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A while back Dan asked what seems to be a difficult text-critical question regarding Jude 5: whether it says "Jesus" or "the Lord" led the people out of the land. One of the reasons the UBS committee decided on the κύριος reading was that the Ἰησοῦς reading "was difficult to the point of impossibility."

However, even with "the Lord" as the reading, I'm wondering who is identified by that title here? In verse 8, Moses refers (probably?) to God as the Lord, saying "The Lord rebuke you." But elsewhere he seems to refer to Jesus as the Lord. To whom is he referring here?

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  • NWT Jude 5 "Although you are fully aware of all of this, I want to remind you that Jehovah, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those not showing faith."
    – user26950
    Feb 12, 2019 at 9:00
  • NWT's placement of the divine name here isn't based on any manuscript evidence.
    – Soldarnal
    Feb 5, 2022 at 15:42
  • Yes, see biblestudying.net/history-of-judaism7.html
    – Michael16
    Jun 16, 2022 at 12:30

4 Answers 4

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First some facts:

The previous question on this at Who led the people of Israel out of Egypt in Jude 5? was posed and answered before some of the data below became available.

The following edited editions of the GNT have the reading in Jude 5, "Jesus": NA28, UBS5, THGNT.

All the rest I could find have the reading "Lord" including NA4, NA27, UBS4, Majority Text, W&H, Souter, Byzantine Text, Orthodox Text, TR, NIV, F35, etc. In Metzger's Textual Commentary on UBS4, he regards the textual evidence for "Jesus" as both "weighty" and consistent with "Critical Principles" (Perhaps he disagreed with the committee??)

So, now to the question. If the reading is "Lord" to what does this refer? The title, Kyrios" is certainly used by Jude to refer to Jesus such as v4, 14, 17, 21, 25. He possibly uses it to also refer to the Godhead generally in v9, but this could also be specifically Jesus as well. The same is true of v5.

1 Cor 10:4 is probably a precedent for saying that Jesus is the person who saved Israel out of Egypt. In the rest of the NT, of the approx. 740 occurrences of "kyrios" most often refers to Jesus.

Such a decision is a matter of personal judgement. In view of the above, I believe the evidence is that in Jude 5, if the reading is "Lord" it refers to Jesus.

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  • @ethos Comments are not a discussion forum. Please don't use them to carry on subject matter debates.
    – Caleb
    Feb 14, 2019 at 7:00
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In Jude 1:1, 4, 21, and 25 as seen in English bibles, the word God is translated from the Greek words θεω, θεου, or θεον, each a form of θεός, and each referring to the supreme deity of Israel.

In Jude 1:4, the first appearance of the English word Lord is rendered from the Greek word δεσπότην, a form of δεσπότης meaning absolute ruler; i.e., a despot, and refers to the supreme deity of Israel. The second appearance of Lord in Jude 1:4 is translated from a different Greek word, κυριον, a form of κυριος, meaning supreme controller and also refers to the supreme deity of Israel

Lastly, in Jude 1:5, 9, 14, 17, and 21, the English word Lord is translated from the Greek word κυριον, a form of κύριος (also seen in Jude 1:9) meaning supreme controller. As explained in Jude 1:4 (see above), this word refers to the supreme deity of Israel.

Accordingly, the words "God" and "Lord" appearing in English translations of the book of Jude do NOT refer to Jesus, but to יהוה (YHVH), the Jewish name for the supreme deity of the ancient tribes and modern nation of Israel).

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  • To clarify, you're saying in verses 17 and 21 that the word "Lord" in the phrase "Lord Jesus Christ" does not refer to Jesus?
    – Soldarnal
    Feb 17, 2019 at 19:02
  • This does not address the question and while up until the last paragraph is technically correct but somewhat irrelevant. The last paragraph is almost bizarre! Even in Jude and many other places in the NT, "Kyrios" refers (most often) to Jesus which the NT makes clear was YHWH of the OT and many places.
    – user25930
    Feb 17, 2019 at 20:23
  • 2
    The Judeo-Christian writer of the book of Jude might have applied the Greek words κυριον and κύριος to Jesus but, by definition, that's not the biblical meaning of those words; ergo, it isn't Jesus to whom the words refer. Yes, Jesus is believed by many to be "God" since his apotheosization by the early Catholic Church. But did Jesus ever claim to be a dictator-like δεσπότης? Or a κύριος ("supreme controller")? You decide. Feb 18, 2019 at 21:32
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Jude 1:5 in almost all translations says "Lord", I've only found the ESV says "Jesus".

All Christians believe Jesus is the Lord, but I personally believe the reason the ESV translators used Jesus instead of Lord was for theological reasons, rather than translational accuracy.

