The messianic phenomenon

The messianic phenomenon

Catalin Negru | Published: December 13, 2016 | 12:34

The Messiah. Every person has a different image in mind when hearing this word. Some see a shinning man dressed in white gloriously descending from heaven surrounded by angels; others see a great human being leading a group of people to victory in a great war, while others might imagine him as a king sitting on a throne. But who or what is the Messiah? Is he a man? A half-god? God himself? What is his purpose? Will he bring the end of the world? Will he fight against the Antichrist or another evil character at the end of times? The answer to all these questions is surprisingly simple and human.

There is a distinction between the concept of “messiah” and the word “messiah.”

First and foremost we must understand that there is a distinction between the concept of “messiah” and the word “messiah.” The word “Messiah” (often written with capital “M”) is a sort of name and it designates a single entity. Nowadays, the word “Messiah” designates the concept of “messiah” because of the spread of the Abrahamic religions and Judaism was the first in line. According to the Jewish scriptures, the word “Messiah” (Romanized Hebrew: mashiah) initially described kings and priests that were anointed with oil (Exodus 30:22-25). So, when did the word “messiah” come to be one and the same with the concept of “messiah” (or the messianic concept) as it is understood today? When did it come to signify a savior, a liberator or an end-time entity?

The messianic concept appeared in Judaism during the Egyptian captivity of the Israelites and the rise of the prophet Moses. Moses prophesied about the coming of the Messiah (Deuteronomy 18:15-21), but, by freeing and leading the Israelites in Canaan (Book of Exodus), he was perceived by his people as a raw model

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7.3. Idealism, preterism and eschatological reevaluation

7.3. IDEALISM, PRETERISM AND ESCHATOLOGICAL REEVALUATION

The development of biology, physics or chemistry threw a natural light upon many events considered supernatural, while archeological and historical discoveries contradicted the biblical accounts. The religious paradigm became insufficient in explaining the natural order. Millenary beliefs about the Creation and the position of man in nature succumbed before the evolution of the species and the infinity of the Universe. Science heavily challenged the spiritual world and religion began to tremble before atheism. Arthur Schopenhauer and Karl Marx, alongside dozens of other thinkers, contested Christianity and even the existence of God. At this time the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche enunciated the famous expression “God is dead!”920 not because God as a being died, but to emphasize the fact that the idea of divinity was fading. Morality apparently divorced religion and mankind ceased to wait for divine help and took its fate into its own hands.

The scientific assault generated various theological reactions. Catholicism was the greatest religious loser of the century, a situation that made Pope Leo XIII redefine the position of the Catholic Church in relation to modern thinking. Prophecies and epiphanies such as that of La Salette921 announced the fall of the institution of the church and divine punishments for this apostasy, while entire doctrines were erased or restructured to ensure the survival of different religious groups. Initial doctrinal lines were no longer preserved and ideological parts were selectively taken and adapted to form coherent interpretations in relation to the progress of knowledge.

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4.2. The central point of Islamic eschatology: Judgment Day

4.2. THE CENTRAL POINT OF ISLAMIC ESCHATOLOGY: JUDGMENT DAY

Islam came up with a new set of rules regarding the relation between man and God and a new eschatology, parallel to those of Judaism and Christianity. The problem is that the Islamic scenario of the last days strikingly resembles the Christian one. And this is one of the main arguments brought by Christian exegetes to prove that Islam is a false religion, built by distorting the Christian and Hebrew texts.

The key difference between the Christian apocalyptic scenario and the Islamic one consists in the distribution of the importance upon the events. Christians see Christ as being the central element of their religion and, accordingly, they confer a crucial role to his Second Coming. Muslims do not deny the return of Christ, they even assert it, but because he was only an important prophet, his return

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3.2. The central point of Christian eschatology: the Second Coming of Jesus Christ

3.2. THE CENTRAL POINT OF CHRISTIAN ESCHATOLOGY: THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST

Much of the Christian doctrine was conceived during the dark times of the Roman persecution and of the Middle Ages. Therefore, the dominant Christian point of view depicts a human order deeply and hopelessly wrong, decadent, beyond human powers of correction. Yet, the end of the world is not a divine punishment for the sins of humanity, but its salvation from self-destruction and the hope of a better world; it is not an apogee of God’s anger and retribution, but the fulfillment of the love story between God, the Creator, and mankind, his Creation.

