Shalom! My name is Adam Pastor

Welcome to ADONI MESSIAH which means
"My Lord Messiah" -
a fitting epithet to who Jesus (or Yeshua) is!

Here, I attempt to present the Apostolic Truths according to the Scriptures, that there is
One GOD, the Father, namely, YAHWEH,
and One Lord, GOD's only begotten Son,
Yeshua the Messiah.

And that one day YAHWEH will send His Son back to Earth to inaugurate the Everlasting Kingdom of GOD


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Our “Lord” is not our “God”

Here is another article (slightly edited) by Mark, the author of the previous post (please see: Did our “God” Die on the Cross?)
Our “Lord” is not our “God”
There are quite a few theories that try to reconcile why Jesus is not specifically called “God” in Scripture with the possible exceptions of the few contested verses we have discussed elsewhere, even though it is argued that He equally deserves this title in spite of this fact. One argument is that the authors of Scripture were simply ignorant of this truth:
“If His followers lagged in recognizing His deity, this was not because He was not God or did not sufficiently manifest His deity. It was because they were foolish and slow of heart to believe what lay patently before their eyes.” -Warfield, B.B., Princeton Theological Seminary;”The Deity of Christ.”
So these Spirit-lead authors drafting Scripture oftentimes years after their earthly experience with Jesus and the apostles who directly learned from Jesus were just “foolish?” ... This is a difficult argument for me to wrap my mind around given that we are entrusting these “foolish followers” with essentially channeling God’s Spirit to convey all of God’s truths to us. So this justification doesn’t make much sense to me. Another popular argument is that they intentionally avoided this title for Jesus. This theory usually mirrors that of the following Trinitarian authors:
“Critics of the doctrine of the deity of Jesus often ask why, if Jesus is God, the New Testament does not refer to him more often as God. The answer is twofold. First, the New Testament writers were generally very careful to avoid making statements that would have implied that Jesus was the Father. While affirming Jesus’ divine status in many ways, they maintained a clear distinction between the persons of the Father and the Son. Since they commonly applied the name ‘God’ to the Father, they tended not to use that name for Jesus except in ways that did not confuse the two persons. The second reason is that the theological and religious roots of the New Testament were deeply monotheistic, and its authors sought to affirm Jesus’ deity in ways that people would not perceive as undermining their Jewish monotheistic heritage.”-Bowman & Komoszewski; “Putting Jesus in His Place,” p 144
So let’s consider what these authors are proposing. They are claiming that the New Testament writers were actually strategically avoiding this title for Jesus although they believed using it for Him was essential for our faith!? These authors believe again that in their Spirit-lead wisdom, the followers of Jesus couldn’t conceive of a way to clarify to those seeking answers one of the “basic truths” of Christianity, and so they chose to avoid it? They couldn’t say, “Yes, the Father is God, but Jesus is fully God too, they are actually both the one true God.” The early Christian creeds and Church fathers seemed to articulate this theory easily enough once it was agreed upon. And what about quotes like “I and the Father are one” and “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father?” If they were so afraid to call Jesus “God” because of the possible implication that they were saying He was the Father, how did quotes of Jesus like these creep into Scripture? These quotes seem to look without the context of the rest of Scripture as if Jesus was actually making this exact claim that it is argued that they were trying so diligently to avoid, that He “was” the Father as Modalists assert? And were the authors of Scripture so afraid of identifying Jesus as the Father that they completely avoided conveying this “truth” of a complicated multiple-party God to us in all of Scripture? Explaining this awkward theory of a collective “God-unit” was never even attempted!? Are we really ready to argue that although the authors of Scripture believed this concept was the central tenet of our faith, they chose rather to avoid the topic altogether?
But then in the chapter following the one quoted above by Bowman and Komoszewski, these authors propose the rationalization that it is appropriate to define Jesus as “God” in spite of the fact that those that wrote the New Testament avoided the THEOS title for Him because they instead chose to refer to Him as “Lord.” And these authors then argue that this title was understood by the Jewish culture to be referring explicitly to their God, YAHWEH:
