Have there been any incidences of individuals or groups that have purposely triggered events, self fulfilling prophecy if you will, as a result of their belief that Moshiach has arrived? For example, I am aware that the Lubavitcher Rebbe took certain actions, mostly good in my opinion, to hasten the arrival of Messiah ben David. Shabbatai Tzvi did the same with a negative outcome. Other than those above has there been, or is there currently others who actively engage in a Messiah campaign. In this day and age I am concerned that someone or some group could, for example, trigger a war (Gog v'Mgog) under the false belief that it would usher in the Messianic Age. Thank you for your response.

  • There are some who think WW2 was Gog u'Magog... I can't think of anything other than the examples you cite. There haven't been all that many people who were thought to be Mashiach. Only other one I know of was Bar Kochba. – Shmuel Jun 9 '14 at 3:11
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    @Shmuel There have probably been a dozen or so over the years. Not all have amassed as significant a following before dying/failing. – Double AA Jun 9 '14 at 4:34
  • It's not clear what you mean by self-fulfilling prophecy. You seem to mean generating the fulfillment of a prophecy. But that's not usually what the phrase means. Also, your opinions about Lubavitch/ Shabbetai Tzvi, or some future crazy person seem unrelated to the substance of the question (though I see how they spurred your question). Consider editing them out. – Seth J Jun 9 '14 at 16:43

The end of Tractate Makot relates a moving story of how Rabbi Akiva and the other Chachamim come upon the ruins of the Second Temple. Everyone else is crying and rending their clothes, but Rabbi Akiva smiles. When asked, he explains that the prophecy of the future Messiah could not happen until the prophecies of destruction had all been completed (and therefore the destruction is evidence that the final redemption will come).

In the text, the other rabbis are all comforted, and this is a nice ending to the tractate, but one wonders if this is a troubling hint of Rabbi Akiva's forthcoming support of the ill-fated bar kochva rebellion. It was ~70 years after the destruction of the Temple. Maybe he saw a parallel with the destruction of the first Temple.

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  • Downvoters: see this bio – MTL Jun 9 '14 at 18:48
  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya, Nic, and thanks for the insight. Does this really answer the question? How is pledging support equivalent to attempting to bring it about? (Not arguing, just asking for clarification) – Y     e     z Jun 9 '14 at 19:00
  • This does not seem to answer the question. It's speculative at best, and tangentially related only if the speculation is correct. Furthermore, foreshadowing is not the same as self-fulfilling. – Seth J Jun 10 '14 at 19:49
  • Hey Nic. If it could be proven---and I am certain that it can't--- that Bar Kachba purposely entered a battle he knew he would lose but hoped in doing so (losing that is) it would trigger the messiah.... – JJLL Jun 15 '14 at 19:31

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