Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Our Lord, YHWH, Our Lord, Jesus - Response to Sir Anthony

Sir Anthony Buzzard's "Second Response to James White" has lots of flaws. Several of those are involved in his argument from the phrase "our Lord Jesus Christ." He argues that this proves Jesus is not being referred to as Lord YHWH but as Lord Messiah. His main argument in support of this is that "our YHWH" is "a linguistic impossibility" or "an impossibility in language." He argues that when we see "our Lord" it is referring to the "Lord Messiah."

Sir Anthony seems to have overlooked an important counter-example:
Revelation 11:15
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ (τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ τοῦ χριστοῦ αὐτοῦ,); and he shall reign for ever and ever.
That's the one instance in the New Testament where "our Lord" might not be referring to Jesus.

Moreover, recall that this expression refers to the reversal of the former situation:
Acts 4:26
The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ (κατὰ τοῦ κυρίου καὶ κατὰ τοῦ χριστοῦ αὐτοῦ).
Quoting from:
Psalm 2:2
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed (עַל־יְ֝הוָה וְעַל־מְשִׁיחֹֽו)(LXX: κατὰ τοῦ κυρίου καὶ κατὰ τοῦ χριστοῦ αὐτοῦ), saying,
Notice that Psalm 2:2 does use YHWH there.  It gets translated into Greek as Kurion (Lord) and then presented as "our Lord" in Revelation.

Likewise, the "he shall reign for ever and ever" is a reference back to the prophecies of the Old Testament prophets:
Exodus 15:18
The Lord (YHWH) shall reign for ever and ever.

Psalm 146:10
The Lord (YHWH) shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the Lord (YHWH).

Micah 4:7
And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the Lord (YHWH) shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.

Luke 1:33
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
So, if Sir Anthony wants to say that "our Lord" in Revelation 11:15 refers to the Son rather than to the Father, he is still stuck with the verse referring us back to prophecies about Jesus, prophecies that describe Jesus as YHWH.

While Sir Anthony may be correct in saying that we do not find "our YHWH" in the Old Testament, we do find examples where "our Lord" is used in reference to YHWH:
Nehemiah 8:10
Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Nehemiah 10:29
They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes;

Psalm 8:1
O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

Psalm 8:9
O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

Psalm 135:5
For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.

Psalm 147:5
Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
In other words, if Sir Anthony is making the trivial point that one would say "Our Adonai" not "Our YWHW" and thus "Our Lord" in the NT should be understood as corresponding to "Our Adonai," then who cares? It is still an important title of God, but in the New Testament is primarily applied to Jesus.

Ultimately, I realize that some Unitarians will simply assert that Jesus is very exalted, that he reigns with God, or the like.  There are a number of significant challenges to those kinds of assertions, but perhaps one of the most troubling is that they eventually must find themselves in a position of bowing at the name of someone whom they believe to be a creature.
Philippians 2:10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
I realize that the trinity was not fully revealed in the Old Testament, but in hindsight there were some pretty glaring clues:
Proverbs 30:4Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell

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