Christ, The Anointed One
by Doyle D. Dewberry
John 1:41; 4:25 "He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when He is come, He will tell us all things."
It is quite obvious that Messias and Christ both mean the same thing. When the Scriptures speak of Messias, they are speaking of Christ; when they speak of Christ, they are speaking of Messias. (We say, Messiah). When Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, found Jesus, he went to his brother and told him we have found the Messiah which is, being interpreted, the Christ. (The truth is, the Messiah had found them). This passage, as well as John 4:25, show that the two appellatives mean the same. And what do they mean? In the Septuagint (O.T., Greek), the word o iereus o christos is translated the anointed priest. The Hebrew word for anointed, in this passage, is also translated Messiah in Dan 9:25,26. The same is true in other O.T. passages (see Psa 105:15, where the word for anointed in the Septuagint is christwv. So Messiah finds its meaning anointed in O.T. Hebrew; Christ finds its meaning of the same in the N.T. Greek (and in the Septuagint Greek).
The first usage of the word anointed is found in Genesis 31:13, where Jacob was relating a dream, and was told of his first encounter with Jehovah God. He had slept out at night, and used stones for a pillar, and in the dream God told him of his blessing on him and a work he was to do. When he awoke, he was afraid, and we are told of the stones he had used as a pillar, he poured oil upon the top of it, and called the place Beth-el (that is, house of God), (Gen 28:18,19). In v. 31:13, the pouring of that oil was called an anointing, and this first time usage establishes the mode of anointing thoughout the word of God, and is typical of the Holy Spirit anointing of our Lord.
Thus we can see that the name Christ means the anointed one. In the O.T. anointing was usually accomplished with oil or ointment. Oil is a type of the Holy Spirit, so we can understand the Lord Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit. Consider the following passages (KJV) translated from the (Grk) verb Chriw.The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised (Luke 4:18).
The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done (Acts 4:26-28).
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him (Acts 10:38).
Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Heb 1:9).
The oil of gladness set forth in the last passage speaks of the Holy Spirit. W.E. Vine tells of this Greek verb chriw, and says "it is confined to sacred and symbolical anointing; of Christ as the anointed of God .. where it is used metaphorically in connection with the oil of gladness". The title, Christ, signifies the anointed one. It is in the passage now given that we can see this anointing of the Holy Spirit which was witnessed by John the Baptist:And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God (John 1:32-34).
R.C. Trench singles out chriw in a manner he calls "the sacred and religious word", sighting for evidence its use in our Lord's anointing. He also tells us, chriw no doubt, in its connexion with christos, is absolutely restricted in the anointing of the Son, by the Father, with the Holy Spirit, "for the accomplishment of His great office, being wholly separated from all profane and common uses", and he sights our passages given above, plus others. We have to remember that our Lord Jesus Christ, being the Son of God, Who was made flesh, and thus He is called the Son of man, and it was for His work in His incarnation that He was anointed, and His work will continue for ever. As very God Himself, from eternity past, He needed no such anointing. Trench sights also the many uses of chriw in the Septuagint!
Though Christos is used as an appellative in the N.T., it has great meaning as to the person of the Lord Jesus. Paul uses it in abundance, which reveals the great power of the Lord, as the anointed one, in Paul's conversion. Here was an avowed enemy of Christ, but became one of His greatest adherents, avowing that Jesus was the anointed one of God, even by the Spirit of God. We are told that Paul, the new apostle, straightway .. preached Christ in the synagogues (Acts 9:20). And a short time later, while he was in Damascus, we are told he was proving that this was very Christ (v. 22). And while in Athens, he faced those who worshipped the unknown god, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ (Acts 17:3). The Greeks certainly could not mistake the meaning of Paul's word Christ, and knew he meant He was the anointed one of God!
Perhaps Paul's greatest messages concerning the Christ are found in Romans, for there he speaks of His great work in salvation. For God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (v. 5:8). As a result of His death, Paul tells us further that there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus (v. 8:1). He speaks there also of His deity, Christ .. who is over all, God blessed for ever. (v. 9:5). And His death is that which assures us of our salvation, for he tells us to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living (v. 14:9) - all such being the power of the Christ, the anointed one of the Lord!
He, that is, Christ, is the remedy for the wayward church, as Paul tells in his epistles to the Corinthians. To the called, both Jew and Gentile, it is said, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24). And to all who are in Christ, it is said he is made unto them wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord (v. 30). Paul speaks of Christ thirteen times in the fifteenth chapter alone. Paul tells us Christ died for our sins (v. 3), was buried, and that he rose again the third day (v. 4). The great climax to such is, as in Adam all die, even so, in Christ shall all be made alive (v. 22). Our victory is through our Lord Jesus Christ (v. 57).
