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In Romans 10, Paul is discussing the Lord Jesus, and in verse 13, he writes (NKJV, emphasis mine):

For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

The reason "LORD" is capitalized by the New King James Version here is that in Joel 2:32, the original verse Paul quotes, the word used is YHWH. Yet Paul uses this verse in reference to Jesus. If the subject of Joel 2:32 is YHWH/Jehovah, and if Joel 2:32 applies to Jesus (as says Paul), then does Joel 2:32 refer to Jesus as YHWH/Jehovah? Thanks!

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  • The NT was written in Greek, not Hebrew. The former does not employ lord solely for God.
    – Lucian
    Aug 3 at 19:52
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    @Lucizn you missed the point. If Joel has YHWH, and Paul quotes Joel with Kurios translating YHWH as referring to Jesus. Is he equating Jesus with YHWH?
    – Perry Webb
    Aug 4 at 0:17
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    I love this question - very clever thinking
    – danday74
    Aug 5 at 1:13
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    Paul is implying that if one has faith in Jesus one can have salvation. In Romans 10:13 Paul is talking of Jehovah as being reachable, for those calling on Him, if they go through His mediator Jesus who, if they first believe in Jesus, can then be heard. Both verses in Joel and Romans, should have been translated "...who calls on the name of YHWH/Jehovah..." Consequently, neither verse refers to Jesus as YHWH/Jehovah. That would just be conjecture. Aug 5 at 9:30
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    In short, 'No!' Verses 9,12 are referencing the lord, Jesus. V 13 is in reference to YHWH/Jehovah. Here in lies the problem, that the 2nd, or 3rd, century copyists caused when they substituted the divine name of YHWH (or, JHVH) with the words Kyrios, "Lord," and Theos, "God." In the LXX the Greek words have been used to crowd out the 'distinctive' name of the Supreme Deity, which, quite frankly, IMO was nothing short of BLASPHEMY. When one substitutes the 'distinctive' names of Jesus and YHWH with the mere 'titles' of lord/Lord one is to be confusing and God is not a God of confusion...tbc... Aug 5 at 16:11
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Several modern versions do capitalize Lord in Rom 10:13 such as NLT, NKJV, LSV, etc.

This is somewhat justified as the Rom 10:13 passage is unambiguously referencing Joel 2:32 as the OP has correctly pointed out. That Paul is referring to Jesus as "Lord" in Rom 10:13 is beyond doubt; and the fact that he quotes an OT text referring to Jehovah/YHWH and applies it to Jesus shows clearly what he thinks of the status of Jesus. This is not the only time this sort of thing occurs in the NT - there are other occasions where OT passages that refer to YHWH/Jehovah on the OT are applied to Jesus in the NT:

  • Heb 1:6 quotes Deut 32:43
  • Heb 1:8, 9 quotes Ps 45:6, 7
  • Heb 1:10-12 quotes Ps 102:25-27 (LXX)
  • Phil 2:10, 11 quotes Isa 45:23
  • Matt 3:3 (cf V11) quotes Isa 40:3

One could extend this list greatly by including various exclusive titles of YHWH in the OT that are applied to Jesus in the NT such as:

  • "Savior" Isa 43:3, 11, 45:17, 21; vs Matt 1:21; Acts 4:12; 2 Tim 1:10; Tit 1:4, 2:13, 3:6; 2 Pet 1:1, 11
  • "First and Last" Isa 41:4, 44:6, 48:12; vs Rev 1:17, 18, 2:8, 22:13
  • "Lord of Lords" Deut 10:17, Ps 136:3, 26; vs Rev 17:14, 19:16

... and many many more.

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  • This seems to be what I'm getting from the passage as well. Regarding the "point of pedantry," I never commented on the KJV but rather, I marked it "NKJV" and later said the "the New King James Version." :)
    – The Editor
    Aug 4 at 17:50
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    @TheEditor - my apologies. I will delete this paragraph.
    – Dottard
    Aug 4 at 20:13
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In the old testament (and in many ANE cultures), "name" was a synecdoche for the person, but with the connotation that this is the mechanism by which the person was known. In modern English, we only think of "name" as an identifier with no relationship to the underlying character of the person, and thus many of these "name" references in scriptures are confusing.

