through having to bandage a number of sores].” So he went to him and greeted him, saying “peace upon thee, Master and Teacher.” “peace upon thee, O son of Levi” he replied. “When wilt thou come Master?” asked he, “Today”, was his answer. On his returning to Elijah, the latter enquired “What did he say to thee?” “peace Upon thee, O son of Levi” he answered. Thereupon he [Elijah] observed, “He thereby assured thee and thy father of [a portion in] the world to come.” “He spoke falsely to me” he rejoined, “stating that he would come today, but has not.” He [Elijah] answered him, “This is what he said to thee, Today, if ye will hear his voice.” 44 The disciples of R. Jose b. Kisma asked him “When will the Messiah come?” He answered “I fear lest ye demand a sign of me [that my answer is correct].” They assured him “We will demand no sign of you.” So he answered them “When this gate 45 falls down, is rebuilt, falls again, and is again rebuilt, and then falls a third time, before it can be rebuilt the son of David will come.”
So in tradition we find the Messiah “sitting at the gates of Rome”, and not in Jerusalem (Yerushalayim), the Holy City and place that many would expect as the coming of the Anointed One of the LORD. So the Messiah might come from Rome, or at least he will be in Rome at this very moment in history, and this will give him an in-depth knowledge of how Roman society works, just as Moses who grew up in Egypt knew its ” inner” better than anyone else. So the lepers and the poor that he heals are those believers who are dying because of human doctrines, more political than spiritual, and the wounds that the Messiah will heal are the same that he will heal for all nations that will voluntarily recognize his teaching. This will be the only cure for a world that is now in complete ruin, in which the environmental destructions caused to our mother earth are only the basis of this great mountain to climb, a cure and a social reorganization that will obscure politics and states because order and love will dwell in every soul without any geographical, ethnic or religious boundaries.
The Messiah is sitting at the gates of Rome while the city is falling apart, and at such an epilogue seems to reflect another old and important Christian prophecy, the one of St. Malachi ( d. 1148) which is particularly interesting because it announces the fall of the papal kingdom coinciding with the current era of Pope Francis:
the headquarters of the Holy Roman Church will be occupied by Peter the Roman, who will feed the sheep through many tribulations, at the end of which the city of the seven hills [Rome] will be destroyed and the mighty Judge will judge his people. The end.
The Messiah and the Temple Restoration
Traditions indicate that the Messiah will stand on top of Beit HaMikdash and make this announcement: “Be humble and fear not”, for according to the Scriptures and many Jewish traditions, only HaMashiach (the Messiah) can rebuild the Third Beit HaMikdash (Temple). The traditional opinion is that HaMashiach should build Beit HaMikdash (or order its construction) and most rabbinical sources, most Jewish authorities today, say that he will appear outside of Israel, bringing Jews back with him to the land Israel. This is supported by an understanding of gilgul neshama not only as the way to rebirth, but also as the process by which all Jewish souls will return home. Observant Jews pray every day that the Mashiach will come in “their days” and to know this is very significant because it means that even if the Messiah were to arrive today, it would mean recognizing lanches that the arrival of the cruel Haman may have already passed, or is underway at this time, perhaps this evil king has already come, perhaps during World War II, or in the form of the unbridled race for progress that is annihilating the planet with pollution and global warming.
By studying the Holy Scriptures (the Hebrew Bible, the Gospel, and the Qur’an along with all the revealed Scriptures) we can gain an ever deeper understanding of the prophecies, and hasten the arrival of Melech HaMashiach ben David (Messiah son of David). This will help not only ourselves, but will advance the spiritual renewal and redemption of the whole of creation.
Then Rabbash’s Mashiach will come from outside the land of Israel, will bring together the Jews of the Diaspora and into the Holy Land, will come from or through the power structures of Rome and will ascend to the world stage not as a God, but born and raised like any other man. He may be of Arab or Christian origin, although of course he will be a Jew of origin. He will not appear sitting on a flying white horse as many Christians expect, in Rome he will succor the wounds of the sick, he will accomplish great things (“the fruits enseated in the Gospel”) and he will be accepted by both Jews and Christians like the Messiah and Muslims like the Imam Mahdi, Hindus like Kalki, etc.
Rabbi Mashiach will have full knowledge of other cultures and religions and will use that knowledge to attract everyone to him. This is in accordance with the fact that not only Jews and Christians will accept it, but so will those of all religious systems, a man who is deeply informed about the world’s religions and who will use that knowledge to establish global peace both between religions and between nations.
The descendants of Rabbi Mashiach may be uncertain, but he explains how this uncertainty can be considered proof of his legitimacy rather than negative. He will be a descendant of Melech David (King David), with ties, perhaps of blood, not only for Jews, but will certainly be considered in a positive light to European totalitarianists. As long as his essential Israeli heritage is confirmed and his actions appear beneficial to the Jews, many of our political and religious leaders will undoubtedly embrace him in the name of peace (shalom). The Mashiach will heal the wounds of the people and heal their divisions while establishing peace and security throughout the world. So the conditions for his arrival today are there and are evident, but the only two things that will really facilitate his arrival remain only the knowledge and good works of believers.