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THE NAMES AND TITLES OF MESSIAH

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. THE NAMES OF THE MESSIAH

A. Yeshua-Jesus
B. Christos-Christ
C. Logos-Word
D. Begotten
E. The Only Begotten
F. The First Begotten
G. Kurios-Lord
H. Adonai-Lord
I. Theos-God
J. Elohim-God
K. YHVH

II. TITLES OF THE MESSIAH

A. General Titles
1. Lamb of God
2. Mediator
3. Intercessor
4. Advocate
5. Saviour
B. The Sonship Titles of the Messiah
1. The Son of Abraham
2. The Son of David
3. The Son of Adam
4. The Son of God
5. The Son of Man
6. The Son of Mary
7. The Son of Joseph

INTRODUCTION
This is a study of the names and titles of the Messiah. It will include both the Hebrew and Greek Names.

I. THE NAMES OF THE MESSIAH

A. Yeshua–Jesus 
By far the most common name of the Messiah is Jesus. This name originates from the Greek word ieisous, which, in turn, comes from the Hebrew word Yeshua, meaning “salvation.” This is the point of Matthew 1:21 when the angel told Joseph to call His name Jesus for it is he that shall save his people from their sins. The name Jesus is a human name, thus emphasizing His humanity. The root of this name is Yashah, which is the same root of some other biblical names such as Joshua, Isaiah, and Hosea. These are all closely related names, coming from the same Hebrew root, meaning “to save.” The human name, Jesus, emphasizes not only His humanity, it also emphasizes the work He came to do: the work of salvation.

B. Christos–Christ
The second name of the Messiah is Christ. Unfortunately, the way the name Jesus Christ is used sometimes it appears that Christ is merely His last name. In those days, they did not have last names. Actually, Christ is not just a name, it is also a title; it would have been far more correct to have translated it as Jesus the Christ. The English word Christ comes from the Greek word christos. Christos is a translation of the Hebrew word mashiach, which is the origin of the English word Messiah. Christ is the Greek equivalent of Messiah and has the same meaning, “anointed” or “anointed one” (Lk. 2:11). The name Christ emphasizes the office of Messiah.

The name Christ has three specific implications that should be noted. First, it implies that Jesus was appointed by God the Father to this specific office in Acts 2:36: Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified.

The second implication of the name Christ is that there is a sacred relationship between the Anointed One and God. Since God does the appointing, therefore, God does the anointing. Because God does the anointing, there is a sacred and special relationship between the Anointed One and God.

The third implication of the name Christ is that of the communication of the Spirit’s authority since the anointing is that of the Holy Spirit. This is taught in the Old Testament in Psalm 45:7 and also found in the New Testament in Acts 4:27: for of a truth in this city against your holy Servant Jesus, whom you did anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, were gathered together.

The point at which this anointing happened is given in Acts 10:38: even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. This verse speaks of the special anointing that the Messiah received from God by the Holy Spirit at the time of the His baptism by John.

C. Logos–Word
The third name of the Messiah is Logos, which is one of the Greek names for Yeshua. The name Logos emphasizes the Messiah as the expression, the revealer, and the manifestor of God. The key Scripture is John 1:1-2, 14, and 18:

Verses1-2 states: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.

Verse14 states: And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.

Verse18 states: No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.

There are five very clear implications of the name Logos in these four passages that address the Messiah as the Logos. The first implication is in verse 1: He was In the beginning; this teaches His preexistence. He preexisted before time itself. Furthermore, this verse points out that He preexisted as long as God preexisted. Since God preexisted for all eternity past, this would mean that Yeshua preexisted for all eternity past. There is no truth to a common teaching among various cults that, while the Messiah existed before the universe was created, He Himself was created by God the Father. The emphasis of this passage is that the preexistence of Jesus was just as long as the preexistence of God the Father. Since God the Father preexisted for all eternity, then the Messiah preexisted for all eternity.

The second implication of the name Logos is that He was with God. The statement: the Word was with God means that, in some sense, He is distinct from God. He is distinct from God in that He is not God the Father nor is He God the Holy Spirit.

The third implication of the name Logos is that He is God. Verse 1 not only states: the Word was with God, therefore, distinct from God, it also states: He was God, therefore, He is deity Himself. He is God in that He is the Second Person of the Trinity, God the Son. On one hand, He is distinct from God in that He is not the Father nor the Holy Spirit; on the other hand, He is the same as God because He is the Second Member of the Trinity, God the Son.

