EARLY CHRISTIAN HISTORY Christianity takes its name from a

Greek translation (Christos) of the

Hebrew word Messiah, which means

‘the anointed one’ and was originally

used to refer to the sacred status accor-

ded to the kings of Israel because their

appointment had been sanctioned by

God. By the time of Jesus there was a

widespread belief among the Jews that

there would come a king who would

restore God’s rule over Israel, and the

first followers of Jesus believed that,

although he had been executed as a

criminal by the Roman authorities, his

resurrection from the dead a few days

later showed that he was, indeed, this

Messiah and that though he had ascended

into heaven he would soon return to the

earth in triumph to establish his king-

dom. Christianity was thus, in its origin,

a development from within Palestinian