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Posted: Jul 29 2009, 09:30 AM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 30-December 08
Posted: Jul 29 2009, 12:43 PM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 30-December 08
I had already made up my mind before starting the series of teachings on 'numbers' that I was going to return to "Frequently Asked Questions". After all, we should all be prepared to give a SCRIPTURAL answer to every man who asks us about the hope that is in us. Little did I know, however, that I would be returning to the whole 'deity' issue concerning the Messiah.
Many of you may have noticed that the article I wrote a while ago concerning this same issue has been pulled from the archives. After some good counselling from my friend Monte Judah, I decided to revisit this issue, because it is back in the headlines as an issue that is currently scattering the sheep. After rereading that teaching, a subject I initially wanted to avoid, I had concluded that it is an important subject that deserves some comprehensive attention. I felt that my opinion on this subject was more of an issue of semantics than substance concerning the nature of the Messiah Yahshua. I have now spent some considerable time perusing the theological views of the 'anti-deity' crowd. I have concluded that, although I may lose a few supporters of this ministry, it is none the less time to take a demonstrative, outspoken stand on this issue. It is my humble opinion that the controlling focus of the 'Messianic Movement' should be our commission to reach out to the world with the Messiah of Israel and His Torah. The adherents of this truth are infinitesimal compared to the multitudes that stand in darkness before us. We all still have an overwhelming task confronting us with respect to the mass followers of Christianity, alone. This mission races toward the unachievable if we continue to divide rather than multiply. The Christian religion, in it's early stages it seems, has set the pattern concerning this issue for the Messianic movement as well. We shall now aim our guns at each other as we dissect the Messiah with the skill of ecclesiastical surgeons. This is all very sad, but must be undertaken for the sake of the call.
I have planned for this particular series of teachings to stretch out to about seven sections. We will begin with what I believe to be the scriptural evidence that Yahshua the Messiah is precisely what He claimed to be, the manifestation of the Word of God, YHVH the Creator of all that there is. Yahshua claims attributes that God alone claims to have. We will see that either Yahshua is the manifestation of the one true God, or He is at worst a lunatic, a liar and a deceiver, or at best He is slightly overrated and has demonstrated grand delusions about Himself. It is my contention that the core of this issue does not lie with an erroneous view of the nature of the essence of the Messiah, but rather it lies in a somewhat narrow view of the ubiquitous nature of God. I also plan to address many of the so-called prooftexts that are used to show that Yahshua could not possibly be God Himself. I intend to show that this conclusion is a far too typical result among many who come out of a traditional Christian background. This evolutionary process has fallen into a well known pattern. We begin with a typical Christian attending a typical Christian church all of their life. They are then confronted with a teaching on the sabbath or one of the feasts and they are quickly placed into a religious and social dilemma. They come to the conclusion that they have been following a lie and soon begin consuming all the 'Messianic' material they can swallow. After some maturity has set in, they begin reading and absorbing material from orthodox Judaism themselves. They discover lie after lie and are now becoming frustrated, and are quickly becoming skeptical and suspicious of virtually every thing they hear. Christians and Christian teaching, instead of being the goal to reach out to, have now become the target to aim at. All Christian teaching is a LIE, and everything Christian is the anti-Christ. The New Testament now becomes an unreliable document at best, and a product of the Greek god Zeus at worst. The New Testament becomes a direct result of the work of Constantine and the early church father's desire to make 'Jesus' God, and out the window goes the Messiah's claim to be the Word of God in the flesh. Thus, it is now incumbent upon us all to embark on a whole new paradigm.
As I have perused the articles and writings of the "he is Messiah, but not God" crowd, I have noticed the scattered use of clever media and advertising techniques. I will address these while answering many of the objections of Yahshua's claims. I am already well aware of the fact that many will react to what I stated by saying that from their point of view, Yahshua never claimed to be any thing other than a sinless man, an agent of God, or the ambiguous 'Son of God' title. I will also show that this is not true. I have chosen to begin this series of teaching by addressing the nature of God according to the scriptures, for this is where I believe the parting of ways takes place.
Posted: Jul 29 2009, 12:44 PM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 30-December 08
As I begin this series on the ancient debate concerning the nature of the Messiah, I must first mention that there are many articles and teachings, from a multitude of well educated Hebrew biblical scholars that present their case, pro and con, very well. This issue has been the object of heated debate for centuries, and has yet to dissipate. This alone, to the thinking person, should be sufficient evidence that the issue is not seated in cement. I have chosen to approach this subject the same way I teach virtually every other subject ... from the beginning. I have elected not to follow the typical pattern of beginning this critical dispute by launching an attack, or a support, of statements made by many of the prophets, or comments made by Yahshua, or the disciples. However, we will indeed arrive at these equally harmonious and scriptural writings through the course of this progression. I have chosen to begin this teaching by researching what I believe about the Messiah and why I believe it. We will then spend the last half addressing many of the so-called 'prooftexts' of those who do not believe that Yahshua is God in the flesh. As we research this sheep dividing issue, I would ask that you keep in mind something the prophet Yesha'yahu and Sha'ul revealed to us that I feel lies at the root of this controversy.
"And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted, and be healed."
"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in."
I find these to be fascinating and very thought provoking statements. God tells His people ahead of time that He already knows that there will be much lack of understanding among His people. He uses the words SEE and HEAR to describe this misunderstanding by both houses. Although YHVH prophesied that these people would not obey Him, using the concepts of seeing and hearing, He also reveals prophetically that one day they would HEAR Him and SEE Him, and be converted. This revelation is also placed in context with the fullness of the Gentiles coming in, as recorded by Sha'ul. It comes as no surprise to me that the traditional doctrines held by these two rebellious houses are, I believe, referred to as 'blindness in part'. Traditionally, the house of Judah (dominated by Rabbinical thought) has tenaciously clung to Torah and a Messiah who is not God in the flesh. The house of Israel (dominated by traditional Christian thought) has equally held to no Torah and the Messiah is God in the flesh. However, the Tanakh reveals over and over, that BOTH houses are blind and deaf. My premise in this teaching will be that the house of Israel is blind to Torah and the house of Judah is blind to who the Messiah is, for Messiah IS the Word of God (Torah) and the Word of God cannot be, by definition, anything less than God Himself. It is also my contention that, in the last days, every attribute of these two houses will once again be one.
"In the beginning 'Elohiym created the heavens and the earth."
I am sure that many of you have read or heard a hundred different teachings on these words with which YHVH chose to begin his revelation to mankind. It is imperative that we begin at the beginning, however. YHVH reveals, remember that word, in the beginning some important information about Himself. He begins with no revelation as to His beginning and no insight as to His pre-existence before He created the heavens and the earth. This is because all this is not known, which is the verbal root of the Hebrew word 'olam, which English translates as 'everlasting' or 'eternal'. So we begin with His existence. In His creation of all things it is interesting to note that YHVH does not choose to enter the scene, so to speak, as YHVH, but rather 'Elohiym. I believe this is done deliberately to expose from the beginning a critical aspect of His nature that, when grasped, will harmonize with the rest of scripture and His other names and titles. There has always been a fine line of interpretation over the meaning and application of the word 'Elohiym. It is well known that the word is in the plural, but the interpretation of this plurality is where the friction takes place. Based upon the parsing of the word all by itself, a myriad of religous organizations can and have sprung forth. The word is taught by most Hebrew students of philology, to be understood only in context with the word 'echad or one. This combined interpretation is based upon a very strict hermenuetic on the shema'.
