WE JEWS DON'T BELIEVE THAT A MAN CAN BE GOD!
by Avram Yehoshua
(footnote number and note in red)
'Idolatry!, that's what it is!' he shouted. I had come into his home to share the Messiah of Israel with him. 'I know how you feel concerning the Messiah Yeshua,' I said. 'He does claim equality with God.'
'A man cannot be God! That's blasphemy!' he thundered. 'I agree with you,' I said, which momentarily caused him to wonder what I meant. I took the opportunity to ask, 'Do you believe the Hebrew Scriptures?' 'Of course I do,' he told me.
'Do we agree that only the God of Israel is to receive our worship?' 'Yes!' he emphatically affirmed. 'I believe that too. But how do you explain the Angel of the Lord not only receiving worship, but speaking in the first person, as God?' He didn't know what to say. I don't think he had ever come across this before. I took out the Hebrew Bible and began to show him Malh-ach Yahveh, commonly translated as...
In the Binding of Isaac, Genesis 22:1 states that the God of Israel tested Father Avraham in commanding him to sacrifice Isaac. Just as Avraham is about to slit the throat of the son he loved, an extraordinary event occurs. Gen. 22:11-12 reads:
THE ANGEL OF THE LORD'Then an angel of the LORD called to him from heaven: "Avraham! Avraham!" And he answered, "Here I am." And he said, "Do not raise your hand against the boy or do anything to him. For now I know that your fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your favored one, from Me."'We Jews like to teach that the main point in this monumental event is that God was showing Avraham that He really does not want child sacrifice, a common practice in Avraham's day...and ours. If that is the case, then it seems to me that God chose a rather strange way to reveal this. For not once in Genesis 22 do we hear God stating that we should not sacrifice our children. Hmm...
God certainly does not condone child sacrifice (Leviticus 20:1-3), but the main point of the story has to do with the faith and trust of Father Avraham. It is here that Avraham attains the status of Father. Avraham loved God more than his most precious possession, Isaac. And this test would prove it, to Avraham. And also to the rest of the world. They would see God in Avraham. For here was a man offering up his entire being to the LORD. God knew what Avraham was going to do. When God required it, Avraham was willing to sacrifice his son. Why? Because Avraham knew God's love in experiential reality.
Look who intervenes to stop the sacrifice. An angel of the LORD. Don't you find this strange? If God had set up the test, then why didn't God stop it and not an angel? (For what if the angel was evil and had come to disrupt the sacrifice? How did Avraham know that the angel was acting in accordance with God's will?)
God does stop it though. Listen to how the angel speaks, 'For now I know that you fear God...' Who is he?!, that he speaks of knowing? And who does this angel think he is when he says, '...since you have not withheld your son, your favored one, from Me'! Only God can relate this way, not an angel.
One isolated incident that can be variously interpreted? Just a few chapters away there just happens to be another such 'isolated' incident. Sarai (Avram's wife before God changed her name to Sarah), was fed up with her Egyptian maidservant Hagar. For Hagar despised Sarai for not being able to bear any children. It got so bad that Hagar ran off. Genesis 16:9-10 states:
THE ANGEL OF THE LORD AND HAGAR'And the angel of the LORD said to her, "Go back to your mistress, and submit to her harsh treatment." And the angel of the LORD said to her, "I will greatly increase your offspring, and they shall be too many to count."'Who is this angel?, who says that he will greatly increase Hagar's offspring. Who is this angel that he can speak in the first person, as God?
In this episode Hagar only encounters this angel. Yet the Holy Scriptures, in Gen. 16:13 records Hagar interpreting the revelation of the angel in this way:'And she called the LORD who spoke to her, "You are El-roi," by which she meant, "Have I not gone on seeing after He saw me!"'What is Hagar doing saying that the LORD spoke to her? Only the angel speaks to her. And then she calls this angel, 'El-roi'?, which literally means, 'the God who sees'. What did Hagar see?!, an angel or God?
And then there is this other isolated incident of Yakov the deceiver being deceived by his Uncle Laban. But God was watching over Yakov and declares:
THE ANGEL OF THE LORD AND YAKOV'And in the dream an angel of God said to me, "Yakov!" "Here I am," I answered. And he said, "Note well that all the he-goats which are mating with the flock are streaked, speckled, and mottled; for I have noted all that Laban has been doing to you. I am the God of Beth-El, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now arise and leave this land and return to your native land"' (Genesis 31:11-13).Again this angel speaks as God Himself. By the way, do you know that God loves you as much as He does Fathers Avraham, Isaac and Yakov? In the Messiah Yeshua we experience this great love that Avraham knew. A love so great, he was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac for. Oh, that the Spirit of the Living God would open your heart to our Messiah Yeshua.
