Last week I talked about the great mercy that has been given to us. In the weeks ahead, we’re going to talk about how we’ve been given a new life, filled with amazing hope, and we’ll learn how this hope affects how we live.
Before we move ahead, I wanted to define some words, so that we’re all talking about the same thing.
Or the same Person.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Peter 1:3a).
As a lifelong church attender, I can fly through those words, not ever stopping to think about Who it is that I’m to praise.
Who Is God?
The Hebrew word Elohim has been translated as Theos in Greek or Dios in Latin. Elohim means “Mighty One.” It’s a plural word, which doesn’t mean that we serve more than one God. It’s more like saying, “He is the most Mighty One, mightier than all other Mighty Ones (or gods).”
We English-speaking people substitute the word God, which has more of a meaning of “good fortune” or “good luck” or just “good.”
Peter is saying, “I want to praise, worship, and bow down before the Mighty One, who is mightier than all other gods and to be praised because of all that He has done!”
The problem with a blog post is that I know you’ll read through these words very quickly. It took me over an hour to research this all out, and then I’ve been pondering it for a few days, thinking about what it all means, and noticing so many ways that the word God is used in Scripture. I’ve started substituting Mighty One when I see the word God in my Bible.
These thoughts are starting to sink into my brain, like water seeps down a rocky slope and permeates all the layers of ground.
So I encourage you not to rush as you read today. Stop and think after each section. What does it mean for God to be your Mighty One? Here are some verses you might want to meditate upon:
“In the beginning the Mighty One created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
“Who among the mighty ones is like you, O YHWH? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” (Exodus 15:11).
“See now that I myself am He! There is no mighty one besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand” (Deuteronomy 32:39).
“You must always be careful to keep the decrees and ordinances, the laws and commands he wrote for you. Do not worship other mighty ones. Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other mighty ones. Rather, worship YHWH your Mighty One; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies” (2 Kings 17:37-39).
“Help us, O Mighty One our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake” (Psalm 79:9).
“Now, O YHWH our Mighty One, deliver us… so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O YHWH, are the Mighty One“ (Isaiah 37:20).
I see a common theme when I trace the word Elohim or Mighty One through Scripture. He is Mighty because He created us and because He alone can deliver us.
Why must we acknowledge Him as our only Mighty One? In the book of Acts we read,
“Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: ‘Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.
“‘The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us'” (Acts 17:22-27).
Who Is Our Lord Jesus Christ?
A second reason we are to praise our Mighty One is because He is the father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
My husband was teasing our 5-year-old daughter recently. Like so many, she thought that Jesus had a first name, a middle name, and a last name: Lord Jesus Christ.
In fact, only Jesus is his name, and Lord and Christ are his titles.
Why Is His Name Jesus?
The angel of YHWH appeared in a dream to Joseph and told him that Mary would conceive. “She will give birth to a son,” the angel said, “and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).
Jesus is a poor translation of the Hebrew name that was really given here. Elsa and Schalk Klee write,
Y’shua was a Jew with a Hebrew Name, and His name means YHVH saves or YHVH is salvation. The name Y’shua is an abbreviation of Yah Shua or Yahushua; “Yah” being a poetic form of YHVH and “shua” meaning saves. The apostrophe indicates a small pause in the word in order to pronounce it closer to the original pronunciation. It also indicates a concatenation of the words “Yah” and “shua.”
When you search the Strong’s concordance for the name “Jesus” you find that “Jesus” is a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name Joshua or Yehoshua which means “YHVH is salvation.” (Read more…)
Just as we give meaningful names to our children, our Father gave the name Y’shua to His Son so that we would constantly be reminded that he is our savior.
“Salvation (Y’shua) is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Why Is He Called My “Lord”?
The title most often given to Y’shua is Lord, which means “master.”
Often we confuse Lord with LORD. In our English Bibles, “LORD” (with all capital letters) is the name of our Heavenly Father. It means Eternally Existent One, not master, so I prefer to use YHWH on this website rather than the poorly translated “LORD.”
In the New Testament, if the word Lord is referring to our Heavenly Father, then you could safely substitute YHWH in those spots, too.
But when we see Y’shua called Lord, it means He is our Master. We are His servants, or even His slaves. His Word is our command.
