Messiah

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Messiah (from the Hebrew moshiach, meaning "anointed"), refers in Judaism to the new leader (moshiach) who will rebuild the land of Israel and restore the Davidic Kingdom, while Christians generally consider Jesus Christ to be the Messiah and often use the words Messiah and Christ synonymously.

In all thirty-nine instances of its occuring in the Old Testament, it is rendered by the Septuagint as christos. The New Testament only records the Greek form messias twice.


According to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible), priests, prophets, and kings were anointed with oil, and so consecrated to their respective offices. The moshiach is anointed "above all his fellows" (Psalms 45:7), and therefore embraces himself in all the three offices.

According to Jews, the Hebrew Bible contains a small number of prophecies concerning a future descendent of King David, who will be annointed as the Jewish people's new leader (moshiach). This leader will rebuild the land of Israel and restore the Davidic Kingdom. The Jewish concept of moshiach (the messiah) has little, if anything, in common with the Christian concept of Jesus Christ as messiah. This subject is covered in the section on Jewish_eschatology.

Christian readings of the Bible uncover what they see as hundreds of references to Jesus Christ; some such readings maintain that almost every reading was not about the topic of the chapter as such, but instead is really about the coming of Jesus Christ Himself, if only read properly. The prophecies became more definite and fuller as the ages rolled on. Different periods of prophetic revelation have been pointed out, (1) the patriarchal; (2) the Mosaic; (3) the period of David; (4) the period of prophetism, i.e., of those prophets whose work form a part of the Old Testament canon. The expectations of the Jews were thus kept alive from generation to generation.

When Jesus of Nazareth presented himself as the Messiah (or Greek Christos, thus the appelation "Jesus the Christ") to the Jews, many believed and followed him. This caused a division in the Jewish religion; those who followed Jesus were eventually called (at first pejoratively) Christians. Jews then and now interpreted the prophecies to mean a great military savior and leader who would liberate them from the oppressive Roman rule. This may be the primary reason why Jesus was not well-received among the Jews in Jerusalem, as Jesus did not fulfill the conditions that moshiach is required to do by Jewish law.

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