Matthew 22:44, God the Son? Part IV of IV

“The LORD said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

//These are the words of David, as quoted by Matthew. It means, “God said unto David.”

Matthew loves to quote scripture. But Matthew was writing in Greek, quoting the Greek translation of the Old Testament’s original Hebrew. The Hebrew rendition makes a distinction between the divine name of LORD (Hebrew: Yahweh) and the lesser title Lord (Hebrew: adown). “Yahweh said unto adown.” But Matthew uses the same Greek word, kyrios, for both: Kyrios said unto my kyrios. English translators, to help clear things up, have substituted LORD (capital letters for God) and Lord (lower case letters for lordship).

Here’s another one. Deuteronomy 6:16 says, Ye shall not tempt the LORD (Hebrew: Yahweh) your God. When Matthew quotes the verse in Greek, it becomes Thou shalt not tempt the Lord (Greek: kyrios) thy God. It’s left as a lowercase Lord in the English translation, because no distinction is necessary. We know it means God.

Now we come to the argument most often put forth by Trinitarians hoping to prove the Bible’s consistency: Lord, like LORD, can apparently mean God. Matthew calls God and Jesus both kyrios, as did the Septuagint before him (the Greek translation of the Old Testament), so, Trinitarians reason, God and Jesus must be the same. The Greek word kyrios, they explain, was revered so much that it was used by first century Jews exclusively in replacement of Yahweh.

Except that this is not so. Today’s verse shows clearly that kyrios can mean either Yahweh or adown. We cannot assume that where Matthew uses kyrios, he means the divine name of God. Nor can we assume that Matthew’s willingness to call God by the lesser word kyrios implies that when he calls Jesus kyrios he then means Jesus is God. It just doesn’t work that way. The “divine name” argument serves only to complicate the simple message of Matthew, and with this final Trinitarian protest debunked, it leaves us with absolutely no reason to ever believe Matthew shared the high Christology of John.

Jesus is God? John says yes. But it never crossed Matthew’s mind.

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