The Preeminence and Deity of Yeshua
Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron the high priest, thrust a spear through Zimri the Israelite man and Cozbi the Midianite woman as they were bringing the curse of YHVH upon the nation of Israel by fornicating with each other within the camp of Israel. With the same righteous zeal as Phinehas, today’s righteous spiritual leaders must rise up and stand against secular philosophies that threaten to bring YHVH’s judgment upon redeemed Israel. In the face of evil in his day, David asked, “Who will rise up for me against the evildoers, or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?” (Ps 94:16) The present issue relates to the dangerous and damnable trend within the body of redeemed Israelites believers to question and even deny the deity of Yeshua.
You’ve all heard the Christian axiom, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in everything else, charity.” What are the essentials of our faith that we must unite in, and around which we must draw the line in the sand and defend that turf until death?
As one who has been walking in the Torah for more than 40 years, who has spent time fellowshipping and ministering in both traditional Sunday Christian as well as Sabbatarian churches, and then pastoring and teaching in pro-Torah/Hebrew roots congregation for many years, it has become clear to me which issues are essential, and which are not. Those biblical truths that are salvational in nature are the essentials. These are the hills on which we must plant the flag of truth and be willing to defend at all costs! What are these immutable essentials?
- YHVH Elohim (in Hebrew a plural word) is the Sovereign of the universe and the God of the Bible. He is one (Heb. echad, i.e. a compound unity), yet the Bible reveals the Godhead is comprised of three spiritual entities: the Father, the Spirit and the Son.
- The Bible is the Word of Elohim from Genesis to Revelation.
- The Torah is for all believers for all time.
- Yeshua the Messiah, the Word of Elohim, is Elohim and is the Son of Elohim who was manifested incarnate on this earth being born of the virgin Mary.
- Yeshua lived a sinless life, died on the cross as an atonement for the sins of man, was buried and resurrected on the third day where he is now at the right hand of Elohim, and at the same time is on the throne of Elohim as Elohim.
- Salvation is by the grace of Elohim through faith in Yeshua the Son of Elohim. As a result of one’s salvation, one will love Yeshua by keeping his commandments or word (the Torah), which will produce in his life the fruits of righteousness as defined by the Torah.
These are the essentials of our faith on which there can be no compromise. To take a weakened position on any of these issues is to begin down a spiritually slippery slope that can only lead to eternal separation from YHVH Elohim! Leaders must be quick to lift up the spiritual sword of the Word of Elohim against those who teach otherwise. In this brief treatise, I will deal with the major issues raised by those who want to diminish or eliminate the deity status of Yeshua the Messiah.
“The Earth Did Quake”
When the life of Yeshua, the divine Light of Elohim that pierced the spiritual darkness of this world, was being poured out while he was hanging dying on the cross, the earth was plunged into darkness (Matt 27:47). After Yeshua yielded up his spirit and died, the veil in the temple was ripped in two from top to bottom, and the earth quaked and the rocky ground ripped open and the earth spit out many dead saints who were resurrected from their graves (Matt 27:51–52). The Creator (Col 1:16) and Sustainer (Heb 1:3) of all life had just died, and the created order or cosmos reacted, accordingly by literally coming apart at the seams. Yeshua was no typical human. To be sure, Yeshua was deity!
Though when speaking from his humanity side he elevated his Father above himself, he nevertheless claimed to be deity on several occasions. The Jewish sages who encountered Yeshua recognized he was claiming to be deity, which is why they accused him of blasphemy and attempted to kill him (John 8:58–59; 5:18; 10:33 cp. 19:7). It wasn’t beyond the expectations of the Jewish leaders to expect a divine Messiah, for the Tanakh (Old Testament) clearly prophesied this (Mic 5:2; Isa 9:6; Jer 23:5–6; Targum Jonathan Isaiah 9:6; Talmud Pesiqta Rabbati, Pisqa 36). It’s because of their doubt and unbelief they just couldn’t handle a divine Messiah when he showed up!
Not only did Yeshua claim to be deity, but he received worship (John 9:38; Luke 24:52), but he didn’t rebuff Thomas who called Yeshua “My Master and my God!” (John 20:28).
The apostolic writers confirmed Yeshua’s deity when they wrote such things as “in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col 2:9), referred to him as the “God/Elohim [who] was manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim 3:16), “the Great God/Elohim” who is returning to this earth (Tit 2:13 cp. verse 10), and viewed him as synonymous with Elohim on the throne of heaven (Rev 21:23; 22:1,3,4).
Furthermore, the Scriptures tell us that Yeshua and the Father are one (John 10:30), which is why there is only one throne in heaven (Rev 22:1,3; 21:5; 4:1; Dan 7:9; Isa 6:13) — not two. When Yeshua is not sitting on the throne as Elohim and one with Elohim, he is revealed as a Lamb and our Great High Priest Advocate (1 John 2:1) who is on or before or at (according to the Greek) the right hand of Elohim on his throne (Heb 8:1).
In John’s vision of the New Jerusalem, he sees Yeshua as one with and equal to Elohim. To John, the Lamb and Elohim are synonymous concepts (Rev 21:3–6, 23; 22:3–5).
Perhaps this explains why the sun was darkened, the earth quaked and the rocks split open when Yeshua died on the cross. The Godhead had literally been rent in two and the cosmos echoed the calamitous nature of this heavenly shake up.
