Sometimes, people use words without really knowing what they mean. When it comes to the Bible, it is good to know the actual meaning of the words that appear in the translation. The meaning of the words Christ, Messiah, and Jesus, have to be followed to their origin. Included in this we’ll always run across the word Christian; but did the early Saints call themselves “Christians”? The words Messiah, and Christ have all the same meaning in their original language forms. Hashiyach (Hebrew) and ho Christos (Greek), and Mashiyach (Aramaic). It is interesting, that man never named Jesus, the Christ! In the famous quotation in Matthew 16:18, Jesus said to Simon Peter;” flesh and blood has not revealed this.” It is not often understood, but when Peter made this confession, he confesses faith in Messiah was to come, not person only. Jesus reply provides Peter the same understanding David and the prophets had regarding God’s salvation, the Rock. Christ said flesh and blood could not reveal the nature of Messiah, only Jehovah God Himself could give us the information by direction of the Holy Spirit!
The old Greek phrase ho christos meant the anointed. The word christos is the same word used in the Septuagint as a Greek adjective and is used in around 40 Old Testament passages, amongst them Daniel 9:25-26. In other words: the Greek phrase ho christos corresponds to the Hebrew phrase mashiyach, notice it is a description, not a word. In John 1:41, John 4:25 the word used is a clarifying comment by John. This is the only two verses of New Testament passages that contain the word Messias. The Hebrew word mashiyach was actually the same as the Greek word christos. The Bible does not contain any mention of an Aramaic are Hebrew form for Jesus name. The name the Scriptures give for Him is Iesous. Palestine had been under Roman influence for centuries. In New Testament times, common languages amongst the Jews was Aramaic and Greek. Some knew Latin; Hebrew was spoken in some few local areas, but Aramaic was the language of the day. When it came to the common language, it was Aramaic. The Hebrew form of Jesus name, was something like Joshua (Yehoshua). In the apostles day, the Holy Spirit used the word Christian (christianos). Christianos was really an adjective with the meaning of the followers of Christ! Acts 11:26 note: this was not a name the church called itself, it was a name that the people in that area called them. There were two other times in the New Testament that the name Christian was used. One was Acts 26:28 and the other 1 Peter 4:16. Peter writes verse 16, “but if he undergoes punishment as a Christian, that is no shame to him; let them give glory to God in this name.” Those in that day considered that being called a Christian was just as bad as being called a criminal (see verse 14). Some wonder, then, what did the saints call themselves? The New Testament writers addressed them as saints, brothers, faithful ones, chosen ones, separated ones, and disciples. There is no mention that they would have used the word Christian of themselves! Later, when the Roman Catholic Church was founded, the word Christian began to be used in a different way. But, that has nothing to do with the true Jesus or the saints and how that word was used in the apostles’ day! Christian was simply a byword that outsiders used of the saints and believers!
Where the saints the anointed ones? If they were, it would not have been correct to say it that way. They would have been called the “followers of the anointed one.” Its Hebrew equivalent was ha-Mashiyach, hence, the Messiah. Point: Jesus was the only one called, Messiah, the Anointed, Greek “ho Christos”. That title belongs to Him, alone. The Saints were not anointed ones; they were followers of Jesus who was the anointed One! The translation of 1 John 2:20, King James version of 1769, renders “chrisma” as unction, and in 1 John 2:27, as anointing. This completely changes the meaning of the passage. Both times it was what they were called, not but what they received. Unction, here, is a synonym for anointing. Actually, the word for Messiah is a transliteration of the Hebrew, which meant anointed. The epithet ho Christos was more like a title of ridicule!