English bibles such as KJV, NIV, etc use ‘LORD’ for the name of God. Many languages do not have upper and lower cases, so the reader does not have a way of knowing that this is indeed the name of God. So many christians never come to know the name of God – ‘YHWH’.
KJV uses Jehovah on few occasions and therefore the reader thinks ‘Jehovah’ is hardly present in the Old testament. Further the reader thinks that the word LORD just means Lord as in ‘land lord’ or ‘God Lord’ or that it is referring to Jesus and therefore a very different message is perceived.
Here is the extract from the NIV preface:
In regard to the divine name YHWH, commonly referred to as the Tetragrammaton, the translators adopted the device used in most English versions of rendering that name as “Lord” in capital letters to distinguish it from Adonai, another Hebrew word rendered “Lord,” for which small letters are used. Wherever the two names stand together in the Old Testament as a compound name of God, they are rendered “Sovereign Lord.”
As NIV claims, divine name YHWH is never communicated to the user, so many bible students never come in contact with a fundamental truth concerning the name of God.
Because YHWH is translated as LORD and Adonai is also translated as Lord, so the reader is left with only ‘Lord’.
Now that the name of God is lost in translation, and since under the new testament Jesus is referred as ‘Lord’ Jesus, trinitarian christians get confused that LORD in the OT is also probably referring to Jesus.
E-sword KJV+ search yielded 6521 Matches of YHWH. This shows how the name played a significant role in jewish upbringing and study of the scrolls. Since YHWH has been substituted with a word such as ‘Lord’ this completely dilutes knowledge about God’s name especially when the majority of christians and protestants don’t really care about about the Father.
A Jewish bible student would come across the name of God some 6500 times in his/her typical reading of the scriptures. Christians would get exposed to that word around 7 times. The Torah and Prophets have obviously over-emphasised the name of God in the hearing of the children of Israel.
There are few bibles such such as the New Jerusalem bible. though catholic. is a good bible to use, as it preserves the name of God and translates ‘YHWH’ as Yahweh!
This gets even more confusing in the new testament writings – LORD becomes ‘Lord’.
Lets look at an example:
When Peter quoted from the Torah, Acts records it for us like this in KJV:
Act 3:22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
But if we turn to the same passage in Deuteronomy 18:15
The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
Now notice how a translations such as WEBA translates it with the actual name of God and brings clarity:
Deu 18:15 Yahweh your God will raise up to you a prophet from among you, of your brothers, like me. You shall listen to him.
So for New testament based christians there is a double loss:
- Yahweh is translated as LORD (Deu) – OT
- LORD becomes Lord (Acts) – NT
Since Jesus is titled Lord, the reader now assumes when reading the words of Peter in Acts, ‘Lord’ is referring to Jesus.
The Torah taught to love YHWH our God:
Deu 11:1 Therefore you shall love Yahweh your God, and keep his instructions, his statutes, his ordinances, and his commandments, always.
If you ask a typical trinitarian to describe the God of the Old testament (Jehovah) – the words that will come out are ‘cruel’, ‘jealous’, ‘wrathful’, etc.
Now ask them to describe Jesus the God of the New Testament and immediately ‘love’ and ‘sacrifice’ will come to their minds.
That is why Jesus is more appealing. For the vast majority the ‘famine’ mother of God is even more appealing. A mother is known to be even more compassionate than the ‘hard’ Father and of course she can ‘persuade’ her son for your sake.
Therefore it is hardly surprising that trinitarians will struggle to love YHWH. Further they quote the verse:
1Jn 2:23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
Reading it from a certain angle, this will appear to teach to ignore the Father and focus only on the son, as having the son auto fetches the Father.
Read further about YHWH the Loving Father here:
It was obvious to the writers of the gospel and the apostles, that YHWH the Father was the true God and they came to believe in Jesus whom he sent.
A lil quiz: When you sing/read this psalm, is it addressed to YHWH or Jesus?
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Ps 23:1)
Who did David address it to?
Yahweh is my shepherd: I shall lack nothing. (Ps 23:1)
The true Elohim’s (God) name is YHWH
Psa 83:18 that they may know that you, whose name is Yahweh, you alone, are the Most High over the whole earth. (LEB version)
Hebrew ‘Lord’ / Adonai & Adon (O.T.)
There is a strong notion that ‘Lord’ means Jesus. Also there seem to be a notion that Lord means ‘God’. Also there is a notion ‘Lord’ is a ‘name’ of Jesus and Father.
Consider the following verse:
Rom 10:9 that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
[It is impossible for a trinitarian to truly believe in their heart that God/YHWH raised a dead Jesus? So will trinitarians be saved?]
I assume trinitarians will conclude from Rom 10:9, that the title ‘Lord’ must mean divine as trinity requires its followers to confess the divinity of Jesus to be saved.
Let us now survey the OT ‘Adon’
Adon means “lord” or “master” or “owner”.
