Jesus is an important figure today regardless of what faith you may follow. However, aside from his crucifixion, many don’t know much about the meaning of word “Christ.”
In order to know the origin of a word, it is important to study its etymology and gradual cultural changes in meaning and pronunciation. For example, the word “dis” is shortened slang for disrespect. I’ve even seen news reporters now using the word. However, if someone simply heard the word without knowing it was short for disrespect then they would have a difficult time making sense of the slang. First, we must remind ourselves that Jesus Christ was not actually his name or surname. Christ is actually a title. So it should be rendered as “Jesus the Christ” similar to “Obama the President” or its reciprocal which was actually commonly used historically as “Christ Jesus;” the same way as you might say “President Obama” or “Dr. King.”
Let us also be reminded that none of these biblical figures actually spoke English. Jesus spoke Aramaic, a Semitic language belonging to the Afroasiatic language family, which includes about 375 living languages from Africa to the Middle East. The Semitic language is a subset and includes the Canaanite languages of Hebrew, Phoenician and Arabic. The word Christ in its original context doesn’t directly have anything to do with “Savior.” Christ most directly comes from the Greek word “Khristos” or in Latin “Christus” which both essentially mean, “covered in oil.” In the Septuagint, the early version of the Hebrew Bible, Khristos replaced the word Messiah, which means, “anointed.” In the Hebrew rituals followers were anointed with holy oil.
Some may stop here and be satisfied with this explanation for the word Christ. But let’s ask ourselves, if Jesus had the title “Christ,” supposedly as a honorific title of distinction to separate himself from ordinary mankind, then how is it the word existed prior to him? If he were meant to carry a special designation that the rest of humanity is unable to obtain shouldn’t there have been another word created after his birth or death to signify him as an exception? Clearly there must have been others given the title of Christ before him in order for the word to even have existed. For example, if an alien landed on our planet and had never seen water before chances are they wouldn’t have a word for it. They would have to either adopt our word for it or make up their own. And yet because we do have water we have many ways to not only describe it in its many forms but to even describe how it flows as witnessed on any garden hose nozzle – “mist, spray, shower, jet, stream, soak” etc but it is difficult to see how you get the word “Khristos” from the word “Messiah.”
To get the answer we must dig a little deeper into the etymology of these words. The word messiah also comes rendered in several other versions such as mashiah, moshiah, mashiach, or moshiach, which literally means “anointed one.” Hamashiach means “king anointed.” They were terms used in the Hebrew Bible to describe priests and kings who were traditionally anointed with the holy anointing oil as described in Exodus 30:22-25. Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, as another example, although not a Hebrew, is referred to as “God’s anointed” (Messiah) in the Bible. From the word “Masiah” we derive various words such as “Sah” which means “radiant.” And also “Ah” means “fire pot.” The word “Hat” means “shining ones” and “Isseh” means “offering made by fire.”
The word Chrism, mostly used by early Christian Gnostics & Catholic Romans, also means “holy oil.” The word Gnostic comes from the word Gnosis which means “knowledge,” but in particular a mystic knowledge that comes from within. Many of the Gnostic texts say that in order to be called worthy of the title ‘Christian’ one must also be anointed with Holy oil and that the water baptism alone is incomplete. From the book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” author Mary Baker Eddy writes “The invisible Christ was imperceptible to the so-called personal senses, whereas Jesus appeared as a bodily existence. This dual personality of the unseen and the seen, the spiritual and material, the eternal Christ and the corporeal Jesus manifest in flesh, continued until the Master’s ascension, when the human, material concept, or Jesus, disappeared, while the spiritual self, or Christ, continues to exist in the eternal order of divine Science, taking away the sins of the world, as the Christ has always done, even before the human Jesus was incarnate to mortal eyes.”
