Here Are 10 Fascinating Historical Cases Where People Claimed to be the Messiah

Here Are 10 Fascinating Historical Cases Where People Claimed to be the Messiah

Larry Holzwarth - February 11, 2018

Originally, the word “messiah” referred to a king who ruled by divine right. The anointing of the king made him the messiah and the term was applied to David as King of Israel. The idea of the Jewish messiah delivering the people from oppression did not emerge until around the time of the Jewish wars with Rome in the first century AD. It now refers to many different things, in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. There have been multiple persons of all three of these faiths – or variations thereof – who have claimed to be the messiah, or have been called the messiah by their followers.

In Christianity, the messiah is usually referred to as the second coming of Jesus Christ. Interestingly, Muslims too believe Jesus Christ to be the true messiah, as do Messianic Jews. Islam posits that the Mahdi will return along with Jesus to defeat the false messiah, the antichrist. The many people of the different faiths claiming to be the messiah have developed followings, some large and some small. They are not alone, there have been those who have claimed to be the true messiah while not embracing any of the Abrahamic religions, and have appealed to their followers on a nationalistic basis, or other areas which address shared concerns and values.

Here Are 10 Fascinating Historical Cases Where People Claimed to be the Messiah
Abraham and the Three Angels by Gustave Dore. Abraham is a patriarch of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Wikimedia

Here are ten people from history who either claimed to be the messiah or were so designated by their followers.

Here Are 10 Fascinating Historical Cases Where People Claimed to be the Messiah
William Davies declared his son Arthur the messiah at his birth. Wikimedia

Arthur Davies (1868 -1880)

Arthur Davies was declared by his father William Davies to be the messiah – literally the reincarnated Jesus Christ – when he was born on February 11, 1868. William Davies was a former Methodist who converted to Mormonism. Davies became disenchanted with the church leadership and became a follower of Joseph Morris, eventually relocating with fellow Morris followers to Montana. Davies received several of what he called revelations about reincarnation and began teaching his own followers his beliefs. One of his revelations directed him to create the Kingdom of Heaven, a utopian commune, and he led his followers to Walla Walla, Washington.

Davies instructed his followers that he was in fact Michael the Archangel. He also taught his followers that it had been revealed to him that he had led several lives, and that he was the reincarnated Adam, the father of all mankind, as well as Abraham, the patriarch of the three Abrahamic religions, and David, the biblical King of Israel. As he was instructing his followers in these great truths, he held title to the forty acres purchased for the establishment of the commune, and maintained complete control over the religious instruction and civil administration of his utopia.

The birth of Arthur and his designation as the messiah was followed by the announcement that his second son, David, who was born in 1869, was the earthly incarnation of God, the Father. Earlier the announcement of the messiah’s birth had greatly increased the number of followers who joined his utopian community. Davies then declared that he himself was the incarnation of the Holy Spirit, thus completing the Christian Trinity under his own roof. Another of his sons was declared to be the reincarnation of John the Baptist.

Davies required the males of the community to wear their hair long as a symbol of strength. He claimed that he could cure disease, prevent death, and raise the dead. Presumably he could only prevent death in his presence, otherwise there would have been no need of the raising talent. The community sent out missionaries and had some success in towns such as Portland. Davies practiced polygamy and expelled several male members of the community for reasons such as immoral behavior, retaining their wives for himself. When one of his wives died of diphtheria, questions from the community over his healing abilities proved damaging, and the community began to decline.

In 1880, the reincarnated Jesus (Arthur) and God the Father (David) likewise died from diphtheria. Some, but by no means all of the followers had had enough and they sued Davies to recover the property which they had placed into the commune. The Superior Court of Walla Wall agreed with them and the commune was disbanded. Davies attempted to start another utopia, which failed to attract a following and after living for a time in San Francisco he returned to Walla Walla, where he died in 1906. Arthur became locally famous during his short life as the Walla Walla Jesus.

Here Are 10 Fascinating Historical Cases Where People Claimed to be the Messiah
The Shakers were reviled by many for their forms of worship and what was considered heresies. Library of Congress

Ann Lee (1736-1784)

Ann Lee was born in England and was baptized and raised in the Society of Friends, commonly called the Quakers. Child labor was practiced during the time of her youth and she worked from a young age, as a cotton baler, later in a hat factory (where she was no doubt exposed to mercury, a toxin which led to the phrase “mad as a hatter), and finally as a cook. At the age of 16 she joined a Quaker sect called the Wardley’s, which later became known as the Shakers. The Wardley’s believed that the convulsive shaking they practiced was a purgative cleansing them of sin, literally the effects of sin leaving the body.

