John 1:1, The Word was Elohim.Is Yeshua or the Father the God (Elohim) of the Old Testament (Tanakh)? For many believers in Yeshua, there is confusion as to who it was in the Godhead who interacted with the Israelites in the Tankah. Was it the Father or the Son? In the minds of the apostolic writers, there was no confusion about this. Yeshua, in his preincarnate state, was the One that YHVH Elohim the Father used to both create (John 1:3; Col 1:16; Heb 11:3), and then to interact with mankind. He was the Word of YHVH Elohim, the Father, who become flesh and dwelt among men (verse 14). This truth is easily confirmed in several passages in the Testimony of Yeshua (New Testament).
First, Yeshua himself claims to be YHVH or the I Am of the burning bush (see John 8:58 cp. Exod 3:14). The Jews viewed Yeshua’s claim to be deity as blasphemous, which is why they picked up stones to kill him (John 8:59). Next, Yeshua in declaring to the Jewish religious leaders that “I send you prophets, wise men and scribes: some you will kill…” (Matt 23:34), he is claiming the rights and prerogatives of YHVH — a right and role that solely belonged to YHVH in the Tanakh.
Yeshua also declared that no man has seen the face of Elohim the Father (John 5:37). Yet in the Torah, we have several instances of men seeing YHVH (e.g. Gen 17:1; 18:1; 26:2; 48:3). If we are to take what these scriptures say literally, then it could not have been YHVH the Father these individuals saw, but rather YHVH the Son who later become Yeshua. Not only that, Yeshua even goes so far as to say that the Israelites of old not only never saw the Father’s face, but neither at anytime even saw his form nor heard his voice (John 5:37). Therefore, it becomes evident that while on Mount Sinai, Moses didn’t see the backside of the Father, but rather that of the pre-incarnate Yeshua (Exod 33:18–23).
What’s more, in John 14:15, Yeshua, speaking to his disciples, declares, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” When Yeshua says commandments here, we know from Luke 18:20 that he has the Torah in mind. In this statement, Yeshua is actually quoting himself when he made the same statement to the children of Israel while he was delivering to them the Oracles or Torah of Elohim at Mount Sinai (Exod 20:6; Deut 11:1).
Stephen, in agreement with John, clearly demonstrates that Yeshua was the prophesied “prophet like Moses” who was to come (see Deut 18:15), and who was the Angel, or more correctly, the Divine Messenger from Elohim, who gave the Torah to the Israelites (Acts 7:37–38). Paul goes on to say in enigmatic terms that Yeshua was the spiritual rock from which the Israelites drank and that followed them (1 Cor 10:4). And finally, Paul equates Yeshua, “the Word of Elohim made flesh and that dwelt among us” (John 1:14) with the Written Torah which YHVH gave through Moses to the Israelites. This he does when he quotes Deuteronomy 30:11–14 and substitutes the word Torah for Yeshua (see Rom 10:5–13). In Paul’s mind, Yeshua was not only synonymous with the Torah, but he was very much present with the children of Israel.
The Word was Elohim. Numerous scriptures in the Testimony of Yeshua clearly show that the apostolic writers believed in the deity of Yeshua (see Matt 1:23; Luke 24:52; John 5:18; 8:58–59; 9:38; 10:33; 19:7; 20:28; Phil 2:6; Col 2:9; 1 Tim 3:16; Tit 2:13; Rev 21:3, 6, 23; 22:1–5). Amazingly, even James (Heb. Ya’acov), the writer of the epistle that bears his name and believed to be the biological half brother of Yeshua equates Yeshua with YHVH of the Tanakh (Jas 5:7, 8, 10, 11 cp. 1:1). This is evident in his usage of the word “Lord” where he equates the Lord Yeshua (verses 8 and 10) with the LORD (or YHVH) of the Tanakh (verses 10 and 11).