Thus the Chrism is the holy oil and the Messiah was one who was anointed with the oil. Now if we go back to the Bible, we know from Luke 3:16 and Matthew 3:11 that John the Baptist stated “saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:” Now we should be asking ourselves what does all this anointing, holy oil, fire, water, messiah & chrism have to do with each other and what is its spiritual significance? As with most ceremonies the rites are typically symbolic of something. But where did this anointing ritual originate? Did the Hebrews just make it up? Well, I’m glad you asked…
The answer lies much further away, in the East, in the lands of India influenced by the Vedic culture. The Vedas are the oldest Holy Scriptures to be discovered to this day. You may have heard of the “Aryans” which means “Noble.” The present day word for “Iran” comes from this root. This is the same word that the Germans used during the holocaust to try and distinguish the “Aryans/Arians” as supposedly a superior or pure race of beings. You may have also heard of an “Aryan invasion” which supposedly was by Westerners who moved eastward into the Harrapan areas, but there are many who will attest this never happened and in fact the Vedic followers moved westward influencing all areas in between. Essentially all evidence supports the idea that the word “Aryan” originated in the East. This is fairly consistent with the story of Abraham, spiritual personage favored by God, who traveled from the East to new lands promised to him in Canaan.
The Vedas, according to legend were written thousands of years ago in the language known as Sanskrit. The Sanskrit word véda “knowledge, wisdom” is derived from the root vid – “to know.” This is reconstructed as being derived from the Proto-Indo-European or Proto-Indo-Aryan root *u?eid-, meaning “see” or “know.” According to this same legend, before they were ever written down on palm leaves they were passed from one person to another orally, completely from memory. That may be heard to believe considering the Vedas are some of the longest written texts known. These early individuals were supposedly unlike the modern man of today. They were known as rishis (seers) who are supposed to be “liberated souls.” In essence, they are divine personages free from karmic sin, apparently with perfect memories able to retain incredible amounts of information, who manifest on Earth simply to serve as ideal human models for the inspiration of mankind.According to this legend these rishis were the first human beings on earth that God creates during a Satya era which is an advance period for civilization where mankind is a lot more close to God spiritually. “Sat” means “pure or ideal” and “Ya” means “God” and thus together mean “ideal state of God or ultimate truth.”
And since God knows that man in time will lose himself in the superficiality of his material creation, He always provides a way for man to retrace his footsteps back to Divinity. It has been said that any knowledge contained in any holy scriptures can first be found in the Vedas including mathematics, science, philosophy, yoga, medicine and so forth.
The Vedas are the physical manifestation of Holy instructions for man to follow to regain his “knowledge of Self.” The Vedas are supposedly the mantras, vibrational thoughts, of the Divine directly transmitted to these rishis. In John 1:1 it states “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” According to the Vedic texts that word is – Om. Om (Aum) is known as the primordial, first created, sound. From this sound all other sounds flow. This word Aum represents creation, preservation and dissolution. As a metaphor, if all language were a tree then the word Om would be the seed that gives birth to them all. From that seed grows a tree in which every leaf would be a word; every small branch a dialect; and every major branch a language that can all be traced back to one trunk with its roots based in the Sanskrit mantras.
Most of us think of language and words as a simple way to identify objects, but in actuality, if you’ve ever studied metaphysics you would know that from God’s original thought came the original word, which manifests as a peculiar sound (Om), in which through vibration creates light and all manifestation. So instead of simply naming objects, words are the vibrational equivalent of thoughts that actually bring “things” into manifestation. In other words, (no pun intended) the sound of something is actually what materializes the object and thus all objects are nothing more than God’s ideas materialized through vibration or sound. For example, whatever the original Sanskrit word may have been for a “plant” isn’t just a convenient way to identify that object but actually is the exact vibration or frequency that produces a “plant.” And since all “things” are temporary & transient, this is consistent with the creation, preservation & dissolution of all matter as merely “sound waves” of vibrating thoughts.
Now to tie the concepts of Christ, chrism & messiah together we must go back to the original “sounds” of things to find their root. In the Yajna Vedas, the word “Ya” means God. Today, many people are familiar with the reference of Jah to mean God but there originally was not this hard “J” sound. In Hebrew, God is known as YHWH or “Yahweh” which is derived originally from this Vedic word “Ya.” And Jesus’ name of course didn’t have a hard “J” sound either but is actually spoken as “Yeshua” in Aramaic meaning “salvation or God be with you.” The word “Yaj” (with a slight variation) actually means “sacrifice.” By the way, the Yajna Vedas are one of the four Vedas and it in particular focuses on the “ritual of sacrifice.” Now as a side note, any of you who may do your own investigation on the Yajna Vedas will come to find that the Hindu traditions often involve sacrifices of animals & drinking of liquor and such but my testament is that these, unfortunately, became perverted twistings of the original intention of oblations or “sacrifice.”