H113 (Strong) אָדֹן אָדוֹן ‘âdôn ‘âdôn aw-done’, aw-done’
From an unused root (meaning to rule); sovereign, that is, controller (human or divine): – lord, master, owner
Let us survey a few passages with Adon first:
Genesis 32:18 Then thou shalt say, They be thy servant Jacob’s; it is a present sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us.
Genesis 24:9 And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter.
Genesis 18:12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?
The word translated as master is ‘âdôn’. So Adon is a common title ascribed of anyone of relatively higher rank.
Zephaniah 1:9 In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit.
Adon can also be given to kings
Jeremiah 38:9 My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon; and he is like to die for hunger in the place where he is: for there is no more bread in the city.
Adon can also be ascribed to Yahweh.
Psalms 8:1 For the Chief Musician; on an instrument of Gath. A Psalm by David. Yahweh, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth, who has set your glory above the heavens! (WEBA)
Zechariah 6:5 The angel answered me, “These are the four winds of the sky, which go out from standing before the Lord of all the earth.
Adon is also ascribed to angels
Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord?
So in essence ‘âdôn can be anyone – Masters, Kings, Husbands, Angel or God. Also the translators translate it as ‘Lord’ or ‘lord’ depending on the context of usage. I think it is important to stick to the hebrew ‘Adon’ rather than ‘Lord’ or ‘lord’ and get biased by translators’ interpretations.
H136 (Strong) אֲדֹנָי ‘ădônây ad-o-noy’
An emphatic form of H113; the Lord (used as a proper name of God only): – (my) Lord.
While Strong’s dictionary states it is derived from Adon, he states that it is also a name of God.
It is however used only once for a human: Ezra.
Ezr 10:2 And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, addressed Ezra: “We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this.
Ezr 10:3 Therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord (ădônây) and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God, and let it be done according to the Law. (ESV)
(Notice how translators hide the truth by adding their layer of interpretation by using small lord. A honest translation should leave it to the reader to discern the truth for themselves. )
Adonai by itself is not really a proper name but rather a title or appellative. As we will see below, it quite literally means ‘mister’ or my lord, master or owner, and is not unlike the word baal, which means the same. Yet adon(ai) occurs frequently as element in compound names: Adoni-bezek, Adonijah, Adonikam, Adoniram and Adoni-zedek. – http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Adonai.html#.VyEBCBJ94UQ
Why some would consider Adonay as the name of God:
Yahweh, the God of the Israelites, his name being revealed to Moses as four Hebrew CONSONANTS (YHWH) CALLED THE TETRAGRAMMATON. AFTER THE EXILE (6TH CENTURY BC), and especially from the 3rd century BC on, Jews ceased to use the name Yahweh for two reasons. As Judaism became a universal religion through its proselytizing in the Greco-Roman world, the more common noun elohim, meaning “god,” tended to replace Yahweh to demonstrate the universal sovereignty of Israel’s God over all others. At the same time, the divine name was increasingly regarded as too sacred to be uttered; it was thus replaced vocally in the synagogue ritual by the Hebrew word Adonai (“My Lord”), which was translated as Kyrios (“Lord”) in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament. – http://www.eliyah.com/whythlrd.htm
Now let us survey a few passages with Adonai (H136) (From what I could see. apart from the Ezra reference the rest of the occurrences are used to address YHWH only. So it is special in that sense)
Psalms 8:1 (LEB) Yahweh, our Lord (ădônây), how majestic isyour name in all the earth, who put your splendor above the heavens.
Notice the difference in translation here:
Adon was translated as ‘lord’ all small
Adonai is translated as ‘Lord’ – capital ‘L’ to signify that it is more significant in the eyes of the translator as it is used before ‘YHWH’.
Here is another example how YHWH, Adonai and Elohim are used:
Psalms 38:15 “For in You, O LORD [YHWH], I hope; you will hear, O Lord (ădônây) my God [Elohim].”
When YHWH and Adonai appear together, translation gets more confusing. As per KJV it should ‘LORD my Lord’ which is confusing so they have to change the original as shown below:
(LEB) O Yahweh, my Lord, the strength of my salvation, you have covered my head in the day of battle. Ps. 140:7
(KJV) O GOD (changed) the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.
Is Jesus prophesied as Adon or Adonai in Psalm 110?
Mat 22:41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question,
Mat 22:42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.”
Mat 22:43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,
Mat 22:44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”‘?
Mat 22:45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?”
Notice when in Greek YHWH is dropped. Further the English translations add the capital as they see fit.
Pslam 110: 1 Yahweh says to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool for your feet.” (WEBA)
The hebrew is ‘âdôn’ – which is a common expression for humans, angel and God as noted above. This was an important verse during early christianity to prove that Jesus was David’s prophesied Messiah. For instance, Peter explains the fulfilment of the Messiah using the verse from this Psalm:
Act 2:34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand,
Act 2:35 until I make your enemies your footstool.”‘
Act 2:36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Jesus being Christ or Messiah does not mean he was YHWH. Please read these for more information:
David (by God’s spirit) had declared the promised messiah was his ‘Adon’. Let us get into the context how ‘Adon’ was used in David’s time.
