Jewish Messiahs, New Testament, Messianism


The terms Messiah and Christ are widely used today and are employed almost exclusively by Christians in reference to Jesus. Modern Christians, including Latter-day Saints, associate a litany of notions, implications, and expectations with these titles. Messiah, or mashiach in Hebrew, is synonymous with Christ, or christos in Greek, both meaning “one who is anointed” (with oil). What, however, were the deeper meanings and implications of these terms in Jesus’s day? How did Jews in the first centuries BC and AD interpret Old Testament passages regarding a messiah, and what were their expectations of a future messiah? When some of Jesus’s followers viewed him as the Messiah, what would they have initially expected him to accomplish? Were any figures during the New Testament period, other than Jesus, considered to be the Messiah by their followers? This chapter will address these questions with the primary goal of understanding the broad messianic context of the New Testament period and situating Jesus within it.

Original Publication Citation

(2019). “Messianism and Jewish Messiahs in the New Testament Period,” in Lincoln Blumell (ed.), New Testament History, Culture, and Society: A Background to the Texts of the New Testament. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


New Testament History, Culture, and Society




Religious Education


Ancient Scripture

University Standing at Time of Publication