This chapter is dedicated to those from a Jewish background who have been taught that Yeshua could not be Israel's Messiah. The Jewish community's objections to Yeshua being the Messiah are significant and need to be addressed. In the previous chapters, I have effectively rendered void the supposed authority of Paul as an apostle, his anti-Law doctrines, and the Christian church he founded. No Christian institution has ever been God's official representative to the world. From his birth to his ascension, Yeshua was Jewish. He practiced, endorsed, and taught that all should likewise observed the Law of Moses. We have even seen that the first Messianic believers of Jerusalem, whose numbers reached the tens of thousands, were all Jewish and Law abiding. Before Paul came along, none of them had heard the notion that Yeshua had abolished the Law even though many of them had heard the Lord teach. But in spite of these things, Jews are not instantly going to embrace Yeshua as their Messiah. There are still a number of issues concerning who Yeshua is that need to be addressed.
I must state for the record here again, that I do not believe it is necessary for a Jew to believe that Yeshua is the Messiah for him or her to have eternal life. The fact that Christianity promotes this bigoted view is one of a number of reasons why Jews typically won't even consider the possibility of Yeshua's Messiahship. What Yeshua desired for us to understand about believing in his name is that his name denotes the concept that YHWH saves those who do what is right in His eyes. Yeshua's name is the combining of God's name YHWH, and the Hebrew word shua, which means saves. Virtually all religious Jews believe that YHWH will save them if they love Him and strive to live in a manner that is pleasing to Him. I have no doubts that all Jews who have lived in this manner and gone before have passed on to eternal life.
Having said this, a person might wonder why bother arguing for Yeshua's Messiahship! It is because the Jew can certainly benefit from embracing his Messiah now, and also because the question of Yeshua's Messiahship and his right to rule the world, will be put before the whole world. I believe the time is coming when we will see the sign of Yeshua's coming to forcefully take control and begin the Messianic age that was spoken of by God through the prophets. At that time, the world in general will not want anything to do with a forceful takeover by a being who intends to do away with democracy and establish world rule as a dictatorial monarch. Yeshua will be portrayed by the world political powers and media, as an alien religious terrorist, a proverbial Darth Vader and Osama Binladen rolled into one whom the world must unite against to defeat. I fully realize how these statements may appear to some. There is currently a crack-pot religious fanatic ruling over the country of Iran who believes he must set the world on fire to usher in a messiah-type figure who will establish world rule for Islam. The fundamental difference for those of us who believe Yeshua will return to rule, is that we don't have to take matters into our own hands. Time will certainly tell the truth concerning this prediction. So for now, I only ask that the Jewish person at least consider the following arguments and keep them in the back of their mind for future reference... when these things begin to come to pass.
Yeshua will establish the Law
Of course many Christians believe Yeshua will return, and, they naturally believe he will establish world rule for Christianity. You can find this teaching nearly anywhere in the culture of the Christian west. Just turn on the TV and watch a few late night televangelists!. But to the great dismay of many Christians, when Yeshua returns and sets up the Kingdom of God on earth, there won't be a trace of Christianity left! Yeshua will establish the purest form of the Jewish faith... the observance of the unadulterated Law of God. This the prophets have clearly portrayed of the Messianic age many times. Space would prohibit me from quoting them all, but here are a few highlights.
Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. Isaiah 2:2-4
Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah--- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will put My Law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Jeremiah 31:31-33
"For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them, Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God." Ezekiel 36:24-28
"I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them---My servant David, He shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them, I, the Lord, have spoken." Ezekiel 34:23-24
"David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them, Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children's children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. The nations also will know that I , the Lord, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore." Ezekiel 37:24-28
"Then it shall be the prince's part to give burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the New Moons, the Sabbaths, and at all the appointed seasons of the house of Israel, He shall prepare the sin offering, the grain offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings to make atonement for the house of Israel." Ezekiel 45:17
None of these prophecies have been fulfilled, and all of them speak of the time when Yeshua, the son (prince) of David, becomes the one shepherd, king, and priest of Israel. At that time, much to the shock of Christians who believe they have been delivered from the "curse of the Law" God's Law will be established! Every Christian should read Galatians 3:10-13 right after reading the above prophecies and take notice of the contrast between what God has spoken through His prophets, and what Paul taught.
Messiah must be descendant of David
The Jews know that the Messiah must be a descendant of David. Here are a few more prophecies from the Hebrew Scriptures that indicate this.
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse (David's father), and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,... His delight is in the fear of the Lord, and he shall not judge by the sight of his eyes, nor decide by the hearing of his ears; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his loins, and faithfulness the belt of his waist.
