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In Judaism, the expected king of the line of David who will deliver the Jews from foreign bondage and restore Israel's golden age. The term used for the messiah in the Greek New Testament, christos, was applied to Jesus, who is accepted by Christians as the promised redeemer. Messiah figures also appear in various other religions and cultures; Shiite Muslims, for example, look for a restorer of the faith known as the mahdi, and Maitreya is a redeeming figure in Buddhism.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on messiah, visit Britannica.com.