In John 1:1,14, the beloved disciple and close confidant of Yeshua, categorically states that Yeshua is Elohim. This verse alone should close the debate on whether Yeshua is deity or not! Frankly, those who cannot accept this simple and direct statement from an eye witnesses of the facts not only have rejected Yeshua, but have rejected the Word of Elohim, which reveals Yeshua to us. This — the rejection of Elohim’s Word — is, perhaps, the greater issue. It is a shame when men reject divinely inspired truth as verified by eyewitnesses and testified to be true by many early elders of the faith (see the “we” passages in John’s first epistle, e.g. 1:1,2,3,4, etc.) and further validated as being an accurate record by many early church fathers who lived in the latter part of the first and the early part of the second centuries — less than 100 years after the death and resurrection of the Messiah!
Without faith in the accurate and trustworthy written record about the life and teachings of Yeshua, we cannot be assured of the truth about our Redeemer and Savior, the gospel message or the hope of eternal life via the resurrection of the dead or the veracity of the whole Bible, for that matter. To reject the deity of Yeshua and the YHVH’s Word that affirms this is to play into the hands of the devil, the father of lies, the perverter of truth and the archenemy of Yeshua the Messiah, and this places our own salvation and hope of eternal life on thin ice at best!
The Importance of the Person of Yeshua
Have you ever wondered what the apostolic writers themselves called that part of the Bible the Christian church refers to as “The New Testament”? Assuredly the apostles didn’t call it “The New Testament” — a term that originated much later! John the apostle and the final canonizer of the Apostolic Scriptures (sorry folk, the early church fathers and the Catholic Church didn’t canonize the apostolic writings) in five places in the Book of Revelation refers to the “Old Testament” as the “Word of God [Elohim]” and the “New Testament” as the “Testimony of Yeshua” (Rev 1:2,9; 6:9; 12:17; 20:4). Since “The Testimony of Yeshua” was the title John the apostle under the inspiration of the Set-Apart Spirit of Elohim applied to this portion of the Scriptures, just perhaps the work and Person of Yeshua was its most important theme!
The data gleaned from the Testimony of Yeshua itself confirms the centrality of the Person of Yeshua. For example, the proper name “Yeshua” [Hebrew for “Jesus”] is found 943 times in the Testimony of Yeshua (the New Testament). This number doesn’t include the use of personal pronouns (e.g. he, him, his) or any indirect references to, or other names that the Testimony apply to him (e.g. the Lamb, the Alpha and Omega, Chief Cornerstone, King of kings, Rabbi, Master, etc.). The title “Christ” (in Hebrew Maschiach or “Messiah” in English) is used 533 times. The title “Lord” is found 670 times in the Testimony of Yeshua and usually is a direct reference to Yeshua. In the Testimony of Yeshua (NT) there are 260 chapters and 7,958 verses. According to these statistics, the names Yeshua, Messiah, or Lord are found in more than one-quarter of the verses of the Testimony of Yeshua. This number doesn’t include the use of pronouns (who knows how many such references there are), or other descriptive titles (some 326 references!) and other names that the apostolic writers use for Yeshua. If it did, the references to Yeshua in relationship to the number of verses in the Testimony of Yeshua would be much higher! By comparison, direct references to the Torah (i.e. law, laws, commandment, commandments) occur only about 260 times in the Testimony of Yeshua, or on average, one time per chapter. God forbid that I should in any way demean the importance or centrality of the Torah in the redeemed believer’s life, but the statistics speak for themselves: the subject of Yeshua was front and center in the Testimony of Yeshua. His supernatural power in us enables us to live the Torah properly — in truth or letter and in spirit, and his life was a living testimony and example of how to walk out the Torah. John and Paul the apostles sum it up this way:
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that says, I know him, and keeps not his [Torah] commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keeps his word, in him verily is the love of Elohim perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that says he abides in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. (1 John 2:3–6)
Elohim sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. (1 John 4:9)
And this is the record, that Elohim has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (1 John 5:11)
He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of Elohim has not life.… And we know that the Son of Elohim is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Yeshua the Messiah. This is the true Eternal, and eternal life. (1 John 5:11–12,20)
I am crucified with the Messiah: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but the Messiah lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of Elohim, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20)
Sadly, many people in the Hebrew Roots/Messianic Movement have forgotten these truths and have relegated Yeshua to the back of the bus, if not kicked him out altogether!
The subject of the Person and work of Yeshua was so important that YHVH Elohim through his Set-Apart Spirit inspired four books of the Bible (i.e. the four Gospels) to be written all testifying to the life of Yeshua on earth based on eye witness accounts.
During his ministry on this earth, Yeshua spoke and taught about many subjects (136 to be exact) as recorded in the Gospels. What were the subjects he talked most about? The number one subject was himself! In Matthew’s and John’s Gospel accounts, there are 316 references to Yeshua speaking about himself as the way to the Father, the light of the world, the bread of life, the door to the sheepfold, the truth, the good shepherd, the one who would die to redeem man, and so on. Next, Yeshua talked about his Father (184 times). The Torah comes in seventh place with 44 direct or indirect references! Now I love the Torah and have devoted much of my life to teaching and writing about the Torah, but this subject was not number one on the list of important topics Yeshua or the apostles wrote or talked about. To be sure, they lived the Torah all the time although they weren’t always talking about it, unlike many in our day who talk about it all the time, but don’t live it! Obedience to the Torah is the result of coming into a loving relationship with Yeshua, and not the starting place according to the apostolic writers.
