Who was “the LORD” of the Old Testament: Part 4

John Plunkett

February 10, 2018

Today, I would like to continue dealing with the question: Who was “the LORD” of the Old Testament?

Some of the things that we are going to cover today are a little hard to get our minds around.  But when we really dig into these concepts, we are seeing some astonishing communication from Jesus to God the Father, and from God the Father to Jesus. 

Last time, in Part 3, we started a side-study on the New Testament quotes of the last ten words of verse 7 of Psalm 2:

Psalm 2:7:
I will declare the decree: the LORD has said unto me, "You are my son; this day have I begotten you."

Last time, we saw that it was the LORD (YHVH), – the "primary Creator" – the Word (Logos) – the One who became the Messiah (Christos) – Jesus – who said these words to David – initially!

But, again last time, in Hebrews 5:5, the first of our New Testament quotes of Psalm 2:7, we found a record of God the Father saying the same words to His Son, Jesus.  We are going to see some more of that kind of parallel repetition today.

Let’s start, today, examining another New Testament application of this same Psalm:

Acts 13:32:
And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,

These "fathers" were the human forefathers of Paul's Jewish listeners in the synagogue that day, including David. 

33:  God {Greek: "Theos" – in this case the Father) has fulfilled the same {the same glad tidings and promise} unto us their children, in that he has raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, "You are my Son, this day have I begotten you."

Please keep the words “this day” in the back of your minds.  We'll come back to it shortly.

The Greek word translated “begotten” in verse 33 is "gegenneka" and it is a perfect-active-indicative tense of the well known Greek verb ‘gennao,’ which, as well as "begotten" can also mean conceived, born or gave life to. 

The Old Testament Hebrew version of Psalm 2:7 which is quoted here is ‘yalad’ which, exactly the same as its Greek counterpart, can mean conceived, born, or gave life to.

The words “this day” might bring up another question in your mind, as it did to mine: Which day?  Yes.  Just when did the Father say these words to Jesus? 

We might assume that it was the day that Jesus was physically begotten (conceived) in the womb of His human mother, Mary. 

But if you really think about it, if this is true, God the Father would have been talking to a tiny embryo who would have been totally unable to hear His Father's voice at that point in time. 

The implication, through the context of Acts 13 is that God the Father said these words to Jesus either at, or soon after, He had raised Him from the dead. 

When we look into the meanings of the Greek and Hebrew words for begotten, the Father said these words to Jesus when He was given life again – when He was "born again" – when He was "born from the dead" – when He became "the Firstborn of the dead" per these scriptures:

Colossians 1: 18:
And He is the Head of the body, the church: who is the Beginning, the Firstborn
(Prototokos) from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

I Corinthians 15:20:
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the Firstfruits of them that slept.

The word “slept” there is, of course, referring to the sleep of death.

Revelation 1:5:
And from Jesus Christ, who is the Faithful Witness, and the First-begotten
(Prototokos) of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.  Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.

If you really think about it, for Jesus and for God the Father, this re-birth of Jesus from the dead was far more important than His physical begettal and birth as a baby.  Yes, that event certainly was important, as well as being an amazing miracle; but His rebirth from the dead was much more important to God the Father and Jesus.  And should be to us!

When we apply our own spiritual begettal and birth to Jesus’ it is true that there are definitely some very close similarities; but our spiritual begettal and birth are somewhat different than those of Jesus.  We were spiritually begotten by the Holy Spirit at the time of our baptism.  Although the Holy Spirit did descend upon Jesus at the time of His baptism, we can be sure that Jesus possessed a full measure of the Holy Spirit for His whole life – going all of the way back to the physical human embryo in Mary’s womb (Compare Luke 1:15, 41, 80; 2:40). 

Let’s go back to the “this day” of Jesus’ spiritual birth, re-birth and birth from the dead, which likely occurred at the instant of His resurrection.  This implication becomes clear as we go back into Acts 13:

Acts 13:
34:  And as concerning that He
{God the Father} raised Him {Jesus} up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, He (the Father) said on this wise, "I will give you the sure mercies of David."

I don’t want to get into a side study today on the topic of "the sure mercies of David," as that is another subject; but when Paul tells us that God the Father said “I will give you the sure mercies of David,” he was quoting from Isaiah 55, which is an astonishing verse:

Isaiah 55:3:
Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

In the context  of Jesus' birth from the dead at the instant of His resurrection, as given by Paul in his quoting of this verse, it's like we're hearing the Father saying to Jesus: "Listen, My beloved Son!  Hear my voice and come back to life!  And come back to me!"  

Looking some more into that same context of death and resurrection in Acts 13: 

Acts 13:
35:  Wherefore he
{David} said also in another psalm {Psalm 15:10}, "You shall not suffer your Holy One to see corruption."
36:  For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption
{his body decayed}.
37:  But He
{Jesus} whom God {the Father} raised again, saw no corruption.

