Who was “the LORD” of the Old Testament? 
Part 5


John Plunkett


In the past 4 sermons, we’ve been looking into the question: Who was “the LORD” of the Old Testament?


Last time, we started looking at the astonishing concept of the LORD/YHVH preparing the way – and even the details – for His own future human self; and His sojourn as the human Jesus.


I’d like to continue with this today.


Isaiah 42 and 61


Another great example of this can be found in chapters 42 and 61 of the book of Isaiah.  Let’s start with chapter 42:


Isaiah 42:
1:  Behold my servant, whom I uphold; my elect, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon Him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.

2:  He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.

3:  A bruised read shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.

4:  He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He has set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for His law.


This rings a bell, doesn’t it?   We’ll come to the New Testament quotes of these verses very soon.  But please note two points in this short passage: the pronouns Him, His and He; and the repeated reference to judgment.


Yes, we see three mentions of judgment here.  Three mentions of some person who will bring judgment to the Gentiles – and to the rest of the world.


Who will that person – that judge – be?   Will it be God the Father?  


No!  Let’s quickly read what Jesus said about who this ultimate future judge will be:


John 5:
22:  For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment unto the Son...
27:   And has given Him
{the Son} authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.


John 9:39a:
And Jesus said, “For judgment I am come into this world”…


Back to Isaiah 42.  Who was speaking there?  We’re told in verse 5:


Isaiah 42:
5:  Thus says God the LORD
{Hebrew: El-YHVH}, He that created the heavens, and stretched them out; He that spread forth the earth, and that which comes out of it; He that gives breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein…


It was “God the LORD” – El-YHVH – the “primary Creator.”


In this regard, whenever we read something like this, either in the Old Testament or the New Testament, please always keep John 1 in mind:


John 1:
1:  In the beginning was the Word
{Logos}, and the Word {Logos} was with God, and the Word {Logos} was God…

Verse 3:  All things were made by Him {Logos}; and without Him {Logos} was not any thing made that was made… ..
Verse 14a:  And the Word {Logos} was made flesh, and dwelt among us…


Not that the Father was not involved in the creation process.  Of course, He was.   Very much so:

Genesis 1:
1:  In the beginning God
{Elohiym – plural} created the heaven and the earth…

Verse 26a:  And God {Elohiym – plural} said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” …


Maybe God the Father was the designer and the LORD (YHVH – Logos) was the actual builder.  But back in Isaiah 42:5, we see yet another reiteration of which “God-being” of the two was the main, primary” Creator.


As Isaiah continues into verse 6 and 7 of chapter 42, I find it interesting how the personal pronouns change – from “He” and “Him” and “His” to “you” and “your”:


Isaiah 42:
6:  I the LORD
{YHVH} have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you, and give you for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
7:  To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.


This is also very familiar to most readers, isn’t it?  We’ll come to the New Testament quote of this very soon.  But two questions arise from these verses:


1.     Who was the “you” that the LORD (El-YHVH) was talking to here?

2.     How and when were these prophecies fulfilled?


Let’s answer the second question first: How and when were these prophecies fulfilled?


The answer is given, seemingly, in two “segments” or “stages.”  The second of these two stages was recorded by Matthew:


Matthew 12:

14:  Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him {Jesus}, how they might destroy Him.

15:  But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there.  And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all.

16:  Yet He warned them not to make Him known,

17:  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet {in Isaiah 42, as we just read}, saying:

18: “Behold!  My servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom my soul is well pleased!  I will put my Spirit upon Him, and He will declare justice to the Gentiles.

19:  He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.

20:  A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench, till He sends forth justice to victory;

21:  And in His name Gentiles will trust.”


Is this referring to the human Jesus?


Yes!  In many modern Bible versions of Isaiah 42, the words Servant, Elect One, Him, He and His in verses 1 to 4 – and You and Your in verse 6 – all have their first letters capitalized – showing, of course, that their translators and/or publishers thought – in this case, correctly, I believe – that this was referring to a God being.


We find the fulfillment of the first segment/stage of the Isaiah 42 and 61 prophecies in Luke 4.  But first, let’s read the applicable verses in:


Isaiah 61:
1:  The Spirit
{Holy Spirit} of the LORD God {Adonai-YHVH} is upon me; because the LORD {YHVH} has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2a:  To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD


That’s where Jesus finished His quote of these verses… actually, in mid-verse.


Once again, all the me”s in verse 1 are capitalized in many modern-language Bible versions.


