The ‘House of the Nazarene’ is an international non-denominational movement and is an evangelical part of the Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
What are the origins of the words “Messiah” and “Christ”?
Most people know the man from Galilee as Jesus Christ. Others call Him Jesus the Messiah.
But what exactly does it mean that Jesus is the Christ or Messiah?
He wasn’t the only messiah in the Bible.
Who were these other messiahs, and how do they help us identify Jesus as the prophesied Messiah who would come to save the world from their sins?
“You know of Yeshua of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38)
What Is a Messiah (Mashiach in Hebrew)?
In Hebrew, mashach means to anoint. It can also mean to rub, to smear, or even to paint (Jeremiah 22:14).
By itself, mashach is not a very special word.
But by adding the smallest of the Hebrew letters, yud – י –, we get the Hebrew word, mashiach – מָשִׁיחַ, which means anointed one.
The Hebrew word mashiach transliterates into English as messiah.
And that is why the son of Mary (Miriam) who was born in Bethlehem and grew up in the Galilee received the title Yeshua “haMashiach” or in English, Jesus “THE Messiah.”
But why do we rarely see this word “Messiah” in most English New Testaments?
Because the Greek word for Mashiach is Christos and when transliterated into English, it is Christ.
Some people think that Jesus’ last name is Christ and that his mother Miriam (Mary) and father Yosef (Joseph) are Mr. and Mrs. Christ.
This may sound funny to you, but there really are many Christians who think that Christ is His family name.
So, when we read the words “Jesus Christ” in Scripture, we are really reading Jesus the Messiah.
The Messianic Jews in Israel call Him by His Hebrew name and title, Yeshua haMashiach (ha in Hebrew means the). Some even say that we can ONLY call Him by the Hebrew name! But as this article points out it’s not a family name but a title!
What Does the Word “Messiah” Really Mean?
A mashiach (Hebrew) or messiah (English) in the Bible was an anointed one.
Every king from the line of David, for example, was considered a mashiach.
A king went through a symbolic anointing (pouring on his head) of purified olive oil mixed with four spices or fragrances: pure myrrh, sweet cinnamon, kaneh bosm, and cassia.
God said, “This will be My sacred anointing oil for the generations to come.” (Exodus 30:31)
This precious oil could not be used to anoint anyone in the greater Israelite community. It could only be applied to people specially chosen by God for His service. (Exodus 30:32–33)
This is likely because the act of anointing kings in the line of David with holy oil often preceded the actual presence of God’s Spirit.
We see this when the Prophet Samuel anointed the shepherd boy David, and “from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.” (1 Samuel 16:13)
Mashiach is not a word reserved solely for the expected Savior of the world.
It appears 39 times in the Tanakh (Old Testament), primarily referring to priests, prophets, and kings.
These persons were often anointed in public ceremonies, such as when Moses convened the congregation of Israelites to witness the anointing of Aaron as the High Priest (Kohen haGadol) so that the community would know that he was specifically chosen by God to be set apart for His service. (Exodus 8:1–13)
Yeshua, likewise, was anointed in a very public ceremony at the start of His ministry as the High Priest, Prophet, and King of Kings, not symbolically by oil but by the Spirit of God Himself:
“As soon as Yeshua was baptized [immersed in the Jordan River], He went up out of the water. Suddenly the heavens were opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and resting on Him.
“And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!’” (Matthew 3:16–17)
Let’s see how the anointed offices in Israel of priest, prophet, and king were ultimately fulfilled in Yeshua haMashiach (Jesus the Messiah).
The Anointed Prophet as God’s Spokesperson: Navi haMashiach
Hebrew Prophets spoke on behalf of God, so they needed to be set apart as holy.
Not all prophets were symbolically anointed by someone, but each one was chosen by God to receive the presence of His Ruach (Spirit):
“[The Israelites] made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by His Spirit through the earlier prophets. So, the Lord Almighty was very angry.” (Zechariah 7:12)
Because God’s Spirit was with His chosen prophets, He called them His anointed ones (also written as מָשִׁיחַ (Mashiach), since there is no plural form of this word in Hebrew):
“Do not touch My anointed ones; do My prophets no harm.” (Psalm 105:15; 1 Chronicles 16:22)
A Jewish Person could identify who were God’s anointed prophets because they accurately spoke the words of God into the present situation of the day.
Many also foretold future events (prophesied) and performed miracles.
Moses did all three, but we’ll focus on speaking forth the words of God.
On Mount Sinai, Moses received the Word of God (Torah) and shared it with all the Israelites, who heard and obeyed it. (well after a while and after they messed up quite a bit)!
God established earthly consequences of curses for anyone who disobeyed His Instructions (Torah) and blessings for those who obeyed them.
However, for the past two thousand years, God established eternal life for everyone who would obey a future prophet.
“I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites,” God told Moses.
“And I will put My words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command Him. I Myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to My words that the prophet speaks in My name.” (Deuteronomy 18:18–19; Acts 3:22–23)
To clear up any doubt about who this prophet is — the one in whom we must listen and obey — God Himself (YHVH) said on the Mount of Transfiguration:
“This is My Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him.” (Luke 9:35)
Often, Yeshua (Jesus) said He only spoke what the Father told Him. And He warned the People:
“There is a judge for the one who rejects Me and does not accept My words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. For I did not speak on My own, but the Father who sent Me commanded Me to say all that I have spoken.