...For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek him and his resting place shall be glorious. Excerpts from Isaiah 11
In mercy the throne will be established; and one will sit on it in truth, in the tabernacle of David, Judging and seeking justice and hastening righteousness. Isaiah 16:5
"Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord, "That I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah: In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David a Branch of righteousness; he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: 'YHWH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.' " For thus says the Lord: "David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; nor shall the priests, the Levites, lack a man to offer burnt offerings before Me, to kindle grain offerings, and to sacrifice continually." Jeremiah 33:14-18
“My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David; His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me; It shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky.” Psalm 89:34-37
“For the children of
Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return, seek the Lord their God and David their king, and fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days. Hosea 3:4-5
Here we see that the Messiah must be a descendant of David... the genealogy issue will be dealt with in a moment. Here are some quotes from the New Testament where it is recorded that Yeshua is in fact a descendant of David.
"And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Yeshua. He will be great, and will be called the son of the highest; and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." Luke 1:31-33
"I, Yeshua, have sent my angel to testify to you these things in the gatherings. I am the root and the offspring (branch) of David, the bright and morning star." Revelation 22:16
There are at least another nine times
where it is recorded in the gospels that Yeshua was directly called "son of
David" by others. Calling someone the son of David was the equivalent of calling
him the Messiah.
Before dealing with the apparent problems with Yeshua's genealogical records as found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, something needs to be said about the absolute need for the Messiah to have genealogical record of his Davidic ancestry.
That the Messiah must be a descendant of David is not in dispute by Jews. Jews still believe that he will be a descendant of David. But all the genealogical records of the children of Israel were lost forever when Rome destroyed Jerusalem in the first century. So the problem now is, how is Israel going to be able to know that a person who claims to be Messiah is a true descendant of David? Jews today get around this question with a pragmatic answer. They argue that if the person who claims to be the Messiah delivers Israel and fulfills the prophecies concerning the Messiah, then he must be the Messiah and therefore a descendant of David... whether we have his genealogical records or not. To a certain degree, this rationale should work assuming the person first fulfilled all the prophecies concerning the Messiah . But as one can easily see, there is an inherent risk in this approach. Before any Messiah wannabe can prove himself by fulfilling all the prophecies, a false one could potentially lead many, if not the entire nation, down a path of destruction. A Jew need only look at history to the second revolt and uprising against Rome in the early part of the second century where a would-be Messiah by the name of Bar-Kokhba, led the revolt that brought total destruction to Jerusalem and the nation of Israel. This happened in spite of the fact that he had the endorsement of being Israel's Messiah by the prominent Jewish Rabbi Akiba, and the fact that he had nearly half a million Jews following him. The one thing Bar-Kokhba did not have was record of being a descendant of David.
In the near future, something very similar will happen to Israel that will again demonstrate the absolute need for a potential Messiah to document his Davidic ancestry. But by the time the mistake is realized it will be too late again. In the ongoing struggle between Israel and the Arab nations, it will come to a point where one person will finally step forward with an answer to the problem and offer a deal to secure the nation of Israel and settle the final status issue of Jerusalem. He will do so by offering Israel the right to build a temple. Because of this, many Jews will believe this person is Israel's Messiah in spite of the fact he won't have any documented genealogical credentials as son of David. The deal will go sour, and Israel will find itself in the most dire straits it has ever been in. She will be tied inextricably to the very antithesis of her Messiah. That is when Israel as a nation will fully understand the need for documentation of her Messiah's genealogical credentials.
One is also compelled to ask the question, if there is no way that we can see at least some type of genealogical record of the Messiah linking him to David, why would God bother telling Israel that the Messiah would be David's descendant in the first place? Does not God tell man something like this for the very purpose that when He finally brings it to pass, He is vindicated as having kept His word? It is obvious from what God has said through the prophets that He always desires to openly vindicate what He has said He will do.
The fact that there is only one person who can produce records
of his Davidic ancestry, along with the fact that these records are in print in
the multiple millions all over the world today, should gain the attention and
consideration of Jews who look for their Messiah.
Perceived problems with the records
There are two records of Yeshua's lineage through Joseph recorded in the Gospels. They are found in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38. But they are very different from each other. This fact has led those who would argue against Yeshua's Messiahship to claim that the records are fabricated. If one desires to be truly objective on this issue, there is a perfectly plausible, if not beautiful explanation for the differing genealogies.
There are a number of good reasons to believe that the genealogical records differ due to the reason that Matthew recorded a list of Joseph's ancestors, while Luke records the genealogy of Mary's ancestors through her father Heli. In Luke's record, it says that "Joseph was the son of Heli, who was the son of...." and so on. The entire genealogy works from Joseph back in time all the way to Adam, while Matthew's account begins with Abraham and works forward, stating that each father "begot" the next. If in Luke's account, Heli is actually Joseph's father in law, it could be said that Joseph was Heli's son, in that he was a son-in-law, but it could not be said that Heli "begot" Joseph. This referring to a son-in-law as a son is not without Scriptural precedence. King Saul referred to his son-in-law David as "my son David". (See 1Samuel 24:16) It was necessary, that if Joseph was not the physical father of Yeshua, that someone demonstrate Yeshua's physical bloodlines were still Davidic through his mother. This is where Luke's record delivers in showing Mary's genealogy through her father Heli. Through her fathers, she also was a descendant of David.