"Hear, O Israel, YHVH our 'Elohiym, YHVH is 'echad."
It is the revelation that the plural 'Elohiym is 'echad that has most Hebrew lexicons agreeing that the concept of God is a unity. It is the application of that unity that creates the controversies. In Hebrew grammar, the verb that follows the noun 'Elohiym must be in concord, or agreement, with the noun it describes. This means that the Hebrew language has a way for the reader to distinguish between the one God of creation and the false gods. If the plural 'Elohiym is followed by a plural verb, then the reference is not to the one God of creation. If the plural 'Elohiym is followed by the singular verb, then it is referring to the one God of creation. In B'reshith 1:1, YHVH begins His book of life with the revelation that He is ABSOLUTE UNITY ('Elohiym is plural) with a single purpose or action (the verb is in the singular). The combination of 'Elohiym with 'echad in the Shema testifies to the FACT that there is only ONE TRUE GOD. I believe that within the unity of the one true God there is one single purpose, from the beginning, that is contained within our salvation, and that this is revealed within the Hebrew of the very first words of scripture. There are unknown aspects of His awesomeness and essence that we do not know, but the purpose remains as the object of the secret things of God.
"The secret things belong unto YHVH our 'Elohiym; but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may DO the words of this Torah."
As I mentioned in the introduction to this teaching, it is my humble opinion that it is NOT the nature of the Messiah that should demand our immediate attention, but rather the nature of God. Whenever the subject of the 'deity' of Yahshua comes up, we are basically confronted with an equation. Does the Messiah EQUAL YHVH or does the Messiah not EQUAL YHVH? So we begin with a proposition that always has an unfathomable, unsearchable, infinite GOD in one half of the equation that is attempted to be fathomed, searched and completely understood by the finite. This most infinite God can be searched and understood in light of what He HAS revealed of Himself, however. It has come to my attention that some of the teachings of the 'anti-deity' crowd suggest that because the incomprehensible essence of God is taught in Kabbalism, that therefore any teaching that God's essence is unsearchable comes from Kabbalistic teaching. First of all, truth is truth even when your enemy speaks it. Kabbalism teaches prayer. Is prayer then only Kabbalistic? I could go on. This is an old journalistic and political technique that I recognize from many business courses I took in college. The idea is to connect the opposition with something that the masses generally accept as being evil, therefore drawing the conclusion that the opposition's point, by definition, must be evil. The thinking is that if I prove your position to be wrong, then by definition my position must be right. It goes like this: Kabbalism teaches that God is incomprehensible. Kabbalism is mystical and unscriptural. Many Messianics teach that God is incomprehensible. Therefore, those Messianics are mystical and unscriptural.
The facts are that the scriptures teach that there are aspects of God that are not known and unsearchable. I would also suggest that even the exact meaning of those things that are declared unsearchable and unknowable, are unsearchable and unknowable. As we look at some of these examples, keep in mind the singular purpose and goal of 'Elohiym that we discussed earlier. I would also like to preface this material by stating that my purpose of highlighting God's infinite, unsearchable essence is not to suggest that the Messiah/God issue is not meant to be understood or fathomed. I am starting with this particular truth to show that the Creator and God of Israel is infinitely capable of doing, attaining, and BEING whatever His will chooses, and is far beyond even the imaginations of His creation.
"Great is YHVH, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise thy WORKS to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. I will SPEAK of the glorious honor of thy majesty, and of thy wonderous WORKS."
"Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, YHVH, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is not searching of his understanding."
"Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and His ways past finding out."
"Thus saith YHVH, If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith YHVH."
My goodness, if the heavens and foundations of the earth are unsearchable, how much more the essence of God Himself. The Hebrew word used here to promote His distinction in the universe is chaqar. This word in it's verbal root means something that is unable to be investigated. The Greek word used in Romans 11:33 is anexichniastos. Say that five times real fast. It is a combination of three Greek words. The first is simply the letter 'a' or 'alpha'. This letter when used as a prefix affixes the negative to a word. For instance 'theist', a believer in God, becomes an 'atheist' or NOT a believer in God. Our negative prefix is added to the Greek word for 'to track, trace or follow' and the Greek word for 'origin'. The entire word means unable to track or trace the origin of something. This is very close to the Hebrew word chaqar. The point is that there are attributes of God that we are unable to investigate, track or trace the origin. The facts are that there are some things about God that are not known and there are those things that God has revealed.
There are many prophecies in scripture that attest to the fact that many of the house of Israel and Judah will not 'know' who the Messiah is. One of the most thought provoking prophecies is the 'revealing' of Joseph (a clear type of Messiah) to his brothers. In B'reshith 45:1-3 we are given a very interesting prophecy along with a rather cryptic insertion.
"Then Yoseph could not control himself before all them who stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood NO MAN with him, while Yoseph made himself KNOWN unto his brethren. And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. And Yoseph said unto his brethren, I AM Yoseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were terrified (troubled) at his presence."
The Spirit of God makes it a point to mention that Yoseph stood by himself with NO MAN with him to reveal himself. What was behind this insertion into the text? Prophetically we are told that this type of Messiah will one day make himself KNOWN to his brethren as to who he really is, i.e. they did not recognize WHO he actually was. No man will be with him, and their response will be very troubling and terrifying. The Hebrew word used here for troubling is bahal. Here is how this word is used in other places.
"Oh, that thou would rend the heavens, that thou would come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence. As when the melting fire burns, and the fire causes the waters to boil, to make thy name KNOWN to thine adversaries, that the nations may TREMBLE at thy presence. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee; for thou hast hidden thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities."
"And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus, and suddenly there shone round about him a light from heaven; and he, TREMBLING and astonished, said, Adonai, what wilt thou have me to do? And Adonai said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do."
"But the woman, fearing and TREMBLING, KNOWING what was done in her, came and fell down before Him, and told Him all the truth."
It is my opinion that Yahshua, certainly knowing who He really was, comforted His people with the following words:
"Let not your heart be TROUBLED, ye believe in God, believe also in me ... If ye had KNOWN me, ye should have KNOWN my Father also; and from henceforth ye KNOW Him, and have seen Him ... Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you, let not your heart be TROUBLED, neither let it be AFRAID."
It seems that the blindness of both houses of Israel are directly associated with not KNOWING Him.
"I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight ... For Ya'akov my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name; I have surnamed thee, though thou has not KNOWN me. I AM YHVH, and there is none else, there is no God beside me; I girded thee, though thou has not KNOWN me. That they may KNOW from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I AM YHVH, and there is none else."
The phrase 'from the rising of the sun' and the 'west' are another way of speaking of the house of Judah (east) and the house of Israel (west).
"They have not known nor understood; for He hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see, and their hearts, that they cannot understand."
I conclude the first part of this series by asking you to entertain the possibility that God prophetically knew that within His divided house (still scattered in unbelief) are two groups of people. One group would not KNOW Him (Messiah) as the manifestation of the God of Israel, the living Word, giver of Torah and preserver of the laws and commandments of God. The other group would not receive Him, would not make obeisance to His ruling sheaf, and would not recogize His true identity as the Creator of the sun, moon and stars, and the only Savior there is. However, as it has been from the beginning, there is always a remnant that receive Him as the only authority who can give us the power to become the children of God.
