Was Christ YHWH of the Old Testament?
When dealing with the subject of God, it helps to clear up confusion to remember that God exists simultaneously in two realms. God exists in the uncreated realm and the created realm at the same time. If you need more background on this, see The Mystic Doctrines article Understanding God.
God's name is YHWH. Christ was YHWH in the flesh. His very name, which is Yahshua or Yehshua means YHWH saves. For important background information on this, see the article called God's Sacred Name.
God's Sacred Name
Some Christian Sects have as part of their doctrine that Christ was not God. The Koran teaches this also.
[5:17] Pagans indeed are those who say that the Messiah, the son of Mary, is GOD. Say, "Who could oppose GOD if He willed to annihilate the Messiah, son of Mary, and his mother, and everyone on earth?" To GOD belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, and everything between them. He creates whatever He wills. GOD is Omnipotent.
Also, some of the Sabbath Christian sects are experiencing an internal movement, that is called the One God Seminars, where arguments are offered that Christ was not God.
For many, the divinity of Christ is unquestioned due to certain scriptures in the New Testament. The scriptures that seems to make it the most plain are in John 1.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was with God in the beginning.
3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--
13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, `He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'"
16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.
17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known. KJV
A recent One God Seminar was held in Federal Way Washington. The Journal, a newspaper that serves the Churches of God, covered this event. It details the arguments used to explain away the divinity of Christ on page 32 of the May 2002 issue.
The gist of the argument against John 1 is that logos (translated word) from the Greek is a concept like wisdom is, as opposed to a person.
[quote p. 32 column 2 par. 5-9]
Mr. Fakhoury turned to John 1:1, which says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
However, he read it as follows: "In the beginning was the Son, and the Son was God, and the Son became flesh and dwelt among us."
Even though "that's how we read it," that's "not what it says," he said. It wasn't the Son who lived in God's eternity, said Mr. Fakhoury; it was the logos of God, "God's self-expression."
That John 1:1 speaks of the "Word of life" as being something "which was from the beginning," rather than "who was from the beginning," indicates the word is a concept rather than a person.
"The logos of God, His self-expression, was always a part of Him...The logos was with God. God's self-expression was always with Him, just as wisdom was said to have been with Him in Proverbs 8."
It is curious that this argument ignores the plain statement later in John that says.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
If the Word (logos) was a concept, why is it called a him?
Or why does it say later that;
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
No explanation was given on how a concept becomes flesh. (Note: Wisdom never became flesh)
If Christ was the God of the Old Testament in the flesh, yet sincere individuals can explain away the most compelling scripture supporting Christ as God, is there any way we can know for sure whether Christ was God or not?
Until recently, there was no way for the average individual to have access to the resources to tackle what is obviously a scholars problem. The reason why this is even an issue is because over the years God's sacred name as been hidden from our English translations. There are many resources that allow anyone to discover the original meaning of the Hebrew in the Old Testament.
The key to unraveling the mystery of Christ's divinity or non-divinity lies in the Sacred name of God; YHWH. In almost all English translations YHWH has been translated as Lord.
It is quite interesting how most of the English Bibles have come to translate YHWH as LORD.
After the Exile (6th century BC), especially from the 3rd. century BC on, Jews ceased to use the name Yahweh for two very different reasons. As Judaism began to become a universal religion through its proselytizing in the Greco-Roman world, the more common noun elohim (q.v.) 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 Anonai (My Lord), which was translated as Kyrios (Lord) in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the New Testament. This also became the standard way of translating YHWH in the Old Testament.
Another little known fact is that the New Testament was not originally written in the Greek. The New Testament was originally written in either Hebrew or Aramaic. One historical event that shows the Greek was not the original language of the NT occured in 1553. At the request of Pietro, Cardinal Caraffa, the Inquisitor General (who later became Pope Paul IV), Pope Julius III signed a decree banning the Talmud in Rome. The decree was executed on Sept. 9th (Rosh HaShanna) and anything that looked like Talmud, that is, anything written in Hebrew characters was confiscated as the Jewish homes and synagogues were ravished.