The apostolic writers reveal that Yeshua is
- Elohim (John 1:1)
- the Almighty (Rev 1:8)
- the Creator of all things (John 1:3; Col 1:16)
- the Author of Life (Heb 3:15)
- contains the fullness of the godhead bodily (Col 2:9)
- the only begotten Son of Elohim (John 1:14,18; 3:16,18)
- Elohim incarnate (John 1:1,14)
- Immanuel or “God with us” (Matt 1:23)
- the image of the invisible Elohim (Col 1:15)
- the Anointed One (Acts 4:25)
- one with the Father (John 10:30)
- the Savior (Luke 2:11; 4:42; Acts 5:31; 13:23; Eph 5:23)
- died to redeem from the penalty of sin which is death (1 Pet 1:18–19
- the only way to the Father in heaven (John 14:6)
- the light of the world (John 1:1–9; 8:12)
- Lord of the living and the dead (Rom 14:9)
- the Overseer of our souls (1 Pet 2:25)
- the door (John 10:7,9)
- the Good Shepherd (John 10:11)
- the Great Shepherd (Heb 13:20)
- the Horn of Salvation (Luke 1:69)
- the bread of life from heaven (John 6:35,48,51)
- the Beginning and the End (Rev 22:13)
- the First and the Last (Rev 1:17; 2:8)
- the I AM (John 8:58 cp. Exod 3:14)
- the resurrection and the life (John 11:25)
- the Judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:24; Rev 19:11)
- the Author and Finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2)
- the Captain of our salvation (Heb 2:10)
- the Chief Shepherd (1 Pet 5:4)
- the Chief Cornerstone (Eph 2:20)
- Chosen of Elohim (Luke 23:35)
- the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 17:14; 19:16)
- the Great High Priest on and at the throne of Elohim in heaven (Heb 4:14)
Sadly, in our day, many people have grown cold in their love for Yeshua and have fallen asleep spiritually. All too often religiosity, legalistic works (including Torah-obedience), and head knowledge (a.k.a “the idol of intellectualism”) have replaced the worship of and a relationship with our Father in heaven by way of Yeshua and through the Set-Apart Spirit. In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, all ten virgins grew weary waiting for the Bridegroom (Yeshua) to come and they fell asleep. As a result, five of the ten virgins were disqualified from entering into the wedding supper of the Lamb because they were spiritually unprepared and out of sync with Yeshua the Bridegroom. Those in the assembly of Laodicea had the same problem. When Yeshua was knocking on the door of their hearts, they were so spiritually naked, poor, miserable, deaf and blind that they refused to let him in (Rev 3:14–22). In Matthew 24:12, Yeshua warns that in the end days, the love of many will grow cold. Paul warns the believers in Corinth that even though they might be doing many great religious works and have all knowledge (including the truth of the Torah), without love (including a love for Yeshua!) their great works and knowledge are nothing in the eyes of Elohim.
The believers in Ephesus had a similar problem. Many years after Paul helped to found that assembly, John reprimanded the same congregation for having lost its first love (Rev 2:4). What was that first love? If we go back to Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians, we see a spiritually healthy and vibrant body of believers that, unlike the other assemblies to whom the apostle wrote, needed no correction. So what was their first love that kept them spiritually alive, but that they had lost by the time John wrote the Book of Revelation many years later? A careful analysis of the Epistle to the Ephesians will yield the answer. This letter contains 155 verses and at the same time 186 references to Elohim (God) or Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). There are more references to the Godhead than there are verses! Such phrases as “in Messiah,” “in Elohim,” or “in the Spirit,” occur 36 times. Evidently, based on Paul’s epistle, the saints in Ephesus were in a loving and life-giving relationship with Yeshua through whom we are able to enter into relationship with the Father and the Set-Apart Spirit.
What can we deduce from this brief study on the centrality of the message, Person and work of Yeshua as recorded in the Testimony of Yeshua? Quite simply, Yeshua was NUMERO UNO in the eyes of the apostolic writers. In fact, they mention him many more times than even the Torah! The bottom line is this: Any attempt to diminish Yeshua’s place of pre-eminence by any so-called “Bible teacher” is not only totally incongruent with the dominant theme of the Testimony of Yeshua, but it is a demonic plot to unseat Yeshua from his throne and results in leaving humans lost out in the cold and darkness spiritually!
What Are the Spiritual Implications of Rejecting the Deity of Yeshua?
- The rejection of or the watering down of the deity status of Yeshua is a form of secular humanism. Humanism is that evil counterfeit religion of the devil that he thrust upon man at the tree of knowledge in the garden whereby man (and the devil) seeks to elevate his own status by diminishing the status of Elohim (including the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit). Anything that diminishes any aspect of the Godhead (e.g. the Word/Son/Messiah) and elevates man at the expense of the Word/Son/Messiah is humanistic in nature and follows in the rebellion of Satan whose goal it was and still is to exalt himself at Elohim’s expense. Such doctrines are dangerous and demonic in origin and must be rejected as evil.
