The Messianic Era
Although traditional Judaism does contain the basic belief that all souls will be resurrected, there is no complete agreement on the details — an account that follows is only one scenario. However, all ideas regarding resurrection have one point in common: resurrection cannot take place until the coming of the Messiah, who will usher in the Messianic Era.
The notion of resurrection has never been universally accepted in Judaism. Initially, the Pharisees (the forerunners of Rabbinical Judaism) deduced the concept from certain verses in the Torah, but the Sadducees rejected the idea because it was not explicitly mentioned. Nonetheless, the belief in resurrection and an afterlife is fundamental in traditional Judaism.
Actually, it is believed there will be a succession of three messiahs. The word messiah means “anointed” and therefore does not rule out more than one messiah. The first messiah will be the first king who governs over a world that, while still physical, will be a wonderful place in which to live. People will still die, but they will lead long and healthy lives. Some believe that the righteous dead will be resurrected at this time to experience this perfect world. After the death of the first messiah, his son, and then grandson, will succeed him. Since the Messianic Era spans 2,000 years, these messiahs will live a very long time!
At the conclusion of the Messianic Era, the world as we know it, Olam Ha-Zeh (“this world”), will come to an end. A thousand-year interval known as the years of desolation will follow. Nothing will be alive and all souls will be in the Realm of Souls engaged in a state of spiritual growth while awaiting the World to Come.