Paul’s Divine Christology Pt. 2

I continue from where I left off (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/27/pauls-divine-christology-pt-1/).

ISRAEL’S ONE LORD

At the heart of the Hebrew Bible is the affirmation that Jehovah is one, meaning the only God whom the Israelites were to look to and worship:

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD (YHVH Eloheinu YHVH echad): And you shall love the LORD your God (YHVH Eloheka) with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might… You shall fear the LORD your God (YHVH Eloheka) and serve Him and shall swear by His name.” Deuteronomy 6:4-5, 13

“For all the peoples may walk, each in the name of his God, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God (YHVH Eloheinu) forever and ever.” Micah 4:5

“And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD (YHVH echad), and his name one (ushamo echad).” Zechariah 14:9

What makes this interesting is that Greek-speaking Jews substituted the divine name with the word Kyrios and rendered the phrase YHVH echad as Kyrios heis:

“For all [other] nations shall walk everyone in his own way, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God (Κyriou Theou hemon) for ever and ever.” Micah 4:5 LXX

“And the Lord (Kyrios) shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one Lord (Kyrios heis), and his name one,” Zechariah 14:9 LXX

“And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord (Kyrios ho These hemon Kyrios heis estin): You shall love the Lord your God (Kyrion ton Theon sou) with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.” Mark 12:29-30

Hence, to a Greek-speaking Jew the words Kyrios heis/heis Kyrios would be a clear reference to Jehovah being their God since the phrase was equivalent to saying YHVH echad

Remarkably, the blessed Apostle identifies Jesus as that one Lord whom all believers must turn to and worship:

“Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord (Kyrios ‘Iesous), but by the Holy Ghost… And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord (kai ho autos Kyrios).” 1 Corinthians 12:3, 5

one Lord (heis Kyrios), one faith, one baptism,” Ephesians 4:5

“As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one (oudeis Theos, ei me heis). For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things (ek hou ta panta), and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ and one Lord Jesus Christ (kai heis Kyrios, ‘Iesous Christos), by whom are all things (di’ hou ta panta), and we by him.” 1 Corinthians 8:4-6

To say Paul’s words are astonishing would be a wild understatement!

Not only has he described Jesus as heis Kyrios, which is the Greek way of saying Jehovah is one, he has also placed Christ alongside the Father as the eternal Creator and Sustainer of all creation!   

The Apostle has expressly stated that all things are from (ek) God the Father and through (di’) Jesus Christ, meaning that the Father brought all creation into being through the creative agency of his Son. This being the case the Father and the Son must both be uncreated since they were both there together before the entire creation ever existed.

And yet according to the Hebrew Bible, the only Lord who existed before creation came into being, and who was responsible for creating all things, was Jehovah God Almighty:

“You alone are the LORD (Kyrios monos). You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all (panta) that is on it, the seas and all (panta) that is in them; and You preserve them all (ta panta). And the host of heaven worships You.” Nehemiah 9:6

“Thus says the LORD (Kyrios), your Redeemer, and He who formed you from the womb: I am the LORD (Kyrios) who makes all things (panta), who stretches out the heavens ALONE, who spreads abroad the earth BY MYSELF,” Isaiah 44:24

But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and an everlasting King. At His wrath the earth trembles, and the nations cannot endure His indignation. Thus you shall say to them: The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens. He has made the earth by His power. He has established the world by His wisdom and has stretched out the heavens by His discretion.” Jeremiah 10:10-12

Since Paul describes Jesus as the God who created the heavens and earth, both in the above passage from Corinthians and elsewhere,

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, BEING IN THE FORM OF GOD, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:5-8

“who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for BY HIM were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created BY HIM, and FOR HIM: and HE IS before all things, and BY HIM all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that IN HIM should all fulness dwell;” Colossians 1:15-19

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For IN HIM dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Colossians 2:8-9

This means that Christ must be the true and living God. There’s simply no way around this revealed truth.

And since the blessed Apostle has clearly identified the risen Christ as the one Lord of the Hebrew Bible, it should, therefore, come as no surprise that Paul warns of failing to love and fear the Lord Jesus, before whose judgment seat all creation must stand and give an account:

“For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is writtenAs I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Romans 14:8-12

“If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. Come, O Lord! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” 1 Corinthians 16:22-23

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive his recompense in the body, according to what he has done, whether it was good or bad. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men. But we are revealed to God, and I trust we are also revealed in your consciences.” 2 Corinthians 5:10-11

The inspired Apostle has clearly taken the exhortation of Deuteronomy 6:4-5, 13 to love and fear Jehovah and applied it to Christ. He has further applied Isaiah 45:23,

“By myself I swear, righteousness shall surely proceed out of my mouth; my words shall not be frustrated; that to me every knee shall bend, and every tongue shall swear by God, ” LXX

To the Lord Jesus, stating that this will be fulfilled on the day when every creature will appear before Christ in judgment and bow the knee to him and confess him as Lord to the glory of God the Father:

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

All of this simply reinforces the point that, for Paul, Jesus is none other than Jehovah God Almighty in the flesh (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit).

This brings me to the next section of my discussion (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2019/12/08/pauls-divine-christology-pt-3/).

2 thoughts on “Paul’s Divine Christology Pt. 2

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