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Messianism in Judaism: Home

Examination of the origins of the concept and the history of its evolution in Jewish belief.


Jerusalem Haggadah
Illustrator: Shmuel Bonneh
Haifa: Shikmona Publishing, 1968

 The image above depicts the Messiah arriving at the gates of Jerusalem on a white donkey heralded by Elijah the Prophet and followed by the Jewish exiles returning to the Land of Israel as Jewish tradition claims God had promised.

The term messiah derives from the Hebrew verb "to annoint" (with olive oil), referring to the ceremony of investing a king in ancient Israel.  At some point during the Second Temple period, a belief arose that a descendent of King David, who was promised that his line would never die out, would arrive and inaugurate a period of freedom and peace, a time of ultimate goodness for the Jews and for all mankind. The Talmud describes this period extensively in  (Sanhedrin 98a, et al.). This hope never diminished among the Jewish people along with the expectation that the messianic era will also bring about the "ingathering of the exiles" and their return to the Land of Israel.