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definition - list of messiah claimants

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List of messiah claimants


This is a list of people who have been said to be a messiah, either by themselves or by their followers. The list is divided into categories, which are sorted according to date of birth (where known).


  Jewish messiah claimants

In Judaism, "messiah" originally meant a divinely appointed king, such as David, Cyrus the Great[1] or Alexander the Great.[2] Later, especially after the failure of the Hasmonean Kingdom (37 BC) and the Jewish–Roman wars (AD 66-135), the figure of the Jewish Messiah was one who would deliver the Jews from oppression and usher in an Olam Haba ("world to come") or Messianic Age.

  • Jesus of Nazareth (ca. 5 BCE – 30 CE), leader of a small Jewish sect who was crucified; Jews who believed him to be the Messiah were the first Christians, also known as Jewish Christians. Christians and Messianic Jews believe him to be the real Messiah.
  • Simon of Peraea (ca. 4 BCE), a former slave of Herod the Great who rebelled and was killed by the Romans.[3]
  • Athronges (ca. 3 CE),[4] a shepherd turned rebel leader.
  • Menahem ben Judah (?), allegedly son of Judas of Galilee, partook in a revolt against Agrippa II before being slain by a rival Zealot leader.
  • Vespasian, c. 70, according to Josephus[5]
  • Simon bar Kokhba (? – ca. 135), founded a short-lived Jewish state before being defeated in the Second Jewish-Roman War.
  • Moses of Crete (?), who in about 440–470 convinced the Jews of Crete to attempt to walk into the sea to return to Israel; he disappeared after that disaster.
  • Ishak ben Ya'kub Obadiah Abu 'Isa al-Isfahani (684–705), who led a revolt in Persia against the Umayyad Caliph 'Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan.
    • Yudghan (?), a disciple of Abu 'Isa who continued the faith after Isa was slain.[6][7]
  • Serene (?), who around 720 claimed to be the Messiah and advocated expulsion of Muslims and relaxing various rabbinic laws before being arrested; he then recanted.
  • David Alroy (?), born in Kurdistan, who around 1160 agitated against the caliph before being assassinated.
  • Nissim ben Abraham (?), active around 1295.[8]
  • Moses Botarel of Cisneros (?), active around 1413; claimed to be a sorcerer able to combine the names of God.
  • Asher Lämmlein (?), a German near Venice who proclaimed himself a forerunner of the Messiah in 1502.
  • David Reubeni (1490–1541?) and Solomon Molcho (1500–1532), adventurers who travelled in Portugal, Italy and Turkey; Molcho was eventually burned at the stake by the Pope.
  • A mostly unknown Czech Jew from around the 1650s.[9]
  • Sabbatai Zevi (1626–1676), an Ottoman Jew who claimed to be the Messiah, but then converted to Islam; still has followers today in the Donmeh.
    • Barukhia Russo (Osman Baba), successor of Sabbatai Zevi.
    • Jacob Querido (?–1690), claimed to be the new incarnation of Sabbatai; later converted to Islam and led the Donmeh.
    • Miguel Cardoso (1630–1706), another successor of Sabbatai who claimed to be the "Messiah ben Ephraim."
    • Mordecai Mokia (1650–1729), "the Rebuker," another person who proclaimed himself Messiah after Sabbatai's death.
    • Löbele Prossnitz (?–1750), attained some following amongst former followers of Sabbatai, calling himself the "Messiah ben Joseph."
  • Jacob Joseph Frank (1726–1791), who claimed to be the reincarnation of King David and preached a synthesis of Christianity and Judaism.
  • Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902–1994), the seventh Chabad Rabbi who tried to "prepare the way" for the Messiah. An unidentifiable number of his followers believe him to be the Messiah, though he himself never said this and actually scoffed at such claims which were made during his lifetime.[10][11]

  Christian messiah claimants

  Simon Magus

Verses in the Christian bible tell that Jesus will come again in some fashion; various people have claimed to, in fact, be the second coming of Jesus. Others have been styled a new messiah still under the umbrella of Christianity.