"He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew him not. He came unto His own, and His own knew Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on His name;"
Stay with me through this series. I suppose it will be longer than I first proposed, as this subject is fundamental and there is much to be covered.
Posted: Jul 29 2009, 12:45 PM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 30-December 08
As I stated in the introduction to this teaching concerning this two thousand year old debate, the seminal issue is not the nature of the Messiah so much as it is the nature of God, in my opinion. We covered a couple of the major revealed attributes of God, His unsearchableness and the fact that He is, aside from what is revealed, incomprehensible. There is a distinct purpose for reviewing these characteristics of God which I will partially address in this teaching.
God is omnipotent. In every day English, this means that He possesses all power. He is exceedingly above and beyond anything and everything that His creation can collectively conceive.
"O YHVH, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with ALL my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O YHVH, thou knowest it altogether. Thou has beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in sheol, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee, but the night shineth as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to thee."
"Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, YHVH, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary. There is no searching of His understanding.
"Am I a God at hand, saith YHVH, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith YHVH. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith YHVH."
We know from both testaments that God created all things by speaking. God said, "... let there be beasts in the field" and there were beasts in the field. With just His words, He placed all the celestial glories in their place. Not only did He, by just speaking, create our magnificant bodies, but He also created our emotions. The ability for literally trillions of people to each laugh at something different. He gave us tears to respond to sadness and trials. He gave such people as myself the ability to express stupid humor and to tell bad jokes, while placing within the capacity of some people to actually laugh at them. All the still unexplained aspects of light, He considered just another product of another day. The very existence of God is also verified by many known scientific laws. One of those laws states that every effect has a cause, and every cause must be equal to or greater than it's effect. Known science in the last century has agreed that all matter that exists is an effect of an initial cause. Many in science choose to call that the 'big bang' but all agree that the initial cause of all that there is, is greater than or equal to all the effects we see. As believers, we all know who that cause is. Can you imagine that God is infinitely greater than all that we collectively see and even don't see? Within the last 10 years, science has also discovered that the universe is actually more than a dozen dimensions. We only operate in three dimensions and possibly four including time as a dimension. Can you possibly conceive of at least eight more? Can you then comprehend that God is much more than even that?
It is this humble writers opinion that man, from the beginning, religious or areligious, has made consistent attempts, some with malice and some just by nature, to try to take the incorruptible God and make him unto an image made like unto corruptible man. At first sight, one might think that this refers to the idea of God becoming a man, but this is written by Rav Sha'ul who is notorious, in religious circles, for starting Christianity and being the instigator of the 'God became a man' doctrine.
"Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and birds, and four-footed beasts and creeping things."
The context of Sha'ul's comments are made to those who, unable to accept or comprehend a God like I just described, attempt to make God like unto earthly images that they can see, touch, feel, worship and accept. Some cultures do it with the kind of idols and icons we see on PBS or the Discovery Channel. Some, however, try to understand God by affixing His essence to the essence of earthly images, which end up limiting God to those earthly pictures. While it is true that we understand heavenly things by comprehending the earthly ones, God is NOT those earthly things. For example, we gain insight into His loving presence through the image of a dove. But God is not a dove. We can experience His loving, Fatherly care through the teaching of being under the shadow of His wings, but God is not a duck, swan or a chicken. The Mormon religion teaches that God is Father and Yahshua was His Son. Since a son is produced by sexual relations between a man and a woman, this means that God came down and had physical sex with Mary, because they are Father and Son. Can you see where an improper perspective on titles and terms used to help us understand what God has revealed to us, can lead to bizarre doctrines? I believe that one of the reasons for the controversy over the Messiah stems from misunderstood sound bites by one side of the issue, and an attempt to understand God by restricting Him to comparable earthly images on the other side. I am attempting to first establish the FACT that the essence, abilities, and nature of God are infinitely beyond our limits.
In the last month or so, I have received many articles and teachings concerning the 'deity' of Yahshua. Ninety per cent of the questions posed, that led to many concluding that Yahshua could not be God in the flesh, were all like the ones below.
"... O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt."
How can God be talking to himself?
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth that Yahshua is Adonai, and shalt believe in thine heart that GOD hath RAISED HIM from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
Holy moly! God raised up God from the dead?
"And about the ninth hour Yahshua cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, la'ma sabach'thani? that is to say, My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?"
Well, that seals it. Is one part of God crying out while the other two parts are standing there listening?
"Yahshua, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the spirit."
Oh yeah? How can God die? Huh. Huh. Tell me that!
There are probably, I have not counted, 500 or more verses in the scriptures in which God seems to exist everwhere at once in one verse and in a specific spot the next. It seems that God only exists between the Cherubim at the same time that He is falling on Moses outside of the tent. He sits on His throne while leading the children of Israel through the wilderness at the same time. Part of the problem from where I sit seems to be erroneous conclusions drawn from doctrinal statements that go by unexplained. So let me explain. It seems that many are concluding from statements such as 'Yahshua is YHVH' or 'God became a man' or 'Jesus is God', that when God became a man, God was JUST the man. In other words, when God was a man, He was not running the universe. God was the Messiah only. I would equally ask if God was in the burning bush when Mosheh approached Him? All would agree that He indeed was. So does that mean that God ceased to still be omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient while He was in the bush? Can this God that I have been describing, be capable of taking upon the flesh of a man and still be everywhere at once? STOP and answer that question right now! If one of the purposes of God taking upon flesh was to show unfaithful mankind how to be faithful, would He not then BE faithful? If He desired for us to know how to pray to our Father would He not then pray to the Father? If He desparately wanted His people to love, would He not then love? Would He not show His followers how to obey the Father by actually obeying the Father? Is that incomprehensible to you? If it is, then I would suggest that you are trying to understand the incorruptible, infinite, limitless God, from the perspective of corruptible, finite, limited man. Period.
I remember watching a Michael Keaton movie a few years ago called Multiplicity. In this movie Michael was a very busy man. So busy that he rarely had time for his wife and his children. Through a series of plot forming circumstances, he ends up cloning several of himself over time. He was then able to, so he thought, spend the necessary time at his business and still spend time with his wife and also his children. Now this story is not a representation of the nature of God. God is far more than what a movie can represent. But that is my point. Man, in his own imagination, can cinematically portray the idea of someone remaining themselves and also be the same person in many other places all at the same time. If man can imagine such a ludicrous thing, is God not greater than the imagination of men? So I ask a simple question. In the interest of the salvation of man, is God capable of existing as an ever present Father while simultaneously taking upon the flesh of man? If not, then I would ask for someone to explain to me HOW God spoke the universe into existence. I would like to know why that bit of truth is casually accepted and untouched by controversy, but the idea of God becoming a man, while still remaining God, is so absurd.
I still plan for this teaching to be contained in several parts. I intend to continue to go through many of the applicable Old Testament teachings on this subject before addressing many so-called prooftexts. I just wanted to begin by giving us all a good dose of the awesomeness of our Creator and only Savior.
Posted: Jul 29 2009, 12:45 PM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 30-December 08
It is simply amazing to me that after taking up a considerable amount of time and space to establish the awesome, infinite, multidimensional power of God, that I could still get emails that begin with something like this, "If Yahshua is God then how can ...?" You can fill in the space with whatever you like. My first point is that I have not yet begun to give my own scriptural reasons why I believe that Yahshua the Messiah is God in the flesh. Notice the difference between that statement and the first part of the emails I get. I have not yet begun to prove why I believe Yahshua is the manifestation of God Himself. I have only tried thus far to demonstrate that God CAN take upon human flesh and yet still remain omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. So I begin with this question: Is the Creator of the universe capable of doing what I just suggested? If you can honestly answer yes, then the rest of this teaching will focus on whether He DID take upon flesh, and not whether He can. It is my contention that God can be 37 cigar smoking penguins if He chooses to be. We MUST begin with a healthy respect for the abilities of our God.