After marriage Lee had four children, all of whom died in infancy, and she developed the radical beliefs that marriage was an unholy state and celibacy led to spiritual and physical perfection. Her preaching brought her to the attention of the authorities of the Church of England, and she was arrested and fined on several occasions for heretical teachings and practices. The Church of England considered the Shaker’s activities to be a form of dancing and were thus breaking the Sabbath, on which dancing was prohibited. By 1770 she had risen to such prominence within the sect that her followers declared her to be the perfection of God in female form, and titled her as “The Mother of All Things.” Thenceforth she was Mother Ann.

Mother Ann fled to America with several of her followers in 1774, arriving in New York City with her husband. They remained in New York until 1779, although Ann’s husband deserted her. As pacifists they supported neither side in Revolutionary New York, but the British occupation was hard on all sides, and in 1779 the Shakers relocated to a community outside Albany. At first the community, which was another form of a commune, was able to thrive and some outsiders were attracted to the Shaker beliefs and lifestyle.

By 1781 Mother Ann and some select followers were recruiting new members in New England. By this time her followers were calling her the second coming of Jesus Christ. In her role as the messiah she preached the separation of men and women, with celibacy a requirement of salvation. While there were some who were attracted by her message, the Shaker’s met with angry factions in New England and New York, which frequently drove the sect out of whichever town in which they were staying. Physical violence against the Shaker’s was not uncommon, and many towns forbade their entry as a means of avoiding mobs within their communities.

By 1784 Mother Ann had become weakened by the effects of her travel, the reactions of mobs, and the difficulties encountered throughout her lifetime. She died at the Shaker community in Watervliet, New York in September of that year. Her followers believed that she had been the incarnated feminine side of God, literally the messiah in the form of a woman. The Shakers continued to grow as a sect during the First Great Awakening, reaching their peak about 1826, before gradually fading from existence.

Here Are 10 Fascinating Historical Cases Where People Claimed to be the Messiah
A drawing of Joseph Smith, who made Potter an Elder of the Church before Potter assumed a loftier title. Brigham Young University

Arnold Potter (1804-1872)

Both Arnold Davies and Mother Ann Lee were said to be the messiah by others. Arnold Potter bestowed the title upon himself. He called himself “Potter Christ, Son of the living God,” and as the messiah wrote the book of rules to be used as the basis of decision on the day of the Final Judgment. The book, according to Potter, was dictated to him by Angels, why Angels would dictate to the Son of God was not explained. He then founded a religion which he called the Church of the Potter Christ.

Potter grew up in Herkimer, New York, born there in 1804. Married in 1823, he relocated with his family to Indiana. There he encountered Mormon missionaries who baptized him and his family into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In the spring of 1840 Potter relocated again, to Nauvoo Illinois, where he was made an elder of the church by Joseph Smith. Potter moved yet again, to Sand Creek in Iowa, where he was the elder for the church there.

By 1856, he was in California, having spent several years in Iowa and later at Salt Lake. While in San Bernardino Potter was assigned to serve as a missionary in Australia by Brigham Young. While traveling to Australia, Potter experienced the revelations through which he determined himself to be the Christ. It was in Australia that he received the dictations from the angels which led to his book, entitled Revelations of Potter Christ, the Messenger of the New Covenant. Rather than serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints he began seeking followers of his own.

He also had his forehead tattooed with a message which read, “Potter Christ The Living God Morning Star” with a cross and a star as embellishment. Returning to California he found followers among the Mormons and other religious communities there and during a trek in 1861 to Iowa, eventually settling in the vicinity of Council Bluffs. Potter maintained a small community of followers there. He also spent days on the streets of Council Bluffs, usually dressed in a white robe, and preached his message to whomever would listen. The town authorities considered him a harmless crank.

Potter’s messages often included some new revelation from God, which was enthusiastically welcomed by his followers. In 1872 Potter informed his congregation that it had been revealed to him that it was time for him to ascend bodily into heaven. He and his followers accordingly ascended a cliff, with Potter riding on a donkey until they reached the edge of a bluff. After a brief sermon, in which he explained that he was now ascending into heaven but would return, Potter leaped from the edge, and gravity prevented his ascension.

