By Charles H. Welch
The Greek word Christos is the translation of the Hebrew Mashiach ‘Messiah’, both meaning ‘anointed’. In the Old Testament a prophet, a priest and a king were anointed, and these three titles are included under the all-covering term ‘Christ’. The employment of the names and titles ‘Jesus’, ‘Jesus Christ’ and ‘Christ Jesus’ is an index of the line of teaching which discriminates in their use. Jesus is the most usual name for the Lord during His earthly life, and is only employed by the apostle Paul in exceptional circumstances. We are not, however, attempting an analysis of the names and titles of our Lord generally, in this article, but wish to draw attention to one title of dispensational importance namely ‘Christ Jesus’. The Revised Version, having access to manuscripts that were unknown at the time of the Authorized Version, have made a number of changes, which are significant. In the accompanying concordance, it will be seen that in the A.V. the title ‘Christ Jesus’ is found in Acts 19:4, Hebrews 3:1 and 1 Peter 5:10 and 14, but in the R.V. these four references are excluded, Acts 19:4 and Hebrews 3:1 reading ‘Jesus’ and 1 Peter 5:10 and 14 reading ‘Christ’. Accepting the revised text we discover an important dispensational feature. The title ‘Christ Jesus’.
A concordance of the
differences in the Authorized
The title seems to stress a new aspect of Christ’s position and glory, pointing away to the seated One at the right hand of God, rather than to the One Who walked the earth, and came only to Israel. In all this, of course, it is always the same Person; only the title is changed. The title ‘Son of Man’, for example, has no place in the epistles to the Church, but this does not of course mean that we in any way belittle His perfect humanity. So, in the case of the title ‘Christ Jesus’, it is again the same Person, but we do well to note that this particular title belongs exclusively to the ministry of the apostle Paul.
It is of design and with definite reference to the exclusive nature of the position indicated that Ephesians speaks of those who belong to the Church of the Mystery as being made to sit together in heavenly places ‘in Christ Jesus’ (Eph. 2:6), that when speaking of the high calling of God to the Philippians Paul adds ‘in Christ Jesus’ (Phil. 3:14), or that when speaking of the holy calling of those who were chosen before age-times, he should speak of that purpose and grace that were given to them ‘in Christ Jesus’ (2 Tim. 1:8,9). Just as we have already seen John’s gospel brings one into the family of faith, while Paul’s gospel makes one a son, so here, while all blessings that ever can be enjoyed must flow from the One Mediator between God and man, the distinctive title given to the One Mediator varies according to the dispensational privileges that are being rehearsed, and that to the Church of the one Body the title of the Saviour ‘Christ Jesus’ is of peculiar importance and sanctity.