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Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The God of Pronouns (Names of God Revisited)

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousnessof God in Him

-2 Cor 5:21 

There is a current rend in Christendom to use the Anglicized version of the Hebrew name of the Lord. We have looked at the use of "Yeshua" in other posts and on my podcast. For this short study, I want to revisit the topic as I am seeing and hearing this movement more often.

We have noted that what we call the New Testament (this name being problematic on its own) has been given to us by the Holy Spirit in the Greek language. Therefore, no matter what the Savior may or may not have been called while in the flesh by some in Israel, the Holy Spirit has preserved his name for us as (Anglicized) "Iēsoûs." This is where we eventually get the name "Jesus."

It must also be noted that while his earthly name is Iēsoûs in the Greek texts and Yeshua in Hebrew, his followers, while he ministered directly among them, did not use his name. They called him "Teacher" and "Master" and "Lord." 

We've also noted that there are other people in scripture called "Yeshua" (Joshua) in the Hebrew (Old Testament) canon and "Iēsoûs" (Jesus) in the Greek (New Testament) canon. The name is not unique to the Lord. We see the name used of others. The only unique name I see is "Immanuel."

There are also words in both canons which have multiple applications. The name of God in Hebrew (Anglicized), "Elohim" is used of the true God and also of false gods. Likewise, the Greek word for God, "theós," (θεόςis used of both the God of  the universe and of pagan gods.

So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god (θεός).’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God (θεός) who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man... 
- Acts 17:22-24

Pronouns are used in both canons of scripture. And, as in English, the pronoun is understood in its context. The Holy Spirit has no qualms about using pronouns. The Anglicized Greek word (autóstranslated "him," "his," "himself," "her", "they," "their," etc. is used over 1000x in Luke alone. It is used of many different people (including both of the Lord and of Satan) in the texts. 

Both the great and glorious and holy God of all creation is called "father" in scripture. Satan (and others) are also referred to as a "father" (John 8:44). 

In Psalm 82, scripture (Yahweh, the Father) refers to men as "'ĕlôhı̂ym" (אֱלֹהִים). But we know from context the object and difference. 'ĕlôhı̂ym is also used of false gods (Deut 32:17; etc.). Context, is the difference.

God (אֱלֹהִים, 'ĕlôhı̂ym) standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods (אֱלֹהִים, 'ĕlôhı̂ym)... I have said, Ye are gods (אֱלֹהִים, 'ĕlôhı̂ym); and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men... 
- Ps 82:1, 6-7a

Let's revisit our opening verse in its context.
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (autós). 
-2 Cor 5:20-21

Verse 20 gives us the context for verse 21, bit the word itself, autós, is just as inspired when used of Christ, the Father, Satan, or anyone else. 

Finally, we turn to two of the greatest evangelistic verses of the present age.

For God so loved the world that He gave His (autós) only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him (autósshould not perish but have everlasting life. 
-John 3:16

The common word is applied there and we use the similarly common pronouns in the English as we witness. Similarly, we see the common word translated "I" or "me" (egṓ) used in another powerful verse.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me (egṓ), hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
-John 5:24 

 When we speak of the powerful "name" of the Lord, we must remember there are two aspects of that name. It is not the name itself, it is the authority of that name. Many of the cults use "Jesus" and Paul warns us of "another Jesus." So, the name (Greek or Hebrew) on its own carries no power unless spoken or believed on in truth.

Let's look at 2 Cor 11:4.

For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus (Greek: Iēsoûs) , whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him
-Authorized King James version
For if a darshan shows up and preaches another Moshiach, another "Yehoshua" (“Yeshua”) (Greek: Iēsoûs) other than the one in our drashot, or if you receive a different "Ruach Hakodesh" from the One you received or a different Besuras HaGeulah from the one regarding which you were mekabel, you put up with that well enough.
-Orthodox Jewish Bible

When someone comes to you telling about another Yeshua (Greek: Iēsoûs) whom we didn’t tell you about, you’re willing to put up with it. When you receive a spirit that is different from the Spirit you received earlier, you’re also willing to put up with that.
-Names of God Bible

For if someone comes and tells you about some other Yeshua (Greek: Iēsoûs) than the one we told you about, or if you receive a spirit different from the one you received or accept some so-called “good news” different from the Good News you already accepted, you bear with him well enough!
-Complete Jewish Bible

For if someone comes and proclaims another Yeshua (Greek: Iēsoûs) whom we did not proclaim, or if you receive a different spirit that you did not receive, or a different “good news” that you did not accept, you put up with that well enough!
-Tree of Life Version

As we've noted in a number of posts and on my podcast, the true God of scripture is interested in you knowing him as your Lord. He is not impressed with our linguistic calisthenics.  There are literally billions who name the name of "Jesus" who do not know him. It will matter not which name they use upon death if they do not place their faith in the final and finished work of our Great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Greek: kyrios Iēsoûs Christos).

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