Here Are 10 Fascinating Historical Cases Where People Claimed to be the Messiah
Sabbatai Zevi used a forged manuscript to establish his credentials as the messiah. Wikimedia

Sabbatai Zevi (1626-1676)

Zevi was a Sephardic Rabbi who taught throughout what was at the time the Ottoman Empire. He also practiced Kabbala and through it claimed the ability to achieve miracles as well as talk directly to God and accurately predict the future. He was named for the planet Saturn, his name translates as Saturn. By the time was 22 he had a following in Smyrna, to whom he declared himself to be the messiah, which brought him to the attention of the Jewish authorities, who gradually came to believe him to be of negative influence and a threat to their authority. Zevi was in effect excommunicated by the rabbinical authorities in Smyrna.

In the early 1650s, the actual year of the event being disputed by scholars, Zevi and his followers were banished. Forced to leave Smyrna his wanderings for some time are undocumented. In 1658 he was in Constantinople, where he met with a forger who produced for him a document which using lettering no longer in common use established Zevi’s credentials as the messiah. The manuscript was a testimony entitled The Great Wisdom of Solomon. Using the document Zevi went to Salonica, where proclaiming himself as the messiah he gained a following and once again the disapproval of local rabbinical authority. He was banished from Salonica, roamed about for a time and settled in Cairo.

When Zevi heard the story of an orphan girl who had been forced into a life of prostitution, he had the girl brought to him in Cairo. Informing his followers that it had been revealed to him in a dream that the messiah was to marry such a girl, as scripturally foretold. The girl, called Sarah, and Zevi were wed, further confirming among his followers that he was the true messiah. As his fame and claims spread the number of his followers and his influence increased, and by 1665 he was back in Smyrna, with cheering crowds hailing him as their king and messiah.

Messiah or not, Zevi was imprisoned in Constantinople by authorities concerned over activities they considered seditious. While imprisoned Zevi confronted another self-proclaimed messiah and after failing to convince the man of the error of his claim denounced him to his followers. Zevi then converted to Islam, motivated by his captor’s offer of allowing him to escape death if he would convert. They offered to shoot him with bows and arrows, if the arrows missed his divinity would be proved. Zevi chose conversion not only for himself but for his wife and for as many of his followers as he could convince. Most of his followers were disillusioned with their messiah.

Zevi continued to practice kabbala as a Muslim, for which he drew increasingly harsh punishments from the authorities, including banishment from areas of Constantinople, then from the city itself. Those whom he converted and other Muslims continued to follow him, though his messianic claims seem to have ceased in the later years of his life. He appeared in public as a Muslim, yet was said to sing Psalms in private, and he read Jewish books. There are still followers of Zevi in Turkey today, known as Donme, who offer the appearance of being Muslim in public, but practice both messianic and mystical Judaism privately. Several of his followers later claimed to be the messiah.

Here Are 10 Fascinating Historical Cases Where People Claimed to be the Messiah
Hulon Mitchel Jr. made himself wealthy as Yahweh ben Yahweh. Daily Mail

Yahweh ben Yahweh (1935-2007)

The man who renamed himself God son of God, was born Hulon Mitchell Jr. The son of a Pentecostal minister was raised in Enid, Oklahoma. Hulon was the first of what would become a family of fifteen children. Mitchell would later say that by the age of three he was aware of his own divinity. He attended segregated schools as a child, and after serving in the US Air Force he earned a degree in psychology from Phillips College in Enid, a then all-black school affiliated with the Disciples of Christ (now Phillips University).

Where and when he developed his radical beliefs, which included God and all of the significant figures of the Bible, including the prophets and patriarchs being black is unclear. For a time he worked in the civil rights movement of the 1960s but grew disillusioned with it, once referring to Martin Luther King as “…that dead dog preacher.” He attended both the University of Oklahoma and Atlanta University, studying law at the former but not completing a degree, and economics at the latter. Over the years he called himself by several religious names, including Brother Love, Father Michel, and Hulah Shah. He was associated with the Nation of Islam in Chicago before moving to Miami in 1976.

There he pronounced himself to be both God and the Son of God, an incarnation of himself as perfection. His followers were given the last name Israel, and he promised them that through his teachings they would learn the true history of the Bible and the black race. They were called Yahweh’s and over the next several years acquired a temple, apartment buildings, a hotel, and numerous cars and trucks. Mitchell acquired several cars of his own, including Rolls-Royces, and a reputation for sexual predation with the women and in some cases underage girls of his following.

