Rabbis of the Chabad movement, an Orthodox Jewish Hasidic denomination, announced on Wednesday that the “Messiah Congress in the Holy Land” will be held next week in the coastal city of Bat Yam.
According to a notice posted to Chabad.info, the gathering will feature discussion on how to better promote the “gospel of salvation and the Redeemer.”
By this the rabbis of this particular sect within Chabad are referring to the late Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Popularly known as the Lubavitcher Rebbe, he was one of the most influential Jewish religious leaders of the 20th century, and was recognized as such far beyond the Jewish community.
In 1978, the US Congress asked President Jimmy Carter to name the date of Schneerson’s birthday as Education Day, a national holiday that is today marked as Education and Sharing Day. Following his death in 1994, Schneerson was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his “outstanding and lasting contributions toward improvements in world education, morality, and acts of charity.”
During the later years of his life, many Chabad disciples began to promote the idea that Schneerson was the long-awaited Messiah, and that belief has persisted, if not grown, over the past two decades.
Another post to Chabad.info earlier this week noted that the work of “King Messiah” (again, Schneerson) can already be seen in that world leaders are today seeking compromise and peace over war, thus hastening the “coming of Messiah.”
In this way, they say that the “kingdom of Messiah is already active in the world today.”
Interestingly, this very much echoes the Christian and Messianic Jewish viewpoint that Messiah came once to teach a “gospel of salvation” that continues to influence daily life around the world, and will one day soon return to rule.
Those behind next week’s congress also hope to encourage more Gentiles to follow the Seven Laws of Noah, and thus “expand the circle of those who turn to King Messiah.”
The conference is being put on by the Association for True and Complete Redemption, an organization that describes itself as “working to increase public awareness of the coming redemption and the identity of the Messiah.”
The Chabad movement believes, even more than other streams of Judaism, that it is incumbent upon mankind, both Jews and Gentiles, to work toward the coming of Messiah, and not merely wait upon the fulfillment of prophecy.
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