Jean DuTillet, Bishop of Brieu, France was visiting Rome at the time. DiTillet was astounded to take notice of a Hebrew manuscript of Matthew among the other Hebrew manuscripts. DuTillet acquired the manuscript and returned to France, depositing it in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. It remains there to this day as Hebrew ms. No. 132. ... certain linguistic proofs show that the Hebrew text underlies the Greek, and that certain renderings in the Greek may be due to a misread Hebrew original. (An Old Hebrew Text of St. Matthews Gospel, Hugh Schonfield; 1927; p.3-4, 27)
Another relatively unknown fact to much of Christendom is the existence of two ancient Aramaic manuscripts of the Four Gospels dating back to the Fourth century. Dr. William Cureton discovered the first in 1842. It was found in a monastery at the Naton Lakes Valley in Egypt. This manuscript is known as Codex Syrus Curetonianus or, the Cureton and is catalogued as British Museum Add. No. 14451. Mrs. Agnes Smith Lewis discovered the second in 1892. It was found at St. Catherine's Monastery at the foot of traditional Mount Sinai in Egypt. This manuscript is known as Codex Syrus Sinaiticus or the Syriac Siniatic and is catalogued as Ms. Sinai Syriac No.30. After making his profound discovery Dr. Cureton studied the Old Syriac text of the manuscript in detail. Cureton concluded that at least the version of Matthew found in the Old Syriac has its basis in the original Semitic text and was not merely a translation from the Greek or Latin. Cureton published his findings to the world saying: ...this Gospel of St. Matthew appears at least to be built upon the original Aramaic text which was the work of the Apostle himself. (Remains of a Very Ancient Recension of the Four Gospels in Syriac; 1858; p. vi)
The Peshitta New Testament
The Peshitta Bible is an Aramaic version of the Scriptures which is used throughout the Near East. The birth of the Peshitta looms beyond the horizon of antiquity. Although one tradition has the Tanak portion of the Peshitta being translated at the time of Solomon at the request of Hiram, and another ascribes the translation to a priest named Assa sent by the king of Assyria to Samaria86. More likely is that the Peshitta Tanak was prepared at the edict of King Izates II of Abiabene who with his entire family converted to Judaism. Josephus records that at his request, King Izates' five son's went to Jerusalem to study the Jewish language and customs. It was probably at this time that the Peshitta Tanak was born.
The New Testament portion of the Peshitta was added to the Peshitta Tanak in the earliest Christian centuries. Jacobite Syrians; Nestorian Assyrians and Roman Catholic Chaldeans universally use it. The Peshitta must predate the Christological debates of the fourth and fifth centuries, since none of these groups would have adopted their rival's version. Thus, this version certainly originated in the pre-Nicean Church of the East. It includes all of the books except 2 Peter; 2 John; 3 John; Jude and Revelation. The Church of the East did not canonize these books. The Peshitta is not merely a translation from the Greek text, but rather a revision of the Old Syriac, as Arthur Voobus writes:
...the Peshitta is not a translation, but a revision of an Old Syriac version. (Studies in the History of the Gospel Text in Syriac; 1951; p. 46 see also pp. 54-55).
What does this have to do with the divinity of Christ? The Aramaic and Hebrew manuscripts of the New Testament noted above, maintain the original names of God such as Eloah, Elohim, El, Adon, Adoni and YHWH. Messianic Jews and Nazarene Jews consider the sacred names to be so important, that all translations use the transliteration from the Hebrew or Aramaic to the English of names of God as opposed to Lord or God.
