Skip to content

MESSIANIC STUDY

RAbbbi The Unity and Plurality of God

By Victoria Day

  • The Messiah Is God
  • The Messiah to be Born of a Virgin
  • Jesus Reveals Himself to be the Messiah and God
  • The Deity of Christ According to the New Testament
  • Jesus Receives Worship
  • He is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last

Of course, traditional Judaism sees no place for Jesus as the Messiah of Israel.  It holds no concept of a triune God and ignores passages that indicate plurality, or unity, in His oneness. Yachid, in Hebrew, means one, but is singular.  Echad is best interpreted as “one in unity.”  Some cults such as Jehovah’s Witnesses deny His deity and others deny His plurality.  But what does God’s Word say?

THE UNITY AND PLURALITY OF GOD

We can begin with the very heart of Israel – the Shema:

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” (Deu 6:4 NASB)

The word “one” in the above verse is “echad”.

H259

אחד

‘echâd

ekh-awd’

A numeral from H258; properly united, that is, one; or (as an ordinal) first: – a, alike, alone, altogether, and, any (-thing), apiece, a certain [dai-] ly, each (one), + eleven, every, few, first, + highway, a man, once, one, only, other, some, together.

Another name for God used frequently in the Old Testament is Elohiym, another plural:

H430

אלהים

‘ĕlôhı̂ym

el-o-heem’

Plural of H433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative: – angels, X exceeding, God (gods) (-dess, -ly), X (very) great, judges, X mighty.

Interesting examples of a unified but plural deity would be:

“THEN GOD SAID, “LET US MAKE MAN IN OUR IMAGE, ACCORDING TO OUR LIKENESS; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26 NASB)

“Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the MAN HAS BECOME LIKE ONE OF US, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”– (Gen 3:22 NASB)

Conclusion:  God in the Old Testament is not limited to yachid (singular), but can also refer to God as echad (One in unity).  He is also known as Elohiym, which is a plural of ‘ĕlôahh,  a deity or the deity: – God, god according to Strong’s Concordance.

God certainly is One, but it makes sense to understand the plural elements found in both the Old and New Testament as a Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Jesus said:  “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30 NASB)

THE MESSIAH IS GOD

How is the Messiah understood through both the Old and New Testaments?  Rabbinic Jews will say the Messiah was not considered to be God in their Holy Scriptures, but Scripture itself refutes this and deifies Him:

The following verse is recognized by both rabbis and Christians as messianic.  In the JPS (Jewish Publication Society) His name is not translated.  It’s easy to see why!

NASB

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, MIGHTY GOD, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and foRevelationermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7 NASB)

JPS

“For a child is born unto us, a son is given unto us; and the government is upon his shoulder; and his name is called Pele- joez-EL-GIBBOR-Abi-ad-sar-shalom;  That the government may be increased, and of peace there be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it through justice and through righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts doth perform this.” (Isaiah 9:5 -7)

In the following messianic passage in the JPS, not only is His birthplace prophesied, but His eternal existence:

“But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from ancient days.” (Micah 5:2 JPS)

And the King James Version states:

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2 KJV)

THE MESSIAH TO BE BORN OF A VIRGIN

“Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14 JPS)

Some have interpreted this passage as being a DUAL prophecy that had its fulfillment both in Isaiah’s day and at the birth of Christ in the New Testament centuries later.  Others would say this passage speaks strictly of a future prophecy.  I believe both views are valid, however, the only one that can be proven is the latter, as the New Testament explains this prophecy as having been fulfilled in Jesus.  The Old Testament interpretation, while paying due respect to context, relies on assumptions unproven that a child named (or declared) Immanuel was born in Isaiah’s time as a sign to King Ahaz.  Immanuel is not a common name in Israel.  “God with us” may apply to the sign itself, but surely not to any child except the Messiah of Israel.  In the JPS, the woman calls the child Immanuel.  In Matthew’s account, “they” shall call him by that name. I leave the reader to determine what he believes about this passage.