[Y’shua said,] “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Master, Master,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Master, Master, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers! (Matthew 7:21-23).
“When Y’shua had entered Capernaum, a [Roman] centurion came to him, asking for help. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.’ Y’shua said to him, ‘I will go and heal him.’ The centurion replied, ‘Master, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, “Go,” and he goes; and that one, “Come,” and he comes. I say to my servant, “Do this,” and he does it.’ When Y’shua heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, ‘I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith'” (Matthew 8:5-10).
“Believe in the Master Y’shua, and you will be saved—you and your household” (Acts 16:31).
“I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Master Y’shua“ (Acts 20:21).
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Master Y’shua has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of Elohim’s grace” (Acts 20:24).
“Therefore Elohim exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Y’shua every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Y’shua [the Messiah] is Master, to the glory of Elohim the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).
Yes, every tongue will one day confess that Y’shua is the Master of the Universe — whether they want to or not!
Why Is He Called the “Christ”?
However, not every tongue acknowledges that Y’shua is the Christ!
What does it mean when we say He is the Christ? Christ is the Greek form of the Hebrew word Mashiach, or Messiah. It means “anointed one.”
During the days of the Kings of Israel, each king was anointed with oil to show that he had been chosen by God as the leader of His people.
Technically speaking, each king of Israel (and Judah) was a messiah, an anointed king. David was a messiah. Hezekiah was a messiah.
But Scripture also speaks of someone from the line of David who was The Messiah (ha Mashiach, in Hebrew).
Psalm 2 speaks very clearly of a coming “Anointed One” who will one day rule the world. Read these verses and see how they speak of the Messiah being a King, but that He is also the Son of Elohim.
Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against YHWH and against his Anointed One, saying,
“Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”
The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Master scoffs at them.
He rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
“I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim YHWH’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have become your father.
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
You will break them with a rod of iron;
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve YHWH with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
Kiss his son, or he will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him (Psalm 2).
I don’t know about you, but in my mind, the title of Christ has become almost synonymous with Savior. He is Christ, the promised Redeemer who has saved me from my sin.
However, this doesn’t appear to be quite accurate, does it? It seems instead that Christ is an Anointed King, the One who is yet to be installed as Sovereign King over all the Earth, Ruler of all mankind.
“In the time of those kings, the Elohim of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever” (Daniel 2:44).
“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Master and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.’ And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before Elohim, fell on their faces and worshiped Elohim, saying: ‘We give thanks to you, YHWH El Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign‘” (Revelation 11:15-17).
“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of Elohim Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND MASTER OF MASTERS.” (Revelation 19:11-16).
The Enemy of our souls does not want to see us kneeling before the King of Kings. He does not want it to be known that Y’shua is the Anointed King.
“For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our Elohim into a license for immorality and deny Y’shua the Messiah [is] our only Sovereign [King] and Master” (Jude 1:4).
Even more practically, the Enemy of my soul does not want to see me obeying my Master, Y’shua the Anointed King.
Who Is His Father?
I want to bring this blog post to a conclusion by pointing out that Peter says we are to praise, worship, and bow down to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Even Y’shua taught his disciples that they should pray to the Father.
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven… For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen [So be it!]” (Matthew 6:9-10, 13).
His Kingdom is our desire, our goal, our delight. His Son is our King, but He is the Father of our King.
The word father means originator or source. He is the source of all the blessings of the Kingdom, as well as the source of our Savior, Y’shua. He is also the father of our Master, and as we saw in Psalm 2, He will be very angry with those who do not obey His Anointed One.
What Is My Response?
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Peter 1:3a).
To praise is to bow the knee in worship. This is my first response. I think we’ve forgotten how to literally bow before Him. We might fold our hands in prayer, or bow our heads — but if we truly get a glimpse of our Mighty One’s fame, honor, and majesty, we will fall on our faces before Him.
“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before YHWH our Maker; for he is our Elohim and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care” (Psalm 95:6-7).
Our second response is to acknowledge that our Savior Y’shua is also our Master and Sovereign King. In other words, our worship is evidenced by obeying His Son.
This is the theme of the book of 1 Peter. It starts with praise — utter awe over the mercy our Mighty One has given us. It ends with obedience to our Master Y’shua the Messiah. Don’t worry… we’ll get really practical!