Mitchell demanded unflinching loyalty to him as the divine leader of the congregation. He preached hatred of Jews and whites, telling his followers that they were the oppressors of blacks and the true God, himself. Members of the congregation’s inner circle were required to kill a white person as a demonstration of their loyalty and commitment to him, and either an ear or a head was presented as proof. Mitchell and his followers nonetheless earned the praise of the local government, just prior to a federal indictment under RICO led to his arrest and several of his followers.

Mitchell was tried in 1990 under an 18 count indictment which included charges of racketeering, extortion and more than a dozen killings. Convicted largely from testimony of a former Yahweh and professional football player serving time for murder, Mitchell was sentenced to 18 years. In 1992 he was found not guilty on charges of first degree murder. Mitchell served 11 years before being paroled on terms which restricted him from any form of contact with any of his former followers. Those restrictions were lifted shortly before he died in 2007.

Here Are 10 Fascinating Historical Cases Where People Claimed to be the Messiah
Muhammad Ahmad declared himself to be the Mahdi, as a means of gaining support for jihad. Wikimedia

Muhammad Ahmad

Ahmad was a religious and military leader in the Sudan who proclaimed himself to be the Mahdi, who in most Islamic traditions will accompany Jesus – in Islam known as Isa – to defeat the antichrist at the time of Judgment. Ahmad was a leader of the Samaniyya order who with others of the Sudanese people revolted against Turkish and Egyptian rulers in the late nineteenth century. Aware that many of the Sudanese believed in the messianic figure of the Mahdi arriving to overthrow their oppressors, Ahmad so proclaimed himself with the announcement of a movement he called the Mahdiyya.

Ahmad was born into a family of boat builders, but from an early age preferred quiet religious study over manual labor. Ahmad studied under various sheikhs, developing a reputation for piety and humility, and traveled about the Sudan. After acquiring the title of Sheikh he conducted religious missions where he taught that any practice not sanctioned in the Quran was heresy. His missions and high standing with several sheikhs were enhanced by his demonstrated piety.

In accordance with Samaniyya tradition, the Mahdi would come from their order, following signs which would foretell his arrival. Ahmad used his knowledge of the necessary signs and that of the people to whom he proclaimed the Mahdiyya to convince them of its truth, claiming to have had the title bestowed upon him by an assembly of prophets known as a Hadra. The Hadra had included all of the prophets from the first, Adam, to Muhammad. In the tradition, the Mahdi would reign for a period of eight years before being defeated in a battle with the antichrist, heralding the return of Isa who would destroy the antichrist.

Although Ahmad was widely popular with the Sudanese Samaniyya, he was criticized and ridiculed for his pronouncement in other quarters, including the authorities of the Egyptian and Turkish governments. Egypt sent a military force to arrest Ahmad for the crime of heresy and false doctrine. Ahmad declared a Jihad and directed his followers to cease paying taxes. Open warfare between Ahmad’s forces and Egyptian forces led the British to withdraw from most of Sudan, retaining some ports on the Red Sea and a few towns in the north. They held onto Khartoum and were there besieged by Ahmad’s forces in 1884.

When the British were defeated and the city taken by Ahmad’s forces, the garrison troops were massacred to a man, and the bodies of many were hacked to pieces by the Sudanese. Ahmad died of typhus within six months of the battle. His successor purged the Mahdiyya of Ahmad’s family and closest followers, and continued the war as the Khalifa. When the Khalifa was defeated in 1898 the British commander, General Kitchener, ordered Ahmad’s tomb destroyed and his remains thrown into the Nile, to prevent the tomb from becoming a shrine.

Here Are 10 Fascinating Historical Cases Where People Claimed to be the Messiah
Ahn started his church, which became two separate religions, in thriving Busan, South Korea. Wikimedia

Ahn Sahng-hong (1918-1985)

Ahn was a Korean Buddhist who was born while Japan ruled over the Korean Peninsula. From 1937 to 1946 he lived in Japan. When he returned to Korea he began attending services at the Seventh Day Adventist mission near Inchon. Near the end of the Korean War Ahn began to experience revelations which he reported to members of the Adventist congregation. He renounced Buddhism and began to study Christianity more closely, claimed to continue having revelations, and in 1956 announced that Jesus Christ would return to earth within a decade.

