Lords and the LORD

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FAQ: If God is called “Lord” in the Old Testament and Jesus is called “Lord” in the New Testament, then doesn’t that mean that Jesus is God?

Acts 2:36
“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

In the Old Testament, God is called Lord. But if you look closely you see that most Bibles spell Lord in the Old Testament with all capital letters – “LORD.”

For example:

Deuteronomy 6:4
Hear, O Israel: The LORD (Yahweh) our God, the LORD is one.

Every time you see “LORD” or “the LORD” in the Old Testament, it actually represents the 4-letter name of God (YHWH). This name has not yet been pronounced by the Jews because of reverence for the great sacredness of the divine name. Therefore, it has been consistently translated “LORD.”

This is not to be confused with the Greek word Kurios, which is used of Jesus and is a title of respect, honor and authority.

The title “Lord” is used of many people in the Bible not just God and Jesus.

The Hebrew word Adoni refers to “lords” that are not God, while another word, Adonai, refers to God:

Reference to men: my lord, my master.

(a) Master: Ex. 21:5 (Covenant code) Gen. 24:12+, 44:5 (J, 20t.), 1 Sam. 30:13,15; 2 Kings 5:3,20,22; 6:15;
(b) Husband: Gen. 18:12 (J);
(c) Prophet: 1 Kings 18:7,13; 2 Kings 2:19; 4:16,28; 6:5; 8:5;
(d) Prince: Gen. 42:10 (E), Gen. 23:6,11,15 (P), Gen 43:20; 44:18+ ; 47:18, + (J, 12t.); Judges. 4:18;
(e) King: 1 Sam. 22:12+ (S&K 75t.);
(f) Father: Gen. 31:5 (E);
(g) Moses: Ex. 32:22; Num. 11:28; 12:11; 32:26,27 (J); Num. 36:2 (2x) (P);
(h) Priest: 1 Sam. 1:15, 26 (2x);
(i) Theophanic angel [an angel representing God]: Josh. 5:14; Judges. 6:13;
(j) Captain: 2 Sam. 11:11;
(k) General recognition of superiority: Gen. 24:18; 32:5+; 33:8+; 44:7+ (J 13t.), Ruth 2:13; 1 Sam. 25:24+ (15t.).(2). Reference to God: [adoni]. [Notice that now that word refers to God, it changes from the above form. The vowel under the “n” (the second letter from the left) has changed.]

In the above definition, Adoni and Adonai have the same root, Adon, which is the word listed in the concordances and most lexicons. However, the exact words used are different. Adoni, the word used in Psalm 110:1, is never used of God. It is always used of a human or angelic superior. The fact that the Hebrew text uses the word Adoni of the Messiah in Psalm 110 is very strong proof that he is not God. If the Messiah were to be God, then the word Adonai would have been used.

Lord is a title like “King,” “General” or “Captain.” That’s why the Bible is specific on which “Lord” is being referred to.

Jude 1:4
…turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Example:
The Lord Jesus Christ
President George W. Bush
General Washington

These are earned positions of authority and that is exactly what Jesus Christ did – he earned it.

Philippians 2:8 and 9
(8) he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death– even death on a cross.
(9) Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name.

Jesus is now referred to as “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”