As I stated in the beginning of this venture, this subject has been hotly debated from almost the moment of Yahshua's ministry. This alone does not mean that His nature is designed to be a deep, dark mystery that we are all just supposed to robotically accept and then get on with it. But, it is interesting to note that the subject is still an ongoing debate, even between men of great knowledge of Hebrew and Greek culture and language. Many times I am approached by great theological, scholarly wanna be's that have dogmatically figured out the whole issue, but are simply not being heard. In the midst of their new found revelation, which the great minds of the world have yet to discover, they have concluded that it is now their responsibility to warn the world of the latent wickedness that lies in the possibility that God could become a man. So in the interest of not being ambiguous or ambivalant, I will state as clear as I can my position, for what it is worth. I believe that the infinite, omnipresent God of Israel, while remaining omnipresent, took upon the flesh of men and dwelt among us; that Yahshua was and is the unique human manifestation of God; that He is as much God as God could be having taken upon flesh. Listen carefully. I believe that Yahshua is not the fullness of the Godhead, but the fullness the Godhead BODILY! (Colossians 2:9). This is what the scriptures say. I choose to be content with that and not try to reformulate that into some kind of creed. YHVH, by nature, is not flesh. He is not a servant nor a man. God had to TAKE UPON flesh to dwell among us. I do not support the 'Jesus only' theory. This theory teaches that God became a man, that Yahshua was that man, and that God was Yahshua and Yahshua was God. It is this teaching that creates the logical 'how can ...?' questions. If God was Yahshua then was Yahshua praying to Himself in the garden? This is a logical question if you conceive of God as being restricted to the Messiah in that Garden. There was a purpose for Yahshua praying to the Father. I believe that there are at least two reasons for God becoming a man. One reason was to be our kinsman redeemer and sacrifice on that stake, or tree. We will deal with this in more detail later. The other reason, which is just as important, was to be our living, breathing example of being a son of God (hence the titles of Father and Son) and how a son of God lives and behaves. Praying to the Father is just one of those living examples of righteousness. It is simply inconceivable to me, given what we do know about our Father, that He would say to the world, "I love the world so much, I love each and every one of you so so much that I will ... uh, let's see ... uh, o yeah, I will send this guy over here to come and die for you. Okay buddy, you're next! All right, enough sarcasm.
It seems that all or most of the scriptures in the Tenakh that are contextually addressing this subject, can many times be interpreted in more than one way. In other words, many times it seems that this verse or that verse COULD be implying one view or another. So it is with this understanding that I submit my views, knowing that the evidence could be interpreted another way. As I stated in the beginning, I wish to show why and what I believe leads me to my conclusions before dealing with the 'prooftexts' of the other views. The question I submit to you is this: Is YHVH trying to reveal to His creation that He will send a savior, prophet and redeemer that is just a sinless man, or will He Himself actually be that savior, prophet and redeemer? So I begin by stating that it is my contention that God took upon the flesh of men to be our example of righteousness because He and He alone is the ONLY entity in existence that can be righteous.
I would like to address this issue at first, as if there is no Brit Chadashah as yet. God begins His words to us by introducing Himself as 'Elohiym and Creator. We are clearly told, and agreed by all, that this Creator is one. It is revealed to us, remember D'varim 29:29, that YHVH created and made all things by His word and by His Spirit.
"By the Word of YHVH were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth."
"Let them praise the name of YHVH; for He commanded, and they were created."
"Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created; and thou renewest the face of the earth."
It is YHVH who created, it is His word, and it is His Spirit. So far we can see that our awesome God is certainly capable of doing all this. No one argues that these are three separate characters, all taking credit for the creation. In the beginning we are given a clear picture of one God. There should be no debate on this truth. The purpose of this revelation, especially in Torah, is twofold. One purpose introduces us to His fundamental essence. He is uniquely the Creator, Father, or source of all that exists, and sustainer of all creation. This oneness, with respect to essence, describes 'how many' true Creators, Fathers and sustainers there are. All other gods, objects of worship or obeisance, are in essence not God at all, for there is only one. His attribute of oneness is not a description or term used to 'prove' what God can or will not do, but rather a term used to express 'how many' true Gods there are. The other reason is to separate Himself from all the false gods and deities of the surrounding nations of Israel. When His Spirit speaks, creates, leads or occupies, it is uniquely HIS Spirit, for there is only one God. One might ask: "if the Spirit of God is God, then why don't the scriptures just say God, why even use the term 'Spirit of'?" I hope that question is answered by the time this series is finished. Are we to conclude that because the scriptures are clear that God created the earth and heavens 'alone' and 'by myself' (Yesha'yahu 44:24) that the Spirit and Word are separate characters? I ask if it is possible that His Spirit and His Word are indeed God Himself?
Here is where the reaction will begin. Those who approach this discussion having been previously convinced that God did not take upon flesh, are already devising their own interpretation of this relationship between God, the Spirit of God, and His Word. Here is where I want to stop and ask, "Could these statements be proclaiming that the Spirit of God IS God and that the Word of God IS God?" Is that a possible interpretation? I am still attempting to establish some mutual, fundamental understanding. I am grasping for an agreement that states that even if one does not believe that the Word of God is God, is it possible for that to be a plausible conclusion? Here is another one.
"The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto ME; unto him ye shall hearken; 16 According to all that thou desiredst of YHVH thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of YHVH my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. 17 And YHVH said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. 18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto THEE, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him."
In the midst of this long conversation between YHVH and Mosheh, YHVH informs Mosheh in verse 15 that He is going to raise up a prophet in the midst of Mosheh's own brethren like unto Him, i.e. YHVH. In verse 18 however, we are told that YHVH will raise up among Mosheh's brethren a prophet like unto Mosheh. Now I am quite aware of the other way or ways that this is interpreted by those who do not see Yahshua as God in the flesh. But once again, I ask that we consider balance and fair logic. In the midst of interpreting these verses as meaning that 'God is not trying to suggest that this prophet will be God Himself'. Is it possible that God COULD be saying that this prophet will be ME, i.e. God, manifested as one like Mosheh? Is that a possible interpretation? If one cannot see this as a reasonable interpretation then this verse and many like it are only understood and received with respect to preconceived notions and ecclesiatical spin, which makes all attempts to seriously discuss the subject as futile at best. I am not asking if one agrees with this interpretation, but only that they consent to the possibility.
It is this writer's opinion that God has a third reason for making it very clear that there is only ONE God. There are several other words that are also uniquely descriptive of the ONE God. God is the SAVIOR of mankind and the ROCK of our salvation.
Sh'mu'el Bet 22:3
"The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence."
"For YHVH is our judge, YHVH is our lawgiver, YHVH is our king; he will save us."
"Yet I am YHVH thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me."
"For I am YHVH thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee."
"He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he."