In the early Latin language the letters “i” and “j” were also identical in form and interchangeable. Thus Jesus can be Isus, Iesus or Isa, which means “Lord.” (Remember all sounds originate from one and just a slight variation in sound evolves a new connotation and thus idea or object.) The word “Christ” pronounced today with a long “i” as in ice was originally phonetically pronounced with more of a short “i” or sometimes “long e” sound similar to the way its pronounced in “Christmas” or as in the church name “St. Katherine Cree.” If you’ve ever heard an Indian person say the word “Krishna” it phonetically is more related to that sound which brings us to our next point.
It has been said that God brought creation into manifestation through his “word” and declaration “Let there be light.” This light is symbolized in the Yajna rituals as fire. It begins with “Manu” from which the words “mind” and “man” have their origination. Man through an “anointing” ritual makes a “sacrifice” of himself by withdrawing his sense-driven mind and casting it into the fire of Cosmic Consciousness or Christ Consciousness. Matthew 6:22 states “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” This light in yoga (union) is seen as the spiritual eye in the forehead between the eyebrows. The spiritual eye is described as a five-pointed silvery-white star surrounded by a dark blue aura encased by a golden halo. In fact, the word “Krishna” is often mistakenly defined as “black” but really just means “dark” thus the connection between the dark blue aura of the spiritual eye and the depiction of Krishna with a dark blue complexion. Dark blue is representative of Divinity. The word “Krishna” comes from Krsna, which means Universal Spirit. Krsi means a generic term for “everything” while “na” means “idea of self.” Together they mean “Everywhere Self” or “Omniscient Spirit.” Thus we see a connection between “Krsna, Khristos, Christus, Christ.” God’s universal presence in all of creation is known as the Krishna or Christ Consciousness, Kutastha Chaitanya, and is the “only begotten son” or sole reflection of God.
Finally, we see the symbolic significance of the ritualistic “anointing” of an individual. In Hinduism the cow, as most people know, is considered a sacred animal for it represents giving forth milk to feed its young. Likewise, God gives forth his “milk” known as the “all-fulfilling milch cow” of happiness to all your desires. This milk from a cow is used to make clarified butter for the Yajna ritual which is to initiate an individual who has eternally pierced the spiritual eye and thus has made his body full of light through the purification process of spiritual baptism by fire. The formal rite in India of pouring clarified butter (ghee) into fire is symbolic of uniting life energy with cosmic energy. In these rituals, the clarified butter or “anointing oil” is placed on the forehead representing the spiritual eye or ajna chakra. Perhaps the lack of availability of cows as the Aryans traveled further west is the reason why the clarified butter was simply replaced by various oils such as from olives, which was much more readily available.
There is significant evidence to suggest that this Vedic culture was once very prominent and spread further east towards China and also further west influencing the Sumerians, Hebrews and as far west as Egypt. Anyone who has studied these cultures knows they were very ritualistic. As stated previously, Jesus was known to “baptize with fire” while John baptized with water. The Yajna rituals use both fire and water. The water is often used to symbolically cleanse the person. The “fire” burns up the man’s karmic bonds, purifying the heart, and the soul becomes united in Omnipresent Christ Consciousness. The ego-driven man no longer exists and the soul remains becoming the living embodiment of the Christ Consciousness. These “liberated” souls make a “sacrifice” of themselves and their bodily powers to God’s service and work in sin-lessness thus earning the titles of “Anointed Ones” or Devas – “Shining Ones.”
And so to come full circle, this reminds us of why we should truly recognize the “Christ” in Christmas. Jesus became a living example that we should all strive to achieve through sacrifice of selfish gain. He was a true embodiment of the “Christ Consciousness” and “Divinely Anointed” to be a shining star and light upon the Earth. If you believe Jesus died so our sins can be forgiven then there is nothing wrong with that. However, don’t let his death be an excuse for you to not strive to follow the example of his life. Recognize he “saved” us with his life so that we may strive to emulate his love; for it was Jesus who stated “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through THEIR word; that they ALL may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, they also may be ONE IN US: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that THEY may be one, even as we are one” John 17:20-22.