Saul was anointed (i.e. made messiah) King. David considered Saul and both his Adon (Lord) and Christ (Messiah/Anointed):
1 Samuel 24:6 He said to his men, “Yahweh forbid that I should do this thing to my lord (‘âdôn’), Yahweh’s anointed (mâshı̂yach), to stretch out my hand against him, since he is Yahweh’s anointed.” (WEBA)
It is interesting to note that David makes the very declaration about King Saul that Peter made “God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified”. In David’s eye Saul was both Christ and Lord to him and the whole nation of Israel.
That is why it is very important to understand concepts from a Jewish background and be open. Now King Saul while he was a Christ and a Lord and King and chosen by God yet was not the promised seed of Abraham. King Saul died. Jesus would be the Anointed one who would attain eternal life and victory and reach heaven itself. So the prophecy about Jesus was not about incarnation but that he would be a greater lord and greater christ than those that have preceded him.
Further we read that David addresses King Saul as ‘Lord‘ and he also ‘worships’ him:
In the eyes of trinitarians this is out right blasphemy? Only Jesus can be called Lord and worshipped? You clearly err to know the truth! Saul was eventually rejected, but he could still be King, Christ, Lord and worshiped by the more spiritual David. So it should not surprise that the man Jesus who was greater than both David and Saul should be exalted as Lord and Christ?
1 Samuel 24:8 David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed (shâchâh) himself.
[Then I bowed my head and worshiped (shâchâh) the LORD and blessed the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way to take the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son. (Genesis 24:48 ESV)]
I.e. As Abraham’s servant worshipped YHWH, we see David worshiped Saul.
(Also refer:Worshiping the MAN Jesus)
The point of this is that to show that it was a common Jewish practice to extol men as Lord, Messiah, King and also to worship them. But David would not address Saul as YHWH his God. So David gave the respect due to YHWH and God’s chosen the respect due. To honour YHWH’s chosen was to show respect to the YHWH.
Therefore it should be very easy to understand Jesus’ words:
John 5:23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
David himself was a Lord (who would call Jesus his Lord later on). Nabal’s wife addressed David as Lord and worshiped him too:
1 Samuel 25:31 that this shall be no grief to you, nor offense of heart to my lord, either that you have shed blood without cause, or that my lord has avenged himself. When Yahweh has dealt well with my lord, then remember your servant.”
1 Samuel 25:41 She arose, and bowed herself with her face to the earth, and said, “Behold, your servant is a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.”
Behold how great her faith to be servant of servants. So we are also told though Jesus was born of the spirit of God yet he was a servant.
Were Saul and David divine because they were called Adon? (Psalms 110:1) No! Why do trinitarians insist that Jesus is God incarnate if he was made Lord and Christ and King by his God AFTER his resurrection.
God constantly elevates those he loves. He elevated Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He made Joseph the leader or Lord over his brothers. Moses was elevated over all Israel even over his own brother and sister. The Lord works with men and exalts them as God and authorises them to manifest his name to the population. To reject Moses is to reject God and to reject God was to reject Moses.
When we come to the story of Jesus we should not be surprised at his exaltation as if a strange thing has occurred. Since Jesus was greater than Moses and Abraham he receives more honour. Further, Moses and Abraham died, whereas Jesus lives on to receive praise and honour and glory from us.
The worship of Father and the human son of God was already played out by Father and David thus:
1 Chronicles 29:20 And David said to all the assembly, “Bless Yahweh your God!” And all the assembly blessed Yahweh, the God of their ancestors. And they bowed down and prostrated themselves before Yahweh and the king.
To bow down to David was to accept David as Adon and YHWH’s anointed/Christ, but YHWH was greater than David because David himself worshipped YHWH even as Jesus worshipped his Father. Note than even after Jesus was resurrected he still addressed Lord YHWH as his God and Father:
John 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
This should not confuse Unitarians and Trinitarians that the Father and the son are too be worshipped. We do not worship David as the children of Israel once worshipped because David is dead. The final Lord and final Messiah has now appeared who is Lord of Lords and King of Kings as he sits at the right hand of God. He has a permanent priesthood and kingship. We respect Jesus as the Lord’s anointed and ruler/Lord of mankind and even placed him above angels.
Heaven declared the reason we worship Jesus:
Revelation 5:9 And they sing a new song, saying, Worthy art thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation,
- It is a new song being sung in heaven as there is now a new being in heaven
- He is worthy to receive honour and open the scroll because of his human achievement
- No being including Jesus (if he preexisted) could open he scroll. Only the victorious human Jesus could open the scroll.
To acknowledge Jesus as Lord in no way infers that he was God incarnate but rather divinely appointed. Consider if people worshipped men such as Saul and David, how much more the son of God by Mary!
The Christmas story is about how a MAN became God and the message for the church is how WE can also becomes Lords in our own right, based on each ones grace and endurance, in the age to come. For Jesus promised this (Not that we will become greater than Jesus and YHWH but we are also headed towards divinity – i.e. we will be immortalised and be free from sin and death):
Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
The end goal is that YHWH will be ALL and in ALL! Humans will attain divinity like Christ Jesus did.