The King Messiah will arise and re-establish the monarchy of David as it was in former times. He will build the Sanctuary and gather in the dispersed of Israel. All the earlier statutes will be restored as they once were. Sacrifices will be offered, the Sabbatical and Jubilee years will be observed, as commanded in the Torah. Anyone who does not believe in him or one who does not anticipate his coming not only denies the Prophets, but also the Torah and Moses our Teacher. For the Torah has given testimony about him saying, “And the Lord your G-d will turn your captivity and have compassion with you. He will return and gather you from all the peoples…If any of you should be dispersed at the ends of Heaven, from there G-d will gather you, from there He will fetch you. And the Lord, your G-d will bring you…” (Deut. 30:3-4). These matters are explicit in the Torah and include everything said by all the Prophets. It is even written in the Chapter of Balaam who prophesized about both the Messiahs. The first Messiah was David who saved Israel from her adversities. The final Messiah will be from his sons and will deliver Israel from the hands of the descendants of Esau. There it says, “I shall see him, but not now” (Numbers 24:17) - this refers to David; “I behold him, and not soon” (ibid.) - this is the King Messiah; “A star from Jacob shall step forth” (ibid.) - this is David; “and a scepter shall arise out of Israel” (ibid.) - this the King Messiah; “and shall smite through the corners of Moab” - this is David; and so it says, “And he smote Moab and measured them with a rope” (II Samuel 8:2); “and break down all the sons of Seth” (Numbers 24:17) - this is King Messiah of whom it says, “and his dominion shall be from sea to sea” (Zechariah 9:10); “and Edom shall be a possession” (Numbers 24:18) - this is David, as it says, “And Edom shall become slaves to David” (see II Samuel 8:6 and II Samuel 8:14); “Seir also, even his enemies, shall be a possession” (Numbers 24:18) - this is King Messiah, as it says, “And the saviors shall come upon Mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau…” (Obadiah 1:21).
Even in the section regarding the cities of refuge it says, “If the Lord your G-d shall enlarge your borders…and shall add for you another three cities more…” (Deut. 12:20, Deut. 19:8-9). This actually never took place123Since there were never nine, but at most six Cities of Refuge. The additional three must therefore be prophetic., and the Holy One Blessed be He never commands for nothing. However, from the words of the Prophets this matter does not need a proof, since all the Books are full of this matter.
It should not occur to you that the King Messiah must bring wondrous signs or perform marvels or invent new things or revive the dead or anything like what the fools say. It is not so. For Rabbi Akiva, one of the wisest of the Sages of the Mishna, was King Ben Coziba’s124Bar Cochba. arms-bearer125I.e. his staunch supporter. and said that he was the King Messiah. He and all the Sages of his generation thought that he was the King Messiah, until he was killed because of his sins126He killed Rabbi Elazar HaModai.. Since he was killed, they then understood that he was not the one. The Sages never asked of him neither a sign nor a wonder. So, the essence of the matter is like this: The Laws and the Statutes of the Torah never change. We may not add to them nor detract from them. 127This last sentence is absent in most editions.Anyone who adds to or subtracts from them or reveals some new dimension to the Torah or understands the Commandments differently than their plain meaning is, for sure, an evil person and an Apikoris.
Now, if a king should arise from the House of David who is versed in Torah and engages in Commandments, as did David his forefather, in accordance with both the Written and the Oral Torahs, and he enjoins all of Israel to follow in its ways and encourages them to repair its breaches, and he fights the Wars of G-d128I.e. he defends Israel., then he may be presumed to be the Messiah. If he succeeds in his efforts and defeats the enemies around and builds the Sanctuary in its proper place and gathers the dispersed of Israel, he is definitely the Messiah.
But, if he does not succeed in these matters or is killed, we will know that he was not the one Torah has promised. He is (merely to be considered) like all the (other) exemplary and qualified kings of the House of David who have died. G-d set him up only to try the masses, as it says, “And some of the wise will stumble, to refine among them and to purify and to make white, even to the time of the end, for it is yet for the time appointed” (Daniel 11:35).
Even Jesus the Nazarene who imagined he would be the Messiah and was killed by the Court129Or, was handed over to the Romans who killed him as a revolutionary because he proclaimed himself the Messiah, King of Israel. was prophesized about by Daniel as it says, “and also the children of the violent among your people will lift themselves up to establish the vision, but they shall stumble” (Daniel 11:14). Was there ever a greater impediment than this one? All the Prophets spoke of the Messiah, Redeemer of Israel and Savior and Gatherer of the Exiles and Strengthener of the Commandments. But this one caused the ruin of Israel by the sword and the dispersal of its remnant and its humiliation and reversed130Or, changed. the Torah, and caused most of the world to err and worship a god other than HaShem (G-d).
Nonetheless, the Thoughts of the Creator of the World are beyond any man’s understanding. For our ways are not His Ways, and our thoughts are not His Thoughts. And all the doings of Jesus the Nazarene and that of that Ishmaelite131I.e. Mohammed. The Rambam labels him “Meshugah” in his Igeress Teiman. who came after him are nothing but to pave the way for the King Messiah and prepare the entire world to worship G-d together, as it says, “For then132When they will realize that their Messiahs were false will they abandon them and turn to G-d’s true Messiah. I will turn to the peoples a pure language, that they may all call upon the Name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent” (Zephania 3:9).
How is this so? The world is now already filled with matters of the Messiah and matters of the Torah and matters of the Commandments. Knowledge of these matters have spread to the distant islands and to the many nations of those with uncircumcised hearts. They discuss these matters and the Commandments of the Torah. Some of them133As did Mohammed. say that these Commandments were once true, but have since been canceled for our times as they were not meant to be observed for all generations. Some of them say that these are secret matters and are not as simple as they would appear, and now the “Messiah”134Jesus. has come and revealed these secrets.
But when the true King Messiah will rise and succeed, and he will be lifted up and raised aloft, they all will immediately return and will know that their fathers left them an erroneous legacy, and their fathers and prophets led them astray.