“the apostles and their associates immediately began speaking of Jesus as ‘Lord’ in a way that strongly indicated that he was God himself. The crucial religious context of this divine sense for Lord was the Jewish practice of using the term in place of the Old Testament name Yahweh, or Jehovah, (YHWH).…The basic confession of early Christianity that ‘Jesus is Lord’ (Rom. 10:9, 1 Cor. 12:3; Phil. 2:11) turns out to entail the most astonishing and radical claim that any first-century Jew might have made: that the crucified man, Jesus of Nazareth, was Jehovah.”-Bowman & Komoszewski, Putting Jesus in His Place;” p 157, 170
So now these same authors claim that by saying “Jesus is Lord,” the authors of Scripture were trying to convey that they believed “Jesus is YAHWEH?” But I thought the authors of Scripture “sought to affirm Jesus’ deity in ways that people would not perceive as undermining their Jewish monotheistic heritage?” Which one was it? Were the authors of Scripture explicitly calling Jesus “Lord,” or KURIOS, purposefully to identify Him as YAHWEH to the Jewish people who had a “Jewish practice of using the term in place of the Old Testament name Yahweh” as these authors allege, or were they intentionally avoiding calling Jesus “God,” or THEOS, because they did not want to “undermine their Jewish monotheistic heritage?” Wouldn’t calling Him a synonym for YAHWEH, in fact the exact Greek term KURIOS used throughout the Septuagint to replace the Hebrew name YAHWEH, have been more inflammatory than just calling Him THEOS? Why were they so intentional in calling Jesus “Lord” throughout Scripture but yet refused to call him “God” if in fact the two terms are interchangeable for each other as is asserted by these authors? Does it seem logical that they meticulously refused to call Jesus “God” because of the possible confusion with the “God” of the Jewish people, but then in turn intentionally called Him “Lord” hundreds of times to allegedly convey that He was in fact their God, YAHWEH, to those same Jewish people? Those that manufacture this argument that the Greek term KURIOS was applied to Jesus to identify Him as YAHWEH are doing so because they are personally at a loss for why Jesus is not called “God” in Scripture and, therefore, are reaching out to this term “Lord” that they fully realize wasn’t exclusively used for YAHWEH.
Yes, KURIOS was used throughout the Septuagint to translate the name YAHWEH, but these authors and others like them seem to be intentionally avoiding the large variety of contextual uses for this term in Greek culture. The term “God” is a class designating the nature and substance of a being. And because in Judeo-Christian history, there is only one being in this class, it is commonly used as the proper name of this being. The term “Lord” however is a designation of power and authority. Literally a title bestowed on another because of this position of authority given to him. ...
And as we will see shortly, in Greek culture this title of “Lord” was assigned to various different levels of authority, from an individual with higher socioeconomic standing than you, to political leaders, to Christ and then also to the Lord God. A good verse to show the way multiple Hebrew terms were translated as KURIOS or “Lord” is the following Messianic prophecy from the Hebrew text:
43He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’ {KURIOS}? For he says, 44’The Lord
{KURIOS} said to my Lord {KURIOS}: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet. “’-Matthew 22:43-44
So did Matthew mean “YAHWEH said to my YAHWEH” as is alleged? No, he didn’t. Matthew most likely understood the various cultural applications of this term because this quote from the Old Testament actually is translated from two different Hebrew terms, YAHWEH and ADON [actually in Psalm 110.1 the Hebrew word used is: adoni.] And both of these terms are almost exclusively translated into Greek as KURIOS and then into English as “Lord:”
The LORD {YAHWEH} says to my Lord {ADON[I]}: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”-Psalm 110:1
The Hebrew term ADON[I], which is one of the terms translated into Greek as KURIOS and quoted to reference the Messiah above, primarily refers to someone of an authoritative position, a master, a king or oftentimes the Messiah as shown in the Psalm above or the various other Hebrew verses below:
“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord {ADON} you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD {YAHWEH} Almighty.-Malachi 3:1
Then he prayed, “O LORD {YAHWEH} , God of my master {ADON[I]} Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master {ADON[I]} Abraham.”-Genesis 24:12