Thus when the Angel asked Jacob, "What is your name?", this was not a request for identification, but the Angel was demanding that Jacob confess his nature, that is, that he was a supplanter, as Jacob means "supplanter".

A better sense-for-sense translation for modern readers might be "tell me who you are?" which would carry with it the connotation that this was about your character rather than just a mechanism of identification.

This is why it so profound that God changed the name of Abram and Jacob, as God is effectively changing their character from that point forward. It is a reference to an inward change. We are also promised to receive new names in Revelation 3.12, 2.17. This is also a promise of an inward change. See also Isaiah 62.2

The nations will see your righteousness, And all kings your glory; And you will be called by a new name Which the mouth of the Lord will designate.

Similarly, to do something "in the name" of someone else was to take on that person's authority and character. Thus praying "in the name" of Jesus does not mean saying "in Jesus' name" as a magical incantation, but it means representing Jesus in the world as we pray, with his authority and character.

So with this background knowledge, if Christ plays the role of "davar" or Word of God, that is, the revelation of YHWH to the world, then to call on the name of YHWH would automatically require calling on Christ, as God's nature (i.e. his name) is revealed to the world only as Christ, and thus Christ's name would be the only "name" that could be called on if one wanted to call on the name of YHWH.

John 14.6-9:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

This passage in John, in the language of "names", says that Jesus was acting in the name of the Father, therefore to call on the name of the Father is to call on the name of Jesus.

Acts 4.12

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved

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  • Ahh, excellent! - an answer that uses the ‘lens’ (foundation) of ancient near eastern culture to interpret text written within that context. +1
    – Dave
    Aug 3 at 18:15
  • Thanks for an answer taking into account the culture of the time! In the verses near Rom. 10:13 (e.g., v. 9, 12), Jesus is referred to as "Lord" (Greek kurios, the same word that appears in Paul's quotation of Rom. 10:13), and in verse 13, we're told that calling on the name of the "Lord" (kurios) results in salvation. To confirm I understand, is the referent of "Lord" in verse 13 the same Person referenced by "Lord" in verses 9 and 12 (i.e., Jesus)? If so, then the referent of Joel 2:32's "YHWH" must be the same Person referenced by "kurios" in Romans 10:13 since it quotes Joel, right?
    – The Editor
    Aug 4 at 18:09
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    @TheEditor Yes, everyone at the time (that is, jews such as Paul) would consider Adonai, Elohim, YHWH, etc, as different names for the same referent, and the same for the Greek translations of these names.
    – Robert
    Aug 4 at 19:07
  • Thanks! All this is quite helpful!
    – The Editor
    Aug 4 at 19:32
  • well said - be good if you brought that clarity to hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/63734/…
    – steveowen
    Aug 5 at 2:44
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Is Jesus being identified as YHWH in Joel 2:32 and Romans 10:13?

Joel 2:32a New International Version

And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD [H3068 Yahweh] will be saved;

Brenton Septuagint Translation

And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord [G2962 κυρίου] shall be saved

Conventionally, H3068 is translated as G2962.

Now to the NT in Romans 10:

9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord [G2962],” ...

This is the same Greek word that corresponds to the Hebrew Yahweh. In a sense, it says "Jesus is Yahweh". Not convinced? More contextual evidence follows:

12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord [G2962]

It says that the OT Yahweh is one and the same Lord of the Gentile.

is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord [G2962] will be saved.”

Now Paul directly linked Joel 2:32's Yahweh to Romans10:9a's "Jesus is Lord".

Is Jesus being identified as YHWH in Joel 2:32 and Romans 10:13?

Indeed, the evidence and linkage are strong. There is no doubt in my mind that in Paul's mind, they are one and the same in the context of Romans 10:13.

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Is the name Ἰησοῦν "Jesus" in [Romans 10:9-13] equal to the Name YHVH from Joel 2:32? - No.

In Joel 2:32 (English bibles) | Yoel 3:5 [MT], does the prophet יוֹאֵ֖ל Yoel tell Roman Christians (33-70CE) that they "shall be saved" יִמָּלֵט Yimalet (from keeping Torah) by calling on the name of Jesus? - No.

