Torah Verses The God-Man
By Shlomo Phillips © 07.18.2013
- Did Jesus Believe Himself To Be God?
Its a simple question and an important one.
Most Christians (whether Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Church of the East, Anglican, Protestant, non-denominational, Messianic, Two-House or what have you) believe that Jesus is God incarnate (i.e. God in the flesh). They worship him as though he were a god in violation of Torah and the New Testament. By standard definition this make their 'Jesus' a god. If (since) he is not HaShem this makes him a 'god in opposition to the One True God' who refuses to share His glory with anyone:Isaiah 42:8 I am the Lord, that is My Name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to the graven images.I'm not saying this to condemn Christians, only to point out how vitally important this question is. If (since) he is not God but people worship him as God, there are some grim biblical implications to consider.
Additionally, the vast majority of Christians from all denominations believe that Jesus is part of a Trinity (or triune Godhead of Father, Son and Holy Ghost or Spirit).
For most this "triune Godhead" is believed to be "one God in three persons," coequal and co-eternal Even they will generally acknowledge this is illogical and yet they demand it must be "accepted as an act of faith" if one wishes to attain personal salvation. This view claims that Jesus was simultaneously "fully God and fully human." It makes no sense however this is the claim of the Nicene Creed, a foundational Christian document.
Others believe that Jesus alone is God and that the imagery of "God the Father" and "God the Holy Spirit" are merely 'aspects' of Jesus, the one true God (this is the belief of the United Pentecostal Church and others and is usually referred to as Oneness theology).
Still other Christians believe there are literally three coequal and co-eternal Gods (this is the belief of the Seventh Day Adventists and others). These three Gods are all to be directly worshiped according to this blatantly polytheistic view.
Mormons teach, "As man now is God once was, as God now is man will become," which so anti-Torah as to be mind boggling!
A small percentage of "the Church" understands the Pagan nature of deifying a human being and so rejects the whole idea. Among these are Jehovah's Christian Witnesses and others.
For the vast majority of Christians however, the belief in the deity of Jesus and the 'Holy Trinity' is a required dogmas for spiritual salvation. This is an important topic.
In other studies here at AllFaith.com we look at the Pagan origins of the Christian religion. For now we ask the simple question: According to the New Testament did Jesus believe himself to be God? Let's take a look!Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.A son can not be not his own father. The Greek word Mormons teach, "As man now is God once was, as God now is man will become" (which so anti-Torah as to be mind boggling!). means a literal 'son.' In no sense does it imply that one is ones own father. In many places Jesus refers to himself as a 'son of God' or others call him that. In no place does he ever proclaim or even imply personal divinity.
How about the 'proof texts'?
Here's one of the sections often cited as evidence that Jesus believed himself to be God:John 10:30 I and my Father are one.Aha! They say, See! He was claiming to be God and the rabbis knew it!
10:31 Then the Judeans took up stones again to stone him.
10:32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
10:33 The Judeans answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
But keep reading!10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?When we look at what he was actually saying he was not claiming to be God nor did they think he was. They accused him of claiming to wield the authority of God as a tzadik (a righteous man). We use similar figures of speech from time to time:
10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
10:36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the son [uihos] of God?US Presidential debate of 1988:Did Senator Bentsen think Vice President Quayle was claiming to be Jack Kennedy incarnate? Of course not. The rabbis were making a similar distinction. They were saying, in effect, 'We know tzadikim who serve HaShem, they are friends of ours, you are not doing it correctly!' There were various, largely political, reasons for their rejection of him that we wont go into here, but these are clear from the texts.
Vice President Dan Quayle: ...What kind of qualifications do I have... I have as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency..."
Senator Bentsen: Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy. (Prolonged shouts and applause.)...
Unlike Dan Quayle Jesus was prepared to respond to the accusation. In his response Jesus cited Psalm 82, a text that makes clear both the authority and activities of a true tzadik (righteous person):Psalm 82:1 A Psalm of Asaph. God [ELOHIM] stands in the congregation of the gods [EL]; he judgeth among the gods [ELOHIM].
82:2 'How long will you judge unjustly, and respect the persons of the wicked? Selah
82:3 Judge the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute.
82:4 Rescue the poor and needy; deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.
82:5 They know not, neither do they understand; they go about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are moved.
82:6 I said: You are godlike beings [ELOHIM], and all of you sons of the Most High [ELYON].
82:7 Nevertheless ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.'
82:8 Arise, O God [ELOHIM], judge the earth; for You will possess all nations.
With this reference he was showing that those who serve HaShem are deemed to be 'gods' [elohim] because they operate under the authority of Torah (i.e. they have made aliyah or 'risen up' to Torah), and yet, he said, I don't even call myself that! I'm just the son of such a person. To take this humble and yet pious comment as a claim of divinity is to completely ignore its context.
It is clear when the context is followed that he never claimed divinity. He was a humble, Torah observant Jew who sought to encourage certain reforms within his religion.
Jesus refers to HaShem as "my God and Father" and as "our God and Father" in verses such as the following:John 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
Jesus here directly says that his followers are his brothers and sisters and that as fellow Jews they all worship the One God. The author of the book to the Hebrews affirms that Jesus accepted his followers as his brothers:Hebrews 2:11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.And again:John 8:54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:This was his consistent teaching. For example:Matthew 6:9, After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name...He says "Our father" not "your father." He does not say to "Pray to the part of me who is in Heaven" but pray to our father in heaven and bless His Name.
But didn't Jesus claim to be 'one with God'? He did:John 10:30 I and my Father are one.But notice that even here he clearly says "I and my father" showing that God is his father and a separate Being. God existed before him and has authority over him as a father over a son. This alone disproves the Nicene Creed teaching that the members of the Trinity are co-eternal and coequal. But, what does this mean, "I and my father are one?"
