Do Jews believe in Armilus (The Jewish Anti-Messiah).


  • 1
    I've never heard of it, and I've heard of a lot of things. I would say 98% of world Jewry have never heard of such a figure. Of the 2% that have, 50% wouldn't believe in it, and the other 50% who would believe in it would be written off for doing so.
    – Aaron
    Oct 30, 2016 at 17:37
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    judaism.stackexchange.com/q/40460/4682 highly related
    – Baby Seal
    Oct 30, 2016 at 18:48

1 Answer 1


This article provides a good synopsis of Armilus in Jewish thought.

Targum Jonathan, Saadia Gaon, and Ben Ish Chai (page 23) all mention him as a personality in messianic times. Another possible source for him is in Sefer Zerubabel, an apocryphal text that if authentic would be the earliest source for Armilus.

Per the aforementioned accounts, Armilus will slay the Josephite Messiah and then be slain by the Davidic Messiah.

So it appears that Armilus is present in some Jewish writings, and thus in Jewish belief, however obscure.

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    It should be noted, however, that while some Jews do indeed reference him, canonical texts do not, so it is the belief of some Jews, but not necessarily a Jewish belief; i.e. a belief inherent to, and thus universally held in Judaism.
    – mevaqesh
    Oct 30, 2016 at 21:48
  • The article cited is also incorrect. The earliest source mentioning Armilus is Sefer Zerubavel ben Shaltiel. This text records the prophecy of Zerubavel. Armilus is supposed to be a Jew. He is a political figure in the land of Israel during the days of Moshiach. The language of the prophecy is highly allegorical in regard to his conception and birth. FWIW, the Vilna Gaon said the decree that Moshiach ben Yosef would be murdered by Armilus had been nullified due to the prayers of the Tzaddikim. Oct 30, 2016 at 23:22
  • @BabySeal Yonatan ben Uziel was a student of Hillel HaZaken. They were both living during the second Temple. Zerubavel ben Shaltiel was actually Nechemiah ben Pedayah ben Shaltiel ben Yechaniah who was also called Nechemiah ben Chachaliah ben Shaltiel ben Yechaniah (see Sanhedrin 37b). Yechaniah was told by Yirmiyahu HaNavi prior to the destruction of the the first Temple that he would have no sons. Zerubavel was born prior to the return from Bavel and the building of the second Temple. He preceded Yonatan ben Uziel. Oct 31, 2016 at 13:55
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    @YaacovDeane, that midrash is apocryphal. On what basis do you attribute it to Zerubabel? the name? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocalypse_of_Zerubbabel. We have no tradition about it whatsoever. Ibn Ezra criticizes it for being unreliable. It wrongly predicts the coming of the Messiah. We do have a tradition about YBU's targum. That is why I mentioned it.
    – Baby Seal
    Oct 31, 2016 at 16:47
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    @YaacovDeane a document making a claim about itself is suspect. May be ask a question about its authenticity? There are a lot of medieval midrashim that are "signed" by Tanaaim that are just not authentic. If it has been endorsed by any rabbis that were its contemporaries or by tradition, I will include it.
    – Baby Seal
    Oct 31, 2016 at 17:55

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