List of messiah claimants

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This is a list of notable 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[edit]

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. However the term "false messiah" was largely absent from rabbinic literature. The first mention is in the Sefer Zerubbabel, from the mid-seventh century, which uses the term, mashiah sheker, ("false messiah").[3]

Christian messiah claimants[edit]

Mirza Husayn 'Ali Nuri, Baháʼu'lláh
Simon Magus

Verses in the Christian Bible state that Jesus will come again in some fashion; various people have claimed to, in fact, be the second coming of Jesus. Others have styled themselves new messiahs under the umbrella of Christianity. The Synoptic gospels (Matthew 24:4, 6, 24; Mark 13:5, 21-22; and Luke 21:3) all use the term pseudochristos for messianic pretenders.[21]

Muslim messiah claimants[edit]

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

Zoroastrian Messiah claimants[edit]

  • Bahram Chobin, after he usurped the throne of the Sassanian Empire, declared himself to be the Messiah in the midst of the eschatalogical times of the late 6th century AD[47]

Other or combination messiah claimants[edit]

Haile Selassie

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.

  • Cyrus Teed (1839–1908), proponent of the Hollow Earth theory who created a distinct model in which the world is an inverted sphere that the rest of universe can be seen from by looking inward and claimed to be the incarnation of Jesus Christ after being electrocuted when attempting to practice alchemy with doses of magnetism during 1869.[48]
  • Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia (1892–1975), Emperor of Ethiopia and Messiah of the Rastafari movement. Never claimed himself to be Messiah, but was thus proclaimed by Leonard Howell, amongst others.
  • Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) in 1909 renounced the status of messiah and Maitreya incarnation given him by the Theosophical Society.
  • André Matsoua (1899–1942), Congolese founder of Amicale, proponents of which subsequently adopted him as Messiah.
  • 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. By 1972, Samael Aun Weor referenced that his death and resurrection would be occurring before 1978.
  • Nirmala Srivastava (1923–2011), guru and goddess of Sahaja Yoga, proclaimed herself to be the Comforter promised by Jesus (that is, the incarnation of the Holy Ghost / Adi Shakti).[49]
  • Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi (born 25 November 1941) is a spiritual leader and the founder of the spiritual movements Messiah Foundation International (MFI) and Anjuman Serfaroshan-e-Islam.[50][51] He is controversial for being declared the Mehdi, Messiah, and Kalki Avatar by the MFI.[52][53][54]
  • Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda (1946–2013), a Puerto Rican preacher who had claimed to be both "the Man Jesus Christ" and the Antichrist at the same time. He claimed he was indwelled with the same spirit that dwelled in Jesus, however, Miranda also contradicted his claims of being Christ incarnate by also claiming he was the Antichrist, even going as far as tattooing the number of the beast (666) on his forearm, a behavior his followers also adopted. Founder of the "Growing in Grace" ministries, Miranda died on August 14, 2013, due to liver cancer.
  • Raël, founder and leader of Raëlism (born 30 September 1946); Rael claimed he met an extraterrestrial being in 1973 and became the Messiah.
  • World Teacher (unknown), a being claimed to be the Theosophical Maitreya and the Messiah (promised one) of all religions. He is said to have descended from the higher planes and manifested a physical body in early 1977 in the Himalayas, then on 19 July 1977 he is said to have taken a commercial airplane flight from Pakistan to England. He is currently said to be living in secret in London;[55][56][57] promoted by New Age activist Benjamin Creme and his organization, Share International (See Maitreya (Benjamin Creme)).
  • David Icke (born 29 April 1952), New Age conspiracy theorist who came up with the idea of Draconians[58] and claimed to be the "son of God" during an interview on Wogan in 1991.[59]
  • Shoko Asahara (1955–2018), the founder of the Japanese doomsday-cult group Aum Shinrikyo. In 1992 Asahara published Declaring Myself the Christ, within which he declared himself Christ, Japan's only fully enlightened master, and identified with the Lamb of God. Following the Tokyo subway sarin attack of 1995, Asahara was arrested and executed by hanging in 2018.
  • Ryuho Okawa (born 7 July 1956), is the founder of Happy Science in Japan. Okawa claims to channel the spirits of Muhammad, Christ, Buddha and Confucius and claims to be the incarnation of the supreme spiritual being called El Cantare.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Messiah: "In Isa. xlv. 1 Cyrus is called "God's anointed one," ...:
  2. ^ "Messiah: Alexander as Messiah". Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  3. ^ William Horbury, Markus Bockmuehl, James Carleton Paget: Redemption and resistance: the messianic hopes of Jews and Christians in antiquity Page 294 : (2007) ISBN 978-0567030443
  4. ^ Segal, Alan F. (1997). Davis, Stephen T.; Kendall, Daniel; O'Collins, Gerald (eds.). The Resurrection: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Resurrection of Jesus. OUP Oxford. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-19-815091-6. marginal Jewish apocalyptic cult
  5. ^ Gray, John (2011). Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia. Penguin Books Limited. p. PT19. ISBN 978-0-241-95917-6.
  6. ^ BDEhrman (31 January 2013), "How Jesus Became God: The *Original* Idea",
  7. ^ Nel, Marius; Balia, Daryl (2018). An African Pentecostal Hermeneutics: A Distinctive Contribution to Hermeneutics. Wipf & Stock Publishers. p. 208. ISBN 978-1-5326-6086-3.
  8. ^ Professor Bart D. Ehrman, The Historical Jesus, Part I, p. 2, The Teaching Company, 2000.
  9. ^ Freedman, David Noel; Myers, Allen C., eds. (31 December 2000). Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Amsterdam University Press. p. 709. ISBN 978-90-5356-503-2.
  10. ^ The Ministry of Christ Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  11. ^ Jesus Christ in the Bahá'í Writings Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  12. ^ "People of the Book". Islam: Empire of Faith. PBS. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
  13. ^ "Quran 3:46-158". Archived from the original on 2015-05-01.
  14. ^ Christianity at a glance BBC. Retrieved 19 December 2011.
  15. ^ Cohn-Sherbok, Dan (2000). "Messianic Jewish theology". Messianic Judaism. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-8264-5458-4. OCLC 42719687. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
  16. ^ 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)."
  17. ^ See "Contra Celsum," i. 57, vi. 11; in Matth. Comm. ser. xxxiii.; "Homil." xxv. in Lucam; "De Principiis," iv. 17.
  18. ^ Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi: The Mystical Messiah: 1626–1676, pp. 103–106 has a whole discussion of the historical probabilities that he was really born on the 9th of Av, which according to Jewish tradition is the date of the destruction of both Temples and is also the date 'prescribed' in some traditions for the birth of the Messiah.
  19. ^ Rifa N. Bali (2008), pp. 91-92
  20. ^ Gershom Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi: The Mystical Messiah: 1626-1676, Routledge Kegan Paul, London, 1973 ISBN 0-7100-7703-3, American Edition, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1973 ISBN 0-691-09916-2 (hardcover edn.); Gershom Scholem, "Shabbetai Zevi," in Encyclopaedia Judaica, Second Edition, Farmington Hills, Michigan, 2007, vol. 18, pp. 340–359. ISBN 978-0-02-865946-6.
  21. ^ Harris Lenowitz The Jewish Messiahs: From the Galilee to Crown Heights age 31 (2001) ISBN 978-0195148374
  22. ^ 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
  23. ^ "Mother Ann Lee (section Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: Ann Lee)". 2017-04-19. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  24. ^ Rogers, P. G. (1961), Battle in Bossenden Wood, Oxford University Press
  25. ^ a b Wilson, Bryan R. (1975). The Noble Savages: The Primitive Origins of Charisma and Its Contemporary Survival. University of California Press. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-520-02815-9. ... but their prominence and relative success when compared with such figures as Louwrens van Voorthuizen (Lou) in Holland, Georges Roux in France, and Oskar Ernst Bernhardt in Germany and Austria, all of whom claimed to be the messiah—is striking.
