What did Jesus really say?

by Misha'al Abdullah Al-Kadhi

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ISNET Homepage | MEDIA Homepage | Program Kerja | Koleksi | Anggota Because he was the "Messiah/Christ" and the "Word"?

Many people believe "Messiah" to be a mystical Biblical term which had been reserved by God from the beginning of time as a direct equivalent of "only begotten Son." For this reason, when they see that Jesus is referred to in the Bible as "The Messiah" they immediately translate this to mean "The Son of God." In order to clear up this misconception, let us first define the true meaning of the word Messiah and then show it's exact usage in the Bible.

The word "Messiah" is the English version of the Hebrew word mashiyach {maw-shee'-akh}. The literal meaning of this word in the Hebrew language is "to anoint." In our present day, it is customary for those who are appointed to high office (ie. the President of the US, Supreme Court justices, etc.) to attend a solemn ritual wherein that person is consecrated into office. During this ritual, certain rights of passage or ascension must be performed, such as repeating a solemn oath and so forth. Once such rituals have been successfully completed, only then is that person considered to have officially received the rights and obligations of this office.

In a similar fashion, in ancient times it was a common practice among the Jews to "anoint" those who were appointed positions of high authority. If we were to read the Bible we would find that every priest and king of ancient Israel was "anointed" by their people as a sign of official consecration to office. Further, we find that it was not at all uncommon for inanimate objects and even pagans to be "anointed." For example:


1 Kings 1:39 "And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon."


1 Samuel 16:13 "Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah."

Jewish priests:

Leviticus 4:3 "If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering."

Cyrus the pagan:

Isaiah 45:1 "Thus saith the LORD to his Messiah, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;"

A pillar:

Genesis 31:13 "I [am] the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, [and] where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred."

The tabernacle:

Leviticus 8:10 "And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that [was] therein, and sanctified them."

A cherub:

Ezekiel 28:14 "Thou [art] the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee [so]: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire."

Sick people:

Mark 6:13 "And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed [them]."

Jesus anoints a blind man

John 9:6 "When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,"

When this word was translated into ancient Greek, the words used were "Messias" {mes-see'-as} and "Christos" {khris-tos'} (see John 1:41, 4:25). This is where we get the word "Christ" from, it was originally derived from the Greek word for "anoint." Jesus was indeed "christened," or "anointed," or "baptized," by John the Baptist before the beginning of his ministry as seen for example in Matthew 3:16 among many other verses.

This is not to say that just because the word "Messiah" was applied to others that it was not a specific designation for Jesus. It only goes to show that this title does not imply a position as "Son of God."

For example, all of the prophets of God are "friends of God," however, only prophet Abraham received this title as an official designation for himself (James 2:23). In a similar manner, all of the prophets of God in ancient Israel were all "anointed" prophets, however, as an official designation, this title was reserved exclusively for Jesus. This is indeed confirmed in the noble Qur'an:

"And the angles said 'O Mary, Allah gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him, his name is Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, High honored in this world and the next, of those near stationed to Allah."

The noble Qur'an, Aal-Umran(3):40

In fact, prophet Abraham is also fondly referred to by Muslims as the "Khaleel-ullah" ("Friend of God"), and prophet Moses is referred to as "Kaleem-ullah" ("The one spoken to by God"). However, just because prophet Abraham is the "friend of God," this does not imply that all other prophets (Noah, Moses, etc.) are all "enemies of God."

Similarly, just because Jesus (pbuh) is a "word" from God and a "spirit" from Him does not imply that that he is "part of" God, or that this designation is exclusive to him. For example, in the Qur'an we read:

"So when I (God) have fashioned him (Adam) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall you (Angels, and those in attendance) down in prostration before him."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Hijr(15):29

"Verily! Our (Allah's) Word unto a thing when We intend it, is only that We say unto it "Be!" - and it is"

The noble Qur'an, Al-Nahil(16):40 (please also read chapter 14)

To make such terminology clearer, let us take the example of the term "house of God," or "My house" as seen in the Bible and the Qur'an in 1 Chronicles 9:11, and Al-Bakarah(2):125. If God is not confined to a specific house or location (both Muslims and Christians agree to this), then what is meant by the words "house of God"? Every house on earth belongs to God, however, we do not call bars or brothels "houses of God" but we do call houses of worship "houses of God." The true meaning is that God is showing favor upon this house by associating it with His name. God bestows such titles upon those whom He wishes to bestow His favor upon from among His creation by virtue of the piety and worship which is displayed to God in association with this creation. It was the selfless dedication and piety of Jesus (pbuh) towards his Creator which was rewarded by God by associating Jesus' spirit with His name.

In a similar manner, the reference to Jesus being a "word" from God does not mean that Jesus is "part of" God. For example, in many places in the Bible God refers tp His "word." We can see this for example:

"Aaron shall be gathered unto his people: for he shall not enter into the land which I have given unto the children of Israel, because ye rebelled against my word at the water of Meribah."

Numbers 20:24

Does "my word" here mean "Jesus"? There are numerous other examples.

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