Q&A: Jehovah and Yahweh

Jehovah and Yahweh

Question

I am teaching on the Trinity and wanted to ask this question and get your input: Since the NT attributes the term "Lord" to Jesus, should we say that Jehovah, Yahweh in the OT, is the 2nd person of the Trinity rather than the 1st person?

Answer

I think there is sufficient New Testament evidence to demonstrate that Jehovah (a.k.a. Yahweh) is the name of God, not just of one of the persons of the godhead. Specifically, both the Father and the Holy Spirit are also called "Lord." The Holy Spirit is called "Lord" in 2 Corinthians 3:18 (the Greek literally ends the verse "from Lord Spirit") and perhaps in John 4:24, which can be legitimately translated either "God is spirit" or "God is the Spirit." The Father is called "Lord" many times, sometimes in distinction from the Son (e.g., Matt. 4:6-7,9-10; 11:25; Luke 1:32; 10:21; Rev. 15:3; 21:22). Also, not every occurrence of the word "Lord" in the New Testament is a reference to the name of God. Many are simply titles of respect, authority or the like — the meaning of the word must be determined by its context on a case-by-case basis.
Thus, it does seem that "Lord" can be applied to any of the persons of the Trinity individually as well as to the godhead as a whole. There is also evidence of this in the Old Testament. For example, in Psalm 110:1, Yahweh speaks to the Messiah ("the LORD says to my Lord"), and Jesus affirms that both these figures are "Lord" (Mark 12:35-37). In this it is rather similar to the way we use the term "God," which may mean "the Father," "the Son," "the Holy Spirit," or all three together.


Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.