Now let’s look at Jesus’ quotation of these verses from Isaiah:

Luke 4:
16:  And He
{Jesus} came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath Day, and stood up for to read.

17:  And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Esaias {Isaiah}.  And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written…


Only a little of what Jesus read here is from Isaiah 42.  Most of His reading was from Isaiah 61.  Still in Luke 4 though, as Jesus’ quote begins:


18:  The Spirit of the LORD {Greek “Kurios” as translated from the Old Testament Hebrew “YHVH”} is upon me, because He {the LORD/YHVH} has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.  He {the LORD/YHVH} has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives {Isaiah 61}, and recovering of sight to the blind {Isaiah42}, to set at liberty them that are bruised {Isaiah 61},

19:  To preach the acceptable year of the LORD{Isaiah 61}


This sparks a series of questions:  Who was the “me” that:


1.     The Spirit of the LORD-God (Adonai-Yehvih) was upon? 


2.     Was anointed by the LORD/YHVH - to preach the gospel/good tidings 
    to the poor/meek?


3.     Was to heal the brokenhearted?


4.     Was to preach (and bring) deliverance to the captives?


5.     Was to preach (and bring) recovery of sight to the blind?

6.     Was to set at liberty them that are bruised?

7.     Was to preach (and bring) the acceptable year of the LORD/YHVH?


Who was it? 


Jesus answered these questions and told those people in the Nazareth synagogue that Sabbath Day who it was:


Verse 20:  And He closed the book, and He gave it again to the minister, and sat down.  And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him.

21:  And He began {NB!} to say unto them, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”


Did Jesus’ listeners understand what He was saying to them?  i.e. that these scriptures were referring to Himself?  Yes, they did:


22:  And all bore Him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth.  And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”


Jesus must have said much more than just the quote of these few verses from Isaiah – followed by His brief sentence, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”  After all, those few words couldn’t be accurately described as “gracious words” that so many people would “wonder at.”


Still, that sentence, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” must have been the crux of what He said.

Who Anointed Jesus?


It is true that some of the verses of the 42nd and 61st chapters of Isaiah could rightly be applied to the participation of Isaiah himself.  And maybe even to any of Jesus’ spiritual brothers or sisters who are actively participating in such Christian “work-functions.”


But of course, Jesus Himself was and is the Captain, the Forerunner, the Prime Example, the Primary “Worker” and the primary fulfillment of those scriptures!  (Hebrews 2:10; 6:20; John 5:17).


But who was the One:

·        Who put the Spirit of the LORD-God (Adonai-Yehvih) upon the human Jesus?

·        Who anointed the human Jesus with the Holy Spirit?

·        Who anointed the human Jesus to preach and to do all these things?


Acts 10:

34:  Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, “Of a truth I perceive that God {Theos} is no respecter of persons:

35:  But in every nation he that fears Him {God – Theos}, and works righteousness, is accepted with Him {God – Theos}.

36:  The Word {Logos} which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (He {Jesus/Logos} is LORD {Kurios} of all:)

37:  That Word, I say, you know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;

38:  How God {Theos} anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God {Theos} was with Him

Verse 40:  Him God {Theos} raised up the third day, and showed Him openly;


It was the very same God being:


1.     Who anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power (verse 38),


2.     Who raised up Jesus the third day (verse 40),


3.     Who showed Him openly (verse 40),


4.     Who was with Jesus during His physical human sojourn.


Which God being was “with” Jesus during His physical human lifetime?


Okay, it might be theoretically true that the YHVH/Logos was with Him – because He was the YHVH/Logos! 


But it would be much more accurate to say that the YHVH/Logos was in Him because he was YHVH/Logos and because YHVH became Jesus at the instant of His conception in Mary’s womb:


John 8:29:
And He that sent me is with me.  The Father has not left me alone; for I do always those things that please Him.


John 16:32:
Behold, the hour comes, yes, is now come, that you shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because
the Father is with me.


We know also that it was the Father who raised Jesus from the dead.  Here are just two scriptures that mention Him doing so:


Romans 6:4:
Therefore we are buried with Him
{Jesus} by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.


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


So, once again we see this same parallel between:


·        The LORD/YHVH/Word/Logos saying words to David, Isaiah and other prophets
     in the Old Testament scriptures… and…


·        God the Father saying the same words to His begotten Son, Jesus
      in the New Testament scriptures!


The “Angel” of Exodus


Let’s switch gears now and look at yet another amazing aspect of the nature of the “LORD God.”


