The LORD and the Lord

by Jonathan Sjordal

T

he LORD fills the pages of the Old Testament. The Old Testament has over 6000 references to the LORD. The LORD is revealed to be the Creator, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, the God of Israel. In short, the LORD is the God of the Old Testament.

 

The Lord Jesus fills the pages of the New Testament. He is revealed to be “that prophet,” the Messiah, the son of God, the one who died and was raised again. Jesus is the Lord of the New Testament.

 

Is the LORD of the Old Testament the same Being as the Lord of the New Testament? That is to say,

was the LORD in the Old Testament the one who became the Lord Jesus in the New Testament?

Is the LORD = the Lord? What does the evidence from the Bible say?

 

In order to identify those involved in our study, it is most helpful to call them by their names. In our English language Bibles, we read the name of God as “the LORD.” This is, of course, not a name, but rather a title. The phrase “the LORD” is a substitution for the Hebrew name YHWH. YHWH is thought by some to be pronounced Yahowah, by others to be Yahweh, and still others to be Jehovah. Pronunciation aside (there is one right way to pronounce the name, but none of us are certain what it is), it is of great value to recognize that YHWH is his name—not to obtain salvation through pronunciation, but rather to properly identify who we are talking about. YHWH identified himself by revealing his name to us, in the Hebrew language:

 

And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, YHWH God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.       Exodus 3:15

 

I am YHWH: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.       Isaiah 42:8

 

Notice that in these verses, and thousands and thousands more like them, singular pronouns (I, me, my, mine) are used in connection with YHWH, the God of the Old Testament. YHWH is a single person, not a family. If the name YHWH referred to a family, the pronouns used would be plural (we, us, our, ours). The overwhelming number of pronouns used that refer to YHWH God are singular.

 

In our English language Bibles, the name of the Lord Messiah is rendered “Jesus.” But the name that he called himself, and the name that family, friends, and foes called him was his Hebrew given name: Yahoshua. This name is the same name as the leader who succeeded Moses, commonly (although erroneously) called Joshua. The name Yahoshua means ‘Yah saves’—a perfect description of the life mission of our Lord Yahoshua the Messiah. Just as “Joshua” led the children of Israel into the physical promised land, Messiah Yahoshua will lead the children of Israel into the promised land of the Kingdom of God.

 

 

The LORD (YHWH) and the Lord (Yahoshua) have different names

 

The LORD, the God of the Old Testament, is named YHWH, whereas the Lord Messiah is named Yahoshua. These two personages are frequently addressed as distinct individuals in the salutations of Paul’s letters:

 

Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)       Galatians1:1

 

Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:2 

 

Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.        II Thessalonians 1:2

 

Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.       I Timothy 1:2

 

Is the LORD = the Lord? Why then do they have different names?

 

 

The LORD (YHWH) prophesied the birth of the Lord Yahoshua

 

And YHWH God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.       Genesis 3:14-5

 

We know that the Lord Jesus is the seed of the woman. Later In Isaiah, YHWH prophesies the birth of the Lord Jesus (Yahoshua):

 

Ask thee a sign of YHWH thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt YHWH. And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.       Isaiah 7:11-14

 

Is the LORD = the Lord? Did Jesus prophesy his own birth?

 

 

Mary praised The LORD (YHWH) while she was pregnant with the Lord Yahoshua

 

And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord [YHWH], And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in  remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.       Luke 1:46-55

 

Mary was a faithful Israelite who worshipped YHWH, the God of her fathers. She knew of no other God. At the time that she spoke this prayer of praise, the Lord Yahoshua was in her womb. She could ONLY have been speaking to and about God the Father, unless we are willing to entertain the notion that she was praying to the baby in her womb as her God. The God that Mary spoke to was the LORD (YHWH) God that she had known all her life. He was the God who spoke to her fathers, the God who spoke to Abraham. That God was most assuredly YHWH, the God of the Old Testament.

 

Is the LORD = the Lord? Did Mary pray to the baby in her womb, calling him God?

The LORD (YHWH) declared that the Lord Jesus (Yahoshua) was his son

 

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against YHWH, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: YHWH hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.       Psalms 2:2-7

 

In this famous messianic prophecy, YHWH God proclaimed that his anointed (chosen) one was his son. We know that the second Psalm is about the Lord Yahoshua, whom the LORD (YHWH) affirms to be His son.

 

Is the LORD = the Lord? Did Jesus declare that he was going to have a son?

 

 

The LORD (YHWH) anointed the Lord Jesus (Yahoshua) to preach

 

In John 20:17 Yahoshua of Nazareth said: “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.” Yahoshua is identifying his Father, his God, as the same one who is our Father, our God—the one known throughout the Old Testament as YHWH.

