"I who speak to you am he." (John 4:26)

This statement by Jesus came after the Samaritan woman said:
“I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” (John 4:25)

Is Jesus the Messiah?

The word "Messiah" is translated from the Greek word Μεσσίας (messias) and the Hebrew word מָשִׁיחַ (mashiyach). We'll discuss the meanings below.

By all accounts from the New Testament, we find that Jesus was indeed considered Messiah.

But according to the Jewish interpretation, Jesus was not Messiah. This interpretation suggests that the Messiah still has yet to come. 

According to some other sectarian interpretations, Jesus was the Messiah, but Jesus still has to come again to save the faithful. 

So both of these doctrines apparently consider there to be only one Messiah. For the Jewish sect, he has not yet come. For other sects, he came as Jesus but he is coming again.

The key question both of these sectarian interpretations bring up: Why would God – the most Powerful Being in all of existence – only be able to create one Messiah for all of humanity? Is God impotent?

And why would God make everyone wait for that one Messiah - long after most have died? 

And if God will send another Messiah, why hasn’t He? Does God not care about us? Does God not want us to be saved? If so, why would all of His believers have to wait for thousands of years for this one Messiah to come (or come again) - long after their bodies have decomposed?

We can only conclude that both interpretations make no sense. They are interpretive speculation put out by those who claim to have authority from God, but actually don’t.

Let's dispel these erroneous doctrines, using Scripture as our guide:

What does Messiah mean?

The Greek word used in this verse is Mεσσίας (messias) - used only twice in the New Testament, here and in John 1:41 - which means "anointed one" according to Thayer's lexicon.

Other versions of the New Testament (such as NIV and others) translate the Greek word Χριστός (Christos) to "Messiah." But this Greek word also means "anointed" according to Thayer's lexicon. This word has been translated to "Christ" in the King James and some other versions.

Furthermore, the word "Messiah" is only used twice in the Old Testament, in the Book of Daniel. This is translated from the Hebrew word מָשִׁיחַ (mashiyach) as mentioned above.

The Hebrew word for "Messiah" also means "anointed priest" according to Gesenius's lexicon. 

What does anointed mean?

We find a clear description of the meaning of "anointed," "anointed one" and "anointed priest" as we review the Biblical texts:
[God speaking] "Anoint them just as you anointed their father, so they may serve Me as priests. Their anointing will be to a priesthood that will continue for all generations to come." (Exodus 40:15)
[God speaking] "This is the offering Aaron and his sons are to bring to the Lord on the day he is anointed: a tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a regular grain offering, half of it in the morning and half in the evening." (Lev. 6:20)
He poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron's head and anointed him to consecrate him. (Lev 8:12)
The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments. (Lev 16:32)
He must stay there until the death of the high priest, who was anointed with the holy oil. (Num 35:25)
[God speaking] "I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in My heart and mind. I will firmly establish his house, and he will minister before My anointed one always." (1 Samuel 2:35)
When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, "Surely the Lord's anointed stands here before the Lord." (1 Samuel 16:6)
[God speaking] "Do not touch My anointed ones; do my prophets no harm." (1 Chron. 16:22)
[David's prayer, referring to himself as anointed] "O Lord God, do not reject your anointed one. Remember the great love promised to David Your servant." (2 Chron. 6:42)
[David glorifying God and referring to himself] "He gives His king great victories; He shows unfailing kindness to His anointed, to David and his descendants forever." (Psalm 18:50)
[David glorifying God and referring to himself] The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for His anointed one. (Psalm 28:8)
[God, referring to David] "I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him." (Psalm 89:20)
[Isaiah, glorifying God and referring of himself] "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners..." (Isaiah 61:1)
[an angel of God, speaking of Zerubbabel and Zechariah] So he said, "These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth." (Zechariah 4:14)
[Jesus, speaking of himself] "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed..." (Luke 4:14)
Thus we can conclude that God's anointed priest or anointed one is a person who has become a devoted servant of God. Someone God has empowered to represent Him and teach others. 

Using this understanding, we can conclude that God considered all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament as anointed. He considered the priests to be anointed. He considered those who He sent to teach others as anointed.

Why would "anointed one" be used in a singular fashion then, such as in:
"The Lord is the strength of His people, a fortress of salvation for His anointed one." (Psalm 28:8)
Is David speaking of some person in the future? No, David is speaking of himself, in the singular:
Look upon our shield, O God; look with favor on Your anointed one. (Psalm 84:9)
But You have rejected, you have spurned, You have been very angry with Your anointed one. (Psalm 89:38)

Is Messiah a role?

We can see in the Psalms above that David is referring to himself as "anointed one" (Messiah) as if the "anointed one" is a role, title, or position. And we can see that anointing was considered a type of consecreation and God referred to this as a role as he instructed that His priests be anointed.

This means that the anointed one - or Messiah - was considered a role in Scripture. Those who were anointed became God's representatives - His priests. His Messiahs.

Let's use an example. Let's say that a military person has undergone the training and schooling, and has been given the title of "captain."

This person is now addressed as "captain" by both superiors and subordinates. He might also refer to himself to those superiors or subordinates as "your captain," or even "the captain." (e.g., "I am the captain," he says to his soldiers.) Does this mean that there is only one "captain" in the military? Certainly not. There are many who hold the position of "captain," and many in the past have also held the position of "captain."

