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Articles  Jesus is Lord

Jesus is Lord

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...if you confess with your mouth that Yeshu is MarYah (Jesus is the Lord, Jesus as Lord, or the Lord Jesus) and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

~ Romans 10:9

The commonly used phrase Jesus is Lord never occurs in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. You will find it in newer English translations, such as once in the New American Standard Bible (NASB) in 1Corinthians 12:3, twice in the English Standard Version (ESV) and New International Version (NIV) in both Romans 10:9 and 1Corinthians 12:3, and three times in the New International reader's Version (NIrV) in Romans 10:9, Romans 10:10, and 1Corinthians 12:3.

In lieu of Jesus is Lord, the KJV contains the phrase Jesus is the Lord in 1Corinthians 12:3 and the Lord Jesus in Romans 10:9. This latter phrasing is found more than 50 times in all of the English translations.

So what? Is there any eternal significance in the differently structured phrasings? Not at all. What I wish to address in this brief article is the use of the word Lord.

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The Test

...I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” (or “Jesus is the Lord” or “Lord Jesus” ) except in (or "by") the Holy Spirit.

~ 1Corinthians 12:3

In 1Corinthians chapter 12, Paul has just addressed the topic of Spiritual Gifts with the brethren at Corinth. He reminds them of their former lives as idolaters and informs them of the one Spirit Who is revealed to each, separately. In verse 3, the apostle presents a test, one which can be used to identify those who have the Spirit of God and those who do not. Paul teaches that the Spirit of God within them will never cause them to declare, “Jesus be damned.”

Paul continues to say that no man, but by that same Spirit of God within, can declare Jesus to be the Lord. And yet, men say those English words all the time, be they born again or not. If it truly is a litmus test, one of two things must be true:

  1. All men, including authors, actors, and mockers alike, have the Spirit of God and can thus utter the words Jesus and Lord together in some combination
  2. There is something not quite right with the English translation of the phrase Jesus is Lord

Item one, above, is simply not the case, as it would obviate the need for the test. We are left with discovering what might be wrong with the translation.

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The Title

And Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord."

~ Mark 12:29

Most English language New Testaments today have been translated from Greek, a language that, unlike Hebrew or Aramaic, contains no name for God, let alone a title reserved for Him alone. In the imaginations of the Greeks there were many gods, none of whom were elevated to a position requiring the prefacing of their name with a reserved title.

Throughout the Greek New Testament we find the phrase:

κυριου ιησου χριστου (kuriou iesou christou)

This phrase is typically translated/transliterated into our English Bibles as Lord Jesus Christ.

Kuriou/kurios/kurion is a very general and very common title in Greek and is used in place of the English titles sir, Mr., master, his Lordship, landlord, lord, etc. This title is used in approximately 700 verses of the Greek New Testament.

Most would agree that saying, “Mr. Jesus” is respectful, but does not convey any reverential significance. It certainly does not declare Who He is. It is important to realize that this is precisely what the Greek language presents kuriou to mean: simple respect for a man, not reverence for the Living God.

If you were hoping for some Divine origin of the title in English, the etymology of the word lord is every bit as disappointing as the Greek word kuriou. Lord is held to be derived from hlāford (which originated from hlāfweard, meaning "loaf-ward" or "bread-keeper"). Variations such as lard, laverd, and laird also point to the same essential meaning, that being a reference to the owner of an estate, the "bread winner".

English-speaking Christians of yesteryear had to wrestle with the ubiquitous usage of the word lord to identify the aristocracy (eg, lords and ladies, "his lordship", etc), referring to the non-peasant class, all the while using the same title to identify the object of their worship. Today, unless one lives in and/or deals with the UK politically, English-speaking Christians rarely encounter the word lord outside of religious circles, unless they are renting a property ("landlord").

My point is, sadly: the English word lord is relatively meaningless as it pertains to addressing the Living God. The same can be said for the Greek word kuriou. Prefacing the name of Jesus with the word Lord simply does little to define Who He is.

So, Who is He?

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Who do others say I AM?

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, 'Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am?'

~ Matthew 16:13, Mark 8:27

Jesus asked His disciples what they were hearing from people about Him. He wanted to know Who, exactly, people were saying He was. The disciples told Him that some men said He was John The Baptist. Others were saying He was Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of The Prophets.

Have you ever paused to consider: For the One Who knows men's thoughts and what is in their hearts (Matthew 9:4, Mark 2:8, Mark 8:17, Luke 5:22, Luke 9:47), the last thing Jesus needed was intel from His disciples regarding what other people are thinking, let alone saying. So why did He ask them Who men thought He was?

The answer is in His follow-up question...

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

~ Matthew 16:15, Mark 8:29

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Who do you say I AM?

With the answers of others still fresh in their ears, His disciples were then asked the question of all questions: "Who do you say that I AM?"

Consider the potential for the greatest contrast of all time: Whether some may say He is Bill, Ted, or Jeff, or others may say He is Zeus, or Buddha, or a Great Teacher, what matters for you is Who you say He is!

Incredulously, after this conversation Jesus then enjoined His disciples to tell no one about Him! Weren't you thinking that the primary mission of the disciples was to tell the whole world Who He was? Not according to Jesus. That was/is for the Father, through the Spirit, to reveal to each man.