Matthew’s account in the N.T.  

“But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. ” She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.” And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:20-25 NASB)

At first glance this would seem to be a discrepancy.  Why didn’t Mary call Jesus “Immanuel?” But in Jewish thought, names represent character and the word “call” can be translated as “declare”. 

As “Immanuel” means “God with us,” Yhoshua means “Jehovah saves.” Both are true of the character of Jesus.

JESUS CLAIMS TO BE THE MESSIAH AND GOD

Some have claimed that Jesus never declared to be God or the Messiah.  The following verses suggest otherwise:

“The woman *said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” Jesus *said to her, “I WHO SPEAK TO YOU AM HE.”” (John 4:25-26 NASB)

“Simon Peter answered, “YOU ARE THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.” And JESUS SAID TO HIM, “BLESSED ARE YOU, SIMON BARJONA, BECAUSE FLESH AND BLOOD DID NOT REVEAL THIS TO YOU, BUT MY FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN.” (Matthew 16:16-17 NASB)

“If You are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I ask a question, you will not answer. “But from now on THE SON OF MAN WILL BE SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND of the power OF GOD.” And they all said, “ARE YOU THE SON OF GOD, THEN?” AND HE SAID TO THEM, “YES, I AM.” Then they said, “What further need do we have of testimony? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.” (Luke 22:67-71 NASB)

“Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS BORN, I AM.” Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.” (John 8:58-59 NASB)

Referring to Exodus 3:14, “I am that I am.”  The Pharisees knew what Jesus was saying and considered it blasphemy.  Jesus was admitting that He was the “I AM.” 

THE DEITY OF CHRIST ACCORDING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT

 “For IN HIM ALL THE FULLNESS OF DEITY DWELLS IN BODILY FORM,” (Colossians 2:9 NASB)

“…who, although HE EXISTED IN THE FORM OF GOD, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and BEING MADE IN THE LIKENESS OF MEN. BEING FOUND IN APPEARANCE AS A MAN, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8 NASB)

“No one has seen God at any time; THE ONLY BEGOTTEN GOD who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” (John 1:18 NASB)

The following verse is also very indicative of Christ’s deity.  It is a quote from Psalm 110 which clearly signifies in verse five that it is the LORD who is at the Lord’s right hand..

“But to which of the angels has He ever said, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET”? (Hebrews 1:13; mentioned Lukee 20:43; Acts 2:35; Hebrews 10:13, NASB)

PSALM 110

A Psalm of David. The LORD (Yehovah or יהוה, Yahveh) says to my Lord: (Adonay) “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” (Psalm 110:1 NASB)

VERSE 5

THE LORD (ADONAY) IS AT YOUR RIGHT HAND; He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath. “ (Psalm 110:5 NASB)

JESUS RECEIVES WORSHIP

It is blasphemous for anyone to receive the worship that is due God alone and it is idolatrous to worship anyone but God.  The following verses coming from a place of faith in Christ Jesus will testify to His deity, but for unbelieving Jews, they are stumbling blocks (Isaiah 8:13-15) :

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For WE SAW HIS STAR IN THE EAST AND HAVE COME TO WORSHIP HIM.” (Matthew 2:1-2 NASB)

“And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM.” And of the angels He says, “WHO MAKES HIS ANGELS WINDS, AND HIS MINISTERS A FLAME OF FIRE.” But of the Son He says, “YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVELATIONER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM.” (Hebrews 1:6-8 NASB)

Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.” And he said, “Lord, I believe.” And he WORSHIPED HIM.” (John 9:35-38 NASB)

“And those who were in the boat WORSHIPED HIM, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”

(Matthew 14:33 NASB)

“And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and WORSHIPED HIM.” (Matthew 28:9 NASB)

“Thomas answered and said to Him, “MY LORD AND MY GOD!” (John 20:28 NASB)