Here is another interesting part of the puzzle. Joseph's ancestry, as recorded in Matthew, is unquestionably that of the kingly descendants of David through Solomon and on, so that Yeshua was in line as heir to the throne as the adopted eldest son of Joseph, born to him after he wed Mary, but before having any physical relations with her. But there is a problem with this lineage. One of Joseph's fathers, Jeconiah, was so evil in God's eyes that God pronounced a curse on his physical descendants saying that no son of Jeconiah would ever sit on the throne of David. See Jeremiah 22:24-30. Since Yeshua was adopted by Joseph, he had no physical blood of Jeconiah in him. And as a physical descendant of David through his mother and grandfather Heli, Yeshua fulfills all the prophecies concerning the Messiah's being a physical descendant of David. If we had only Matthew's record, Yeshua would be rejected as Messiah on the grounds that as a descendant of Jeconiah he could not be the Messiah. And if we had only Luke's record, Yeshua could be rejected as the Messiah on the grounds that the lineage recorded is not of the line of kings. In giving us both records God has shown that both problems are solved in Yeshua. He is both the physical descendant of David and heir to the throne without any blood of Jeconiah in him.
This is far from being the end of the
story concerning the significance of Yeshua's ancestry. There is another very
important aspect concerning his bloodlines and certain prophecies concerning the
Messiah that need to be shown. This important aspect was brought out in chapter 12, concerning the book of
Hebrews, but it must be reiterated here again.
King and priest in one
There are numerous prophecies concerning the Messiah that indicate he will not only be a king sitting on the throne of David as David's son, but he will also be a priest, being both king and priest together in one. But it is required in the Law of Moses that the priests be descendants of Aaron. David was of the tribe of Judah, but Aaron and the priests were of the tribe of Levi. In Jeremiah, it is clear that that the Messiah who brings both offices together in one person is a descendant of both Judah through David and Levi through Aaron.
A King, who is also a Priest, has never
And here are some of God’s promises to the Levitical priesthood.
“And you shall gird them with sashes, Aaron and his sons, and put the hats on them. The priesthood shall be theirs for a perpetual statute, So you shall consecrate Aaron and his sons.” Exodus 29:9
“You shall put the holy garments on Aaron, and anoint him and sanctify him, that he may minister to Me as priest. And you shall bring his sons and clothe them with tunics. You shall anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may minister to Me as priests; for their anointing shall surely be and everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.” Exodus 40:13-15
Then the Lord spoke
to Moses, saying; “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest,
has turned back My wrath from the children of
God promised the Messiah would be both king and priest like Melchizedek in Psalm 110:4. God also spoke through other prophets on numerous occasions that He would indeed bring both offices into one in the Messiah.
“Behold, the days
are coming”, says the Lord, “that I will perform that good thing which I
have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah; In those days
and at that time I will cause to grow up to David a Branch of
righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In
“Behold, the man whose name is the BRANCH! From his place he shall branch out, and he shall build the temple of the Lord; Yes, he shall build the temple of the Lord. He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on his throne; So he shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” (both offices) Zechariah 6:12-13
“Then it shall be
the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, grain offerings, and
drink offerings, at the feasts, the New Moons, the Sabbaths, and at all the
appointed seasons of the house of Israel. He shall prepare the sin offering, the
grain offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings to make atonement
for the house of
God had said the
Levites had and “everlasting” priesthood. The only way God could
fulfill these promises He made to David and the Levites is if the Messiah was
from both tribes. Yeshua just so happens to be descendant of both
David and Levi!
Yeshua, descendant of both David and Levi
In the book of Luke it is recorded that Yeshua’s mother Mary was a “cousin” (KJV) to
In Leviticus, God commanded that Levite men
were to marry only Levite women. (Leviticus 21:1,13-14, 22:12-13) Levite
women on the other hand were permitted to marry outside the tribe. We know that
Mary’s father Heli was a descendant of David of the tribe of
There is also another likelihood that makes
this even better. Since God
commanded the Levite men to marry only Levite women, it stands to reason the
genetic markers He recognizes as the Levitical priestly markers are passed down by
the mothers making the tribe matrilineal. These markers would be located
in what science today calls the mitochondria DNA. The genetic markers of the
other tribes were passed down by the fathers from the Y chromosome. It is also
a well established fact of science that the father’s genetic markers and the mother’s genetic
markers do not compete with each other during the process of recombination,
so neither of them is diluted by the other. This would mean that Mary, and
subsequently Yeshua, carried all the genetic markers of both
tribes! It stands to reason that
God intended for Levi’s genetic markers to be matrilineal for the very
purpose of being able to bring all of
Yeshua's Supposed Divinity, Preexistence, and Virgin Birth.
The above argument precipitates even more objections in the mind of many Jews because the picture of a virgin conception by itself appears to substantiate certain Christian Trinitarian doctrines. The most repulsive of these doctrines to Jews is the teaching that Yeshua is equal to... if not YHWH, God the Father Himself. On this point I agree with the Jews. There is no three-in-one God, or trinity as Christianity demands. It is purely a man-made doctrine. This statement alone brands me a heretic in the eyes of all of Christianity, but hey, I was there already over Paul! Yeshua is not YHWH, nor is he equal to Him. Where it appears Yeshua made this claim, he has been completely misunderstood... again. These misunderstandings will be addressed in a moment. Yeshua said many things that clearly indicate he is not God the Father.