The fourth implication of the name Logos is that He is the revealer of God the Father to men. In fact, this is one of the sub themes of John’s Gospel: the Messiah came for the purpose of revealing to Israel the nature of God the Father.

The fifth implication of the name Logos is in verse 14: the Word became flesh; therefore, He was the visible God. He was the God Man in that He was both God and Man at the very same time. He was very God and very Man.

D. Begotten
The fourth name of the Messiah is Begotten. The name Begotten is used in reference to the Messiah in the context of the Virgin Birth. When He is called merely Begotten, it emphasizes His Virgin Birth by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is found in Luke 1:35: And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you: wherefore also the holy thing which is begotten shall be called the Son of God.

E. The Only Begotten
The fifth name of the Messiah is Only Begotten. The Greek word for the name Only Begotten is monogeneis. When He is called the Only Begotten, the eternal relationship between the Father and the Son is emphasized. This name is found in the following passages: John 1:14: And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten [monogeneis] from the Father), full of grace and truth.

John 1:18: No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten [monogeneis] Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.

John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten [monogeneis] Son, that whosoever believes on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:18: He that believes on him is not judged: he that believes not has been judged already, because he has not believed on the name of the only begotten [monogeneis] Son of God.

I John 4:9. Herein was the love of God manifested in us, that God has sent his only begotten [monogeneis] Son into the world that we might live through him.

There are cultic groups that teach that the very fact that the Messiah is called Begotten or Only Begotten means that He Himself did not eternally exist but was brought into existence by God the Father. This is a misunderstanding of how such terms are used. When Jesus is called by the term Begotten, it emphasizes His human Virgin Birth, but says nothing about His deity. When He is called the Only Begotten, the monogeneis, this emphasizes His eternal relationship with God the Father and also emphasizes His uniqueness. It is necessary to distinguish between these two names because the terms “son” or “sons” of God are applied to other things. For example, angels were created by God, so they are called the sons of God (Job 38:4-7; Col. 1:16). Israel was formed by God, so Israel is the national son of God (Ex. 4:22; Is. 63:16; 64:8; Hos. 11:1). Adam was created by God, so Adam is called the son of God (Lk. 3:38). Believers are a new creation by virtue of the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, so they, too, are called the sons or children of God (Jn. 1:12; Rom. 8:14; II Cor. 6:18; Gal. 3:26; I Jn.3:1; Rev. 21:9). To distinguish Yeshua as the eternal Son of God from those who became sons by virtue of God’s creation such as the angels, Israel, and believers, the term Only Begotten or monogeneis is used, which emphasizes His uniqueness as the Son of God. Unlike other persons or groups that may have this title, the Messiah had this relationship through all eternity, whereas all the others have had this relationship only in the course of time by virtue of their being created or formed by God. All these are children or sons of God by virtue of being created or formed by God, but that is not true of Jesus the Son. Because He has been the Son of God for all eternity past and not created or formed by God the Father, He is called the monogeneis, the Only Begotten. Rather than Only Begotten being evidence that Jesus Himself was created, it is actually evidence against it. This term emphasizes His eternal relationship with God the Father.

F. The First Begotten
The sixth name for the Messiah is First Begotten. The Greek word for this name is prototokos. The name First Begotten has a slightly different implication than merely Begotten or Only Begotten. There are four basic implications behind the name First Begotten or prototokos. The first implication is that He is the elder in relationship to all Creation–not in the sense that He was created first–but in the sense that all things were created through Him. Because all things were created through Him, He is the elder in relation to all Creation. The second implication is that He is antecedent to all things, meaning He pre existed all other things. The third implication is that He is also the cause of all things in that all things were created through Him. The fourth implication is that He has pre eminence above all other things (Col. 1:15 18; Heb. 1).

Three categories are embodied within the concept of Yeshua as the First Begotten or the prototokos. First, He is the firstborn of all creation in that He pre existed the material universe (Col. 1:15). The second category in which He is the First Begotten or prototokos is that He is the firstborn of Mary (Lk. 2:7; Heb. 1:6). Mary had at least six other children, four sons and at least two daughters. Yeshua was the first of her brood, so He is the First Begotten in this sense. The third category in which He is the First Begotten or the prototokos is that He is also the firstborn of the Resurrection (I Cor. 15:20; Col. 18; Rev. 1:5). This has caused some confusion. How could Jesus be called the firstborn of the Resurrection when others were resurrected before Him? The difference is found in the two types of resurrections. The first type of resurrection is a restoration back to natural life. Those who experience this type of resurrection were restored back to natural life, but died again later. All those who were resurrected before the Resurrection of Yeshua experienced this first type of resurrection. The second type of resurrection is the kind that leads to true resurrection life when one is no longer subject to death. It means that “corruption has put incorruption and mortality has put on immortality.” Yeshua was the first one to be resurrected in this type of true resurrection life (Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5). In that sense, He is the firstborn of the Resurrection.

