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Jesus Christ – YHWH Ha Adon Incarnate!

Sam Shamoun

In this article we are going to show how the NT writers took a specific title of Yahweh, namely the word adon (“Lord”), and applied it to the Lord Jesus in contexts where it is evident that they meant to identify the risen Lord as Yahweh Incarnate (even though they did not believe that he is the Father or the Holy Spirit).

The inspired Scriptures teach that Yahweh is our Lord or adon who ordains praise from the mouths of babes and infants so as to silence his enemies who refuse to do so:

Yahweh, our Lord (YHWH adonenu), how majestic is your name in all the earth, who has set your glory above the heavens! From the lips of babes and infants you have established strength, because of your adversaries, that you might silence the enemy and the avenger.” Psalm 8:1-2 WEB

The Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, commonly referred to as the Septuagint (LXX), renders the divine name Yahweh (also referred to as the Tetragrammaton [“four letters”]) as (ho) Kyrios (Kyrie in the vocative) and adonenu as (ho) kyrios hemon:

O Lord, our Lord (kyrie ho kyrios hemon), how wonderful is thy name in all the earth! for thy magnificence is exalted above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou perfected praise, because of thine enemies; that thou mightest put down the enemy and avenger.”

What makes this interesting is that the Lord Jesus quoted Psalm 8:2 to justify the worship he was receiving from the children, thereby silencing his enemies!

“But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ they became indignant and said to Him, ‘Do You hear what these children are saying?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Yes; have you never read, “Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies You have prepared praise for Yourself”?’” Matthew 21:15-16

Now the only way that Christ could use this particular text as justification for the children praising him is if Jesus assumed that he was the Lord Yahweh whom the Psalmist was speaking of. As such, Jesus wasn’t simply identifying himself as adon in a general sense, but in the sense of being Yahweh Incarnate!

Christ is even said to be the Lord who knows all things:

“He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord (kyrie), You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’” John 21:17

This isn’t the only text that ascribes omniscience to Christ:

“‘These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father. In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father. I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father.’ His disciples said, ‘Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech. Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Do you now believe? Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” John 16:25-31

Here Jesus accepts the disciples’ confession that he is not only omniscient but that he also personally descended from the Father’s own presence in heaven and entered the world, thereby affirming his actual prehuman existence. 

Once again, the only way that Christ could ever be identified as the Lord who knows all things is if he is Yahweh Almighty in the flesh, since only Yahweh knows everything:

“Do you know about the layers of the thick clouds, The wonders of one perfect in knowledge,” Job 37:16

“He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them. Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.” Psalm 147:4-5

“in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.” 1 John 3:20

This again confirms that Jesus is being called Lord or kyrios in the sense of his being Yahweh God.

Moreover, the first Christians went as far as to worship Jesus as their Lord:

“To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (tou kyriou hemon ‘Iesou Christou), their Lord and ours… so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ (tou kyriou hemon ‘Iesou Christou), who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (te hemera tou kyriou hemon ‘Iesou Christou). God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (‘Iesou Christou tou kyriou hemon).” 1 Corinthians 1:2, 7-9

“This greeting is in my own hand—Paul. If anyone does not love the Lord (ton kyrion), a curse be on him. Marana tha that is, Lord, come! The grace of the Lord Jesus (tou kyriou 'Iesou) be with you.” 1 Corinthians 16:21-23 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Here we see the earliest believers having communion with and worshiping the risen Lord in the same way that the OT saints praised Yahweh their God:

Exalt Yahweh our God. Worship at his footstool. He is Holy! Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel among those who call on his name; they called on Yahweh, and he answered them. He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud. They kept his testimonies, the statute that he gave them.” Psalm 99:5-7 WEB

I love Yahweh, because he listens to my voice, and my cries for mercy. Because he has turned his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death surrounded me, the pains of Sheol got a hold of me. I found trouble and sorrow. Then I called on Yahweh’s name: ‘Yahweh, I beg you, deliver my soul.’…  I will take the cup of salvation, and call on Yahweh’s name… I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call on Yahweh’s name.” Psalm 116:1-4, 13, 17 WEB

Nor is this the only place where Jesus’ followers worshiped him as God:

“They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, ‘Lord Jesus (kyrie ‘Iesou), receive my spirit! Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord (kyrie), do not hold this sin against them!’ Having said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:59-60

Contrast the way Stephen prayed to Jesus with the prayer of the Psalmist:

Into thine hands I will commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord (kyrie) God of truth.” Psalm 30[Heb. 31]:5 LXX

Now the only way that believers could have fellowship or intimate communion with their risen Lord is if Christ is omniscient and omnipresent. Yet Christ could only possess these characteristics if he is Yahweh God since no creature is capable of transcending time, space and place since a creature by definition is someone or something that is bound to the dimensions of space and time.