On the issue of preexistence, there are those who have seen these errors
of Christian doctrine and have likewise come to understand that Yeshua is not God the Father.
But then they have reasoned it logically flows that the idea of preexistence
must go... and with that, the idea of a virgin conception as well. This does not
have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. There is an excellent working model where all relevant Scriptures
are satisfied beautifully. The picture of Yeshua's
preexistence and conception in the womb of a virgin work together in
that his preexistence explains why he needed no earthly father to be
conceived! But it does not flow that this picture demands Yeshua be God
the Father Himself. Among those who argue vehemently against the picture of Yeshua's
preexistence and virgin birth, many have been honest enough to admit that they
do so for the sole purpose of eradicating any notion of a trinity and any
picture of Yeshua being YHWH. This approach may have the desired effect, but it
is dishonest, and a bit like executing all suspects in a murder crime to make sure
you get the one guilty person! As will be seen, it is not at all unscriptural for
Yeshua to have preexisted and been born of a virgin without him being YHWH.
First, the concept of "virgin" needs to be better understood. The term "virgin" means "un-entered". It is not possible for a woman to conceive without being entered. In the gospel records, Mary was a virgin in the sense that she was un-entered by a man before she was entered by the Holy Spirit and conceived Yeshua. And she remained un-entered by her husband until after Yeshua's birth.
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. ... Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid , Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Yeshua. ... Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that holy one who is to be born will be called the son of God. Luke 1:26,27,30,31,34,35
Now the birth of Yeshua the Messiah was as follows: After his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. ... But while he thought about these things, behold, and angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. ... Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till (after) she had brought forth her firstborn son. And he called his name Yeshua. Matthew 1:18,20,24
The Catholic church has taken things way too far concerning Mary's virginity, teaching that Mary remained a perpetual virgin her entire life. Because the church has held out for this teaching, when it is obvious from the gospels that she did not remain a virgin, the Catholic church has lost much credibility among Jews and many protestant Christians. After Yeshua's birth, Mary and Joseph had other children born to them who were known as Yeshua's brothers and sisters (see Mark 6:3), though biologically, they would have been half brothers and sisters. They only had a common mother. Of these brothers was James who later became the leader of the first church in Jerusalem and authored the book of James.
Now let's look again at the record of Yeshua's virgin birth and the concept of virgin birth in general. In the gospel of Matthew, the author regularly attempted to demonstrate how Messianic prophecies were fulfilled by events in Yeshua's life. These connections the author made are interjected personal commentary, they are not the words of Yeshua. For the author to try to make these connections in the narrative is not wrong, but if his personal commentary was in error in any way, the result is disastrous for those who hold out for all-or-nothing infallibility of the gospels. The regrettable fact is that the first three times the author attempted to make a connection between an event in Yeshua's life and a supposed Messianic prophecy, he made some serious blunders. The first of these has to do with the "virgin birth" and his reference to Isaiah 7:14. Christians hear this passage quoted every Christmas.
Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us". Matthew 1:22,23
Most Jews know that if you go back and look at Isaiah 7:14, the Hebrew word that has been translated "virgin" has nothing to do with the picture of virginity but is regularly used in reference to a young married woman! And If a person takes a little time and reads the passage in its entire context, (Isaiah 7:10- 8:10) it becomes painfully obvious that the young woman spoken of in this passage is Isaiah's wife! This passage simply is not a Messianic prophecy in any way! Jews have typically taken this fact and run with it claiming it to be proof that Yeshua was not born of a virgin. But this does not prove that Yeshua had a physical earthly father. It only proves that the author of Matthew made a bad connection and is capable of doing so. The author of Matthew would have been better off leaving it at what the angel of the Lord had said to Joseph. His testimony is far more reliable!
But while he thought about these things, behold, and angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit." Matthew 1:20
With Luke also giving clear record apart from personal commentary that Mary had no relations with a man until after Yeshua was born, we have enough to establish that Mary was not impregnated by a human being. There is no good reason to reject the record of these witnesses. We only have reason to reject Matthew's personal commentary.
It should also be noted that the idea of a
spirit impregnating a human woman is not a foreign picture in the Hebrew
angels of God, both good and evil, were often referred to as "the sons of God".
See Job 1:6 and 2:1. In Genesis 6:1-4 it tells of a time when these "sons of
God" took wives of daughters of the sons of men who bore them children who were
To further establish that Yeshua had no physical earthly father we need to examine his claims of preexistence. For if he existed before he was conceived in Mary's womb, it logically flows that he had no need of an earthly father to create a new spirit being. Most Jews and Christians have little trouble accepting the picture of angels and other created beings existing with God before this creation. It would be an exercise of naive arrogance to think that this creation was the first thing God ever did! God obviously wasn't alone when He said, "Let us create..." So on what grounds shouldn't a Jew consider the possibility of Yeshua having been there as well... or even being known as a "son of God"?