On several occasions Jesus prayed for God's anointing on his followers. At these times he prayed to his Father (our Father) that his students would be one with him (Jesus) in the same way that he was one with the Father. For instance:John 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:Again, when we consider the context of these proof texts it is clear that Jesus was not praying that his students would become God!
Paul clarifies this point when he tells Timothy:"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (I Timothy 2:5)Jesus was a man. His students never considered him to be HaShem nor to be equal with God. The very thought would have been viewed with horror.
Jesus himself states:John 10:29 My Father who gave them [i.e. his students] to me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.AndJohn 14:28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.There are many many such examples in the New Testament where he plainly acknowledges that God is greater, wiser, possesses more knowledge and power etc. than he (for instance Mark 13:32). What made him noteworthy was that, according to the texts, Jesus always submitted his will to the superior Will of HaShem. In more Jewish terms, he always chose yetzer tov over yetzer hara with complete emunah and observance of Torah. He prayed that this would be equally true of those who embraced his reforms (John 17:11-23). Alas within 300 years his movement was co-opted by Roman Pagans and ceased to exist as I discuss elsewhere.
According to the records of the New Testament Jesus lived on earth as a fully human, mortal, Torah observant Jew. The very heart of the early movement was this conviction:Hebrews 4:15 For we have not a high priest who is not able to be touched by the feelings of our feeble flesh; but we have one who has been tested in all points as we ourselves are tested, but without sin.
This verse is clear. Had they believed he was God incarnate they would not have made such statements. How could God possibly be tempted with sin like we are? No, just as they had "feeble flesh" and diverse temptations, so too did Jesus but he, they believed, was a tzadik who maintained his Torah observance despite his human weaknesses. They believed his example and reforms could help them become tzadikim. This could not possibly be said of HaShem (Numbers 23:19).
Jesus' strength was Torah. He said that not a single yod would ever be removed from Torah until Messiah comes (even then, Torah will continue supreme for ever). So what does Torah say on this subject?Deuteronomy 6:4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one [echad] LORD:"The God of Israel is "echad," a clear word that means "one and only." One and there is no second or third. Still Nicene Christians try to twist its meaning. For instance I've heard them say that one (echad) bunch of grapes is composed of many parts. But in that case the 'echad' has been modified, one bunch. In the Shema and similar biblical statements about HaShem there is no modification. HaShem is echad, period.
What does it mean that 'God is One'?
Prophet Isaiah quotes the One God as saying:Isaiah 43:11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.How is this not clear enough?
There is NO ONE equal to, independent of nor empowered as, HaShem, the God of Israel. Jesus accepted this fundamental truth. Indeed, his very name, Yeshua means: "Salvation is of Yah."
GOD alone saves. He does this through various means according to His purposes but there is no other savior nor road to salvation than His. To say "Jesus saves" is a heretical comment. HaShem saves (Isaiah 43:11)!
In the Bible Ba'al worship is frequently forbidden for Jews and Noahidim. Ba'al worship is essentially the belief in a divisible godhead that manifests as separate gods (known as ba'als or "masters"). Each of these incarnations are said to control various aspects of existence as demigods or devas as they are known in India. This is widely known and common throughout most Pagan religions. For instance:"Ba'al" can refer to any god and even to human officials; in some texts it is used as a substitute for Hadad, a god of the rain, thunder, fertility and agriculture, and the lord of Heaven. Since only priests were allowed to utter his divine name, Hadad, Ba'al was commonly used. Nevertheless, few if any Biblical uses of "Ba'al" refer to Hadad, the lord over the assembly of gods on the holy mount of Heaven, but rather refer to any number of local spirit-deities worshipped as cult images, each called Ba'al and regarded in the Hebrew Bible in that context as a "false god" (Source)THE revelation of Avraham was and is that there is only One God. He is Eternal and Indivisible. Deifying a human being and/or believing in a trinity violates this central realization.
According to the Talmud Avraham's own father produced idols of the gods for worship. But HaShem revealed to the patriarch of our people that the singularly important truth is that God is echad. The Eternal is indivisibly One (echad). The Nicene trinity doctrine and the doctrine of the deity of Jesus created in the 3rd and 4th centuries CE by a group of non-Jewish Roman bishops denies this fundamental revelation of God, His Oneness is the foundational declaration of biblical and Jewish religion.
No one who accepts this teaching can accurately be considered religiously Jewish nor biblically based. This dogma rejects the very core of Avraham's revelation, the Bible, and our holy traditions.Isaiah 14:11 Your pride has been brought down to Sh'ol with the music of your lyres, under you a mattress of maggots, over you a blanket of worms.'Someone else once considered himself worthy of godhood and a portion of HaShem's Glory. Do Christians actually want to place Jesus in that role? Surely not. Jesus accepted who he was according to the New Testament and submitted himself to God. Why wont those who claim to follow him?
12 "How did you come to fall from the heavens, morning star [Hebrew: Heylel], son of the dawn? How did you come to be cut to the ground, conqueror of nations?
13 You thought to yourself, 'I will scale the heavens, I will raise my throne above G-d's stars. I will sit on the Mount of Assembly far away in the north.
14 I will rise past the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.'
15 "Instead you are brought down to Sh'ol, to the uttermost depths of the pit.Why Doesn't Judaism Accept Jesus? Most Jews don't know him nor what he taught. They rightly reject the god-man Jesus created by the Roman Emperor Constantine and his Pagan bishops.
Also See My: Did Jesus Believe he was god?
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