The Hebrew Bible, also referred to as the [O]ld [T]estament, reveals that there are at least two distinct divine Persons who are identified as Jehovah, which the Greek versions of the OT (known as the Septuagint [LXX]), renders as Lord (“Kyrios”).
THE ONE LORD JEHOVAH IS AT LEAST TWO
For instance, Genesis states that Jehovah appeared at Sodom and Gomorrah as a man in order to rain fire and brimstone from the Jehovah who was in heaven:
“Then Jehovah rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he had stood before Jehovah: and he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the Plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the land went up as the smoke of a furnace. And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the Plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelt.” Genesis 19:24-29 American Standard Version (ASV)
“And the Lord (Kyrios) rained on Sodom and Gomorrha brimstone and fire from the Lord (para Kyriou) out of heaven.” Genesis 19:24 LXX
Moreover, the Holy Spirit revealed to King David that Jehovah would enthrone the Messiah his Lord together with himself who would then go forth to crush his enemies in the day of battle:
“Jehovah gives dominion to the king. A Psalm of David. Jehovah saith unto my Lord (Adoni), Sit thou at my right hand, Until I make thine enemies thy footstool. Jehovah will send forth the rod of thy strength out of Zion: Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people offer themselves willingly In the day of thy power, in holy array: Out of the womb of the morning Thou hast the dew of thy youth. Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever After the order of Melchizedek. The Lord (Adonay) at thy right hand Will strike through kings in the day of his wrath. HE will judge among the nations, HE will fill the places with dead bodies; HE will strike through the head in many countries. HE will drink of the brook in the way: Therefore will HE lift up the head.” Psalm 110:1-7 ASV
Note how the Greek and Latin versions render the aforementioned Psalm:
“[A Psalm of David.] The Lord (ho Kyrios) said to my Lord (to Kyrio mou), Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool… With thee is dominion in the day of thy power, in the splendours of thy saints: I have begotten thee from the womb before the morning… The Lord (Kyrios) at thy right hand has dashed in pieces kings in the day of his wrath.” Psalm 109:1, 3, 5 LXX
“The Lord (Dominus) said to my Lord (Domino meo): Sit thou at my right hand: Until I make thy enemies thy footstool… With thee is the principality in the day of thy strength: in the brightness of the saints: from the womb before the day star I begot thee… The Lord (Dominus) at thy right hand hath broken kings in the day of his wrath.” Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
Hence, David’s Lord is God’s unique Son who was begotten from before creation!
Both the Lord Jesus and his inspired emissaries applied this Psalm to Christ himself:
“And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David? For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.” Mark 12:35-37
“So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” Mark 16:19-20 AV – C.f. 14:61-62
“Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:29-36 AV – C.f. 5:31; 7:55-56
“who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high… But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” Hebrews 1:3, 13 AV – C.f. 8:1; 10:12-13; 12:2
The following Bible expositor brings out the significance of this particular Psalm:
The key to understanding this lies in identifying the two distinct persons referred to by the name of “Lord.” The first use of the word refers unmistakably to Jehovah. The other word “Lord” is the Hebrew adon and means “master” or “ruler.” It was sometimes used as a name of God and sometimes applied to a human master. Although the word itself does not always indicate a divine person, the words that follow show that David’s Lord (Adon) was equal with God.
One day when Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees in Jerusalem, He asked them what they believed concerning the identity of the Messiah. From whom would the Promised One be descended? They answered correctly that He would be the son of David. But Jesus showed them that according to Psalm 110 (which they acknowledged to be messianic) the Messiah would also be David’s Lord. How could He be David’s son and David’s Lord at the same time? And how could David, the king, have someone who was his Lord on earth?
The answer of course was that the Messiah would be both God and man. As God, He would be David’s Lord. As man, He would be David’s son. And Jesus Himself, combining in His Person both deity and humanity, was David’s Master and David’s son…
110:5 The last three verses of the Psalm picture the Lord Jesus as a mighty Conqueror, putting down all lawlessness and rebellion prior to the inauguration of His kingdom. The problem of identifying the personages in these verses is largely solved if we think of them as being addressed to Jehovah and as referring to the Messiah-King. Thus verse 5 would read:
THE LORD (Adonai–here the Lord Jesus) is at Your (Jehovah’s) right hand; He (Messiah) shall execute kings in the day of His wrath.
110:6 It is the Lord Jesus marching forth against the Gentile nations, as foreseen in Joel 3:9-17; Zechariah 14:3; and Revelation 19:11-21. He executes judgment among the nations, strewing the landscape with their corpses. The further statement “He shall execute the heads of many countries” could also be translated “He shall strike through the head over a wide land.” This could be a reference to the doom of the Man of Sin, “whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming” (2 Thess. 2:8).
110:7 As He goes forth to deal with His foes, the King shall drink of the brook by the wayside. Since water is often a type of the Holy Spirit (John 7:38, 39), this suggest that the Lord is refreshed and reinvigorated by the ministry of the Spirit, and this explains why He subsequently lifts up His head in victory. (William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary, edited by Art Farstad [Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN 1995], pp. 724-726)
The Deutero-canonical book of Sirach mentions the composer praying to his Lord, who happens to be the Father of his Lord!
