Thursday, November 17, 2016
There were 8 English translations (1382 – 1568) before King James authorized his in 1611. Although the King James Bible upgraded the English vocabulary several time in the past 405 years, the committee nor publishers have translated the Greek expression χριστός (Christ) when connected with Jesus. It is the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew word הישמ (māshîah) in the Old Testament.
The expression “Christ” means “messiah” or “anointed.” Its first use is not Matthew 1:1, but much earlier. For example, in 1 Samuel 24:6 David referred to King Saul as “the Lord’s anointed” or “the Lord’s messiah” (Also see verse 10). Again, in 1 Samuel 26:23 David addresses Saul in the same way. 286 years later, Isaiah refers to Cyrus as God’s “anointed” or “messiah” (Isaiah 45:1). Cyrus was a Medo-Persian king who would release the Jews from their captivity and allow them to return to Palestine.
In the KJV Jesus is referred to as “Jesus Christ” 554 times, as “Christ Jesus” 58 and “Jesus the Christ” once. Some think “Christ” is Jesus’ last name. It is not. It is his divine title. He is not the first to be referred to as christ, messiah, or anointed. The expression is not found in the Hebrew Bible as (χριστός) or “christ,” but is in the Septuagint or LXX (70) version which is Greek. Jesus and the apostles often quoted from the Greek Old Testament rather than the Hebrew.
The name given to The Word was “Jesus” (Ιησοuς) (Matthew 1:21; John 1:14). “Jesus” is the Greek name transliterated into English. The Hebrew name would be “Joshua.” Joshua means “Yahweh is salvation”! In a sense, Matthew points this out by saying, “he shall save his people” (Matthew 1:21). Hebrew names, like American Indian ones, were often connected with some activity. If “Jesus the Christ” was translated, it would be, “Yahweh is salvation the anointed one.” To make that “more” English sounding, it would be “The anointed Yahweh is salvation.” The term “Christian” literally means “belonging to Christ” or “Christ follower.” The tendency to build a set of doctrines on specific English names is often unraveled by the Greek and/or Hebrew languages.
Jesus promised to build his church (Matthew 16:18). However, it is never referred to as “the church of Jesus” nor “the churches of Jesus.” Neither is it called “the body of Jesus.” He was The Word or God (John 1:1). So the assemblies are more often referred to as “the church of God” or “the churches of God.” It almost seems that God did not want “Jesus” in any of the descriptive names since it isn’t there! Yet, we don’t accuse God of kicking Jesus out of the church due to that absence or silence! Also, few add “Jesus” to their street signs because of that biblical silence, or “it is not written”! Yet, the Holy Spirit does refer to the churches as “of the Thessalonians” (1 Thessalonians 1:1), “of the Gentiles” (Romans 16:4), “of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33), “of Galatia” (1 Corinthians 16:1), “of Asia” (1 Corinthians 16:19), and others, but never as “of Jesus.” Although Paul addressed the Corinthian assembly as “the church of God which is at Corinth,” Peter told the Jewish high court,
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NKJV).
Paul wrote and made the following statement to the assembly at Philippi,
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth” (Philippians 2:9-10 NKJV).
In times past there were others that God anointed for specific purposes who were referred to in Hebrew as messiah. There were others whose name was Joshua or Jesus, but there is only one “Jesus the Christ” (Matthew 16:20). His purpose was to be our sin sacrifice. So, he came to do the will of God the Father (Hebrews 10:7, 9). He truly was and is the “Yahweh is salvation, the anointed one.” Who is your “messiah”?