Monday, March 28, 2011

Yahweh = Adonai = Κύριος = Ἰησοῦς


Yahweh = Adonai = Kurios = Jesus

One of the most amazing things that I’ve found in learning Greek is Paul’s use of Κύριος/Kurios (Lord) to exclusively refer to Jesus. You can see his use of it throughout his letters: “The Lord Jesus Christ”, “The Lord Jesus”, “Jesus our Lord”. What most people don’t realize is that Paul is making a huge point theologically in doing this...and so were other Apostles (more on this in a later blog). Let’s start at the beginning...

One of the main things that all must learn about the New Testament is that almost all of the Old Testament quotes are from the Septuagint (the Greek Translation of the Old Testament). One of the main things that all must learn about the Old Testament in English is that the English is translated from the Hebrew and Aramaic, not from the Greek Septuagint. Another BIG thing that people must realize about our English Bibles is that translators follow the tradition of the Jews in not “pronouncing” the name of God in translation. In the English Bible, the name is not "pronounced", it is just not translated or transliterated. We have replaced it with “The LORD” which is Adonai (my LORD) in Hebrew.  The same thing was done in the Septuagint!

How many times does God’s name appear in the Old Testament in Hebrew? Give up? How about 6828 times! If you are a King James Version person, then you know this name to be “Jehovah”. Today, we know the name as Yahweh. Here are some points to consider:

• Yahweh occurs 6828 times in the Old Testament 
• The Jews stopped speaking it about 400 to 350 BC 
• Yahweh was replaced with "Adonai" ("My Lord") while being read out loud.
• When the Old Testament was translated into Greek (300 BC), Yahweh was translate from Adonai which is kurios/κύριος (Lord) in Greek.

So, how would our Old Testament look to us if God’s name were actually translated? Let’s take a look at the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4).

Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD is one.

If we include the name of God in the verse as it actually appears in the Hebrew, then it would be translated:

Hear, O Israel: Yahweh is our God, Yahweh is one.

Now let’s fast-forward to around 300 BC. This is the time that he Old Testament was translated from Hebrew into Greek. By this time, the Jews had stopped speaking the name of God. That presented a problem with translating the Hebrew into Greek. Since the Jews didn’t think it was appropriate to say the name of God in Hebrew, they also didn’t think is was appropriate to say it in Greek either. So, when it was translated into Greek, instead of translating or transliterating Yahweh, the Jews just translated what they would have said in a public reading. That would be Adonai. Adonai was translated into Greek as κύριος/ kurios (Lord).  Modern translators do the same thing in today's English Bibles.

Now let’s fast-forward another 350 years to Paul’s letters. Here are a couple of quick things to take note of:

• Paul’s native language was Greek 
• Paul was highly educated in the Septuagint and quoted from it exclusively
• Paul always uses κύριος to refer to Jesus in his letters 
• Paul always replaces Yahweh with Jesus when using the Old Testament to point to Jesus.

Let’s look at an example passage in Philippians 2:9-11

9 διὸ καὶ ὁ θεὸς αὐτὸν ὑπερύψωσεν 
      καὶ ἐχαρίσατο αὐτῷ τὸ ὄνομα
           τὸ ὑπὲρ πᾶν ὄνομα, 
10 ἵνα ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ
       πᾶν γόνυ κάμψῃ 
           ἐπουρανίων καὶ ἐπιγείων καὶ καταχθονίων
11 καὶ πᾶσα γλῶσσα ἐξομολογήσηται ὅτι 
       κύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς
           εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ πατρός.

9 and therefore God highly exalted him 
      and graced upon him the name, 
           the one above every name,
10 so that in the name of Jesus 
      every knee should bow
           in heaven, on earth, and in the depths of the earth 
11 and every tongue should confess that
      the Lord is Jesus Christ
          to glory of God the Father

A couple of things about this passage. 1. The article τὸ (the), that stands in front of the prepositional phrase ὑπὲρ πᾶν ὄνομα (above every name), refers to the noun that was previously mentioned in the passage. That noun is τὸ ὄνομα which is “the name”. 2. The phrase κύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς (The Lord is Jesus Christ) has two subjects to the inferred "to be" verb “is”. In proper grammar, one of these nouns is called the predicate nominative. The passage can be translated as “The Lord is Jesus Christ” or “Jesus Christ is the Lord”.

So how does this prove that Paul is replacing Yahweh with Jesus? This passage in Philippians is actually an echo of Isaiah 45:18; 23b.

