This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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The significance of the title of ‘Christian’

It is legitimate to envision our relation to Christ as between disciple and loving teacher, and this is the emphasis of much of contemporary Christianity with its talk about ‘personal relationship with Christ’. The danger, however, is in reducing our status as Christians to this personal aspect alone, and that we have in fact succumbed to this danger is attested by a second common slogan, that Christianity is ‘a relationship, not a religion.’

We seem to imagine that the name Christian signifies for Christians something like what the term Wesleyans signifies for that group: “those who follow John Wesley.” We imagine that Christian denotes those who follow Jesus Christ. But Christ was not Jesus’ surname. It was an office denoting a cosmic function. Our personal relation with Christ is not the only, nor the most significant, aspect of our status as Christians, and what is most essential is connected to his title which refers to an office. Viewed in this light, what then can we say of the title?

According to Act 11:26, the designation ‘Christians’ was given to the disciples first at Antioch. We can surmise that the title may have been given by the Romans, since the disciples merely refereed to one another as saints or disciples and the Jews called them ‘Nazarenes.’

Obviously the name Christian comes from the name Jesus Christ, but we should also remember that ‘Christ’ is not a Hebrew term. If we trace the etymology a bit, we begin with Christianos which derives from Christos, with Christos being a term by which the Hebrew mashiach was translated by the Hellenized Jews in the Septuagint. It is from this term (mashiach) that we derive the Greco-Latin messias, or in English, ‘messiah.’ Thus, Jesus is the Christ (Christos), or the Messiah (mashiach, messias).

The term mashiach signifies, literally, ‘anointed,’ and more specifically: ‘one who has been consecrated by unction to exercise a sacred function.’ Thus, David is ‘the anointed of the Lord,’ which is to say, the messiah of the Lord.

This is why we insist on pointing out (although it will certainly be obvious to most readers already) that Christ or Messiah is not a name but a sacred office, originally connected with kingship in David and which, after the Babylonian exile, was transferred with Aaron to the priesthood (Exodus 29:7).

Taking all of this into account, and observing that in these precursors the anointing brings about ritually an identification of being with function, we can see that in the person of Jesus the office of Christ was realized to perfection.

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