The LORD {YAHWEH} was with Joseph
and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master {ADON}.-Genesis 39:2
So the first point of significance is that the Greek term KURIOS is used as a replacement for a number of Hebrew terms and doesn’t seem to be solely a replacement for the one God they know as YAHWEH. But if these authors are correct and it is true that the apostles or Jewish culture in general at the time chose to use the term KURIOS as a means to convey that they were actually speaking of or to YAHWEH, then we have bigger issues to discuss. Even though none of the following uses of this Greek term are translated into English as “Lord,” they each use the same term as a form of respect for a person of authority. These authors claim that there was a “Jewish practice of using the term in place of the Old Testament name YAHWEH.
This is true, but it is not the entire picture. There was also a Jewish practice of using this term for a position of authority as both Abraham and the Egyptian referred to as ADON above were both translated into Greek in the LXX as KURIOS. So when the master of the house, in addition to Philip, the “gardener” at the tomb, Paul and Silas, and most significantly, Pilate were referred to with this title, did they believe these men were equal to YAHWEH as well?
I would argue that they did not. And the interesting thing about this first verse below is that it is actually the Jewish Pharisees, who presumably knew exactly what “Jewish practices” were, that referred to Pilate with this same title which is alleged to be used by them “in place of the Old Testament name YAHWEH:”
62The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63“Sir
{KURIOS},” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’”-Matthew 27:62-63
Would these Jewish men dare use the title of KURIOS for Pilate if in any way they thought it should be exclusively reserved for YAHWEH? And because they must have been speaking Greek with Pilate, this is most likely the exact word they used dictated by Matthew. Obviously this is not an entirely true statement that they used this term as a replacement for their God, evidenced also by the following uses:
It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master
{KURIOS}.-Matthew 10:25
They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir
{KURIOS},” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”-John 12:21
“Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir
{KURIOS}, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”-John 20:15
29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs
{KURIOS}, what must I do to be saved?”-Acts 16:29-30
This term has unfortunately been translated into English in different ways as shown above, mirroring the multiple words it was translated from in Hebrew, so most do not recognize its multiple uses. There are three major Hebrew words translated as KURIOS in Greek and then as “Lord,” “Sir,” or “Master” in English. The first is YAHWEH, often translated in all caps as “LORD,” which exclusively refers to the one true God of the Jewish people. The second is ADON[I] which is addressed above. The vast majority of the time this term is a generic title used as a reference to a person given a position of authority, a “master.” And the third is the emphatic form of ADON, ADONAI, which is translated “Lord,” and ... exclusively again refers to the one true God, YAHWEH, as in the following verse:
I said to the LORD {YAHWEH}, “You are my Lord {ADONAI}; apart from you I have no good thing.”-Psalm 16:2
There are also various verses where authors of Scripture seem to distinguish between the terms THEOS and KURIOS. So if they believed them to be interchangeable terms, why the use of them to distinguish between two separate beings?
By his power God {THEOS} raised the Lord {KURIOS from the dead, and he will raise us also.-1 Corinthians 6:14
“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God {THEOS} has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord {KURIOS} and Christ.”-Acts 2:36
And in this last verse, “God” made Jesus “Lord?” How do you make someone a God? And at what point in time was He made YAHWEH if the two terms are interchangeable? Peter is obviously using the term [“Lord”] as a position of authority, not as a synonym for YAHWEH.
So it is important to distinguish between the use of the Hebrew terms YAHWEH, ADON[I] and ADONAI because they had very different cultural meanings to the Jewish people and the authors of the New Testament, even though in Greek, they are each translated with the same term KURIOS. These separate meanings for this term had to have been clearly understood by those who knew Greek because the term was used interchangeably for many different individuals who were obviously of different authoritative positions.