Because the concept of a Messiah* (Moshiach in Hebrew) is not overtly mentioned in the five books of the Torah, it is often overlooked as one of the tenets of the Jewish faith. But the belief in the Messiah is actually one of the fundamental articles of Jewish faith. The Torah, in Deuteronomy 28, describes the future that will befall the Jewish people when (not if) they turn their hearts from the Torah: the land will be destroyed, the people ravaged by disease before being defeated by enemies and exiled. These events, sadly, have come to pass, repeatedly.
Two chapters later, however, Moses informs the people that after all of the curses have befallen the Children of Israel and they have returned to Him with all their heart and soul, then the curse will be undone. This chapter includes all the famous promises of the ultimate redemption: ingathering of the exiles, return to the land and the destruction of Israel’s enemies. While this process has started several times in the history of the Jewish people, it has never been completed. Jews have returned to Israel, but never in peace and never as an entire people.
Many of the details of the time of the redemption is encrypted in the books of the Prophets, particularly those known as the Later Prophets. Isaiah, in particular, contains a great number of references and is the primary source from which it is understood that the Messiah, the one destined to lead the Jewish people to their ultimate redemption, will come from the Davidic line. “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse (King David’s father), and a branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him...” (Isaiah 11:1-2)
*While the term Messiah is used for savior, it literally means “anointed one.”
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