Reflection – Wednesday 14 April 2021, by Rev Craig Morrison

The Christian Scriptures promise a cosmic reconciliation in Christ, in the books of Romans, Ephesians, Colossians, Revelation, etc, and possibly in the Old Testament Mosaic and prophetic traditions.
These ancient ‘impulses’ go back to the Old Testament. The idea of the Cosmic Christ is rooted in this Christian tradition, especially in the beta-credo of the New Testament that “Jesus is LORD”.

“The LORD” in the Judeo-Christian tradition is code for God. A number of translations, including the NIV, use the word/s “LORD” (or “The LORD”) in place of Hebrew names for God, a practice that is a sacred Hebrew tradition. The substitution is indicated by the use of “small capitals”.

Thus, in English translations “the LORD” is a substitute for YHWH in the Hebrew text, which is different to the usual word for Lord (viz. Adonai). You may know that in the Hebrew Old Testament, the name of God is variously “YHWH”, and “Elohim” (a plural form of the word for God), and “Adonai”. This has led biblical scholars to conclude that the Mosaic books we have today are a composite of at least two texts merged together in ancient times into their current form.

At any rate, “The Lord”/Adonai is an OT term for the name of God. Therefore, when the early Christians applied it to Jesus they were making a theological statement about the divinity of Jesus. Remember that they were themselves Hebrews and therefore were aware of the use of the term “Lord” as a substitution for the name of God.

Again, the name “Christ” in Jesus Christ is not a modern Surname! It is a title in Greek, and it means “Messiah” – a Hebrew word. Correctly written, it should read, “Jesus, Christ”. Or “Jesus, Messiah” (with a comma).

Similarly, I had a debate on a blog with someone who perjoratively stated that “the real name of Jesus is ‘Yeshua'”, implying that Christians have got it all wrong.

My answer is that there is not one single instance where Jesus is called or known as “Yeshua” anywhere. The New Testament is consistent in naming Jesus (in Greek) “Iesous”, which is translated in various languages as Jesus/Jesu/ Yesu, etc. There is not a single place in the ancient world where Jesus is named “Yeshua”. So you may continue speaking to and of, JESUS, a transliteration of the Greek name, Iesous!

[ASIDE: there is some evidence that Jesus’ mother-tongue was not Hebrew (even though he was a Jew) but rather – as was common with Hebrew people in the 1st Century, Aramaic-speaking. Jews in Palestine had spoken Aramaic as a mother-tongue for 500 years by the time Jesus was born! Thus he may have been religiously “Jewish” but he was culturally Middle Eastern and spoke Aramaic.]

Incidently, “Jews” of Eastern Europe spoke Yiddish, not Hebrew. Hebrew was a language revived when the state of Israel was formed in 1948. Mr Google indicates this revival of spoken Hebrew started in 1880, google “revival of Hebrew” for more info) Point being that spoken Hebrew is a relatively recent development.

The Cosmic Christ is also a title not a name.

Peace to you.

Published by St. Columba's Presbyterian Church Hatfield

St Columba's Presbyterian Church in Hatfield, Pretoria, South Africa is a Christian Church. Our vision is to be a Christ-centred, bible-believing church that calls all to come and experience the love of Christ, in a welcoming and caring body of believers.

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