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I am not asking how I will know who Moshiach is. My question is how will he know to do those things which will let me know who he is. And specifically, will he know long before his revelation that he is Moshiach (i.e. is it possible some guy is walking around for 20 years knowing that he is Moshiach but can't tell anyone yet) or will he suddenly get a nevuah to go do all those things Moshiach does so well?

As always, please source your answers.

(No, I'm not wondering if I may be Moshiach and just don't know it - I am definitively not of the Davidic line. But maybe you?)

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Midrash/gemara says Josiah could have been moshiach. maybe relevant. – Shmuel Apr 28 '14 at 19:22
Similar: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/44031 – msh210 Jul 30 '14 at 19:36
@BabySeal Impressive sourcing. You do realize that one of your links takes us back to this question, right? – Shokhet Jan 1 '15 at 17:52
@Shokhet LOL oops! meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/a/2044/4682 – Baby Seal Jan 2 '15 at 2:56
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The Chatam Sofer in his responsa section 6:98 (collected answers) states explicitly that Moshiach will not know that he is Moshiach until the time for the redemption is at hand.

והנה בהא דביאת בן דוד , צריך אני להציע הוצעה אחת והוא, כמו שהיה משה רבינו ע"ה שהיה הגואל הראשון נזדקן שמונים שנה ולא ידע ולא הרגיש בעצמו שהוא יהיה גואל ישראל, ואפילו כשאמר לו הקב"ה לכה ואשלחך אל פרעה (שמות ג ' י') מכל מקום סירב ולא רצה לקבל על עצמו, "כן יהיה אי"ה הגואל האחרון

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Well seeming from the pashut pshat(some may not agree) in the Gemara Sanhedrin 98 which discusses the story of Eliyahu Hanavi and Reb Yehoshua Ben Levi ,where he asked when is Mashiach coming,and Eliyahu answered go ask him yourself and he went to Rome and asked Mashiach himself. See there for more details.

From here it seems clear that Mashiach knows who he is .

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but he wasn't so i dont think you can take the story too literally – ray Apr 29 '14 at 5:33
I don't understand what you mean? – sam Apr 29 '14 at 15:44
he wasn't the actual mashiach – ray Apr 29 '14 at 17:31
@ray He could have been for that generation that didn't merit to bring him... – Baby Seal Jan 1 '15 at 13:28
Beautiful answer. The Chatam Sofer's logic in my opinion seems kind of wishy-washy in the sense that it relies upon us knowing all the details of Moses' life. Yet he was one of the Lamed Vav Tzadikim which if one of them comes to a realization of their true purpose, they would never admit it. You'd think after Moses used the Shem HaMeforash to kill the Egptyian that it would have foreshadowed his purpose, or some time along the way. – Ultimater Apr 12 at 7:35

This would probably depend on which approach one takes to how the coming of the Messiah is supposed to unfold. According to Rambam, Hilchot Melachim uMilchamot 11, the process will unfold naturally, without any supernatural events. The Rambam even metions in Halacha 8 that there will be a period of time in which, based on his accomplishments, we may assume that he is the Messiah, and then if he continues that will confirm to us that he is the Messiah. All this would seem to indicate that, being that this is a completely non-supernatural process occuring, that the Messiah would be in the same position as us as to whether or not he is actually the Messiah.

However, if you take the approach of Ramban and others of a more Kabbalistic persuasion that the coming of the Messiah will be a supernaturalistic event, that the Messiah himself will preform miracles and the like and will have the qualities of a prophet, presumably he will be told prophetically that he is indeed the Messiah.

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The Rambam also says that Moshiach will be a prophet. – Yishai Jan 1 '15 at 16:50

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