- Let us never forget that the mind and heart of man are so deceitful or crooked above all things and desperately wicked that man can’t even comprehend it (Jer 17:9). Not only that, he is totally antagonistic toward the laws and words of Elohim (Rom 8:7), and like the serpent that beguiled men to rebel against the clear word of Elohim, man continues to this day in this rebellious mode with the full blessing of the devil!
- The spirit of antichrist rejects that Elohim has come in the flesh (1 John 4:1–3). Make no mistake about it, to either diminish the idea that Elohim came in the flesh, or that Yeshua was deity is of the spirit of antichrist.
- Some people reject the deity of Yeshua because they teach or imply that one cannot believe in the deity of Yeshua without adhering to the doctrine of the trinity. In reality, there are many people who believe in the deity of Yeshua, but who don’t subscribe to the doctrine of the trinity. In other words, one doesn’t have to be a Trinitarian to accept the deity of Yeshua. To wit, prior to the codification of the doctrine of the trinity by the Catholic Church (in the fourth century), in the early church, there were a several other ways of explaining the deity of Yeshua and his relationship to the Father besides the doctrine of the trinity.
- Curiously some teachers who reject the deity of Yeshua at the same time will try to explain his diminished status using rabbinic Jewish concepts. The fact is that while the Christians have the doctrine of the trinity, the Christians have nothing on their rabbinic Jewish counterparts in this area! To look to the rabbinic Jews for a fundamental understanding of the nature of the Godhead, and the nature of the Messiah and how he fits into the Godhead can be great folly and outright dangerous. While the Christians teach a Godhead of three persons, there are many Orthodox Jews who subscribe to the tenets of mystical or Kabbalistic Judaism, which teaches that the godhead is comprised of ten “persons” or “spiritual entities” called the sephirot as illustrated by the sephirotic tree. As one gets deeper into Jewith mystical thought it gets even crazier as the Jewish sages plularize the godhead more.
- Some people reject the deity of Yeshua claiming it is an unbiblical and Greco-Roman (Catholic or Byzantine) concept. Some believe that no good thing can come from Greco-Roman Christianity, and they therefore throw out the proverbial baby with the bath water. Is this a balanced viewpoint? How is it a sin to think along Greco-Roman lines? Admittedly, the human agents who co-authored the Bible with Elohim were Hebrews who thought Hebraically. But the fact remains that YHVH preserved the “New Testament” for us in the Greek language, and that a large portion of it was written by Paul who was a Hebrew of the Hebrews, but who also spoke Greek, was a Roman citizen from a Syro-Roman city, who was able to quote Greek poets, and debate with Greco-Roman philosophers. In my paper entitled “Hebraic Thought Compared with Greek (Western) Thought,” I show how both Hebraic and Greco-Roman thinking and methodologies have been useful in evangelizing the world — and all this by divine design.
- Some people reject the deity of Yeshua because it has been such a major Christian doctrine for so long. Since, in their view, little or nothing good can come from the Christian church, they reject the doctrine of the deity of Yeshua. We must be fair-minded in our evaluations of all things to always give credit where credit is due. As an aspect of spiritual Babylon, the church admittedly is a mixture of both good and evil, truth and error. Therefore, not all of her doctrines are evil. In the most general and fundamental sense, her teachings with regard to the deity of Yeshua, the message of the cross, the blood atonement, the means by which we are saved and her stand on moral virtues are true. We must not make the mistake of rejecting biblical truths simply because the church has continued to believe and propagate both good and evil. To reject the evil chaff at the expense of the good wheat is folly, and we do so to our own peril!
- Some people diminish or reject the deity of Yeshua by taking a narrow view of the role of the Messiah. True, the concept of the Messiah in the Tanakh (“Old Testament”) was broadly applied to many humans. However, out of this broad panoply of messianic figures, the Tanakh reveals that a Messianic figure would arise who would transcend all the other “messiahs.” Both the Jewish and Christian sages have recognized this fact for millennia. This transcendent Messiah would be a king, a savior, a redeemer, a Torah scholar, a judge, a regather of his people and more. That is to say, the Scriptures (both the Tanakh and the Testimony of Yeshua) reveal that the job description of Messiah is more than just two fold (i.e. to turn the hearts of the people back to the Father and to be the emissary of the Most High). If we narrow the definition of anything (in this case, the concept of “messiah”) down small enough, we can make “messiah” to mean just about anything — including that we ourselves can be the Messiah! This is called “cramming it to fit and painting it to match” our limited view of something. Those who try to diminish and limit the role of the Messiah are guilty of this. The most important role of the Messiah was to redeem Israel from its sins, which he can only do if he’s deity (see Isa 53)! Both the Jewish sages and the authors of the Tanakh and the Testimony of Yeshua knew and affirmed this.
