Translated from the original by Costas Balomenos
The word "Christ" is a translation of the Aramaic word MESHICHA, which also is derived from the Hebrew word MASHIACH, which in the Hellenistic years hellenized in Messiah. In the New Testament, the Greek word Μεσσίας (Messiah) is encountered twice and even is accompanied with the translation “Christ”: «First, he finds his brother Simon and tells him, “We have found the Messiah, which translated means Christ”» John 1:41 and «He saith to him the woman “I know that will come the Messiah, the so-called Christ”» John 4:25.
The Greek word χριστός (christos) is produced from the verb χρίω (chrio), meaning anoint and was formed by the verbal adjectives ending in –τος (-tos), of the Greek language. As an adjective, the word christos is found in the ancient Greek poets of tragedy. Apart from tragedians poets, we meet this and in the “Septuagint” (O’), who - as we know - they translated the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek.
The chrismation, with which some one became an anointed (christ) was the ritual oil injection or the smearing on his head and his body. Particularly an important place in Israel holds the anointing in the formal part, when undertakes the royal power with which the king becomes assignee of God and carrier of His Spirit. Besides the king and the high priest and the priests, even the prophets undertake their duties by chrismation. The anointing was not restricted to the animate, i.e. humans, but were extending to inanimate, i.e. in objects dedicated to God, as the sacred pillars, the tabernacle of the congregation, in which they were kept the plates with the 10 commandments, the altars etc.
The roots of the faith of the early church, that Jesus was God's chosen, that is Christ, because he was anointed by Him should be sought in the Old Testament. The term “Christ” refers to approximately 50 passages in the Old Testament, many times accompanied by the determination “Lord” as “Christ of Lord”. Also, the passages which refer to the anointing exceed 100.
Always in the Old Testament as anointer is meant God. There is not one occasion, as anointer to be someone else besides Him. Then, the suffusion performed by order of God, from someone authorized by Him, who serves as his instrument. So, at the command of God, Aaron and his sons are taking the anointing from his brother of Moses through the oil “of the suffusion”, and is determined that the succession of these will be made in a similar way, i.e. by “suffusion”: «After you take the anointing oil, you will pour on his head and so will anoint him». Exodus 29:7. At the command of God also, they are anointed the altar of incense, of holocausts, the tabernacle of the congregation, the ark of the covenant, the altar, the tub and the base and all the holy vessels, Exodus 30:26. As it is therefore apparent from the above, by anointing are sanctified all. For Aaron and his sons the unction means the formal recognition of these in the hieratic axiom, about it and is characterized as “anointed priesthood”.
In order again of God, defined in Moses and the manner of preparing the holy oil of chrismation, which anointed only, these who appointed by God. With the oil of chrismation is prohibited and even on penalty of death the anointing of other persons as well as the construction of this by persons other than the one has been set for this purpose: «And you will say to the Israelites: This is the oil of the holy chrismation, in all generations you will only be for the Lord. No human body should not be smeared with it, nor is allowed to prepare something similar to the same recipe. This oil is holy, and holy should consider» "Exodus 30:31 – 32.
Therefore Aaron and his sons, having anointed with the oil of chrismation, became the “first christs”, the “anointed” in the Old Testament. The successors of these are similarly christs. It is noteworthy that the oil of chrismation is called christ: «And the priest the great from his brothers, of spilled oil of christ on the head and be finished ...» Leviticus 21:10, Septuagint (O ')
The name "christ" ("of Lord") is used later in the Old Testament, primarily for the kings of Israel, who also were anointed with the holy oil of chrismation, which were taken from the Tabernacle or from the temple: «There the priest Zadok took the horn of oil from the tabernacle and anointed Solomon. After trumpeted the bugle and all the people shouted: “Hurrah King Solomon!”» 3 Kings 1:39. So, christs of Lord are Saul, David, Solomon, Zedekiah, the kings in general. The genitive “of Lord” indicates the one who anoints. The anointing is done by command of God through representative organ for this, priest or prophet, provided to stated more often explicitly and in during of anointing or after, that the anointer he is God himself. In parallel with the anointing – for kings – mentioned in the Old Testament and the coronation of the king. It must be borne in mind that in Israel the predominantly act during the installation of someone as a king was not the coronation but anointing. That is why the Jews not made use the phrase “is crowned king”, but “anoint a king”. Besides this verb “anoint”, without being accompanied by any other determination precisely means that it proclaimed a king.
In the Old Testament could be called “christ” and a king who was not a Jew, as happened in the case of Cyrus king of the Persians : «Thus saith the Lord God, to my christ Cyrus, whose I held the right hand ...» Isaiah 45: 1.
The term christ refers collectively to the whole of the Davidic dynasty, and it is possibly metaphorically in the Israelite people, who was anointed by God, as «a royal priesthood» Exodus 19:6, and in his separate members.