“When they saw Him, they WORSHIPED HIM; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,…” (Matthew 28:17-19 NASB)

Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.” And he said, “Lord, I believe.” And he WORSHIPED HIM.” (John 9:35-38 NASB)

HE IS THE ALPHA AND OMEGA, THE FIRST AND THE LAST

It is evident in the Old Testament that God describes Himself as the First and the Last:

“Who has performed and accomplished it, Calling forth the generations from the beginning? ‘I, THE LORD, AM THE FIRST, AND WITH THE LAST. I AM HE.'” (Isaiah 41:4 NASB)

“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I AM THE FIRST AND I AM THE LAST, AND THERE IS NO GOD BESIDES ME. ‘Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; Yes, let him recount it to Me in order, From the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming And the events that are going to take place. ‘Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. IS THERE ANY GOD BESIDES ME, OR IS THERE ANY OTHER ROCK? I KNOW OF NONE.‘” (Isaiah 44:6-8 NASB)

Jesus claims the same title in the New Testament:

“In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I AM THE FIRST AND THE LAST, AND THE LIVING ONE; AND I WAS DEAD, AND BEHOLD, I AM ALIVE FOREVERMORE, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” (Revelation 1:16-18 NASB)

“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. “I AM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA, THE FIRST AND THE LAST, THE BEGINNING AND THE END.” (Revelation 22:12-13 NASB)

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: THE FIRST AND THE LAST, WHO WAS DEAD, AND HAS COME TO LIFE, SAYS THIS:..” (Revelation 2:8 NASB)

“BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. “I AM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA,” SAYS THE LORD GOD, “WHO IS AND WHO WAS AND WHO IS TO COME, THE ALMIGHTY.” (Revelation 1:7-8 NASB)

“Then He said to me, “It is done. I AM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA, THE BEGINNING AND THE END. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.” (Revelation 21:6-7 NASB)  *See John 4:13-14; 6:35

Conclusion:

In Israel today there are an estimated 10 – 15,000 messianic Jews with approximately 300 messianic congregations. The Hassidim (Orthodox Jews) have made it very difficult for these Jewish brethren to worship freely, but we should not despair.  They are blinded for the present, filled with anger over what they perceive to be a falling away from Judaism.  But let us remember the patience of the martyr Stephen, Jesus’ parting words “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” and the Apostle Paul’s heart for them and pray that they may yet see the Messiah they’ve been awaiting.  He will come a SECOND time:

“For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery–so that you will not be wise in your own estiMatthewion–that A PARTIAL HARDENING HAS HAPPENED TO ISRAEL UNTIL THE FULLNESS OF THE GENTILES HAS COME IN; AND SO ALL ISRAEL WILL BE SAVED; just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.” “THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.” FROM THE STANDPOINT OF THE GOSPEL THEY ARE ENEMIES FOR YOUR SAKE, BUT FROM THE STANDPOINT OF GOD’S CHOICE THEY ARE BELOVED FOR THE SAKE OF THE FATHERS; FOR THE GIFTS AND THE CALLING OF GOD ARE IRREVOCABLE.” (Romans 11:25-29 NASB)

Baruch ha’ba, ba shem Adonai.

QUESTIONS TO PONDER

  • Why do you think rabbis ignore messianic passages?
  •  What does Yhoshua mean?
  • God has many names.  Which name did Yhoshua use in the burning bush?
  • Why do you think Mary didn’t name Jesus “Immanuel?”
  • If only God can receive worship, explain why Jesus did not rebuke those who worshiped Him?
  • Explain “the fullness of deity.”
  • If we cannot see the face of God, and Jesus is God, how could anyone see His face?
  • What do you think qualifies Jesus as deity?
  • Why do you think the majority of Jewish people cannot see Jesus as the Messiah?
  • What should be our response be to Jews who persecute messianic believers?

COME QUICKLY, LORD JESUS.

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: