The term "Messianic Christianity" is sort of a redundant phrase, since Christianity isn't Christianity without a belief in Jesus Christ. The title "Christ" comes from the Greek word that means "anointed one," and is basically a synonym for the Hebrew-based word "Messiah." Among all professed Christians, the view of the Messiah, or Jesus Christ, varies.
The Prophesied Messiah
Christians point to numerous verses in the Hebrew Scriptures that tell of the coming of a Messiah, including Daniel 9:25, which says: "From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks." Christians have understood the term "weeks" in this verse to refer not to literal weeks but to a longer period of time. Because of verses such as this one, Christians in the first century A.D. were expecting the Messiah's arrival.
The gospel writer John records that the disciple Andrew, after having spent time with Jesus of Nazareth, told his brother Simon Peter, "We have found the Messiah." Apparently, Jesus, through his actions and words -- his teaching, healing and other recorded miracles -- convinced some Jews of that time that he was the Messiah they'd been expecting. Many Jews, though, rejected Jesus as the Messiah, since they were expecting a political liberator, not merely a spiritual teacher. Beyond believing in Jesus as a teacher, though, Christians believe that Jesus Christ died as a sacrifice for their sins. Christians reason that by staying faithful to God even to the point of death after extreme suffering, Jesus gave sinful humans a chance to become reconciled with God.
There's disagreement among Christians about what the Messiah's second coming -- Jesus' second intervention in earthly affairs -- will be like. Some believe, similar to many first-century Jews, that Jesus will come as a political liberator who will establish an earthly government in Israel, "The New Jerusalem." For this reason and others, some political leaders, particularly politicians in the United States, foster a special relationship with Israel. Other Christians, though -- especially Jehovah's Witnesses -- believe that Jesus Christ's second coming will be in the role of a spirit entity and leader of a heavenly government that will destroy all political nations and open the way for a paradise on earth.
This Messianic kingdom -- which, again, some Christians believe will be earthly, and others heavenly -- is to last for 1,000 years. According to Revelation 20:4, faithful Christians will be resurrected to life to be rulers alongside Jesus for 1,000 years. Revelation 5:9,10 predicts that these rulers will "rule... over the earth," apparently until the earthly paradise is brought to completion. Although ideas about the details vary, Christians believe that the Messiah is Jesus Christ, their spiritual leader, who is at the head of a powerful government. And they believe that they must have faith in Jesus as their leader and as a perfect human sacrifice that justifies, or redeems, them in spite of their imperfection.
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