In one of Yakov's greatest hours of need, when he thought that his twin brother Esau was going to murder him, Yakov wrestles with 'a man' who changes his name. Genesis 32:25-31 reveals that:'Yakov was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn. When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he wrenched Yakov's hip at its socket, so that the socket of his hip was strained as he wrestled with him. Then he said, "Let me go, for dawn is breaking." But he answered, "I will not let you go, unless you bless me." Said the other, 'What is your name?" He replied, "Yakov." Said he, "Your name shall no longer be Yakov, but Israel, for you have striven with beings divine and human and have prevailed." Yakov asked, "Pray tell me your name." But he said, "You must not ask my name!" And he took leave of him there. So Yakov named the place Peniele meaning, "I have seen a divine being face to face, yet my life has been preserved."Why did Yakov ask this 'man' to bless him? And look how Yakov is blessed. His name is changed from Yakov, which means conniver or deceiver, to Israel, one who wrestles with God and man, perseveres, and finds favor with both.
The blessing is extremely significant for Yakov's character was symbolically changed. This is what God wants to do with all of us Jews. For we are all born into this world as 'Yakovs'; connivers. And the God of Israel wants to transform our nature into 'Israel'; one who wrestles with God and perseveres. We Jews are called the Children of Israel more times than anything else. Quite a blessing. It is through the Messiah Yeshua that our nature is changed though.
The phrase 'beings divine and human' with a little 'd' is a translation of the Hebrew phrase, im Elo-heem vih-im-ah-nah-sheem, and the phrase would best be rendered, 'with God and with men.' This is what the footnote 'd' is for. The footnote reads; 'd Or, God and men.'
In The Holy Scriptures, The Jewish Publication Society of America, copyright, 1955, thirteenth printing 1982, Genesis 32:29 is written:'And he said: "Thy name shall be called no more Yakov, but Israel; for thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed."'The man who wrestled with Yakov plays a significant role in the life of Yehoshua too. More about that later.
When we examine the word 'Peniel', the name Yakov gives to that place, the translation has Yakov saying, 'I have seen a divine being face to face, yet my life has been preserved.' In footnote 'e' it states, 'e Understood as "face of God". And in The Holy Scriptures, cited above, Genesis 32:31 reads:'And Yakov called the name of the place Peniel:b "for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."The footnote 'b' states, 'b That is, The face of God.' The man that Yakov wrestled with, that blessed him by changing his name to Israel, is equal with God. The understanding that 'no one can see God and live' is well founded. But it is never spoken of a 'common' angel of God.
Yakov saw and wrestled with God, in the form of a man, and was not destroyed. This leads me to believe that what the Scriptures mean is that no one can see God fully manifest and withstand His Radiant Glory.
When the Lord Yeshua returns to establish the New Jerusalem, the Heavens and the Earth will be crisped. It says in Dt. 4:24 that our 'God is a consuming fire.'
When our Father Yakov was on his deathbed, he speaks of an Angel redeeming him. I thought only God redeems Israel? Genesis 48:15-16 relates:'And he blessed Joseph, saying, "The God in whose ways my Fathers Avraham and Isaac walked, The God who has been my Shepherd from my birth to this day---the Angel who has redeemed me from all harm---Bless the lads..."'How very strange. Father Yakov asks 'The Angel' to bless the lads. It is as though the two verses constitute two Beings who are God. Look how Yakov begins by describing how both his Fathers walked in the way of God; how God was Yakov's Shepherd and how he relates that it was the Angel that redeemed him from all harm.1
Why is Yakov including this Angel in the same breath with God? And why does he speak of the Angel as redeeming him? I thought only God should get the glory for that...even if He uses an angel.
And what are our Torah translators doing when they capitalize the letter 'A' in Angel?! (All English translations unless otherwise noted, are taken from The Torah, The Five Books of Moses, The Jewish Publication Society of America, copyright 1962, second edition, fourteenth impression, 1982; or The Prophets, The Jewish Publication Society of America, copyright 1978).
Who called to Moses out of the midst of the burning bush?, the angel of the LORD or the LORD Himself? The account seems to be a little confusing until one realizes that the Two are One. We find this isolated incident in Exodus 3:2-6:
THE ANGEL OF THE LORD AND MOSES'An angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire out of a bush. He gazed, and there was a bush all aflame, yet the bush was not consumed.Who did Moses see in the burning bush? The Scriptures tell us that he saw an angel of the LORD. But it also relates how God seems to come right into the picture without so much as an introduction.
