Jeremy Sarber

Jesus Christ is YAHWEH

Paul left Ephesus probably four years before writing the book of Ephesians. Sitting in prison, he continued to receive letters and reports about the church in Ephesus. For the most part, it would seem that the news was good. He says, I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you (Eph 1:15-16). Every report indicated that the believers in Ephesus were both genuine and spiritually well. Paul commends them for that fact.

First of all, he praises them for their faith in Jesus.

Notice that Paul refers to Jesus as Lord. The word is Kyriō in Greek, which has an interesting history. The name of God in the Old Testament is Yahweh, typically translated the LORD in all capital letters.

Eventually, the Jews felt that the name of God should be used sparingly to express reverence for it. For instance, when praying, they’d use the name Yahweh only once. Every other time they’d refer to him using the title Aḏōnāy (or Lord in lowercase letters). They were essentially replacing the proper name of God with its definition.

Paul uses the word Kyriō which is the Greek translation of Aḏōnāy. Following the long-standing tradition of the Jews, he is using the most common designation for Yahweh when talking about Jesus. In fact, the New Testament writers never use the name Yahweh. When Paul refers to Jesus as Lord, he’s making a significant theological statement. He’s saying that Jesus is not only the Son of God but also God himself. He’s not just a lord but the Lord.

If you ever find yourself discussing the true identity of Jesus with a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, this brief introduction into the biblical names of God will be relevant. They do not believe Jesus is God. Their website says, We do not worship Jesus, as we do not believe that he is Almighty God.” One of the arguments they make is that Jesus is never called Yahweh in the New Testament. That’s true, but neither is Yahweh himself.

Jesus is Yahweh, and one cannot believe in the Christ of the Bible without also believing that he is the Lord. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Ro 10:9). To this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living (Ro 14:9). Paul is never hesitant to declare that Jesus, the man from Nazareth, is Lord.

More to the point, the Ephesians believed his claim. I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus (Eph 1:15). The extent of their trust in Jesus went further than simply believing he was their Savior. They trusted in his deity. They believed in his sovereignty. If anyone was still confused about his lordship, Paul offers a subtle reminder that Jesus is, in fact, Lord.