The Sacred Name
In the past, sacred name versions of the New Testament have depended largely on guesswork to determine where "Lord" means YHWH and where "Lord" means ADON/ADONAI. This is because the Greek New Testament (at least as we have it today) does not distinguish between the two, having Greek KURIOS for both YHWH and ADON/ADONAI. However we know from both the Tosefta and Talmuds (ancient Jewish writings) that certain New Testament manuscripts contained the name of YHWH in their text (t. Shab. 13:5; b. Shab. 116a;j. Shab. 15c). Now our Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts preserve for us knowledge of where "Lord" in the NT was YHWH and where it was ADON/ADONAI. The DuTillet Hebrew manuscript of Matthew repeats the Hebrew letter YUD two or three times encircled as to mark places where the name of YHWH should go. The Shem Tob Hebrew version of Matthew has the Hebrew letter HEY standing alone (and in one place the word HASHEM spelled out) to mark places where the name of YHWH belongs. The Munster Hebrew text of Matthew actually contains the name of YHWH spelled out where it belongs. The Old Syriac, Peshitta and Crawford Aramaic manuscripts of NT books also distinguish between YHWH and ADON/ ADONAI. As a rule the Aramaic Peshitta Tanak (Old Testament) renders EL/ELOAH/ELOHIM with ALAHA; ADONAI/ADON with MAR and YHWH with MARYA.
This pattern continues through the Aramaic NT as well. These Aramaic manuscripts have Aramaic MARYA for YHWH and Aramaic MAR (or MARI or MARAN) for ADON/ADONAI. Now we have objective manuscript evidence to support placement of the sacred name into the NT text, the era of guesswork is over.
Fortunatley there is an Aramaic to English tranlastion that is accurate. The Hebraic Roots Version [is] the first "sacred name" NT to use such objective manuscript evidence to restore the sacred name to the New Testament. (Hebraic-Roots Version New Testament. translated by James S. Trimm p.XLIII)
The importance of this will be obvious to the issue of whether Christ (Yeshua) was God or not. In order to prove Yeshua was YHWH we have to go to the original Hebrew and Aramaic New Testament. This is now possible with confidence with the THE HEBRAIC ROOTS VERSION Translated by James S. Trimm. In his introduction he states:
WHY THE HEBRAIC ROOTS VERSION?
The Hebraic Roots Version (which began as the Semitic New Testament Project) has been a ten-year project to produce a new and accurate translation of the New Testament taken primarily from old Hebrew and Aramaic sources. Unlike most translations this edition will not be rooted in a Greek Hellenistic text. Instead this translation will seek to understand the text of the New Testament from the languages in which it was originally written. This is important because there are some passages in the NT, which do not make sense at all in Greek, but only begin to make sense when we look at them in Hebrew and Aramaic.
Information about this translation from the Society of the Preservation of Nazarene Judaism is at:
THE HEBRAIC ROOTS VERSION
With this as a background, comparisons of key scriptures of the KJV with the Hebraic Roots Version will show why, until now, the divinity of Christ has been less than obvious.
1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. KJV
John was quoting Isaiah.
3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. KJV
3 And this is he, of whom Yesha'yahu spoke saying,
"A voice crying, 'in the wilderness
Prepare you the way of YHWH,
make straight in the desert, a path for our Elohim'" HRV
Here it appears that John the Baptist is proclaiming that YHWH, as Christ, is coming. YHWH is the God of the Old Testament. The translation of YHWH as Lord hides this fact from English readers.
Here is an example where Lord was translated from Adoni.
8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day. KJV
8 For the Son Man is Adonai even of the Shabbat. HRV
Did Christ refer to himself as YHWH?
Mark 5 tells the story of the man possesed by a legion of demons. After Yeshua freed him from the evil spirits he asked Yeshua if he could be with him. The answer in the KJV is:
18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.
19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.
20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel. KJV
The following translation shows that Christ referred to himself as YHWH.
19 But he did not allow him, on the contrary, he said to him, Go to your house to your people and tell them what YHWH did for you and how he had compassion on you.
20 And he went and began proclaiming in the ten towns what Yeshua had done for him, and all were amazed. HRV
Here is a passage from Luke where Christ is Lord (Adon) instead of YHWH. This is to show the Aramaic and Hebrew makes a distinction between the two despite most translations rendering both as Lord.