The Word was Elohim.The Greek grammar of this statement is very specific. It says, “and the Word was God/Elohim.” It doesn’t say, “And the Word was the God,” which is Sabellianism or modalism, which is the belief that the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son and Holy Spirit are different modes or aspects of one monadic Elohim. It also doesn’t say, “and the Word was a god,” which is Arianism, which is the belief that Yeshua the Son of God did not always exist, but was created by and is therefore distinct from and inferior to Elohim the Father (Basics of Biblical Greek, pp. 27–28, by William Mounce).
All things were made through him.Yeshua is the Creator. (See also Col 1:16; Heb 11:3.)
What Is the Word/word of Elohim from a Hebraic Perspective?
The Word of Elohim is my best friend. The word of Elohim is not my best friend. Notice the difference between these two sentences? In the first sentence, Word is capitalized; in the second, it is not. In my post, I capitalized the word Word for a reason. There is a big difference between the two. People can religiously worship words on a page or a book. I worship him who wrote those words and recognize them to be a his words, and a reflection of his very heart, mind, will and character.
Yeshua is the Word of Elohim. John 1:1–2, 14 says,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim. He was in the beginning with Elohim….And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Yeshua and his word are indivisible. To love his word is to love him. He is his word. This is Hebraic thought.
Hebraically, a person and their character and reputation are inseparable. They are who and what they are.
In our Western Greek mindset, we tend to separate a person’s word from them. This is not a biblical, Hebraic approach.
For example, the Hebrew word debar not only means “a word” but also “a thing.” Here there is no separation between form and substance. If there is no substance, there is no form.
In Greek thought, we tend to look at the outward appearance of something and separate it out from its substance or essence. For example, we look at a building and declare how beautiful it looks on the outside, or how handsome someone looks, or how good that cup or cave looks on the outside.
In Hebraic thought, we are told not to judge according to appearance, but according to righteousness (John 7:24)—to judge something by its fruit (Matt 7:16–20). We have to look at the heart of the matter, or the person, and make our judgments based on that. That is the real essence of what something is—not what it merely appears to be on its surface. For example, Samuel saw how lovely David looked, but YHVH was looking at David’s heart, not at his handsome appearance when he chose him to be king over Israel (1 Sam 13:14). Interestingly, when the heart is right, the outward appearances will be beautiful as well. It kind of follows!
Yeshua rebuked the religious hypocrites of his day for looking good on the outside, but actually being hideous on the inside (for being a dirty cup or a whitewashed tomb). He also said that the words that come out of one’s mouth, in reality, reflect the true condition of one’s heart (Luke 6:45).
So word and thing have the same equivalence in Hebraic thought.
In Hebrew thought, vanity is defined as one’s words and actions not lining up with each other. If a person says one thing, and does another thing, then it’s considered to be emptiness or vanity. It’s nothing—only hot air or wind.
So to bring this discussion back full circle, Yeshua is his word and his word is him because Hebraically a thing and a word are the same thing. That’s why the Word of Elohim is my best friend. It’s a whole lot more than words on a page to me—it’s the reflection of the mind, heart, character and will of the Author of the Bible which who he is. He and his words are inseparable.
We have a saying, “A man is only as good as his word.” This is a step in the right direction to understanding better the Hebraic approach in regards to someone and their words. In the Bible, Elohim IS the/His W/word!
John 1:12, Become children of Elohim.In theological terms, this is called theosis, a concept that still believed in some of the Eastern Orthodox churches, but has largely been lost by the western Christian church. Paul uses the term adoption in referring to this concept. (See also Rom 8:14–15, 23; 9:4; 2 Cor 6:18; Gal 4:5–6; Eph 1:5; 1 John 3:1–2; Rev 21:7).
Are humans all humans “the children of Elohim”?
“We all are children of YHVH. Love one another as brothers and sisters.” This statement was left on my Bible study blog’s comments section by an individual who singed his name as “Pastor A—.” This statement by a so-called pastor has to be addressed. On its surface, it seems like one with which no Bible believer could disagree. In reality, however, it doesn’t line up with the Scriptures for several reasons, which we will discuss below.
