How does the title
CHRISTOS relate to Jesus?

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QUESTION: What does it mean for the Christian tradition to name Jesus with the title CHRISTOS, which is Greek for Messiah?

ANSWER: You asked about the meaning of the word "Christos" (Strong's Concordance #G5547) in relation to Jesus being called the Messiah. Both the Greek word CHRISTOS as well as the Hebrew word from which we get the word "Messiah" mean the same thing, which is "the anointed One."

An allusion to the title of CHRISTOS is made when a person is anointed with oil in order to be made king. Samuel did this with David when he was first chosen to be king while the prior king, Saul, was very much still alive (see 1Samuel 16:12-13). Hence, being the 'Anointed One' meant, among other things, that Christ was to be a king (John 18:37; Luke 1:31-33). However, in the Gospel of John (John 18:36), He explained that His kingdom was not of this world, meaning, derived from it. So he wouldn't make Himself king by human means, such as when He withdrew from a crowd that wanted to make Him king by their force (John 16:15). Instead, Jesus will be made king by divine fiat when He returns during the Second Coming as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:14-16).

So being the Messiah or the Christ indicates that Jesus will have royal prerogatives, and be able to rule the earth as king when He returns (Daniel 7:13-14; 2:44.) All human governments, whether kingdoms, democracies, or dictatorships, will be abolished then, and the world will have a true direct theocracy (not merely humans ruling in God's name, such as in Iran's "Islamic Republic.") Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit, it should be noted, not literal oil (see Acts 10:38 and Luke 4:18).

Another allusion to Jesus' title here comes from the high priests being anointed in the Old Testament when being ordained (Leviticus 8:2, 10, 12). Jesus was also to be the high priest for Christians after His death and resurrection (Hebrews 5:5-6, 10; 7:20-28). He intercedes for their sins with God the Father. So here there would be a union of church and state, of the king and high priest roles in the divine Person of Jesus under the rule of the kingdom of God.

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As an interesting side note, the English word "antichrist," which is used only in the writings of John (1John 2:18, 22, 4:3, 2John 1:7, etc.), comes from the Greek antichristos (Strong's #G500). It means, as you would expect, someone who is against, in opposition to, a rival or adversary of, Jesus Christ. Quite literally, since christos means "anointed one" the word ANTIchristos means someone not anointed (by God), or someone who PRETENDS to be so but is not.

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