The Messiah will be a human restorer of the throne of David. The messiah will be a descendent of King David and will be born of human parents.
What will the messiah do?
The messiah will:
Does the Torah mention a messiah?
No. The Torah does mention moshiach, which the Greek word messiah comes from, but not in context of our current understanding of the messiah. In the Torah, moshiach means "anointed one" and refers to kings or high priests. Post-biblical Judaism came to understand the messiah as a king who would bring about the end of times.
Where is belief in the messiah found in Jewish texts?
Belief in the eventual coming of the messiah is one of Maimonides' 13 principles of faith. His twelfth principle states, " I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the moshiach, and though he may tarry, still I await him every day." Belief in the eventual coming of the messiah is also a prominent part of the Amidah prayer, said three times daily by observant Jews. The Amidah includes prayers for all the elements that will mark the coming of the messiah.
Why don't Jews accept Jesus as the messiah?
The primary reason that Jews do not believe Jesus was the messiah is that the world was not redeemed by Jesus' arrival and death. For a more complete explanation, read David Wolpe's essay.
Do Jews believe the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, was the Messiah?
Most Jews, including most Jews affiliated with the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, which the Rebbe led, do not believe that Schneerson was the messiah. Traditional Jewish thought teaches that the messiah cannot die before the redemption of the world. Some messianist Jews maintain that certain Jewish sources say that the messiah could be a resurrected individual.
What do Christians and Muslims believe about the messiah?
The Muslim view of the messiah is similar to the Jewish vision. Muslims believe in the mahdi, a savior figure who will appear at the end of time and bring justice to the world. Read more on who the mahdi will be.
Muslims consider Jesus a prophet, but Muslim theology does not allow any human to share divinity with Allah, so he is not considered the son of God.
Christians regard Jesus Christ as the messiah who redeemed the world. They await his second coming at the end of the world.
Judaism & the Messiah Links:
About the Jewish Vision of Moshiach
Basic introduction to the Jewish messianic idea, overview of who the messiah will be, & what the messianic age will be like.
Ask a Rabbi
Series of Q&A's about the messiah, from Jewish.com.
Laws Concerning Moshiach
The last two chapters of the Rambam's Mishneh Torah.
The Schneerson Messiah Question
Chabad-Lubavitch online appreciation of the life and impact of the Rebbe. Includes mention of the Rebbe's teachings about the coming of the moshiach, but does not refer to the Rebbe as the messiah.
Lubavitch site that calls Schneerson "Melech HaMoshiach", King the Messiah. Includes personal reminiscences about the Rebbe and articles such as "How to Love the Rebbe" and "The Rebbe's Prophecy."
Is Rabbi Schneerson the Moshiach?
Rabbi Q&A says the Orthodox community does not accept the idea that the Rebbe was the messiah.