18 Οὕτως λέγει κύριος ὁ ποιήσας τὸν οὐρανόν... 
23b ...ὅτι ἐμοὶ κάμψει πᾶν γόνυ καὶ ἐξομολογήσεται πᾶσα γλῶσσα τῷ θεῷ 

18 Thus says the LORD (Yahweh), who made heaven...
23b ...that to me, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess to God.

Paul’s echo of Isaiah 45:18-23 clearly shows that he is now placing Jesus in the role of Yahweh. More than that, we now know why such a common 1st century name (Jesus) is to be bowed down to. God bestows upon Jesus “the name above every name “name” which is Yahweh. That is why and how “every knee should bow...and every tongue should confess that The Lord (Yahweh) is Jesus Christ.”

***This is the 1st in a series of blogs on the topic that is presented in the title. For the most part, the material used here is taken from Gordon Fee’s book, Pauline Christology, but other sources may also be used going on additional blogs.


  1. You might find Larry Hurtado's "Lord Jesus Christ" worth reading.

  2. Thanks Stephen and Stirling! Stirling, I'l check out the book!

  3. So in fact Paul, who is a one God believing Jew is saying Jehovah is Jesus Christ. Immanuel God with us. Which God? The Only God.

    Wow, this is powerful insight that affirms the numerical identity of God as one. Deut. 6:4

    1. Youre not getting it. Paul is saying that God "granted". And " to the glory of God, THE FATHER!!!" (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit!!)

    2. You dont get it! Paul says that God the Father granted God the Son "the name" above every name. Paul was writing under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit!!

  4. Thanks for posting! : )

  5. Sir, my question is, "Why don't we see Lord in all caps when it is used by Paul and the others referring to Jesus as YHWH? It is in all caps in other places in the NT when referring to YHWH but why not when used in reference to Jesus as YHWH?

  6. Jennifer, are you referring to the OT instead of the NT? Nowhere in the NT is "lord" ever in all upper case. It is capitalized in the NT. As to why English translations don't render it "LORD" is because in the NT, κύριος (lord) is what's being translated, not YHWH. By the 1st century, κύριος is used because YHWH was no long spoken nor written and any Greek New Testament nor Greek Old Testament manuscripts.

    I hope this answers your question. If not, please leave another comment. God Bless!

    1. Good point, Hebrew to English it gets CAPTIALIZED. But with Greek to English the Greek word no longer is attached to Yahweh, due to being once remove in by the simple process of translation. So now in the NT it hold it's Greek meaning alone

  7. Brother Beatty, what about all these internet guys claiming that Yahweh and Jehovah are made up by evil monks and masons trying to inject Jehovah into the scriptures? I feel that they are kooks but they make very good arguments to a Greek novice. Have you seen their claims and what do you think?

  8. Brother Beatty,
    When Moses was at the burning bush God told him to tell them I Am has sent you. Later Jesus said before Abraham was I AM. Are these related and we should be able to know what Jesus said when He said I Am. So why don't we call God I Am instead of Adoni-Jehovah-Yahweh or anything else? I just don't get it, LOL.

    1. Jesus in that instance was speaking about his Divinity. And yes, Moses was speaking with Jesus on Mt. Sinai! Moses couldnt have known that YHWH was going to become incarnate and we would later know Him as Jesus!
      I am waaay over simplifying it!!!

    2. Also the phrase I AM is, amongst many things, referring to His Eternal being! He is THE ONLY BEING (Creator), the rest of us are not beings, per say, but BECOMINGS (creatures, ever changing, etc.)

    3. Moses already knew what God's name was. He wasn't asking: what should I tell them your name is?" He was asking "what should I say to them?" As reassurance to the people at that time. And God replied: Tell them I AM has sent you. I AM meaning: I cause to become (or) I will become whatever I need to become to fulfill my purpose. It was a reassurance to te people not to worry because God can become anything he wants in order to save his people.

  9. The folks who claim that Yahweh was made up in later times are just behind times. The Dead Sea Scrolls predate the masoretic text by some 1000 to 1200 years and the divine name appears in them.

    As to the meaning of Yahweh, it doesn't mean "I am". It "might" mean "you are". Jesus indeed used "I am" to show his authority. Since Jesus taught us to refer to God as "our father", I tend to like calling him that.

  10. Hello Brother,
    Just had a quick question.

    I am very knowledgeable in the old testament and new. But I noticed YHVH speaks to YHVH many times. How could we difference The Son from the Father?