- Some people reject the salvific death Yeshua on the cross by parroting more rabbinic Jewish truth twisting by claiming that his death violates the Torah, which forbids human sacrifice. This is another lie proffered by those who are being swayed by religious teachers who have made of none effect the clear word of Elohim by their man-made traditions. Yeshua’s death on the cross was not a human sacrifice. It was YHVH-Yeshua giving up his life for his friends. His death can be comparable to a father who, in attempt to rescue his child from a burning building or a raging river, sacrifices his own life while saving that of his child. This is not human sacrifice in the sense that the heathens practiced it and which the Torah forbids. Yeshua’s death was an act of love to redeem lost sinners! There is a big difference. If Yeshua’s death on the cross was human sacrifice as the Torah forbids, then YHVH lies in Isaiah 53:10 when he prophesied through Isaiah speaking of the Messiah to come, “Yet it pleased YHVH to bruise him, he has put him to grief and made his soul an offering for sin….” In this same vain vein of reasoning, some Yeshua-deniers will even go so far as to say that the man doesn’t need salvation through blood atonement (e.g. Yeshua’s death on the cross is needless), and that the father’s merciful grace and forgiveness is sufficient to justify and redeem man. Sadly, this line of reasoning totally denies the prophetic reality of the entire sacrificial system as summarized in Leviticus 17:11 which declares, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your soul, for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul.” I discuss this issue thoroughly in my online teaching on this subject.
- To diminish or outrightly reject the redemptive mission of the Messiah leaves man without any future hope. Period. To diminish in any way the deity or Elohim status of Yeshua and his status as Creator of the cosmos is to not only call the truths in the Testimony of Yeshua a lie, but it is to leave man Redeemerless. How is this? First, obviously a sinner who is under the same death penalty can’t redeem the life of another (Ps 49:7). Hypothetically, a sinless man might be able to exchange his life for that of one other human life from the penalty of sin, since a man’s life is only equal to that of another man’s life. But only Yeshua as deity and Creator of man (Col 1:16) can redeem all men, since his life as the Creator was worth more than all those human lives which he created.
- To reject the deity of Yeshua leaves man without a legally qualified Redeemer!
- Yeshua warned that in the end times there would be many false Messiahs masquerading as the true biblical Messiah (Matt 24:4–5, 23–26). Paul warned that as the serpent perverted the Word of Elohim and subverted Eve, so there would be those who would come preaching another Yeshua and another gospel following in the footsteps of Satan who comes as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:3–4,14). Those who reject the deity of Yeshua and attempt to peddle another Messiah are the deceivers Yeshua warned us against!
- Some who teach against the deity of Yeshua attempt to make their case by relying on their superior understanding of the Hebrew language. A deep understanding of the Hebrew language is a wonderful thing, and truly helps us to discover many of the mysteries of the Bible. However, this knowledge is not essential to understanding the salvational truths of the Bible including the nature and deity of the Messiah. Yeshua said that the Spirit of Elohim would lead us unto all truth (John 16:13) — not a knowledge of the biblical languages!
- Furthermore, if we feel that a deep understanding of biblical languages is necessary to understand the mysteries of the Bible, then Hebrew is not the only language that needs to be studied — so do Aramaic and Greek, since YHVH used these languages, as well, to transmit the written record of his Word to us.
- Some who are rejecting the deity of Yeshua affirm that redemption is based only on the mercy and forgiveness of Elohim alone. This is a lie of rabbinic Judaism, and not the truth of the Bible. The Torah plainly tells that “the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I [Elohim] have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul.” Yeshua was that offering for the sins of men when he spilled his blood at the cross (Isa 53:10–11; Heb 10:10–18). There is redemption from the wages of sin which is death by no other means than by the shed blood of Yeshua the Messiah!
- The false teaching of rabbinic Judaism that man can be redeemed by Elohim’s mercy alone without the shedding of blood for the atonement of sin is the leaven of Pharisees (the ancestors of the modern rabbinic Jews) that Yeshua warned his disciples against (Matt 16:11–12). These are doctrines of men by which the Word of Elohim is made of non-effect (Mark 7:7–9).
Reasons to Believe in Yeshua the Messiah
Have you ever heard someone say, “I’ll believe it when I see it”? Is seeing really believing? Many people saw Yeshua when he was on this earth, but most didn’t believe him.
It has been 2000 years since Yeshua walked this earth, and since we’ve never seen him, nor even talked to those who saw him, what is the basis of our faith? Is faith in Yeshua blind? Or are there logical reasons to believe in him?
For those of us who have had a faith in Yeshua for a while, for us there are a myriad reasons that have come together to form the basis of our faith. However, for those who are new in their faith walk and don’t have a lifetime of “spiritual experiences” that corroborate that faith, initially finding a basis for that faith can be difficult.
Some people come to Yeshua because that’s their last hope. They’ve hit rock bottom in their lives and there’s no where else to go. They hear and believe the gospel message of hope and end up experiencing the power of the Yeshua and his Holy Spirit in their lives.
Others take a more reasoned approach to establishing a faith in Yeshua. Perhaps their lives haven’t hit rock bottom, but they know they’re missing something — there’s still a void in their life. They sense that there must be more to life — a higher purpose — than simply existing and then dying.
Others come to faith in Yeshua because they look around and see intelligent design behind everything in existence, which speaks of a Creator, which leads them to want to know more about him.
Some people come to Yeshua as a way of dealing with their on mortality. In their quest to answer the question of whether there’s life after death, they come to faith in Yeshua.
Perhaps some come to faith in Yeshua due to the pang of a guilty conscience because of their sin and the need for redemption.
Some people have studied the world’s religions and find that only the gospel message as presented in the Bible addresses the deeper issues of life.
These are all valid and logical reasons for coming to faith in Yeshua.
Whatever the reason for believing what the Bible says about Yeshua, there are good reasons to believe in him based on both the claims of the Bible and logic.