In the book of Exodus, we read of a special “angel” being mentioned six times – and sometimes being shown in the KJV – and always in the NKJV – with a capital-upper-case “A”:


·        Once referred to as “the angel of the LORD”

·        Once as “the angel of God”

·        Once as “an angel”

·        Three times as “my angel”


Who was this “angel”?


The uses of the capital-upper-case “A” shows us that the translators believed that this angel was a God being – that it was the LORD/YHVH Himself!


But was it?


Before we go into the “Exodus angel” scriptures, let’s just look at a few scriptures that prove the fact that Jesus – the LORD – was (and still is, of course) much more than just some “super-angel”:


Hebrews 1:
4:  Being made so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

5:  For unto which of the angels said He {God the Father} at any time, “You are my Son, this day have I begotten you”?  And again, “I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to me a Son”?...
Verse 13:  But to which of the angels said He
{God the Father} at any time, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool”?


And just one more:


Hebrews 2:5:
For unto the angels has He
{God the Father} not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.


But still, let ‘s go through the relevant “angel” verses in the book of Exodus and examine them in some detail – because, even though those angels were and are very wonderful, as we’ll see, Jesus is orders of magnitude higher and greater than even the highest, greatest of the angels, archangels and cherubim:


Exodus 3:
1:  Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian: and he
{Moses} led the flock to the back side of the desert and came to the mountain of God {Har Elohiym}, even to Horeb.

2:  And the angel of the LORD {malakh-YHVH”} appeared unto him {Moses} in a flame of fire {N.B.} out of the midst of a bush: and he {Moses} looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire {N.B.}, and the bush was not consumed.

3:  And Moses said, “I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.”
4:  And when the LORD
{YHVH} saw that he {Moses} turned aside to see, God {Elohiym} called unto him {Moses} out of the midst of the bush, and said, “Moses, Moses.”  And he {Moses} said, “Here am I.”


But was this “LORD/YHVH” – this “God/Elohiym” mentioned here in verse 4 and subsequent verses – was He the same person who is called “the angel of the LORD” {malakh-YHVH} who “appeared to” Moses in verse 2?


Or were there two beings in the burning bush?  The LORD/YHVH and the malakh-YHVH – the angel of the LORD?


Or, if there were two beings, were they in the burning bush at different times?  i.e. Did the angel of the LORD depart or move aside when Moses “turned aside to see” – at which time the LORD/YHVH Himself replaced His angel in the burning bush?


The English word “angel” here is translated from the Hebrew noun “malakh” (Strong’s 4397) and stems from a root verb meaning “to dispatch as a deputy.”  Malakh is elsewhere translated as messenger and ambassador.  One of its extended Hebrew meanings is representative.


So then, was this angel of the LORD – this malakh-YHVH – was he a separate, different person than the LORD/YHVH Himself?  Was he, perhaps, a kind of angelic “scout” that the LORD, for some reason, sent into burning bush first – in advance?... after which He (the LORD) perhaps then either joined – or replaced – His “scout” once Moses responded and reacted to the amazing sight of the un-burnt burning bush?


I’m not quite sure!  This event is recalled in a few other scriptures; but only Stephen’s address in Acts 7 sheds light on the question (and then not a lot):


Acts 7:
30:  And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him {Moses} in the wilderness of Mount Sinai an angel {Greek “aggelos” – elsewhere translated “messenger”} of the LORD {Kurios} in a flame of fire in a bush.


I believe that this “flame of fire” may be very significant!


31:  When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the LORD {“Kurios” from the Old Testament Hebrew “YHVH”} came unto him,

32:  Saying, “I am the God {“Theos” from the Old Testament Hebrew “Elohiym”} of your Fathers, the God {Theos/Elohiym} of Abraham, and the God {Theos/Elohiym} of Isaiah, and the God {Theos/Elohiym} of Jacob.”  Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold. 

33:  Then said the LORD {Kurios/YHVH} to him, “Put off your shoes from your feet: for the place where you stand is holy ground.
34:  I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them.  And now come.  I
{the LORD/Kurios/YHVH} will send you into Egypt.

35:  This Moses whom they {the Israelites} refused, saying, “Who made you a ruler and a judge?” the same did God {Theos/Elohiym} send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel {aggelos} which appeared to him in the bush.


Who was the “God” being who actually sent Moses?  Who actually did the sending?  


