Almost all the religions in the world await the coming of a Messiah in the latter days. One thing all the religions have in common as far as the mission of this latter day messiah is concern is that they all believe when he comes he will establish an everlasting kingdom, where there will be peace, holiness, joy, happiness, justice, brotherhood, and love and where all wickedness will disappear from the face of the earth. In short there will be a universal peace. This fact is found in the scriptures of the religions.
In the Tanakh (Old Testament), the book of the Jews, Prophet Daniel describes a dream in which he is shown the coming of a Son of Man who is to achieve ever-lasting authority:
‘I saw in the night vision, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man. He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away. And his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.’ (Daniel 7:13-14)
In the New Testament, the book of the Christians, one of the most vivid accounts of the coming Son of Man is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew:
‘For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shines even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be………. and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.’ (Matthew 24: 27, 30)
In the authentic Ahadiths, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the Prophet of Islam is reported to have said in that:
“Even if only one day remains from the life of this world, Allah will certainly prolong that day until He sends a man from my Ahl al-Bayt (house) whose name is compatible with mine. He will fill the world that was previously filled with cruelty and oppression with truth and justice instead.”(At-Tirmidhi, Sunan Abu Dawud, An-Nasai, Al- Bayhaqi and Abu ‘Amr ad-Dani)
In the Avesta, the major collection of religious texts for Zoroastrians, the reformer has been given certain titles and explains what he will achieve when he is sent to the world:
‘He shall be the victorious Benefactor (Saoshyant) by name and world- renovator (Astavat-creta) by name. He is the benefactor because he will benefit the entire physical world; he is the world – renovator because he will establish the physical living existence indestructible. He will oppose the evil of the progeny of the biped and withstand the enmity produced by the faithful’ (Avest, Farvadin Yasht, 13.129)
Buddha, the founder of Buddhism explained how there will be another to come after him who will be a leader of men and will have many followers:
‘I am not the first Buddha [awakened one] who has come upon the Earth, nor will I be the last. In due time, another Buddha will arise in the world , a Holy one, a supreme enlightened one, endowed with auspicious wisdom embracing the Universe, an incomparable leader of men, a ruler of gods and mortals. He will reveal to you the same eternal truths which I have taught you. He will establish his law [religion], glorious in its origins, glorious at the climax and glorious at the goal in the spirit and the letter. He will proclaim a righteous life wholly perfect and pure, such as I now proclaim. His disciples will number many thousands, while mine number many hundreds. He will be known as Maitreya. (Digha Nikaya, iii.6)
A general rule in the Bhagavad Gita (scripture) of the Hindus is that whenever a time of darkness falls upon the worlds, Shree Krishna will return in the form of a new avatar, or appointee to re-establish the Law:
‘Whenever the Law declines and the purpose of life is forgotten, I manifest on earth. I am born in every age to protect the good, to destroy the evil, and to re-establish the law’. (Bhagavad Gita 4:7 – 8)
A reformer foretold in the Janam Sakhi, a scripture of Sikhism is to come in a time when man moves away from religion and righteousness:
‘The reign of the Mughals shall last from 1578 to1897 of the Bikram era, then a Reformer shall rise. (Janam Sakhi of Bhai Bala p.272)
In the texts of Confucianism, we read how the Reformer to come in the latter days will be respected far and wide:
‘As soon as such a man shall make his appearance in the world, all people will reverence him. Whatever he says, all people will believe it. Whatever he does, all people will be pleased with it. Thus his fame and name will spread and fill all the civilized world, extending even to savage countries, wherever ships and carriages reach, wherever labour and enterprise of man penetrate, wherever the heavens overshadow and the earth sustain, whenever the sun and the moon shine, wherever frost and dew fall. All who have life and breathe will honour and love him. (Doctrine of the Mean, 31-32)
Each religion has its own tradition of this latter day Messiah based on how they interpret their scriptures. When it comes to who that Messiah will be;
- The Buddhists are waiting for the second advent of the Buddha in the name of Metteya.
- The Christians are waiting for the second advent of Jesus (pbuh) according to their Gospels.
- The Confucians are waiting for the second advent of Confucius.
- The Hindus are waiting for the second advent of the Krishna according to their holy book known as Vedas.
- The Jews are still waiting for the second advent of the Elijah according to the prophecy recorded in the Torah in the Old Testament in the Book of Malachi chapter 4:5 and the Messiah.
- The Muslims are waiting for the Mahdi and Jesus (pbuh) son of Mary according to the Sayings of the Holy prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
- The Sikhs are waiting for the second advent of Guru Baba Nanak Sahib according to their holy book known as Granth Sahib.
- The Taos are waiting for the Second Advent Leo Zhou
- The Zoroastrians are waiting for the second return of Zoroaster
In the subsequent articles we shall be discussing the concept of the latter day Messiah in the religions but specifically in the three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam).
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