Sh'mu'el Bet 22:2
"And he said, YHVH is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;"
I would ask what a reasonable, thinking person that has no knowledge of a New Testament would conclude about WHO the true Savior and Rock is? I ask for serious, reasonable consideration of a person having read the Old Testament and understood that there is only one God and that God is multidimensional, and infinitely beyond our imagination and capabilities. A person that has read, over and over, these attributes, and has clearly seen that there is only one Savior and one Rock of salvation. This same person now reads the New Testament and finds someone else claiming to be the deliverer and Savior of mankind, and someone else proclaimed to be 'that Rock' which followed Israel through the wilderness. What conclusions could that person come to, having yet to be inundated with a multitude of doctrinal opinions and theology? There are several. He could conclude that he misunderstood God's nature and power in the previous 'book' and the author of that book is a liar. He could conclude that this 'other' entity making these claims is a liar. He could conclude that this person is dillusional at best and has seriously overrated himself. He could conclude that, technically, God is not the only Savior and Rock of salvation, and that God simply meant that salvation only COMES from Him, and that God sent some other sinless, righteous entity to save the world. OR is it possible that a reasonable thinking person could conclude that this AWESOME, INFINITE, OMNIPRESENT God he read about in the 'other' book, became a man Himself, and therefore there is not 2 Saviors or 2 Rocks, and there is still but one God perfectly capable of becoming a man and yet remaining His AWESOME, INFINITE and OMNIPRESENT SELF. I only ask if that is a totally unreasonable and blasphemous conclusion or a possibility? Instead of dashing to the scriptures to slam dunk me, please just simply consider whether God becoming a man is a possible scenario. I can see clearly that this is MY burden of proof, and not the other side. I must prove that He was the Word of God manifest in the flesh. For you see, no one can PROVE that He wasn't God become a man. How do you prove something didn't happen? How do you prove God didn't take upon flesh and dwell among us? So, the burden is on those of us who do make this claim.
I have a lot more to say and discuss concerning this subject. We will go through a good deal of scripture, but I do not like to get too much clutter in all at once. So hang in there. I'll be back! (- must be said with a Governor of California accent.)
Posted: Jul 29 2009, 12:46 PM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 30-December 08
As I enter part 5 of this look at Messiah's deity, it is everything I can muster to keep going. If it were not for the fact that I feel we can always experience some growth along the way, I would have dropped this issue awhile back. There is so much more to learn and understand about how we are to live and affect this world we live in, that I feel somewhat stalled taking on this task. As you have probably already picked up on, I try not to tackle this issue the same way it has been addressed in the past. One side introduces it's premise followed by a hundred scriptures to back them up. Then the other side tears down the first sides premise, followed by a hundred scriptures that are supposed to back up their interpretation. Meanwhile, as Rav Sha'ul might say it, our culture goes to hades in a handbag! From the Christian point of view that does not matter because our whole focus is on the Messiah coming back to rescue us all from this temporal existence anyway. I would like to continue, at least for a while, my own way of approaching this unending debate.
I would like to continue discussing particular revelations from God that were revealed before the Brit Chadashah was written, for I believe that the Brit Chadashah is perfectly consistent with the disclosures about YHVH in the Tenakh. I believe that the two covenants are like male and female. They are not complete without each other. In the absence of knowledge of the Tenakh, the Brit Chadashah is perverted and turned into a new religion. When the New Testament is studied and read in light of the old, it reveals the fullness of God's message to us. This is also true of our understanding of the message of the Old Testament. It, too, comes to life and purpose when seen in light of the interpretation of it from the one who wrote it, the Messiah. For example, the restrictions and sanctions of the sabbath contained in the Tenakh are brought to life when filtered through Yahshua's statement that the sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath. My opinion is that all of the statements made about the essence or nature of God in both testaments are in perfect harmony with a view of God that I have previously proposed. The understanding of God that I have presented does not contradict or violate any of the so-called prooftext scriptures that are presented by both sides of this subject. I am and have been in perfect peace about who the Messiah really is. I am now prepared to receive the proverbial "Well, good for you, but what about this ...?"
"Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. 2 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. 3 And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. 4 And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD. 5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."
This section begins with a warning to shepherds that are not shepherding. We are told that YHVH will scatter them and visit upon them the evil of their doings. We are told that He will also regather the remnant of His flock from all the countries they were scattered. He will bring them again into their folds where they will increase. He will set up shepherds over them and feed them and they shall fear no more. We are then told prophetically that there will come a day when He shall raise a righteous Branch, a King that shall reign and prosper. This Branch and King shall execute judgment and justice. In the days of this Branch, Judah shall be saved and Israel shall dwell safely and the name of this Branch and King shall be called YHVH Tzideqenu. Now if someone seriously studying the Old Testament came upon this verse, what do you think they might conclude? Would it be absurd to surmise that perhaps the YHVH mentioned in this series of verses is the LORD our righteousness? Is the infinite and unlimited God of the universe capable of taking upon flesh, dwelling upon the earth as our kinsman redeemer, rescuing His remnant and yet still maintaining His natural essence as spirit? Is that beyond His abilities? If you fully, in advance, intended to send a spotless agent or representive to accomplish all these things for you, and this Branch was not REALLY you in any way, shape or form, would you make a statement such as this? Now I am fully aware that there are many scriptures in which the grammar and substance seems to equally present two differenct entities. But all this proves my point!
All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among them hath declared these things? The LORD hath loved him: he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall be on the Chaldeans. 15 I, even I, have spoken; yea, I have called him: I have brought him, and he shall make his way prosperous. 16 Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me. 17 Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.
Let's try to walk through this logically. It is Yesha'yahu's book, so let's assume that he is narrating. Yesha'yahu tells us to assemble ourselves and hear. But then he says, 'which among them hath declared these things'. Who is them? Is this Yesha'yahu speaking? Then this narrator says that YHVH hath loved him. Who is him? In verse 15 who is it that shall make his way prosperous. Verse 16 seems to clearly be YHVH speaking, but then who or what is His Spirit (3rd person singular), and who is the 'me' that was sent? Is this proof of the doctrine of the trinity? I suppose that depends on your doctrine of the trinity. I believe that it is the teaching of this doctrine that causes part of the problem. If this same person we started with read this passage, would he or she conclude that God was triune? I think not. I think they would conclude what I have been saying all along. They may be saying to themselves, "Man, our God is an infinite, awesome, and multidimensional God, to say the very least."
In attempting to describe God once again in human, finite terms, let me attempt to illustrate using dimensions. Suppose I went to a drawing board and drew a straight line across the board. Suppose I place a little man on that one dimensional line. Because that man is limited to only that dimension, his world is limited to wherever he wants to go on that line. Now suppose I drew another line that went across and up on the board, and placed a little man on those two lines. That man's world would be limited to those two lines. He would possess the ability to go into a dimension that the first man could not conceive of, but yet the second man could also operate in the first man's dimension. Now suppose I drew those same two lines up, down and across, and then extended a string outward from the board, forming a third dimension. Once again, we place the little man on those three lines. That man's world was extended to all three dimensions. His world would contain height and depth that the first man could not even conceive of, and a depth that the second man could not define or exist in. However the third man had perfect access to the existence that the 1st and 2nd man had. Even though this is just another finite attempt to describe what God can do, I think we all could agree that YHVH exists in other dimensions we do not exist in, yet He can exist in ours. Moses Ben Maimonides pondered this in his commentary on the first chapter of B'reshith. From the information that Maimonides gleaned from the very first verse he concluded that God exists in 10 dimensions, four of which we can conceive and six which only He can conceive and exist in.