  • Simon Magus (early 1st century), he was Samaritan, and a native of Gitta; he was considered a god in Simonianism; he "darkly hinted" that he himself was Christ, calling himself the Standing One.
  • Dositheos the Samaritan (mid 1st century), he was one of the supposed founders of Mandaeanism. After the time of Jesus he wished to persuade the Samaritans that he himself was the Messiah prophesied by Moses.[12] Dositheus pretended to be the Christ (Messiah), applying Deuteronomy 18:15 to himself, and he compares him with Theudas and Judas the Galilean.[12][13]
  • Montanus (135-177), he claimed to be the promised Paraclete in the mid 2nd century mentioned in Gospel of John 14:16[14] and would set up the New Jerusalem in the small town of Pepuza in Phrygia.[15]
  • Adalbert, a bishop who claimed miraculous powers circa 744. The Pope excommunicated him.
  • Tanchelm of Antwerp (ca. 1110), who violently opposed the sacrament and the Eucharist.
  • Ann Lee (1736–1784), a central figure to the Shakers,[16] who thought she "embodied all the perfections of God" in female form and considered herself to be Christ’s female counterpart in 1772.[17]
  • Bernhard Müller (c. 1799–1834) claimed to be the Lion of Judah and a prophet in possession of the Philosopher's stone.
  • John Nichols Thom (1799–1838), a Cornish tax rebel.
  • Arnold Potter (1804–1872), Latter Day Saint schismatic leader; called himself "Potter Christ"
  • Hong Xiuquan (1814–1864), Hakka Chinese; claimed himself to be the younger brother of Jesus Christ; started the Taiping Rebellion and founded the Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace. Committed suicide before the fall of Tianjing (Nanjing) in 1864.
  • Bahá'u'lláh (1817–1864), born Shiite, adopting Bábism later in life, he claimed to be the promised one of all religions, and founded the Bahá'í Faith.
  • Jacobina Mentz Maurer (1841 or 1842-1874) was a German-Brazilian woman who lived and died in the state of Rio Grande do Sul who emerged as a messianic prophetess, a representation of God, and later declared the very reincarnation of Jesus Christ on earth by her German-speaking community called Die Muckers (or the false saints) by her enemies, Die Spotters (or the mockers). After a number of deadly confrontations with outsiders, Jacobina was shot to death together with many of her followers by the Brazilian Imperial Army.
  • William W. Davies (1833–1906), Latter Day Saint (Mormon) schismatic leader; claimed that his infant son Arthur (b. 1868) was the reincarnated Jesus Christ.
  • Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India (1835–1908), claimed to be the awaited Mahdi as well as (Second Coming) and likeness of Jesus the promised Messiah at the end of time, being the only person in Islamic history who claimed to be both. He claimed to be Jesus in the metaphorical sense; in character. He founded the Ahmadiyya Movement in 1889 envisioning it to be the rejuvenation of Islam, and claimed to be commissioned by God for the reformation of mankind.[18] He declared that Jesus survived crucifixion and died a natural death having migrated towards the east.[19]
  • Father Divine (George Baker) (c. 1880 – September 10, 1965), an African American spiritual leader from about 1907 until his death who claimed to be God.
  • André Matsoua (1899–1942), Congolese founder of Amicale, proponents of which subsequently adopted him as Messiah in the late 1920s.
  • Samael Aun Weor (1917–1977), born Víctor Manuel Gómez Rodríguez, Colombian citizen and later Mexican, was an author, lecturer and founder of the 'Universal Christian Gnostic Movement', according to him, 'the most powerful movement ever founded'. By 1972, he referenced that his death and resurrection would be occurring before 1978. 
  • Sun Myung Moon (1920-), founder and leader of the Unification Church established in Seoul, South Korea, who considers himself the Second Coming of Christ, but not Jesus himself in 1954.[20] Although it is generally believed by Unification Church members ("Moonies") that he is the Messiah and the Second Coming of Christ and is anointed to fulfill Jesus' unfinished mission.[20]
  • Charles Manson (b. 1934), leader of the "Manson family" who ordered his followers to kill in preparation for the end of the world. He also claimed to be Satan.
  • Yahweh ben Yahweh (1935–2007), born as Hulon Mitchell, Jr., a black nationalist and separatist who created the Nation of Yahweh and allegedly orchestrated the murder of dozens of persons.
  • Laszlo Toth (b. 1940) claimed he was Jesus Christ as he battered Michelangelo's Pieta with a geologist hammer.
  • Wayne Bent (b. 1941), also known as Michael Travesser of the Lord Our Righteousness Church, also known as the "Strong City Cult", convicted December 15, 2008 of one count of criminal sexual contact of a minor and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in 2008.[21]
  • Iesu Matayoshi (b. 1944), in 1997 he established the World Economic Community Party based on his conviction that he is God and the Christ.
  • Jung Myung Seok (1945-), a South Korean who was a member of the Unification Church in the 1970s, before breaking off to found the dissenting group[22] now known as Providence Church in 1980.[23][24] He also considers himself the Second Coming of Christ, but not Jesus himself in 1980.[25] He believes he has come to finish the incomplete message and mission of Jesus Christ, asserting that he is the Messiah and has the responsibility to save all mankind.[26] He claims that the Christian doctrine of resurrection is false but that people can be saved through him.[27]
  • Claude Vorilhon now known as Raël "messenger of the Elohim" (1946-), a French professional test driver and former automobile journalist became founder and leader of UFO religion the Raël Movement in 1972, which teaches that life on Earth was scientifically created by a species of extraterrestrials, which they call Elohim. He claimed he met an extraterrestrial humanoid in 1973 and became the Messiah.[28] Then devoted himself to the task he said was given by his "biological father", an extraterrestrial namedYahweh.[29]
  • Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda (b. 1946), a Puerto Rican preacher who has claimed to be "the Man Jesus Christ", who is indwelled with the same spirit that dwelled in Jesus. Founder of the "Growing in Grace" ministries.
  • Inri Cristo (b. 1948) of Indaial, Brazil, a claimant to be the second Jesus.[30]
  • Apollo Quiboloy (1950-), founder and leader of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ religious group, who claims that Jesus Christ is the "Almighty Father," that Quiboloy is "His Appointed Son," and that salvation is now completed. Proclaims himself as the "Appointed Son of the God" not direct to the point as the "Begotten Son of the God" in 1985.[31]
  • David Icke (b. 1952), of Great Britain, has described himself as "the son of God", and a "channel for the Christ spirit".
  • Brian David Mitchell was born on October 18, 1953 in Salt Lake City, Utah, he believed himself the fore-ordained angel born on earth to be the Davidic "servant" prepared by God as a type of Messiah who would restore the divinely led kingdom of Israel to the world in preparation for Christ's second coming. (Mitchell's belief in such an end-times figure – also known among many fundamentalist Latter Day Saints as "the One Mighty and Strong" – appeared to be based in part on a reading of the biblical book of Isaiah by the independent LDS Hebraist, Avraham Gileadi, with which Mitchell became familiar from his former participation with Stirling Allan's American Study Group.)[32][33]
  • David Koresh (Vernon Wayne Howell) (1959–1993), leader of the Branch Davidians.
  • Maria Devi Christos (b. 1960), founder of the Great White Brotherhood.
  • Sergei Torop (b. 1961), who started to call himself "Vissarion", founder of the Church of the Last Testament and the spiritual community Ecopolis Tiberkul in Southern Siberia.
  • David Shayler (b. 1965), former MI5 agent and whistleblower who declared himself the Messiah on 7 July 2007.[34]