Let's look at some of Yeshua's claims to have existed before creation. It is hard to read the gospels without getting the clear impression that Yeshua believed he existed before he was born. Over and over again, especially in the Gospel of John, he claims to have been "sent". All of which implies that he must have had an understanding with God before arriving here. This one verse from John sums them all up.
"For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me." John 6:38
Here is another passage in which Yeshua claimed to have existed before his birth.
"Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad." Then the Jews said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?" Yeshua said to them, "Most assuredly I say to you, I existed before Abraham was!" John 8:56-58
With few exceptions, most Bible translations render this passage as, "...before Abraham was, I AM". In this version, Christianity finds flimsy evidence that Yeshua claimed to be God by calling himself "I AM". This deduction is itself based on the faulty Christian and Jewish assumption that one of God's names is "I AM". It is derived from Exodus 3:14, and is again a misunderstanding of what God had said to Moses. God never said His name was "I AM", and it cannot be found that He ever called Himself by that name anywhere else in the Bible. This issue is too large to argue here. The complete argument can be found in appendix under, Is "I Am" one of God's names? Yeshua never claimed the title of God by saying "I am" anywhere in the gospels. A number of Greek scholars have had the courage to state that even the sentence structure of the Greek text indicates that Yeshua did not claim any title like "I am". All he said was that he existed before Abraham. In saying this much, it was still enough to get the religious leaders angry. So here again, Yeshua claimed to have existed before his birth.
Here is another passage concerning Yeshua's preexistence.
While the Pharisees were gathered together, Yeshua asked them, saying, "What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?" They said to him, "The son of David." He said to them, "How then does David in the Spirit call him 'lord' (adoni) saying: 'YHWH said to my lord (adoni), "Sit at My right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool"'? "If David then calls him 'lord', how is he his son?" Matthew 22:41-45
Yeshua was quoting from Psalm 110, and Matthew then goes on to record that the Pharisees couldn't answer him. The only possible answer to Yeshua's question is that David knew the Messiah was already in existence and would have to be incarnated in one of his descendants some time in the future. Yeshua later said he was both "the (preexistent) root, and the offspring of David." (Revelation 22:16) But the Pharisees couldn't afford to acknowledge the obvious in Psalm 110. Today, Judaism tries to get around this passage by saying it was not written by David, but written concerning him by others. So where it says, "YHWH said to my lord...", they say we should understand "lord" to be referring to David. But this Psalm is obviously not speaking about David. The Psalm goes on to say that this person referred to as "lord" was a priest, "forever"! David was never a priest.
Your people shall be volunteers in the day of your power; In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, you have the dew of your youth. YHWH has sworn and will not relent, "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." Psalm 110:3,4
There was no Levitical blood in David. But the Messiah would be both king and priest forever. David was the author of this Psalm, and he was speaking of the Messiah. He did so in a manner that clearly indicated the Messiah existed in his time, and the Jews of Yeshua's time couldn't answer him on it.
Then there is this prophecy from the Book of Micah that the Messiah would come out of Bethlehem, the city of David, and it clearly states that he existed before creation. Up until the time of Yeshua, Jewish teachers knew this was also a Messianic prophecy. It is only after the beginning of the Christian era and what the church has made of this passage that Judaism has attempted to distance it from a Messianic interpretation altogether.
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the one to be ruler in Israel , whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting*. Therefore he shall give them up, until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; then the remnant of his brethren shall return to the children of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of YHWH, in the majesty of the name YHWH his God; And they shall abide, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; And this one shall be peace." Micah 5:2-5
It should be self-evident that this is a Messianic prophecy and that the Messiah has existed "from of old". Also note, that the Messiah is obviously not YHWH Himself, but that YHWH is the Messiah's God! Jews have this right, Christians don't. Christianity typically stops quoting Micah at the word "everlasting", and uses it as proof that Yeshua is God Himself, and/or that he is part of a triune Godhead, because only God is from "everlasting" past. If we just keep reading a little further we run headlong into the fact that Messiah is not even equal to YHWH in that YHWH is his God, and that Messiah looks up to YHWH. But what is not obvious is that this Hebrew word translated "everlasting" has been tweaked by Christian translators. The Hebrew word is "olam" (Strong's 5769). It does not carry the picture of infinite time past. It is used of time that is unrecorded as in concealed, veiled, or uncertain. It is used of an uncertain or unspecific time before God created the world. In the following passage from Proverbs the same word olam is translated "everlasting", but we are given a very clear understanding of its meaning. Wisdom speaks and says;
"I have been established from everlasting, from the beginning, before there was ever an earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no fountains abounding with water, before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I was brought forth; while as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, or the primeval dust of the world." Proverbs 8:23-26
This beautiful proverb continues and wisdom speaks of being "beside" God as a "master craftsman" when God created the world. But in the part quoted above, the word "everlasting" is used of the time wisdom has existed. Wisdom said it was created, or "brought forth", and at a time before this creation. Wisdom does not claim to have existed for infinite time past. This word 'olam' should be understood the same way in Micah 5:2-5 where God says the Messiah's existence was "from of old, from before creation." But no matter how one deals with the word "everlasting", it cannot be avoided that God clearly said the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem and that he preexisted his birth there... "from of old".