David was a very special person and was given an incredible measure of God’s Holy Spirit.  But he still was a human being.  He died, he went to the grave and his body decayed – just the same as everybody else's (Acts 2:29-34).

We see here that the apostle Paul, who was speaking here, and Luke, who was the writer of the Book of Acts, were both given to understand how God inspired, caused and used human beings, including David, and human words and events in the Psalms and in other Old Testament scriptures as prophetic symbols, representations, foreshadowings and prefigures of even more significant beings, words; and events that were going to happen in the future.

Yes, many of the words from the Psalms of David, and the prophetic scriptures from other writers, such as Isaiah, were later quoted and applied to the birth, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus.

There appears to be a kind of parallel here, where the LORD (YHVH) is talking to David or inspiring something into David’s mind; then the parallel of this is when God the Father is talking to His Son, Jesus.  We will see similar parallels as we continue going through this.

This being the case then, we need to be very careful and we need to think very hard about how we apply these verses.  We cannot just take them for granted.  We must dig into them and think about them.

Let’s go on to another quote of Psalm 2:7 – this one in the Book of Hebrews:

Hebrews 1: 
1:  God
{Theos in this case, the Father}, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

Once again, the author is referring to the Hebrews' human forefathers.

How did God the Father do this?   How did He speak to them?  Was it face-to-face?  Did He do it mouth-to-ear?  Did the Father do it from His mouth to their human ears? 

No!  It says here that it was through God’s chosen and inspired prophets. This would, of course, include David and Isaiah.

2:  Has in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He {the Father} has appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds;

Specifically, that "us" was the First Century New Covenant Church of God.  But we can extend the "us" to ourselves.

The Father spoke to us by His Son.  Yes, we know that the Father did have a hand in the creation; but we know, also, that it was the Word – the Logos – Jesus who was the "primary Creator" by whom the Father  made the worlds (John 1).

In the Christian era, God the Father spoke to the church brethren – and God speaks to us now, today – by and through His Son, Jesus, via the transmission method of the Holy Spirit.  The Father and Jesus are totally composed of this Spirit, of which they have given us a mere "earnest" – an initial down-payment – to dwell within us (II Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14).

3:  Who {referring to Jesus} being the brightness of His {the Father's} glory, and the express image of His {the Father's} person, and upholding all things by the word of His {the Father's} power, when He {Jesus} had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high {the Father};

Can we even imagine Jesus sitting down in His throne which is located on the right hand side of God the Father.  Yes.  They both have thrones that we cannot even visualize with any accuracy. 

4:  Being made so much better than the angels, as He {Jesus} has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Jesus has a more excellent name than the angels.  We will go into this some more in a future episode of this series when we will compare Jesus with the angels.  But right here, we read that He is so far superior to those angels.

5a:  For unto which of the angels said He {the Father} at any time, "You are my Son, this day have I begotten you"?...

There is it again – Psalm 2:7 quoted as being spoken by the Father saying these words to Jesus.

5b: … And again, "I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to me a Son"?

The LORD said these prophetic words to David, through Nathan the prophet, in II Samuel 7:14.

6:  And again, when He {the Father} brought in the First-begotten {Prototokos} into the world, He said, "And let all the angels of God worship Him."

This was evidently cited from Psalm 97:7 where the word "elohiym" refers, not to gods; but to angels.  Yes.  All the angels were commanded to worship the First-begotten – Jesus. 

The initial worship of the human Jesus by the angels was fulfilled shortly after His human birth.  We all know the account in Luke 2:8-15, where we read that, at Jesus’ birth, there were "a multitude" of angels singing their praises.

But, if you think that the angels went wild with worship and song about Him being born as a human being, can you imagine what it was like at His resurrection, when He was born from the dead? 

7:  And of the angels He {the Father} {the Father} said, "Who makes His {Jesus’} angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire."

This is quoted directly from yet another prophetic Psalm – Psalm 104:4. 

We will come back to this next time.  We don’t need to go there right now; but just to mention that verse 1 of that same 104th Psalm tells us, in the Hebrew, that both appearances of the word “His” here refer to the LORD God (YHVH Elohiym) – the One who at the instant of His conception in Mary’s womb, became the human Jesus.

Continuing in Hebrews 1:

8:  But unto the Son He {the Father} said, "Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of your kingdom.

This was quoted from yet another psalm – Psalm 45.6.  We don't know who wrote Psalm 45; but in some parts, it reads like one human being extolling the virtues of another human being – perhaps a king.  But in other parts, it definitely reads like that same human author is worshipping God.  However, in the Hebrews quote of it, the author tells us that this is God the Father saying these words to His Son – who as we have seen was the other member of the God Family – YHVH Elohiym.

