Translating 'Christ' Matthew 22:41-46

Who does God say that Jesus is?

by Edward Langenback

© 04/29/03

After Simon Peter's great confession where he declares that Jesus is The 'Christ' (Anointed One), Son of The Living God, the word 'Christ' is not seen again until Matthew 22. Here we find Jesus teaching in the temple. After He relates several parables, groups of Pharisees and Sadducees come to Him with trick questions trying to catch Him saying or teaching something that they could use against Him. After Jesus answers their questions without making the slightest mistake, He asks them one of His own.

Matthew 22:41-46, "While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions."

The first question that comes to mind is "Why were they not able to answer Him?". The answer is because they had no understanding of the true nature of The Anointed One (Christ, Messiah) that Jesus asked them about and because they could not accept what He pointed out to them.

Starting with what they did understand, we can learn what they did not. They knew that God's Anointed One would be a descendant of the lineage of David. What Jesus pointed out to them was that David himself called this descendant 'Lord'. In fact, He called him much more than merely 'Lord'

Psalms 110:1, "<A Psalm of David.> The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."

To fully understand what Jesus is talking about when He refers to this scripture, we have to take a look at the original Hebrew text. The phrase "The LORD said unto my Lord" in the King James is translated from three Hebrew words: "Y@hovah n@'um 'adown"

Y@hovah {pronounced yeh-ho-vaw'} [strongs number 03068] meaning: the existing One, the eternal self existing God. (literally "I AM THAT I AM")

n@'um {pronounced neh-oom'} [strongs number 05002] and means utterance, declaration, revelation, said

'adown {pronounced aw-done' (alternate pronounciation: Adonai)} [strongs number 0113] and means lord, master, the Lord God, Lord of the whole earth, my lord, my master my Lord, my Lord and my God

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia has the following definition for Adonai:

a-do'-ni, ad-o-na'-i ('adhonay): A Divine name, translated "Lord," and signifying, from its derivation, "sovereignty." Its vowels are found in the Massoretic Text with the unpronounceable tetragrammaton YHWH; and when the Hebrew reader came to these letters, he always substituted in pronunciation the word " 'adhonay." Its vowels combined with the tetragrammaton form the word "Yahweh (Yahweh)."

This leaves Psalm 110 with an opening phrase that has much more power in it than we thought:

"God said to God"

This translation is supported by an examination of the Greek text used where Jesus quoted Psalm 110:1

Matthew 22:44, "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?"

Of particular interest here are the Greek words that the phrase "The Lord said unto my Lord" was translated from. The first word "Lord" is translated from kurios {pronounced koo'-ree-os} [strongs number 2962] God, master, lord, sovereign, prince, chief, he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding. The next Greek word in this phrase is epo {pronounced ep'-o} [strongs number 2036] and means to speak, say. The word "my" is translated from the Greek word mou {pronounced moo} [strongs number 3450] and means I, me, my, of me. Very important to note here is that the second use of the word "Lord" in this phrase is rendered from the same Greek word as the first: kurios [see above].

This gives us a Greek phrase "kurios epo mou kurios", which translates "God said to my God".

Now it's possible to see more of what Jesus is talking about and why the pharissees did not accept it. Jesus clearly pointed out to them that while other prophecies showed Messiah would be decsended from him, that David was showing that He (Messiah) would also be God Himself. This meant that Messiah would actually be a man who was also divine, He would literally be the Son of the Most High. This left them both speechless and angry. They were speechless because He had once again shown that He knew scripture better than they did and they knew full well that He had brought to light something that they had not even considered. They were furious because this had the effect of making Him more of an authority than they believed themselves to be. Just as their traditions had made the word of God of no effect, the word of God in the person of Jesus made their traditional authority of no effect.

If we allow God to show us the fullness of what He has been telling us since Adam and Eve had to leave the garden, we can begin to live the lives of righteousness, forgiveness, power, freedom, joy, love and prosperity that God has given us in Jesus The Anointed One and His Anointing.

The thing to remember most is the message that Jesus preached everywhere He went (Luke 4:16-30). His primary message is that He is Anointed. After Jesus ascended into heaven and the apostles received the Holy Spirit this is the same message that they preached.

Acts 10:38, "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him."

This message is the central element of the ministry of Jesus, His miracles, His resurrection, and our salvation. God loves us so much that He gave and in that giving He settled for nothing less than the very best He has to give . . . Himself. The "Gospel of Christ" truly is "The good news of the Anointed One and His Anointing"


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