Yeshua — A Historical Figure
Whatever we think about Yeshua pro or con, he was a historical figure. More has been written about him than anyone else, and he has impacted the world more than anyone. There must be something to all this, and thus we have to deal with this reality. Twenty-seven different first-century New Testament documents attest to the reality of his existence and to his impact on humanity. Additionally, numerous Christian, Jewish and Roman historians from the first and second centuries attest to his existence and his positive impact on the lives of thousands, if not millions of people.
An Important Question
There are other reasons to believe in Yeshua. If God became a man, as the Bible claims of Yeshua, and if the man Yeshua was God as he and the Bible claim, then what would we expect of such an individual?
- He would have had an unusual entrance into this life (e.g. a virgin birth).
- He would have been without human weaknesses, foibles and failings (i.e. be sinless or perfect).
- He would manifest supernatural abilities (i.e. signs, wonders, miracles, unusual supernatural powers, possess supernatural knowledge).
- He would have an intellect superior to that of the brightest minds of his day.
- He would have a perspective on life different than ordinary humans.
- He would speak the greatest words ever spoken.
- He would have a lasting and universal influence on humanity.
- He would be able to answer men’s deepest questions and fulfill men’s deepest longings and desires.
- He would exercise power over death.
- Yeshua was the only human who has ever met all of these qualifications.
Dealing With the Resurrection of Yeshua
For two millennia, the resurrection of Yeshua has been viewed as one the greatest proofs that he was he who said he was. Let’s face it, either the resurrection of Yeshua is the greatest and most vicious hoax ever foisted on humanity, or it was the most fantastic fact of history. Each person must answer this question for himself or herself, deal with the ramifications and adjust his or life and belief systems accordingly.
The resurrection of Yeshua is a well documented fact — both from the numerous references in the Scriptures and from extra-biblical sources written by people who knew those who had witnessed the resurrection. Can we trust the accounts of those witnesses to that event?
Dealing With Historical Facts
When an event occurs in history and there are enough eyewitnesses to attest to its occurrence, then reasonable individuals from subsequent generations usually accept it as fact. To not do so is to deny reality. We routinely accept countless historical facts based on past eyewitness accounts even though we weren’t there. I believe that George Washington was the first leader and president of the United States, even though I never saw or met him, nor were any photos, videos or recordings taken of him. My belief is based on eyewitnesses accounts of his existence and other historical documentation (his house, his portraits, is writings and so on).
When looking back 2000 years into ancient history, it becomes more difficult to prove whether someone lived or not, and whether the claims made about that person are true. In the case of Yeshua, it is a fact that there are many historical events from ancient times that are less substantiated than the life, death and resurrection of Yeshua. Daily, we take this for granted. If we fail to accept what the Bible and history say about Yeshua, then it’s because we just don’t want to deal with the facts and adjust our lives accordingly. Many people refuse to hear the truth about Yeshua because they’ve hardened their hearts to the truth. Yeshua talks about this in Matthew 13 in the Parable of the Sower.
In Yeshua’s Parable of the Sower (Matt 13:3–23), we are confronted with the difficult issue about who will receive the gospel message and thus enter into the kingdom of heaven and who will not. Put into modern vernacular, he is discussing who will receive YHVH’s free gift of salvation resulting in immortality and who and who will die in his sins to perish for eternity.
Yeshua’s discussion all started when his disciples asked him why he taught the people using parables. To them, it was as if he were deliberately obscuring the gospel message.
A superficial reading of his response in verse 15 to their question may imply not only a frightening lack of impartiality but a brutal selectivity on the part of Elohim when it comes to determining who he will choose to receive the gift of salvation including the gift of immortality. If this is the conclusion one draws from Yeshua’s response, then what he said contradicts other scriptures that indicate Elohim’s unconditional love for the whole world and his desire that all be saved (John 3:16; 1 Tim 2:4; 2 Pet 2:9).
The fact is that a thorough reading of this passage shows us another important truth, which in no way impugns the character of Elohim, but instead leaves the onus on man.
After giving this parable, Yeshua quotes Isaiah the prophet (Isa 6:9–10), where we learn that it’s up to the individual as to how far they want to go with Elohim spiritually. All humans have eyes and ears to see and hear, but merely seeing or hearing doesn’t equate with understanding or perceiving. Sadly, many people want to dabble in religion, or to have a religious experience, but they don’t want to change their lives spiritually, to give up sin, and then to submit unconditionally to the will of Elohim as revealed in his written Word, the Bible. This is because they have willfully hardened their hearts and closed their eyes (Matt 13:15). YHVH isn’t going to cram is “religion,” so to speak, down their throats. For example, in the Gospel record, we read that many people followed Yeshua out of curiosity and in hopes of being healed physically, or getting fed or seeing a miracle (John 6:26; Matt 12:39), but when he demanded obedience, many turned away from following him (John 6:66). The same is true of people today. Though Yeshua called many to follow him, few actually did (Matt 20:16; 22:14). Of the thousands who flocked to see Yeshua during his earthly ministry, only about 120 people remained faithful to him (Acts 1:15).