One of the most compelling passages in the eyes of this struggling student is found in the fifth chapter of 2 Corinthians. There we are told that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself (v. 5:19). And how did He do so? Verse 21 tells us in detail: For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (v. 21). Christ is our Substitute, that is He died in our stead, and in doing so, we are accounted righteous in God's sight. His righteousness is imputed unto us. In theological terms, it is called declared justification! We are not righteous of ourselves as all have sinned, but since the anointed one, the Christ has died in our place, His righteousness, which is a perfect righteousness, is imputed unto us. It is as if we have kept the law of God perfectly since He kept it perfectly. Paul further explains in the following passage of what it means to be in Christ, for if we are in Him then we can also say,I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness comes by the law, then Christ is dead in vain (Gal 2:20,21).
Space does not permit more of Paul, but it must be kept in mind that he had much more to say concerning the Christ. The book of Hebrews, which we do not believe Paul wrote, is the ideal book to set forth the Christ as the anointed one of God, for it speaks of Him as our High Priest. The first Levitical high priest was Aaron, and we read of his anointing by Moses in the book of Leviticus: And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron's head, and anointed him, to sanctify him (v. 8:12). Again the anointing oil in the Septuagint has chrisews, a form of the word used of the anointing (chriw) of Christ by the Holy Spirit as given above. "The anointing with oil was a symbol of endowment with the Spirit of God (1 Sam 10:1,6; 16:13,14; Isa 61:1), for the duties of the office to which a person was consecreted" (Keil).
Yet our Lord is High Priest, not after the Levitical priesthood, but after Melchisedec, of whom we read in the book of Genesis. It is called a change in the priesthood. Our Lord was of the tribe of Judah, not Levi, and thus the change is necessary, for our Lord is said to be another priest (Heb 7:15). Thus, the writer of Hebrews said of our Lord,But this man, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore (Heb 7:24-28).
The AV is quite accurate in marking the more abundant anointing of Aaron by the word poured. The symbolism of anointing is abundantly recognized in the N.T. as applied to Christ (Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38; etc.) (Lange).
Peter spake of the Christ, of his suffering, though He had not sinned, yet He died for the sins of His people, His stripes healing us, and that though we were as sheep going astray, we have been returned unto our Shepherd. Listen to the words of Peter who speaks of the accomplishments of the Lord, our anointed one, Who is Christ.For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls (1 Pet 2:21-25).
The apostle John, another who speaks so convincingly of the Christ, tells us, Whosever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God (1 John 5:1). He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and His Son. (2 John 9). And in the Revelation, he writes,Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen (Rev 1:5-7).
John tells us a most unusal occurrence, and that is the Lord Jesus, Himself a King and a Priest, and since we know His people are in Him, He hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father (Rev 1:6), and since His people also have the indwelling Spirit, they too have been anointed by Him. John tells us in his first epistle, But ye (presently) have an unction (Grk. chrisma) from the Holy one, and ye know all things (v. 2:20). He even makes it more clear in v. 27, and the same word there is translated anointing:But the anointing (Grk. chrisma) which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man (that is, anyone) teach you: but as the same anointing (Grk. chrisma) teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide (or, are continually abiding) in him. (1 John 2:27).
It is quite clear this anointing is the Holy Spirit, for John emphasizes the fact of those knowing all things, and that they have no need that man teach them - all indicating the Holy Spirit being the teacher of His people. And since they have the Spirit indwelling, they continue and persevere through Him! And the anointing of God's people by the Spirit of God may be pictured by Aaron's sons, for Moses was told they should be anointed as well as Aaron, for we are told in Exodus: And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office (30:30; see also, Num 3:2,3).
So the Messiah, the Lord's Christ, was anointed by the Holy Spirit for the work He was to do. He is Prophet, Priest, and King, and it is to Him the children of God become so. It is a continuing work, for our anointed one is presently setting at the right hand of Father on His throne, and there He ministers on our behalf. The question is, dear Reader, is He your Christ? It is our prayer that He is, for it is God's anointed one who saves.
- The Christ of God, is the Spirit anointed one,
- He was sent to save, God's only begotten Son;
- Then the Spirit came down and on Him doth remain;
- He enables all His people to believe on His name!
Doyle Dewberry, formerly of Alameda, California, is a retired Pastor and author of Sovereign Grace Baptist Proclaimer, Setting Forth The Doctrines of Grace In Salvation. He can be reached by email at sovereigngrace at 5star-living.com.