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Mahdi/Messianic Age Coming To Very Hot Planet – OpEd

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The last seven years have been the hottest on record globally “by a clear margin”, the European Union’s climate monitoring service reported, raising alarms over sharp increases in record concentrations of methane in Earth’s atmosphere; and the world’s oceans are hotter than ever before, continuing their record-breaking temperature streak for the sixth straight year. 

US life expectancy dropped by 1.8 years in 2020, final official figures showed, the steepest drop in more than 75 years driven in large part by the COVID-19 pandemic. Life expectancy at birth was 77.0 years for the total US population in 2020, down from 78.8 years in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A Nobel Peace Prize winner has attacked US internet companies for what she called a “flood of toxic sludge” on social media. Philippine journalist Maria Ressa said technology giants had “allowed a virus of lies to infect each of us”.

And increased heat from political and cultural polarization in recent years is reported in a US, Ipsos poll that detected a rise in family rifts after the 2016 election. A survey showed more than one in four Americans reported being estranged from another relative. One in five Americans (19%) say disagreements over COVID-19 vaccinations have caused “major conflict” in their families. Similarly, earlier this fall, PRRI found that 22% of Americans reported their extended family relationships have been “strained to the breaking point” over the issue of getting a COVID-19 vaccination.

Research for British estrangement charity Stand Alone suggests estrangement affects one in five UK families, and a recent UK study found that one in 10 people had a hot falling out with a relative over Brexit.

So we clearly need a Messianic figure to fulfill the vision of Prophet Malachi (4:6) “He (a Messianic figure) will turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the hearts of children to their parents; lest I (God) come and strike the land with utter destruction.'”

And in the USA nearly 5,000 additional homicides occurred in 2020 compared to 2019—the biggest year-to-year jump in murders since 1960; and the world’s richest 1% got more than a third of all additional wealth accumulated since 1995, while the bottom 50% captured just 2% and 100 million more of the world’s people sank into extreme poverty.

Fossil fuels are a primary causes of global warming. But despite past pledges to phase out support, governments around the world spend more than $420 billion (£313bn) each year subsidizing non-renewable energy, according to the UN Development Program.

Trillions of tons of ice have disappeared into the oceans, burning fossil fuels has spewed billions of tons of heat-trapping gases into the air, and hundreds of thousands of people have died from heat and other weather disasters stoked by climate change.

Since 1992, global temperatures increased on average almost 1.1°F (0.6°C), shattering annual high-temperature record eight times, resulting in extreme weather disasters. Worldwide there have been nearly 8,000 climate, water and weather disasters, killing 563,735, according to the EMDAT disaster database. The world’s eight most extreme wildfire weather years have occurred in the last decade.

For Muslims who despair about the terrible state of the modern world Adnan Oktar (Harun Yahya) writes in his book ‘Hazrat Mahdi Is a Descendant of Prophet Abraham: “As mentioned in Qur’an, Torah, Gospel, Psalms and the pages of Prophet Abraham, which are scriptures sent down to Messengers who lived in past centuries: “We sent down the Torah containing guidance and light, and the Prophets who had submitted themselves gave judgment by it for the Jews–as did their scholars and their rabbis–by what they had been allowed to preserve of Allah’s Book to which they were witnesses. (Qur’an 5:44)

“In examining the portents of the End Times, we will also evaluate the related statements in the Torah and the Gospels in the light of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and present the sections that are compatible with the divine verses of the Qur’an and the hadiths of our Prophet. For that reason, Muslims can find in this book, the passages relating the End Times from the Torah and the Gospels as well as the Qur’an.”

And in his 1178 page book ‘The Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi will come (in) this century’ Harun Yahya states: “He (the Mahdi/Messiah) is one from the Quraysh and from my Ahl al-Bayt.” (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 13) ” HEAR THE GLAD TIDINGS OF HAZRAT MAHDI. “The subject of the Mahdi” is one that has always occupied an important place in the Islamic world.”

As a Reform Rabbi who also believes that the world wide upheavals we see are part of the birth pains of the Messianic Age, I offer Muslims some positive insights from the Jewish Prophets and Rabbinic Sages.

In Syria at least 350,209 identified individuals, civilians and combatants, were killed between March 2011 and March 2021, the UN says in an official death toll. But a leading unofficial UK-based monitoring group put the death toll at 606,000+.

And in France an estimated 216,000 children were victims of sex abuse by some 3,000 people — two-thirds of them priests — within France’s Catholic Church over the past 70 years, according to a major reckoning with clerical sex abuse covered up by Catholic authorities. Pope Francis expressed “shame” for himself and the Roman Catholic Church for failures in putting the needs of victims first.

Now many Jews, Christians and Muslims believe the war of Gog and Magog (Gog u-Magog in Hebrew and “Yajuj and Majuj” in Arabic) is coming in the 21st century.

