Isa al-Mesih
Jesus, the Messiah

Who is Jesus Christ?

by Memsuah Mansoor

In the Arabic language two words are used for Jesus. One is Isa, the other is Yesuah. An interesting title is used with this name. It is the title al-Mesih. In Arabic a person who is anointed can be called a mamsuah. This means "one who is anointed." It refers to a person anointed by another human being. However, Jesus Christ is referred to in the Arabic as al-Mesih. Mesih means "most anointed" and "one who has the ability to anoint others." Mesih is used to show that the person is actually anointed by God and therefore carries the authority of God as he is obedient to God. A person who is anointed is one who is chosen and appointed to a specific work or position and then given what is needed to do what he is appointed to do or be what he is appointed to be. Al is the equivalent of "the" in English and refers to "that which is like no other." In the Taurat, Zabur and Sahaif-e-Anbia (Old Testament) the Hebrew term "the Messiah" is used for "the anointed one." In the Injil (New Testament) the Greek term "the Christ" is used for "the anointed one." They both have the same meaning as al-Mesih, "the most anointed one who has the power and authority to anoint others."

In the Holy Bible and also in the Qur'an Jesus Christ is clearly presented as the Messiah (al-Mesih). Since Jesus Christ is al-Mesih, what was he anointed with? The Holy Bible tells us that his anointing was the anointing of the Holy Spirit. This is why he is sometimes called the Ruh-hu-allah, the Spirit of God. This is confirmed by the fact that, while the Qur'an, the Hadiths, and the Holy Bible all claim that other prophets have sinned, none of them ever claim that the Jesus Christ, the Messiah (al-Mesih), sinned or even made a mistake. This Spirit actually anointed his body to live a perfect life and act with the power and authority of God. This is confirmed by the fact that neither the Qur'an, the Hadiths, nor the Holy Bible ever claim that the Messiah (al-Mesih), unlike any other human being, ever sinned or even made a mistake. This Spirit actually anointed his body to live a perfect life and act with the power and authority of God.

There are a number of people mentioned in the Holy Bible who had a special relationship with God, an anointing by God, giving them the title "son of God." One of these was Adam. He was a "son . . . of God." (Injil, Luke 3:23, 38) God had a special relationship with him. God created Adam and breathed into him the breath of life. (Taurat, Genesis 2:7) Adam and Eve were created sinless or innocent and could communicate with God. They were also given authority to rule over all living creatures in the sea, the air and on the earth. (Taurat, Genesis 1:26)

A king who was anointed by the authority of God also had a special relationship with God and were called "God's son." This is shown in Psalm 2 where God's anointed king is called his "son." King Saul, King David and King Solomon were all anointed by God. They were anointed by the Spirit of God to be kings over God's people. This anointing changed King Saul's character. (Anbia, 1 Samuel 10:1, 9-11) King David received the Spirit of God in power. (Anbia, 1 Samuel 16:13) God called Solomon his son and Solomon was promised the continual love and wisdom of God. (Anbia, 2 Samuel 7:12-16, Anbia, 1Kings 3:5-14)

So who really is Jesus the Messiah (al-Mesih)? The Holy Scriptures tell us he is a King. You may have heard that some people call Jesus Christ a "son." Is he really a "son?" If so, what kind of "son" is he? If anointed kings (mesih) were called "sons," is it proper to call the anointed Messiah, (al-Mesih) a "son"? The word "son" can be used in different ways. Sometimes the Holy Bible uses it in the physical sense, sometimes in the spiritual or figurative sense. The word "son" can be used in all of these senses in the Holy Bible, but it never means that God had a wife. This is a common misunderstanding among Muslims who are led to believe by their own leaders that this "sonship" is the result of a physical relationship between God and Mary. This, however, is not what the Holy Bible teaches. When referring to the Lord Jesus Christ, this term is used in the spiritual sense and simply refers to a special relationship through an anointing by God. It is a term of great honour and expresses a special choosing.

It is clear that al-Mesih, Jesus Christ is an anointed king, but is it really true that Isa al-Mesih is "Jesus, the one and only Son of God"? If we look carefully we will see that the meaning is the same. Both terms mean an anointing by God. The reason why a king was called a son in the Zabur and Sahaif-e-Anbia, was because God chose him to rule over his people. The spiritual anointing, giving him authority and power, was demonstrated by a physical anointing. The words Messiah, Christ and Mesih, mean, "anointed one." In the Injil, one of Jesus' disciples, the Apostle Peter, connected these two terms together. He said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Injil, Matthew 16:16) Jesus' reply was, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven." (Injil, Matthew 16:17) Are we faithful to the true meaning of Isa al-Mesih?

