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The Messiah

The scriptures of many religions speak of a coming leader who will consummate the fulfillment of the divine will on earth. He will manifest in his person the righteousness and compassion of God, and he will bring about the final defeat of evil, and establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. The Hebrew title Messiah - 'Christ' in Greek means "anointed one," that person who will be specially chosen by God for this mission and empowered to accomplish it. But while the term Messiah is specific to only a few religions, prophecies that a leader will come and accomplish such a mission are nearly universal. Religions call him by various names: Jews long for the promised Messiah; for Christians the Messiah is Jesus of Nazareth, who has already come and ascended to heaven but will reappear (perhaps in a new guise) at his Second Coming. Muslims also expect the second advent of Jesus, who will come as a Muslim Imam, and among Shiite Muslims there are various expectations of a future Imam Mahdi. Buddhist sutras prophesy the coming of the Maitreya Buddha; Vaishnavite Hindu scriptures prophesy the future descent of an avatar named Kalki; Zoroastrian scriptures prophesy the coming of the Saoshyant; and some Confucian texts speak of a future True Man who will finally bring peace to the world by perfectly instituting the Way of Confucius.


Professor Andrew Wilson
Unification Theological Seminary

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page uploaded 25 September 1999

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