Here, the Father and Jesus appear to be giving their people – including you and me – a privileged glimpse into some of this wonderful and amazing communication between themselves.  And, specifically here, the Father talking to His Son, Jesus.

Continuing now in verse 9 of Hebrews 1, which was quoted from Psalm 45:7:

9a: … You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even your God...

In the original Psalms 45 version, the "You" that the human author is writing to is another human being – again, perhaps a king.  And the Hebrew for "God, even your God" is "Elohiym-Elohey."  

But in the New Testament Hebrews version, this is God the Father talking to Jesus and the "God, even your God" is referring to the Father!

Continuing in verse 9 of Hebrews 1... again quoted from Psalm 45:7 and again, God the Father speaking:

9b: … God, even your God {i.e. Me!  I!} has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows.

The "fellows" of the human Jesus, might have been His disciples and, of course, by extension, all of the members of His church.  Or maybe He is talking about His Holy angels.  Or possibly both.

10: And, "You, Lord, in the beginning have laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of your hands:

Again, we know who that is. The heavens and the earth are the works of the hands of the Logos – the Word – the primary Creator – Jesus.  

Although the word "Lord" does not appear in Psalm 102:25, from which Hebrews 1:10 is quoted, other verses of that psalm do mention "the LORD" and prove that to whom the whole Psalm is directed to Him – YHVH Elohiym – the Word – the Logos – through whom the Father created all things.

Again, please allow me to repeat that God the Father said these words to His Son, Jesus – the Word – the Logos – the LORD – YHVH, as He was known at the time of the psalmists and the prophets. 

Also, let me repeat, that we privileged human beings – we members of God’s true church – "hear" the Father’s voice and the Father’s words – not face-to-face; but through the pens of the prophets and the psalmists.  Even more so in our New Covenant era, we "hear" the Father’s voice and the Father’s words through the words of Jesus who is the very Word of God (Revelation 19:13).  We hear that voice and those words through the pens of His New Covenant servants and via the transmission method of God’s Holy Spirit. 

This is amazing!  When we are Spirit beings, we will totally understand all this.  But to delve into that spiritual realm certainly is something amazing!  

We'll go even further into that realm next time.  We'll continue today, though, within this same general subject; but we'll take a bit of a detour in order to examine some "difficult" but very relevant scriptures, and we'll try to answer some of the questions concerning them.  But once we have established who " the LORD" of the Old Testament was, we must look into these questions and answer them if we ar4e able.

There are certain prophetic scriptures that read as though the LORD (YHVH) was kind of setting the stage – kind of setting things up –  in advance way back then for His arrival on earth.  Yes, for the arrival on earth of His own future human self!   This is an amazing thing to consider!

Yes.  It is a hard concept to get our limited human minds around.  But Jesus used this fact at least once (apparently purposely) to confuse  those who were attacking Him and trying to trap Him with their convoluted arguments.  But they were no match for Jesus, who was filled with an unlimited measure of the Holy Spirit.  He knew how to turn the tables on His attackers.

There are two different gospel accounts of this first example.  We will look at both.  Mark’s version first and then Matthew's.  The wording is just a little different, but they both have valid aspects to them:

Mark 12:
35:  And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, "How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David?
36:  For David himself said by the Holy Spirit, 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit you on my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool."'
37:  David therefore himself calls him 'Lord'; and whence
{how} is he then his son?"  And the common people heard him gladly.

This was a conundrum that He set before them.  Here's Matthew's version:

Matthew 22:
41:  While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
42:  Saying, "What think you of Christ
{Christos the Messiah}?  Whose Son is He?"  They said unto Him, "The Son of David."
43:  He said unto them, "How then does David in Spirit call Him 'Lord,' saying,
44a:  'The Lord said unto my Lord … 

Again, both instances of the word "Lord" in the Greek are translated from ‘Kurios.’

44b: …  Sit you on my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool'?
45:  If David then call Him 'Lord'
{Kurios}, how is He {Christos – the Messiah} his {David’s} son?

Please notice here that David first wrote these words under the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit.  It is possible that the LORD spoke these words to him directly, face-to-face; but, more likely, the LORD inspired this statement into David’s mind through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit.

When we read this, we may not be able to come up with a valid answer to Jesus' question.  We too can get totally confused by the words that Jesus spoke then.  If we were Pharisees, how would we answer the question? 

We can get more answers to these questions and to Jesus’ conundrum if we take the time to look at the original scripture in Psalm 110, which we will do shortly; but also if we take the time to consult Jesus’ two genealogies again:

Matthew’s list of Jesus' ancestors is considered by most Bible scholars to be the "humanly legal" one that goes back through Jesus' legal stepfather, Joseph.  Luke’s version is considered to be the "genetically actual" one that goes back through Jesus’ human mother, Mary.