When Jesus came, he was called "the Son of God." Notice that he wasn't simply called "a son of God." The angel Gabriel said to Miriam, (Mary) the mother of Jesus, " ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God’." (Injil, Luke 1:35) In the presence of many people, a voice came from heaven saying, " 'You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.' " (Injil, Luke 3:21-22) Many times this phrase is used of Jesus. What does it mean? It refers to a special relationship with God. He is not just "a son of God;" he is "the Son of God." He is referred to in the Bible as God's "one and only Son." (Injil, John 3:16) The word for "one and only" in the original language of the Injil means "unique" or "best-beloved." He was the unique Son of God because he was the Spirit of God clothed in human flesh.

We have seen that in order to be a "son," one needs to have a special anointing. In the case of Adam, God breathed into him the breath of life. He was anointed with the breath of life. In the case of King Saul, his character changed. The Prophet David was given power by God. The Prophet Soloman was loved by God and given special wisdom.

We have also seen that the Hebrew word, Messiah, actually means "anointed one." This is important. Understanding Jesus Christ as "the Son of God," begins with acknowledging the fact that he is the Messiah (al-Mesih). According to the prophets who lived hundreds of years before Jesus Christ, the Messiah would be a man who would speak and act with the power and authority of God and would also be called with the names of God Almighty.

You may be thinking, "This is all too confusing. God would never use a term so confusing as 'the Son of God' to describe Isa al-Mesih!" Please consider this. In Pakistan and even in the Arab world, if a man's only child is a daughter, if she brings him great honour, if she bears his character or resemblance or if he simply loves his daughter dearly he may say, "This is my son." When a man is asked why he would call his daughter, his son, the frequent response is this, "Because of affection." The affection that a firstborn son would normally hold in his father's heart is the affection that this man holds for his daughter. The question is, "What kind of affection is this? What does it entail?" Physically, she is not his son at all! She's his daughter! But everyone knows exactly what he means. She came from him and submits to him. He loves her dearly like no other child, and may give her a special inheritance. To be called a "son" in this way is a great honour.

The same is true with Jesus Christ. God's love for him was very unique. Never before had he loved anyone like he loved Jesus Christ. God himself spoke from heaven saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" (Injil, Matthew 17:5) All that God had was shared with Jesus Christ--his character, his power, his eternal love. Jesus Christ submitted to God and proved this by healing people of their illnesses, forgiving sin, and finally rising from the dead as he said he would. He has also promised to raise you and me from death to eternal life if we trust in him alone to bring us to God. He will change our character, and will call us his "sons," not because we deserve it, but because of his love for us. He will anoint us as his "sons" and give us the inheritance of his spirit and eternal life. In the Injil it says, "Yet all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." (Injil, John 1:12-13) God desires to anoint us with his eternal love. A Muslim man was talking to the author of this article one day and emphatically said, "There is no relationship between God and Jesus!" to which the author said, "That's right there is no physical relationship between God and Jesus, but you did say a few minutes ago that Jesus is the "ruh-hu-allah," right? To this the Muslim man agreed. "So whose Spirit is this?" It was agreed that it was God's Spirit. "And who was it given to?" It was agreed that it was given to Jesus. "So was it still God's Spirit even though it is in Jesus Christ?" To this the Muslim man just smiled. He knew the point the author was about to make, "So if God's Spirit lives in Jesus, while still remaining God's Spirit, then there is a relationship between God and Jesus, definitely not a physical relationship, but certainly a spiritual relationship!" Since it was God's Spirit it was God who chose to put his own Spirit within Jesus Christ. This Spirit continued to be God's Spirit even while dwelling in Jesus. God who is spirit, continued to be God. This is obvious, but it is also very revealing, because it shows us the greatness of God and Jesus Christ. It also proves that the God who chose to have his spirit dwell in Christ, can dwell in those God choses to anoint.

Should a person believe that Isa al-Mesih is "Jesus, the one and only Son of God" without doing further study? Is there more evidence to support this belief? The next two sections answer these questions. As you continue to read, please remember what you have just learned about the true meaning of "the Son of God" in the Holy Bible.