  Muslim messiah claimants

Islamic tradition has a prophecy of the Mahdi, who will come alongside the return of Isa (Jesus).

  • Muhammad Jaunpuri (1443–1505), who traveled Northeastern India; he influenced the Mahdavia and the Zikris.
  • Báb (1819–1850), who declared himself to be the promised Mahdi in Shiraz, Iran in 1844. (Related to Baha'i claims.)
  • Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908) of Qadian, 'the Promised Messiah' return of Jesus as well as the 'Mahdi', founder of the Ahmadiyya religious movement. He preached that Jesus Christ had survived crucifixion and died a natural death. He was the only person in Islamic history to have claimed to be both the promised return of Jesus as well as the promised Mahdi.
  • Muhammad Ahmad ("The Mad Mahdi") (1844–1885), who declared himself the Mahdi in 1881, defeated the Ottoman Egyptian authority, and founded a short-lived empire in Sudan.
  • Sayyid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan (1864–1920) of Somaliland, who engaged in military conflicts from 1900 to 1920.
  • Rashad Khalifa (1935–1990), an Egyptian-American biochemist who claimed that he had discovered a mathematical code in the text of the Qur'an involving the number 19; he later claimed to be the "Messenger of the Covenant" and founded the "Submitters International" movement before being murdered.
  • Juhayman al-Otaibi (1936–1980), who seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca in November 1979 and declared his son-in-law the Mahdi.

  Other/combination messiah claimants

This list features people who are said, either by themselves or their followers, to be some form of a messiah that do not easily fit into only Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

  See also


  1. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Messiah: "In Isa. xlv. 1 Cyrus is called "God's anointed one," ...:
  2. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Messiah: Alexander as Messiah
  3. ^ JA 17.10.6
  4. ^ (JA 17.10.7)
  5. ^ "What more than all else incited them [the Jews] to the [1st Roman] war was an ambiguous oracle ... found in their sacred scriptures, to the effect that at that time one from their country would become ruler of the world. This they understood to mean someone of their own race, and many of their wise men went astray in their interpretation of it. The oracle, however, in reality signified the sovereignty of Vespasian who was proclaimed Emperor on Jewish soil" — Josephus' Jewish War 6.312-13 in Crossan's Who Killed Jesus?, page 44, ISBN 0-06-061479-X
  6. ^ Rabow, Jerry (2002-11-01). 50 Jewish messiahs: the untold life stories of 50 Jewish messiahs since Jesus and how they changed the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim worlds. Gefen Publishing House Ltd. ISBN 978-965-229-288-9. 
  7. ^ Worth, Roland H. (2005-07-30). Messiahs and messianic movements through 1899. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-2311-8. 
  8. ^ Rabow, Jerry (2002-11-01). 50 Jewish messiahs: the untold life stories of 50 Jewish messiahs since Jesus and how they changed the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim worlds. Gefen Publishing House Ltd. ISBN 978-965-229-288-9. 
  9. ^ A page from the Jewish Museum of Prague about Solomon Molcho mentions this nameless Czech Jew.
  10. ^ David Berger, The Rebbe, the Messiah, and the Scandal of Orthodox Indifference
  11. ^ The Rebbe's Army, Chapter 14, ISBN 978-0-8052-1138-2
  12. ^ a b Catholic Encyclopedia: Dositheans: "Origen states that "Dositheus the Samaritan, after the time of Jesus, wished to persuade the Samaritans that he himself was the Messias prophesied by Moses" (Contra Celsum, VI, ii); and he classes him with John the Baptist, Theodas, and Judas of Galilee as people whom the Jews mistakenly held to be the Christ (Hom. xxv in Lucam; Contra Celsum, I, lvii)."
  13. ^ See "Contra Celsum," i. 57, vi. 11; in Matth. Comm. ser. xxxiii.; "Homil." xxv. in Lucam; "De Principiis," iv. 17.
  14. ^ Pierre Labriolle, Le Crise du Montaniste (1911); Christine Trevett, Montanism: Gender, Authority and the New Prophecy, ISBN 0-521-41182-3, p. 2|7.
  15. ^ Philip Ed., A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2009 p. 235
  16. ^ Campion, Nardi Reeder (1976), Ann the Word: The Life of Mother Ann Lee, Founder of the Shakers, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, ISBN 978-0-316-12767-7 
  17. ^ http://www.answers.com/topic/ann-lee Answers.com Mother Ann Lee (section Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: Ann Lee)
  18. ^ Jesus in India, Preface
  19. ^ http://www.alislam.org/library/books/jesus-in-india/index.html
  20. ^ a b Moon At Twilight: Amid scandal, the Unification Church has a strange new mission, Peter Maass New Yorker Magazine, September 14, 1998. "Moon sees the essence of his own mission as completing the one given to Jesus--establishing a "true family" untouched by Satan while teaching all people to lead a God-centered life under his spiritual leadership."..."Although Moon often predicts in his sermons that a breakthrough is near, Moffitt realizes that Moon may not come to be seen as the messiah in his lifetime."
  21. ^ "Sect Leader Who Allegedly Sought Virgins Found Guilty on Sex Charge". AP (TAOS, N.M: Fox News). 15 December 2008. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,467174,00.html. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  22. ^ Luca, Nathalie (March 2002). "After the Moon sect: South Korea and indoctrination through the sacred game of football". CNRS. http://www.cnrs.fr/Cnrspresse/n400/html/en400foot03.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  23. ^ "Guru said to have raped prospective brides before mass weddings". Asahi Shimbun. 2006-08-03. 
