The Deity of Messiah
by Brad Scott
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 Tanakh. 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. 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 Tanakh (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.
Bere’shiyt (Genesis) 2:7And 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.
Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 44:24Thus 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;
Yiremeyahu (Jeremiah) 10:10-11But 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.
Colossians 1:15Who 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.
Yochanan (John) 1:1-4In 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.
Yochanan 11:25-26Yeshua‘ 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.
Yesha’yahu 43:11,45:22I, 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.
Mizemor (Psalm) 62:1-2Truly 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 3:20And 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 Yeshua‘ the Messiah.
1 Corinthians 10:4And 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 blaspheny! The very least I would do would be to proclaim what my fellow Jewish brethren replied so many centuries ago.
Mark 2:5-7When Yeshua‘ 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 Yeshua‘ 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.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:34-35,21:5But 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. Yeshua‘ 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 Yeshua‘’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?
Shalom Alecheim! ◊