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A messiah (from Hebrew mashiakh, "anointed"; calqued into Greek as christos, whence "Christ") is like your big brother who's going to come home from school one of these days and beat up all the bullies. Jesus is the Messiah of Christianity, but in his day was probably just one of a great number of anti-Roman street preachers with claims to being Messiah. 
Messianic religions surface often among oppressed minorities; the term appears several times in the Old Testament, particularly in reference to King Cyrus of Persia, and messianic beliefs persist even into modern times, especially among some sects of Judaism (particularly the Hasidic Lubavitchers), as well as the 19th century Native American Ghost Dancers, the mid-20th century Pacific cargo cults, and the modern Nation of Islam (which combines its messianic/apocalyptic theology with a heavy dose of ufology). Messianic believers often indulge as well in apocalyptic literature, which as often as not describes not only who will arrive, but goes into great (if cryptic) detail as to what will happen when the Anointed One arrives.
And Brian is not the messiah. He's a very naughty boy.
- ↑ Python, Monty (1979). Life of Brian. Warner Bros.