Here is another passage where Yeshua spoke of existing before creation. And along with noticing Yeshua's existence before creation, please notice his relationship to YHWH in that Yeshua is obviously not YHWH.
"And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Yeshua the Messiah whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth, I have finished the work which You have given me to do. And now, O Father, glorify me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was." John 17:3-5
There is one more quick passage I would like to mention. Both Jews and Christians who believe in the existence of the Devil, or Satan, believe he fell from heaven sometime before this creation. This only makes sense seeing Satan was there in the garden of Eden ready to tempt Eve. At one point in the gospel story, Yeshua's disciples were all excited about witnessing how demons had become subject to them. Yeshua replied that it was really nothing compared to what he had witnessed!
Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name." Then he said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." Luke 10:18
Yeshua must have been there if he saw it happen! And one more question begs to be answered. Why should a Jew allow for the Devil's preexistence of this creation and not allow at least as much for his Messiah?
The point to be established in this section is that
Yeshua's preexistence and subsequent virgin birth in no way establishes that he
is God the Father. And the attempt to do away with the concept of Yeshua's preexistence
and virgin birth for the purpose of proving he is not God, is dishonest
Was Yeshua God in the flesh?
One of the greatest aversions in the Jew's mind to Yeshua being the Messiah, is the Christian demand that he is God. I stress again, Yeshua's preexistence and lack of an earthly father do not demand that he be YHWH Himself. But, even though I do not believe in the Christian concept of the trinity any longer, it is an unavoidable observation that Yeshua was referred to as "God" on a number of occasions... especially in the Gospel of John. The Jewish aversion to these references stems from the fundamental belief in one God as derived from Deuteronomy 6:4 where it says, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!" Based on this passage, Judaism believes that there is no more than one God. This belief is as inextricably part of the Jewish doctrinal soul as is the Catholic belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary! The fervor with which Jews believe this is born of an intense desire to not repeat the sins of their fathers. Israel was exiled once before because of the worship of many gods. In the mind of the Jews who have relatively recently reclaimed the land of Israel a second time, with enemies on every side, now is certainly not the time to start worshipping "other gods". This is perfectly understandable, yet as justly motivated as this stronghold of Judaism is, it is based on a misunderstanding of what YHWH had commanded. Indeed, there is no one higher than YHWH, but there are many other beings whom He has created that He Himself has been known to call gods! Every one of them is obviously a lesser god to Him. God has even been known to call man a god!
I said, "You are gods (literally "elohim"), and all you are children of the Most High." Psalm 82:6
In another Messianic Psalm, the Messiah himself is called god.
"Your throne, O god (elohim) is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore god (elohim), your God has anointed you with the oil of gladness more than your companions." Psalm 45:6-7
Again, Jews typically try to distance this passage from any Messianic implications. And again, they say this is speaking of David. But even if we give this to them, it is obvious that someone other YHWH is being called elohim here! This by itself throws a monkey wrench into the workings of Jewish doctrine demanding exclusively only one God.
We need to look a little closer at the Hebrew word translated "one" in Deuteronomy 6:4 where it says, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!" The Hebrew word is echad, and its predominant meaning is "number one" as in the first, or cardinal of any number of others. It virtually never means, exclusive! Would it not be wise to assume that when Moses begins using the word echad in Genesis that he has set a precedent for understanding the word for us? The first three times it is used, it is obviously as the first of numerous others. In Genesis 1:5, "echad" is used in reference to the "first" of seven days. In Genesis 2:11, "echad" is used in reference to the "first" of three rivers. In Genesis 2:21, "echad" is used in reference to "one" of Adam's many ribs. So when Moses tells Israel that YHWH is echad, he means that YHWH is the first, or number one, or "Most High" God. It should be self-evident that the title "Most High" itself implies that there must be others of lower status. Being that God has even called other beings "gods", this understanding is the only way all Scripture is present and accounted for. For man to lessen the greatness of God's creative abilities by refusing to acknowledge a very high creation of His that even He refers to as "god" is an insult to Him.
Moses again paints this same picture in the following;
"For YHWH your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe." Deuteronomy 10:17
In the ten commandments where YHWH commanded that we are to have no other gods "before" Him, it does not mean there are no other gods. Quite the contrary is true. It implies that there are other gods. What YHWH means is that we are not to place any other authority (god) above Him. We are not to obey another being to the disobedience of Him. But if YHWH lifts someone to honor and sets them in authority over us, should we not also honor that person whom He has placed in authority over us? Would not Moses and David be a good example of this. The children of Israel were expected to honor the King of Israel as well as others. How much more should the Messiah, the promised son of David, be honored and even considered a god... albeit a lesser god to his God the Most High, YHWH?