G. Kurios–Lord
The seventh name for the Messiah is Lord. The Greek word for Lord is kurios, which is used in two ways. First it is used as a title of respect. Sometimes Yeshua is called “Lord” only in the sense of having a respectful title. This usage of kurios is applied to both God and man. The second usage is that of ownership in that one is a lord because he owns something. For example, he is “lord of the house” because he owns a house or he is “lord of a slave” because he owns a slave. The name kurios, Lord, with this usage is also used of both God and man. However, there is a third usage of the term kurios that is only used of God, never of man. This usage emphasizes deity. Sometimes Yeshua is addressed as kurios or Lord to emphasize His deity. Examples of this usage in the New Testament are: Matthew 8:2, 20:33, 22:43-45; Luke 2:11; Acts 2:36, 20:28; Philemon 2:11; and Revelation 19:16. Sometimes Jesus is clearly called Lord, not only as a title of respect and not only to emphasize His ownership of something, but also to emphasize His deity. In this case, kurios becomes a unique name of Yeshua.

H. Adonai–Lord
The tenth name of the Messiah is Adonai, which is the Hebrew word for “Lord” and is equivalent to the Greek word kurios. The difference is that the word kurios can be used of both God and man. The Hebrew word Adonai is the plural form and is only used of God and never of man. The singular form is Adon and is used for man. It is used of the Messiah in Psalm 110:1 where David stated: Jehovah said unto my Lord. David’s Lord, Adonai, was spoken to by another Lord. In the New Testament, Psalm 110:1 is applied to the Messiah. As king, David did not have a human lord and, therefore, this can only refer to the Messiah. In Psalm 110:1, Yeshua is given the name, Adonai, which in the Old Testament is only used of God. The name Adon or Adoni has three basic meanings: “lord,” “master,” and “owner.”

I. Theos–God
The eighth name of the Messiah is Theos, which is the Greek word meaning “God.” Jesus is called by the term Theos in various passages of the New Testament. Perhaps the most famous example is John 1:1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Other passages include: John 1:18 and 20:28, where Thomas stated: my Lord [Kurios] and my God [Theos]. Jesus is also called Theos or God in Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8; and I John 5:20.

J. Elohim–God
The ninth name for the Messiah is Elohim. Just as the Greek word Theos, the Hebrew name Elohim means “God.” This name is used of Yeshua in Isaiah 9:6-7. Verse 6 states: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God [Elohim], Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

That Jesus has the name Elohim can be seen from the fact that certain Old Testament passages using the term Elohim are quoted in the New Testament and applied to Yeshua. For example, the Elohim of Isaiah 40:3 is applied to Yeshua in Luke 3:4. Another example is Psalm 45:6 that is applied to Yeshua in Hebrews 1:8.

K. YHVH
The eleventh name of the Messiah is the unique name of God Himself that is comprised of the four Hebrew letters that transliterate into the four English letters YHVH, called the Tetragrammaton. This unique name for God is often translated as “Yahweh” or “Jehovah.” However, because of the Jewish people’s strict adherence to the commandment: You shall not take the name of Jehovah your God in vain, the proper pronunciation has been forgotten.

The Messiah is given this name in Jeremiah 23:5-6. In verse 5, a descendent of David sits upon David’s throne and, in verse 6, Jeremiah says that this human descendent of David has God’s name in that He is called Jehovah our righteousness. A second passage where the name Jehovah is clearly applied to the Messiah is Zechariah 12:10, in which Jehovah states: they shall look unto me whom they have pierced. Of course, the One who was pierced was the Second Person of the Trinity, the God-Man, Jesus the Messiah. So in these two Old Testament passages, Yeshua is clearly given the name YHVH.

Another way to see that the Messiah is given the name YHVH is to note how Old Testament passages, in which the name YHVH is used, are quoted in the New Testament and applied to Yeshua. For example, Psalm 68:18 speaks about YHVH, and this verse is quoted and applied to Him in Ephesians 4:8-10. A second example is Psalm 102:25-27 that is applied to Him in Hebrews 1:10-12. A third example is Isaiah 6:1-13 that is applied to Jesus in John 12:38-41. A fourth example is Isaiah 8:13-14 that is applied to Yeshua in I Peter 2:7-8. These quotations show that the term Jehovah, God’s personal name, is applied to Jesus.