1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? KJV
6 And our Adon said, Hear what the unrighteous judge said.
7 And will not Eloah all the more do vengeance for his chosen, which call on him both day and night, and be long suffering with them? HRV
Up to now, the scriptures quoted have not proven Christ was YHWH without a shadow of a doubt. The writing of the Apostles and of Paul make it even clearer.
7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. KJV
All Christians knows that the coming of the Lord that James refers to is Christ. What is especially interesting is that James uses both YHWH and Adon to refer to Christ, thus establishing that Christ is YHWH.
7 But my brothers, be patient until the coming of YHWH, as the husbandman who waits for the precious fruit of his ground and is patient for them until he receives the early and latter rain. Thus also be patient and establish your hearts, for the coming of our Adon draws nigh. HRV
If this isn't convincing, perhaps the Peter's writings will be. Peter also refers to Christ as both Adon and YHWH. In chapter 1, Peter calls Christ Adon (Lord).
In 1 Peter 1
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, KJV
1 Kefa 1
3 Blessed be Eloah, the Father of our Adon Yeshua the Messiah; who by his abundant compassion has begotten us anew by the resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah, to the hope of life HRV
In chapter 3 Peter calls Christ YHWH.
1 Peter 3
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: KJV
1 Kefa 3
15 But sanctify YHWH, the Messiah, in your hearts and be ready to make a defense to all who ask you a word concerning the hope of your faith, with meekness and fear. HRV
The writings of Paul make it even clearer the Christ and YHWH are the same being.
It is clear that Paul did not write his letters in the native tongues of the cities to which he wrote. Certainly no one would argue for a Latin original of Romans. Another point regarding the origin of Paul's Epistles, is their intended purpose. Paul intended the purpose of his Epistles to be:
I) To be read in the Congregations (Col. 4:16; IThes. 5:27)
2) To have doctrinal authoritv I I Cor. 14:37)
All Synagogue liturgies during the Second Temple era were in Hebrew and Aramaic. Paul would not have written material, which he intended to be read in the congregations in any other language. Moreover all religious writings of Jews, which claimed halachic (doctrinal) authority, were written in Hebrew or Aramaic. Paul could not have expected that his Epistles would be accepted as having the authority he claimed for them, without having written them in Hebrew or Aramaic.
Scholars familiar with Semetic idioms state that Paul clearly writes using Semitic idiomatic expressions. Paul uses the semetic term "word" to refer to some matter or thing (ICor. 12:8) Paul also uses the Semitic form of magnification by following a noun with its plural form. This is used in the Tenach (Old Testament) in such tenus as "Holy of Holies." Paul uses this idiom in such phrases as "Hebrew of Hebrews" (Phil. 3:5); "King of kings" and "Lord of lords" (ITim. 6:15).
Paul was born in Tarsus, an Aramaic speaking city, and raised up in Jerusalem as a staunch non-Helenist. He wrote his Epistles to core groups of Jews at various congregations in the Diaspora to hold doctrinal authority and to be used as liturgy. There can be little doubt that he wrote these Epistles in Hebrew or Aramaic and they were later translated into Greek.
This understanding of the Hebraic or Aramaic source of Pauls writings are clear when examining key verses written by Paul which establish the divinity of Christ.
Chapter 14 of Romans establishes Christ's divinity and his Lordship. Paul uses both Adon and YHWH to refer to Christ. This chapter is commonly used to justify eating unclean meats or why it is unnecessary for Christians to keep the Holy Days. Regardless of the theological interpretation of these matters, Paul makes it very clear that Yeshua was and is YHWH.
Here is how it is rendered from the Greek.
8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
10 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.
11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. KJV
From the Aramaic a much broader understanding of Lord is revealed.
8 Because if we live, we live to our Adon and if we die, we die to our Adon. And whether we live therefore or whether we die, we belong to our Adon.
9 Because of this also the Messiah died and is alive and is raised that he might be YHWH to the dead and to the living.
1O Now why do you judge your brother? Or why also do you treat your brother with contempt? For all of us will stand before the bema of the Messiah.
