Observant Jews will likely dispute this, but I see this as a form of convergance between Jewish messianic expectation, and the Christian’s knowledge that the Messiah has already come. From the Talmud, Sotah 9:15, this version of the end times (via Boker tov, Boulder):
In the footsteps of the Messiah, confrontation will increase…and there will be no rebuke. The government will become godless, the campus will become a place of immorality, religion will be despised…the young will no longer respect their elders, and the elders will have to give in to the young. A son will rebel against his father, a daughter will stand up to her mother…A man’s family will seem to be his enemies, and the entire generation will appear to be going to the dogs…but still, we must rely on our Father in heaven.
In traditional Jewish theology, the end times will be characterized by the following:
- universal recognition of the God of Israel as Lord of all creation
- the end of warfare and the start of an age of universal peace and justice
- the end of the exile and the reestablishment of Jewish sovereignty in the Holy Land
- the rebuilding of the Temple and the reestablishment of the sacrificial cult
- the execution of God’s final judgment on all of humanity
- the resurrection of the dead and eternal life for those judged as righteous.
This is, with the obvious exception of the rebuilding of the Temple, similar to mainstream evangelical views of the return of Christ. I make no claims as to the validity of either Jewish or Christian visions of the End times, just note that this is my understanding of what passes as mainstream.
The important point? The Messiah is the one who will (or has, depending on your confession) lead us out of sin and into the time of final judgment. Which has not, obviously, yet taken place.
There is a good deal of evidence, however, that we are already living in a time when “The government will become godless, the campus will become a place of immorality, religion will be despised…” The open question: when has it ever been different?