Defining the word “Christ”

The word “Christ”, is commonly used today alongside the name of Jesus. So much so, that “Jesus Christ” has become one name. But what is the actual meaning behind the word “Christ”? Some say, that the meaning is Messiah, Savior or Deliverer. Is this claim true? Let’s go back to the original Manuscripts and the Greek & Hebrew words to check the truth and learn for ourselves the true Biblical definition rather than stick to any particular translation.

First of all, let’s check the Greek word, which the word “Christ” has been translated from:
The Strong’s Hebrew/Greek Concordance
G5547 – Χριστός – Christos – khris-tos’
From G5548; Meaning Anointed, that is, the Messiah, an epithet of Jesus: – Christ.

(In all of the instances where khris-tos’ is present in the New Testament, the KJV Bible translation reads “Christ”). The word “Christ” is clearly a cognate word. It is a word that originates from the Greek word khris-tos’.

Since the Strong’s definition above says that “khris-tos'” is derived from the word denoted by Strong’s Number G5548, let’s check that word as well.

G5548 – χρίω – chriō – khree’-o
Meaning to smear or rub with oil, that is, (by implication) to consecrate to an office or religious service: – Anoint.
(Luk 4:18, Acts 4:27, Acts 10:38, 2Cor 1:21, Heb 1:9)

So it is very clear now where the word khris-tos’ comes from, and that it means Anointed. Making it clear that “Christ” means “Anointed”. But what about the word “Messiah”? The definition of Messiah is, a deliverer or savior. Where is the connection between “Christ” and “Messiah”? Hold on for a second, We will get the answer for this soon!

Now that we know that the word “Christ” means “Anointed“, let us move to the Old Testament to check the meaning behind the word “Anointed” as well. (The word “Christ” does not appear in the Old Testament because it is derived from a Greek word, whereas the Old Testament is written in Hebrew)

The Strong’s Hebrew/Greek Concordance
H4899 – משׁיח – mâshı̂yach – maw-shee’-akh
From H4886; Anointed; usually a consecrated person (as a king, priest, or saint); specifically the Messiah: – anointed, Messiah.

(In all of the instances other than Daniel 9:25&26, where the word “maw-shee’-akh”appears in the Old Testament, the KJV Bible translation reads as “Anointed”. In Daniel 9;25,26 “maw-shee’-akh” is translated in the KJV Bible as “Messiah”). Just like the word “Christ” is clearly a cognate word that originates from the Greek word khris-tos’, “Messiah” also is a cognate word that originates from the Hebrew word “maw-shee’-akh”!

The only 2 places that the word “Messiah” is found in the whole KJV Bible is in
Daniel 9: Verses 25 & 26. And actual Hebrew word there is none other than “maw-shee’-akh” the word that is translated as “Anointed”.

You might think, so what is the big deal about this? Why do we need to understand what “Christ” means?
Reason No.1

In the New Testament, the word “Christ”, has always referred to Yeshua. Giving the meaning of “Yeshua the Anointed”. The Hebrew word “maw-shee’-akh”, on the other hand,  is not, and has not been exclusive to Yeshua(The hebrew name of Jesus). Here are some instances “maw-shee’-akh” is used for others.

You can see David referring to Saul as God’s Anointed(“maw-shee’-akh”) – 1Sam 26:9,11,16, 23
Levitical Priests were called Anointed(“maw-shee’-akh”) – Lev 4:3,5,16
Cyrus, the Persian King was called Anointed(“maw-shee’-akh”) – Isaiah 45:1

Am I refuting the Fact that Yeshua is “THE Messiah”? God forbid. Not at all. I am merely trying to show the biblical definition of the word “Christ”.
The word maw-shee’-akh in Daniel 9:25,26 has valid reason to be translated as Messiah or Savior, as I believe it is referring to “THE Anointed” one, Yeshua our Messiah.

We know that He was Anointed with the Holy Spirit by God in the beginning of His ministry(Acts 10:38). But what was He anointed as? And why is He called THE Anointed one? We know, by reading Hebrews 8:1, That He has been Anointed as our High Priest.
We also know, according to 1Tim6:14,15 and a whole load of scriptures in the book of Revelations, that He will be the one who is Anointed King when He comes the second time.

He is THE Anointed High Priest & THE Anointed King over our lives.

Reason No.2
To unravel the confusion between the terms “Christ”, “Anointed” & “Messiah”.
Take a look at the verses given below.
2Ti 1:10  But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
(If Christ meant Messiah which means Savior, this verse would read, …of our “Savior” Jesus “Savior”, who hath…) Check Philip 3:20, Tit 1:4, 2:13, 3:6, 2Pet 1:1,11, 2:20 as well.
We need to understand the difference between Yeshua being the Saviour, and Him being called Anointed. He is called THE Anointed one, who is our Saviour.

Reason No.3
Maybe the most important of all the reasons for our lives would be what it means to be called a “Christian”. The word “Christian” can be seen only 4 times in the Bible.
(Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, 1Peter 4:16)

G5546 – Χριστιανός – Christianos – khris-tee-an-os’
From G5547; a Christian, that is, follower of Christ: – Christian.

Which means Just like the word “Christ” is clearly a cognate word that originates from the Greek word khris-tos’, “Christian” also originates from the Greek word khris-tee-an-os’! It is a follower of Christ. Someone who acts as Christ. Someone who emulates THE Anointed one.

In closing, I would just like to say, that knowing the true meanings of the words we use pertaining to the Bible can be of little or no use to most people. But I hope it has helped you to understand one of the most used words concerning Yeshua. Every time that you read “Christ” in your bible, remember that the true meaning of it is not Savior, Deliverer or Messiah but “THE Anointed”. I hope this helps even a few people understand that “Christ” is not just another meaningless title that our Messiah carries, and when you read “Jesus Christ” in your Bibles, that it will make much more sense and bring much more revelation in your personal studies.

Added on 29th March 2013
Another important point had been missed by me in this definition. Yeshua said in Mat 24:4,5, “Let no one deceive you, for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many.” With the definition we have of “Christ”, what can Yeshua be saying here?
Many shall come in my name(I’m a follower of Yeshua), saying, I am Christ(Anointed), and deceive many. What He asked us to be careful of was not only “THE Antichrist”. It was also people who would come saying that “I am a follower of Yeshua. I am an anointed one who speaks God’s words.” The only way to be not deceived, is to know God’s Word. A person who speaks God’s word cannot go against the Scripture. Not even one word.

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2 thoughts on “Defining the word “Christ”

  1. Pingback: Defining the term “Salvation” | Bible things in Bible ways

  2. Pingback: Sect of “The Way”, “The Nazarenes” & “Christians” : Names given to the Early Church | Bible things in Bible ways

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