After the Babylonian captivity, the Jews became very superstitious about breaking the Law in even the slightest way and so they "put a hedge around" God's Law, go way beyond the intent of the original and making it a great burden. It was this attitude of making His Law a burden that Christ attacked. Anyway, one of the measures they took to keep from breaking the third commandment on taking God's name in vain was to substitute the word "Adonai", meaning Lord, for YHWH when they copied the Scriptures. Later, translators would combine the vowels from Adonai with the consonants from JHVH to produce the now familiar "JaHoVaH" or " Jehovah ."
This word YHVH is explained by Rabbinical sources as encompassing three Hebrew words : HYH meaning was, HVH meaning is (literally "the present tense" - the word "is" is not used in Hebrew) and YHYH meaning will continue to be. Putting them all together then, YHVH actually means the "Was-Is-Will Continue to Be" Being. Even Hebrew linguistic scholars agree that YHVH must be some form of the verb "to be" (was, is will be).
By His very name, then, God quite literally encompasses all aspects of time - past, present and future. This is in complete accord with Malachi 3,
"For I am the Lord, I do not change;" (Malachi 3:6)
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. " (Hebrews 13:8
"'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,' says the Lord, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.'" (Revelation 1:8)
Here you can see that even etymologically speaking, Jesus Christ and the YHVH or Lord of the Old Testament can be equated. Consider these scriptures which deal with the "eternal" nature of God:
Who is the First and the Last?
"Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel , and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: 'I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.'" (Isaiah 44:60)
"Listen to Me, O Jacob, and Israel, My called: I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last." (Isaiah 48:12)
" '. . . Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.' " (Revelation 1:17-18)
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last . . . " (Revelation 1:11)
"And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, 'These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life:' " (Revelation 2:8)
Who is the Rock?
Another common reference to the Lord in the Old Testament was "the Rock." With this metaphor in mind, examine the following Old and New Testament scriptures that show that the Word or the Spokesman, before He became the man Jesus, was that same member of the God Family who spoke with mankind in Old Testament times. We'll leave out the 20 or so references in the Psalms, but you might want to look those up for yourself.
"For I proclaim the name of the Lord: Ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He." (Deuteronomy 32:3-4)
"Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful, and have forgotten the God who fathered you." (Deuteronomy 32:18)
Remember, it was Christ that created us!
"No one is holy like the Lord, for there is none besides You, nor is there any rock like our God." (1Samuel 2:2)
"And he said: 'The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; . . .'" (2Samuel 22:2)
"For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?" (2Samuel 22:32)
"The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me: 'He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.'" (2Samuel 23:3)
Notice: the "Rock" spoke! Christ is the Spokesman!
"The stone which the builders rejected . . ." (Psalms 118:22)
"The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem ." (Isaiah 8:13-14)
"Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, 'Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.' Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, 'The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,' and 'A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.' They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed." (1Peter 2:6-8)
Peter is quoting the above two scriptures, Psalm 118:22 and Isaiah 8:14, referring to Christ.
"As it is written: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."" (Romans 9:33)
Same idea, again, referring to Christ.
"Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: 'The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?" (Matthew 21:42)
Same analogy is used here.
"Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: " (Matthew 7:24)
Christ is our foundation.
" . . . having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets , Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, " (Ephesians 2:20)
Jesus Christ, who spoke to the prophets of old is the cornerstone of our faith, our Rock.
"Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. " (1Corinthians 10:1-4)
This last one nails it on the head! The member of the God Family who interacted with the Israelites, brought them out of Egypt, gave them His Law at Sinai, and brought them to the Promised Land was none other than Jesus Christ. If you are still skeptical, let's look at more evidence. Examine the following scriptures:
Who is the Shepherd?
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." (Psalms 23:1)
"Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock; You who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth!" (Psalms 80:1)
"Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young." (Isaiah 40:10-11)
"When the Son of Man comes in His glory , and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. " (Matthew 25:31-32)
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep . . . I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. " (John 10:11,14)
"Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, " (Hebrews 13:20)
". . . and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away." (1Peter 5:4)
The Lord, the God of the Old Testament, Yahweh, is our shepherd. So is Jesus Christ. Again, scripture shows that they are the same.
Who is the Holy One of Israel?
One last metaphor that we'll look at is that of the "Holy One of Israel ." This term is most often used along with the term "Savior" or "Redeemer", certainly referring to Christ. But these Old Testament references are also speaking of the Lord God, the God of the Old Testament. See for yourself how these scriptures again point to the fact that the pre-incarnate Christ was indeed the God of the Old Testament.
""Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you," says the Lord and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel." (Isaiah 41:14)
"For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;" (Isaiah 43:3)
"For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth." (Isaiah 54:5)
"Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: "Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons and concerning the work of My hands, you command Me. I have made the earth, and created man on it. I — My hands — stretched out the heavens, and all their host I have commanded."" (Isaiah 45:11-12)
Remember, it was Christ who did the creating.
"As for our Redeemer, the Lord of hosts is His name, the Holy One of Israel." (Isaiah 47:4)
"Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way you should go."" (Isaiah 48:17)
He leads us and teaches us by the way that we should go, that is, His Commandments (Exodus 20:2, "I am the LORD thy God . . .").
"In that day a man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel." (Isaiah 17:7)
Just in case it isn't obvious yet that the Lord, the God of the Old Testament, referred to in the above scriptures as the Savior, Redeemer and the Holy One of Israel, is none other than Jesus Christ, read the next scripture taken out of the New Testament.
"Therefore He also says in another Psalm : 'You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.' For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; . . . " (Acts 13:35-37)
He whom God raised from the dead can be no other than Jesus Christ.
Who is Melchizedec?
Melchizedec was the mysterious priest and king who shows up in Abraham's time. But exactly who was this person? Let's see. Notice Hebrews 5:
"So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: "You are My Son, today I have begotten You." As He also says in another place: "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek;" " (Hebrews 5:5-6)
So Christ holds the office of Melchizedek - but who is he? He must be one of the persons of the God Family. In Genesis 14:18 he is called the king of Salem and the priest of the Most High God. Notice why he could not have been merely a human being.
The Apostle Paul describes Him further in Hebrews 7:
"to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated "king of righteousness," and then also king of Salem, meaning "king of peace," without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually." (Hebrews 7:2-3)
Paul could not have been describing a human being, or even an angel in these verses, for he is describing a Being that eternally existed, and only God has eternally existed (1Timothy 6:16).
The person who met Abraham was a priest of the Most High God. Who is the Most High God? Why, it must be the Father, for Jesus Himself said, "My Father is greater than I" (John 14:28). And also he still lives (and if you will read Hebrews 7:8 carefully, you will see that Paul repeats this supremely important fact) and still is that High Priest. But Christ also is High Priest (see Hebrews 7:26, 8:1). There cannot be two High Priests both holding the same office, so Jesus Christ must be person who met Abraham. This once again demonstrates the fact that the only interaction between God and man has been through the person we now know as Jesus the Christ, the Word, the Logos, the Good Shepherd, our Rock, the Holy One of Israel, our Redeemer, the Alpha and Omega, our Savior, Yahweh, the Lord of Hosts.
Did Jesus say he was the Old Testament God?
Remember that before He existed as Jesus, the Logos or Spokesman was that member of the God Family that spoke with mankind. As the very Word of God, that was His job or function within the God Family. Remember also the many times that the Lord in the Old Testament spoke to men like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses to name a few. In fact in Exodus 33 we read:
"So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. " (Exodus 33:11)
Now if all that we have said up to now is wrong and the Lord, the God of the Old Testament is really the one we know as the Father, than how can the following scriptures, spoken by Jesus Himself, be true?
"And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. " (John 5:37)
"Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father." (John 6:46)
"No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him." (John 1:18)
And the Apostle John, the one whom Jesus loved, concurs,
"No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. " (1John 4:12).
Is the Godhead a Family?
You see, Christ came to reveal the Father, who, up until that time, no one had known . Notice in Matthew 11:
"All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. " (Matthew 11:27)
Jesus showed us that the relationship of the Godhead is that of a Family. He told us about the loving relationship between the Father and the Son. And what's more, He invited us to join in that relationship, by becoming actual members of the God Family! Notice these plain scriptures:
"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13)
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together." (Romans 8:14-17)
"For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. " (Romans 8:19-21)
"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. " (1John 3:1-2)
"As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness." (Psalms 17:15)
" . . . by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (2Peter 1:4)
This is the marvelous destiny that awaits you and me. God has a Master Plan to bring "many sons unto glory." Far from being a harsh and cruel taskmaster, God is a loving Father who wants us to be a part of His Family. Are you willing to accept His offer of everlasting life?