By Dr. Ike Tennison

A common assumption among people is that Christ was the last name of Jesus.  There is good reason for this assumption, since he was called Jesus Christ in the New Testament itself.  The more accurate phrase, however, is Jesus the Christ, because Christ is a title and not a name.

The name Jesus is a succession of transliterations (i.e., simply converting the letters of one language into the equivalent letters of another language): English from Latin from Greek from Hebrew (see Matthew 1:21 and Luke 1:31 for the name).

Christ, on the other hand, is a transliteration of the Greek word christos into English.  The Greek word christos, a form of the Greek verb chrio that means "to pour," is a translation of the Hebrew word mashiach, from which we get the word "Messiah."  Both words, Christ and Messiah, mean "anointed" (i.e., the anointing oil was poured onto their heads).

Thus, Jesus the Christ means Jesus the Anointed.  In the history of the Hebrew people (Jesus was a Jew), those who were anointed included priests and kings.  This raises some questions: Why was Jesus anointed?  When was he anointed?  Who anointed him?  Who else was anointed in the history of the Hebrew people?  Who did the anointing?  How was anointing done?  For a description of the origin of the process, read Chapters 28 and 29 of Exodus.

And, this brings us to the question of this article, "Who was the first Christ of the Bible?"  The first Christ of the Bible was Aaron, the brother of Moses, who was anointed as a priest (Exodus 29:7).  Another Christ (a priest) appears in Leviticus 4:5.  The first king to be anointed was Saul (I Samuel 9:16).  Thus, Aaron the Christ was the first priest to be so anointed, and Saul the Christ was the first king to be so anointed.

Perhaps the most interesting of the Christs is the one mentioned in Isaiah 45:1.  This was Cyrus the Christ, King of the Persians!  Interesting.  Check it out.




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