Naomi Duffield writes:
When I was a little girl, maybe eight years old or so, I loved reading the Bible – I had a special picture version I loved to read. Anyway, I ran into problems when I got to the New Testament. I was fascinated by the Jesus stories, but being brought up a good Jewish girl, I knew I was not supposed to believe in Jesus. So, I resolved this problem by taking the Bible to the loo with me – a safe space where I could lock the door and no-one could find me. However, after several weeks of this, my parents began to get worried – and I got found out by my Dad. Realising my consternation, he sought to reassure me:
“It’s ok for you to read about Jesus,” he said. “You can believe he lived, he was a wise man, even a prophet – just not the Messiah.”
“What’s a Messiah?” I asked innocently
“The Christians believe that Jesus was the Messiah and he came to save the world. The Jews don’t believe the Messiah has come yet.”
Looking out on the world, I thought, ‘Well if Jesus was the Messiah, he does not seem to have done a very good job.’ So I was happy to take the Jewish viewpoint.
“When do the Jews believe the Messiah will come?” I asked
“The Jews don’t believe the Messiah is a single man,” Dad answered, “but that there will be a Messianic Age, where people will gather from all four corners of the earth.”
For me I had a tremendous experience of the coming of the messianic age at Findhorn, with people gathering from all four corners of the Earth.
I shared this with William Bloom, who asked me where my Father got his version of Jewish viewpoint. This is my reply:
It is always difficult of to find one theological ‘truth’ in Jewish teachings – part of what I love about it. It is okay for Rabbis to have different views.
Original Jewish teachings do not much refer to the Messiah, but to the Messianic Age – referred to in Isaiah. Later on, Jewish teachings have been influenced by Christian teachings, and some talk of an ‘anointed one’ (literal definition of Messiah) and of David’s bloodline. Others also refer to ‘anointed ones’ of several tribes – each tribe having an ‘anointed one.’
It is particularly the Chasidic Jews who speak of a Messianic Age – especially the non-Zionist branch called Sadar Chasidic, who were and are against the formation of the state of Israel. They believe that the messianic age means the coming together of the ‘chosen people’ from all four corners of the Earth – and the formation of the state of Israel under duress is stopping this coming together. They believe the Homeland will and must come in peace – as predicted in Isaiah.
They believe the Messianic Age will come through adherence to spiritual principles (not through following a leader).
There is some prediction that this has to happen before the year 6000 – we are now in 5700ish in the Jewish Calendar. The Messianic Age refers to Day 7 in the bible – the Sabbath day. We are now in Day 6 – the day of creation of man and woman. Day 7, starting in the year 6000, is the Messianic Age – a time of peace and harmony.
Naomi Duffield is trained in Counselling, Psychosynthesis, Spiritual Companionship, and is also an Attunement Practitioner. With her husband William, she runs Mangreen Hall, the site of the Mangreen Trust.