[Joel 2:32 | **Yoel 3:5**] "And it shall come to pass that whoever shall call in the name of YHVH shall be delivered, for on Mount Zion and in Yerushalaim there shall be a deliverance, as YHVH said, and among the survivors whom the YHVH invites." ( וְהָיָ֗ה כֹּ֧ל אֲשֶׁר־יִקְרָ֛א בְּשֵׁ֥ם יְהֹוָ֖ה יִמָּלֵ֑ט כִּ֠י בְּהַר־צִיּ֨וֹן וּבִירֽוּשָׁלִַ֜ם תִּֽהְיֶ֣ה פְלֵיטָ֗ה כַּֽאֲשֶׁר֙ אָמַ֣ר יְהֹוָ֔ה וּבַ֨שְּׂרִידִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר יְהֹוָ֖ה קֹרֵֽא )

In the NT book [Romans], the apostle Paul reinvents Torah prophesy of [Joel 3:5] for Roman Noachide students of Yeshua the Nazarene - by stating a new prophesy in [Romans 10:9] :

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." ( 10:9 ὅτι ἐὰν ὁμολογήσῃς ἐν τῷ στόματί σου κύριον Ἰησοῦν καὶ πιστεύσῃς ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ σου ὅτι ὁ θεὸς αὐτὸν ἤγειρεν ἐκ νεκρῶν σωθήσῃ· )

The apostle Paul in [Romans 10:13] misuses Yoel's prophecy in Yoel 3:5 to justify a new intercessory belief for Gentile Noachide students of Yeshua the Nazarene - to no longer observe Mitzvot of Torah:

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." ( 10:13 Πᾶς γὰρ ὃς ἂν ἐπικαλέσηται τὸ ὄνομα κυρίου σωθήσεται )

Paul reiterates the revisionist philosophy of Yoel's prophecy in [Romans 10:4] to support the end of Torah Mitzvot :

"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." ( 10:4 τέλος γὰρ νόμου Χριστὸς εἰς δικαιοσύνην παντὶ τῷ πιστεύοντι )
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  • In all fairness, the validity/authority of Paul's interpretation here hinges on the nature of Yeshua. If Yeshua didn't rise from the dead and didn't commission Paul as an Apostle, then yes this is absolutely a misuse of Yoel's prophecy - though it wouldn't really originate with Paul, it would more originate with Peter in Acts 2:36, where God's Spirit comes in power and Peter declares Yeshua as both "Lord and Christ". If Yeshua really did rise from the dead, then Paul is giving the correct interpretation of Yoel 3:5.
    – Steve Taylor
    Aug 3 at 18:57
  • @SteveTaylor - In all fairness, does the prophet Yoel claim all inhabitants of Zion should repent to Jesus in order to be saved from keeping Torah? Aug 3 at 18:59
  • No, but if we are under the assumption that Yoel is a genuine prophet then his words belong to God, not himself. The divine author is entitled to interpret and explain his own words to us, or to reinterpret them for a new purpose. Hermeneutically, YES it's important to understand and interpret Yoel as he would have personally intended or understood his words, but if Yeshua really did rise from the dead then we also need to consider interpretations of Yoel through that lens too. So it more comes down to what we believe about Yeshua, in which everybody is entitled to their own opinion! :)
    – Steve Taylor
    Aug 3 at 19:04
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    @SteveTaylor - "Hermeneutically, YES it's important to understand and interpret Yoel as he would have personally intended or understood his words, but..." :) forget contextual answers - perhaps Paul understood Yoel's words better than Yoel. Aug 3 at 19:14
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    The arguments Paul is making are absolutely standard mishradic exegesis. And are pretty rock solid compared to the wild interpretations coming from people like Rashi or even Rabbi Akiva. Rabbinical exegesis takes a missing "h", notes that it's gematria value is 5, and then concludes 5 items are missing. This is how the Talmud was written. So to complain about Paul here seems truly bizarre -- Paul was trained as a pharisee and is using conservative pharisee exegetical practices, much more biblically sound than what you read in the Talmud, for example.
    – Robert
    Aug 3 at 19:45

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