Similar to other translations such as the KJV which has entire sections added, such as 1 John 5:7 which clearly shows the Trinity; were these extra verses added by scribes to reinforce the Catholic churches belief in the Trinity; or were these verses taken out by other translators to hide the Trinity?

Back to Jude 1:5, as I said, today all Christians believe Jesus is Lord, and almost all Christians today believe Jesus was also the Lord in the Old Testament.

However, there were early Christian groups, that were deemed heretical by the institutional church, who did not hold to the belief that Jesus was the Old Testament Yahweh (Lord); but in fact was sent by the true God, the Father, to expose and judge all the false territorial gods, which were actually the fallen angels, pretending to be the true God, in order to enslave all the sons and daughters of Adam, and trick us into worshipping them as God.

This theory, although radically condemned and opposed by the institutional church actually makes sense of Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost, where he doesn't say that Jesus is the Old Testament Lord, but rather that Jesus was a man, that the Jews crucified, but whom God raised from the dead and made both Christ and Lord (if Jesus was already the OT Lord, why does Peter say that God made Jesus the Lord, instead of saying Jesus was always the Lord, even in OT times?)

It also makes sense why the author of Hebrews starts his epistle by contrasting Jesus, the human son of God, with angels, who are also called in scripture "sons of God" - perhaps God sent Jesus, the human son of God to raise up other sons and daughters of God to replace the fallen angels who had abandoned their first position, and now stand condemned?

Although it's a controversial opinion, perhaps Jude wasn't saying Jesus killed those He first rescued, but rather Yahweh did, and Yahweh the God of the Jews was not the Father, or Jesus as Christians now university believe, but as Jesus said to the Jewish leaders in John 8 their God was not the Father, because if it was they would have loved and welcomed Him (Jesus) but in fact, their father was actually the devil.

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Answer

When Jude 1:5 says “Lord”, it still refers to Jesus Christ.

Explanation

A person can have more than one role to enact; but his one role does not deny his other role.

For example, when I say Mr. XYZ is the captain of a team, it does not deny the fact that he is also a player in the team. Conversely, when I say Mr. XYZ is the player in the team, it does not deny the fact that he is the captain of the team.

Why the Controversy?

People, who do not see the larger / whole picture, often tend to create controversies unnecessarily. They look only at one part or the other part but never at the whole picture.

Was Jesus a Man?

Yes, Jesus of Nazareth was fully a Man. Peter said so on the day of Pentecost.

“Men, Israelites, hear these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a Man from God, ………… , you killed Him. But God raised Him up” (Acts 2:22,23,24).

Now, does the above deny the truth that He is Yahweh of the Old Testament? Not at all!

Was Jesus Yahweh of the Old Testament?

Yes, Jesus, before His Incarnation was the Yahweh of the OT.

Peter said so.

“if indeed you "tasted" "that the Lord is good;" to whom (i.e., to the Lord) having drawn near, a living Stone, indeed having been rejected by men, but chosen by God, precious” (1 Peter 2:3-4).

Unmistakably, the Lord here is Jesus because He is the One “rejected by men” but “chosen by God” the Father.

Yet, when Peter said “tasted that the Lord is good”, he was referring to Psalms 34:8, where it says:

Taste and see that JEHOVAH is good” (Psalms 34:8).

[It is interesting to note that in both the Greek 1 Peter 2:3-4 and the Greek Septuagint Psalms 33:9, the same Greek words are used for “taste”, “good” (which interestingly is “chreistos”) and “Lord”]

There it is! Jesus is Man. Jesus is Jehovah. Peter said both!

What about Jude?

In fact, not only Jude, but all the apostles are consistent in calling the Almighty Father as God and Jesus Christ as Lord.

Jude calls the Almighty Father as God:

  • Jude 1:1 – “called in God the Father”.

  • Jude 1:4 – “the grace of our God”; “the only Master (despoteis) God”.

  • Jude 1:21 – “in the love of God”.

  • Jude 1:25 – “to the only wise God, our Savior”

Jude calls Jesus Christ as Lord:

  • Jude 1:4 – “our Lord Jesus Christ”.

  • Jude 1:17 – “the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

  • Jude 1:21 – “the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

Jude refers to Jesus as Yahweh

Jude says in 14th verse:

“the Lord came with myriads of His saints”.

Here he is quoting Enoch. But the same prophecy was given to Prophet Zechariah also in the OT through the same Holy Spirit. Talking about the end of the age, Zechariah says:

“And Jehovah my God shall come, and all the saints with You” (Zech 14:5).

Surprisingly, in the New Testament, this verse is applied to Jesus Christ.

“in order to establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and our Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints” (1 Thess 3:13).

Conclusion

The truth is unmistakable and consistent throughout the NT and among all the apostles. They all say the same things.

Jesus was Man indeed. But pre- and post-Incarnation, He is Yahweh “yesterday, today and forever”.

Jude doesn’t differ.

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