KURIOS: 1 Greek Word for 2 Hebrew Words

Two words in Hebrew are translated ‘Lord(Greek:  Kurios) in the New Testament. These two words are Adonai (master, lord) and YHWH (I AM that I AM).  The first term is a ‘human’ title, the second, the personal name of the One True God.  Curiously, the Greek language translates both of these words by just one word, Kurios.  Can it be that this was done deliberately, seeing that Greek is the language that would be best for revealing the incarnation of God in humanity?

What you are about to read is the Biblical explanation about ‘Who Jesus is’, also known as Christology. It’s a required understanding for every Christian, although impossible to describe with human language.  It can only be revealed to each of us by the ‘Teacher of Righteousness’, the Parakletos, the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit.

Jesus great question:  Messiah, Who’s Son is He?

In the narrative of the lineage of Jesus, the gospel writers are careful to establish that Jesus is from ‘Davidic Lineage’.  The writers do this by establishing Jesus’ mother’s heritage in contrast to Mary’s husband’s (Joseph) lineage (Matthew 1:6-18 & Luke 3:23-31). God clearly wants us to know without a shadow of a doubt, that Jesus is from the tribe of Judah royally, culturally (Joseph’s patri-lineage) and legally (Mary’s matri-lineage).

Scripture provides the important conclusion that Jesus is a royal blood descendant of King David through his mother’s family tree.  There is a reason for this.

In Judaism up to this very day, when a mixed marriage occurs between a Father who is not Jewish and a mother who is, the offspring or progeny is legally considered to be Jewish through the mother’s ancestry. Therefore, not only is Jesus a Jew in every way, he is also a royal descendent of David and a legal heir to David’s throne.  Since God (Jesus’ Father) is not Jewish, but Mary was, Jesus received his Jewish ancestry through his mother.  When viewing his humanity, Jesus is birthed and begotten with parents just as any other human being.  But Jesus’ eternal divinity is created by the incarnation/fusion of the Father into that humanity (word made flesh, John 1:14) at a specific moment in time.

Hebrews 1:5 KJV  For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

So the question now looms larger:  “Messiah, who’s son is he?”

After being tested by the Pharisees, Jesus returns the favor and tests them with this very important question.  Notice the interesting dialogue below.

Matthew 22:41-46 KJV  While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,  42  Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.  43  He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord [kurios], saying,  44  The LORD [kurios] said unto my Lord [kurios], Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?  45  If David then call him Lord [kurios], how is he his son?  46  And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

This famous question is a quotation of Psalm 110:1.  Reading this Psalm using the Hebrew words for Lord is very revealing.  Let’s try it.

Psalms 110:1 KJV  A Psalm of David. The LORD [YHWH] said unto my Lord [Adonai], Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Notice that in the New Testament, Kurios
is used in translation of the two words 1) YHWH
(God’s personal name) and 2) Adonai (Master)!  Why is this?

We know that YHWH is the eternal God of the Old Testament.  We also know that Adonai in Psalm 110 is a reference to the coming Messiah, David’s descendant.  Jesus question is still pertinent today – How can the future Messiah be David’s predecessor, when in fact other scriptures identify him as David’s descendant?

We are left with only ONE conclusionThe Messiah is the One Eternal God of Israel manifest as a man, a Jewish Royal King.  He is both the root and the offspring of David (Revelation 22:16).  Therefore, the Greek word Kurios in the New Testament fuses the two words, YHWH and Adonai. into one word.

Jesus asked this question with the purpose of giving revelation to his Church, not the Pharisees.  Pharisees are unteachable and only Jesus can reveal who the Father is.

Luke 10:22 KJV  All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.

Jesus wasn’t the only one who asked questions like this.  Consider Paul’s question after being blinded by the light that shined on the road to Damascus.

Acts 9:4-5 KJV  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?  5  And he said, Who art thou, Lord [Kurios]? And the Lord [Kurios] said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

The next time you hear someone say, “Jesus is Lord”, ask them this; “Yhwh or Adonai”?  Of course, the right answer is, “yes, Kurios, God and Messiah; Yhwh AND Adonai; Father and son”.

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