The Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Jewish Scriptures. It was translated between 300-200 BC in Alexandria, Egypt, and was used by the Hellenistic Jews since the Hebrew language was less common as the Children of Israel spread throughout the Greek empire. The term “Septuagint” means “seventy” in Latin. Often the Septuagint is identified by the Latin numerals “LXX,” in reference to the said 70 Hebrew scholars who worked on its translation.
The King James Bible uses uppercased titles “G O D” or “L O R D” to represent the Tetragrammaton letters for God. The Tetragrammaton is a Greek word that means, “having four letters.” This Greek word refers to the four Hebrew constant letters, yod, he, vav, and he, which are used for the name of the Almighty. The Tetragrammaton is found over 6,000 times in the Old Testament. It is made up entirely of constants and no vowels. Due to a Jewish misunderstanding of the third commandment, the pronouncement of the name of God has been forbidden since the 2nd or 3rd century BC. Because so, the true pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton was lost, leaving it indecipherable to both scholars and students. This is why today we hear Jews using “HaShem,” or “Adonai,” or “Elohim,” or another evasive synonym when speaking of God. In the Septuagint, the Tetragrammaton name is translated as “Kurios.” That means, to the Greek reader, every time they see “Kurios,” they think, “Name for God.”
The New Testament believers did NOT have a New Testament; they only had an Old Testament. Much of the New Testament is quotes and references to the Old Testament. Because of the heavy Greek influence on the known world of that time, the Septuagint was the primary Old Testament for the First Century Jews and Christians alike. Substantiation for this claim is found in the fact that scholars readily agree that the majority of Old Testament quotes cited in ancient New Testament documents, are quoted directly from the Septuagint. Because so, we know that the Septuagint’s Greek wording heavily influenced the New Testament writers.
Why all this is important is because the Apostles were influenced by the Septuagint’s Greek translation of the Old Testament. From its usage of the Greek we can get a better understanding as to what the apostles believed about the identity of Jesus Christ. Before Peter spoke his message in Acts 2:38, he told his Jewish audience a very specific truth about Jesus. While under the anointing of the Holy Ghost, Peter said not only said that Jesus is their “savior,” but he also said that Jesus is their “Kurios,” which is to say, He is their “God”!
(36) Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that GOD HATH MADE THAT SAME JESUS, WHOM YE HAVE CRUCIFIED, BOTH LORD [Kurios] AND CHRIST.
(37) Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
(38) Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Peter said Jesus was BOTH “GOD” and “MESSIAH.” No wonder Peter said they needed to be baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ.” This is exactly what Jesus said to do in the Great Commission: “BAPTIZE IN THE NAME of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” And remember, the Great Commission starts with Jesus’ proclamation that He has “ALL POWER in HEAVEN and in EARTH.” How could He have all power if He shared it with two or three or more other “persons” of the godhead?
In Acts 2, Peter’s usage of the term “Kurios” was a proclamation to his Greek listeners that Jesus is wholly God and Anointed Savior! Paul was a freeborn Roman citizen from Tarsus. This area was an epicenter of learning in the Roman Empire. Without doubt, Paul knew Greek, and because so was a student of the Septuagint. Paul’s understanding of Greek provides evidence that it was no coincidence that he also used this same “Kurios” when speaking of Jesus. Notice what Paul says in the following passages:
(9) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
(10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
(11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord [Kurios], to the glory of God the Father.
1 Timothy 1:1
(1) Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior, and Lord [Kurios] Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
Jesus chose His twelve apostles from the area of Galilee. This area was Greek dominate long before Jesus’ time, due to Alexander the Great’s conquest. No doubt this influence weighs in heavily as to why the Bible refers to Galilee as the “Galilee of the Gentiles” (See Matthew 4:15). It makes total sense that Greek was a common language of the apostles.
Jesus chose a Galilean fisherman named Simon to be one of the three apostles in His inner circle. “Simon” is from the Hebrew names “Simeon” or “Shimon,” all of which find their root in the Hebrew word “Shema,” which means “hearing” (See Strong’s G4613, H8095, H8085). In John 1:42, Jesus surnamed Simon, “Cephas.” Cephas is a Syriac name of Chaldee origin and means “a rock” or a “hallow rock.” (See Strong’s G2786, H3710) The Greek variation of “Cephas” is “Petros,” which is the English, “Peter.” Similar to Cephas, Petros is defined as “a stone,” or “a piece of a stone.” (See Strong’s G4074) Peter used “Kurios” when he was speaking of Jesus’ identity.
2 Peter 1:11
(11) For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord [Kurios] and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 2:20
(20) For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord [Kurios] and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
2 Peter 3:2
(2) That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord [Kurios] and Savior:
2 Peter 3:18
(18) But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord [Kurios] and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
If everyone would systematically study their Bible like Sherlock Holmes approaches one of his unsolved cases, the verification of God’s Word would be much surer. The Greek use of “Kurios” is very telling, if one will take the time to listen. It first spells out that Jesus is most definitely the One True God; secondly, it proves that the apostles spoke and understood the significance of the Greek language, and used it to communicate biblical Truth. This signifies that the apostles’ listeners and readers had more than a simple street knowledge of the Greek.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story, Silver Blaze, has Sherlock Holmes proving that the killer of Colonel Ross’s racehorse was the owner of the stable dog. How did he do this? By pointing out that the dog did not bark when the crime was committed. Holmes naturally reasoned that the only person who could have done such a crime silently was someone with which the dog was familiar. This fact then left the dog’s owner being the culprit.
If one will listen, the silence that comes from there being no historical documentation for a Hebrew name for Jesus speaks volumes. Only those wishing to remain clueless could ignore the abundance of Greek documentation that does use the name Iesous for the Savior. Such evidence speaks volumes when determining the truth of this matter, for from these Greek documents we can deduce that Jesus’ generation readily used the Greek language, and because they did, they used the Greek name Iesous.
In The Sign of the Four, Sherlock Holmes said, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” By rightly dividing the Word of Truth, we remove manmade doctrines and errors thus leaving only biblical Truth behind. The way individuals handle such evidence consequently separates the truth driven Sherlock Holmes’ from the agenda driven Private Eyes. This latter group is those who, as Holmes indicated in A Scandal in Bohemia, see, but do not observe.
This is what the whole issue is about regarding the authenticity of the Savior’s name. There is NO documentation to show where Jesus was EVER called Yehshua, Yehoshua, Yahshua, or whatever other supposed Hebrew-hybrid is being promoted. The name Jesus comes from the oldest records we have of Savior’s name. These Greek manuscripts have His name being written as Iesous. Iesous later became Jesus in the English; this we can prove and be certain. This same Jesus is the one who became both “Lord” and “Christ.”
Copyright 2008 TK Burk. All rights reserved.