Back in Exodus 3, we read the original account of “the Sender” speaking to Moses:


Exodus 3:
7:  And the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows…
Verse 10:  “come now therefore, and I will send you unto Pharaoh, that you may bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt”….

Verse 12:  and He said, “Certainly I will be with you; and this shall be a token unto you, that I have sent you: when you have brought forth the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God upon this mountain.”


Yes, it was the LORD/YHVH who did the sending!


But Stephen said that the LORD sent Moses “by the hand of an angel”! 


The Greek that is translated as “by the hand of” is “en-cheir,” which means “by the help of” or “by the agency of” or “by means of.”


Also, from the meanings of the Hebrew word malakh and the Greek word aggelos, it appears that, for His own good reasons, the LORD sent Moses – not directly – but by the hand of - by means of – by the agency of – an angelic agent, messenger, ambassador or representative.


This might be one of the classic examples of God speaking through an angel.


But why would the LORD/YHVH sometimes speak through angels and at other times speak – to Moses and others – directly – face-to-face?


Maybe it has something to do with the relative spiritual “cleanliness” of the person at the time that He wishes to communicate with him/her.


Pillar of Cloud and Fire


As mentioned earlier, the flame of fire might be very significant to this topic.

Why?  Because the angel of the LORD/YHVH appearing to Moses from inside the burning bush leads, perhaps naturally, into the next “Exodus angel” scripture:


Exodus 13:
21:  And the LORD
{YHVH} went before {in front of} them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:

22:  He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before {in front of} the people.


The pillars of cloud and fire were essentially the same thing.  The pillar of cloud was the daytime form and the pillar of fire was the highly-visible nighttime form.


As we read in our recent discussion of the transfiguration, cloud, as well as fire, might be very significant to the LORD’s temporary visits to His people on earth.


More on this later; but for now, let’s move on – still in Exodus – into chapter 14:


Exodus 14:
15: And the LORD said unto Moses, “Why cry you unto me?  Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward…
Verse 18:  And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD
{YHVH}, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.”


Here we see the LORD/YHVH speaking directly to Moses.


But then, from Moses’ own narrative:


Verse 19a:  And the angel of God {malakh-ha-Elohiym}, which went before {in front of} the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them…


What happened here? 

The angel of God moved – from his previous position – “before” the Israelites – in front of them – in his leading role. 


And he moved to a different position – behind the Israelites in a defensive/protective role.


Anything else?  Yes!...


19b:  … and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them…


As well as the angel of God moving from in front of them to behind them, the pillar of cloud also moved from in front of them to behind them!


Logically, this is telling us that the pillar of cloud and the angel of God are one and the same!


Perhaps the angel of God is a kind of personification of the pillar of cloud and fire.


And conversely, the pillar of cloud and fire is a visible representation of the angel of God.


Continuing in:


Verse 24a:  And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD {YHVH} looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud


This reads like the LORD/YHVH Himself was not the pillar of cloud and fire per se; but that He was in the pillar of cloud and fire – a place from which He could look out and see what was happening – perhaps in the same – or a similar – way as He did from inside the burning bush.


This concept of the LORD coming in cloud when He wants to visit His people jumped out at me recently when we sang hymn number 61 which was quoted from Psalm 80:


Thou shepherd that dost Israel keep,

Give ear in time of need,

Who leadeth like a flock of sheep,

Thy loved one, Joseph's seed,

That sits between the cherubs bright,

Between their wings outspread,

Shine forth and from thy cloud give light,

And on our foes thy dread.


Although Psalm 80 doesn’t actually mention the LORD’s cloud, or Him being in it during his visits to mankind, many other psalms do.  Let’s just quickly read through a couple of them:


Psalm 18:
11:  He made darkness His secret place; His pavilions round about Him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.

12:  At the brightness that was before Him His thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.


Psalm 68:34:
Ascribe you strength unto God: His excellency is over Israel, and His strength is in the clouds.


Psalm 97:2:
Clouds and darkness are round about Him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne.


Psalm 104:3:
Who lays the beams of His chambers in the waters: who makes the clouds His chariot: who walks upon the wings of the wind:


And just three more, which refer to the cloud and fire – in which and from which – He specifically led – and spoke to – and dealt with – ancient Israel”:


Psalm 78:14:
In the daytime also He led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire.


Psalm 99:7a:
He spoke unto them in the cloudy


Psalm 105:39:
He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.



Do we really think that we know all there is to know about God – both our Father and Jesus?


We all need to be growing in knowledge – as well as in grace!