"Once a rabbi met the prophet Elijah. The rabbi asked Elijah, “When will the messiah come?”
Elijah said, “Go and ask him yourself when he’s coming.” The rabbi said, “Where is he?”
Elijah said, “He’s sitting at the city gate, covered in bandages’
So the rabbi went and asked the messiah, “When will you come?” The messiah said, “Today.”
The rabbi came back and relayed this to Elijah: “The messiah is coming today!”
Elijah responded with temperance, saying “the messiah meant today, if you listen to God’s voice.
The world to come is here. The unknown is as close as your breath. What this means is that, as Wendell Berry writes, “What we need is here”; yet we must be careful to not grasp in the presence of that knowing, lest we fall to irretrievably into the world of names." .............Joshua Boettiger, "NAMING THE UNNAMEABLE: Advice on living in two worlds, PARABOLA, Fall 2012, “The Unknown.”
When I read the above passage I was moved by the immensity of its meaning and power. The word "messiah" comes from the Greek word Kristos and according to one theory, it is ultimately derived from the Egyptian word "kheru", meaning "Word" or "Voice" (cognates: logos, chrism; charisma).
For me the holistic meaning of Messiah from both etymological background and from a deeper spiritual evocation is the presence of the never changing consciousness from the very beginning of all manifestations. It is the primal energy or as told in scriptures, the Word or Logos or Vac in Vedic spirituality.
The Egyptians were probably the first to deeply understand the cosmic nature of the human manifestation and all creation. Their iconic representations and their scriptures are ample proof of the eternal nature of the primal causative energy or consciousness that pervades all creation.
Egyptian mythology is steeped in representation of the events in human life, death and resurrection through mapping of astronomical events.
This convinces me that the word Kristos or Messiah had its root in the Egyptian word Kheru.
Having established this background, I want to take us to the story of the Rabbi and Prophet Elijah.
What is the link as to why for knowing the coming of the Messiah, Elijah is consulted by the learned Rabbi. What foreknowledge did he have. This takes us to the episode in the life of Prophet Elijah. When there was a Divinely ordained famine in the land of Israel, Elijah hears the word of God to go to the Land of Sidon where he will be given food. He meets a very poor woman who has just enough ingredients for a last meal for her and her son. But Elijah tells her that God will provide and to bake him the first bread. The woman implicitly obeys and we are told that there was a perennial supply of bread.
The deeper meaning of this is normally interpreted as having faith but we need to go beyond just blind faith. It is the deep understanding of the Divine presence as a continuous entity pervading all space and time. The limitless and timeless nature of the Divine Logos is the Messiah. If we limit it to one historical or human person then we fail to grasp the deep import of this concept of Messiah. This story tells us that not only Elijah but the poor woman of Sidon was a Messiah.
We are easily fooled by name and form. The external appearance or a status assigned by society cannot qualify a person to be a Messiah. Vividly, the above story tells us that the true knowledge of when the Messiah is to come is available with a beggar covered with sore at the city gate.
When Christ is asked by the disciples, He said, "Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you. For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. [And there is nothing buried that will not be raised."] ................Saying 5 "Gospel of Thomas"
This is what is called in Buddhism as the Awakened state. To be awake does not just means to keep your eyes open but to be deeply aware of the true nature of all things.
This is beautifully summed up at the end of the opening quotation.
"What this means is that, as Wendell Berry writes, “What we need is here”; yet we must be careful to not grasp in the presence of that knowing (knowledge through objective perceptions)* , lest we fall to irretrievably into the world of names." [* my addendum in Italics]
This is the cosmic perspective of the messianic message that is to cast away our limited sensory or objective understanding and to realize that the constant presence of Divine consciousness as the Messiah within and without and thus transcend space and time to relate to the WORD that resonates from the beginning of creation.
Love to you all.