Ahn’s revelations led him into a series of disputes with the Seventh Day Adventists over their teachings. He claimed one of his revelations informed him that the use of the cross in religious ceremonies should be discontinued, and that the day of the week which should be kept as the Sabbath was Saturday. These and other disputes led the Seventh Day Adventists to excommunicate him, and he responded by forming his own church, which he called Witnesses of Jesus Church of God. It would expand from the original 23 followers who left the Seventh Day Adventists with Ahn to 13 congregations across South Korea by the time of his death.

Ahn did not specifically claim to be the messiah, nor the returned Jesus Christ. Instead he claimed that the early Christian church practices and the messages of Jesus had become changed over time and needed to be restored to what were originally taught by Jesus. Ahn claimed the cross representative of Christianity to be a graven image and was thus not to be used. Ahn also believed that the Passover and other Feasts listed in the Book of Leviticus should be part of the Christian practice of religion. These beliefs and other dogma were published in the more than two dozen books Ahn published.

Upon his death a schism arose within his church over his succession as the head of the religion. Two groups disagreed over whether to continue to follow Ahn’s teachings and direction, or adopt the idea of a spiritual mother over the church, an approach which had been previously explored and rebuked by Ahn when he was alive. The schism led to a formal split and two new churches were formed, the New Covenant Passover Church of God, and the Witnesses of Ahn Sahng-hong Church of God.

The New Covenant Passover Church of God more closely follows Ahn’s teachings. The Witnesses of Ahn Sahng-hong established a new dogma, which included the establishment of a woman as God the Mother and that Ahn should be recognized as Christ, with a new trinity excluding Jesus and including Ahn, and prayer of worship directed not to Jesus but to Ahn. Ahn is titled in the church as Christ Ahn Sangh-hong. During his lifetime he gave several different dates for which he predicted the end of the world, the last one known to have been announced was in 2012.

Here Are 10 Fascinating Historical Cases Where People Claimed to be the Messiah
Before being reincarnated as Jesus Christ, Ernest Norman claimed to have been Confucius, and many others. Wikimedia

Ernest Norman

Ernest Norman was an electrical engineer by training. He was the writer of more than twenty books, on a diverse group of topics, including theoretical physics, life on other worlds, and modern poetry. He was a co-founder of the Unarius Science of Life and the Unarius Academy of Science. Unarius is an acronym which stands for Universal Articulate Interdimensional Understanding of Science. Its practitioners refer to themselves as Unarians.

Unarians believe in the immortality of the human soul, reincarnation, and that higher beings from other dimensions and worlds channel knowledge to the enlightened here on Earth. Norman claimed that the books that he had written were merely channeled through him. Books written by other Unarians are channeled from him as well as others. Unarians consider themselves to be practicing a science, not a religion, and there is little dogma.

Norman wrote several articles and included in many of his books arguments against religion, and viewed his organization as scientific rather than religious. Nevertheless Norman believed to be overshadowed throughout his life by an Archangel, one of a group of Archangels who dwell on a super planet. His past lives included incarnations as Benjamin Franklin, Confucius, Jesus Christ, Socrates, and many others. Norman taught the students who studied with him that they had been present with him during his incarnation as Jesus, and that their mutual enemies from that life were reincarnated as well.

Norman taught that the population of the earth was watched and protected by the Higher Beings and that all humans could use their psychic powers to communicate with them. Norman’s co-founder of Unarius on Earth was his wife Ruth, whom he had met when she attended a spiritualist convention. There Norman was told by a spiritualist that there were three men with him carrying books, unseen by anyone else. Norman said that the three were the prophets Elisha, Enoch and Ezra. The books they were carrying were the books Norman would eventually write, once they had been channeled to him.

Norman didn’t claim that he was Jesus returned to earth in the form of the Second Coming of Christ, merely that he had been Jesus in a previous life, one in which presumably he was channeling higher beings as well. Since he also claimed to have been Confucius in a prior life he evidently had no problem with conflicting religious teachings or dogmas. Norman died in 1971. Presumably he is waiting to return as another being, if he hasn’t already.