"The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of YHVH, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5 And the glory of YHVH shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of YHVH hath spoken it."
Once again I ask, without prior knowledge of anything written in the Brit Chadashah, who would you conclude this 'voice in the wilderness' is preparing the way for? And if someone presented you following texts, what would you think?
"In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Yesha'yahu, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of YHVH, make his paths straight."
"The beginning of the gospel of Yahshua the Messiah, the Son of God; 2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of YHVH, make his paths straight."
"As it is written in the book of the words of Yesha'yahu the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of YHVH, make his paths straight. 5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; 6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God."
"There was a man sent from God, whose name was Yochanan. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light."
Perhaps you might see that clearly the YHVH these verses refer to is a 'spirit', and here is a man. So you might reject such a claim. Perhaps the Jewish leaders of Yahshua's time only rejected His claim to Messiahship. Or perhaps they rejected a similar claim made by most of the world's religions and dismissed any claims to be God in the flesh. You must choose. Once again, this person might conclude that this Yahshua is a liar and has delusions of grandeur. Or is it possible that he or she might deduce that the infinite, unlimited God presented in the Old Testament was perfectly capable of becoming a man, and yet remaining as God, thereby presenting no contradictions? There are not two Gods and neither is the one true God's nature or essence being violated or contradicted. The prominant two sides of this issue both present a troubling conclusion. If Yahshua is not God, then any worship, adoration or exalting of Him is idolatry. However, if the prophecies of the Messiah are speaking of God Himself, then to reject God manifested in the flesh is to reject God. Both scenarios scare the peedoodles out of anyone concerned about scriptural truth. Once again, I close with this thought. If you were God, and you intended to take upon flesh and dwell among us to be a living example of righteousness and holiness, would you not do and say all those things that would effectively exemplify that example? In other words, if only an eternal sacrifice can provide eternal life, and 'spirit' cannot die, then would you not have to take upon something that can die? If your intention for mankind was to grow up and wax strong in the spirit, would you not have to come in the flesh, be born of a woman, and grow and wax strong in the spirit? If you intended for man to pray to you in this way, "Our Father, who art in heaven ...", would you not set the example by praying, "Our Father, who art in heaven ...?" What is so hard about this?
In this humble writer's opinion, the issue of the deity of the Messiah is one of the few doctrines that Christians have right and also the first one they violate with the rest of their doctrines. For me, the glue that holds the Hebrew roots movement together is the restoration of the truth that our Creator is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This movement is an updated reminder that Yahshua as the Word of God, wrote all 613 commandments, and that it is because He IS the manifestation of the one true God, that we His people stay faithful to His sabbaths, feasts and Torah. Period.
Posted: Jul 29 2009, 12:46 PM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 30-December 08
I thought perhaps it might be a prudent idea to introduce this next teaching with a few very up front comments that may be a matter of semantics to some. I have found that many times it is the terminology and phraseology we use that causes some of our differences. Language is the principle symbol of the thoughts and intents of the heart. How we define words and phrases can cause division and misunderstanding. I feel that some of the misunderstanding in the 'deity' issue stems from carrying traditional, 'trinitarian' doctrines into the equation. Let me state clearly that I do not teach the 'God is three persons' doctrine. I do not hold to the Christian teaching of the 'trinity'. Let me be more succinct. I do believe that the FATHER (you know who I mean) is God, the Holy Spirit is God, and the Son is God in the flesh. I believe that the Son of God is the manifestation of God in the flesh. The God I worship is perfectly capable of such a simple and logical feat. God is not limited to three of anything, much less three persons. I have stated very emphatically that I believe there is a technical and somewhat semantical difference between the statement that Yahshua IS God, and the statement that Yahshua is God in the flesh. When most of my fellow brethren make the statement that Yahshua IS God, I know what they mean. But, technically, I take issue with the literalness of the statement. The essence of YHVH is spirit.
"God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."
We are all familiar with that verse. Messiah helped define for us what 'spirit' is, one chapter earlier in Yochanan. He tells us that 'spirit' is like the wind, 'thou canst hear the sound of it, but canst not tell from where it cometh.' Without going into boring technical detail, most of us already have a human grasp of the fact that the nature and essence of God is invisible, untouchable, and all three 'omnis'. So let's move past that. The nature of God had to make Himself of no reputation, take upon the form of a servant, and be made in the likeness of man (Philippians 2:7). Why did God have to do these things? Because God, by nature, HAS a reputation, is NOT a servant, and is NOT in the likeness of man. To be our eternal sacrifice and living example, He had to manifest Himself as these things. According to Yochanan 17:5, it seems that the infinite God had to leave behind His glory in order to become a man. What does that mean? I have not a clue. It is just one of those things that tells me that God as a man, is not ALL that God is. Something about the nature of the eternal God had to be different in order to take upon flesh. The nature of God is that He is omnipresent. God as a man (Yahshua) was not omnipresent. An invisible, omnipresent entity cannot be a scriptural sacrifice nor our living example of righteousness. As I mentioned before, Paul tells us specifically that Yahshua was the fullness of God BODILY and not the fullness of God. Why did Rav Sha'ul state it that way? Could it be because there is a difference between the omnipresent God and God taking upon flesh and dwelling among us. Keep in mind that this omnipresent God remained omnipresent while still dwelling upon the earth.
Some might ask, "Well, how can that be?" What do you mean how can that be? We are dealing with an incorruptible God here and not an image like unto corruptible man. Plainly spoken, if what I am saying is true, then God is not sharing His glory with another, and there is no idol worship here, and all the statements made by the gospel writers are in complete harmony with the prophecies of the Tenakh. We are told in Yesha'yahu 42:8 that YHVH will not give His glory to another.
"I am YHVH, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to carved images."
The context here demonstrates what I believe to be a basic, fundamental statement about idol worship and other gods. I believe that the scriptures are revealing the plea of our Creator to worship Him alone, to obey Him alone, and that He, in reality, is the only true God, and that all other so-called gods are really no gods at all. I do not believe that the statements made concerning the worshipping of other gods, taking His name in vain, or idol worship, were meant to be used as grammatical weapons for disecting the nature of the one true God. None of us have cornered the market on the precise and detailed, meticulous anatomy of the God of Israel. I believe the same is true concerning the Messiah as well. Do you believe that the first 12 disciples of Messiah are and were in the kingdom? Do you know for a fact whether all 12 of them had the Messiah's nature pinned down to a gnat's derriere? Do you believe that any of them are in hades because they failed to nail down perfectly some aspect of His nature?
I remember distinctly stating that before this treatise ended I wanted to deal with some of the most quoted New Testament verses that cause confusion. These are verses that are often sent to me.
"And Yahshua, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
A logical conclusion, from a human point of view under the sun, would be that there are three different entities here. How could Yahshua be the Father if He is the Son? How could Yahshua be God if Yahshua is standing there while God is speaking from heaven? Once again I ask, can God manifest Himself as a man and yet still remain God, yes or no? It is true that limited, finite humans are not capable of performing such a feat. In our three dimensional, finite world a father cannot be his son, and so because of this finite reality the conclusion by many is that the Son cannot possibly be God in the flesh. So there. But if the term Son of God is simply a title used to express the relationship that our living example has with the infinite, eternal source, (the Father) then this is certainly within the abilities of an all present Creator. The purpose of the terms Father and Son are to express one of the pertinent reasons for God becoming man. God reaches out to man using human, physical terms to help us to understand eternal, spiritual realities. There are dozens of familial relationships and analogies that can be reaped from viewing a righteous demonstration here on earth of a love between a father and a son. To conclude from this 'similitude' (Hoshea 12:10) that God and the Messiah REALLY are a literal father and son in the same way that we are is stretching the similitude way beyond it's limits. God uses many anthropomorphisms to express His incomprehensible self to ignorant man. God protects us under the shadow of His wings. Now there are many things to be learned and understood by studying the way a majestic, mother bird treats her young, especially when danger lurks. This does not mean that we are to conclude that God is a Peregrine falcon or an affectionate hen.
