Daily Archives: August 15, 2009

The Many "Christs" in the Bible

Jesus Christ is ιησου χριστου in Greek. But the word “christ” is written multiple times in the Tanakh or LXX (Old Testament). The translators of our modern Christian Bibles conveniently leave out and translate χριστου literally as “anointed” or “anointed one” when in English and not refering specifically to Jesus.

Isaiah 45 LXX
45:1 ουτως λεγει κυριος ο θεος τω χριστω μου κυρω / This the Lord God says to my christ Cyrus

1 Samuel 2 LXX
2:10 […] και υψωσει κερας χριστου αυτου / […] and exalt the horn of his christ

1 Samuel 2 LXX
2:35 […] και διελευσεται ενωπιον χριστου μου πασας τας ημερας / […] and he will minister before my christ always

1 Samuel 12 LXX
12:3 ιδου εγω αποκριθητε κατ’ εμου ενωπιον κυριου και ενωπιον χριστου αυτου / Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of YHWH and his christ.

2 Samuel 19 LXX
19:22 και απεκριθη αβεσσα υιος σαρουιας και ειπεν μη αντι τουτου ου θανατωθησεται σεμει οτι κατηρασατο τον χριστον κυριου / Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said, “Shouldn’t Shimei be put to death for this? He cursed the LORD’s christ

1 Chronicles 16 LXX
16:22 μη αψησθε των χριστων μου και εν τοις προφηταις μου μη πονηρευεσθε / Do not touch my christ; do my prophets no harm

2 Chronicles 6 LXX
6:42 κυριε ο θεος μη αποστρεψης το προσωπον του χριστου σου μνησθητι τα ελεη δαυιδ του δουλου σου / O LORD God, do not reject your christ. Remember the great love promised to David your servant

Psalm 2 LXX
2:2 παρεστησαν οι βασιλεις της γης και οι αρχοντες συνηχθησαν επι το αυτο κατα του κυριου και κατα του χριστου αυτου διαψαλμα / The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Christ

Psalm 17 LXX
17:51 μεγαλυνων τας σωτηριας του βασιλεως αυτου και ποιων ελεος τω χριστω αυτου τω δαυιδ και τω σπερματι αυτου εως αιωνος / He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his christ, to David and his descendants forever

Psalm 27 LXX
27:8 κυριος κραταιωμα του λαου αυτου και υπερασπιστης των σωτηριων του χριστου αυτου εστιν / The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his christ

Lamentations 4 LXX
4:20 πνευμα προσωπου ημων χριστος κυριου συνελημφθη εν ταις διαφθοραις αυτων ου ειπαμεν εν τη σκια αυτου ζησομεθα εν τοις εθνεσιν / The LORD’s christ, our very life breath, was caught in their traps. We thought that under his shadow we would live among the nations

These (and many more like it) instances of “christ” are all nouns in the LXX. They’re titles. So someone claiming to be the “christ” or the “messiah” is in no way blasphemy, since it was a title held somewhat regularly among Jewish leadership and those who they thought were doing YHWH’s divine work – even in the case of Cyrus who was a non-Jewish Christ.

Another thing that confuses me about early Christianity is that all Jews were supposed to make sacrifices – burnt sin offerings – to YHWH while the temple was still standing. In the Temple, there would be booths were Jews could buy the necessary animal to present to the High Priest as their burnt offering to YHWH. But there’s no record of Christians not doing this, or them actively refusing to do it, etc. For all intents, Christians are invisible prior to the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. Why would Christians still be making burnt offerings to YHWH if they thought that their sins had already been cleansed by Jesus? And if they didn’t make burnt sin offerings, why wasn’t there some huge stink about it recorded by any Jews in the 1st century?

There’s an episode about Paul in Acts of the Apostles (21:23-26) where he’s about to make a burnt offering as a completion of the Nazirite vow, but other than that, there’s no record of Christians refusing to do these burnt offerings. Not even in any letters by Christians written in the 1st century.

Unless, of course, Christians prior to the destruction of the 2nd Temple were all Ebionites… or if Christians prior to the destruction of the Temple weren’t Jewish at all.

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Posted by on August 15, 2009 in early Christianity, ebionites, jesus myth

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