11 As it is written, I live, says YHWH. Every knee will bow to me and every tongue will confess me.
12 Therefore every man from us will give an account for his nefesh to Eloah.
13 Therefore let us not judge one another, but rather determine this: that you will not place a stumbling stone before your brother.
14 For I know and am persuaded by YHWH Yeshua that there is not a thing that is defiled from itself. But to him who thinks concerning a thing that it is unclean, to him alone it is unclean. HRV
In verse 14 Paul calls the Messiah, YHWH Yeshua. All Christians call Christ Lord, Paul makes it clear that Chist is both Adon (Lord) and YHWH (God of the OT and the Messiah)
There are several passages in 1 Corinthians that indicate that Christ is YHWH. The most compelling is in 1 Cor 8:6
1 Corinthians 8
6 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 whom are all things, and we by him. KJV
Because of translating the original into the Greek before translating it into Englsih, the meaning is not clear what Lord means. This is not the case in the HRV.
1 Corinthians 8
6 But to ourselves, [there] is one Eloah, the father, from whom [are] all [things] and by whom we are, and one YHWH, Yeshua the Messiah; by his hand [are] all [things] and by his hand we are also. HRV
This passage makes it very plain that Christ is YHWH the creator of all things.
Paul makes it even clearer in Chapter 12.
1 Corinthians 12
3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. KJV
1 Corinthians 12
3 Because of this, I make known to you that there is no one by the spirit of Eloah and says that Yeshua is accursed. And neither is a man able to say that YHWH is Yeshua except by Ruach HaKodesh.
Here Paul says that one must have the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) the spirit of Eloah (God) to understand that YHWH is Yeshua (Jesus).
Paul makes his point without any possibility of misunderstanding in 1 Corithians 15.
1 Corithians 15
45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. KJV
1 Corithians 15
45 So it is also written, Adam, the first man, became a living nefesh; and the last Adam, a quickening spirit.
46 But the spiritual was not first but the natural and then the spiritual.
47 The first son of man* was dust that was from the earth. The second man was YHWH from heaven.
*An Aramaic idiom stressing mortality. Adam was not a literal son of man.
Here Paul states in language, that cannot be interpreted otherwise, that Christ was YHWH from heaven.
Men may find ways to twist scripture today to claim that Christ was not the God of the Old Testament (YHWH), but someday they will bow their knee and confess that Christ is God.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. KJV
5 And think in your nefeshot that which also Yeshua the Messiah [thought],
6 Who as he was in the likeness of Eloah did not consider it presumptuous to be an equal of Eloah?
7 But he emptied his nefesh, and took on the likeness of a servant, and was in the likeness of the sons of men and was found in fashion like a son of man.
8 And he humbled his nefesh and became obedient unto death, even the death of the gallows.
9 Because of this, Eloah also highly exalted him, and gave him a name which is greater than all names,
1O That at the name of Yeshua every knee will bow that is in heaven and on earth and that is under the earth,
11 And every tongue will confess that Yeshua the Messiah is YHWH, to the glory of Eloah his Father. HRV
One last scripture that warns of men who would rob you by their doctrines.
8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
9 For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. KJV
8 Beware lest any man should rob you by philosophy and by empty deception according to the doctrines of the sons of men, and according to the elements of the world, and not according to the Messiah.
9 in Whom dwells all the Fullness of the Godhead bodily. HRV
For those that continue to insist that Christ was/is not GOD, there is a religion that fits that viewpoint perfectly, it is called Islam.
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God's Sacred Name
Was Christ God in the Flesh?
God Talking To You
God's Creation and The Dance of Shiva
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Reincarnation: The Original Plan of God
Sabbath: The Amended Plan of God part 1
Resurrection: The Amended Plan of God part 2
The Sabbath is a Rehearsal
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The Tao of Sabbath
Seven Sabbath Meditations
How to Meditate
The Parable of the King's Diamonds
Chester's Oral tests
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The Aquarian Gospel of Christ
Is Krishna also Christ?