And not only do we see from 1 Corinthians how Christ’s disciples worshiped the Lord Jesus in the same way that OT believers worshiped Yahweh, we also see them ascribing other divine functions to him, such as referring to the day of Yahweh as the day of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Here is another text which does this very thing:

“just as you also partially did understand us, that we are your reason to be proud as you also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus (te hemera tou kyriou hemon 'Iesou).” 2 Corinthians 1:14

Compare this with the way the OT Scriptures refer to this day, specifically in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible:

“Woe to you that desire the day of the Lord (ten hemeran kyriou)! What is this day of the Lord (he hemera tou kyriou) to you? Whereas it is darkness, and not light. As if a man should flee from the face of a lion, and a bear should meet him; and he should spring into his house, and lean his hands upon the wall, and a serpent should bite him. Is not the day of the Lord (he hemera tou kyriou) darkness, and not light? And is not this [day] gloom without brightness?” Amos 5:18-20 LXX

“Fear ye before the Lord God; for the day of the Lord (he hemera tou kyriou) is near; for the Lord has prepared his sacrifice, and has sanctified his guests And it shall come to pass in the day of the Lord's sacrifice, that I will take vengeance on the princes, and on the king's house, and upon all that wear strange apparel. And I will openly take vengeance on the porches in that day, [on the men] that fill the house of the Lord their God with ungodliness and deceit… For the great day of the Lord (he hemera kyriou he megale) [is] near, [it is] near, and very speedy; the sound of the day of the Lord (hemeras kyriou) is made bitter and harsh. A mighty day of wrath is that day, a day of affliction and distress, a day of desolation and destruction, a day of gloominess and darkness, a day of cloud and vapour, a day of the trumpet and cry against the strong cities, and against the high towers. And I will greatly afflict the men, and they shall walk as blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord; therefore he shall pour out their blood as dust, and their flesh as dung. And their silver and their gold shall in nowise be able to rescue them in the day of the Lord's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealously; for he will bring a speedy destruction on all them that inhabit the land.” Zephaniah 1:7-9, 14-18 LXX

According to the OT this is the day in which Yahweh comes to judge the world in righteousness, just as the following examples clearly demonstrate:  

"but the Lord (ho kyrios) endures for ever: prepared his throne for judgment. And he will judge the world in righteousness, he will judge the nations in uprightness. Psalm 9:8-9 LXX

"The plains rejoice, and all things in them: then shall all the trees of the wood exult before the presence of the Lord (tou kyriou): for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth; he shall judge the world in righteousness, and the people with his truth." Psalm 95[Heb. 96]:12-13 LXX

And yet the first Christians testified that the Lord who is coming to judge the world is none other than Jesus himself!

This shows that for the early Church, Jesus is the Yahweh and adon whom the Hebrew Scriptures spoke of, even though the believers knew that Christ isn’t the Father or the Holy Spirit.

The Hebrew Bible further testifies that Yahweh reigns on high as the Lord of the earth, whom all the so-called gods such as the angels worship in acknowledgment of his exaltation over them:

Yahweh reigns! Let the earth rejoice! Let the multitude of islands be glad!... The mountains melt like wax at the presence of Yahweh, at the presence of the Lord (adon) of the whole earth… Let all them be shamed who serve engraved images, who boast in their idols. Worship him, all you gods!For you, Yahweh, are most high above all the earth. You are exalted far above all gods.” Psalm 97:1, 5, 7, 9 WEB

The Lord (ho kyrios) reigns, let the earth exult, let many islands rejoice… The mountains melted like wax at the presence of the Lord (kyriou), at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth (kyriou pases tes ges)… Let all that worship graven images be ashamed, who boast of their idols; worship him, all ye his angelsFor thou art Lord most high (kyrios hypsistos) over all the earth; thou art greatly exalted above all gods.” Psalm 96:1, 5, 7, 9 LXX


Yahweh is high above all nations, his glory above the heavens. Who is like Yahweh, our God, who has his seat on high, Who stoops down to see in heaven and in the earth?” Psalm 113:4-6 WEB

The Lord (ho kyrios) is high (hypselos) above all the nations; his glory is above the heavens. Who is as the Lord our God (kyrios ho theos hemon)? who dwells in the high places (hypselois), and [yet] looks upon the low things in heaven, and on the earth:” Psalm 112:5-6 LXX

And yet Jesus is exactly like God in this sense.