Why would Yeshua (and Isaiah) express reluctance at having some people come to saving faith in Elohim? The answer lies in the Parable of the Sower itself. Yeshua explains that the good seed of the gospel message is sown on various types of ground. Only that which is sown in the fertile soil produces fruit. Though the seed germinated and began to grow in the bad ground, it eventually died because of unfavorable external factors. Yeshua in explaining this parable to his disciples says that many people receive the good seed (i.e. they hear the gospel message), and they respond favorably to it initially, but they’re not willing to go all the way, for their hearts and minds are only open superficially. Once the excitement and emotions of their spur of the moment decision dies down, they go back to their old lifestyle. Peter describes those who initially respond favorably to the gospel, but turn away in this way in 2 Peter 2:20,
For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Yeshua the Messiah, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
Of those who are superficially converted but turn away, Yeshua, elsewhere likens such a person to a house that gets cleaned and swept spiritually of evil spirits, but if that person doesn’t guard his house to keep it clean, the evil spirits will come back in greater force than before to repossess the house. Yeshua exclaimed that the latter state of the man is worse than his first state (Matt 12:43–45).
It is perhaps for these reasons that, though Yeshua clearly desires all to be saved, he only wants those who will be serious about their spiritual walk to be saved, to lessen the possibility of those who are less serious from making spiritual commitments, getting saved, then falling away into a worse spiritual state than before. Yeshua values quality over quantity when it comes to his disciples.
What’s more, he spoke the mysteries of the kingdom in parables, so that those who were serious would be forced to take the step of faith necessary to gain understanding. Those who are unwilling to push forward in the pursuit of truth aren’t worthy to have the mysteries of the kingdom entrusted to them. It would be like casting pearls before swine or giving that which is holy to the dogs, as Yeshua elsewhere states (Matt 7:6). Again, many are called and few are chosen.
Power Over Death
There are powerful logical reasons to put one’s faith in Yeshua the Messiah and to believe what the Bible says about him. His resurrection from the dead is perhaps the greatest reason to trust in him.
The fact is that of all the world’s religions, only the religion of the Bible has a leader and founder who defeated death and resurrected from the grave. The fear of death is the mother of all human fears. Only Yeshua exercised victory over death. Not only that, he predicted his own death as well as his resurrection to the exact hour. No one else has ever done that.
Yeshua offers that same power-over-death victory he experienced to all those will place their trusting faith in him and will then walk in submissive obedience to his ways as revealed in the Word of Elohim — Bible. It’s that simple. Believe, receive and obey, and you to will experience the same victory over death that Yeshua did!
Addressing Rabbinic Jewish Arguments Against Yeshua’s Messiahship
The arguments that Orthodox Rabbinic Jewish scholars make attempting to disprove Yeshua’s divinity and Messiahship may appear clever and convincing on the surface, but upon closer examination they prove to be false and are easily refuted.
When one looks through the smoke and mirrors of human deceit, one will see that these Jewish antimissionary arguments are patently false and demonstrate a major degree of spiritual blindness. At the very least, they reveal a dishonesty and disingenuousness on the part of their proponents, and at the most, a gross lack of understanding of the Scriptures. This is because a spirit of blindness has fallen upon rabbinic Jews as the Bible states (Rom 11:25)
To the naive, uninformed, misinformed and those who are either neophytes in their understanding of the Scriptures, or who have lost their first love of Yeshua and have fallen away from him spiritually, the antimessiah arguments of the rabbinic Jews seem compelling and convincing. Yet, upon careful examinations, all of their arguments have only a thin veneer of truth. Upon closer examination, it is easily proven that they do not line up with the WHOLE truth of the Bible, nor do they, in many cases, even line up with what their own pre-Christian Jewish sages taught and believed about the Messiah and the messianic prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Sadly, I have found that these blind unbelieving Jewish guides prey upon weak or disillusioned Christians who don’t know their Scriptures. They are able to draw many lukewarm and deceived Christians into apostasy, even causing them to renounce their faith in Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of Elohim and who is Elohim incarnate (John 1:1, 14). This is tragic!
Below are some of the most common antimessiah arguments that rabbinic Jews make in order to disprove the validity of the gospel message and faith in Yeshua the Messiah. My answers are short and to the point. A whole article could be written answering each point. At the end of this brief study, I offer additional resources for those who want more information.
Rabbinic antimessiah statement: Elohim, the God of the Bible is one (Hebrew echad), not a Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches the idea of monotheism, not polytheism as Christianity teaches in the doctrine of the trinity.
Response: The word echad in Hebrew means “a compound unity—or one thing that is comprised of several units that together make up the unified whole (like a bunch of grapes).” The hidden reality is that many rabbinic Jews believe that Elohim is composed of ten component parts as pictured by the mystical sephirotic tree.
Rabbinic antimessiah statement: Countless times the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament or Tankah) declare: “I am HaShem (YHVH or the LORD) your God (Elohim), outside of me there is no other!” Everything you pray to other than him becomes a god or idol before HaShem (YHVH). HaShem forbids praying to anyone but Him!
Reponse: Actually, this isn’t a quote from the Torah, but from Isaiah. The Tanakh or OT actually teaches that there are two YHVH’s, not one—the Father and the Son. Moreover, God is the Hebrew word Elohim, which is a plural name. It is the plural form of the singular noun El or Eloah. So even the name of God/Elohim is plural and refers to the fact that the Godhead is echad or comprised of several units that are one in purpose—like a family with a father, mother and child. The human family is actually a earthly picture or model of this.