First, we must ask the question, who is the “we” in this statement? If it is referring to the entire population of the world—both saints and heathens, then it is a patently false statement that is contrary to the Scriptures including the words of Yeshua the Messiah as well as the apostolic writers, as we shall discuss below.
Next, if the “we” is referring to the saints, it is also false and doesn’t line up with the Scriptures. Yes all saints are “brethren” or brothers and sisters, but not all are necessarily the children of Elohim. For example, some of the “saints” are actually tares in the congregation of the righteous, which Yeshua will eventually uproot and toss into the lake of fire, as he taught in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares. The Bible also teaches that some of the saints will not make it to the end, but will become spiritually shipwrecked along the away. They will become spiritually aborted and will not make their calling and election sure; they will become apostate and fall by the wayside as Yeshua taught in his Parable of the Sower and elsewhere.
Even though John refers to the saints generically as “the children of Elohim” in 1 John 3:1, the apostle is speaking in the most positive and affirmative terms here (see also Rom 8:16; Gal 3:26). No human knows which of the saints will persevere and overcome to the end to become the actual resurrected and glorified sons and daughters of Elohim, and who will fail the test along the way and not receive their ultimate salvation—the glorification of their physical bodies and inclusion into the family of Elohim as his immortal spirit-children. Only Elohim knows this. The Bible is clear: some “saints” will fall by the wayside and turn away from Yeshua. Again, only those who overcome to the end will become the actual children of Elohim and receive the spiritual and eternal rewards thereof as Yeshua’s letters to the seven churches in Revelation chapters two and three make clear.
Now the Bible teaches that all the saints have the potential to become adopted (to use a Pauline term) into the family of Elohim and to become his spiritual children if they remain faithful to Elohim to the end of their lives having overcome the world, the flesh and the devil resulting in their name being written in the Lamb’s book of life. Not all of the saints will remain faithful to the end as overcomers, however. Those saints who make it to the end will receive their glorified bodies at the resurrection of the righteous dead at which time will they become adopted into Elohim’s family as his children, and not one second before! Many scriptures could be given to validate this truth, and we have discussed this topic previously elsewhere in more detail, but, for the time being, check out the following biblical passages: 1 John 3:1–3; 1 Cor 15:50–53.
Next we need to debunk the concept that all humans are the children of Elohim or “the brotherhood of man, fatherhood of Elohim” idea. That all humans are the children of Elohim is a globalistic, New World Order, all-religious-paths-lead-to-the-same-Elohim concept that is not only unbiblical, but is straight from the pit! It is true that all humans were made in the image of Elohim (Gen 1:26), but not all are his children. Some are children of the devil as we will discuss below.
The Bible clearly teaches that there are two categories of humans on earth: the children of Elohim and the children of the devil. The Scriptures couldn’t be clearer on this.
For example, again, in 1 John 3:10, we read,
In this the children of Elohim and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of Elohim, nor is he who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:10)
Not only does this scripture state that two groups of people exist on earth, but it clearly defines who the children of Elohim are. They are those who walk in Torah-righteousness (Ps 119:172), which tells us how to love not only or neighbor, but Elohim as well (Rom 13:8–10; Mark 12:29–31). John puts a finer point on who the children of Elohim are by stating that they are Torah-obedient, commandment keepers in 1 John 5:2,
By this we know that we love the children of Elohim, when we love Elohim and keep His commandments.
Yeshua clearly states who the children of Elohim are, as well, in Luke 6:35, and he states that they righteous and Torah obedient. (Maybe this is where John got the concept in the first place…)
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
Paul clearly states who the children of Elohim are as well. It couldn’t be clearer!
For as many as are led by the Spirit of Elohim, these are sons of Elohim. (Rom 8:16)
Now let’s discuss the children of light versus the children of darkness.