According to the Book of Genesis, the existing human order was born out of sin. When Adam and Eve, the primordial people, bit the fruit of knowledge, they disobeyed God’s commandment, they committed a sin and were banished from Paradise to the earth. As a result, the relation between Creator and Creation became disharmonious; the Creation came to experience good and evil, took an unstable nature and started to suffer transformations. The committing of original sin led to the perpetuation of the dual knowledge toward the descendants of the primordial couple and the birth of a world dominated by spiritual and material instability. Good and evil became defining parts of man, every moment of his life being

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3.1. The basic elements: the Bible and the Trinity

3. CHRISTIAN ESCHATOLOGY

3.1. THE BASIC ELEMENTS: THE BIBLE AND THE TRINITY

Christianity came into existence in the 1st century AD in the Roman province of Palestine through the teachings and actions of Jesus Christ. Given the fact that Christ and the first Christians rose in the middle of the Jewish people, the Romans saw Christianity as a radical reformed branch of Judaism. Besides, a good deal of the Judaic doctrine was absorbed by the Christian one, and in this way Christianity and Judaism became twin religions. The Torah became a part of the Bible and subsequently Christians became spiritual successors of Abraham.

The Bible is the holy book that lies at the basis of Christian eschatology and doctrine. The Bible became very much the image of the book it is today in 363 AD at Laodicea, Phrygia. On that occasion the synod sorted all the available religious texts into two categories: the canonical texts, which were accepted by the church and therefore must be obeyed, and the apocryphal texts, which were rejected and ignored. The selection of the texts in apocryphal or canonical was carried out by taking as reference the divinity, the teachings and the life of Jesus Christ. All the writings declared canonical were gathered in a single book generically called the “Bible” (Romanized Greek: biblos – “book”), the “Word of God” or the “Holy Scripture.” Every part of the Bible expresses the same thing: God’s message to humanity.

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2.2. The central point of Jewish eschatology: the coming of the Messiah

2.2. THE CENTRAL POINT OF JEWISH ESCHATOLOGY: THE COMING OF THE MESSIAH

Judaism is the first Abrahamic religion that promoted the idea of an end of the world. According to the Jewish scriptures, of all the nations of the world Israel was chosen by God to receive the knowledge of the one true faith. All the other forms of worship are abominations in the face of God. This idea represents the essence of the Jewish creed and serves as the basis for all the Jewish prophetic scenarios concerning the end of the world. God offered Israel both material and spiritual gifts. Palestine represents the strip of land that the Israelite people managed to conquer with the help of Yahweh; the heart of Palestine is the holy city of Jerusalem; inside Jerusalem lies Solomon’s Temple, the place where priests brought animal sacrifices honoring God; and finally, inside the Temple lies the Ark of the Covenant, the tangible proof that the Hebrew people has a special destiny. Thus, the fate of the Jewish people, Palestine, Jerusalem, Solomon’s Temple and the Ark of the Covenant are key objects of Judaism and Jewish eschatology. All these had a major role in Jewish history and, according to Judaism, will have an important role in mankind’s evolution toward the end of the world.

The entire Jewish eschatology revolves around one future event: the coming of the Messiah. But the term “messiah” (Romanized Hebrew: mashiah) has a wide range of meanings. Historically, the Jewish scriptures use the term for describing kings and priests that were anointed with oil according to Exodus 30:22-25. “Messiah” literally means “to be covered with oil, anointed.” From an eschatological point of view, the Messiah refers to a future Jewish king from the genealogical line of King David, who will be anointed

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2.1. The basic elements: the Scriptures and Yahweh

2. JEWISH ESCHATOLOGY

2.1. THE BASIC ELEMENTS: THE SCRIPTURES AND YAHWEH

Judaism, the religion of the Jews, is the oldest of the Abrahamic religions. The origins of Judaism begin with Abraham. Through his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob (Israel), the Jews arise in an almost continuous history (Genesis 11-29), having their genealogy registered in the Torah (the books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).

Jewish theology is based on the Jewish scripture (the Tanakh or the Masoretic Text), which is formed of the writings of Moses, the writings of the prophets, the psalmists and other ancient canonized scriptures. “Tanakh” is a Jewish acronym consisting of the Hebrew initials of the three main subdivisions of the Masoretic Text: Torah (“T,” which means “Teachings”), Nevi’im (“N,” which means “Prophets”), and Ketuvim (“K,” which means “Writings”) – TaNaKh. The Tanakh is complemented by various prophetic traditions such as the works of the Mishnah and the Gemara, which together form the Talmud. The Hebrew text of the Tanakh (especially the Torah) is considered to be holy to the letter. The elements of the Tanakh are incorporated in various forms in the

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