At the same time, however, there is only one "captain" in any particular unit, and that "captain" is in charge of the unit. Therefore, anyone in the unit can refer to the captain as "the captain" and everyone else will know precisely who he is referring to.

But if someone outside of the unit referred to "the captain," now that would be confusing, because which unit's captain were they referring to?

This is the same issue that has occurred in scripture, and why some have inferred that there is only one Messiah (anointed one).

“Messiah” can also mean “savior.” This specifically refers to the pure loving servant of God who is empowered as a messenger from God to teach us about God. They have been empowered by God to save us, in other words.

A Messiah is a position, not a specific person. God has sent many Messiahs. And He will continue to send Messiahs to earth. God is not impotent. He can produce multiple Messiahs - multiple representatives who can each guide us back to Him. 

Were Jesus' disciples also Messiahs?

We can see the process of anointing in action during the life of Jesus. We see that Jesus baptized his disciples. Baptism is a form of anointing. Oil was not readily available to impoverished preachers. So water was used.

Then we see how Jesus taught his followers and confided with them about God. Then after some time, he instructed those who were ready to teach others:
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. But be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matt. 10:16-20)
The last sentence describes God's mechanism of how God communicates through His empowered representatives.

Now why would Jesus tell his followers to go out and teach if he were the one and only Messiah or savior for humanity? Why would he send his students out to preach if he was saving the entire human race with his crucifixion, or by his coming back sometime in the future?

As we compare this statement by Jesus with the statement by Jesus about himself in Luke 4:14 (above), we can see the pattern. We also see this same pattern in John the Baptist's preaching, and in the many prophets before. They all taught about God, and taught that their serious followers also go out and teach the same teachings. They were all God's messengers, and thus Messiahs.

Quite simply, we can see that Jesus is showing his followers how they can also become representatives of God. They can also, like Jesus, become an instrument for God to speak through. This also means they would be able to save people: they would, as long as they followed Jesus' instructions, also become saviors or Messiahs.

What is the Messiah's purpose?

The Messiah has a personal relationship with God, and introduces others to God. And should we accept that introduction we become saved.

The legend of some future one and only Messiah has been promulgated by those teachers who are not anointed. They have not been empowered by God. Instead, they have been elected by councils of men. Thus their teachings are political in nature. They do not represent God, so they must make up an interpretation that somehow gives their organization some exclusive right or power. They have to present their organization as the exclusive means to reach God.

The problem becomes, how do they create this exclusive access? They must create a future icon who is supposedly going to come in the future. This gives them the ability to fabricate exclusivity. This gives them the ability to say that once the Messiah comes he will only be picking those who have joined this organization.

Consider the consequences of this future one and one Messiah: What has happened for all those billions of people over the centuries who have come and gone (and even joined the organization) while humanity waits for the Messiah to come (or come again)? Have they just missed the boat? Or are they all just waiting in some kind of gigantic “waiting room” for that magical day to come?

The speculative idea that everyone get held in some kind of waiting room (or “purgatory” some like to call it) after death is just that: speculation.

When we, each a spirit-person, leave the physical body at death, we will move on. In most cases, this will mean a new physical body according to their consciousness and past activities. Typically there is a period of reflection on the previous life and some learning experiences between our physical incarnations. These add to the learning experiences of our physical lifetimes.

God loves us. He wants us to come home. He is constantly sending His messengers (Messiahs) to gather up those who are seeking Him from every generation.

And the day of judgment spoken of in scripture is the day each of our bodies dies. Each of us will be judged for our lifetime in the body. At that moment we will face the judgment of our Maker, and face the consequences of our activities within this lifetime.

At the same time, each of us has an opportunity to come home at any time. We simply have to make the decision. God is waiting for us, out of love and compassion. If we make the decision to come home to Him, God will arrange for us to meet His representative, who will re-introduce us to Him.

Does God require exclusivity?

The real Messiah of God does not fabricate exclusivity. Why not? Because the empowered representative of God doesn't need to. God's representatives do not teach exclusive means to access God. They teach that any one of us can turn to God and access Him at any time.

God does not require exclusivity. Any of us can pray to God and thus access Him at any time.

Yes, the most efficient way to discover more about God from within this physical world is from someone who already has a loving relationship with God. Knowing more about God is critical. Love of God requires that we establish a relationship, and we cannot love someone we do not know.

But there is no need to panic. Each of us also has a spiritual guide outside this world who is helping guide us back to the Supreme Being. We can speed this process through humble prayer. The Supreme Being can reveal Himself to us as He wishes, relative to our sincerity. He is never restricted.

Yes, Messiahs are rare in this world. This is because the physical world is the place where those who don't want to be with God go. 

That is why the Supreme Being also provided us with Scripture, to be able to look back in time to understand the teachings of those Messiahs He has sent us in the past.

One who sincerely seeks to return home and renew our lost loving relationship with the Supreme Being can seek Him from within our hearts. God will guide us towards Him and utilize those guides He considers appropriate.

We can rest assured that God cares about each and every one of us. He is watching over us, and wants the best for us.