Therefore be imitators of Elohim as dear children. And walk in love, as Messiah also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to Elohim for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Messiah and Elohim. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of Elohim comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. (Eph 5:1–11)
From this passage we learn several things. The saints used to be children of darkness, but by coming to the light of Messiah and his truth, the Word of Elohim, they become children of light. Moreover, the children of Elohim imitate Yeshua the Messiah by putting off sin, which is lawlessness or Torahlessness (1 John 3:4). Obviously, then, heathens are not the children of Elohim, at least, not until they turn away from their spiritual darkness or sin, and begin to walk in righteousness as defined by the Word of Elohim.
So then, who are the children of the devil? As already noted, the first epistle of John mentions the children of Elohim and the children of the devil.
In this the children of Elohim and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of Elohim, nor is he who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:10)
Moreover, Yeshua called some of the Jews who purported to believe in him, but who were frauds, children of the devil.
You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44)
Elsewhere, both John and Yeshua referred to some of the religious Jews as a brood of vipers (Matt 3:7; 12:24; 23:33; Luke 3:7). This was a not so polite way of calling them the children of Satan the serpent who caused man to sin in the beginning by rebelling against the word of Elohim at the tree of knowledge.
From all of these Scriptures we learn several things. First, even some religious people are actually children of the devil. So not all people in the church are the children of Elohim. Secondly, the heathens are not sons of Elohim…yet. Unless or until they become so, they are children of darkness or of the devil! And third, one doesn’t become a full and literal child of Elohim until he receives his glorified, immortal spirit-body at the second coming of Yeshua at the resurrection of the righteous saints.
John 1:14, Only begotten [Gr. monogenes].The Greek word monogenes means “unique, one of a kind” and not “only begotten” as is commonly translated in most of our English Bibles. The NIV and ESV translations more correctly substitutes the phrase “only begotten” found in this verse and in John 3:16 (along with John 1:18 and 1 John 4:9) with the word only. Why is this latter translation a better though not a perfect one? This is because Greek scholars originally thought that monogenes was derived from two Greek words: mono (only) and genao (to beget, to bear). Greek scholars have now discovered that monogenes actually derives not from genao, but from genos meaning “one of a kind or class” and therefore means “unique, the one and only, the one and only of a family” (The Unseen Realm, pp. 36–37, by Michael S. Heiser; see also The Complete Word Dictionary pp. 995–996, by Spiros Zodhiates). Clearly the Bible teaches that YHVH has other sons (e.g. the divine sons of Elohim or beney Elohim [e.g. see Gen 6:2, 4; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7]), so Yeshua is not literally the only begotten son of Elohim according to Scripture. But he is the unique Son of Elohim of which there is no other like him. He is without peer and in a class of his own, and as Elohim (John 1:1), he is above and superior to all the other sons of Elohim.
John 1:22–23, Who are you?John didn’t view himself in any special prophetic role. He was simply consumed with the task of fulfilling his mission, even though later on, Yeshua called him the greatest of all prophets and likened him Elijah. The point is that a real prophet will be humble in his demeanor and will shun titles, accolades and comparisons with known biblical prophets. Instead, he will focus on the divine mission he has been given and nothing more.
The prophet…the Messiah. The Jews failed to realize that the prophet of Deuteronomy 18 that Moses prophesied that YHVH would raise up was one and the same person.
John 1:28, Bethabara beyond the Jordan.John’s discussion with these Jewish leaders occurred “beyond the Jordan” or on the east side of the Jordan River. Bethabara in Hebrew means “house or place of the crossing over” and contains the same three letter root (רבע) as the name Eber, who was the grandfather of Abraham from which the name Hebrews drives.