 

When Yahoshua entered into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read, he read the following passage, explaining that he was the “me” of the passage:

 

The Spirit of the Lord YHWH is upon me; because YHWH hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of YHWH, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;       Isaiah 61:1-2 

 

Yahoshua read in the scroll about YHWH, the God of the Old Testament. There is no indication that Yahoshua himself had been that YHWH God, and that he was reading about…himself! Indeed, the passage expressly states that YHWH anointed Yahoshua to preach good tidings. Did Yahoshua anoint himself? The text indicates that Yahoshua is a distinct person from YHWH.

 

Is the LORD = the Lord? Did Yahoshua anoint himself?

 

 

The LORD (YHWH) prophesied that the Lord Jesus (Yahoshua) would be a prophet

 

YHWH thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me [Moses]; unto him ye shall hearken;        Deuteronomy 18:15

 

In the book of Acts, Peter bears witness to the fulfillment of this prophecy:

 

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.

 

Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.       Acts 3:22, 26

 

 

The LORD (YHWH) of the Old Testament fulfilled His prophecy to raise up a prophet unto Israel. That prophet was the Lord Jesus. Did he raise up himself?

 

Is the LORD = the Lord? Did Jesus prophesy his own coming?

 

 

The LORD (YHWH) gave the Torah that the Lord Jesus (Yahoshua) quoted when he spoke to Satan the Devil

 

Then saith Yahoshua unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.       Matthew 4:10

 

This is a quote from the Torah:

 

Thou shalt fear YHWH thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.       Deuteronomy 6:13

 

Yahoshua affirmed that it was YHWH who gave the Torah to the children of Israel. Yahoshua served only his God YHWH, and taught that we should do the same.

 

Is the LORD = the Lord? Did Jesus quote the Torah that he had himself written? Was Yahoshua the YHWH God of the Old Testament? Did he serve himself?

 

 

The LORD (YHWH) promised that the Lord (Yahoshua) would be king upon the throne of David:

 

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of YHWH of hosts will perform this.       Isaiah 9:7 

 

This promise was repeated by the angel Gabriel to Mary, speaking of her firstborn son Yahoshua:

 

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David…       Luke 1:32 

 

The “Lord God” that Gabriel spoke of is none other than the LORD (YHWH) spoken of in Isaiah’s prophecy. In both Old Testament and New Testament, there is one God, whose name is YHWH. That one God, YHWH, has a son to whom he promised the throne of King David.

 

Is the LORD = the Lord? Did Jesus promise himself the throne of David? Does Jesus have a son? Is Jesus his own son?

 

 

The LORD (YHWH) raised the Lord Jesus (Yahoshua) from the dead

 

The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.       Acts 3:13-15

 

The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree       Acts 5:30

 

Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:  Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.       Acts 2:22 -24

 

Is the LORD = the Lord? Did Jesus raise himself from the dead? If Jesus was truly dead, how could he raise himself?

 

 

The LORD (YHWH) has a son named Jesus (Yahoshua)

 

And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together…       Acts 4:24-27

 

Is the LORD = the Lord? Is Jesus his own son?

 

 

The LORD (YHWH) spoke in prophecy to the Lord Jesus (Yahoshua)

 

The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Psalm 110:1

 

Notice that the first “LORD” is not the same as the second “Lord” in this verse. The first LORD is YHWH, the name of the God of the Old Testament. The second Lord (Hebrew: Adoni, which can only be used to refer to men, not to God) is not a name, but a title, meaning ‘master.’ Many references to this verse in the New Testament demonstrate that this passage is a statement made by YHWH to Yahoshua (Jesus). For example:

 

This Jesus [Yahoshua] hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD [YHWH] said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.     Acts 2:32-36

 

Is the LORD = the Lord? Did Jesus speak in prophecy to himself?

 

 

The LORD (YHWH) prophesied that he would be seated next to the Lord Jesus (Yahoshua).

 

YHWH said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Psalm 110:1

 

In this most quoted of all Old Testament passages, we see not only speech between the LORD (YHWH) and the Lord Yahoshua, but also location. YHWH promised the Lord that he would sit at his right hand. That is exactly what happened. The Lord Yahoshua was raised by his Father from the dead and took his promised position, sitting at the right hand of YHWH:

 

So then after the Lord [Yahoshua] had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.       Mark 16:19

 

Is the LORD = the Lord? Did Jesus promise himself that he would one day sit next to himself?

 

 

The LORD (YHWH) gave authority and judgment to Lord Jesus (Yahoshua)

 

There is frequently confusion regarding the identities of the LORD and the Lord because of Isaiah’s prophecy:

 

Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD [YHWH]? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.       Isaiah 45:21-23

 

Isaiah declares that every knee shall bow before YHWH—the ONLY God. In the New Testament explanations of Isaiah’s prophecy, we read that every knee shall bow to Jesus (Yahoshua):

 

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him [Yahoshua], and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus [Yahoshua] every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.        Philippians 2:9-11

 

But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.       Romans 14:10-12

 

What are we to make of this? Did Paul misunderstand the meaning of Isaiah’s prophecy? Did Paul think that Isaiah meant the Lord (Yahoshua) when he said the LORD (YHWH)? Or did Isaiah perhaps get it wrong? No, we can trust that both Isaiah and Paul got it right. The conclusion that is generally drawn is that Paul is declaring that the Lord Jesus is the LORD (YHWH) of Isaiah’s prophecy. Can there be any other explanation?

 

The answer to this apparent conundrum lies in the way the LORD (YHWH) works with mankind. YHWH delegates power, leadership, and judgment to men. Moses, for example, was the supreme leader of Israel. His word was unchallengeable. He stood before the people judging matters all day. Yet no one suggests that because Moses executed judgment that he was therefore YHWH. David also was supreme leader of Israel who had the power of life and death over his people. No one confuses David with his God YHWH. In the same manner, the LORD (YHWH) delegated power unto the Lord (Yahoshua):

 

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.        Matthew 28:18 

 

For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.       John 5:22-27

 

Both authority and judgment were given by YHWH unto his son Yahoshua. When every knee bows before the Lord Yahoshua, they also are bowing before the LORD (YHWH) because the one who delegates power is necessarily greater than the one to whom it is delegated. When we bow before Yahoshua at his judgment seat, we acknowledge and glorify his Father YHWH who gave him that position of power and judgment. Re-read the last portion of Paul’s explanation in Philippians. It says that the result of every knee bowing before the judgment seat of Yahoshua is that they do it: to the glory of God the Father.

 

Is the LORD = the Lord? Did the LORD (YHWH) grant authority and judgment unto himself?

 

 

The LORD (YHWH) explicitly claimed that he alone was the Creator God. The Lord Jesus (Yahoshua) NEVER made such a claim.

 

Thus saith YHWH, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am YHWH that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;

Isaiah 44:24

 

I am YHWH, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am YHWH, and there is none else.      Isaiah 45:5-6

 

Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do…      

John 5:19

 

 

The LORD (YHWH) is called the Father in the Old Testament

 

It is commonly taught by those who say that the LORD of the Old Testament was the one who became Jesus that God the Father was completely unknown in the Old Testament, never mentioned at all—except perhaps for the reference to the Ancient of Days in the book of Daniel. But the Bible is full of evidence demonstrating that YHWH—the God of the Old Testament—is called the Father in the Old Testament. This fact was known by such people as Isaiah, Moses, David, and Malachi:

 

 

Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O YHWH, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.       Isaiah 63:16

 

Do ye thus requite YHWH, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?        Deuteronomy 32:6 

 

For YHWH is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king. Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people. I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him  …

 

 

He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.

Psalms 89:18-20,26 

 

Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?        Malachi 2:10 

 

A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith YHWH of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?        Malachi 1:6 

 

But now, O YHWH, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.       Isaiah 64:8

 

When the Lord Yahoshua came to reveal the Father, it wasn’t to introduce a new personage who was previously unknown, but rather to give far greater revelation than had previously been done. This is not to say that Israel did not know that their God was God the Father, for He frequently revealed himself to them as a Father. We have ample evidence and manifold witness in the Old Testament showing that the Creator YHWH God is our Father.

 

 

P

aul, a staunch and faithful follower of the Lord Jesus (Yahoshua) made a significant statement regarding the identity of the God that he had worshipped all his life. Note that the God that Paul worshipped when he was a young man (while the man Jesus walked the earth) is the same God that Paul worshipped years later when he wrote to the Corinthians:

 

But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by [through] whom are all things, and we by him.       I Corinthians 8:6

 

Note also that at the time Paul wrote this remarkably clear statement, Jesus had for many years been resurrected and was sitting at the right hand of God the Father.  Paul acknowledged one God (not two)

and referred to that one God specifically as the Father.  Paul also acknowledged the Lord Jesus, but did not refer to him as God.

 

 

Is the LORD = the Lord?  According to scripture, was the LORD (YHWH) in the Old Testament the one who became the Lord Jesus (Yahoshua) in the New Testament? Let the evidence speak.

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Sjørdal

Charlottesville, VA  2006

sjordal@peoplepc.com