Yeshua also claimed to be the son of God. As we have seen from Psalm 82:6 as quoted above, YHWH even calls men gods because they are His "children". To a certain extent, Scripture indicates that each of us can claim the title of god, and son or daughter of God! Yeshua as much as said, "so what's the big deal about me claiming to be the son of God?" when he quoted the same Psalm to the religious leaders after they got all bent out of shape over the same issue.
Yeshua answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I said, You are gods'? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the son of God'?" John 10:34-36
Being a son of God does not make one equal
to the Father. This rationale by the religious leaders in John 5:18 was leveled
as an accusation so they could find some grounds on which do away with Yeshua. Though being a son of God who came from heaven is not the same as being
YHWH, it still made Yeshua much greater than the religious leaders, and many of them
were threatened by it.
Another popular passage that is regularly used in an attempt to refute the picture that there are other gods as well as other saviors is the following;
"And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed. Nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am YHWH, and besides Me there is no savior." Isaiah 43:10,11
Notice, there is something inherently wrong with this picture. If God is using the words "before" and "after" in reference to Himself, it would appear that He is saying He had a beginning and will have an end! I don't know anyone who wants to go down that road. When we look at the Hebrew words that were translated "before" and "after" (Strong's 6440, and 310 respectively) we find out that they have little to nothing to do with when in time. They are words that indicate physical location. The word translated "before" literally means, at the same level in front of. Conversely then, the word translated "after" must be rendered in its primary meaning, at the same level behind. What God is saying is that when He looks around, He sees no other god His equal or on His level. That is why He alone is the Most High of all gods. All others, no matter how high they are, are still below and under Him.
It would also appear that God has said He is the only savior in an exclusive sense. There are a couple of things here to address as well. First of all, again, the Hebrew word translated "besides", would be better rendered in its primary meaning "without". (Strong's 1107) In the context of the entire chapter, it is evident that God is saying it is hopeless for Israel without Him. Secondly, when a Christian hears the word "savior", he immediately pictures being saved from hell after death. Again, in the full context of Isaiah 43, it is evident that God is describing Himself as the deliverer of Israel in the present world. It is certainly true that without God there is no savior. But this could just as easily mean that He is the creator of all other saviors, just as He is the creator of all other gods. Even the angels of the Most High are employed to deliver or "save" from trouble. The entirety of Psalm 91 describes this picture of YHWH's salvation, and verse 11 speaks of the angels who execute God's salvation! If He hadn't created them, we wouldn't have them working for us. Therefore, without Him, there would be no "saviors", all of whom, including Yeshua, are His loyal subjects.
There are a few other passages in Isaiah
where it appears God claims to be exclusively the only God. The
question is, how can God both say that there are other gods, even calling
men "gods", while at the same time indicate that He is exclusively the only
one? We can't have it both ways. One of the two pictures has got to go. In each and every reference
in Isaiah, there is plenty of room in the Hebrew language for understanding that
God is claiming there is no other god like Him, or His equal.
There is one other Messianic prophecy that must be addressed, one that Christianity has run away with as proof of Yeshua being YHWH God the Father.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty-god, Everlasting-father, Prince of peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. Isaiah 9:6,7
I purposefully rendered "god" and "father" without the classic capital letters to better understand the truth of what is being said here. I have already dealt with the lesser-god, and lesser-savior issue. The very same is true here again. The Messiah will be called a "mighty" god. The Hebrew does not use the same words here as it does when it calls YHWH "Almighty God". Messiah will be a "mighty" god, second only to YHWH, but he is not the ALL-Mighty One of Israel... YHWH. It is the "Everlasting father" part of this passage that Christianity has really run away with. In the text, it does not say Messiah is "The" Everlasting father, as definitively speaking of YHWH. Without the definitive article "the", Hebrew assumes the indefinite. Instead it should be understood that Messiah will be "an" everlasting father. Yes, much to Christianity's shock, when Yeshua returns, he will marry and have children! This too is prophesied! In the following Messianic prophecy concerning the suffering servant, God speaks of Messiah seeing his descendants.
Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; He has put him to grief. When You make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed (children), He shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Isaiah 53:10
In Ezekiel chapters 40-48 are prophecies concerning the Messianic age to come which have obviously not been fulfilled. In these passages is mentioned the King ("prince"--and son of David) who is also a Priest, the Messiah, and the Laws concerning him and his office. In Ezekiel 46:16-18, God gives the laws concerning the land inheritance of the Messiah's "sons"!
And in the fuller context of Psalm 45, the Messianic Psalm mentioned above, are these excerpts.
My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King. ..."Your throne ,O elohim (god) is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore elohim (god), your Elohim (God) has anointed you with the oil of gladness more than your companions. ...King's daughters are among your honorable women; At your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir. Listen, O daughter, consider and incline your ear; Forget your own people also, and your father's house; So the king will greatly desire your beauty; Because he is your Lord, worship him. ...The royal daughter is all glorious within the palace; Her clothing is woven with gold. She shall be brought to the King in robes of many colors; The virgins, her companions who follow her, shall be brought to you. With gladness and rejoicing they shall be brought; They shall enter the King's palace. Instead of your fathers shall be your sons, whom you shall make princes in all the earth. I will make your name to be remembered in all generations; Therefore the people shall praise you forever and ever."
