Jewish eschatology is the area of theology and philosophy concerned with events that will happen in the end of days and related concepts, according to the Hebrew Bible and Jewish thought. This includes the ingathering of the exiled diaspora, the coming of a Jewish Messiah, afterlife, and the revival of the dead Tzadikim. In Judaism, end times are usually called the “end of days” (aḥarit ha-yamim, אחרית הימים), a phrase that appears several times in the Tanakh.
The main tenets of Jewish eschatology are the following,
End of world (before everything as follows).
- God redeems Israel (i.e. the Jewish people) from the captivity that began during the Babylonian Exile, in a new Exodus
- God returns the Jewish people to the Land of Israel
- God restores the House of David and the Temple in Jerusalem
- God creates a regent from the House of David (i.e. the Jewish Messiah) to lead the Jewish people and the world and usher in an age of justice and peace
- All nations recognize that the God of Israel is the only true God
- God resurrects the dead
- God creates a new heaven and a new earth
It is also believed that history will complete itself and the ultimate destination will be reached when all mankind returns to the Garden of Eden.
Most textual requirements concerning the Messiah and his reign are inferred from verses in the Book of Isaiah, although aspects are mentioned in other prophets as well.
- The Sanhedrin will be re-established (Isaiah 1:26)
- Once he is King, leaders of other nations will look to him for guidance (Isaiah 2:4)
- The whole world will worship the One God of Israel (Isaiah 2:17)
- He will be descended from King David (Isaiah 11:1) via King Solomon (1 Chron. 22:8–10)
- The messiah will be a man of this world, an observant Jew with “fear of God” (Isaiah 11:2)
- Evil and tyranny will not be able to stand before his leadership (Isaiah 11:4)
- Knowledge of God will fill the world (Isaiah 11:9)
- He will include and attract people from all cultures and nations (Isaiah 11:10)
- All Israelites will be returned to their homeland (Isaiah 11:12, Zechariah 10:6)
- Death will be swallowed up forever (Isaiah 25:8)
- There will be no more hunger or illness, and death will cease (Isaiah 25:8)
- The dead will rise again (Isaiah 26:19)
- The house of David shall be as God (Zechariah 12:8)
- God will seek to destroy all the nations that go against Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:9, Isaiah 60:12)
- Israel and Judah will be made into one nation again (Zechariah 11:12-14, Ezekiel 37:16-22)
- The Jewish people will experience eternal joy and gladness (Isaiah 51:11)
- He will be a messenger of peace (Isaiah 53:7)
- Nations will recognize the wrongs they did Israel (Isaiah 52:13–53:5)
- The peoples of the world will turn to the Jews for spiritual guidance (Zechariah 8:23)
- The ruined cities of Israel will be restored (Ezekiel 16:55)
- Weapons of war will be destroyed (Ezekiel 39:9)
- The Temple will be rebuilt (Ezekiel 40) resuming many of the suspended mitzvot (commandments)
- He will then perfect the entire world to serve God together (Zephaniah 3:9)
- He will take the barren land and make it abundant and fruitful (Isaiah 51:3, Amos 9:13–15, Ezekiel 36:29–30, Isaiah 11:6–9)
The Babylonian Talmud, tractate Sanhedrin [98a], contains a long discussion of the events leading to the coming of the Messiah, for example:
R. Johanan said: When you see a generation ever dwindling, hope for him [the Messiah], as it is written, and the afflicted people thou wilt save. R. Johanan said: When thou seest a generation overwhelmed by many troubles as by a river, await him, as it is written, when the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him; which is followed by, and the Redeemer shall come to Zion.
R. Johanan also said: The son of David will come only in a generation that is either altogether righteous or altogether wicked. ‘in a generation that is altogether righteous,’ — as it is written, Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever. ‘Or altogether wicked,’ — as it is written, And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor;31 and it is [elsewhere] written, For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it.