Here Are 10 Fascinating Historical Cases Where People Claimed to be the Messiah
Sunday dinner at the WKFL Fountain of the World dining room. Wikimedia

Krishna Venta

Krishna Venta was born Francis Herman Pencovic in San Francisco. In 1948, after serving in the US Army during World War II announced to the world that he was the Messiah as the returned Christ. He founded a religious group in California which he called WKFL Fountain of the World (Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith and Love) in a building which had formerly housed a brothel in Santa Barbara, California. In a short time he was able to purchase, using the funds he received by admitting new followers into his group, 25 acres of land south of Los Angeles in box Canyon.

Legally changing his name to Krishna Venta, the messiah told his followers that there would be no more than 144,000 to survive the coming end of the world, and those would be his followers, thus establishing the limits of its growth (which it never reached). He said that he had been born on the planet Neophrates, which was in the same orbital plane as earth and which was drawn into the sun, forcing him and his followers to travel to earth in rocket ships. He had been on earth since, in a wide variety of incarnations which included him either being or being with Abraham, Moses, Mohammed, the Archangel Gabriel, the Angel Moroni, and Jesus Christ.

Venta had been married and divorced before his divinity, and when his ex-wife sued for child support, court papers revealed that the then Pencovic had stated that he would plan his life to be protected, and that he would “…form this organization where people would give all their possessions into the organization and he would be the head of the organization, nothing would be in his name…yet he would have them arrange for all the money he wanted to use anytime he wanted it.” The same papers reveal that the messiah liked to stop over in Vegas from time to time, where his divinity didn’t stop him from losing money.

When he was at the Fountain’s site, Venta often had himself crucified before his followers, using a bicycle seat to support him on a cross to which he was tied, as a means of reinforcing his sermons of that day. In addition to being loose with the group’s money, he was dismissive of celibacy, except among his followers, and it was his proclivity for seducing the wives of some of his followers which brought down his group.

A pair of former followers killed Venta after learning of his affairs with both of their wives. In December 1958 the two men went to the large house which the group had built for Venta in Box Canyon. Each were wearing several sticks of dynamite strapped to their bodies and once in the house they detonated the suicide bombs. Venta and seven other followers were killed in the explosion, one of them an infant, as well as the two bombers.

Here Are 10 Fascinating Historical Cases Where People Claimed to be the Messiah
A late fourth century image of Jesus, to some the messiah and to others a false messiah. Wikimedia

Jesus of Nazareth

To Christians, Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the Savior, and the True Son of the Living God. All forms of Christianity accept this, in fact the acceptance is a necessary part of being a member of a Christian church. The many differences between the protestant religions with each other and with Catholicism do not vary this fact. In fact most Christians would be surprised to learn that Islam also accepts Jesus (Isa) as the messiah.

But to certain followers of Judaism and to some other religions Jesus’ claim as the messiah is considered to be false, and Jesus, even in acknowledging his historic existence, is a false messiah. Some consider him to be the false messiah to have done the most damage of all the false messiahs which have come since his death. The Messianic Age foretold by the Biblical prophets has not yet arrived, nor is it awaiting the Second Coming as prophesied by Jesus and taught by Christian doctrine. Judaism also does not allow for the worship of an individual, for them there is no Trinity as there is in Christianity.

Jewish belief in the messiah and his arrival are dependent on several events which have not occurred, nor did they occur during the life of Jesus. These include the return of the Jews to their homeland, that which was promised to Moses, and the rebuilding of The Temple at Jerusalem. They also include the age of peace which certainly has not befallen humanity.

To Jews Jesus is a false messiah simply by making the claim that he was both God and man, which is a heresy in Judaism, and the idea that the messiah can be a heretic is unthinkable. In the earliest days of the followers of Jesus they established the belief that he was both God and man, which is the basis of the schism which took Jesus’ followers, most of whom were Jews, away from Judaism and formed the basis of what is now called Christianity.

According to the Jewish faith, Jesus is a false messiah because he did not fulfill the prophecies put forth by Isaiah and Ezekiel. Nor was he a paternal descendant of King David. The Jewish messiah is to reign as the King of the Jews (one reason for the derisive sign which was supposedly ordered by Pilate). Any fundamentalist Christian would howl at the suggestion that Jesus could be considered a false messiah, but to a very large number of people that is what he was at the time of his death, and that is what he remains.


Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

The Los Angeles Times

The American Encyclopedia entry Ann Lee

Those Who Would Be Leaders by Russell R. Rich

God is not Great. How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens

The New York Times


The Bible

The World Factbook

Welcome to Church of God – Web archive