The Messiah, al-Mesih

in the Writings of the Prophets


In the Qur'an those regarded as prophets are called servants. In the Zabur and Sahaif-e-Anbia an anointed king, (messiah) was also called a servant. Prophets and other godly men are also called servants in the Zabur and Sahaif-e-Anbia. A servant was someone who was chosen and appointed to work for his master. Everything he did was to be in submission to his Lord. If the king was anointed by the command of God, then he was referred to as God's servant. 2 Chronicles 6:42, in the Anbia says, "O LORD God, do not reject your anointed one. Remember the great love promised to David your servant." Here the prophet David equates these two terms. Again he says, "For the sake of David your servant, do not reject your anointed one." (Zabur, Psalms 132:10) God himself equates these two terms, "I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him." (Zabur, Psalms 89:20) Great promises were made to his servant, King David. God said, "I will not take my love from him," (Zabur, Psalm 89:33) His line would "continue forever." (Zabur, Psalm 89:36) Other times David was referred to as God's servant or God's anointed. (Anbia, 2 Samuel 3:18; 19:21; Anbia, 1 Kings 11:34, 36, 38; Zabur, Psalms 89:50, 51; Anbia, Jeremiah 33:25-26) These terms were also used for King Saul. (Anbia, 1 Samuel 10:1; Anbia, 1 Samuel 26:16)

These two terms, "servant" and "anointed" were used to refer to the Messiah as well. This servant is referred to by God through the prophet Isaiah, " 'Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight: I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.' " (Anbia, Isaiah 42:1) This verse contains the same message we saw quoted earlier about Jesus Christ that was given by the voice that spoke from heaven at Jesus’ baptism and transfiguration. Isaiah continued to write God’s message about his servant,

This is what God the Lord says--he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: "I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness." (Anbia, Isaiah 42:5-7)

God goes on to tell us about this servant,

"See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted." (Anbia, Isaiah 52:13) "Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and he satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities." (Anbia, Isaiah 53:10-11)

As we see he was no ordinary servant; he was God's righteous servant. Other servants make mistakes from time to time, but Jesus Christ, as God's righteous servant, never once make a mistake, making him the Servant of all servants.

When the Lord Jesus Christ came, "servant" and "anointed" were used to refer to him. In a prayer, the apostles of Jesus quoted from the second Psalm of David where God calls the anointed King his "Son," " 'Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.' " (Injil, Acts 4:25, 26) In that same prayer they said, " 'Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.' " (Injil, Acts 4:27) Here Jesus is referred to as God's servant; not just a servant, but God's holy servant. "Holy" means "set apart for a special purpose." In the writings of the prophets, the anointed servant, Messiah, was of a higher rank than the other "servants". (Anbia, Isaiah 42-53) In the Injil, the Lord Jesus Christ proved to be this holy servant by his life, teaching and miracles.



The Christ, al-Mesih

in the Injil


As we have seen, the Messiah who was foretold by the prophets, was the human being most highly and uniquely anointed with the power and spirit of God. We have seen a few scriptures from the Holy Bible that point to this fact. But are these isolated references or is there really a wealth of evidence to support these facts?

I have searched for the answer to that question. In my search, I have discovered that long ago others were also searching to find out who Jesus Christ really was. God has revealed in the Injil the answers they found. Did they really understand that another term for the Christ, (al-Mesih), was the Son of God? Here is what I found:

The Apostle Peter, a disciple of Jesus, said to Jesus, " 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' " (Injil, Matthew 16:16) Jesus' reply was, " 'Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.' " (Injil, Matthew 16:17)

The Apostle John, the writer of the Gospel of John, also confirmed that "the Son of God" referred to "the Christ." He wrote, "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. . . ." (Injil, John 20:31)

The sister of the man whom Jesus raised from the dead said, " 'Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.' " (Injil, John 11:27 ) ) These were not new concepts to them but had been written by the prophets centuries before and had been anticipated for years. Before and during the Lord Jesus Christ's life on earth, there was a group of men (Essenes) who dedicated their lives to the study and copying of the scriptures. In their study, they saw that the Messiah, the Root of Jesse, the Prophet like unto Moses, the Righteous Servant, the Righteous One, the Son of God, the Son of Man, the King and the Branch of David described in the Taurat, Zabur and the Sahaif-e-Anbia would be the same person. Before Jesus Christ was born they recognized that the Messiah was soon to come. As a result they felt it their responsibility to make people of their day aware of the fact that the Taurat, Zabur and the Sahaif-e-Anbia revealed the Messiah as the spiritual Son of God.

