By Mark Robinson
“For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward.” Deuteronomy 10:17
Adonai is the plural of Adon and means master, ruler or lord. It speaks of (having) authority or rule. In the Jewish Bible it is used, at times, of other entities such as man, Genesis 18:12. But, it is used hundreds of times speaking of Jehovah. For example:
“O LORD [Jehovah] our Lord [Adon], how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.” Psalm 8:1
The use of this word for God speaks of His authority in the earth, the heavens, and over all of creation. He is the master of all. Consider the following.
Lord of all lords: Deuteronomy 10:17
Lord of heaven: Daniel 5:23 (this is in Aramaic, not Hebrew)
Lord of the earth: Joshua 3:11; Psalm 97:5
Lord of David: Psalm 110:1
Lord of hosts: Isaiah 10:16
There are two messianic psalms that should be considered in their use of Adon. The first is Psalm 110:1.
“The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.”
The writer of Psalm 110 is David. He is the king of Israel, the highest human authority in Israel. The only Lord (authority) of the king of Israel is God since Israel is a theocracy. In this verse, Jehovah (LORD) speaks to David’s (my) master (Lord). Since the only authority or master of the king is God, what we have in this verse is God (Jehovah) speaking unto God (David’s authority, who is God).
Jesus’ challenge of the Pharisees with this verse is insightful and clear (Matthew 22:41-46).
While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.
The first question posed to the Pharisees is whose son is the Messiah? They correctly answered David’s son. Jesus then asked them why David would call his son Lord, quoting Psalm 110:1. He then asked them, “if he is David’s Lord, how is he also his son?”
The Pharisees were not able to answer Jesus because they had a preconceived idea of the Messiah. And, their preconceived idea didn’t fit the biblical criteria. The Messiah is the son of David, speaking of his humanity. But, to be David’s Lord (master or authority), the Messiah must also be God. The Messiah is the God/Man. God who took on flesh.
The second Psalm is Psalm 45. Verse one of this psalm addresses the king: “I speak of the things which I have made touching the king.” The second verse tells us that “Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee forever.” This king is unique among all men.
It is verses six and seven that sets this king apart from all other kings of Israel and the world.“Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”
This king, although human and “fairer than all [other] men,” is also God! And, God has anointed him (God)! This one, who is God, is the anointed One, Messiah, of God.
Verse eleven tells us, “for he is thy Lord (Adon); and worship thou him.” This anointed One is the ruler and He is to be worshipped. God has anointed God, appointed Him as the King, and He is the ruler of all, and to be worshipped!
When Jesus is referred to as the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus is the name along that saves, Acts 4:12. Christ is the English word that means Messiah and Jesus is the promised Messiah of Israel. When Jesus is referred to as Lord this speaks of his authority (and ultimately His deity), as Jesus, himself, challenged “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46.
Adon often refers to Jehovah in the Old Testament. When Jesus is called Lord in the New Testament, He is being spoken of as the Adon of the Old Testament, Jehovah the King of Israel! Should not we who call Jesus Lord do what he says, since He is Jehovah Adon?