John baptizing in the Jordan River was spiritually symbolic of one making the choice, as did Abraham, the father of the Hebrews and the saints’ spiritual father of faith (Gal 3:29), and the one to whom YHVH initially showed the path or pattern of salvation (Romans chapter 4), to cross over from the world (or “Babylon”) and to become a Hebrew. A Hebrew or Ivrit is one who has crossed over by faith from the world and its religious systems into the Promised Land of one’s spiritual inheritance.
In the case of John, the priest or cohen, he was baptizing those who were crossing over from a manmade or worldly religious system that had largely become disconnected from the essentials of its Hebraic roots and had become a confused (or Babylonian) mixture of good and evil (as in the tree by that name that was located in the garden) and was no longer a tree of life.
Baptism was a symbolic act of dying to the world, the flesh and devil by coming out of false religious systems of men and crossing over into deeper, purer and anointed spiritual relationship or walk with Elohim through Yeshua the Mashiach (or anointed one) just as Abraham had done two millennia previously.
Presently, YHVH is calling all of this people to come out of spiritual Babylonian religious harlot systems that are fornicating with the world by becoming like or syncretizing with the it (Rev 18:4) and to cross over into a more Hebraic spiritual orientation in their walk with him. This act along with one’s faith in Yeshua the Hebrew Messiah (John 1:1–18, 29) is a pre-requisite for becoming a child of Elohim (John 1:12).
John 1:41, Messiah…which means Christ.If the Gospel of John were originally written in Greek, this phrase would be irrelevant and redundant, since Messiah and Christ have the same meaning, but the former is from Hebrew and the latter is from the Greek. This is an in-text proof that John was originally penned in Hebrew or Aramaic.
John 1:51, Angels of Elohim ascending.This is a clear reference to Jacob’s vision of the latter to heaven. The word angel (Gr. angelos) means “a messenger, envoy, one who is sent, an angel, a messenger from Elohim,” and can refer to human messengers as well as to angels (in the traditional sense of the word). Angelos is synonymous with the Hebrew word malak, which has the same definition. It was “angels” or messengers ascending and descending the ladder that Jacob saw in his vision. Both malak and angelos can refer to human messengers as well. For example, Yeshua called John the Baptist a messenger (angelos, see Matt 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:27; also see 2 Cor 12:7; Phil 2:25). Therefore, the “angels” Jacob and Yeshua refers to who are climbing the ladder to heaven, which is Yeshua himself, could easily refer to YHVH’s heavenly earthly messengers, which are the saints as they presently or in Yeshua’s millennial kingdom go about their divine task of spreading the gospel of Yeshua who is the way to the Father in heaven.
John 2:13, Passover of the Jews.(See also John 5:5; 6:4; 11:55; 12:1; 13:1.) This “Passover of the Jews” was in opposition to the Passover feasts held by competing religious sects of the time (e.g. the Essenes at Qumran and the Samaritans). The modern Samaritans following ancient calendric traditions, for example, held their Passover on May 4 in 2012 as opposed to April 6, which is the actual date on the biblical calendar. The ancient Qumran community embraced an “unorthodox liturgical calendar that [set] them apart from the rest of Jewry” (The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, by Geza Vermes, p. 41). For example, on the Qumran community’s solar-based calendar that is based on a 364-day year, the Passover always fell on a Wednesday (ibid. p. 79).
John 2:21–22, Temple of his body.This is a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isa 8:13) that the Messiah would be a like a “sanctuary” (Heb. miqdash, which is one of the names of the tabernacle and temple). In that role as a fulfillment of the Tabernacle of Moss, he would be a stone of stumbling to both houses of Israel (i.e. the Jews and the Christians, Isa 8:13). This can be taken to mean that Yeshua in himself completely fulfilled the tabernacle’s (and temple’s) role — that it all pointed to him and was fulfilled in his life, death, burial, resurrection and his role as our Great High Priest in heaven.
