Jesus, who is called Christ - As the word Χριστος Christ, signifies the anointed or anointer, from χριω , to anoint, it answers exactly to the Hebrew משיח mashiach , which we pronounce Messiah or Messias; this word comes from the root משח mashac , signifying the same thing. As the same person is intended by both the Hebrew and Greek appellation, it should be regularly translated The Messiah, or The Christ; whichever is preferred, the demonstrative article should never be omitted.
Priests, prophets, and kings, among the Jews, were anointed in order to the legitimate exercise of their respective offices. Hence the word Χριστος Christ, or משיח Mashiach , became a name of dignity, and often signified the same as king. See Isaiah 45:1 ; Psalm 105:15 ; Leviticus 4:3 ; Leviticus 6:20 ; 1 Samuel 2:10 . The words משיח Mashiach and מלך melec , Χριστος and βασιλευς , Christ and king, are frequently interchanged. 1 Samuel 2:10 ; Psalm 2:2 , Psalm 2:6 ; Luke 23:2 ; and see the Scholia of Rosenmuller on this place. The reason of this may be seen in the following note, which I extract from the comment on Exodus 29:7 .
"It appears from Isaiah 61:1 , that anointing with oil, in consecrating a person to any important office, whether civil or religious, was considered as an emblem of the communication of the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit. This ceremony was used on three occasions, viz. the installation of prophets, priests, and kings, into their respective offices. But why should such an anointing be deemed necessary? Because the common sense of men taught them that all good, whether spiritual or secular, must come from God, its origin and cause. Hence it was taken for granted,
That no person could offer an acceptable sacrifice to God for the sins of men, or profitably minister in holy things, unless enlightened, influenced, and directed, by the Spirit of grace and holiness. Hence the priest was anointed, to signify his being divinely qualified for the due performance of his sacred functions. That no man could enact just and equitable laws, which should have the prosperity of the community and the welfare of the individual continually in view, or could use the power confided to him only for the suppression of vice and the encouragement of virtue, but that man who was ever under the inspiration of the Almighty.
- That no man could foretell events, unless inspired by the Spirit of God. And therefore the prophet was anointed, to signify the communication of the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge.
Hence kings were inaugurated by anointing with oil. Two of these offices only exist in all civilized nations, the sacerdotal and regal; and, in some countries, the priest and king are still consecrated by anointing. In the Hebrew language משח mashach
signifies to anoint; and משיח mashiach
, the anointed person. But as no man was ever dignified by holding the three offices, so no person ever had the title Mashiach, the anointed one, but Jesus, The Christ. He alone is King of kings, and Lord of lords: the king who governs the universe, and rules in the hearts of his followers; the prophet, to instruct men in the way wherein they should go; and the great high priest, to make atonement for their sins. Hence he is called the Messias, a corruption of the word המשיח ha
, The anointed One, in Hebrew; which gave birth to ὁ Χριστος ho Christos
, which has precisely the same signification in Greek: of him, Melchisedeck, Abraham, Aaron, David, and others, were illustrious types. But none of these had the title of The Messiah, or The Anointed of God. This does, and ever will, belong exclusively to Jesus, The Christ."