—taking the Christ out of Christmas
By the end of the first century the term "Jesus Christ" had become a proper name.
The word "Christ" is transliterated (not translated) from the Greek word xristos, which, if translated, appears as anointed.
Had it been translated (as it should have been) we would instead be speaking only of Jesus of Nazareth, or Jesus the Galillean.
It is historically unfortunate that the word (xristos) has been transliterated. If it had been properly translated the popular name Jesus Christ would never have been so widely circulated in our midst and consequently become the cause of thousands of deaths.
The concept at the root of the idea of an anointed one (a Messiah or Christ) is nothing less than an affront to God, a fact that is most dramatically suggested in the story of first king of Israel, Saul.
Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah,
and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your
ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.”
I Samuel 8:4-5
This did not sit well with Samuel.
But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to
judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel,
“Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have
not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.
According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought
them up out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me
and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. Now therefore, heed
their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior
of the king who will reign over them.”
(I Samuel 8:6-9)
"... the voice of the people ..." (vs 5)
"... they have rejected Me ..." (vs 6)
The request - by the people - for a human king was nothing less than a rejection of God as king. The Kingdom of God was so named by virtue of the fact that it had no human king, but recognized God as serving in that capacity.
A human king would be anointed as such before assuming the position. He would therefore become a Messiah (Christ). A Messiah is an anointed king.
The story recounted in I Samuel, chapter 8, proves beyond any doubt that the very idea of a Messiah (a human king) ruling over the nation of Israel was not God's idea at all. It was the idea of the people.
This flies in the face of the aberrant Christian notion that God promised Israel - again and again - a future Messiah who would gather their scattered remnant once again to the Promised Land.
It is the Christian position that Jesus of Nazareth represented the fulfillment of this non-existent promise. The most important person to disagree with them is Jesus himself. He never put much stock in the notion of a Messiah. That which he was most adamant about was the resurgence of the Kingdom of God, a political entity over which God would - once again - reign as king.
There is no record in the Gospels of Jesus ever being anointed and thereby earning the title of Christ.
December 25, 2017