Yeshua the Messiah and the Divine Identity


What is a Divine Identity Christology? How does a Divine Identity Christology serve as strong evidence of Yeshua the Messiah being God?

For those who advocate a high Christology of the Lord Yeshua genuinely being God and uncreated, our theological explanations of God have to account for a variety of factors, most of which are indeed detectable within the Gospels and Apostolic letters. One significant factor is how you maintain a religious ethos of monotheism (Deuteronomy 6:4) of the God of Israel being the One True God—while at the same time permitting for honor/reverence/worship of Yeshua, not to the detriment of the YHWH God of the Hebrew Scriptures (cf. John 5:23; Philippians 2:10-11; Hebrews 1:6)? What is the most significant component to one’s evaluation of the Lordship of Yeshua?

Within the Hebrew Tanach, the God of Israel is certainly designated by the Divine Name YHWH/YHVH, which in most English Bibles is rendered as “the LORD,” following Second Temple Jewish convention of not speaking God’s proper name aloud (m.Yoma 6:2). The Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Tanach rendered YHWH with the title Kurios,[1] which in a classical context can mean, “of persons, having power or authority over, lord or master of” (LS).[2] There are references seen in the Gospels, when Yeshua of Nazareth is referred to as Kurios, it is something more akin to “Sir.” But, there will be other places, particularly when there is some significant Tanach quotation made involving the LORD or YHWH, where an ascription of such a status is seemingly given to Yeshua (i.e., Romans 10:13 and Joel 2:32; Philippians 2:10-11 and Isaiah 45:23). Is the statement, “Yeshua is Lord,” merely a declaration of His supremacy, or is it also intended to be an assertion of His nature as actually being the LORD God or YHWH of the Tanach?

For certain, various resources[3] and scores of books and commentaries will conclude that Yeshua the Messiah being Kurios in the Apostolic Scriptures, bears some significant connection with the Divine Name YHWH in the Tanach. This is especially holds true when various Pauline letters include “grace and peace” issued from “God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah” (Romans 1:7).[4] The close proximity of God being referred to as “Father,” and Yeshua the Messiah as “Lord,” would be taken as natural evidence of a balanced Godhead where Yeshua is integrated into the Divine Identity (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:5, reworking the Deuteronomy 6:4 Shema), and that the intention of the Apostles was to present the nature of Yeshua along Jewish monotheistic lines, and not as some separate deity. Those who hold to a high Christology would be quite keen to conclude that Yeshua being Lord or Kurios, is rightly and widely to be associated with how Kurios in the Greek Septuagint is connected to the Divine Name YHWH.

Not all are convinced that Yeshua being Kurios is to be associated with the Divine Name YHWH, and instead would conclude that since the title kurios can indeed be used speaking of human people as lords or masters, that Yeshua being Kurios should be approached from Him just being “the Master.” While the Sacred Name Only movement widely abhors the English title “Lord,” and is frequently witnessed to use “Master” instead,[5] for those who have little issue with English terms, how disingenuous would it be for Kurios to be translated as “Lord” when it clearly refers to the LORD God or YHWH of the Tanach with some significant quotation in view, but then when Yeshua is titled Kurios, for it to then only be translated as “Master”? Should not there be some uniformity, with readers left to decide for themselves how to approach Yeshua as “Lord”? Those who hold to a low Christology will largely deny that there is any connection to be made between Kurios and YHWH when referring to Yeshua of Nazareth, leaving significant questions to be made when there is Tanach intertextuality in view.

NOTES

[1] G. Quell, “Lord, lord,” in Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, abridged (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985), pp 488-491; Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2003), 365; Spiros Zodhiates, ed., Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 1993), 900.

[2] LS, 458.

[3] William Childs Robinson, “Lord,” in Everett F. Harrison, ed., Baker’s Dictionary of Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1960), pp 328-330; John L. McLaughlin, “Lord (Divine Title),” in David Noel Freedman, ed., Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 820; “lord,” in Jacob Neusner and William Scott Green, eds., Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical Period (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002), pp 388-389.

[4] Also 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Philemon 3.

[5] The Scriptures, third edition (Northriding, South Africa: Institute for Scripture Research, 2009), 1225.


FOR MORE INFORMATION

Confronting Yeshua’s Divinity and Messiahship

Salvation on the Line, Volume I: The Nature of Yeshua and His Divinity—Gospels and Acts

Salvation on the Line, Volume II: The Nature of Yeshua and His Divinity–General Epistles, Pauline Epistles, & Later New Testament

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