  11. I've been having some "lovingly spiritual debates" with a Facebook friend who is telling me the trinity is made up by Satan.... How does the Jesus and God "Father" being "One only" resolve when in places like the baptism of Christ when a voice came down from heaven (His Father) saying to lots of witnesses..."This is my Son, in Whom I'm well pleased. Listen to Him". How does this explain in Revelation when Jesus (Son) removes the crown from His head and hands it to His Father? As Jesus being our model of submitting to a "Higher Authority"outside of ourselves.... and worshiping God the Father Almighty knowing it was only His Son Jesus that makes it possible.... how does these get resolved?

    1. Jeffrey A. Potter, this is a debate that has been going on since the 2nd or 3rd Century. I tend to fall into the camp of "how can we understand the One whom we can't be fully understood from a human perspective?" We can put God in a box or we can let God be God (which he will do in spite of us trying to put him in a box!).

    2. Think of it like a kingdom; King (God,) Prince (Jesus,) and messenger (Holy Spirit/HG). The King rules on His throne and sends the Prince to mingle with the people, to represent the people back to the King and to represent the King to the people. Even though there is only one part of the Kingdom in our midst the whole Kingdom is present. The same is true after the resurrection when Jesus the Prince sent His messenger (Holy Spirit/comforter/counselor) now the Holy Spirit is representative of God among us and even though only one piece is in our midst the whole Kingdom is represented and present....I hope that made sense.

    3. It will be easier to understand the trinity by defining the word "one" in the Shema. Deut. 6:4. That word is a PLURAL ONE. The word is pronounced "echad". Its like saying that we are "one" people. It is not the word one that is highlighted but the PRINCIPLE of "oneness". When you read Genesis, the word for God (singular) is the PLURAL word "Gods". So it properly reads "In the beginning Elohim(Gods) created the heavens and the earth"! And the Spirit of God (s) moved upon the waters, (Ruach Elohim) And YHWH (Jesus in His eternal state before
      His encarnation!!

    4. Jeffrey A Potter, that wasn't at Jesus' baptism but His Transfiguration. I do see your not reading from God's Word clearly. God said this due to Peter speaking on making temples for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. We were to not hear Peter, but Jesus.

      Matthew 17:1-9 KJVS
      And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, [2] And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. [3] And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. [4] Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. [5] While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. [6] And when the disciples heard it , they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. [7] And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. [8] And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. [9] And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

      I perceive your reading gnosticism not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

      And regarding the crown, this is NOT in God's Word.

  12. If those who tend to reject the Trinity should stop reading after Genesis1 because God continued to Reveal Himself and so why think it strange that Grace and Truth Came by Jesus Christ,Truth of God,who He is revealed in Fullness,if God desired to reveal Himself in portions why not in Fullness..? We worship God not our "idea" of God.peace

    1. If you actually 'READ' Genesis 1, and John 1 in their contextual perspective [as the author of John intended], we are shown a clue of who the Messiah is in Genesis 1:26, and John 1:14, a 'Created being,' a 'Melek Tsedeq' made like unto the Son of Elohym [Adam/Yahwshwa]. He is NOT a 'god/lord,' but is The Teacher of all righteousness, as it is written.

  13. Another homerun my Brother! Thank you.

  14. The Bible that we have now is already 'super-translated' before it came to English. So, if 'ego eimi' ['I am' in Greek] were blasphemy in the first place, people before Jesus would have been stoned to death already. They picked up the stones because they are trying to have something to accuse him. I believe only in what Jesus teaches. I somehow doubt his disciples since their views have quite irreconcilable differences. And as I have read from Jesus' testimonies, he is sent, he speaks for the One who sent him, and he has a God.

    Plus, I doubt that John the Apostle really is the author of the Gospel with his name. He could drop some of the things that Christ has done in his ministry; but, come on, Peter, James, and John was with Christ in 'The Transfiguration,' how could only his Gospel in the Bible have none to say in account of such remarkable event.

    [Rev. 22:18,19]"For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." Do you guys think this warning was written for no reason at all?