Matthew's list goes oldest-to-soonest; but it only goes back as far as Abraham.  So let's go to Luke's listing, which goes soonest-to oldest and is more complete than Matthew's:

Luke 3:
23:  And Jesus Himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli...
Verse 31:  Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David...
Verse 38:  Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.

This is an amazing fact!  If you really think about what we're being told here, the human Jesus was the great, great, great, great (etc.) grandson of His own former eternal self!  Conversely, the Eternal LORD (YHVH) was the great, great, great, great, great, etc. grandfather of Jesus, His own future human self! 

Hard to get your mind around?  Yes!  Have you ever heard the old song: “I am my own Grandpa?”  This is even more astonishing than that!

Going back to and thinking about Jesus’ conundrum in Matthew 22, in the English language we can be confused about this, partly because of the repetition of the English word "Lord."  But the New Testament Greek has exactly the same problem. because it has the same word for "Lord."  Both appearances of the word "Lord" are translated from the Greek "Kurios."

So, for clarification, we must go back to the original Hebrew version of Psalm 110 which, according to the preamble before verse 1, was a Psalm of David:

Psalm 110:1:  
{notice the capitals?} said unto my Lord {notice the lower-case?}, "Sit you at my right hand
{N.B.}, until I make your enemies your footstool."

Who was the Speaker here?  Who was the One who said these things?  The One who did the saying here was the LORD (YHVH).  

And who did YHVH say it to?  The upper-case-capitals "LORD" (YHVH) said these words to the lower-case "Lord."  But in the Hebrew, the lower-case "Lord" is a different word!  It is not "YHVH."  It is "Adown" which can also mean Master, Owner or Sir –  still a "high-up" position!

The Old Testament Hebrew clarifies that the two Lords – the two Kurioses of Jesus’ conundrum in Matthew 22 are different persons!  They are different beings!

Initially, when these were spoken to David by the inspiration the Holy Spirit, the Speaker was the LORD (YHVH) – a Holy-Spirit-composed God Being.  The one who was being spoken to was David.  Yes, he was a great man.  He was an "Adown"; but he was still a human being. 

So this lower-case "Lord" here initially referred to David himself; but ultimately referred to the future human Jesus. 

This is shown even more clearly if we continue reading in Psalm 110.  We won’t go into it in too much detail; but let’s quickly read through the subsequent verses, where we'll see that this obviously refers to Jesus:

2:  The LORD {YHVH} shall send the rod of your {speaking to the Adown} strength out of Zion: rule you in the midst of your enemies.
3:  Your people shall be willing in the day of your power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: you have the dew of your youth.
4:  The LORD
{YHVH} has sworn, and will not repent, "You {Adown} are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

Let’s just stop for a minute there, because both the human Jesus and David were of the royal, kingly tribe of Judah.  They were not of the human priestly tribe of Levi.  So, humanly, neither of them could be priests of the human Levite Aaronite priesthood.

Hebrews 7:14:
For it is evident that our Lord
{Kurios Jesus} sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood...

But we know that Jesus is our High Priest (Hebrews 2:17; 3:1; 4:14-15, etc.).  And we know also, that His Priesthood is the Melchizedek Priesthood. 

Hebrews 7:
11:  If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
12:  For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law...
Verse 15:  And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there arises another priest...
Verse 17:  For he testifies, "You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."

We also know that all true Christians are kings and priests (Revelation 1:6 and 5:10) – "in training."  Not Levitical priests; but Melchizedek priests – in training.

But, I speculate the possibility that, perhaps because (as many scriptures tell us) David was filled, in advance, with an extra measure of the Holy Spirit, maybe he too could have been considered to have been kind of an "advanced" priest of the Melchizedek order.  If this is true, it would explain why Jesus judged David to be blameless in the well-known situation where he (David) ate the showbread in the temple (tabernacle).  David would be blameless because if he was (through the indwelling of such a high level of the Holy Spirit) a member of the Melchizedek priesthood, he possessed a higher authority than the Levitical priesthood, and was, at that time, the chief representative of the One who was "greater than the temple." (Matthew 12:3-6).

Some of these things we can only have a glimpse of.  Some of them we don’t know all of the details;, but they are still astonishing!

Let’s continue in Psalm 110 where we will see even more how its words applied initially to David; but how it applies ultimately to Jesus; and in this case, especially the resurrected Jesus at His second coming:

Psalm 110:
5:  The Lord
{Adown} at your right hand {N.B. See verse 1 as well as many other scriptures} shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.
6:  He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.
7:  He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.

Yes, much of this certainly could be applied initially to the human David, but more so the ultimate fulfillment of it must apply to Jesus – not so much at His First Coming; but more so at His Second Coming in power and great glory.