For example, the author of Hebrews testifies that Christ is the Lord who sits enthroned on high next to God the Father, being the Son whom the Father glorifies as God and as the immutable Creator and Sustainer of all things, for whom all things exist, including the angels who worship him as God’s Firstborn:

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (hypselois)And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says,And let all the angels of God worship Him.’… But of the Son He [the Father] says, ‘Your throne, O God (ho theos), is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness above Your companions.’ And, ‘You, Lord [Kyrie – the Son], in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of Your hands; They will perish, but You remain; And they all will become old like a garment, And like a mantle You will roll them up; Like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.’” Hebrews 1:1-3, 6, 8-12

Jesus himself affirmed that he is the incomprehensible Son who alone knows the Father, and therefore the only one qualified to make him known, and who has been entrusted with all things, which in context refers to him possessing absolute sovereignty over heaven and earth:

“At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.’” Matthew 11:25-27

This is brought out more clearly in the following text:

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.’” Matthew 28:18

The disciples themselves went around preaching that Jesus has been exalted above all creation to become Lord of all, with all spiritual powers being completely subjected to him:

“The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)—” Acts 10:36

“and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:19-23

“Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.” 1 Peter 3:21-22

The Apostle Paul goes as far as to say that Christ reigns as the God-man over every rule and authority that exists:

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;” Colossians 2:9-10

Noted Evangelical Christian Scholar Murray J. Harris brings out the significance of Paul’s statements:

“… The separation of katoikei from somatikos suggests that two distinct affirmations are being made (cf. Vincent 906): that the total plenitude of the Godhead dwells in Christ eternally and that this fullness now permanently resides in the incarnate Christ in bodily form. It is true that before the incarnation the pleroma did not reside in Christ somatikos; it is not true that before the incarnation the pleroma did not reside in him at all. Thus Paul implies both the eternal deity and the permanent humanity of Christ. Moreover, katoikeisomatikos implies that both before and after his resurrection Christ ‘possessed’ a soma (cf. 1:22; 1 Cor 15:44; Phil 3:21).” (Harris, Exegetical Guide To The Greek New Testament: Colossians And Philemon [William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI 2010], p. 89; bold emphasis ours)

Now returning back to the OT witness, the prophets announced that Yahweh is the great God and Lord of lords,

“For Yahweh your God, he is God of gods, and Lord of lords (wa’adone ha’adonim), the great God (ha’el), the mighty, and the awesome, who doesn’t respect persons, nor takes reward.” Deuteronomy 10:17 WEB – cf. Psalm 136:3

“For the Lord your God, he [is] God of gods, and the Lord of lords (kai kyrios ton kyrion), the great God (ho theos ho megas), and strong, and terrible…” LXX

Titles and roles which the NT ascribes to the risen and glorified Jesus!

“looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus (tou megalou theou hemon kai soteros Christou ‘Iesou), who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” Titus 2:13-14

“These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings (hoti kyrios kyrion estin kai basileus basileon), and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.” Revelation 17:14 – cf. 19:16

As if the inspired Christian Scriptures couldn’t make it any more clearer that Christ is the divine adon, and therefore Yahweh God Incarnate, they even went as far as to proclaim that Christ is the only Master and Lord,

“For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (ton monon despoten kai kyrion ‘Iesou Christou).” Jude 1:4

As well as the one Lord through whom all things were created and exist:

“yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ (heis kyrious ‘Iesous Christos), by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.” 1 Corinthians 8:6

Astonishingly, the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible renders the phrase ha adon as ho despotes,

“Therefore the Lord (ha adon), Yahweh of Armies, the Mighty One of Israel, says: ‘Ah, I will get relief from my adversaries, and avenge myself on my enemies;’” Isaiah 1:24 WEB

“Therefore thus saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts (ho despotes kyrios sabaoth), Woe to the mighty [men] of Israel; for my wrath shall not cease against min adversaries, and I will execute judgement on mine enemies.” LXX

And identify Yahweh as Israel’s one supreme Lord!

“Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God. Yahweh is one (shema yisrael YHWH eloheinu YHWH echad).” Deuteronomy 6:4 WEB

“Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord (kyrios ho theos hemon kyrios heis esti).” LXX

Here we see how the translators of the Greek OT rendered the divine name Yahweh as kyrios. This shows that a Greek speaking Jew would have understood the NT reference to Jesus being heis kyrios (“one Lord”) as Jesus being identified with the same Lord that is mentioned in Deuteronomy 6:4!

The foregoing examples make it abundantly clear that the first Christian believers –the majority of whom were Jews – were all worshiping and proclaiming that Jesus is Yahweh in the flesh, being the exalted adon of all the earth. There is simply no way around this exegetically and contextually.

Unless noted otherwise, all scriptural quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).