There are several words/phrases used to refer to the One True God in Aramaic, either as a description, name or title:

  • אלהא Alaha/Aloha – typically translated as God)
  • רוחא דאלהא (Ruukah D’Alaha – Spirit of God)
  • רוחא דקודשא (Ruukah D’Quudsha – Spirit of Holiness/Holy Spirit)
  • מרן (Maran – typically translated as Lord, depending on who is doing the translating)
  • מריא (MarYah – typically translated as LORD, the Aramaic equivalent of the Hebrew YHWH)
  • אנא־אנא (ENah A Nah, translated as I AM, the Aramaic equivalent of the Hebrew Ahiah Ashra Hiah found in Exodus, I AM What/That I AM)

Throughout the Syriac Peshitta, the word MarYah is used exclusively to reference the One and Only God. MarYah is the Aramaic equivalent of the Hebrew YHWH (which is typically translated into English as LORD, or Jehovah). In The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon (dukhrana.com) we read: "...in Syriac that (spelling of MarYah) is used only for the Lord God (ie. the Tetragrammaton)..."

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Zacharias and Elisabeth

And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

~ Luke 1:6

It was said of John the Baptist's parents, Zacharias and Elisabeth, that they walked blameless in the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.

The word Lord, or phrase the Lord, in this verse is translated from the Aramaic word MarYah. This is YHWH. Jehovah.

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Maryam (Mary)

Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.

~ Luke 1:38

Upon hearing from the angel Gabriel that she, a virgin, would give birth to the Son of God, Maryam said, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord..."

The word Lord, or phrase the Lord, in this verse is translated from the Aramaic word MarYah. This is YHWH. Jehovah.

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Yeshu (Jesus)

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

~ Isaiah 9:6

In addition to names such as Wonderful, Counsellor, and the Prince of Peace, Isaiah told us that our LORD Jesus would be called the Mighty God and the Everlasting Father.

You did know that, right?

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 2:36

God has made Jesus both LORD and Christ...

Again, the word Lord, or phrase the Lord, in this verse is translated from the Aramaic word MarYah. This is YHWH. Jehovah.

Do you hear it?

Peter (Shimeon Kaypha) said that God (Alaha) has made this Jesus (Yeshu) both LORD (MarYah/YHWH/Jehovah) and Christ (Meshika/Messiah)!

Peter did not declare that God had just called Mary’s son, “Mr. Anointed”. To my knowledge, being called mister, sir, master, lord, etc. does not get you accused of blasphemy, let alone is anyone ever crucified for it!

Jesus had said,

"I and my Father, We are One." And the Judeans picked up stones again to stone him. And Yeshu said to them, "Many excellent works from the presence of my Father I have shown you. For which of those works are you stoning me?" The Judeans were saying to him, "It is not for excellent works that we are stoning you, but because you blaspheme, and as you are a man, you make yourself God."

~ John 10:30-33

When Jesus said, "We are One", He did not say, "We, as separate individuals, me a mere mortal, and He the Living God, are in agreement with each other". The Judahites didn't accuse Him of blasphemy because He implied that He was in agreement with God. He said, "We are One" as in, NOT two. This is the identical word used in other verses such as:

Whoever compels you to go one mile with him, go with him two miles.

~ Matthew 5:41

One scribe came near and said to him, "Rabbi, I shall come after you, wherever you go."

~ Matthew 8:19

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one LORD, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

~ Ephesians 4:4-6

One means "1". According to the Scriptures, Who He is is not a mystery!

Note that anyone can utter the English words “Jesus is lord.”

But, just as the Spirit of Holiness will never prompt a man to say, “Jesus be damned,” so no man will claim that Jesus is Jehovah, Yeshua is YHWH, Yeshu is MarYah – except by that same Spirit!

The distinction between the innocuous, ambiguous title of lord and the Name of the Most High, MarYah/YHWH, is impressively obvious.

κυριον ιησουν (kurion iesoun)
דמריא ישוע (MarYah Yeshu)

Let's revisit Paul's test, the one he gave to the Corinthians:

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Remember the Test

...I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” (or “Jesus is the Lord” or “Lord Jesus”) except in (or "by")the Holy Spirit.

~ 1Corinthians 12:3

No one can say, "Jesus is MarYah/YHWH/Jehovah" except in/by the Holy Spirit.

And once again, the word Lord, or phrase the Lord, in this verse is translated from the Aramaic word MarYah. This is YHWH. Jehovah.

Put "the test" to the test: Ask anyone, regardless of their religious affiliation, to echo the words, "Jesus is Lord". Then ask them who they say that Jesus is. See if you get a reply that includes YHWH, Jesus is Jehovah, Jesus is MarYah, Jesus is the One, True, Living God, etc! It is most educational (and you may meet a fellow heir).

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If you like using the word lord to reference our Savior, make certain you understand Who, exactly, you are referring to.

...and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is LORD...

~ Philippians 2:11

The word Lord in this verse is translated from the Aramaic word MarYah. Once again, this verse, all by itself, is a declaration of precisely Who Jesus is... He is YHWH. He is Jehovah.

...and every tongue shall confess that Yeshu the Messiah is MarYah/YHWH/Jehovah to the glory of God His Father!

So, Who do you say that He is? Do you claim that Jesus is MarYah/YHWH/Jehovah/The Living God?

Grace and Peace be with you,