    1. Part 1. OrdinaryCritic. I’m concerned with you not believing the Apostles have authority! Jesus selected the Apostles to act of His behalf as His representatives to accomplish His purpose of setting up “sacred communities” (Greek ecclesia which in English we call church). Look at Ephesians 2:20. Ecclesias need accurate preservation of His Word which we have according to Ephesians 1:13; Colossians 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17; 4:2. Ecclesias are to follow Word of God Acts 20:32. In Acts 1:2 Jesus commands through the H.S. to Apostles He has chosen. In Acts 1:21 the disciples that :22 were present from John’s baptism of Jesus through Jesus being taken up from them in Acts 1 were the requirements for the only replacement Apostles ever to exist because of what Judas did. Acts 1:23 tells us two names were submitted and in :24-25 the current Apostles prayed and :26 cast lots and Matthias was chosen by YaHWeH to replace Judas. Other than this there is no succession of Apostles in the Bible! These men were commissioned (as are we) to go throughout the world and preach the Gospel to every nation! The Apostles passed on through Scriptures Jesus’ purpose and we are to use Scriptures as our basis.
      Acts 17:10-12 tells us that true ecclesias will teach Scriptures and we are to continually compare our practices to Scriptures!
      Jesus (therefore God) gave the Apostles authority to make commands and interpret what Jesus said. So you can trust them fully!
      Authorship of the book of John is clearly Apostles John because in so many places the author gives minute details that indicate he was present as an eyewitness for the events about which he is writing.

    2. Part 2. +OrdinaryCritic
      Burton Coffman in his introduction to John tells the circumstances in the world during which John wrote. He says: “John is the Gospel of Incarnation. Matthew explains Jesus’ Messianic function; Mark explains Jesus’ active works; Luke explains Jesus’ character as Savior and John magnifies Jesus’ person and everywhere makes us see ‘the Word made flesh’ (not as Paul uses flesh - just human)”.
      The reason it’s thought that John doesn’t mention the Transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36; 2 Peter 1:16-18) (we will never really know why!) is that people are mistaken - John does mention Jesus coming in Glory but not as detailed as the synoptic Gospels! John says in John 1:14: “We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only.” We think it was a most remarkable event and we would tell the world but it may not have been to John and not exclusive to his purpose. We think of Moses as representing Law and Elijah as representing Prophets this Jesus came to fulfill all in Law and Prophets. Also Jesus would be Glory as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. By the time John wrote his Gospel, all the other 3 Gospels were competed and John didn’t usually repeat much that had already been written. Unlike the sign (John calls it) of Jesus walking on the Sea in John 6 [that was covered in Matthew (another eyewitness) and in Mark (very close friend of Peter another eyewitnesses and experienced it with Jesus!) that was probably one of the most memorable experiences for the John as they were about ½ way across the sea and Jesus walked on the water and almost passed the boat they were in and they were scared!]. We tend to remember things that scare us!
      As far as the translation puzzle it is my firm belief that no matter the language the Bible is in it is the Inspired Word of our Almighty Creator God Who gave the Name for Moses to tell people Who sent him as YaHWeH. Look on YouTube at The Bible Project and they have fantastic videos on all Bible topics including videos summarizing each Bible book in about 6 minutes each!
      I agree that we have to be careful not to add nor take away from what is written in the Bible but it seems if you ignore the Apostles you are indeed taking away a lot! Fortunately YaHWeH is the Judge and that’s not my job! I think you are missing out on a lot of you ignore the Apostles! Jesus would not have spent 3+ years telling these guys everything if they were not going to be important! May God Bless you as you prayerfully examine His Word.

  15. Good stuff! More understanding and revelation to you all.

  16. I heard this in a sermon by a Jewish Messianc. He was teaching from the Book of James. He made the same comments regarding Lord Jesus Christ. Lord is an OT Testment Label, for Yahweh.

  17. If this is true, then who is Jesus praying to in the garden?

  18. What I'm about to point at says it all and veritably ends the debate.
    Please read the following two verses and you will hopefully realize that Jesus is YHWH
    According to the Holy Bible in
    OT YHWH=Lord Psalms 8:1
    NT Jesus=Lord Romans 10:9
    So simply assuming we can only have One Lord in a lifetime(OT & NT)this means that Jesus of the New Testament is YHWH of the Old Testament.
    John the Aposlte,Paul and Thomas thought Jesus is The Lord,as well as the Magis who bowed down and worshipped him,in addition to Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist,John the Baptist himself in addition to...well all witnesses of Jesus during his earthly ministry and after(early church fathers).
    Even Jesus himself was preaching day and night his deity(in addition to his humanity),through his works and sermons and many other subtilties,that only the very elect can understand,because Jesus himself has chosen to declare the Heavenly Father to them.

  19. I just had a question....are you telling me that Jesus Christ & His disciples & Paul, when they went to the temple to read from the Torah actually read the Septuagint (the Greek Translation of the Old Testament) and had no knowledge of the YHWH.