The return of the saviour

I am struck by the fact that so many religions and so many cultures exhibit the same message of hope: that, at some indeterminate point in the future – typically when we are most in need of rescue or salvation – God or his representative or some heroic figure from history will return to save us from great danger or great evil.

In Christian theology, there is the notion of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ with some sects convinced that this occurrence is both predictable and imminent. In the Shia branch of Islam, there is the notion of the Major Occultation of the twelfth Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi. Both Christians and Muslims are still waiting.

I visit the Czech Republic quite often and have some familiarity with its history. The Czechs have a succession of legends, many of which – such as, King Barley, Prince Bruncvik, Saint Wencelas and the Knights of Blanik – conclude with the promise of the hero returning to save the Czechs at the hour of their greatest need which has apparently not yet occurred in spite of successive foreign occupations and totalitarian regimes.

Do you know of other religious traditions or cultural tales that involve the return of a saviour and why do we need and continue to believe in such child-like messages?


  • Dana Huff

    Perhaps not religious, but what about King Arthur, too? I think sometimes people need to feel that better days will come, and the message that a savior of some type will come will rescue us and make it all better gives people hope. The idea in the King Arthur legend is that one day when Britain needs him most, Arthur will return and reign again. Interestingly enough — anyone named Arthur in line for the throne has died before accession.

  • Mark @ Irish Jewelry

    As a kid in Ireland, I always remember seeing two people on a main street in Dublin trying to convince everyone that the world was ending in just a few days. Funny thing was they’d be back the next week with the same message…year after year.

  • Mavis Smith

    Elsinore, Denmark Big stone Danish Chieftain with large sword. Will come to life when Denmark threatened. When I asked what happened in 1940 = dead silence.

  • Roger Darlington

    It is not just Christians and some Muslims who believe in the return of a saviour.
    In Jewish messianic tradition, there is the notion of the messiah who is a future King of Israel from the Davidic line, who will rule the people of united tribes of Israel and herald the Messianic Age of global peace.
    As with all the other saviour figures, the Jews are still waiting.


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