“I know that His command leads to eternal life. So, whatever I say is what the Father has told Me to say.” (John 12:48–50)
Yeshua could make such a bold statement about Himself because He is more than a prophet: in the beginning, He was the Word (Memra in Aramaic) that was with God and was God (John 1:1).
The Anointed Priest as God’s Intercessor: HaKohen HaMashiach
The first people in the Tanakh (Old Testament) whom God appoints to be anointed are the kohanim or priests — beginning with Aaron, the first High Priest (kohen haGadol). (Exodus 40:12–15)
The priests needed to be set apart as holy, anointed men because they interceded between God and the people by performing the sacrifices that atoned for their sins.
However, these priests were human and subject to sin like everyone else.
“If the anointed priest [kohen haMashiach] sins, bringing guilt on the people, he must bring to the LORD a young bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed.” (Leviticus 4:3)
This sin offering by the High Priest had to be performed year after year.
But when the Spirit of God descended on Yeshua as a dove, God Himself anointed Yeshua as His Divine High Priest who became the final sacrifice which was spotless (without sin) to atone for the sins of the Jewish People and the whole world.
The Book of Hebrews says:
“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Messiah [Christos in Greek] was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” (Hebrews 9:27–28)
The Anointed King as God’s Sovereign Ruler: Melech haMashiach
When Yeshua arose from the water of the Jordan River, YHVH Himself anointed Him to become King of all kings on earth.
In Samuel 19:21, King David is called the Lord’s Anointed — Mashiach YHVH – מְשִׁ֥יחַ יְהוָֽה, and as we’ll see, so is Yeshua.
There is a clear sense of both David and Yeshua belonging to YHVH, as seen in this Messianic psalm:
“The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed [Mashiach].” (Psalm 2:2)
This beautiful connection to Yeshua is written in the last book of the Bible:
“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah [Μεσσίας, Messías, or Christos in Greek], and He will reign forever and ever.’” (Revelation 11:15)
One day every person will bow their knee and every king will submit his kingdom to the sovereign reign of Messiah Yeshua as their King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
I have only shown a brief glimpse into each of Yeshua’s prophetic roles as the Anointed One, the Messiah.
Our prayer is that Jewish and Gentile readers will cry out as the disciple Andrew did: “We have found the Messiah (that is, the Christ).” (John 1:41)
Also my hope is when The Messianic Jews call Him by His Hebrew name Yeshua haMashiach and say that we can ONLY call Him by the Hebrew name we now know it’s not a family name, but a title, which CAN be translated to English, Spanish, or to whatever language we need to translate it too!
An Ordained Anointed Minister of Jesus Christ to Minister His Gospel, to this online Church; House of the Nazarene, To spread the Good News of Salvation to the four corners of the Earth.
All Christians have, in profession at least, received Jesus Christ the Lord, consented to him, and taken him for theirs. We cannot be built up in Christ, or grow in him, unless we are first rooted in him, or founded upon him. Being established in the faith, we must abound therein, and improve in it more and more. God justly withdraws this benefit from those who do not receive it with thanksgiving; and gratitude for his mercies is justly required by God.
There is a philosophy which rightly exercises our reasonable faculties; a study of the works of God, which leads us to the knowledge of God, and confirms our faith in him. But there is a philosophy which is vain and deceitful; and while it pleases men's fancies, hinders their faith: such are curious speculations about things above us, or no concern to us. Those who walk in the way of the world, are turned from following Christ. We have in Him the substance of all the shadows of the ceremonial law. All the defects of it are made up in the gospel of Christ, by his complete sacrifice for sin, and by the revelation of the will of God.
To be complete, is to be furnished with all things necessary for salvation. By this one word “complete,” is shown that we have in Christ whatever is required. “In him,” not when we look to Christ, as though he were distant from us, but we are in him, when, by the power of the Spirit, we have faith wrought in our hearts by the Spirit, and we are united to our Head. The circumcision of the heart, the crucifixion of the flesh, the death and burial to sin and to the world, and the resurrection to newness of life, set forth in baptism, and by faith wrought in our hearts, prove that our sins are forgiven, and that we are fully delivered from the curse of the law.
Through Christ, we, who were dead in sins, are quickened. Christ's death was the death of our sins; Christ's resurrection is the quickening of our souls. The law of ordinances, which was a yoke to the Jews, and a partition-wall to the Gentiles, the Lord Jesus took out of the way. When the substance was come, the shadows fled. Since every mortal man is, through the hand-writing of the law, guilty of death, how very dreadful is the condition of the ungodly and unholy, who trample under foot that blood of the Son of God, whereby alone this deadly hand-writing can be blotted out! Let not any be troubled about bigoted judgments which related to meats, or the Jewish solemnities.
The setting apart a portion of our time for the worship and service of God, is a moral and unchangeable duty, but had no necessary dependence upon the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath of the Jews. The first day of the week, or the Lord's day, is the time kept holy by Christians, in remembrance of Christ's resurrection. All the Jewish rites were shadows of gospel blessings.
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