Coherence Week 2 Notes
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Why do we make such a big stink about particulars regarding Yeshua at Ben David Messianic Jewish Congregation? Why do we insist that leaders in the congregation accept that Yeshua was fully God and fully man?
Quite honestly, the Bible fails to make sense if we do not.
The Bible as a whole is a story – it is a love story of sorts - about a creator and His creation. Yet something went wrong (a.k.a, sin), and the Bible provides historical snapshots about how God works to repair the damage and the curse of sin. The key to this restoration is Yeshua – the Gospel in living form.
If we accept that the Bible is God’s revelation to us about Himself – then we find there are some oddities that defy our neat packaged explanations. We see for example, the YHVH calling down fire from the YHVH (Genesis 19:24). We see the YHVH sending the YHVH in Isaiah 48:16. These are but a few passages that require us to rethink what the “oneness” of God means (echad, Deuteronomy 6:4).
We asserted in this class that God was “multi-personal.” I wish I had a better definition, but it will suffice to say that that God exists in multiple personas, and yet there is one God. We can be content to leave it at that, but we receive more revelation in the B’rit Chadashah (a.k.a., the New Testament) when we see that the long awaited Messiah was in fact God Himself in human form. Granted there is in the Tanakh (a.k.a., the Old Testament) no explicit verse that states the divinity of the Messiah – but we have a lot of clues that taken together solidify this claim. For example, Isaiah 53:4-5 asserts that the Messiah would be crushed for us, and Isaiah 53:12 asserts the Messiah bore our sins. These passages are very perplexing as God is the one who forgives sins – how can God crushing a man (or Israel as some assert) forgive us of our sins?
If we put together the atonement plan of God with these cryptic references to “another” YHVH – we get a Messiah who is both God and man. This is exactly what we see in Yeshua as revealed in the B’rit Chadashah. We see One in whom the fullness of deity dwelt in bodily form (Philippians 2:5-8). We see Yeshua limited by the confines of his humanity (i.e., he slept, got tired). But we also see much more that cannot be explained if he is only human.
Detectors of Messiah’s deity will often focus on one piece of evidence and believe if they can disprove it they are correct to reject Yeshua’s divinity. For example, many Christians like to cite that the use of the plural word for God, Elohim, is proof positive that God is multi-personal. By itself the plurality of this name it is not explicit proof of anything because Elohim has a wide spectrum of uses – and those who deny the deity of the Messiah are quick to point this out. However, if God were indeed multi-personal then we would expect to find terms like Elohim – which in fact we do find. People may argue that Elohim by itself is not definitive proof of the plurality of the Godhead– but I’m still waiting to hear a compelling argument why the one God of Israel used this term in His revealed Word to us. If in fact He is not multi-personal then we are out of ideas.
So while the use of Elohim is not infallible proof by itself, it is one part of a long case that asserts that God is a lot bigger than we realize. The evidence of the divinity of the Messiah in the Tanakh is multi-threaded – and thus we presented a variety of evidence to solidify our claims.
But why the dual nature? Well if Yeshua was not God, and only a man, then God is accepting human sacrifices. This is not something we find in the Torah proper. One might give their life for another – but to give your life to absolve their sins is entirely another matter and is a concept alien to the Tanakh. Without a temple we also have a serious problem because Biblical Judaism was built on the foundation of sacrifice. The only way to solve these issues was for God to offer something to meet His own requirements in His Torah- a truly blameless sacrifice – and that was Himself. God could not demonstrate His Chessed (a.k.a., lovingkindness) in any greater way than by sacrificing Himself – a lesson of us all might I add (Phillipians 2:3-4).
Thank God we have that eternal sacrifice in the work and person of Yeshua.