Moses said, "I must turn aside to look at this marvelous sight; why doesn't the bush burn up?"'
'When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to look, God called to him out of the bush: "Moses! Moses!" He answered, "Here I am." And He said, "Do not come closer. Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground. I am," He said, "the God of your father, the God of Avraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Yakov." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.'
God speaks to Moses from the bush, the place where the angel is, and in the last verse it says that Moses saw God. What did Moses see when he saw God?
Is it possible that the Spirit of God, who inspired the Hebrew Bible, is showing us that this Angel of the LORD and the LORD are One? Not the same, but one. Is marriage a reflection of the divine unity?
God the Spirit says that two people are actually one. Gen. 2:24 says: 'Hence a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, so that they become one flesh.' They are being reunited, so to speak, for Adam and Eve were originally one being. Eve came from Adam. A reflection of our God? For He says, '...Let us make Man in our image...' (Genesis 1:26)
The amazing thing about this story is not that the donkey talks but that its owner, Balaam, talks back to the donkey! Balaam the prophet, had come to Moab to curse Israel, as Israel was encamped in the land of Moab. Numbers 22:21-35 records Balaam's journey and his encounter with the Angel of the LORD:
THE ANGEL OF THE LORD AND THE TALKING DONKEY'When he arose in the morning, Balaam saddled his ass and departed with the Moabite dignitaries. But God was incensed at his going; so an angel of the LORD placed himself in his way as an adversary.'Balaam's eyes were opened and he saw why his way was blocked. He understood that he has been going against the angel of the LORD. Is it possible that your way has been blocked by the angel of the LORD, Yeshua the Messiah, and you have not seen Him?
'He was riding on his she-ass, with his two servants alongside, when the ass caught sight of the angel of the LORD standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. The ass swerved from the road and went into the fields; and Balaam beat the ass to turn her back onto the road.'
'The angel of the LORD then stationed himself in a lane between the vineyards, with a fence on either side. The ass seeing the angel of the LORD, pressed herself against the wall and squeezed Balaam's foot against the wall; so he beat her again.'
'Once more the angel of the LORD moved forward and stationed himself on a spot so narrow that there was no room to swerve right or left. When the ass now saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam; and Balaam was furious and beat the ass with his stick.'
'Then the LORD opened the ass's mouth, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you that you have beaten me these three times?" Balaam said to the ass, "You have made a mockery of me! If I had a sword with me, I'd kill you." The ass said to Balaam, "Look, I am the ass that you have been riding all along until this day! Have I been in the habit of doing thus to you?" And he said, "No."'
'Then the LORD uncovered Balaam's eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, his drawn sword in his hand; thereupon he bowed right down to the ground.c The angel of the LORD said to him, "Why have you beaten your ass these three times? It is I who came out as an adversary, for the errand is obnoxious to me.' 'And when the ass saw me, she shied away because of me those three times. If she had not shied away from me, you are the one I should have killed, while sparing her.'
'Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, "I erred because I did not know that you were standing in my way. If you still disapprove, I will turn back." But the angel of the LORD said to Balaam, "Go with the men. But you must say nothing except what I tell you." So Balaam went on with Balak's dignitaries.'
Balaam 'bowed right down to the ground.c' The footnote'c' reads, 'Lit. "and prostrated himself to his nostrils."' If this angel were from God he should tell Balaam to get up; that one should only bow or prostrate (which is equal to worship) to God. But this angel accepts Balaam's homage and continues to tell Balaam that 'the errand is obnoxious to' him, the angel, not saying rather that the errand was obnoxious to God. And what of this drawn sword in his hand, in verses 23 & 31? Thought you'd never ask.
When Yehoshua sets out to capture Jericho, he too encounters someone who is standing with a drawn sword in his hand. And Yehoshua, the mighty military general of the Army of Israel, the one who will lead Israel into the Promised Land, the one who takes the place of Moses, worships the one with the drawn sword.
THE PRINCE OF THE ARMIES OF THE HEAVENS AND YEHOSHUA
Like the account of Balaam, Yehoshua does not initially recognize who it is that is standing before him. Yehoshua 5:13-6:2 states:
'Once, when Yehoshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing before him, drawn sword in hand. Yehoshua went up to him and asked him, "Are you one of us or of our enemies?" He replied, "No, I am captain of the LORD's host. Now I have come!" Yehoshua threw himself face down to the ground and, prostrating himself, said to him, "What does my lord command his servant?"Here again we meet someone standing with a drawn sword in his hand that when Yehoshua recognizes who it is, he worships him. The man literally says to Yehoshua, 'No, for I am the Prince of the Army of the LORD and now I have come...'
The captain of the LORD's host answered Yehoshua, "Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy." And Yehoshua did so.' 'Now Jericho was shut up tight because of the Israelites; no one could leave or enter. The LORD said to Yehoshua, "See, I will deliver Jericho and her king [and her] warriors into your hands."'
This Prince, before he can complete a sentence, receives worship from one of the greatest men that God has ever raised up. What is Yehoshua doing bowing before this man? Who did Yehoshua see?! And what man or angel would Yehoshua refer to as 'my lord'?!, Yehoshua taking the position of 'his servant'?
The Prince tells Yehoshua to '"Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy." And Yehoshua did so.' The very words that Moses heard at the burning bush! No doubt spoken in Yehoshua's ear many times by Moses.
God was doing the same thing with Yehoshua as He had done with Moses. Yehoshua 1:5 records God saying to Yehoshua: 'As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.' Yehoshua knew the One who was speaking to him, and that is why he took off his sandals. The Scriptures say it was the LORD. 'The Lord said to Yehoshua, "See, I will deliver Jericho..."' (Yehoshua 6:2).
This angel of the LORD, who is alternately seen by Yakov and Yehoshua as a man, is the Messiah of Israel, Yeshua. Please listen with your heart...
YESHUA AND THE BLIND MANAs he went along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. His talmidim (students) asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, for him to have been born blind?" "Neither he nor his parents' sin caused this blindness," Yeshua said, "he was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him."'The reason why the Pharisees were so concerned whether this man was born blind or not concerns the tradition that states that the salve of a righteous man, could open the eyes of a blind man; but not someone born blind. Only the Messiah could do that.
'As long as the day lasts I must carry out the work of the One who sent me; the night will soon be here when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the world."'
'Having said this, he spat on the ground, made a salve with the spittle, put this over the eyes of the blind man, and said to him, "Go and wash in the Pool of Shiloah (a name that means, 'the Pool of the Sent One'). So the blind man went off and washed himself, and came away with his sight restored.'
'His neighbors and people who earlier had seen him begging said, "Isn't this the man who used to sit and beg?" Some said, "Yes, it is the same one." Others said, "No, he only looks like him."'
'The man himself said, "I am the man." So they said to him, "How are your eyes opened?" "The man called Yeshua made a salve, put it on my eyes, and told me, 'Go to Shiloah and wash.' So I went and as soon as I had washed, I could see!" They said to him, "Where is he?" and he replied, "I don't know."
'They took the man who had been blind to the Pharisees. Now the day on which Yeshua had made the salve was a Shabat (Sabbath). So the Pharisees asked him again how he had become able to see; and he told them, "He put a salve on my eyes, then I washed, and now I can see." At this, some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God because he doesn't keep Shabat."
'But others said, "How could a man who is a sinner do miracles like these?" And there was a split among them. So once more they spoke to the blind man: "Since you're the one whose eyes he opened, what do you say about him?" He replied: "He is a prophet."
'The Judeans, however, were unwilling to believe that he had formerly been blind, but now could see, until they had summoned the man's parents. They asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?"
'His parents answered, "We know that this is our son and that he was born blind; but how it is that he can see now, we don't know; nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him - he's old enough, he can speak for himself!" the parents said this because they were afraid of the Judeans, for the Judeans had already agreed that anyone who acknowledged Yeshua as the Messiah would be banned from the synagogue. This is why his parents said, "He's old enough, ask him."'
'So a second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, "Swear to God that you will tell the truth! We know that this man is a sinner." He answered, "Whether he's a sinner or not I don't know. One thing I do know: I was blind, and now I see."
'So they said to him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" "I already told you," he answered, "and you didn't listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Maybe you too want to become his talmidim?" Then they railed at him. "You may be his talmid," (student) they said, "but we are the talmidim of Mosheh!" "We know that God has spoken to Mosheh, but as for this fellow - we don't know where he's come from!"'
'"What an astonishing thing!" the man replied. He has opened my eyes and you don't know where he comes from! We know that God doesn't listen to sinners; but if anyone fears God and does His Will, God does listen to him.
Ever since the world began it is unheard of for anyone to open the eyes of a man who was born blind. If this man were not from God, he couldn't do a thing." "Why you mamzer!" (illegitimate child or one born of parents not married to each other) "Are you trying to teach us," they retorted, "and you a sinner through and through, since you were born!" And they threw him out.'
'Yeshua heard they had driven him away, and when he found him he said to him, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" "Rabbi," the man replied, "tell me who he is so that I may believe in him." Yeshua said, "You are looking at him; he is the one speaking to you." The man said, "Lord, I believe," and worshiped him.'
'Yeshua said, "It is for Judgment that I have come into this world, so that those without sight may see and those with sight turn blind."'
'Hearing this, some Pharisees who were present said to him, "We are not blind, surely?" And Yeshua replied: "Blind? If you were, you would not be guilty, but since you say, 'We see,' your guilt remains."' (Yohanan/John 9:1-41; JNT)
This miracle, as with all His other miracles, establishes Yeshua's credentials as the Sent One from God. An angel is a sent one also. From the Hebrew, the Angel of the LORD would better be translated, The Messenger of the LORD. Yeshua refers to himself as the One whom God had sent (The Messenger). Wouldn't the Messiah speak like this?
Yeshua was accused of breaking the Sabbath by making the salve. The reasoning went like this. Because we are not to work on God's holy Shabat, spitting into the dirt and picking it up (the salve) was considered work (by the Pharisees). Therefore Yeshua was accused of breaking the Shabat, something we all know the Messiah of Israel would not do.
Yeshua did not break God's Shabat but that of the Rabbis. How silly to think that God would consider it a sin to make a salve for a blind man, which had a soothing effect upon the eyes. And when he was healed, to see the healing as work that God would call sin. Only someone with a cold heart would not be able to see the LORD of Glory in this.
And did you notice how the blind man who could see, remonstrated the Pharisees for stumbling over the fact that they didn't know where Yeshua came from? The 'astonishing thing' is that here were the religious leaders of the day and they couldn't (or wouldn't!) determine if Yeshua was the Messiah or not!
Jewish people are still being thrown out of the Jewish Community for belief in Yeshua. I was officially banned from a Jewish Community in 1984 for my belief in Yeshua. They told me that I wasn't Jewish anymore if I believed in Yeshua. Now isn't that astonishing! How can belief in the Jewish Messiah make a Jew not Jewish anymore?!
To be rejected by your people is terribly painful. But to be rejected by God for despising His Messiah is infinitely worse. I have found what Avraham, Yakov, Moses and Yehoshua knew; Yeshua, the Messenger of the LORD, the Messiah of Israel.
I have found the Love more precious than my sons. I have wrestled with the One who transformed Yakov. I am consumed by the Fire that Moses saw in the bush. And I have seen what the blind man saw, the Salvation of the LORD; Yeshua our God in Flesh.
Our Rabbi's have long since stopped wondering if Yeshua is our Messiah. What Biblical reason do they give us for their denial of Yeshua? "We Jews don't believe that a man can be God!" I agree. A mere man cannot be God. But cannot God become Man? Has anyone seen the Angel of the LORD lately? Contact me and we'll look for Him together.
In the account above, Yeshua refers to Himself as the Son of Man. The prophet Daniel speaks of a vision he had in Daniel 7:13-14 (The Holy Scriptures):
THE SON OF MAN AND DANIEL'I saw in the night visions, And, behold, there came with the clouds of heaven One like unto a son of man, And he came even to the Ancient of days, And he was brought near before Him.' 'And there was given him dominion, And glory, and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, And his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.'Who is this son of man that Daniel saw? There is only one who is given dominion, glory and a kingdom everlasting; the Messiah of Israel. And who gave it to the Messiah? The Ancient of Days (LORD).
If God does not have any form to Him, then who did Ezekiel see on the throne when he describes his vision at the River Chebar in Ezk. 1:26-2:1:
THE MAN AND EZEKIEL'...and upon the likeness of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man...' '...This was the appearance of the brightness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face...'Is this idolatry, as the man initially accused me of? Can you begin to see what the blind man saw? Can you see Him? He's standing right next to you. E mail me and we'll talk about the Messenger of the LORD, the Messiah Yeshua.
1. Hoshea 12:4-5 confirms that the Angel was God: 'Yes he wrestled with the Angel and prevailed. He wept and sought His favor. He found Him at Bethel and there He spoke with us, even Yahveh the God of Hosts, Yahveh is His Name.' (N.A. S. B.)
Email Avram — email@example.com
|NEWSLETTERS| |PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER| |NEXT NEWSLETTER| |MAIN PAGE|