The Rebbe states in section 13 of the Dvar Malchus for Parshas Naso:
Even the polishing of the buttons has been completed, and we are standing ready to greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu.
This is even more emphasized in this year–the year 5751 (תנש”א), the letters of which hint at “תנשא מלכותו” [“his kingship shall be exalted” — Balak 24:7] (which refers to Dovid and Shlomo, from whose seed descends Melech Hamoshiach) in the entire world.
The letters also stand for “It will be a year of I will show wonders” (“היה תהיה שנת אראנו נפלאות”), “as in the days of your coming out of Egypt I will show wonders”–beginning with the “wonders” which have already been seen (in addition to those which will be seen in the future, “I will show”) in actuality and revealed to the eyes of all the nations in this year, that through them were fulfilled the words of the Yalkut Shimoni: “The year in which Melech Hamoshiach is revealed all the kingdoms of the nations of the world are quarrelling with each other, the king of Paras…the king of Arabia…, and he says to them (the Holy One, blessed be He to Yisroel) my children do not be afraid, all that I have done I didn’t do except for your sake…the time of your redemption has arrived”.
And since then (particularly in the month of Nisan, the month of the Geulah) we are standing already “at the hour that Melech Hamoshiach comes (“הנה זה בא”)…and he announces to them to Yisroel and says humble ones the time of your redemption has arrived”.
Let us “parse out” these few lines and catch a glimpse of some of the astonishing the Rebbe is saying. The Rebbe mentions earlier in the sicha that already in time of the Previous Rebbe we were holding in a state very close to the redemption, all that remained was “to polish the buttons” and to “stand ready to greet Moshiach” (see Hayom Yom 15 Teves). In our sicha, we are informed that the buttons have been polished and we are standing ready!
The year 5751 (תנש”א), the letters of which hint at “תנשא מלכותו” [“his kingship shall be exalted” — Balak 24:7] (which refers to Dovid and Shlomo, from whose seed descends Melech Hamoshiach) in the entire world. What is new here is not the Kingship, but that it becomes exalted in the entire world, just as the Kingship of Dovid Hamelech progressed slowly, at first unknown, then as King only over the tribe of Yehuda, and later King over all of Israel.
…the “wonders” which have already been seen … in actuality and revealed to the eyes of all the nations in this year, that through them were fulfilled the words of the Yalkut Shimoni… The Rebbe is stating clearly that the wonders that were seen that year in the eyes of the whole world (the defeat of Saddam Hussein, almost no casualties in Israel [see the Rebbe’s sichos at the time]) were the fulfillment of the Yalkut Shimoni. The words of the Yalkut Shimoni have alredy been fulfilled!
The Yalkut Shimoni itself states: “The year in which Melech Hamoshiach is revealed…” (“shana sh’melech Hamoshiach nigla bo”). The word “year” in Hebrew is feminine, and grammatically we would expect this Midrash to read “nigla ba“, meaning “in her [the year, feminine]”. So we need to explain why it says “bo” instead of “ba”: “shana sh’melech Hamoshiach nigla bo”, meaning “in him” [masculine].
Regarding this logical question, it will help to take a look at the Ohr Hachama, the commentary of R’ Avraham Azulai, z”l, on the Zohar:
[…]so to it will be with the Moshiach after he merits to that neshoma and recognizes himself that he is Moshiach, as it states [in the Zohar] Moshiach will be revealed but he still won’t be recognized by the rest of the people[…] (Shemos 7b, quoting R’ Chayim Vital, z”l)
This describes how the initial “revelation” of Moshiach is when the neshoma of Moshiach is revealed to the individual who has been chosen by Hashem to be Moshiach. At the time that this individual receives the neshoma of Moshiach it is a private revelation, “but the rest of humanity will not recognize him”; only later will he be revealed to the people as Moshiach—what we refer to as the “coming of Moshiach”.
We could say that the Yalkut Shimoni’s use of the word “bo” transforms the literal meaning to “the year that Melech Hamoshiach is revealed in him”, a hint to “the year that [the neshoma of] Melech Hamoshiach is revealed in him [the one who will be Moshiach].” In 5751 there was a revelation of the “yechida of the yechida” (the lofty soul of Moshiach) in Moshiach himself. The delay is the recognition of this by the world.
The reason for this “delay” is found in the Ohr Hachama on Shemos 9a, where it state:
“Moshiach can’t redeem Israel from below…only from Above…there needs to be an awakening from below in order to awaken the rachamim from Above, even if the physical Moshiach wants to redeem [them].”
This describes a situation where there already exists the “physical Moshiach” (i.e., the individual to whom has been bestowed the lofty neshoma of Moshiach) who himself knows that he is Moshiach, but the revelation to all of Israel has not yet occurred. We can see this in the language of the Yalkut Shimoni itself: the Midrash begins with “the year in which the King Moshiach is revealed”, and the Midrash concludes with “the hour in which the King Moshiach comes”.
The year in which Moshiach is revealed refers to the initial revelation, when there is still a need to explain the events of the world to the Jewish people, “don’t be afraid”, etc. The hour when Moshiach comes refers to that transcendent moment when the Jews themselves are able to actually see and recognize the light of Moshiach (as stated in the continuation of the Yalkut Shimoni, brought in different sichos).
In other words, the revelation of Moshiach precedes and is distinct from the coming of Moshiach. (And it is self-understood that when there is such a situation—a situation where the tzaddik who himself is Moshiach is the only one to whom this has been revealed– then only this tzaddik himself is able to know and to inform others that “the year in which the King Moshiach is revealed” has been fulfilled, etc.) .
See 5751–The Year Moshiach Is Revealed for more insights into the relevance of this Yalkut Shimoni to the Gulf War and the present world situation.
Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu, Melech Hamoshiach l’Olam Vo’ed!