In the writings of the Prophets (Sahaif-e-Anbia), the Messiah was presented as a King. An ordinary king who was anointed by the authority of God was called a "son" of God. Since he was anointed he was also called a messiah. In light of this, Nathanael, another of Jesus' disciples, said, " 'Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.' " (Injil, John 1:49)

Luke, the writer of the Gospel of Luke, quotes the demons as saying about Jesus, " 'You are the Son of God.' " (Injil, Luke 4:41) Luke then describes Jesus' action, "But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ." (Injil, Luke 4:41)

At Jesus' trial he was questioned extensively,

At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. "If you are the Christ," they said, "tell us." Jesus answered, "If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer. But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God." They all asked, "Are you then the Son of God?" He replied, "You are right in saying I am." Then they said, "Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips." Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, "We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king." (Injil, Luke 22:66-23:2)

They asked him if he was the Christ. He said he was the Son of Man. They knew if he would say that he was also the Son of God, they would have their answer because it had been revealed to the prophets that the Messiah would be a man anointed by God to forgive sin and rule with power. Upon his testimony that he was the Son of God, he confirmed that he was the Christ (al-Mesih).

The disciple Matthew verifies this account. When Jesus was questioned by the Jewish high priest, the priest said, " 'Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.' " (Injil, Matthew 26:63) Even though the priest was an enemy of Christ and did not believe Jesus was the Christ, the priest, like others, understood that these two terms had the same meaning and spoke of the same person. This is shown by the meanings of the words themselves but also from the grammatical structure of the sentence.

The Apostle Paul testified that the term "the Son of God" was "the Christ." (Injil, Galatians 2:20; Injil, Ephesians 4:13) He also confirmed that Jesus Christ was the spiritual Son of God, " . . . who was to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God, by his resurrection from the dead. . . ." (Injil, Romans 1:3-4)

Many more people testified that the person Jesus Christ, himself, really was the Son of God. (Injil, Mark 1:1; Injil, Acts 8:37; Injil, Acts 9:20; Injil, Romans 1:4, Injil, 2 Corinthians 1:19; Injil, Hebrews 4:14; Injil, 1 John 4:15; Injil, 1 John 5:20)

It was obvious to the people that Jesus Christ claimed to be the Son of God. Some were skeptical and some believed. Yet whether they believed or not, they knew, from reading the Taurat, Zabur and Sahaif-e-Anbia, what kind of power the Son of God would have. He would be more than an ordinary prophet. He would be more than an ordinary king. He would be God's holy servant. Nothing would be too difficult for him. The Injil tells us more about him. He had the angels at his command. (Injil, Matthew 4:6) He had power over nature. (Injil, Matthew 14:31-33; 27:54) His manner of life was different from any man. (Injil, Mark 15:39) He should be honoured. (Injil, Hebrews 6:6) He would be an eternal priest. (Injil, Hebrews 7:3) He would destroy the work of the devil. (Injil, 1 John 3:8) He would give eternal life to those who trust him. (Injil, 1 John 5:12)

The Holy Bible (Taurat, Zabur, Sahaif-e-Anbia and Injil) clearly teaches that the Christ, the Messiah, al-Mesih, was the unique King, not a king for just one ethnic group, but the King for all mankind. We see that the "the Son of God," "the Messiah," "the Christ," and al-Mesih, all mean an "anointing by God." They are also connected with the idea of "God's unique King." They are used together and in place of each other by friends and foes of Jesus Christ.

The Holy Bible goes further to present how Jesus Christ, himself, is the Christ, (al-Mesih) the beloved Son of God. But many of the same people who claim to revere Jesus as al-Mesih, mock him as the Son of God. It causes God great sadness that many people do not understand the honour of the great name of Jesus Christ, even though it is so clear in God's Word. In doing so they miss the blessing that he wants to give them because they misunderstand the authority, power and love he has, which allows him to give them what they long for the most, forgiveness of sin which results in acceptance by God. How can this be?

The Scriptures say,

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. (Injil, James 3:9-12)

Let us understand the true nature of Jesus Christ, the Son of God as al-Mesih. Let us bless him not only with the honour God blessed him with, but since he is al-Mesih, let him anoint us with his love and let him give us a new life.

The Injil says,

Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. (Injil, 1 Peter 1:10-12)

The message about Jesus Christ in the Holy Bible is a consistent message from front to back. To know more about al-Mesih and the acceptance and forgiveness he offers, write the author.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NIV®, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by IBS. All rights reserved.

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