Rabbinic antimessiah statement: The ten commandments declare, “I am HaShem your God (Elohim). Thou shalt not have other gods besides Me.” This prohibits the mediation of objects or people between God and man intermediaries are prohibited. Moses prayed for the people, but he was not an intermediary.
Response: Again, God here is the plural word Elohim. This commandment is forbidding the worship of anyone but Elohim (the Father, the Son and the Spirit). This specifically refers to any pagan deities, not to Elohim/the Godhead. As far as Moses not being an intermediary, actually Moses acted as an intermediary between Elohim and the children of Israel many times. At Mount Sinai when Elohim spoke to the children of Israel, the people begged Elohim to speak through Moses as an intermediary and not directly to them, which Elohim subsequently did on numerous occasions. At one time, after the golden calf incident, Moses even voluntarily offered his life to Elohim in exchange for the people.
Rabbinic antimessiah statement: HaShem (YHVH) has no form. God can’t be incarnated; this is idolatry and comes from pagan religions and is a violation of the second commandment prohibiting idolatry. The idea of a virgin woman giving birth to a half god—half man is a pagan concept and not a biblical one.
Response: That YHVH cannot be incarnated is contrary to the Torah record itself. YHVH can appear to humans in any form or way he wants. YHVH appeared to Abraham in a human physical form. They even ate a meal together. Moreover, the Angel/Malak or Messenger of Elohim, which on numerous occasions appeared to humans, on several occasions in the Torah is referred to as YHVH or Elohim. At other times, YHVH even appeared as a fire (at the burning bush) or as a cloud and pillar of fire (when leading the Israelites through the wilderness). Humans have never seen YHVH the Father, but they did see Yeshua in his preincarnate state in human form in the Torah on many occasions.
Rabbinic antimessiah statement: When Isaiah prophesies about the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53, this is not referring to the Messiah but to the nation of Israel. Isaiah himself declares: “Israel, you are my Servant!”
Response: This is false. This is a post-Christian rabbinic teaching, but not what the Jews believed before the Christian era. Isa 53 specifically refers to a man, not a nation. To say it does is twisting the scripture grossly.
Rabbinic antimessiah statement: The Messiah must be an anointed king of David’s line. Yeshua was not an anointed king.
Response: Yeshua was of Davidic lineage. He will be anointed king at his second coming. In reality, the ancient Jewish sages believed that two Messiahs were coming—Messiah the Suffering Servant or Son of Joseph and Messiah the Conquering King or Son of David. The sages just didn’t know when the Messiah would come, if there were one or two or who would come first. Even the disciples thought Yeshua had come as the King Messiah. They found out after his departure that his first coming was as the Suffering Servant and that he’d fulfill the David King prophecy at his second coming.
Rabbinic antimessiah statement: The Messiah has to put an end to weapons, war, and bring peace. Yeshua didn’t fulfill this prophecy.
Response: This will happen at Messiah’s second coming. Even the ancient sages had a sense of this. Of course, the modern, dishonest Jewish blind guides won’t tell you this now since it doesn’t serve their purposes to do so. You have to dig for this historical evidence. It’s there for those who search for it.
Rabbinic antimessiah statement: The Messiah will cause scattered Israel to return to the land of Israel. This has not happened yet.
Response: Yeshua started this process at his first coming. Preaching to the Gentiles was part of regathering the lost sheep of the house of Israel. I have many written and video teachings explaining this.
Rabbinic antimessiah statement: The Hebrew Scriptures do not speak of a divine Messiah, but of a King, human Messiah.
Response: This is totally a false statement. I address this in many of my teachings on Yeshua in the Tanakh.
Rabbinic antimessiah statement: The Hebrew Scriptures don’t not speak of ‘two coming’ of the Messiah.
Response: The Torah along with the rest of the Tanakh do teach this. This is what the pre-Christian Jewish sages believed and taught.
Rabbinic antimessiah statement: The Hebrew Scriptures declare that no man can make atonement for another man.
Response: Again, this is a false statement. Moses demonstrated his willingness to make atonement for another when he was willing to die for Israel after the golden calf incident. This theme is also picked up by later OT authors as we read in Isa 53 for example. Moreover, we know that the whole Levitical sacrificial system screams loudly of the vicarious and atoning death of Yeshua the Messiah that was to come.
Rabbinic antimessiah statement: The concept that HaShem ‘closed his eyes’ to Israel and now works only with the ‘church’ is unbiblical.
Response: I would agree with this statement. Everyone (Jew and non-Jew) must repent of their sins and come to faith in Messiah Yeshua to be saved—to have eternal life and to be part of Elohim’s eternal kingdom. This group of redeemed people is called the Israel of Elohim (Gal 6:16) and the one new man (Eph 2:15) and no Gentiles will enter the heaven of the New Jerusalem—only redeemed Israelites made up of the 12 tribes of Israel of which the Jews are but one tribe; there is no Gentile gate in the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:12)!
For additional information on this subject, check out my teaching articles:
“Addressing Issues About the Deity of Yeshua” at https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/deity_issues.pdf
“The Deity of Yeshua Confirmed by the Hebrew Scriptures and the Writings of the Jewish Sages” at https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/yeshua_in_ot.pdf
“The Incarnation and the Virgin Birth of the Messiah—Confirmed in the Hebrew Scriptures?” at https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/vbirth.pdf
“The Resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah Prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures” at https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/resurrect_proph.pdf