II. TITLES OF THE MESSIAH

There are a total of twelve different titles given to the Messiah. The first five are general titles relating either to His person or to His work. The remaining seven titles all deal with the aspect of His Sonship.

A. General Titles

1. Lamb of God
The first title of the Messiah is found in John 1:29 and 36: On the morrow he see Jesus coming unto him, and says, Behold, the Lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the world! Verse 36 states: and he looked upon Jesus as he walked, and said, Behold, the Lamb of God! By giving Him the title of the Lamb of God, John connected Yeshua with two Old Testament elements: the pascal lamb of Exodus 12 and the Messianic Lamb of Isaiah 53. The title, Lamb of God, emphasizes that He is the fulfillment of the Feast of Passover and that He will be the final Passover sacrifice.

2. Mediator
The second title of the Messiah is Mediator. There are two aspects of His role as Mediator. First, He is the Mediator between God and man (I Tim. 2:5). Secondly, He is the Mediator of the New Covenant. In Hebrews 8:6, He is called the mediator of a better covenant, and in Hebrews 9:15 and 12:24, He is the mediator of a new covenant. This New Covenant is also a better covenant in that it is superior to the Mosaic Covenant.

3. Intercessor
The third title of the Messiah is Intercessor (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25). Being an Intercessor is part of His high priestly ministry in that He intercedes on behalf of the believer before God. The picture is that, as Mediator, He represents God to man and, as Intercessor, He represents man to God.

4. Advocate
The fourth title of the Messiah is Advocate (I Jn. 2:1). The term Advocate has the concept of being a lawyer. The reason that believers need Yeshua as Advocate is because of Satan’s title as the accuser of the brethren (Job 1:1-12; 2:4-5; Zech. 3:1-2; Rev. 12:10). Satan still has access to Heaven to appear before the very presence of God. He does so for one reason, which is to accuse the brethren. If a believer falls into a state of unconfessed sin, sooner or later Satan will appear before God the Father to accuse that believer. This is the exact reason why believers still need the ministry of Yeshua as an Advocate. Whenever Satan has any grounds to accuse a saint, then Jesus can say, “Lay that sin upon My account. I have already paid the penalty for that sin when I died for that person on the cross.” By way of application, believers should live the kind of spiritual lifestyle that will not give Satan any basis for accusations.

5. Saviour
The fifth title of the Messiah is Saviour. This particular title emphasizes His work of salvation in that He is the One who saves. As the person of the Messiah, He is able to save; by the shedding of His blood, He has provided the basis of salvation. He is viewed as the Saviour throughout the New Testament: Luke 2:11; John 4:42; Acts 5:31; Ephesians 5:22; I Timothy 1:1; Titus 2:13; II Peter 1:1, 2:20, 3:2, and 18.

B. The Sonship Titles of the Messiah
The next seven titles of the Messiah are all related to His Sonship. Each of these seven Sonship titles somehow deals with one aspect of His nature, His person, or His work.

1. The Son of Abraham
The first Sonship title of the Messiah is the son of Abraham (Mat. 1:1). When Jesus is called the Son of Abraham, it means two things. First, it emphasizes the Jewishness of Yeshua; it teaches that Yeshua was a Jew. It teaches that Jesus is a Jew because He is still very much alive. He is still the God-Man, and in His humanity, He is still a Jew, the King of the Jews.

The second thing that the title the Son of Abraham emphasizes is His relationship to the Abrahamic Covenant in two senses. First, it means that He is under the Abrahamic Covenant because He was born a Jew and He had certain obligations as a descendent of Abraham. For example, it was mandatory for Yeshua to be circumcised on the eighth day as commanded by the Abrahamic Covenant. So first of all, the title relates Him to the Abrahamic Covenant in that He had to follow all the obligations of being Jewish while He was under it. Secondly, it relates Him to the Abrahamic Covenant as the One who will fulfill all the blessings and promises of the Abrahamic Covenant that have been made to the Jewish people.
 
2. The Son of David
The second title of the Messiah is the son of David (Mat. 1:1). When Yeshua is called the Son of David, it emphasizes two things. First, it emphasizes His royalty by teaching that Yeshua is a King.