Yes, Yeshua will return and be
an everlasting father! The bride he chooses to marry then should not be
confused with his bride referred to in Revelation as The New Jerusalem.
One is a physical bride, and one is a spiritual bride. Those of us who have our
names in the Lamb's Book of Life are to be part of his spiritual bride as
discussed in chapter 2. One might ask why Yeshua should have two brides. But
this ignores the fact that we ourselves are permitted to be part of two types of
marriages. We marry and have children here on earth and hope to be part of Yeshua's bride later. If we can have and do both, why not
speaking as God the Father
There were a number of times when Yeshua spoke of being "one" with the Father, and even on occasion spoke as God in the first person. Again, Christianity has run away with these passages as proof that Yeshua was YHWH Himself. I will get to some of the more classic quotes in a moment, but the key to understanding all of them is in understanding what it means to be "one" with another spirit being. On occasion, we can actually learn something about a Godly phenomenon by observing the Devil's perverted version of it. God made man able to be inhabited by another spirit being with the intention of inhabiting man Himself by His Holy Spirit. The Devil's perverted version of this is demon possession. Here is an account of this type of phenomenon recorded in Mark as well as Luke.
And when he (Yeshua) had come out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. But when he saw Yeshua from afar, he ran and worshipped him. And he cried out with a loud voice and said, "What have I to do with you, Yeshua, son of the Most High God? I implore you by God that you do not torment me." For he said to him, "Come out of the man, unclean spirit!" Then he asked him, "What is your name?" and he answered, saying, "My name is Legion; for we are many." Mark 5:2-9
This is an example of how a spirit can become so "one" with a person that it becomes difficult to tell them apart. Now when this man was speaking to Yeshua, who are we hearing? The man, or the demons? Obviously it's the demons. A short while later it says that the Man was clothed and in his right mind. We know better than to assume that the man himself was the demon, right? They were different beings and separable from the man. So likewise, when Yeshua spoke in a manner that sounded like he was God, we are hearing God speak through him. Yeshua was the perfect example of what God had intended for man by possessing him with His Spirit. Many of the prophets spoke this same way as they were filled with the Holy Spirit of God, but no one goes so far as to assume they were YHWH Himself! For example, in Psalm 91 David wrote a beautiful song about God's deliverance from trouble. But then in the last 3 verses, God Himself speaks in the first person through David.
"Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation." Psalm 91:14-16
Should we conclude from this that David was God Himself? Of course not! Here is what David had to say about it himself.
Thus says David the son of Jesse; Thus says the man raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel; " The Spirit of YHWH spoke by me and His word was on my tongue." 2Samuel 23:1,2
Yeshua described this same phenomenon.
"But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you." Matthew 10:19,20
Now, in light of what we have just learned, how should we view the following words of Yeshua?
Yeshua answered and said to him, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do you not know these things? Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?" John 3:10-12
Can you hear God's Spirit coming through and speaking in the plural with Yeshua? Here is another classic.
Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us." Yeshua said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and you have not known Me Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; so how can you say, "Show us the Father'? John 14:8,9
In the emboldened words we should be hearing the Spirit of God the Father coming through... even overpowering Yeshua's identity. We are certainly observing multiple personalities here... but in the good way... the way God intended it to be. Yeshua and the Father were "one" in the sense that they were together and united, and the Holy Spirit of God the Father resided in Yeshua and spoke through him. But there still remained two separate identities. In no way was Yeshua the man claiming to be God the Father. What we should hear is the Father's voice coming through Yeshua the same way we hear God's voice in some of the Psalms.
Yeshua indicated YHWH was his God.
The instances where Yeshua appeared to sound like he was God the Father Himself are relatively few. But one cannot read the gospels or the book of Revelation without getting the picture over and over again that Yeshua looked up to God as his Father, and did not consider himself equal to Him. There are a number of times where he outright said so, even calling God his God. Here are a few examples.
"You have heard me say to you, 'I am going away and coming back to you,' If you loved me, you would rejoice because I said, 'I am going to the Father,' for my Father is greater than I." John 14:28
Yeshua said to her, "Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.'" John 20:17
And at the ninth hour Yeshua cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" Mark 15:34
"He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, And I will write on him my new name." Revelation 3:12
And from Revelation, John himself reaffirms that YHWH is Yeshua's God.
...and from Yeshua the Messiah, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth, To him who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us a kingdom of priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Revelation 1:5,6
There is also in the book of Revelation these interesting words of Yeshua concerning himself.
"And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, 'These things says the amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God:" Revelation 3:14
Yeshua's own testimony concerning himself appears to indicate that he had a beginning in that he was the first of God's creations. But however one wants to interpret this, it is evident that Yeshua is in some way, the creation of YHWH, and therefore not YHWH Himself.
* * *
End of part one.
Part two next Chapter
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