  24. ^ "Concerns raised about cult led by fugitive". Asahi Shimbun. 2006-07-28. 
  25. ^ "Claims sect using social groups to recruit members". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2001-03-10. http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/claims-sect-using-social-groups-to-recruit-members/2007/03/09/1173166991757.html. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  26. ^ "Suspect of Corrupt Cult Founder Arrested in China". The Korea Times. 2007-05-13. Archived from the original on 2007-09-13. http://web.archive.org/web/20070913080827/http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2007/05/117_2823.html. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  27. ^ "Cult Leader Extradited to Korea". The Korea Times. 2008-02-21. Archived from the original on 2008-04-01. http://web.archive.org/web/20080401134040/http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2008/02/113_19368.html. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  28. ^ Raël, Intelligent Design.
  29. ^ Raël, Intelligent Design; 290-1.
  30. ^ Summary of INRI CRISTO’s life
  31. ^ Kingdom of Jesus Christ | Kingdom Doctrines | Holy One
  32. ^ Duffy, John-Charles (October 15, 2003). "The Making of Immanuel: Brian David Mitchell and the Mormon Fringe". Sunstone magazine. http://www.scribd.com/doc/33669792/Brian-David-Mitchell-The-Mormon-Fringe-Duffy. 
  33. ^ Manson, Pamela; Neugebauer, Cimaron (December 3, 2010). "Mitchell defense rests in Smart kidnap case". Salt Lake Tribune. p. 6. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/50793974-76/mitchell-demier-interview-mental.html.csp?page=6. 
  34. ^ "The MI5 Messiah: Why David Shayler believes he's the son of God | Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. 2007-08-16. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-475616/The-MI5-Messiah-Why-David-Shayler-believes-hes-son-God.html. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  35. ^ Judith Coney, Sahaja Yoga: Socializing Processes in a South Asian New Religious Movement (1999) p27 "She began her mission of salvation in earnest, establishing a reputation as a faith healer ... Then, on December 2nd 1979, in London, she unequivocally declared her divinity to her followers: '[Today] is the day I declare that I am the One who has to save the humanity. I declare, I am the one who is Adi Shakti, who is the Mother of all the mothers, who is the Primordial Mother, the Shakti, the purest desire of God, who has incarnated on this Earth to give meaning to itself...' Since then, she is most often understood by her followers to be the Devi, the Goddess of Indian mythology, returned to save the world."
  36. ^ ::Sahaja Yoga-Tamil:: Adi Sakthi By Thirumoolar
  37. ^ "Messiah Foundation International Site about Shahi". Messiah Foundation International. http://www.goharshahi.com. Retrieved March 13, 2010. 
  38. ^ "Website from Pakistan Sector". goharshahi.pk. http://goharshahi.pk/images/ie-about.html. Retrieved March 12, 2010. 
  39. ^ "Structure and objective of the Mehdi Foundation and the perception of this movement in Pakistan". 5 December 2008. http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/pdfid/49997ae7d.pdf. Retrieved 9 October 2009 
  40. ^ "Jail upon burning the Pakistani Passports". British Broadcasting Cooperation (Urdu). 25 April 2007. http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/india/story/2007/04/070425_passport_burnt_np.shtml. Retrieved April 25, 2010. 
  41. ^ "Jail upon burning the Pakistani Passports page 2". British Broadcasting Cooperation (Urdu). 25 April 2007. http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/specials/1244_pkpics_wk17_zs/page3.shtml. Retrieved April 25, 2010. 
  42. ^ Share International index
  43. ^ Share International magazine, July / August 2009
  44. ^ Niebuhr, Gustav. "New Millennium, Great Expectations." The New York Times, July 20, 1996


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