Lastly, the Old Testament displays prophets and lords taking the anointing, but without the name «christ». Maybe – with respect to the lords – the anointing it can be understood metaphorically.
In conclusion, the words “anointing and anoint” meant originally in the Old Testament the special energy of God, by which God renders someone ossios in a certain high diaconia, while “christ” is the elected from itself the God and under divine right exercise this diaconia.
Besides of the above, the title "christ" has in the Old Testament and eschatological significance, that reveals the king of End Times (of latter) years, the messiah, the eminently christ, him who gives meaning to all human history. The faith of the Jews in the eminently christ and in the coming of the human becoming of is recorded in many parts of the Old Testament. From the New Testament was understood throughout the Old Testament, from the early years of Christianity and from the teachings of the church, as reported, either directly or typological to the Christ and in the revelation of God in his face.
In particular, there are many passages in the Old Testament that use the word Christ in the above sense, or talk about the messiah anointing from God, such as 1 Kings 2:10 “The Lord judging all the land, chose his king and installed it. The victory gives it and great strength”, 2 Kings 22:51 “The Lord gives big victories to his king, and showing love for his elect, for David and his descendants eternally”. Similarly the christological psalms 2, 17, 44, 88, 131, the chapters 42 and 61 of Isaiah, Daniel 9:24 - 26 etc. These passages together with the rest Christological passages, the prophecies and the psalms of the Old Testament have shaped the image of the messiah to the Jews. To the Jews and in particular in the shaping of this image, had a decisive influence the Psalm 2:
1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
This image of Christ arrived sophisticated - It helped and the later apocryphal and apocalyptic Jewish literature – until the time of the New Testament. The last stage of this development we find it in - temporally nearest of the New Testament – Jewish writings, such as the «apocryphal book of Enoch», the «apocryphal Book of Jubilees», etc., and particularly in this same New Testament. In these, must be added the news for religious revolutionary movements, which were nourished with the hope of immediate next appearance of the Messiah. These hopes rocked the Jewish nation and they arrived at vertical in the era of Christ. Testimonials is why we have in the New Testament, for example the episode with Paul and the Roman chiliarch when – interrogated him - he says: “So, you know Greek? Therefore you're not the Egyptian who rebelled a few days ago and led into the desert four thousand terrorists?” Acts of the Apostles 21:38. More about the revolutionary movements of the Messiah, just before and after the time of Christ, the reader can find in the work of the Jewish historian Josephus “Jewish Antiquities”, as for example for the revolution of Bar - Kocheva in 132 AD.
In the above apocryphal texts and in general Jewish literature, the expected Messiah appears as the one who is going to save Israel from his ills and to restore the nation, being mighty David king of the future century, during which will impose the kingdom of Israel in worldwide and will disappear from the earth every iniquity and sadness. The kingdom of this will be divine and earthly. Despite the supernatural and divine attributes of this and despite his characterization as God in the Old Testament «Because it was born for us a child, a son was given us, on the shoulders of this will stay the authority and his name will be wondrous counselor, mighty God, eternal Father and Archon of Peace» Isaiah 9:6, the messiah was considered – in the era of the New Testament – as an earthly personality, who in the future will subdue the Romans and will substitute them in the domination of the world, whose the kingdom was expected terrestrial and cosmic. Equally, however, the Jews following in the tradition of the Old Testament, were expecting the Messiah and as Son of God: «Then the high priest said to him “I exorcise you to the live God to tell us whether are you the Christ, the Son of God”» Matthew 26:63 and «He says to him, “Yes, Lord, I have believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, comer into the world”» John 11:27.
More specifically, the main characteristics of the messiah according to this picture, from the Jews were: 1. The mission of the messiah from God for the salvation of his people. This salvation, only from a few people will be were construed as exemption by sin, because almost everybody were waiting this as national salvation. So, according to this perception, the Messiah would be the type of theocratic king, due of the special favors that God would was giving towards him. 2. The fulfillment of the desires and hopes of the Jewish people by the messiah. The era of the messiah is a completeness season, which will take place with a final act of the messiah. This is why the Jews wanted to declare Jesus as King, when he satiated 5 thousands of them with five barley loaves and two fishes «Jesus, because he realized that they going to come and to grab him, to make him as king, he left again to the mountain alone», John 6:15. 3. The dominance of the messiah in all nations and kings of the earth. This dominance perceived by others with materialistic way, i.e. as crash and allegiance of kings and nations, while from others pneumatically, i.e. as recognition and subordination thereof to the God of Israel.
1. George Galitis: Hermeneutics of the New Testament
2. Nikolaos Sotiropoulos: Antimillenarian Handbook
3. Glossary Bible of the Greek Bible Society
Writer Christos Pal