Messianic Age

Christian understanding of the messianic age heavily depends on biblical scriptures, especially the Prophets. The characteristic of the messianic age, as shown in the Scriptures, was to be an extraordinary outpouring of the Spirit on all people. It should bring them special gifts and charisms. Most eminent prophecies are found in the Book of Zechariah 4:6b; 6:8 and the Book of Joel 3:1-2 (cf. Nb 11:29). Acts of the Apostles refer to them proclaiming that the word of the prophets was made flesh in Jesus on the day of Pentecost. Now, “he has received from the Father the Holy spirit, who was promised.” (Acts 2:16-21.17.33) According to Isaiah, the messianic age was to have its anointed leader, the Messiah, who would be filled with the gifts of the spirit to be able to accomplish his saving work. (Is 11:1-3; 42:1; 61:1; see also Mt 3:16)

Jesus used miracles to convince people that he was inaugurating the messianic age. (cf. Mt 12:28). Scholars have described Jesus’ miracles as establishing the kingdom during his lifetime.

According to the Book of Ezekiel, apart from bestowing special charismatic gifts, the Spirit would build the messianic age in the hearts of people by exercising their inward renewal resulting in exceptional adherence to the Law of God (cf. Ezk 11:19; 36:26-27; 37:14; Ps 51:12-15; Is 32:15-19; Zc 12:10). According to the Book of Jeremiah, messianic times would be sealed by the new covenant, final and eternal one, written ″on their hearts″ (Jr 31:31). Paul spoke about that new covenant in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians 3:6. Isaiah used the image of the life-giving water “poured out on the thirsty soil”. People, “like willows on the banks of a stream” would have access to the Spirit which would enable them to bring fruits of integrity and holiness (Is 44:3) The Gospel of John would refer to that in the meeting of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob: “the water that I shall give will become a spring of water within, welling up for eternal life.” (Jn 4:14) Ezekiel would say that the holiness of the people would in turn be met by special love, favor and protection from God: “I will make a covenant of peace” and “set up my sanctuary among them forever.” (Ezk 37:24; 39:29)

Christian eschatology points out to gradual character of the Messianic Age. According to realized eschatology, the Messianic Era, a time of universal peace and brotherhood on the earth, without crime, war and poverty, to some extent, is already here. With the crucifixion of Jesus, the Messianic Era had begun, but according to inaugurated eschatology it will be completed and brought to perfection by the Parousia of Christ.

In the past, the messianic age was sometimes interpreted in terms of Millenarianism. The Book of Revelation 20:2-3 gives an image of a 1000-year period in which Satan is to be bound so that he cannot influence those living on the Earth, and Jesus Christ will reign on the Earth with resurrected saints. After that Satan will be defeated once and for all, the Earth and heaven will pass away, and people will face judgment by Jesus Christ to determine whether they will enter the new heaven and earth that will be established. (Revelation 21)

According to the Nicene Creed (381), professed by most Christians, after his ascension, enthronement at the Right hand of God, the time will come when Jesus returns to fully establish the Kingdom of God of the World to Come.

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