“My soul shall praise the Lord even to death. And my life was drawing near to hell beneath. They compassed me on every side, and there was no one that would help me. I looked for the succour of men, and there was none. I remembered thy mercy, O Lord, and thy works, which are from the beginning of the world. How thou deliverest them that wait for thee, O Lord, and savest them out of the hands of the nations. Thou hast exalted my dwelling place upon the earth and I have prayed for death to pass away. I called upon the Lord, the father of my Lord, that he would not leave me in the day of my trouble, and in the time of the proud without help. I will praise thy name continually, and will praise it with thanksgiving, and my prayer was heard. And thou hast saved me from destruction, and hast delivered me from the evil time. Therefore I will give thanks, and praise thee, and bless the name of the Lord.” Sirach 51:8-17 DRA
Here’s the particular verse in question:
I called upon the Lord, the father of my Lord, that he would not leave me in the day of my trouble, and in the time of the proud without help.
Invocavi Dominum patrem Domini mei, ut non derelinquat me in die tribulationis meae, et in tempore superborum, sine adjutorio. Sirach 51:14 Douay-Rheims + Latin Vulgate (DR + LV http://www.drbo.org/cgi-bin/d?b=drl&bk=26&ch=51&l=14-#x)
And here’s the same passage as it is rendered from the Greek versions:
“I appealed to the Lord, the Father of my lord(epekalesamen Kyrion patera Kyriou mou), not to forsake me in the days of affliction, at the time when there is no help against the proud.” Sirach 51:10 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
“I called to help the Lord, (the) father of my Lord (or the Father of my Lord), that he forsake not me in the day of my tribulation, and forsake not me without help, in the time of them that be proud. [I inwardly called the Lord, father of my Lord, that he forsake not me in the day of my tribulation, and in time of proud men, without help.]” Wycliffe Bible (WYC)
We find a similar statement in a late 1st–early 2nd century AD Christian pseudepigraphal writing:
6. And I heard the angel who conducted me and he said: “This is the Most High of the high ones, dwelling in the holy world, and resting in His holy ones, who will be called by the Holy Spirit through the lips of the righteous the Father of the Lord.”
7. And I heard the voice of the Most High, the Father of my Lord, saying to my Lord Christ who will be called Jesus: (The Ascension of Isaiah – Early Christian Writings, 10:6-7; bold emphasis mine)
Here the Father of the Lord is the Father of Jesus Christ.
Liberal biblical scholar Margaret Barker comments on this early and widespread belief among both Christians and Jews that there are at least two distinct divine Persons who are called Jehovah/Lord:
The fusion of Yahweh and El Elyon led to the widely attested tradition of the two Yahwehs, where both High God and Angel had the same name. In the Apocalypse of Abraham, the guardian angel is Jaoel, but this is also one of the names for God. In the song of praise which Abraham was instructed to sing before the fiery presence of God, among the names of God are ‘El, El, Jaoel’ (Ap. Abr. 17.13). In the Apocalypse of Moses there is the archangel Joel (Ap. Mos. 43.5) and Jael is one of the names for God (Ap. Mos. 29.4). Metatron was known as the Little Yahweh, implying that there was a Greater Yahweh, but this seems to have been more of a title than a name, conferring a certain status when he was enthroned. Something similar had been said of Moses by Philo: ‘He was named God and King’ (Life of Moses, 1.158), although he used theos implying that the original had been ‘elohim, rather than kyrios which would have indicated the title Yahweh. Other texts also mentioned both a Greater and a Lesser Yahweh:
The titles … functioned independently of the Metatron traditions. Thus we encounter the Great Jao and the Little Jao in the third century Christian gnostic work Pistis Sophia and in the gnostic Book of Jeu. In the Syriac Gannat Bussame (Garden of Delights) we find listed among deities worshipped by unbelievers ‘Adonai katon the general of Adonai gadol, who are reverenced by the Israelites’.17
There is also the mysterious reference in Sir. 51.10: ‘I appealed to the Lord (kyrios), the Father of my Lord (kyrios), not to forsake me in the days of affliction’, which is the earliest use of the two Lords I have found.
The Ascension of Isaiah is an Apocalypse expanded by Christians at the end of the first century; it has two Yahwehs: ‘And I saw how my LORD and the angel of the Holy Spirit worshipped and both together praised the LORD’ (Asc. Isa. 9.40). This implies that for the first Christians both Father and Son were known as Yahweh, since there follows this: ‘And I heard the voice of the Most High, the Father of my LORD as he said to my LORD Christ who will be called Jesus ‘Go out and descend through all the heavens’ (Asc. Isa. 10.7).18
Eusebius, writing in the early fourth century, shows that Christians remembered the tradition of the two LORDS, two Yahwehs:
First, then, Moses expressly speaks of two divine lords in the passage where he says ‘Then the LORD rained from the LORD fire and brimstone upon the city of the ungodly’ where he applied to both the like combination of Hebrew letters in the usual way and this combination is the mention of God expressed in the four letters which is with them unutterable.
In accordance with him David also, another prophet, as well as king of the Hebrews, says, ‘The LORD said unto my Lord, sit thou on right hand’ indicating the Most High God by the first LORD and the second to him by the second title.
This is he whom the same prophet in other places clearly distinguished as the Word of the Father.19 (Barker, The Great Angel: A Study of lsrael’s Second God [Westminster John Knox Press LouisvilIe, Kentucky 1992], Chapter 5. The Evidence of the Angels, pp. 81-82; bold emphasis mine)
In the second part of my discussion, I will seek to unveil the identity of the Lord who is said to be the Son of the Lord from Jewish writings. I will then demonstrate how this establishes that Christianity is the continuation and fulfillment of this specific strand of ancient Judaism.