Nazarene Principles ©2000

Who Is God? According to the Nazarene

#40. When the Nazarene speaks of “Our Heavenly Father” who does he have in mind? Any Jew would have understood this expression “Father” to mean God as John 8:41 shows, ‘We have one Father, God.’ The apostle John understood this as he writes, ‘Jesus knew everything had come from the Father. Jesus knew he had come from God and was to return to The God.’ (John 13:3) Jesus himself made it clear that when he spoke of the “Father” he meant God: ‘For (on the Son of Man) the Father, even The God57, put His seal.’ (John 6:27)
57 THE GOD. Those who wish to confirm the Greek here or elsewhere will find the familiar ho theos which is virtually always used of God the Father alone with only one or two questionable exceptions.

#41. On many occasions Jesus quoted the sacred Jewish texts. For example, note John 6:44, 45: ‘No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws that one to me… In the prophet (Isaiah) it is written, “And they will all be taught of God.’ If you turn to this quoted verse from Isaiah 54:13 it reads according to the Hebrew Bible, ‘And your children will be taught by Yahweh (Yehowah).’ (NJB) Here the sacred Tetragram, or the four letters YHWH (JHVH), appear in the original and some translations faithfully render it so. It seems clear when Jesus speaks of God he means the Father who is the same as “Yahweh” (or, Jehovah58) in the Hebrew Scriptures.
58 JEHOVAH. Compare Psalm 2:1 and 110.1 in the ASV, NJB, NW or NKJ.

#42. The Nazarene makes other quotes where the divine Name appears about half a dozen times. (Matthew 4:7, 10; 5:33; 22:37, 44; Mark 12:29; Luke 20:42) Let us look at a few of them. In Mark 12:29 Jesus quotes the well-known Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4, 5: ‘Hear, O Israel, Yahweh (YHWH) our God is one Yahweh (YHWH).’ Generally, this is repeated by the Jews: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one,’ as the anthem of monotheism. Whether the Nazarene would have uttered the Divine Name (YHWH) (he is not condemned for this by the Jews), or respected the Jewish sensitivity with regard to the Commandment, it demonstrates that Jesus viewed Jehovah of the Old Testament as “our God.”

#43. Again in his reunion with his home synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus boldly quotes from Isaiah 61:1, ‘The spirit of Lord Yahweh is on me for Yahweh has anointed me.’ (NJB; compare also Luke 4:16) Whether this little town’s scroll of Isaiah would have had a copy of the Septuagint with the Tetragram or a Hebrew edition, it is likely they both contained YHWH in these two locations. The Nazarene applies this text to himself from his seat by inference. Therefore, it was Jehovah who anointed him and made him Messiah (Anointed; Christ)59
59 CHRIST. From the LXX at Daniel 9:25 Khristou. “Messiah” comes from the Hebrew edition of the same text: Meshicha.

#44. In the wilderness temptation, the Nazarene quotes Moses against the Devil, It is the LORD (YHWH) your God you must worship.’ (Matthew 4:10; Deuteronomy 5:9) Whether Jesus uttered the Divine Name to Satan the Devil is unknown. It is true the Jews had abandoned the use of the Divine Name and when they came to the sacred four letters YHWH they inserted LORD or GOD.60 That the Name of God is of great importance to the Nazarene is consistent with the Second Principle in he Lord’s Prayer which we will examine, ‘Let your Name be sanctified.’ (Matthew 6:9) In his long prayer with his disciples at the Last Passover, the Nazarene prays, ‘I have made your Name61 manifest to the men you gave me.’ (John 17:6) And, again, Jesus himself hears the heavenly Voice speak in response to the Nazarene’s petition: ‘Father, glorify your Name.’ And in response a Voice came from heaven, “I have glorified my Name and will glorify it again.”’ (John 12:28)62
60 LORD, GOD. Adonai or Elohim.
61 YOUR NAME. See John 17:6 but note though Jesus uses the word “name” four times (6, 11, 12, 26) he never actually utters “Jehovah” (YHWH) in this prayer.
62 JOHN. The Apostle John in his Gospel and three letters cannot be pointed to as a Christian writer who used the Divine Name though some obscure Hebrew (or, Aramaic) translations use YHWH in 5 places in the Gospel (John 1:23; 6:45; 12:13, 38; but not in the context of John 12:28); and not at all in the three letters.

#45. Though it cannot be firmly established that Jesus ever used the Name beyond a quotation, these verses above establish the Nazarene’s view that his God and Father was the “Jehovah” (YHWH) of the Hebrew Scriptures.

#46. The First Principle of the Nazarene’s prayer, then, is the revolutionary possibility of becoming a Child of God, a member of God’s own Family with all the rights and prospects that such an “heir by God” (Galatians 4:7) would be entitled. Such a hope and privilege ought to arouse the greatest response in heartfelt appreciation of our Heavenly Father.

Let us go on to the Second Principle.

Nazarene Commentary 2000

Mark Heber Miller

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