It is true that human society changed more rapidly, violently and fundamentally in the last 150 years than ever before in history. Doctors saved the lives of millions. Dictators sacrificed the lives of millions. Populations are exploding in Africa and populations are declining in Europe. Technology produces both worldwide prosperity and worldwide pollution at the same time.  

Should we look upon the future with optimistic hope or with fatalistic trepidation?  Is the world and our society heading towards a wonder-filled new age, or toward a doomsday? Or are both occurring almost concurrently because breakdown is always a prelude to breakthrough?

Jews, whose Biblical prophets were the ones who first wrote about a future Messianic Age, recognize that the birth of a Messianic Age must be preceded by its birth-pangs. But the prophets of Israel also emphasize the glories of a future world living in peace and prosperity with justice for all. 

Ancient Jewish prophecies did proclaim that there would be an end to the world as we know it. But they did not prophesy that the world will come to an end, nor did the Prophets of Israel offer an exact date for the transition. 

The exact advent of the Messianic Age is not knowable because humans have free will and thus the exact time and manner of redemption cannot be determined in advance. Much depends on what we humans do. 

The beginning of the Messianic Age is a time of transition from one World Age into another. How we move through this transition, either with resistance or acceptance, will determine whether the transformation will happen through cataclysmic changes or by a gradual reform of human society; which will lead to a world filled with peace, prosperity and spiritual tranquility.  

The Prophets of Israel conceived redemption as a transformation of human society that would occur through the catalyst of the Jewish community. This transformation, which will take place in this world at some future time, is called the Messianic Age.

The transition to the Messianic Age is called the birth pangs of the Messiah. The birth of a redeemed Messianic world may be the result of an easy or difficult labor.  If everyone would simply live according to the moral teachings of his or her religious tradition, we would ourselves have helped bring about the Messianic Age.  

But, if we will not do it voluntarily, it will come about through social and political upheavals, worldwide conflicts and generation gaps. The Messiah (Mahdi) refers to one or more human agents of God who help bring about this positive transformation.  

The Jewish tradition teaches that this agent of God (together with several forerunners and many disciples) will be a human being, a descendant of Prophets Abraham and David, with great qualities of national leadership similar to Prophet Moses and Prophet Mohammed. 

The arrival of the Messianic Age is what’s really important, not the personality of the agents who bring it about, since they are simply the instruments of God, who ultimately is the real Redeemer. 

The Islamic 1400s we are now living in, is the age of the coming of Hazrat Mahdi. Prophet Jesus will also return to Earth in this century, Hazrat Mahdi will appear, and the moral values of Islam will rule the world. As Prophet Micah proclaims: “In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.

“The Torah will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor train for war anymore. Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD GOD has spoken. All the nations may walk in the name of their gods, but we (Jews, Christians and Muslims) will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.” (Prophet Micah 4:1-5)

One of the signs of the End of Days is the arrival and defeat of Gog and Magog (Ya’juj and Ma’juj or Ajuj and Majuj). Gog and Magog appear in the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Bible, and the Islamic Quran as individuals, tribes, countries or lands.

The Quran mentions Gog and Magog twice: “He said: “This (barrier) is a mercy from my Lord: but when the warning of my Lord comes to pass, He will reduce it to dust (and Gog and Magog—the Colonialist Empires, the Nazis, and the Communists would be released into the world); and the promise of my Lord is true.” (18:98) So Gog and Magog are destructive groups like the Colonialist Empires, the Nazis, and the Communists, who near the time of the end of days will penetrate into every part of the world.

The other mention of Gog and Magog in the Quran is: “But there is a ban on a town which We have destroyed: that they (the people of the town) shall not return (to reclaim that town as their own); until Gog and Magog are let through (the barrier), and swiftly spread out in every direction.” (21:95-96)

This verse refers to Jerusalem, destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, and only reclaimed 18 1/2 centuries later as the State of Israel’s capital, following the era of the defeat of the Nazis, the Communists, and the Colonialist Empires, who had been Gog and Magog for generations.

Thus, humanity has so far passed through the most devastating era of human history. However, we have not yet reached the goal of the Messianic Age when “They (all nations) will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD GOD has spoken.” (Prophet Micah 4:2-4)

This era will come about when Israelis and Palestinians make a long lasting two state partnership peace; thus fulfilling the 2700 year old vision of Prophet Isaiah: “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt, and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel  will join a three-party alliance with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing upon the heart. The LORD of Hosts will bless them saying, “Blessed be Egypt My people, Assyria My handiwork, and Israel My inheritance.”… (Isaiah 19:23-5)

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Rabbi Allen S. Maller

Allen Maller retired in 2006 after 39 years as Rabbi of Temple Akiba in Culver City, Calif. He is the author of an introduction to Jewish mysticism. God. Sex and Kabbalah and editor of the Tikun series of High Holy Day prayerbooks.

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