Is anyone familiar with this?

It is an idea from the Jewish kabbalah, or if the kabbalah is too besmerched by popular celebrity endorsements or commercialism then Jewish mysticism, that there are in each generation a number of good people capable of meeting or preserving God's prescence in the world, these are the people who by their lives prevent the apocalypse and they may or may not be conscious of their mission or purpose.

There are also some writers who believe that if circumstances are right then one of them can present as prophetic or even be the messiah, should any of them perish then others with a similar profile will eventually take their place.

It is coincidentially similar to some Christian beliefs about saints and incorruptibles and hindu beliefs about celestial or divine avatars.

It really interests me and I'm looking for literary references or material on the topic, I have found that it is mentioned, in a fictionalised way, in the story in a book entitled the History of Love or something like that, which I dont plan to read at the moment because it is an incidential mention of the idea, and in a penguin book of jewish mysticism which I do plan to read. It also coincides with some of the Hasidic ideas in some of the writing of Martin Buber.

What is strangest about this is that I was reading the old testament about God's servant asking him to spare a city, I think its the story of Sodom, and saying if he can find a certain number of good men will the place be spared, he is negotiating and aiming to make the number smaller and God is conceeding but eventually has enough of it. I was reading that because I'd seen a movie adaptation of this passage while channel hopping.

Then after this I had a dream which was very strange, a little like Raphael's School of Athens, which is something I dream about regularly and have in my mind as a heavenly place. In this dream someone I knew was a friend but couldnt recognise told me about this idea and I woke up and thought that's cool, also that it was an original idea. I then went online and discovered it wasnt. So I'm intrigued that I could have the same idea as people from a different time and culture entirely.

Has anyone had experiences like this or does anyone want to discuss the idea about the 32 good people? I hope I have the number correct, I think its 32, I dont know the significance of the number really.