John 3:5, Of water and the Spirit. This phrase is a literary device that is common in Hebraic literature and called a hendiadys, which is a grammatical structure where two nouns are linked by the word and, and at the same time have a coordinate rather than a subordinate relationship. That is to say, the two nouns represent a single modified concept rather than two separate concepts. For example, if we say “the coffee is nice and hot,” what we really mean is “it’s nice hot coffee.” In this case, a better translation of Yeshua’s words would be “unless one is born of spiritual water, one cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” Biblically, water is a spiritual metaphor for both the Holy Spirit and the Word of Elohim, which are, in reality, two sides of the same coin. That is to say, one can’t understand the Word of Elohim without the Holy Spirit who, according to Yeshua, helps us to understand the Word of Elohim (John 16:13–14).
John 3:13, No one has ascended to heaven. Most Christians believe that when they die, they immediately go to heaven in spite of Yeshua’s clear statement in this verse. Moreover, many believers see this verse as referring to the saints who died before Yeshua’s resurrection, but not true of those who died afterwards, even though he doesn’t say this. Therefore, they reason, this is why, according to Peter, David, who was born before Yeshua, is still resting in his grave awaiting the last days resurrection (Acts 2:29). If what the majority of Christians believe on this subject were true, then the saints of old are second class citizens and YHVH is a respecter persons (which he is not, see Acts 10:34; Rom 2:11) in that they have to wait for resurrection day and for their ultimate reward of eternal life, while the saints born since Yeshua receive immortality immediately upon death. Laying aside all the church traditions and doctrines of men, what does the Bible in the simplest and clearest terms say about the timing of the saints receiving immortality and their glorified bodies? Paul states that the resurrection of all the dead saints and their receiving immortality occurs not at the time of their physical death, but at the second coming of Yeshua at the last trumpet (1 Cor 15:51–54; 1 Thess 4:13–18 cp. Rev 11:15, 18).
In reality, men’s eternal inheritance isn’t heaven, but will be the New Jerusalem, which is coming down from heaven to the new earth (Rev 21:2).
For Elohim so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
This famous verse could be rewritten to read (place your own name in this verse):
For Nathan so loved Elohim and hated the world that he gave the only thing he had—his whole heart—to Yeshua, Elohim’s only begotten Son, for the purpose of sharing the good news Truth with the whole world that whoever believes in Yeshua should not perish but have everlasting life.
Love…gave. (cp. 1 John 3:16)
Only begotten. On the true meaning of the Greek word monogenes, see notes at John 1:14.
In (or into, The Interlinear Bible, by J.P. Green). The Greek word for in is eis (ei˙ß), which is a primary preposition meaning “to, into (indicating the point reached or entered; see Strong’s). ei˙ß is used in the accusative case (with a direct object) with the primary idea of motion into any place or thing; also of motion or direction to, toward or upon any place, thing. The opposite is ek (=ek)meaning “out of” (see Zodhiates). By contrast, the Greek preposition en (=en) is used in the dative case (with indirect objects) and means “in, on, at, by any place or thing with the primary idea of rest. This is in contrast to ei˙ß, which means indicates motion into or onto something, and =ekwhich indicates motion out of something, while =en, in, means “remaining in place” (see Zodhiates).
Although an analysis of all the occurrences in the NT of the English phrases “in Jesus/Christ/the Lord/Him” indicate that Yeshua and the apostolic writers (or their translators) seem to have used the Greek words en and eis interchangeably, at the same time, when they employ eis, it must be noted that they seem to be emphasizing the reality of being more deeply rooted spiritually into Yeshua. For example, one can believe in something in a surface manner with their mind only, but not with their whole heart. There is a difference between having a head knowledge of something versus an experiential understanding of it. This is like seeing a photo or video of a place versus actually having visiting it, of merely looking at food versus actually tasting it.
Many people have a head knowledge of Yeshua, but are not heart-rooted or grounded in him relationally and experientially. In a finely nuanced sense, this may have been in the mind of the NT writers (or their translators) when they, at times, specifically used the word eis instead of en to emphasize the need to be deeply rooted into and to be united with the Messiah.