"The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,"
Once again we are supposed to naturally conclude that the King makes a marriage for His son and not Himself. The king, we are told, is not the son, therefore, Yahshua cannot be God in the flesh. I still call upon the same background to understand the anatomy of this parable. First of all, the purpose of this parable is to teach us about our responsiblities right now as members of the kingdom and the ramifications of disobedience in the future. This parable is not told to teach us about the differences between a king and his son. Like many teachings of the Messiah, God does not call or demand that we be God, but He does call His people to take upon His name, His thoughts, and His ways. He accomplishes this by becoming the very example He DOES expect us to be: The Son. After all, if ALL sin and fall short of the glory of God, who else could come and save us and remain sinless. Personally, I believe exactly what the scriptures teach. There is only one who can save us from our sins, only one who could be a spotless sacrifice, and only one who can forgive sins. There is only one I AM, only one Holy One of Israel, and only one Redeemer. Now, are there other saviors and redeemers in the scriptures? Yes, there are, but there is only ONE Savior and Redeemer from sin and damnation. (One of the arguments against God being the ONLY Savior is that the word 'savior' is used of humans as well, i.e B'reshith 47:25, M'lakhim Bet 13:5). As I go through several more scriptures, I would like you to keep something in mind. If God took upon flesh and dwelt among us to be our living, eternal sacrifice and example, then I would expect there to be distinctions between the one who was sent and the one who sent Him. I do not believe that God came to earth just to show off. His purpose was to show His people what obeying Torah means. What better example of obeying Torah than the one who WROTE Torah! Especially to those who had strayed away from His laws and covenants and began manufacturing their own.
"But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Yahshua standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God."
The argument here is similar to dozens of other so-called prooftexts. "See! There are two people here." (No, actually there are 4 - Stephen, Holy Spirit, God, and Yahshua. We will deal with the Spirit later.) The position is that the Son of Man (Messiah) is STANDING on the right hand of God, so how could Yahshua be God? Well, first of all I never said Yahshua was God, I have stated repeatedly that Yahshua is God in the flesh. Here is another example of taking the incorruptible God and making Him unto an image like unto corruptible man. The nature of God is that He is spirit and omnipresent, so how could ANYBODY be standing next to something that is everywhere at once? Obviously, anyone with even a hint of gray matter can see that this vision of Stephen is much more than seeing two people hanging out at the throne. It seems some have a perception of God the Father as one guy and Yahshua as another guy. I suppose, since the text mentions that the Holy Spirit was there, that these people would envision a trio somewhat like Peter, Paul and Mary. Without the Holy Spirit, these people must conclude that this vision looked somewhat like the Smothers Brothers. I know that I am being overly sarcastic here, but come on people, Yahshua isn't standing next to another 'person' in this vision. This is simply a typical King James way of expressing the Messiah in the midst of the presence, glory, and power of an omnipresent, unseen God (i.e., right hand of God). The only 'person' Stephen saw was the Messiah.
The idea of the expression of the one true God in different terms at the same time is all over both Covenants. We express the same thing in the English language, so this way of speaking is not specific to Hebrew. When the leader of our country is introduced, he most often is announced as, "... ladies and gentlemen, introducing the Commander in Chief, and the President of this great country, George W. Bush." Paul uses the same way of speaking in some of his salutations.
1 Corinthians 1:3
"Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from Adonai Yahshua the Messiah."
"Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from Adonai Yahshua the Messiah.".
1 Timothy 1:2
"Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Yahshua the Messiah our Adonai."
One of the most oft quoted prooftexts from both sides of this issue is found in Philippians 2:6-11:
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Messiah Yahshua: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Yahshua 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 Yahshua the Messiah is Adonai, to the glory of God the Father."
I have previously dealt with much of this text. I would like to take this verse a little further. The subject of this verse is the Messiah Yahshua. Paul did not write these verses off the top of his head, but rather he was quoting from the prophet Yesha'yahu.
"Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. 21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. 22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. 23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. 24 Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. 25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory."
Once again we are reminded that there are those who pray to gods that cannot save. There are lords many and gods many, as Paul states in 1 Corinthians 8:5. There is, however, only one God who can save, for there is only ONE SAVIOR from sin and only ONE GOD in whom we find our righteousness. This true God will not give His glory to another. As I stated before, idolatry and worshipping a false god is to serve, follow, and give glory to a god OTHER than the one true God. Once again, the one true God reminds us of this reality. The one true, infinite, unlimited God is a just God and a Savior. We look only to Him to be saved for there is none else. Only IN YHVH (vs 24-25) can there be righteousness and justification. Now, according to Rav Sha'ul, at the name (shem - authority) of whom will every knee bow and every tongue confess? Has God given His glory to another or is Yahshua simply God manifest in the flesh, therefore making YHVH's statements in Yesha'yahu inviolate? Once again I ask, is this an absurd conclusion to make, or is our infinite, limitless God perfectly capable of becoming a man without violating His word?
It is my contention that virtually all the attributes, titles, and characteristics ascribed to God are also given to Messiah. Is that because the Messiah is acting as God's agent and representative, or could it be because they are one and the same. I am going to focus the next teaching on these attributes and why I believe the deliverer of mankind HAD to be God or there could be no deliverer. As you might have already noticed, I do not approach these kinds of subjects the same way most others do. I could have dealt with this issue with a myriad of verses and prooftexts that seemed to support the deity of Messiah. These would have been answered by a myriad of verses that seemed to support the teaching that Yahshua was not God in the flesh. These would have been answered by a few more prooftexts, which in turn would have spawned another group of prooftexts from the other side of the issue. And on and on and on. The result would have been something like a debate on television between a Republican and a Democrat. How many times have you seen one side convince the other of anything? I am not trying to convince anyone of the deity of Messiah Yahshua. I am attempting to address some incredible, hyperbolic statements on this issue made by some brethren. Statements such as "there is not one thread of evidence that Yahshua is God in the flesh", or the idea that "God became a man" is utter nonsense. I would remind all of us that one can only output what one has inputted. It is still an amazing human phenomenon that two people can read the same English words to the 1st amendment of the constitution, and come to two different conclusions. This issue is no different. All of us, I said ALL of us, drag our preconceived biases and presuppositions into every text. It is a fact of life. If you already contend that Yahshua was not God in the flesh, but simply an agent of God, then you will summarize Philippians 2 much differently than I.
I would like to close with this thought. I been asked in the past, "If Yahshua was God in the flesh, why didn't He just say so?" Interesting thought. I would ask the same question. If God had no intention of taking upon the likeness of men and dwelling among us, why didn't He just say so. The fact that both sides of this issue ask that question is part of the evidence of what I have been saying all along. Let me ask another question. If God knows the end from the beginning, and He knows exactly when He will return, why didn't He just say so? Why the parables, the idioms, the similitudes and the double entendres? Hmmmm.
