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The belief that Jewish people and all humanity would be led to a golden age of perfect justice and universal peace by a Messiah, an ideal king and a perfect man. The Hebrew mashiah means “one anointed with oil,” the ancient way of dedicating a man to a special service or office. Mashiah Adonai, the Anointed of God, was a title of honor given in the Bible to the kings of Israel. The prophet Samuel anointed both Saul and David as kings. The high priest Zadok and the prophet Nathan anointed Solomon king of Israel at David’s request. The prophets described the Messiah as a divinely appointed man, an ideal ruler who would lead the world in righteousness and in peace.

When the Persians would not permit a descendant of David to rule Judea, the people began to dream of a time when an anointed king from the House of David would again sit on the throne of Israel. The more Judea was oppressed, particularly by the Roman empire, the stronger the belief grew in the coming of the Messiah who would bring salvation and freedom to the Jewish people, while the Roman empire would be replaced by the Kingdom of God on earth.

When Judea fell in 70 C.E. and the Temple was destroyed, longing for the Messiah among the Jewish people intensified. In their last revolt against Rome from 132 to 135 C.E., they were led by Simeon, son of Koziba. The aged Rabbi Akiba called Simeon “God’s Anointed,” or Messiah, and changed his name from Bar Koziba to Bar Kokhba, “the son of a star.” Defeated again, the people yearned for the Messiah more than ever, and his figure began to be surrounded with mystery. Instead of a human Messiah he became a divine deliverer and a being with supernatural powers. His coming would be announced by the prophet Elijah. A forerunner would appear first

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