A stately, scholarly and pensive tale of an ancient faith pervading and transforming the modern world. Prompted by the dream of a new Israel, Miriam, docile wife in an Egyptian ghetto, understands by a simplicity and purity of faith that she is to give birth to the Messiah, and it is through the strength and tenderness of his mother's love that Emmanuel acquires his belief in his unique destiny. Although a devout Jew, Emmanuel brings his early doubts and fears to the Indian Moslem Ahmed, who offers to Emmanuel his gentling, disciplining and inspirational voice. At seventeen Emmanuel is taken by his brother Isaac, who hates him, to fight for the Jewish state. There Emmanuel stays at a cooperative community under the leadership of Jonathan, who, aware of Emmanuel's early belief in his messianic destiny, also despises him. Through Arab attacks, hard work, renunciation of a woman's love and the opening of the hearts of the kibbutzim. Emmanuel, no longer believing he will be the Messiah, still must face Jonathan's returning hatred, as his old faith in the Messiah, for one brief instant kindled to love for Emmanuel, is destroyed at the founding of the new modern state. Again alone and searching, Emmanuel revisits Ahmed who suggests that perhaps the Messiah is not a man, but the future of man.