Posted: Jul 29 2009, 12:47 PM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 30-December 08
I have elected to end this frustrating series of teaching with a view of the Creator taken from a young Jewish man living at the time of Messiah having only heard His claims and having only read the Tenakh, what would I conclude about those claims. If I was taught, all my life, that the God of Israel was my only Savior and redeemer from sins, what would I think of this man's claims.
Before I finish this last part let me deal with one aspect of this debate that is very similar to political strategies used today. One of the initial knee-jerk reactions of the use of scripture in this dispute is to eliminate whole portions of text (particularly New Testament texts) by claiming that they are mistranslated or not in the original texts. This is usually done when a problem text is cited by the opposition. The easy way out is to quote a reliable source that presents evidence that the quoted text has been inserted by later Christian redactors or editors, rendering the verse as a scam at worst and unreliable at best. This is a well used political strategy as well. It is also used by lawyers. The idea is that once an eyewitness is found, the object is to discredit the eyewitness by finding something omninous about their past. So, instead of truthfully dealing with the presented evidence a diversion is implemented to throw the focus off. With respect to our discussion, a clever way to move on to YOUR evidence and to ignore the other side's evidence is to claim that the cited verse is not in the original text. This immediatedly places a nervous panic into the opposition. Oh no! Not in the original text! What is not revealed in this strategy is that what they really mean is that this or that verse is not in some of the extant Latin and Greek manuscripts. There are over 23,000 extant manuscripts in a variety of languages dominated by Latin and Greek. It is true that there are a few handfuls of verses that are not found in some of the older texts. It takes very versed Hebrew, Latin, and Greek scholars to ultimately determine what verse can conclusively be considered an 'addition' to the inspired text and what is not. To use the Bible as our source of determining truth and at the same time edit out unexplainable texts by claiming they are really not part of the Bible is poor scholarship. I have always chosen to reap truth from the scriptures by dealing with the available texts rather than responding with a big pair of literary scissors.
Now, back to God. As I read through the foundational text of the Old Testament I am presented with many descriptions and attributes of the one who created me. I find that there is only one true God and Creator. I am confronted with more than a dozen places that very clearly point to one true source of life.
"And YHVH 'Elohiym formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."
"Thus saith YHVH, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am YHVH that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;"
"But YHVH is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting King: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.
Clearly I would understand and conclude that there are false gods and false deities to be worshipped by man, but that there is only one true God and only one Creator of all that there is. God is Creator. I would then be presented with words from 'another' testament from a man that claimed that he was the Creator of all things in heaven and in earth.
"Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist."
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men."
"Yahshua said unto her, I AM the resurrection and the life; he that believes in me, thought he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Believe thou this? (notice He did not say that He came to resurrect, to teach resurrection or to represent resurrection.)
Here is where my confusion would certainly begin. I just spent most of my life learning from the scriptures, and even the ancient sages, that God is one; He is the source of life, the Creator of things. Now I am presented with a claim from a man that HE is the creator of all things and that life is in him. Immediately I would logically come to at least two conclusions. This man is a liar or this man is a madman. It would have also been abundantly clear to me by simply reading the text that God is the only Savior of mankind. I could see that the conditions of man were constantly changing but man's lost condition remained constant. Man needed to be delivered from his circumstances. He needed a Savior. I would also see that this one God of creation is my Rock on which I stand and that He alone is the rock of my salvation.
"I, even I, am YHVH; and beside me there is no saviour ... Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."
"Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from Him cometh my salvation. He ONLY is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.
Yochanan 4:42, Philippians 3:20
"And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Messiah, the Saviour of the world ... For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, Adonay Yahshua the Messiah"
1 Corinthians 10:4
"And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Messiah."
Now once again, I would be thrown into utter confusion. I would probably tell these people that they are following a lunatic and to turn away from this person as quickly as they can. I would tell them that there is only one God, one Creator, one Rock and Savior of mankind. The list would go on and on. These people would insist that this Messiah claimed the unique title of 'eheyeh (I Am) more than once and also confessed to being the Aleph and the Tav, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Well, that would surely be enough right there. I could stand to hear no more. Certainly when this so-called Messiah claimed to forgive sins and accept worship that would be enough to scream BLASPHEMY! The very least I would do would be to proclaim what my fellow Jewish brethren replied so many centuries ago.
"When Yahshua saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?
Just like a lawyer in a courtroom, I would quickly pick up on the fact that this Yahshua did not deny this accusation, and neither did he, like a good observant brother would do, correct the brethren in their false accusation. On and on these claims would be made. He is our Judge, He raises the dead, He shared His glory with God, He is our light, the Creator of angels, He is addressed in prayer, confessed as THE ADONAY, our Bridegroom and Shepherd. This Messiah claims to be all the things that I understood only God possessed and WAS by nature. There is one alternative I had not considered. If the infinite, eternal, unlimited, omnipresent God that I had learned about in the Old Testament was capable of fulfilling all that He said He would do by taking upon flesh and becoming a man, then the third alternative was that this man was exactly what He claimed to be.
This would answer so many questions. Eternal life would have to come from that which is eternal, and only God is eternal. But that which is eternal, invisible, non-tangible and spirit cannot be a sacrifice. For my sacrifice had to be a kinsman and had to die. Spirit cannot die, only flesh can die. Oh, now I get it. Hey, God is pretty smart, He is like a celestial McGyver. He knew man's dilemma long before the foundations of the earth, so He told us His plan in advance. Yes! God calls those things that are not, as if they were (Romans 4:17). Glory to His precious name. There are no contradictions in scripture. I am not worshipping an idol, but rather the God of creation in the flesh, just like His word says. When God said He would one day stand on the Mount of Olives, He really meant He is going to stand on the Mount of Olives. When YHVH said that He was the first and the last HE really meant that only HE is the first and the last. When He said He would be our King, that is what He really meant.
"But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King ... Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass."
I go to sleep every night in perfect rest and peace, knowing who my redeemer is. As long as one side of this equation is the awesome God and omnipresent Creator of all that there is, I will continue to bathe in serenity. The bottom line to this whole debate should always rest on our obedience to our heavenly Father. Yahshua was in perfect oneness and harmony with God because He followed Him with all His heart, soul, mind and strength. I am determined to do the same. I am going to suggest that no one has precisely 'creedized' the essence and nature of YHVH. It is my opinion that even the disciples of our Adonay could not successfully write a 25,000 word dissertation on the subject. There are many in this Messianic movement who are expressing much doubt, concern and ambivalence concerning this subject. There is nothing wrong with continuing to search this matter until you are at peace with it. I am very concerned about many remarks that are being made concerning Yahshua's relationship with YHVH. Be careful what you say, for you will have to give an account for every word that comes out of your mouths. I feel that there are many who, in their zeal to gain the trust and friendship of those who are of the house of Judah, are rejecting virtually all of the teaching of the house of Israel. Remember that BOTH are blind and deaf and dumb. God must still be worshipped in spirit and in truth. We must not become sports fans and spend most of our time defending our teams. My prayer and deepest consideration is for absolute truth to prevail with the least amount of collateral damage as we all seek that truth. I would like to close with a short comment that I have submitted previous to this discussion. In the midst of much time and study committed to this subject I would like to ask how many people were rescued from utter destruction, how many naked were clothed, how many hungry were fed, and how many widows and orphans were visited?