Monday, October 12, 2009

Rom 14.5 and the Sabbath

Paul is not in favor of Sabbath or Sunday obligations Greek New Testament, 4th Ed., 1861, on Rom 14:5:

“It is an interesting question, what indication is here found of the observance or non-observance of a day of obligation in the apostolic times. The Apostle decides nothing, leaving every man’s own mind to guide him in the point. He classes the observance or non-observance of particular days, with the eating or abstaining from particular meats. In both cases he is concerned with things which he evidently treats as of absolute indifference in themselves. Now the question is, supposing the divine obligation of one day in seven to have been recognized by him in any form, could he have thus spoken? The obvious inference from his strain of arguing is that he knew of no such obligation, but believed all times and days to be, to the Christian strong in faith, alike. I do not see how the passage can be otherwise understood. If any one day in the week were invested with the sacred character of the Sabbath, it would have been wholly impossible for the Apostle to commend or uphold the man who judges all days worthy of equal honor — who as in verse 6 paid no regard to the (any) day. He would have to have visited him with his strongest disapprobation as violating a command of God. I therefore infer that sabbatical obligation to keep any day, whether seventh or first, was not recognized in apostolic times…. The reply commonly furnished to these considerations, that the Apostle was speaking here only of Jewish festivals and therefore cannot refer to Christian ones, is a quibble of the poorest kind, its assertors themselves distinctly maintaining the obligation of one such Jewish festival on Christians” [i.e. by enforcing Sunday as a Sabbath]. Henry Alford, D.D. Dean of Canterbury

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Adonai and Adoni (Psalm 110:1)

The Bible’s supreme proof text for telling the difference between the One God and the Messiah who is not God
by Anthony Buzzard

This verse was referred to the Messiah by the Pharisees and by Jesus (Matt. 22:41ff). It tells us that the relationship between God and Jesus is that of Deity and non-Deity. The Messiah is called adoni (my lord) and in every one of its 195 occurrences adoni (my lord) means a superior who is not God. Adonai on the other hand refers exclusively to the One God in all of its 449 occurrences. Adonai is the title of Deity and adoni never designates Deity.

If the Messiah were called Adonai this would introduce “two Gods” into the Bible and would be polytheism. Psalm 110:1 should guard us all against supposing that there are two who are God. In fact the Messiah is the supreme human being and agent of the One God. Psalm 110:1 is the Bible’s master text for defining the Son of God in relation to the One God, his Father.

Why is it that a number of commentaries misstate the facts about Psalm 110:1? They assert that the word for the Messiah in Psalm 110:1 is adonai. It is not. These commentaries seem to obscure a classic text defining God in relation to His Son. The Hebrew text assigns to the Messiah the title adoni which invariably distinguishes the one addressed from the Deity. The Messiah is the supreme human lord. He is not the Lord God (cp. I Tim. 2:5; I Cor. 8:4-6; Mark 12:28ff).

Why is the Messiah called adoni (my lord) and never adonai (my Lord God)?

Adonai and Adoni are variations of Masoretic pointing to distinguish divine reference from human.”

Adonai is referred to God but Adoni to human superiors.

Adoni — ref. to men: my lord, my master [see Ps. 110:1]

Adonai — ref. to God…Lord (Brown, Driver, Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, under adon [= lord]).

“The form ADONI (‘my lord’), a royal title (I Sam. 29:8), is to be carefully distinguished from the divine title ADONAI (‘my Lord’) used of Yahweh.” “ADONAI — the special plural form [the divine title] distinguishes it from adonai [with short vowel] = my lords” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, “Lord,” p. 157).

“Lord in the OT is used to translate ADONAI when applied to the Divine Being. The [Hebrew] word…has a suffix [with special pointing] presumably for the sake of distinction. Sometimes it is uncertain whether it is a divine or human appellative…The Masoretic Text sometimes decides this by a note distinguishing between the word when ‘holy’ or only ‘excellent,’ sometimes by a variation in the [vowel] pointing — adoni, adonai [short vowel] and adonai [long vowel] (Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, “Lord,” Vol. 3, p. 137).

“Hebrew Adonai exclusively denotes the God of Israel. It is attested about 450 times in the OT…Adoni [is] addressed to human beings (Gen. 44:7, Num. 32:25, II Kings 2:19 [etc.]). We have to assume that the word adonai received its special form to distinguish it from the secular use of adon [i.e., adoni]. The reason why [God is addressed] as adonai, [with long vowel] instead of the normal adon, adoni or adonai [with short vowel] may have been to distinguish Yahweh from other gods and from human lords” (Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, p. 531).

“The lengthening of the ā on Adonai [the Lord God] may be traced to the concern of the Masoretes to mark the word as sacred by a small external sign” (Theological Dictionary of the OT, “Adon,” p. 63 and Theological Dictionary of the NT, III, 1060ff.

“The form ‘to my lord,’ l’adoni, is never used in the OT as a divine reference…the generally accepted fact [is] that the Masoretic pointing distinguishes divine references (adonai) from human references (adoni)” (Wigram, The Englishman’s Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the OT, p. 22) (Herbert Bateman, “Psalm 110:1 and the NT,” Bibliothecra Sacra, Oct.-Dec., 1992, p. 438).

Professor Larry Hurtado of the University of Edinburgh, celebrated author of a modern classic on Christology:

“There is no question but that the terms Adonay and adoni function differently: theone a reverent way of avoiding pronouncing the word YHVH and the other theuse of the same word for non-divine figures.” (correspondence, June 24th, 2000) Dr. Howard Marshall, ed of the Evangelical Quarterly:"I agree with what you say about Ps. 110:1; the LXX is translating correctly; the use of the Ps. in the NT does not identify Jesus as Adonai in any case."(correspondence, Aug. 1998)