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TITLES AND DESIGNATIONS

Numerous titles and designations are applied to Christ in the New Testament; the following list contains some of the major ones, but it is not exhaustive. Together the various references establish something of a Christology and communicate facts about the life and teaching of Christ.

   Jesus – the name given by the angel to Joseph (Matt. 1:21); it is the earthly name of the heavenly Christ, He who came to earth and assumed flesh; “Jesus” is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew “Joshua,” which literally means “Yahweh is salvation” or “Salvation is of the Lord”; it affirms that salvation is the work of God—Yahweh will save; thus, salvation is not of man but is of Deity; the saving of man is the deed of God, the doing of God.

   Christ – the word is a title, not a name, though in the popular sense it has come to be used in combination as a double name: Jesus Christ; “Christ” is the transliteration of the Greek word, Christos, while “Messiah” translates the Hebrew word, Mashiah; both words convey the idea of being “anointed”; to be “Christ” is to be “the Anointed One,” anointed to accomplish the purpose of God, and anointed because He is God; Matt. 16:13-18; Mk. 8:27-30; 14:61-62; Jo. 1:41; also see: Lu. 4:16-21; Acts 10:38; Rom. 9:5; the proper understanding is that Jesus is the Christ.

   Son of Man – used by Jesus of Himself approx. 80 times: Matt. 8:20; 10:23; 16:13; 19:28; Mk. 2:10, 28; 8:38; Lu. 9:18; Jo. 1:51; 3:13-15; 6:27, 53, 61-61; the title speaks of His humanity, His relationship to the Father, and of His authority, especially eschatological authority; mainly a reference to Dan. 7:13-14; used by others of Him in Acts 7:56; Rev. 1:13; 14:14; see: Self-Designation.

Some pseudo-scholarship dismisses the Son of Man statements as lacking authenticity; but such denial is not the implication of exegetical considerations but predicated on presuppositions that such self-affirmations by Christ are improbable, if not impossible; these musings are not appropriate for one who submits to the authority of Scripture, an authority which does not allow such caviler handling of the Text; Scripture is either binding or it is nothing at all.

   Son of God – used 124 times in the New Testament (Matt. 8::29; 11:25-27; 16:16; 27:43, 54; Mk. 13:32; 14:61; 15:39; Heb. 7:3; Rev. 2:18); used mostly by others of Christ: by the Father at baptism and transfiguration (MK. 1:11; 9:7); by Peter (Matt. 16:16); demons (Mk. 5:7); the centurion (Mk. 15:39); the title speaks of Christ’s relationship to the Father, therefore, of His Deity; the title also provides insight into the relationship of the Persons within the Trinity, albeit that relationship cannot be defined with specificity—there is more mystery than knowledge.

   Word – (Jo. 1:1, 14; the Gr. is logos); speaks of Christ’s preexistence, Deity, and person; a strong Trinitarian word; see Rev. 19:13; in Greek thought the Logos was an abstract or impersonal rational power that provided structure and harmony for the universe, and it was considered to be logic or reason; in the first few centuries of the Church among the Gnostics and Neo-Platonists the Logos was one of the intermediaries between God and the creation; but in the Scriptures the Logos is personal and is identified as God (within the Word is the concept of differentiation and the concept of identification); “Word” has a certain mystery associated with it, for it refers both to who Christ is and to what Christ says: He is the Word and He speaks the Word, the Word of God; therefore, who He is and what He says cannot be separated.

   Lord – most often used by Paul  (Col. 1:16-17; Phil. 2:9-11; I Cor. 15:27); Jesus is identified with YHWH (God’s self-revelation of His own name) of the Old Testament; therefore, Christ is identified with Deity; this one word affirms without question the Deity of Christ, and this single word also relates Jewish thought to Christian belief, with the former providing the foundation for the latter.

Less frequent Designations:

   Immanuel – means “God with us”; states emphatically the Deity of Christ, meaning that God has appeared as man among men; appears in Matt. 1:23; source is the Old Testament (Isa. 7:14).

   the Lamb of God – Jo. 1:29, 36; the title reflects on the fact and manner of sacrifice in the Old Testament, and relates those sacrifices to the sacrifice of Christ for the sin of man; man cannot pay the price for his sin, if it is to be paid, it must be paid by Another; see: Heb. 9-10.

   the Savior of the world – Jo. 4:42; Jesus is the Savior, and the Savior of the world; the word, “world,” speaks in a general sense and not in an exhaustive sense, perhaps the world in the sense of Rom. 8:19-22 or the world in the sense of Jew and Gentile; Christ is spoken of as “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Lu. 2:11) by the angel announcing His birth; see: Acts 5:31 and Tit. 1:3-4.

   Shepherd – Jesus is the good shepherd who gives His life for the sheep (Jo. 10:11; see: Mk. 14:27; Heb. 13:20; I Pet. 5:4); He is also the “Door” of the sheep (Jo. 10:7).

   Rabbi – Jesus is the Instructor, the revealer of the Truth about God and the ways of God (Matt. 26:25, 49; Mk. 9:5; 11:21; 14:45; Jo. 1:38, 49; 3:2; 4:31; 6:25; 9:2).

   Prophet – Jo. 1:21; 6:14; 7:40; Acts 3:23; 7:37.

   Last Adam – I Cor. 15:45; what was lost in Adam is gained in Christ; the first Adam is associated with sin and death; the last Adam is associated with salvation and life; if the latter Person is historical then surely the former person must also be historical: a real Adam (Christ) on the Cross and a real Adam in Eden.

   Alpha and Omega – reference to the first and last letter of the Greek alphabet; Jesus is the beginning and the end, meaning all things are complete in Him (Rev. 1:17-18; 2:8; 21:6; 22:13); in Him is the fullness of Deity; and in Him is eternity: He is without origin and without termination.

   King of Kings and Lord of Lords – the title of the returning, judging, ruling Christ, who is also called “Faithful and True” (Rev. 19:11-16).

Additionally Jesus is called:

   “the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1); “Ruler” (Matt. 2:6); “Teacher” (Mk. 14:14; Jo. 13:13-14); “Son of Adam” (Lu. 3:38); “Lord of the Sabbath” (Lu. 6:5); “the Light” (Jo. 1:6-9); “the Bread of Life” (Jo. 6:35, 41, 48, 51); “I Am” (Jo. 9:58); “the Resurrection and the Life” (Jo. 11:25); “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (Jo. 14:6); “the Vine” (Jo. 15:1, 5); “the Prince and Savior” (Acts 5:31); “the Holy One of God” (Mk. 1:24; Lu. 4:34); also see additional designations: Matthew to John and Acts to Revelation.


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