This month marks the anniversary of the birth of Shabbetai Zevi, one of the most famous false Messiahs in Jewish history. Born in Smyrna in Asia Minor on July 23, 1626, Zevi was known as both a student and a teacher of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism). He was declared by one of his followers to be the Messiah and gathered a sizeable and militant following in Turkey and the Middle East. When the Sultan gave Shabbetai Zevi a choice between death or conversion to Islam, he chose the latter.
Shabbetai Zevi was not the first nor last of the false Messiahs who have at times led Jewish people astray. For a Messianic Perspective on false Messiahs versus Jesus as the true Messiah, see: