Re: IAW Kurios Pantokrator = Jehovah/YHWH?

From: David L. Moore (
Date: Tue Aug 12 1997 - 18:09:46 EDT

Rolf Furuli quoted and wrote:

><A question I have which may move this discussion back more squarely
><into the realm of New Testament studies has to do with the many
><circumlocutions for the mention of God in the NT documents. Doesn't it seem
><significant that these circumlocutions are most prominent in those documents
><that are most Jewish in emphasis or in nature?
>I welcome your question. There are several "circumlocutions" in the NT, and
>some of these (Jesus using the word "heaven" and "the power" referring to
>God) represent evidence for a non-pronunciation. However, for this evidence
>to become strong, we should demonstrate (1) that such "circumlocutions" are
>different from similar words used for God in the OT, (2) That they are
>really circumlocutions should be demonstrated from contexts other than when
>Jesus addresses his enemies (he could deliberately have used particular
>words because of the religious situation), and (3) they should be compared
>with the uses of KURIOS in the NT which may represent emendations for YHWH.
>This would be an interesting study.

        Taking the instances where the Gospels record Jesus' use of "Lord"
in reference to God, we find that most of these are in direct quotations
from the OT. I have included below the results of a Gramcord search of
KURIOS which was further refined by allowing only the references to God by
Jesus. All but the verses marked by an asterisk are quotes from the OT.
You may see that only seven instances in the Gospels fall into the latter
category. Of these, it is possible that Mat. 21:3, Mk. 11:3 and Lu. 19:34
should be eliminated, since hO KURIOS AUT[WN] (etc.) XREIAN EXEI may mean
something other than "The Lord has need of them." It may also be that Mat.
25:37, 44, although addressing Christ in His exalted glory, KURIOS should be
translated here in a way that doesn't necessarily imply deity - simply
sovereignty. In Mark 13:20 there is a contested reading which makes the
inclusion of KURIOS suspect, i.e. placed before EKOLOBWSEN in A, C, D, and
fam. 1; place after it in Aleph, B, L, and others; omitted by W and a few
others; substituted by hO QEOS in Theta, Psi, and fam. 13 among others.
Mark 5:19 does portray Jesus as using "Lord," but one would need to consider
the full context to analyze the exact meaning of this instance (cf. Mk.
5:20). So practically the only references to Jesus referring to God with
the word "Lord" are in quotes from Scripture. And it is not really possible
to know how those were quoted.

Mt 4:7, 10; 5:33; 21:3*, 42; 22:37, 44; 23:39; 25:37*, 44*; 27:10
Mr 5:19*; 11:3*; 12:11, 29, 36; 13:20*
Lu 4:8, 12, 18-19; 13:35; 19:34*; 20:37, 42

        Circumlocutions for God, however, are everywhere to be found in the
Gospels. For "kingdom of heaven" we find 31 instances in Matthew, although
the other Gospels usually read "kingdom of God" in the parallels. Could
this be due to the strongly Jewish nature of Matthew's Gospel? "Father" is
one of the most abundant circumlocutions for "God;" in Mat. there are 43
instances, in Mark, 3, in Luke, 14, in John, 90 - all of these ascribed to
Jesus. Mark 14:36, Rom. 8:15 and Gal. 4:6 record an expression which
appears to be a direct quote from the Lord, "Abba, Father." This way of
addressing and referring to God expressed the special relationship of the
Son to the Father, but obviously, it also precludes our thinking that Jesus,
in these instances, was using the tetragrammaton.

        This short study really just scratches the surface of the data
available on this matter in the NT, but I suggest that the material
considered here strongly suggests that Jesus did not customarily employ the

>Rolf Furuli
>University of Oslo
David L. Moore
Miami, Florida, USA
Southeastern Spanish District of the A/G Dept. of Education
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