The second emphasis of this title is to relate Him to the Davidic Covenant. As with the Abrahamic Covenant, His relationship to the Davidic Covenant is also twofold. First, He is under the Davidic Covenant in that He Himself is a direct descendant of David. Certain aspects of the Davidic Covenant were applicable to those who were members of the Davidic dynasty, as was Jesus. The second relationship of Yeshua to the Davidic Covenant, as with the Abrahamic Covenant, is that He will be the One to finally fulfill it. He will fulfill it when He sits upon David’s throne and rules over Israel from the City of Jerusalem. This relationship of the Messiah as the Son of David to the Davidic Covenant is taught in Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; and Luke 1:30-33.

3. The Son of Adam
The third Sonship title of the Messiah is the son of Adam (Lk. 3:38). The title of the Son of Adam emphasizes His humanity; Jesus was a man. It relates the Messiah to the Adamic Covenant as the Last Adam (Rom. 5:12 21). The same thing is also taught in I Corinthians 15:14 28, which teaches that with the first Adam came death, with the Last Adam will now come the resurrection from the dead.

4. The Son of God
The fourth title of the Messiah is the son of God (Lk. 3:38). When He is called the Son of God, it emphasizes the fact that Yeshua Himself is God. The term Son of God in reference to Jesus is used in three different senses in the New Testament. The first is the nativistic sense that emphasizes His human nature as a product of the work of God (Lk. 1:35). Because Mary conceived by the overshadowing work of the Holy Spirit, therefore, that which is begotten shall be called the Son of God. The second usage of the Son of God is as a Messianic title. This was one of the titles of the Messiah in the Old Testament, so it is used as one of His Messianic titles (Mat. 8:29; 14:28-33; 24:36). The third way that Son of God is used is in its trinitarian sense. In this sense, He is distinguished from the Father and from the Holy Spirit (Mat. 11:27; 16:16; 22:41-46; Jn. 5:18). The three different usages the title of the Son of God emphasize His virgin conception or His Messianic title or His membership in the Trinity, distinct from the Father or the Holy Spirit.

There were two particular occasions when Jesus was declared to be the Son of God. This was not when He became the Son of God; He always was the Son of God for all eternity. But He was declared to be the Son of God on two occasions. The first occasion was at His baptism (Mat. 3:16-17; Mk. 1:10-11; Lk. 3:21-22; Jn. 1:32-34). The second occasion was at the Transfiguration (Mat. 17:5; Mk. 9:7; Lk. 9:35; II Pet. 1:17).

Furthermore, the Bible also points out that He was proven to be the Son of God by means of resurrection. This was prophesied in Psalm 2:7 and fulfilled in Acts 13:32 33 and Romans 1:3 4. Jesus is the Son of God, He was declared to be the Son of God by God the Father, and He was proven to be the Son of God by virtue of His Resurrection.

5. The Son of Man
The fifth title of the Messiah is the Son of Man. This title has four specific emphases. First, it stresses His human nature; He is called the Son of Man to emphasize His humanity (Mk. 2:27-28; Jn. 5:27; 6:53, 62).

Secondly, it emphasizes His sufferings; it speaks of His sufferings in His humanity (Mat. 12:40; 17:22; 20:18-19, 28).

The third emphasis of His title as the Son of Man is unique to the Gospel of John. When John uses the term Son of Man, he uses it to emphasize the superhuman character of the Messiah and His pre existence. His superhuman character is emphasized in John 1:51: And he said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye shall see the heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

His pre existence is emphasized in John 3:13 14: And no one has ascended into heaven, but he that descended out of heaven, even the Son of man, who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up;

This same kind of usage is found in John 6:27, 53, 62, and 8:28.

The fourth emphasis of this title is in reference to His Second Coming. Prophetically, this is the way the term is used in Daniel 7:13. This is also where the term Son of Man originates, and it is also where the term is given its prophetic meaning. In the New Testament, this is applied to Jesus in Matthew 16:27-28; Mark 8:38; and 13:26.

6. The Son of Mary
The sixth Sonship title of the Messiah is the Son of Mary. When He is called the Son of Mary, it emphasizes His human origin, or more specifically, the origin of His humanity in that His humanity came from Mary. Mary was His real mother, and this makes Him a member of the House of David through her.

7. The Son of Joseph
The seventh and final Sonship title of the Messiah is the Son of Joseph
(Jn. 1:45, 6:42). This title emphasizes who His human father was by  means of adoption and gives Him legal paternity. It does not give Him natural paternity, because Yeshua did not have a natural father.




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