  26. ^ "Samael Aun Weor". Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  27. ^ "World Mission Society Church of God". Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  28. ^ 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."
  29. ^ "Sect Leader Who Allegedly Sought Virgins Found Guilty on Sex Charge - Local News - News Articles - National News - US News". TAOS, N.M. 15 December 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  30. ^ Luca, Nathalie (March 2002). "After the Moon sect: South Korea and indoctrination through the sacred game of football". CNRS. Archived from the original on 2005-10-19. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
  31. ^ "Guru said to have raped prospective brides before mass weddings". Asahi Shimbun. 3 August 2006. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  32. ^ "Concerns raised about cult led by fugitive". Asahi Shimbun. 28 July 2006. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  33. ^ "Claims sect using social groups to recruit members". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2001-03-10. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
  34. ^ "Suspect of Corrupt Cult Founder Arrested in China". The Korea Times. 2007-05-13. Archived from the original on 2007-09-13. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
  35. ^ "Cult Leader Extradited to Korea". The Korea Times. 2008-02-21. Archived from the original on 2008-04-01. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
  36. ^ Raël, Intelligent Design.
  37. ^ Raël, Intelligent Design; 290-1.
  38. ^ "Summary of INRI CRISTO's life". Archived from the original on June 6, 2008.
  39. ^ "Kingdom of Jesus Christ | Kingdom Doctrines | Holy One". Archived from the original on September 10, 2009.
  40. ^ Duffy, John-Charles (October 15, 2003). "The Making of Immanuel: Brian David Mitchell and the Mormon Fringe". Sunstone magazine. Archived from the original on December 11, 2013.
  41. ^ Manson, Pamela; Neugebauer, Cimaron (December 3, 2010). "Mitchell defense rests in Smart kidnap case". Salt Lake Tribune. p. 6.
  42. ^ Balyuzi, H.M. (1963). Baháʼu'lláh (1973 ed.). Oxford: George Ronald. pp. 11–12, 33–34. ISBN 0-85398-014-4.
  43. ^ a b Andrea Lathan (2008) ‘The Relativity of Categorizing in the Context of the Aḥmadiyya’ Die Welt des Islams, 48 (3/4): 376
  44. ^ Gualtieri, Antonio R. (1989). Conscience and Coercion: Ahmadi Muslims and Orthodoxy in Pakistan. Guernica Editions. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-920717-41-7.
  45. ^ "Who are the Ahmadi?". BBC News. 28 May 2010. Archived from the original on 30 May 2010. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  46. ^ Burhani, Ahmad Najib (2013). When Muslims are not Muslims: the Ahmadiyya community and the discourse on heresy in Indonesia. Santa Barbara, California: University of California. ISBN 9781303424861.
  47. ^ Stephen Shoemaker, Imperial Eschatology in Late Antiquity and Early Islam, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018, pp. 108-110
  48. ^ Simon, Matt (Jul 2, 2014). "Fantastically Wrong: The Legendary Scientist Who Swore Our Planet Is Hollow". WIRED. Retrieved 2021-09-17.
  49. ^ 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."
  50. ^ "Messiah Foundation International Site about Shahi". Messiah Foundation International. Retrieved March 13, 2010.
  51. ^ "Website from Pakistan Sector". Archived from the original on October 22, 2010. Retrieved March 12, 2010.
  52. ^ "Structure and objective of the Mehdi Foundation and the perception of this movement in Pakistan" (PDF). 5 December 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
  53. ^ "Jail upon burning the Pakistani Passports". British Broadcasting Cooperation (Urdu). 25 April 2007. Retrieved April 25, 2010.
  54. ^ "Jail upon burning the Pakistani Passports page 2". British Broadcasting Cooperation (Urdu). 25 April 2007. Retrieved April 25, 2010.
  55. ^ "Share International on the Reappearance of Maitreya the World Teacher". Archived from the original on November 2, 2014.
  56. ^ "Share International magazine July / August 2009 issue". Archived from the original on April 9, 2014.
  57. ^ Niebuhr, Gustav. "New Millennium, Great Expectations." The New York Times, July 20, 1996
  58. ^ Robertson, David (September 2013). "David Icke's Reptilian Thesis and the Development of New Age Theodicy". Retrieved 2021-09-19.
  59. ^ "The Day David Icke Told Terry Wogan 'I'm the Son of God'". The Telegraph. Apr 29, 2016. Retrieved 2021-09-19.

Other sources[edit]