FREE booklet : Jesus Christ: The Real Story
Jesus Christ: The Real Story
¬ Introduction
¬ Who—and What—Was Jesus Christ?
¬ Jesus Christ: 'The Rock' of the Old Testament
¬ Jesus Christ's Disciples Considered Him the Creator
¬ The Family of God
¬ Jesus' Amazing Fulfillment of Prophecy
¬ Prophesied: The Exact Year the Messiah Would Appear
¬ Was Jesus Born on Dec. 25?
¬ A Sinless and Miraculous Life
¬ Could Jesus Perform Miracles?
¬ Did Jesus Really Die and Live Again?
¬ Roman Forms of Crucifixion
¬ When Was Jesus Christ Crucified and Resurrected?
¬ Do Other Sources Confirm Jesus Christ's Existence?
¬ Much More Than a Man
¬ Was Jesus Created?
¬ The God Who Became a Human Being
¬ Jesus' Family Connections
¬ Did Jesus Have Long Hair?
¬ The Messiah's Misunderstood Mission
¬ What Do 'Messiah' and 'Jesus Christ' Mean?
¬ What Was Jesus' Gospel?
¬ Salvation Is Entrance Into the Kingdom of God
¬ Other Names for the Kingdom
¬ Jesus' Teaching on God's Law
¬ Other Important Ways Jesus Fulfilled the Law
¬ Christ's New Commandment
¬ Does the New Covenant Abolish the Commandments?
¬ Jesus Christ and the Festivals of the Bible
¬ Who Killed Jesus?
¬ Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God
¬ The Tearing of the Temple Veil
¬ Alive Again Today and Forever
¬ Your Date With Destiny: Meeting the Real Jesus
¬ 'Even So, Come, Lord Jesus!'
   
From the publisher of The Good News magazine.
Jesus Christ: The Real Story
Request this FREE booklet
View booklet in PDF format
Beyond Today
Internet TV Program
The Return of Jesus Christ
What's Missing in Xmas?
Jesus, Judas and Da Vinci: What Is the Truth?
Related Articles
The Real Gospel of Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ: Do We Have the Real Story?
Should You Keep the Festivals Jesus Observed?
Will Christ Return?
Why Will Christ Return?
Does Prophecy Tell Us When Christ Will Return?
The Story of Jesus Christ: Where Do You Fit?
The Chronology of Christ's Crucifixion and Resurrection
Good Friday—Easter Sunday: It Didn't Happen That Way!
FREE Booklet
The New Covenant: Does It Abolish God's Law?
The Church Jesus Built
 

What Do 'Messiah' and 'Jesus Christ' Mean?

The term Christ is an English derivative of the New Testament Greek word christos, which means "anointed." The equivalent Hebrew word in the Old Testament is mashiach. This term is transliterated in the King James New Testament as messias (John 1:41; 4:25), a word that has come down into modern English, including many Bible versions, as "messiah." Both Christ and Messiah mean "anointed" or "anointed one."

What was the significance of anointing? The Oxford Companion to the Bible states: "In the Hebrew Bible, the term is most often used of kings, whose investiture was marked especially by anointing with oil (Judg[es] 9.8-15; 2 Sam[uel] 5.3; 1 Kings 1.39; Ps[alm] 89.20 . . .), and who were given the title 'the Lord's anointed' (e.g., 1 Sam[uel] 2.10; 12.3; 2 Sam[uel] 23.1; Ps[alm] 2.2; 20.6; 132.17; Lam[entations] 4:20)" (Bruce Metzger and Michael Coogan, editors, 1993, "Messiah," p. 513, emphasis added).

Anointing, this source tells us, "was widely practiced in the ancient Near East; the Amarna letters [on clay tablets found in central Egypt] suggest that anointing was a rite of kingship in Syria-Palestine in the fourteenth century BCE [B.C.], and . . . [a story from the time of Judges] assumes its familiarity (Judg[es] 9:8, 15)" ("Anoint," p. 30).

Yet, as this and other sources point out, it was not only kings who were anointed in Scripture. Israel's high priests were anointed (Exodus 29:7; Leviticus 4:3, 5, 16), as were some prophets (1 Kings 19:16).

In biblical usage, anointing is an act of consecration—setting one apart for the holy work of God. It was symbolic of the pouring out of God's Spirit onto someone (compare Isaiah 61:1; Romans 5:5)—representing God's power and intervention to, in the cases cited, perform the duties of the office one was anointed to. Jesus Himself was "anointed ... with the Holy Spirit and with power" (Acts 10:38).

The Jews of Jesus' day eagerly anticipated a specific prophesied figure referred to in several scriptures as the Messiah or Anointed One, a great King of the lineage of David who, by the power of God, would restore Israel and rule the world. Jesus of Nazareth was that Anointed One—and He will yet fulfill these prophecies.

What about the name "Jesus"? How did He receive this name, and what does it mean?

In Matthew 1 we find that Mary was discovered to be pregnant during her engagement to Joseph. Joseph was considering how to best handle the difficult situation.

"But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins'" (Matthew 1:20-21).

The Greek name "Jesus" is a transliteration of the Hebrew name Yehoshua or Yeshua, the English form of which is "Joshua." This name literally means God is salvation. So the angel's message to Joseph was "You shall call His name 'God is salvation,' for He will save His people from their sins." That name tells us of Jesus' purpose in God's plan—that it is through Him that God carries out His plan to save humanity from death, giving us eternal life in His family.


Good News Magazine 1997-2007 United Church of God - British Isles
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
All correspondence and questions should be sent to info@ucg.org.uk. Send inquiries regarding the operation of this Web site to webmaster@ucg.org.uk